April 30, 2007

Final Blog

To provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing; this is mission of journalism. This mission connects very strongly to my interests, dreams and ambitions. Broadcast journalism has been my interest since junior high school. I feel that the best and most interment way of providing citizens with this information are through broadcast. Working for a news broadcast for a local, national or international news source is one of my dreams. The mission of journalism connects very strongly to my dreams of working for a broadcast news source. These tie into my ambition of producing these news broadcasts, pretty much being in charge of the whole operation.

I have watched television all my life. On any given day when I’m working out, doing homework and everything else I do during the course of my normal day I will do while watching television. I truly feel that television is the greatest invention of the last one hundred years. There are days where I watch upwards of 7 hours of TV a day. As a result of this I have developed a strong passion towards the medium of television. For years it has always been my dream to work in the television field and the mission of journalism, and journalism itself, allow me to do this.

The stories I like to write the most encompass the core values of conflict, novelty and prominence. Big stories that are unique and deal with some kind of conflict are the stories I like to write about primarily because these are the stories I like to read. I am drawn to a style that I myself find interesting.

The journalism industry will change in the next decade with the advent of more personalized news and user interactivity. People will be able to have news type specific to them. Stories will be provided from hundreds of different papers around the world to a single specialized page. Also, people will be able to interact with their news more. Asking questions of those providing the news is just one of the many ways people can interact with their news.

I want to be a broadcast journalist. As a broadcaster, probably a producer, I can work both in a journalistic field and a broadcast field.

April 23, 2007

Buses are safe, shootings are 'isolated incidents,' official says

In the wake of the third shooting on a city bus since early March, Metro Transit Police Chief Dave Indrehus said today that bus and light rail riders "shouldn't feel less safe because of these really isolated incidents." Police announced today that officer’s arrest of Jerome Pablo Cross, 17, on Sunday in connection with the shooting. His parents expressed disbelief that their son could have pulled the trigger. It was on a metro transit bus that Earl Freeman, 16, of St. Paul, was shot to death early Sunday while stopped in downtown St. Paul. While the Pioneer Press article focuses on the young man who was shot to death, the Star Tribune focused on the safety of the bus system.

Pioneer Press:
When Freeman was 7, his mother died of complications from Lupus, Kinsey said. The "always happy, always smiling" boy began to struggle in school and had brushes with the law. He might have developed a tough exterior, Kinsey said, but he was trying to turn his life around.

Star Tribune:
Indrehus said that other recent incidents on Route 74 have included a purse snatching, a domestic incident, three fights, two drivers spat upon and a suspected gunshot that turned out to be a rock thrown at the bus.

Both articles are written in the inverted pyramid style as well as encompassing the same core journalistic values of timeliness and impact.

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Nigerian vote denounced as flawed

Nigeria's ruling party candidate Umaru Yar'Adua was declared winner on Monday of a presidential poll rejected by the opposition and condemned by observers as a "charade." The vote was denounced as deeply flawed by international observers and the opposition. Both articles cite Chief EU observer Max van den Berg as evidence that the vote was flawed.

"These elections have not lived up to the hopes and expectations of the Nigerian people and the process cannot be considered to have been credible," said chief EU observer Max van den Berg.

The European Union monitoring body found the elections ``have fallen far short of basic international and regional standards for democratic elections,'' said mission head Max Van den Berg. ``These elections have not lived up to the hopes and expectations of the Nigerian people and the process cannot be considered to have been credible.''

While Reuters decides to quote Berg directly, AP goes about citing him by paraphrase/direct quote format. This news story is written, in both articles, in the inverted pyramid style. Also, both stories incorporate the core journalist values of novelty, conflict, and impact.

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Students attend school's first integrated prom

Each year, in spite of integration, the white students of Turner County High School had raised money for their own unofficial prom and black students did the same to throw their own separate party, an annual ritual that divided the southern Georgia peanut-farming county each spring. Students of Turner County High School started what they hope will become a new tradition: Black and white students attended the prom together for the first time on Saturday. Both articles quote students of this school who view this prom is a huge success.

"We been separated for a while. I sure appreciate how the school got all of us together, and we had a blast" said John Holmes, 16.

``This is history, baby, this is history,'' said Noriega McKeller, a 19-year-old senior. ``Somebody had to do it. Why couldn't it be us?''

This story is very interesting because both pieces are comprised almost entirely of quotes. Moreover, the quotes come from students of this school who are 16-19 years of age. None of these people can in any way be identified as race relation experts, but because they are firmly integrated into the story their quotes carry more weight then any experts would. Going along on this theme, both reporters for the AP and CNN decided to include the grammatical errors that the juveniles but into their quotes. In reading all the quotes from both stories it is clear that the reporters wanted to establish that those people being quoted are not credible experts but those students involved in the story. This was a great decision on both reporters’ parts because it intensified the conflict, novelty, and timeliness that are the core journalistic values in this story.

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April 19, 2007

Nigeria: 25 militants killed in fighting

Nigerian security forces killed 25 Islamic militants in an all-day battle on the outskirts of the northern city of Kano on Wednesday, authorities said. Troops surrounded the militants in the Panshekara district of the city early on Wednesday after they had burned a police station and killed 13 officers in an ambush a day earlier. Both articles take a different approach to this story, evidenced by the last paragraph in each of these briefs:

In a nation of 140 million roughly split between Muslims in the north and Christians and animists in the south, Kano is one of 12 northern states where Islamic law is practiced. Various groups have clashed before over its proper implementation. Hardliners, who make up a small minority, want a stricter inteor annulments. Current President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler, was elected in 1999.

Kano is one of 12 northern Nigerian states which introduced sharia law in 2000. The move by state governors alienated Christian minorities and sparked violence.
Southern Nigeria is predominantly Christian.

The point of emphasis is different in each article. Both articles are written in brief format and each article is written in the inverted pyramid style. The core journalistic news value of conflict is prominently on display in both articles.

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Bomb threat forces evacuation of 8 buildings at University of Minnesota

Eight buildings at the University of Minnesota were evacuated after a professor discovered a bomb threat. A professor found a note Wednesday in a classroom building that included a bomb threat against several campus buildings. The threat came days after a 23-year-old student shot 32 people to death and committed suicide Monday at Virginia Tech. Both articles paraphrase University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness in their respective pieces.

University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness said the bomb threat had specific targets and gave a time frame of before 10 p.m. Wednesday. He said he was aware of the empty threats made against many schools around the country since Monday, but he could not discount the chance of a real attack.

Star Tribune:
University Police Chief Greg Hestness said his department is in touch with FBI. He said he understands the possibility of this threat being a copy cat incident. "We feel there is a fair probability" of a hoax, but he's still taking it seriously, he said.

Both stories were filed around 7 pm central time on April 18th. Also, both stories were written in the inverted pyramid style and incorporated the same core journalistic values. Proximity, prominence, and timeliness are all extremely important for this story and present in these pieces. It should be noted that the AP is a national paper and the Star Tribune is a local Minnesota paper, yet both end in the same way but in a different manner. Both end with references to past bomb threats. The AP gives an example of a national incident and the Star Tribune gives a local incident.

In East Hartford, Connecticut, a man was arrested Wednesday on charges of taking a pellet gun to the mayor's office and telling a secretary, "College campus, here we go," a reference to the Virginia Tech massacre. No one was injured.

Star Tribune:
In December, two offices at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management were evacuated and some traffic rerouted for about an hour following a report of a suspected pipe bomb. Police detonated the package, which was found to have been harmless. Otherwise, no other operations were affected.

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Slain preacher's wife denies pulling trigger

A preacher's wife accused of murdering her husband testified Wednesday that she doesn't remember picking up the shotgun or pointing it at her husband, but she said she did not pull the trigger. She heard a ``boom'' as the shotgun fired, she said. Mary Winkler told a Tennessee jury on Wednesday about her volatile marriage to a preacher she said berated her, forced her to watch pornography and to wear "slutty" costumes for sex.

The exact same pair of quotes was present early on in both articles.
"You know that pulling a trigger is what makes it go boom?" prosecutor Walter Freeland asked in his cross-examination. "Yes, sir," Winkler replied.

The AP ends its article with:
Last week, prosecutors played an audiotape in which Mary Winkler acknowledged shooting her husband, telling investigators her ``ugly came out.'' She told authorities that her husband criticized her constantly and that she got tired of it and just ``snapped.''

While the CNN article ends with:
Winkler's three daughters are living with her in-laws, who have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her.

While both articles are written in the inverted pyramid style, the tone of each article is different as seen by the ending of each article. The CNN article is fairly free of bias while the AP article is more condemning the accused.
Both articles are full news stories, not briefs, and both articles were filed within five hours of each other on the same day. Also, despite the differences in tone the core journalistic values are present in both stories. Timeliness, impact, and conflict are all present and emphasized in the pieces.

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April 12, 2007

Public Documents

This week I attended the St. Louis Park School Board meeting on Monday April 2nd. The board sets the policies for School District 283, which comprises the St. Louis Park school district. The School Board is comprised of seven St. Louis Park citizens, each elected for a four-year term. All meetings are open to the public and to hear about the agenda I called (952) 928-6040 before the meeting started.

I found the experience and people very accommodating. While this was a school board meeting there was still a strong presence of professionalism in the meeting room. I arrived 45 minutes before the meeting started and was able to talk to some of the board members personally. I stayed for the entire meeting a found the information a little dry, but none the less informative. While the experience as a while was great, there were considerable challenges that I faced on my trip. Keeping up with all the issues, must of which I was unfamiliar with, was difficult as was the experience of being in a place I had never been before with people I didn’t know. It is disconcerting for anyone, including a reporter, to enter a situation that is very familiar to the mass populous and not familiar at all to the reporter.

As a public citizen I found myself helped happily and treated well. An average citizen seeking information about the St. Louis Park School District could go to this meeting, be helped, and have most of their question answered. The information they provided was free to everyone and if a citizen is resolve, with time to spare it is possible to get copies of any public document provided by the board. The experience would defiantly be comprehensible for an average citizen.

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April 2, 2007

Minnesota Obesity

An obese 4-year-old has a 20 percent risk of being an obese adult and an obese adolescent has an 80 percent risk of being an obese adult. The unhealthy food options children are given at school contribute to students’ becoming overweight and obese. Student gets as much as 50 percent of their daily dietary intake while they are in school. Obesity in Minnesota is a very real problem and it finds its roots in children and schools. How are schools contributing to obesity later in life? What are the major concerns that obesity contributes to?

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Five African Union peacekeepers killed in Darfur

Unidentified gunmen killed five African Union peacekeepers in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the deadliest single attack against the force since late 2004, an AU spokesman said Monday. The spokesman, Noureddine Mezni, said the attackers fled the scene after AU troops killed three of them in an exchange of fire. The AP article has only one direct quotation and it comes at the very end of the article.

``The AU mission is very concerned about the increasing number of attacks and aggressions against our troops,'' Mezni said.

This is in contrast to the Reuters article that uses several quotes to contribute to the core journalistic values, especially timeliness and impact.

"The solution to the Darfur issue must be a national responsibility, with the sons and daughters of Sudan," al-Bashir told parliament.

"We strongly condemn this cowardly attack against the very people who are working hard to achieve peace in Darfur," Mezni told Reuters. "It was totally unprovoked."

The core values are exemplified in the quotes. Both articles use the inverted pyramid style of writing articles and also have filing time of less then an hour apart, so they were filed at very similar times.

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American reported missing in Iran

The State Department said Monday it is seeking information from Iran about a private American citizen reported missing while on a business trip to the Islamic republic several weeks ago. Both articles choose to quote The State Departments spokesperson, Sean McCormack, early in their articles.

"We don't see any linkage whatsoever between this case and any other ongoing cases that may have been in the news recently," McCormack said,

``It's an American private citizen who is in Iran on private business about whom we are pursuing welfare and whereabouts (information),'' McCormack told reporters. ``We have been monitoring this situation for a couple of weeks now.''

Both articles are briefs that are written in inverted pyramid style. The CNN article was filed at 1:02 pm on April 2nd and the AP article was filed six hours later. The information is relatively uniform in both articles and they both encompass the same core journalistic values; novelty, timeliness, and conflict. Also, both articles do not completely resolve the circumstances they report on because the story has not been completed.

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March 28, 2007

Gambling Addiction

Gambling is legal in several places in Minnesota at the age of 18. Many adolescents spend time every week gambling as a part of their weekly routine. There are many states where gambling is illegal until people are 21. Does the fact that gambling is legal at 18 cause addiction later in life? Are the consequences of the lower age benefit or hurt Minnesotans?

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March 26, 2007

Passengers' fall puzzles cruise line officials

Cruise line officials are trying to figure out how two passengers managed to fall at least 50 feet from a ship's balcony into the Gulf of Mexico Sunday, where they were rescued hours later. These articles are very similar in the sense they focus on the same core journalistic values. They both focus their article on novelty, timeliness, and proximity. They are both short articles that focus on just the facts of this unusual news article. The quotes from the respective articles show how the values are integrated into the respective pieces.

"You cannot just fall off a ship," said Princess Lines' spokeswoman Julie Benson, describing the occurrence as "extremely rare ... this hasn't happened to Princess, that I can recall."

The AP article has only one direct quote.

``They appear to be in satisfactory condition and we hope that no further medical attention will be needed,'' Julie Benson, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises said.

Both articles use the inverted pyramid style of news writing. The information in the bottom half of the article is basically background and obscure details.

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Northern Irish power deal marks 'new era'

Northern Ireland's major Protestant and Catholic parties have hailed a deal to form a power-sharing government as a "new era of politics" to end three decades of sectarian conflict in the British province. Protestant and Catholic parties agreed on Monday to start sharing power on May 8 after their leaders put aside decades of hostility to hold a historic first meeting. The CNN article focused mainly on the optimistic aspects that this meeting signifies. This style can be seen in the quotes of the CNN article.

"We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future for our children," Ian Paisley's of the Democratic Unionist Party.

"This is a very important day for the people of Northern Ireland ... In a sense everything we've done in the last 10 years has been a preparation for this moment," Gerry Adams' of Sinn Fein.

The Reuters article has far fewer quotes then the CNN article and the quotes it does have are mainly background informing. The Reuters article deals with more the details of this new deal and how it affects those involved which is different from the CNN article which takes an optimistic stance on the new era.

Both of these articles incorporate the inverted pyramid style of news writing. Also, both articles use exactly the same quote.? Today we've agreed with Sinn Fein that this date will be Tuesday, May 8, 2007," This is a great quote spoken by Paisley that sums up the entire event. Both articles place this quote early on in the piece. The CNN has a picture of the meeting while the Reuters article does not. It should be noted that the CNN article has a more current feel with the quotes and optimistic stance it incorporates. The CNN article, while the Reuters article doesn’t abandon them, does a better job incorporating the six key journalistic values into its piece, especially novelty.

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March 20, 2007

College Atmosphere Contributes to Student Suicide Rate

College students have higher suicide rates than non-college people of the same age. There are more suicide attempts at the beginning and end of the semesters then in the middle. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among college-age youth. Data from the 2004 Student Health Survey conducted by Boynton Health Service indicated that 0.9 percent of students at the University of Minnesota reported attempting suicide within the past 12 months. The major cause of suicide is mental illness, very commonly depression. According to the 2004 Boynton Health Service Student Health Survey, 7.8 percent of students were diagnosed with depression in the past year, and 16.2 percent were diagnosed with depression sometime within their lifetime. The atmosphere of college contributes to depression and increases the suicide rate amongst its students. Hoe does the college atmosphere contribute to depression? What can be done to change the atmosphere at college to reduce the student suicide rate?

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