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March 29, 2009

Bemidji State advances to Frozen Four

After a 4-1 win over Cornell in the NCAA Midwest Regional Final, Bemidji State will be Minnesota’s lone representative at the Frozen Four later this month in Washington D.C.
The Bemidji Pioneer is reporting the Beavers as the first 16 seed to ever reach the Frozen Four. Bemidji State defeated Notre Dame 5-1 on Saturday in semifinal action before taking down Cornell in the championship game.
"We knew this was possible because we believed," BSU coach Tom Serratore said. "You can't understand that unless you were in the locker room or affiliated with Beaver hockey. We get to represent the state of Minnesota and we're proud of that. You don't know if something like this is ever going to happen again."
The Beavers will face Miami (Ohio) in a Frozen Four semifinal game at 4 p.m. April 9 in Washington, D.C. Boston University and Vermont will play in the other semifinal. The winner of both games will play for the national championship.
Bemidji State’s success in the national tournament and the fact that the Beavers outlasted every Western Collegiate Hockey Association team this year definitely shines a bright light on the program, which is attempting to join the WCHA next season.

Analysis: Parisi obituary

The Associated Press ran an obituary on Wednesday for Giovanni Parisi, an Olympic and world champion boxer who died at the age of 41.
The obituary was relatively short but in general followed the standard guidelines from class.
The lead paragraph was standard, using his name, what he was most significantly known for and the age he died.
Next, the obituary described the circumstances of his death: he died in a car accident in Italy.
The report followed that up with Parisi’s claim to fame: he was an Olympic gold medalist in 1988 and captured several other world titles in his lifetime.
The only thing lacking from the story was Parisi’s background information.
The only source quoted in the obituary was another Italian boxer. Using him was not unrealistic since it appears Parisi had no family.

Story link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/sports/othersports/26parisi.html?_r=1&ref=obituaries

Fan stampede kills 22 at Ivory Coast soccer match

The Associated Press is reporting 22 dead and 132 injured after fans created a stampede following a World Cup qualifying soccer match in the Ivory Coast.
According to Interior Minister Desire Tagro, fans became unruly before the game between Ivory Coast and Malawi even began and at one point police fired tear gas into a section of the crowd.
"They started pushing to get in because the match was about to start and each and every one of them wanted to get in," Tagro said in a televised statement.
Ivory Coast won the match 5-0.
"Lots of fans showed up," Tagro said in another Associated Press article published in the Deseret News out of Salt Lake City. "They started pushing to get in because the match was about to start and each and every one of them wanted to get in."

Police charge man Minneapolis man with aggravated stalking

Police have charged a Minneapolis man with aggravated stalking on Friday after he allegedly attempted to lure young girls into his van in St. Paul.
The Pioneer Press is reporting that Ramon Topete Pavon, 21, followed at least two girls around the Summit-University area of St. Paul Wednesday morning around 7:30 a.m.
Incidentally, the two girls Pavon was supposedly following helped lead to his arrest. One girl, who the Pioneer Press said Pavon actually got out of his van to attract before another motorist came upon his parked van, told a staff member at Webster Magnet school about the incident. The same girl said Pavon drove past her 20 times before stopping.
Another girl was able to copy Pavon’s license plate number in her school planner, according to KSTP TV.
Pavon, who was apprehended driving without a license, initially denied being in the area. However, the Pioneer Press reported Pavon’s wife said he dropped her off at work that day in the area. Pavon had earlier told police his wife’s brother dropped her off that day.

Police chase suspect down I-94 in murder-suicide

A Big Lake man, who police say killed his girlfriend’s 27-year-old son, killed himself after leading police on a car chase down Interstate 94 on Saturday morning.
According to the Star Tribune, Peter Tek, 42, and his girlfriend, who was unnamed in both the Tribune’s story and the Pioneer Press, returned to their home 2 a.m. when Tek and his girlfriend’s son, Savang Sath, began to argue. In the end, Sath was shot in the head while Tek forced his girlfriend into his Lincoln Navigator and fled.
The Star Tribune also reported that two females were held at the residence by Tek before he fled.
Meanwhile the Star Tribune uncovered that Tek called his son and ex-wife during the car chase, while the Pioneer Press reported that authorities negotiated with Tek for an hour before he released his girlfriend and turned his gun on himself.
The Star Tribune also reported on Tek’s past. His family fled Cambodia in the 1980s after Tek had fought in the wars of the 1960s 70s. He worked at a Shakopee printing press for 20 years up until the time of his death and had returned to Cambodia last month on a mission trip.

Eight killed in NC nursing home shooting

One nurse and seven residents of a North Carolina nursing home were killed when a gunman opened fire on Sunday morning.
Authorities in Carthage, N.C., say Robert Stewart injured three others at Pinelake Health and Rehab including a police officer attempting to subdue the shooter.
Both the Associated Press and The News & Observer, a local newspaper based out of Raleigh, reported on the shooting, however, only the Associated Press published that Stewart had been charged with eight counts of first degree murder and one charge of felony assault of a law enforcement officer.
The News & Observer focused its coverage on stories of the survivors and victims and while the Associated Press also mentioned similar aspects such as one victim who was spared for an unknown reason by Stewart, the AP did uncover some background on Stewart himself.
The outlet spoke with Stewart’s ex-wife, who said the gunman had been reaching out to family members recently and had violent tendencies.

March 15, 2009

Leddy named Mr. Hockey

A day after leading his team to its first state hockey championship, Eden Prarie defenseman Nick Leddy was named Mr. Hockey – the best high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota.

Leddy, who has verbally committed to play for the University of Minnesota next season, scored a goal in the Eagles 3-0 shutout victory of Moorhead in the 2A championship game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, according to the Pioneer Press.

According to the Star Tribune, the Mr. Hockey award is voted on by a panel of judges, including National Hockey League scouts, Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.

Leddy’s coach at Eden Prarie, Lee Smith, was named the 2A Coach of the Year.

Olson to return to Minnesota following release

The president of the St. Paul Police Federation says some of his fellow police officers will be placed in an awkward situation if they are asked to protect Sara Jane Olson when the radical returns to Minnesota.

According to the Star Tribune, Olson was sent to prison seven years ago in California after plotting to plant bombs in police cars and participating in a deadly bank robbery.

“There was never a decade when it was appropriate to commit the crimes she did," Dave Titus, president of the St. Paul Police Federation, said.

Titus went so far as to send California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a letter asking that Olson serve her parole in California instead of Minnesota according to KSTP TV.

"Returning [Olson] to the same neighborhood that harbored her during her 24-year flight from justice is hardly conducive to strict parole monitoring," Titus said in the letter. "If having a convicted domestic terrorist living in their midst didn't bother her neighbors, why would the State Department of Corrections think they would report her if she violated parole?"

Litchfield officer shoots man

Litchfield Police are remaining quiet after an unnamed officer shot a man for unknown circumstances pending further investigation.

Police say the shooting occurred around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning but did not divulge any further information to KSTP TV. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, said the man was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center. In an interview with the Star Tribune, Janell Rasmussen, a spokesman for the BCA, said he is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

KSTP TV reported the man’s condition was not available.

The officer, who was uninjured in the shooting, was placed on paid administrative leave as is standard department procedure according to the Star Tribune.

Four American soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Four U.S. troops were killed in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday in what the New York Times is calling a Taliban response to a planned increase in U.S. presence in the Middle Eastern country.

Yahoo! News is reporting that violence in the Kunar region of Afghanistan, where a series of attacks have taken place in 2009 including Sunday’s attack, is up 131 percent from the first two months of 2008.
“The enemy that has a traditional hold in the area are deeply entrenched with the population," Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green said to the Times. “The population is also very xenophobic and are largely 'fence sitters.’ ”
The attack, which the Taliban has taken responsibility for, is likely a response for an increase of 700 troops in the region and what likely lies ahead for the 17,000 troops who will be deployed to Afghanistan.

Space shuttle Discovery launches

The space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven successfully launched Sunday after a month of delays.

After a hydrogen leak caused the launch to abort again on Wednesday, the mission, which will send the crew to the International Space Station for repairs later this week, finally got under way Sunday according to the Associated Press.

“Well, you had a little bit of a wait but that will just make the payoff that much sweeter," launch director Mike Leinbach said to the crew as quoted by the news outlet.

The New York Times is reporting NASA engineers were unable to definitively identify the cause of the hydrogen leak but replacing seals and “other components” took care of the problem.

Discovery will make key repairs to the space station including the delivery of the final set of solar rays for the station and the instillation of a replacement part for the water system.

March 8, 2009

Birk turned down more money for new experience

A column by Sid Hartmann of the Star Tribune reported that Minnesota Vikings would have offered former center Matt Birk more than the 3-year, $12 million contract the free agent signed with the Baltimore Ravens earlier this week.
According to the column, Birk said it was never about the money. His family was looking for a new adventure and now was the time to embark on it.
“It wasn't about the money. You hear it all the time, the market is what it is," he said. "I think sometimes it's good to leave the familiar comfort zone and do things that scare you a little bit. It certainly is that. Even though, I think professionally, and personally, it seems like a great fit.”
Adventure or not, Birk’s decision ostracized him from much of the Vikings fan base after 11 seasons with the team.
According to a Pioneer Press article published on Thursday, Birk never intended to use an offer from Baltimore against the Vikings.
"It wasn't about that or pitting the two sides against each other," Birk said. "Once I got here, I just told the guys I needed a commitment where I knew I wasn't just going to be just a one-year wonder, if I was going to move my family out here. Wherever I went, I was going to take my family with me. Once that commitment was there, it was a done deal."

Analysis: "Watchmen" opens at No. 1

An Associated Press article published on Sunday highlighted the opening of the new Warner Bros. film “Watchmen.”
The film opened at the top spot in the box office claiming $55.7 million in its opening weekend.
However, the Associated Press writer used the angle that “Watchmen” did not meet expectations set on director Zack Snyder after his previous film “300” opened with $70 million.
The writer spoke with studio executives for his sources. The executives backed up their director by saying “Watchmen,” which runs 2:45 could not possibly match the earnings of the shorter “300”.
The article was primarily just a traditional listing. A similar article comes out nearly every weekend. The writer highlights either the top-ranked film or focuses on a new feature but by the end of the article simply lists the top 10 films in the United States box office.

12,000 U.S. troops to leave Iraq by September

President Barack Obama’s plan to withdrawal all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2011 made the news again on Sunday as government officials announced 12,000 troops will leave the Middle Eastern country by September.
The announcement came on the same day as an attack in Baghdad that unofficially killed 29 and wounded another 57 – the worst attack in Iraq in months according to an Associated Press article.
The article, which quotes Maj. Gen. David Perkins, a U.S. Army spokesman, as saying Iraq’s security has “greatly improved, moving from a very unstable to a stable position,” does anything but reinforce those statements.
According to the Associated Press report, Iraqi forces attempted to keep bystanders away from Sunday’s attack by firing shots into the air. Those same forces will be required to keep the peace when U.S. troops begin leaving the country.
Contrary to the Associated Press article, which quoted an unnamed Iraqi official for its casualty list, an Los Angeles Times article published the at least 33 people were killed in the attack while 61 were wounded.
Both articles included that Britain’s remaining 4,000 troops are also scheduled to leave the country next fall.

Illinois church shooting gives good example of spot updating

A few weeks off of the class topic of spot updating and the Associated Press publishes a string of stories that displays the practice very well.
An Illinois pastor was shot and killed and three others, including the assailant, were injured Sunday morning during church services.
Initially, the Associated Press published only that an unknown man, whose name was being withheld by police, walked up to the Rev. Fred Winters during services and spoke for a short time before shooting Winters. Two members of the church were also injured attempting to subdue the attacker.
Hours later, the Associated Press still has no motive for the attack but has learned several other important facts.
First, a police spokesman said the attacker’s name is still being withheld but did acknowledge the suspect does not have a criminal record.
Second, the news outlet uncovered more details of the attack such as Winters using his Bible to deflect the first shot. The bullet shredded the book into what some members of the congregation thought was confetti – giving them the impression the event was a skit.
And finally, the Associated Press may have uncovered the identity of the suspect although it apparently will respect authorities wishes not to reveal it. The outlet traced the license plate of a red Jeep parked in front of the church to a local 27-year-old man. While no one in the man’s neighborhood was willing to comment, an Associated Press correspondent reported neighbors crying in the area.

Dumpster fire damages Eagan strip mall

After the previous post chastised the Star Tribune for poor reporting efforts, the following story does so with the Pioneer Press.
Both news outlets covered the Eagan strip mall fire around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, but the Pioneer Press’ short article was somewhat lacking.
Primarily, the Pioneer Press reported that “several stories received significant water and smoke damage.”The Star Tribune precisely reported that nine businesses were damaged and then listed the three that were damaged the most.
The Star Tribune also quoted Mike Scott, the Eagan Fire Chief, as saying the fire “doesn’t appear suspicious at this time.” The article went on to explain most dumpster fires, like the one that started the strip mall fire, are caused by either cigarette butts or hot material thrown away in the dumpster.
The Pioneer Press did not report either of the last two facts.
No one was injured in the fire.

Star Tribune misses that hit-and-run victim was deaf

Reporting the details:
The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press both continued to cover the condition of an Apple Valley woman injured in a hit and run on Friday
Joan LaVasseur, 26, remains in critical condition after she was struck by a vehicle – leaving her with multiple fractures to both legs, a fractured pelvis, a broken right hand and lacerations to her face.
The Star Tribune spoke with family members and Apple Valley Sgt. Joe Shaw. An unnamed family member told the Star Tribune LaVasseur is engaged to be married, while Shaw said police have been receiving tips on the vehicle’s driver.
Meanwhile, the Pioneer Press quoted the victim’s sister-in-law, Lori LeVasseur, who repeated the victim’s injuries. The Pioneer Press also reported the victim is deaf.
Interesting discovery by the Pioneer Press, the victim’s disability definitely is newsworthy. It would be interesting to hear how exactly they caught wind of that while the Star Tribune did not.

March 1, 2009

Holder says Guantanamo will still close

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke during a news conference on Wednesday to discuss his trip to Guantanamo Bay earlier this week.

Holder said he only saw good things during his visit of the base, the closing of which was one reason the Obama administration pushed for Holder’s appointment to the position.

But nothing he saw changed the government’s decision to close the base.

Here’s the article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090225/ap_on_go_ot/holder_guantanamo;_ylt=AkFtQJmppgeJ4HDSZ5j.pp8NJ_wE

Analysis:

Writer Devlin Barrett followed the regular structure for covering a press conference in his story by stating a fact or point and then supporting it with a quote. As I’ve read with most press conferences, Barrett picked out the most important points of Holder’s news conference to include in the story. He also followed the traditional model by speaking with other people or groups effected by the news conference to get their reactions to the news.

Brodeur nets 100th career shutout

New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur becames just the second goalie in NHL history to reach the 100 shutout plateau when he led the Devils to a 3-0 win over Philadelphia on Sunday – his second shutout in three games since returning from an arm injury that kept him out of 50 games this season.

The shutout moved the four-time Vezina Trophy winner within three shutouts of Terry Sawchuck – the league’s all-time leader in career shutouts.

“It’s a big number, it’s kind of hard to believe,” Brodeur said in an Associated Press article. “You get to different numbers and at times you think, ‘OK, it’s just another one.’ When you get to a round number, it looks more impressive.”

Brodeur is also just four wins shy of tying Patrick Roy’s record of 541 victories.

The Star-Ledger, a local news outlet, used an interesting lead for its story on Brodeur’s feat by saying Brodeur quashed any thought that his new helmet – designed to promote the goalie’s new personal Web site – was cursed.

Brodeur began wearing the new mask this season and tore multiple muscles in his bicep four months ago.

Veteran will bring kids back to base for recall

A North Carolina mother or two will bring her children with her when she reports for duty four years after being honorably discharged.

After her attempts to appeal the recall into service were rejected, Lisa Pagan said she had no choice but to bring her children with her to Fort Benning when she reported on Sunday according to an Associated Press article.

"I don't plan on them leaving my side once I'm there," she said of her kids. "Them being away from me is not an option."

Neither is staying home with dad said Pagan. Her husband frequently travels for business.

The Fort Benning commander will have the final say in whether Pagan is granted a deferment or exemption according to Master Sgt. Keith O’Donnell, an Army spokesman.

“The Army tries to look at the whole picture and they definitely don't want to do anything that jeopardizes the family or jeopardizes the children," O'Donnell said. "At the same time, these are individuals who made obligations and commitments to the country."

Iran now enough material for a nuclear weapon

On Sunday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed a report from the United Nations that Iran has accumulated enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapons.

“We think they do, quite frankly,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman for the Joint Chiefs said. “And Iran having a nuclear weapon, I've believed for a long time, is a very, very bad outcome for the region and for the world.”

According to an Associated Press article, experts disagree if Iran has enough nuclear material to both create a weapon and also further refine the material. They also disagree on how long it would take for the country to complete the weapon’s construction.

“We are concerned they are getting close,” State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said to the AP.

However U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was not as concerned when he was quoted in a New York Times article on Sunday.

"They're not close to a stockpile," Gates said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "They're not close to a weapon at this point. And so there is some time.”

St. Scholastica baseball coach dies at 42

St. Scholastica baseball coach John Baggs died Tuesday after a four-month battle with cancer.

The Pioneer Press published a brief announcing the 42-year old’s death on Wednesday. Baggs was the most winningest coach at St. Scholastica in any sport with a 531-197 record. His Saints won 12 consecutive Upper Midwest Athletic Conference titles.

On Sunday, Patrick Reusse wrote an expansive column on Baggs in the Star Tribune citing Baggs as savior of the St. Scholastica baseball program, which was formed in 1987 – five years before Baggs took over as head coach in 1992.

“The program had 34 victories in history when Coach Baggs arrived," assistant coach Jim Wicklund said to Reusse. "Now, it would be a bad year if we didn't win 34 games."

“He knew what he was talking about. You believed in him,” Saints captain Kyle Wojtysiak said. “You knew how he had taken a baseball program that was nothing and turned it into something special.”

Baggs is survived by wife Colleen, son Maddux, 8, and daughter Josie, 3.

Police say Sunday's five robberies may be connected

According to two local news outlets, police believe a pair of men might be responsible or a string of five robberies throughout the Twin Cities early Sunday.

The Star Tribune provided substantially more coverage on the robberies than the Pioneer Press – publishing that the two suspects approached their victims with a vehicle in all five cases before brandishing a gun.

Police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer said no one was injured in the robberies but said “anytime a gun is involved, we’re concerned.”

There was more disparity between the two outlets. The Star Tribune listed the source as William Palmer while the Pioneer Press listed him as Bill Palmer.

The Pioneer Press also quoted Palmer as saying the crimes were similar but not necessarily related.

“We had five robberies within a two-hour period with some similarities," Sgt. Bill Palmer said this afternoon. "At this point, we're not prepared to call them related."