September 2011 Archives

In this story from the Star Tribune, the reporter has an excellent lead that summarizes everything that is important (hit and run, how many injured, what the driver did) and interesting (loaded pistol in the car, two injured passengers). The lead also does not give too much away so the reader is inclined to continue reading.

The information of the story, in my eyes, is ordered in a logical manner. First, the summarizing lead. Second, a paragraph explaining exactly when and where the accident took place. Third, a paragraph about how the crash happened, which is followed by an attribution about motorist safety/awareness in construction zones from the state Transportation Commissioner. Finally, a quick paragraph revealing that the driver fled the scene and that there was a loaded pistol in the car.

This ordering of information is effective because it keeps giving the reader more and more detailed information that unravels the incident at hand. Also, including that the driver fled and that there was a loaded pistol in the car was a good kicker to send the reader off. This structure is known as the "Martini Glass."

I guess the information could be ordered in a different way, but that would change the structure style. If I were required to change up the structure, I would put the last paragraph about the driver fleeing the scene right after the paragraph that explains how the crash happened. This would change the structure style to more of a "Inverted Pyramid."

Apple to kill iPod classic, shuffle?

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The iPod classic, along with its cousin the iPod shuffle, may be on the short track to discontinued.

According to an unnamed source, Apple will release the iPhone 5 next week in conjunction with discontinuing the iPod classic and the iPod shuffle, CNN reported.

With the removal of these two products, all of Apple's iPods would be touchscreen, the Huffington Post reported.

The iPod classic has been credited with rejuvenating Apple over a decade ago and the iPod currently makes up 7 percent of Apple's revenue.

The iPhone and iPad, which both have video steaming capabilities along with music storage, have in some ways trumped the usefulness or necessity of having an iPod.

A car hit and injured two construction workers early Thursday morning on the U.S. Highway 280 off-ramp to Interstate 94.

The car hit a trash container and then a water truck that were apart of a construction zone, knocking down two construction workers in the process.

The construction workers sustained "very minor" injuries.

The driver fled on foot after the accident, leaving behind two injured passengers and a loaded pistol, the Star Tribune reported.

When questioned, both passengers claimed not to know the driver.

The State Patrol searched the area but the driver has not been located, the Pioneer Press reported.

Katherine Gordon, 58, was shot dead Thursday on Interstate 394 during an altercation with a police officer.

The police officer was Rob Zarrett of the Golden Valley Police Department.

Zarrett pulled Gordon over on I-394 just west of U.S. Highway 169 for traveling at a speed of 90 miles per hour, the Star Tribune reported.

After being pulled over, Gordon presented a gun and pointed it in the direction of Zarrett. Zarrett, in defense, shot Gordon several times killing her instantly.

In the month of July Gordon came into the Edina Police Department and asked to be locked up because she was a threat to herself and others. She claimed that she was possessed by a "spirit" she thought was Satan, KSTP reported.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating the shooting.

Five Bodies Found in Two Homes in Rural Indiana

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Police found five dead bodies Sunday in rural Franklin County, Ind.

The bodies were found in two neighboring homes with four bodies in one home and the last body in the other home.

Authorities received a call Sunday afternoon from a concerned person regarding a small child wandering the streets of the neighborhood, CNN reported.

Using the information acquired from the child and neighbors, the police located a dead man at one address and four dead bodies, two male and two female, at the address across the street.

The cause of death for all of the victims appears to be gunshot wounds, the International Business Times reported.

There are currently no suspects or persons of interest.

Australia's female soldiers will soon be granted the permission to serve alongside males in all front-line combat roles, the government revealed Tuesday.

This new movement will allow women who meet the physical and psychological standard to perform any role they choose.

This change will take place over a 5-year time period.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith claims that the 5-year time period is a necessary safety net to ensure that the only errors of this change are on the side of caution, the Associated Press reported.

Under the current military policy, 93 percent of military positions are open to women. The 7 percent that are not are considered the most dangerous of positions (i.e. Special Forces and front-line combatants), the New York Times reported.

The only other developed countries with no restrictions on women serving in the front-lines are Canada, Israel, and New Zealand.

Analysis: Cleared of Rape but Lacking Full Exoneration

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In this news story from the New York Times, the reporter used four different sources.

The first of these sources was Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, attorney general for the commonwealth.

The second is a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

The third is Stephen J. Schulhofer, an expert in criminal justice at New York University law school.

The final source used is Thomas Haynesworth who is the man seeking full exoneration from his prior rape charges.

In my eyes, the reporter did a pretty good job of distributing the sources throughout the story. The only thing I would have done differently to the story is I would have included a statement from Haynesworth earlier.

All of the sources are people.

The reporter does not really set up the attributions, he kind of just puts them in. For example, the Cuccinelli attribution is only stating his position as attorney general for the commonwealth and that he supports Haynesworth's effort to get exonerated.

The most interesting attribution of the story is the three-judge panel. The reporter simplified down the decision of the panel into three words, "not so fast." This was stated in the context of whether or not Haynesworth should be exonerated. I thought it was interesting that he didn't include any statements made during this decision, but instead paraphrased.

Defunct 6-ton satellite falls to Earth

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A six-ton NASA satellite penetrated Earth's atmosphere early Saturday morning and landed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

It is the largest satellite to fall back to Earth uncontrolled in more than 30 years, the Star Tribune reported.

The satellite partially burnt up during its re-entry and broke up into hundreds of pieces, the largest of which is estimated to be around 300 pounds.

NASA predicted that the debris spread over a 500-mile swath, the Los Angeles Times reported.

NASA estimated the chances of somebody getting hit and hurt from the falling satellite at 1-to-3,200.

Child rape brings 19-year jail term

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John Heuer, 48, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the abduction and sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl in May.

Heuer pled guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping, CBS reported.

Heuer allegedly lured the young girl away from the Giant Wash Coin Luandry in St. Paul and into his truck. He then took her back to his house and made sexual advances on her including kissing, fondling, and oral sex.

The victim has been in therapy since the incident and will mostly likely continue to do so for much of her life. She has been experiencing intense nightmares and can no longer relax due to her constantly thinking she is in danger.

In Heuer's statement he wrote about his shame and apologized to the family.

Paul Young, the family's prosecutor, said, "The attack completely destroyed the family and how they see each other and the world," the Star Tribune reported.

Guilty verdict in triple murder at Seward Market

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Mahdi Hassan Ali, 18, was convicted for four counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder on Friday for the Jan. 6, 2010 triple homicide at Seward Market.

Ali faces life in prison without parole, the Star Tribune reported. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25.

The murders were a result of a botched robbery attempt.

The victims' names were Osman Jama Elmi, 28, Mohamed Abdi Warfa, 30, and Anwar Salah Mohammed, 31, KSTP reported.

The main pieces of evidence used in the prosecution of Ali were surveillance videos of the inside and outside of Seward Market and a testimony from Ahmed Ali, M. Ali's partner in crime the evening of the triple homicide.

After M. Ali's trial, A. Ali pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated robbery and will be sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Frederick Goetz, M. Ali's attorney, plans on filing notions that challenge the constitutionality or ethics of sentencing a juvenile, M. Ali was 17 when he committed the crime, to life without parole.

Georgia puts convict to death despite protest

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Troy Davis, convicted of killing off-duty Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989, was executed Wednesday night.

Outside of the prison where the execution took place, over 500 demonstrators held signs, candles, and shouted chants in protest of the execution, CBS reported.

Support of Davis also came from some very prominent people such as: President Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Davis claimed he was innocent all the way up until he was put to death. His last words were, "I personally did not kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent, " the Los Angeles Times reported.

Davis appealed his conviction up into the U.S. Supreme Court and by the beginning of 2000, 7 of the 9 witnesses whose testimony lead to his conviction recanted their statements.

MacPahail's family feels that justice has finally been served.

Afghan Peace Council Chief Killed in Attack on His Home

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Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Afghan Peace Council leader, was killed Tuesday night in his home by a suicide bomber.

The bomber was said to be a high-ranking Taliban contact with valuable information for Rabbani, the Star Tribune reported.

The bomber hid explosives in his turban and was not searched upon entry as a sign of trust, reported the New York Times.

The explosion instantly killed Rabbani and seriously injured three others.

Rabbani's main task as leader of the Afghan Peace Council was to reach out to the Taliban in effort to cease the violence and reach a resolution between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Rabbani is the third high-ranking Arghan official that has been killed by the Taliban in the last three months.

The recent Taliban attacks combined with foreign military forces gradually withdrawing their forces has called into question the readiness of Afghanistan to take full control of their security.

Analysis: Reno air races fans struggle with horrors of crash

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The sub-headline in this article serves as the "lead" because it informs the reader of how many people died and what kind of event occurred. It does not reveal where the event took place or exactly what happened, but it hints at the fact that it was one "hellish" experience.

The actual lead in this particular story from the Los Angeles Times is not a straightforward hard-news lead because, in my eyes, the reporter wanted to capture the intensity of the scene at hand. There really is not any important information provided in the lead, yet the reader is drawn in by the description of the horror. The reporter used descriptions (a big crunch and burnt oil) to engage the reader's senses, thus allowing the reader to feel like they were apart of the event.

Mahdi Ali, 18, has been accused of six counts of murder after a triple homicide occurred Jan. 6, 2010 at Seward Market in south Minneapolis.

Ali is believed to be one of two suspects involved in the botched robbery attempt that took place that night. The other suspect Ahmed Ali pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery but insists that M. Ali did the killing, the Star Tribune reported.

A. Ali plans on testifying against M. Ali.

The motive for the robbery is thought to be M. Ali's lack of ability to afford his car's impound fee.

On Sept. 3, jurors saw the video surveillance tapes from eight different cameras from the night of the shootings. Prosecutors intend on using the video tapes and DNA evidence along with A. Ali's testimony to put M. Ali behind bars, KSTP reported.

This is Minneapolis' first triple homicide in 14 years.

Amy Senser charged with felony in fatal hit-and-run

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Amy Senser, wife of former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, was taken into custody Thursday on the charge of criminal vehicular homicide for an accident that took place on the night of Aug. 23 on Interstate 94.

Anousone Phanthavong was the victim who was killed in the hit-and-run. His body was found near his car on the off-ramp of I-94 for Riverside Ave. with several injuries located on the right side of his body, CBS reported

The death has been determined to be accidental.

In the search for the vehicle, Eric Nelson, Senser's attorney, directed investigators to Senser's SUV which sustained noticeable damage and still had blood on the hood.

On Sept. 2, Senser gave a full statement admitting that she was the driver of the vehicle in the accident that took Phanthavong's life, the Star Tribune reported.

Senser is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

NASA Unveils New Rocket Design

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration revealed plans for a new space rocket Wednesday that will be able to surpass the current limits on human space exploration.

The main goal for this rocket is to allow humans to travel farther into space than ever before. The first discussed target is an asteroid, followed up by the ultimate destination of Mars.

The rocket will be the most powerful rocket ever constructed and will be able to lift 130 metric tons, the New York Times reports.

The projected cost of building such rocket is $30 billion, the International Business Times reports.

In order to achieve sufficient funding for the construction of this rocket, NASA is devoting $3 billion a year to the project. At this rate, NASA will be able construct a rocket capable of lifting 70 metric tons and launch an unmanned test flight in 2017.

Critics are not convinced that this project will ever reach completion due to NASA's past of making ambitious rocket plans only to cancel them as costs escalated.

A 'Go To' Accountant Is Accused of Fraud

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Kinde Durkee, prior accountant for Democratic candidates in California, was arrested on September 6 by the F.B.I. on charges of fraud.

Durkee allegedly siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the campaign of a State Assembly member from Orange County for her personal use, The New York Times reports.

Durkee had over 400 campaign accounts in her control and would frequently shuffle money between them, and out of them.

The F.B.I. complaint reported that Durkee used siphoned funds to make payroll at her firm, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Durkee has admitted to "misappropriating" her clients' money for many years.

Militants Launch Attack on U.S. Embassy in Kabul

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Six people are left dead and 19 are wounded after the Taliban launched an attack on the American Embassy in Kabul, Afganistan Tuesday afternoon.

The attackers were positioned in a nearby building that is under construction and used rocket-propelled grenades and small arms to reign terror on the embassy, CNN reported.

The siege lasted for about five hours and proved that the Taliban, with only a small militia, can still horrify the population.

The most alarming aspect of the assault is that heavily armed men were granted access through the city's cordon, which suggests that many more people were involved including insiders of the embassy, The New York Times reported.

Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, said that the attack will not delay his forces from taking full control of security from Western Forces by the end of 2014, The New York Times reported.

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