February 2010 Archives

Multimedia Analysis

The CNN and Fox News Web sites both integrate multimedia content in with their traditional
news stories.

The CNN home page feature text, interactive slide shows, as well as links to video clips.

The Fox News home page features text and video clips.

Both of these Web sites seem to be created with Internet users in mind, so the writing is more concise than what you see on StarTribune.com, for example. Instead of being text-heavy, the sites are organized with lots of links and lists of the most popular news items of the day.

The CNN home page has less content than the Fox News Web site, and easier to navigate because it requires less scrolling.

Both Web sites also offer search bars, which makes navigating through the online content easier than finding a story you want to read on a certain topic in a print newspaper.

The writing in the photo captions on the CNN Web site are all just one sentence, and the site provides links to related stories.

Two Boys Injured in Metro Transit Shooting

Two boys were wounded Saturday night when they were shot on a north Minneapolis Metro Transit bus.

The shooting, on Route 22 near Humbolt Ave. and 53rd St. does not appear to be random, Metro Transit told KSTP.

One of the teenage victims, Perigon Gilbert, was hit by four bullets and is in intensive care, reported KSTP. No information was given on the condition of the second victim.

Metro Transit spokesperson Bob Gibbons told Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) that at least six shots were fired and there were about a dozen people on the bus.

Transit police are interviewing witnesses along with surveillance footage from the bus in an attempt to sort out what happened, said MPR.

Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Found in Minneapolis

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed Thursday that they've found four trees in Minneapolis infested by the emerald ash borer, reported the Star Tribune.

The small green beetles are invasive insects that kill ash trees when the larvae tunnel through the wood, starving the tree of its nutrients, explained Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).

The infestation comes nine months after a quarantine was put in place restricting the movement of Twin Cities ash tries, said the Star Tribune.

MPR said that signs of infestation include D-shaped holes in the bark of ash trees, and tunnels beneath the trees. Owners of infected trees should have them removed.

Bill Creating Travel Promotion Group Passes Congress

The Travel Promotion Act, which would create a not-for-profit tourism promotion group for the United States passed through Congress Thursday.

The Corporation for Travel Promotion will promote the United States as a tourist destination, and become an information resource for international travelers, explained CNN.

The bill is on its way to Obama's desk, and he is expected to sign it within the next week, reported CNN.

The corporation will receive funding from a $10 fee that will be charged to travelers from 35 European and Asian countries, said the LA Times. These fees are expected to raise about $200 million a year.

An Oxford Economics study estimates that the initiative would generate $650 million in spending and will create thousands of jobs, reported the LA Times.

Powerful Earthquake Strikes Chile

Chile was hit Saturday morning with one of the most powerful earthquakes in the last century.

The earthquake registered 8.8 in the Richter scale has displaced over 2 million people, reported the Associated Press.

The death toll on Sunday evening was more than 700 and was expected to rise, reported the Washington Post.

The damage is nowhere near as severe as what Haiti sustained during their January earthquake. Paul Caruso, an earthquake geophysicist is quoted in the Washington Post as saying "We would have expected that an 8.8 earthquake would have done a lot more damage. The people in Chile have experience with earthquakes that saved hundreds if not thousands of lives."

As search and rescue efforts continued into Sunday, about 30 aftershocks hit the area, some registered a magnitude of 6.0, reported the Associated Press.

White House Social Secretary to Resign

The White House announced Friday that social secretary Desirée Rogers is stepping down.

Rogers, a friend of the Obamas, faced criticism throughout her tenure in the position, and was forced into taking a lower profile after three people crashed the first White House state dinner, said the Washington Post.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is quoted in a Reuters article as saying that "She's not been asked to leave."

Julianna Smoot, who served as the finance director for President Obama's campaign, has been announced as Rogers successor, Reuters reported.

Rogers said that she will return to the private sector, reported the Washington Post. White House rules forbid former employees from immediately becoming lobbyists.

Apple to Sell 99-Cent TV Shows

Apple is experimenting with a new pricing structure for TV shows sold on its online iTunes Store.

CBS has already announced that it will begin to sell some of its shows for 99 cents, reported the New York Times.

The Financial Times hints that CBS is not the only network that will be selling shows for less. No other networks have made any statement on the matter.

The announcement of Apple's plans to sell content for a lower price comes just after the introduction of the iPad. Apple is hoping that cutting the price of the shows in half as new platforms are introduced will engage enough buyers to offset the cost reductions, explained the New York Times.

Lufthansa Pilots Begin Strike

Pilots of the German Airliner Deutsche Lufthansa AG began a four-day strike Monday.

The strike began after final efforts on behalf of the Lufthansa's almost 4000 pilots and airline to negotiate pay and job security failed, reported CNN.

The airline has already canceled a majority of it's flights over the strike's time frame and the cost of 25 millions euros a day, says the Wall Street Journal.

Lufthansa has been rebooking patients on other carriers as well as trains, reports the Wall Street Journal.

CNN estimates that the strike will effect more than two dozen partner airlines around the world.

Ron Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll

Ron Paul won the annual straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday.

According to MSNBC, Paul won with 31% of the vote, and Mitt Romney finished second with 22%. Romney won the poll each of the last three years.

The straw poll is an unofficial indicator of the current political forecast among the conservative activists attending the conference, explained the Washington Post.

Other conservatives though to be contenders for the presidential candidacy did less well; Sarah Palin received 7% of the vote, and Tim Pawlenty received just 6%, reported the Washington Post.

MSNBC believes the reason Paul did so well is because of the makeup of CPAC attendees; the conference caters to the young conservative supporters and activists who as a group favored Paul in the 2008 election.

Minnesota Increases Parking Restrictions, Tickets Increase

The Minnesota Daily reported Sunday that the number of parking tickets issued in Minneapolis has risen significantly since the city enacted new parking restrictions on Feb. 11.

Most Minneapolis residents are familiar with winter parking rules, but last week the city banned parking on the even side of streets that are not marked as snow emergency routes, reported the Star Tribune.

The city did not send out automated e-mails for the new parking ban, as they usually do when snow emergency rules go into effect, but they did make automated calls to Minneapolis residents to alert them of the new rules, said the Star Tribune.

Despite the alerts, people are still parking where they are not supposed to, and the city has been ticketing or towing drivers who break the rules. Since the ban started, about 140 cars have been towed, reported the Minnesota Daily.

The Minnesota Daily says the ban is scheduled to be in effect until April 1.

Pawlenty Vetoes Healthcare Bill

Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) program bill Thursday.

The bill passed both the Minnesota House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support; the Senate passed it 47-16 and the House passed it 125-9, reported the Minn Post.

The bill is supposed to be an extension of the program, which will expire at the beginning of April because of an unallotment of its budget by Pawlenty last year, said the Minn Post.

The General Assistance Medical Care program provides basic healthcare to 85,000 low-income Minnesotans, says the Bemidji Pioneer. A majority of enrollees have mental health issues or chronic health issues.

If the veto is not overturned by the Minnesota legislature, the cost of covering uninsured individuals will have to be picked up by hospitals and passed to its patients and other Minnesotas through higher insurance premiums, said the Bemidji Pioneer.

Structure Analysis

White House Press Secretary Gets Twitter

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs joined Twitter Saturday afternoon.

Gibbs joins deputy secretary Bill Burton, who has used Twitter to push back against stories and to keep the press corp focused, said Politico.

Gibbs told the Associated Press that he signed up for a Twitter account after watching a live feed and became fascinated with the technology.

Gibbs Tweets and its comments are subject to the Presidential Records Act and may be archived, according to Politico.

Gibbs first tweet, reported the Associated Press, was: "Learning about 'the twitter' -- easing into this with first tweet -- any tips?"

Two Men Arrested for University of Minnesota Shooting

Two men were arrested earlier this week in connection with a string of robberies and a shooting on the University of Minnesota campus.

21-year-old Devon Jamal Jones and a 160-year-old were placed in custody by Minneapolis Police, reported the Minnesota Daily. They paper also reported that police are searching for a third man, the driver.

The Star Tribune reported that while both suspects are linked to the Jan. 25 robberies, neither has been charged with the shooting because it remains unclear who pulled the trigger.

Minneapolis police Capt. Amelia Huffman is quoted in the Star Tribune is saying that the two men are also suspected of a South Minneapolis crime spree that occurred prior to the incidents at the university.

Clinton Calls for Increased Action on Iran's Nuclear Programs

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for increased action too be taken against Iran for it's nuclear programs when she spoke at the US-Islamic World forum earlier in the week.

Clinton's call to action comes after an announcement from Iran that it has stepped up production of highly enriched uranium, reported CNN.

Clinton said that she was hoping to begin diplomatic relations with Iran, but that they will not be able to begin until Iran ends it's nuclear programs, said the BBC.

The BBC article said that while Iran claims it's nuclear program is for electricity generation, western countries believe that Iran is creating nuclear weapons. The article quotes Clinton as saying "The evidence is accumulating that that's exactly what they are trying to do."

CNN says that Clinton's speech and trip to the conference is Qatar is part of efforts on behalf on the United States to improve relations with Arab nations.

South African President's Sexual Relationships Criticized

Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, is facing criticism after reports of a 20th child fathered out of wedlock surfaced Monday.

The Sunday Times, one of South Africa's largest newspapers, reported that a woman Zuma had an extramarital affair with gave birth to their daughter in October, said the New York Times.

A spokesperson from the African National Congress told Reuters Africa about Zuma that "He is becoming too much of a liability to the party and his image is damaging."

Zuma, a polygamist, has three wives and is engaged to a fourth, reports the New York Times.

Reuters Africa reports that Zuma was accused of raping an H.I.V. positive woman in 2006. He was cleared of the charges but acknowledges that sexual intercourse did occur. According to the New York Times, South Africa is home to 17% of the world's H.I.V. infections despite being home to only 1% of the world's population.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found a link between the consumption of Soda and an increased risk for pancreatic cancer.

The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, tracked 60,000 adults in Singapore and found that pancreatic cancer was almost twice as high in individuals who drank two or more sodas per week, reported the Pioneer Press. A Washington Post article says that the study defined soda as "sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages", and did not take diet soda into account.

CBS News
reported that pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadliest forms of the disease. It, however, very rare, according to the Pioneer Press article.

Although the study was completed in Singapore, the results should transfer to the United States public and apply to Caucasians, noted the Washington Post, because of similar cultures.

While the University of Minnesota study is the largest ever done on the topic, it only adds to existing, smaller studies that suspected a link, said the Pioneer Press.

Attribution Analysis

This Reuters article about corruption in some Haitian relief programs includes very little attribution. When the reporters do state a fact, or a supposed fact, their attributions are no more detailed than "aid agencies around the world".

The article only uses 4 named sources, in addition to the reporter's own observations. There are also a number of observations attributed to unnamed groups, such as "groups of protesters".

A bulk of the information seems to come from people's experiences and observations, even if the article does not detail who these people are.

When the reporter does use attribution, he or she usually uses quotes followed by a statement using said as a verb. It is effective when attribution is used.

Overall, I believe that more of the article should have been attributed to sources, and sources that are more clear than the ones used. This is especially true because of the controversial nature of the article in that it implies corruption of some aid programs.

Five Dead in Connecticut Power Plant Explosion

A under-construction Connecticut power plant was destroyed in an explosion Sunday morning, killing at least five and injuring more than a dozen.

The cause of the explosion appears to be the clearing of a natural gas pipeline, reports the LA Times.

The surrounding Middleton Community felt the impact of the blast. The LA Times said that windows and foundations cracked in houses nearest to the plant.

Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano is quoted by CNN as saying "There is no present or continuing threat to anybody from either substances getting into the atmosphere or of a possible subsequent explosion."

Toyota Announced Plans to Recall Prius in Japan

Toyota Motor Corp. said it intends to recall the latest model of the Prius in Japan due to brake problems.

The Financial Times reports that Toyota may also recall the vehicle in the US and other markets.

Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, attributed the problem to a software glitch and has publically apologized for the problem, said BBC News.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 124 reports of problems with the car, according to the Financial Times.

The recall announcement came the same month that Prius recalled about eight-million cars with faulty accelerator pedals, reported BBC News.

The University accidentally charged 44,000 students with late fees on their tuition bill Wednesday.

Dan Wolter, spokesperson for the University of Minnesota, told the Minnesota Daily that the billing issues were corrected.

The University of Minnesota expected all student accounts to reflect the corrections by Wednesday night, reported the Minnesota Daily.

reports that the amount of the late fee was $65. Students who inadvertently paid the fee before corrections were made received a credit on their bill.

The 12 hour delay in correcting the mistake on the bill was attributed to the billing system needing to run all the way through, reported the Minnesota Daily.

Air-Pollution Alert Issued in Twin Cities

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued an air-pollution advisory in the Twin Cities Thursday.

Following the advisory, the Air Quality Index was expected to reach a level of 120, indicating the air quality was a threat to "highly sensitive groups, reported the Star Tribune.

The Pioneer Press said that air quality levels are based on the amount of fine particles in the air.

Experts told the Pioneer Press that individuals with a high sensitivity to air quality, which include people with cardiovascular problems, children and the elderly, should refrain from heavy outdoor exercise.

Levels were expected to fall to a safe level by Sunday, said the Star Tribune.

British Study Linking Autism to Vaccines Retracted

British medical journal The Lancet has retracted a 1988 study linking -mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines to Autism.

The retraction came after a U.K. Medical Council panel concluded the study had false information and that lead author Dr. Andrew Wakefield showed a "callous disregard" for the ethical considerations regarding the children in his study, said the LA Times. The council is now considering revoking Dr. Wakefield's medical license.

The Associated Press reports that ten of the study's original 13 co-authors have renounced the paper. Many others in the medical field have also discredited the research, according to the BBC.

Despite controversy over the study results, Dr. Wakefield prompted a movement of parents and health activists who rallied against vaccines, leading to a 20% decrease in the number of children from developed nations vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The retraction came a day after a competing medical journal, BMJ, issues a statement calling on the Lancet to pull the study from the published record, said the Associated Press.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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