February 2010 Archives

Analysis: multimedia options

Kare 11 is one news organization I looked at. They feature a number of videos and pictures along with the news stories. This helps to personify and add life to the stories.

WCCO is another news organization I looked at. They also feature videos and pictures. These features really add spunk and makes the story more interesting. I felt more engaged as a reader when I had video and photos to look at. The story was more than just words.

The writing for these extra add-ons was simple. It was quick to the point and easy to understand.

Thousands participate in nude photo shoot in Sydney

Around 5,200 people left nothing for the imagination as they gathered on the steps of the Sydney Opera House for a naked photo shoot.

According to ABC News, the photo shoot was for a work of art called The Base by photographer Spencer Tunick.

The work of art is part of Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

Tunick is famous for photographing large masses of nude people.

Yahoo news reported that Tunick had participants pose in a number of different positions, ranging from holding their arms up to embracing each other, for an hour.

"I'll never get a chance to do this again; it's not worth being inhibited," 19-year-old Art Rush said. "It doesn't feel sexual, it just feels tribal, a gathering of humanity."

A number of local bands played a benefit concert for local music store the Electric Fetus Friday, which was hit by a tornado in August 2009.

More than 1600 people attended the First Avenue show, which included a raffle and silent auction, according to WCCO.

The Electric Fetus has been providing music for the Twin Cities community for 42 years.

The tornado did not cause any injuries but did cause $750,000 in damages, resulting in 40 percent of the store being shut down for three months.

According to Kare 11, co-owner Stephanie Covart Meyerring said only about half of the repairs needed have actually been done to the store.

"It's probably the first place we ever sold CDs in stores," said Adrian Young, manager of popular local band Cloud Cult.

No one was sure of how much money was raised at the event.

"It won't take care of all of it," said employee David Campbell. "But it's wonderful and we are so thankful that it's really going to help."

The battle for the Twins' third base is on

Brendan Harris and Nick Punto are both in the running for the Twins' third base, incresing the pressure at Spring Training in Ft. Meyers, Florida.

According to the Star Tribune, since the Twins now have shortstop JJ Hardy and second baseman Orlando Hudson, the only spot left in the Twins infield is third base.

Also hoping for the spot is Danny Valencia, a top Twins prospect who played in the Caribbean World Series for Puerto Rico.

Punto batted .228 last year with one home run and 38 RBI.

"I'm just here to win a job," said Punto. "I've been in this position before. Enjoy it and thrive on it. It should be a fun spring training."

"Anywhere we put him, he's pretty much going to be the best defensive player we have," Gardenhire said about Punto.

Harris hit a .261 with six home runs and 37 RBI last season.

Scouts think Harris looks the most comfortable at third base and baseball insiders believe his ability to swing a bad gives him an edge over Punto.

WCCO reported that while Punto is strong as a defensive player, he is weak as an offensive one.

Punto is a career .248 hitter with 12 home runs over a span of nine seasons.

"I don't come in with a sense of entitlement for anything," Harris said. "You create your breaks. Your performance will lock yourself into whatever role that you want."

President Obama in great health but should quit smoking

After President Obama's first physical examination since taking office, it is reported that he is in excellent health but will be in even better health if he improves his diet and kicks his smoking habit.

According to the Los Angeles Times, White House physician Jeffrey Kuhlman said the 48-year-old president was "fit for duty".

Although Obama has cut back on smoking, Kuhlman told him he needed to continue his anti-smoking efforts to improve his health.

Obama was also advised to improve his diet to lower his LDL, or bad cholesterol, which was at 138. These levels are considered borderline high at 130.

MSNBC reported that Obama is free of colon cancer and should be checked again in five years.

Obama enjoys playing a lot of basketball and golf which keeps him in great health but also may cause tendinitis in his left leg.

Kuhlman said he expects Obama back in his office in August of 2011 when he turns 50, hopefully cigarette free.

Storms in Europe kill at least 51

Violent storms killed at least 51 people in France, Spain, and Portugal, officials said.

According to the BBC, 45 of the victims died in France as a result of either drowning or being hit by parts of buildings or trees.

As of Sunday, at least a dozen people are missing and 59 others are injured in France.

The storm system, named Xynthia, caused winds of up to 108 mph at the top of the Eiffel tower.

The AP reported that this is the worst storm system to hit France since 1999.

More than 900,000 people in France lost their electricity.

In the Pyrenees Mountains, the threat of avalanches is high due to high winds and wet snow.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to visit the worst areas on Monday.

Officials say 119 flights have been canceled from Frankfurt airports and at least 100 flights were canceled from Paris airports.

Analysis: 50th and Bryant follow up stories

The lead in the first story was simply that there was a fire, where it was, if anyone was injured, and what they were doing to control it. It was just the hard facts. The lead in the updated story was the cause of the fire.

The main news in the first story is again, the straight facts. The first story was being written as the fire was taking place so it told immediately that two firefighters were injured and talking about how firefighters had to fight the fire from the outside. It also talked about the current condition of the fire.

The second story elaborated on what happened. It explained things, it gave witness accounts, and it gave quotes from people affected by the fire.

The second news story was simply a change from the original story.

Three girls hit and killed by train in Florida

A train hit and killed three girls as they were crossing a bridge in Melbourne, Florida.

The Washington Post reported that although authorities are not releasing the victim's identities, they are saying that all three were juveniles.

Police Lt. Marc Claycomb said that three girls and one boy were walking along the train tracks before the incident.

WESH Orlando reported that according to police, the boy crossed the tracks, saw the train coming, and tried warning the girls.

None of the girls had time to get across the tracks.

The case is currently being investigated by the Melbourne Police Department and Florida East Coast Railway Police and it is unknown why they were walking along the train tracks.

Olympic snowboarder leaves Vancouver after racy pictures surface

Scotty Lago, who won a Bronze medal for the United States, has withdrawn from the Olympic games after inappropriate pictures surfaced on the internet of him and a female fan.

The pictures show a female fan kissing Lago's medal which was placed below the waistband of his pants as well as her biting the medal.

According to CNN, Lago was not entered for any additional Olympic events.

U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt said Lago apologized to the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Snowboard Federation before leaving the competition.

The pictures were posted to gossip website TMZ.com Friday morning.

The Washington Post reported that Lago posted an entry on his Twitter site after arriving home.

"Got home this morning to all my homies," he said. "Such a good Olympic experience. Keeping my medal in a safe spot for now haha."

Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of stabbing another teen after a large fight broke out at Rosedale Center on Saturday night.

The 16-year-old victim is in critical condition.

WCCO reported that police were called to the shopping center at 7:48 p.m. after receiving reports of 12 people fighting outside the entrance to Herberger's.

The caller told police the teenagers and young adults were using chairs as weapons.

After breaking the fight up, police found an 18-year-old man with cuts and bruises on his face who needed medical care.

Kare 11 reported that more officers were dispatched to the area because the group was not obeying police orders and more fights were breaking out.

Lt. Lorne Rosand of the Roseville Police told reporters that K-9 units were brought to the shopping center to help control the situation.

Police were then notified of a stabbing outside of the Ruby Tuesday's in the mall.

The 16-year-old had stab wounds in his back and identified his attacker before being taken to the hospital.

Rosand said they decided to lock the doors to the mall in an attempt to keep patrons safe and to help settle everything down.

According to police, a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of the stabbing and they also believe he was involved in the assault on the 18-year-old man.

He was taken to Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center.

Police are not releasing names for safety reasons and are not yet sure of a motive or if the 17-year-old knew either victims.

They are asking anyone with information regarding the incident to contact the Roseville Police Department.

Grease fire injures two firefighters, damages five businesses

Two firefighters were injured Thursday when a two-alarm grease fire damaged five businesses in a popular shopping district on 50th and Bryant in Minneapolis.

According to the Pioneer Press, one firefighter suffered cuts from glass and the other was injured when the building's ceiling fell. Both injuries are minor.

Fire investigators say the fire started as a grease fire at the restaurant Heidi's before moving to the other businesses in the building.

The other businesses affected were gift shops Patina and Shoppe Local, restaurant Blackbird, and Stacy Johnson Jewelry Design.

Kare 11 reported that employees at Patina smelled something odd then noticed smoke pouring into the store a little before 1 p.m.

Battalion chief Gary Piekarczyk said that since the fire moved so quickly and made its way into the ceiling space, fire crews had to fight the fire from outside.

Rick Haase, who owns the building as well as Patina and Shoppe Local, said that he is optimistic that the businesses will bounce back.

"It's a good group," he told Kare 11. "Hopefully we'll come out of it in a different way."

Hours before the fire, Heidi's chef and co-owner Stewart Woodman learned that he was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's award for best chef in the Midwest.

The Taliban's second in command captured in Pakistan

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban military commander and overall Taliban number two, was captured in Pakistan and is in custody.

According to the BBC, Baradar was captured in a secret joint United States-Pakistani raid on February eighth.

The government has not yet confirmed the arrest and the Taliban is denying it occurred.

According to correspondents, Baradar is in charge of all long-term military planning for the Taliban in the southern part of Afghanistan.

Officials believe this arrest may result in difficulties for the Taliban in this region and the BBC reported that he has been talking.

The New York Times reported that Baradar is second in command only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the man who founded the Taliban and who is also the current spiritual leader.

The Taliban has been denying that the capture took place however.

"This is just rumor spread by foreigners to divert attention from the Marja offensive," said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban.

Baradar was captured once before in November 2001 but were released after Pakistani intelligence operatives intervened.


Analysis: Structure with MSNBC Elementary School shooting story

The story starts out giving the most important and newsworthy information: what happened, when, and to who. The reporter also stated in the lead that it occurred after the students had been released which is good since that would be a pertinent question in many people's minds.

The reporter summarized the important events by simply answering the who, what, when, where, and why questions first before going more into detail and background information.

The way they ordered the information, by putting important story facts first and then going into background information, was very effective because you can skip reading the last bits of information and still get the story.

The only thing I wish the reporter would have done is reiterated earlier in the story that there were no students in the school. Personally, when I read the headline that there was a shooting at an elementary school, my thoughts immediately went to the children so knowing that none were injured would put me more at ease.

Man dies in North Minneapolis after stabbing

A man died Saturday night after a stabbing in North Minneapolis.

According to Kare 11, officers were called to the 3800 block of Dupont Avenue North shortly before midnight.

Sgt. Jesse Garcia said that when they got to the scene they found an adult male victim with a stab wound.

He was taken to North Memorial Medical Center and died a short time later.

The Star Tribune reported that the man's identity has not been released yet and there are no suspects in custody.

The police are asking the community for any information regarding the incident.

Luge resumes with caution after fatal crash

Luge training continued for the 2010 Winter Olympics Saturday following the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Kumaritashvili, a luger from the Republic of Georgia, died Friday during a practice run.

The BBC reported that the track has been modified to fully prevent more injuries, including raising the walls at the exit of the final curve where Kumaritashvili went off the track.

After investigating, the International Luge Federation said that the crash was not a result of the track but of a mistake made by Kumaritashvili.

According to the Associated Press, out of the 16 times Kumaritashvili took off from the original men's luge start, he crashed four times.

For the other lugers, the most difficult part of starting practice Saturday was the emotional aspect.

At the opening ceremony, the athletes from the Republic of Georgia wore black armbands and somber expressions to remember their teammate.

30 pounds of marijuana found hidden in pictures of Jesus

U.S. Customs agents seized 30 pounds of marijuana hidden inside three framed pictures of Jesus Christ on Wednesday along the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to CNN, a 22-year-old woman from Juarez, Mexico told border patrol that she had nothing to declare other than the framed art.

When Cesar, a federal drug-sniffing dog, was brought to the scene he alerted the border patrol to the three pictures.

When they removed the backing, they uncovered a number of bundles of the drug.

The woman was arrested.

KVUE reported that it is common for drug smugglers to use pictures of religious figures in order to conceal drugs.

El Paso border agents also seized another 214 pounds of marijuana in two other busts on Tuesday.


Denny Hecker indicted on fraud charges

A federal grand jury indicted auto dealer Denny Hecker and a former employee on charges of federal conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering on Wednesday.

According to KTTC, the indictment indicates that from September 2007 to at least June, Hecker and his former employee, Stephen Leach, enacted upon a scheme to defraud lenders.

Authorities say that Hecker filed for bankruptcy in order to avoid paying back lenders.

The Star Tribune reported that when filing for bankruptcy, Hecker claimed $767 million in debt and $18.5 million in assets.

Hecker used to own 26 auto dealerships plus a number of large auto fleet and rental companies.

Auto companies started suing Hecker for defaulting on loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

This was a seven-count indictment.

Two shot at Tennessee elementary school; arrest has been made

A principal and assistant principal were shot Wednesday at a Tennessee elementary school and the suspect, a school employee, is in custody.

The shooting took place around 12:50 p.m. at Inskip Elementary School in North Knoxville.

According to Wate.com, the victims, Elisa Luna and Amy Brace, were in the office at the time of the shooting.

Police Chief Sterling Owen said there were only two students in the building at the time due to an early dismissal.

MSNBC reported that both Luna and Brace were conscious and alert and are expected to survive.

The suspect, who's name has not been released, was taken into custody when police caught up with him outside of a Days Inn where construction delayed his vehicle.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, a motive for the shooting has not been discovered.

14-year-old girl fights off shark with boogie board

A 14-year-old girl from New Zealand hit a shark in the head with her boogie board as it was biting her, keeping herself calm and prompting the shark to quickly swim away.

According to Yahoo! News, Lydia Ward was standing in waist-deep water on a beach near the New Zealand city of Invercargill when the shark bit her.

CBS News reported that it was her younger brother's shocked face that alerted her to what was happening.

She instantly grabbed the only thing she had, her boogie board, and started defending herself with it.

It did not take long for the shark to swim away.

She remained extremely calm after the incident and was not immediately aware that she was hurt.

"It wasn't until I got about knee deep that I realized I had a bite mark through the wet suit," she said on CBS' Early Show.

Ward went to the hospital but was not severely injured and says she plans to return to the water soon.

India successfully test fires nuclear-capable missile

India successfully fired a nuclear-capable missile, Agni III, Sunday that can reach targets throughout a large portion of Asia and the Middle East.

According to UPI, the launch took place on Wheeler Island of the coast off the Indian state of Orissa.

Officials said that all of the mission's parameters were met.

The Star Tribune reported that India's missiles are supposedly intended for a confrontation with Pakistan.

India currently has a large arsenal of missiles, including short-range, medium-range, and supersonic missiles.

India recently offered to start peace talks with Pakistan and so far Pakistan has not accepted.

It does not appear that the launch of Agni III will significantly raise tensions in the area.

Eden Prairie woman chases off tree trimmer with a shotgun

A worker hired by the city of Eden Prarie to inspect a diseased tree was chased off of a woman's property after she threatened him with a shotgun.

Kimberly Ann Sisak, a 39-year-old dog trainer, was charged with making terroristic threats and was released from Hennepin County jail Thursday after posting bail.

According to the Star Tribune, the worker rang Sisak's doorbell twice and when she did not answer, he went into her backyard to locate the tree.

Sisak had painted the letters "F U", an abbreviation for an expletive, on the tree after the city marked it with orange paint.

As the worker was inspecting the tree, Sisak came out of her house with a shotgun across her chest and demanded that he leave the property and proceeded to follow him at a distance of about 15-20 feet.

The Pioneer Press reported that Sisak had received a number of letters and notices informing her that the tree was diseased and had to be removed and if no action was taken by Jan. 18, the city would hire a contractor to cut it down.

The latest letter was dated Jan. 4.

During her court appearance, Sisak was told she could not own any firearms or contact the victim.

Being charged with making terroristic threats, a felony, Sisak faces a possible sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Her next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22.

Analysis: Attribution in CNN power plant explosion story

In this story, the reporter has thus far included nine sources, naming all of them. For most the source's actual name has been used but others are left vague, such as 'police' or 'Middlesex Hospital'.

The sources are scattered throughout the story except for witness accounts. Witness stories are clumped together in the middle of the story.

Seven out of nine sources are from specific people while two, the police and Middlesex Hospital, are organizations.

The reporter paraphrased a lot of what the sources said and gave direct quotes for certain things. They did not just use the word 'said', they used the word 'told' as well. They also set up who the person was and their connection to the event in their attributions. This was effective because it made the sources more credible.

Overall, I thought that the attributions in this story were very effective.

Woman pleads guilty to stealing from school district

A 35-year-old Oakdale woman plead guilty to stealing $41,000 from her employer, the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Public School District.

Tina Marie Berlin was charged on Dec. 7 and plead guilty to one count of mail fraud Thursday.

According to the Star Tribune, Berlin admitted to stealing $41,445 from Gladstone Community Center and its clients, including the school district, from February 2000 to November 2006.

Kare 11 also reported that Berlin admitted that she obtained $68,820 under false pretenses from an individual identified as "BL".

Berlin faces a sentence, to be decided at a later date, of up to 20 years in prison.

Unknown number dead in Connecticut power plant explosion

An explosion killed an unknown number of workers and injured a large number of people at a Middletown, Connecticut power plant on Sunday.

Yahoo! News reported that the explosion was felt in neighboring towns as far as 30 miles away and that smoke was visible for miles.

Witnesses reported seeing shooting flames and black smoke rising from the plant.

Although the plant was closed at the time, a fire official said that 51 construction workers were in the plant at the time of the explosion.

According to CNN, more than 100 emergency units responded to the explosion.

A local resident said that they were firing engines earlier in the morning at the 620-megawatt gas-fired power plant.

Police initially said that two people were dead but have since retracted that statement and are currently not giving a specific number.

Middlesex Hospital has thus far received 11 patients with injuries such as extremity or pelvic fractures and is currently in disaster response standby mode.

Some patients reported being thrown 30 to 40 feet during the blast.

Authorities are currently searching for people and information is constantly being updated.

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