Ex-president of Liberia convicted of war crimes

| No Comments

Charles G. Taylor, Ex-President of Liberia, was convicted Thursday of 11 counts of planning, aiding, and abetting war crimes during the civil war of Sierra Leone in the 1990s.

Taylor was convicted by a panel of three international judges according to the New York Times. It took 13 months of deliberation for the three to come to a conclusion. They agreed that "Taylor was guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, slavery and the use of child soldiers."

According to both AP and NYT sources, much of the actions of Taylor centered around the search for diamonds in return for ammunition and support. Sierra Leone has long been known as a country of conflict. The role of diamonds in Sierra Leone was chronicled in the movie 'Blood Diamond" in 2006.

Taylor had pleaded not guilty to all 11 counts according to the AP. Sentencing is to come.



National News Analysis

| No Comments

Analyzing: "Kansas jail escapee surrenders at Walmart in Nebraska; 2 other inmates remain at large" by John Hanna, AP

This is a national news story covering the ongoing situation in Kansas after four men escaped from prison.

The lede is strong, giving the who, what, where, when, and how of the story. The second sentence provides additional background on others that were involved, and what occurred.

The second paragraph outlines authorities response to the escape but does not provide information on what they are doing to find the remaining men who are at large. This would be a primary concern of those in the local area of the story but because it is a national story it does not require those details at the front of the story.

The story falls flat after the first two paragraphs. There is really no strong direction that it goes in until a few paragraphs down. A better outline of the ideas would have been beneficial to promote reader interest in the story and to draw them to keep reading.

After that slump the story picks up with how the men escaped and what they did after they escaped. It then details how one of the men turned himself in at a Walmart in Nebraska. I feel that because the headline is describing this part of the story, moving this section closer to the top of the story would better cater to reader interest.

Overall the story hits on all the key aspects that readers could be interested in. A better plan before writing would make this a stronger story throughout.

Best Buy CEO resigns

| No Comments

Brian Dunn, the CEO of Best Buy, resigned Monday. Dunn's resignation comes two weeks after Best Buy announced a large-scale restructuring plan that was to be spearheaded by Dunn.

According to two local reports, the Best Buy auditing board was investigating Dunn for "personal conduct." The investigation was not completed before Dunn resigned.

The resignation is believed to be unexpected according to the Pioneer Press. They reported that Best Buy did not have the necessary paperwork ready when the resignation was submitted as they usually do with planned departures.

Director G. Mike Mikan was named interim CEO until the company finds a permanent replacement according to the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Star Tribune:

Pioneer Press:

International News Analysis

| No Comments

Analyzing: "Elderly Greek kills himself in main Athens square" by the AP

This story is about a Greek pensioner shot himself in a prominent Athens square as a form of political protest.

The article starts with a strong lead that describes the who, when, where, why elements of the story. This lays out the facts that are then built upon in the following paragraphs. The story focuses more on the reaction and effect that the man's actions had on the public rather than the event itself. I think that the backlash is what is most newsworthy but that a little more should be said about the man or give more background on why he did it and what the financial situation is in Greece for readers that have not kept up to date with the situation.

The article eventually discusses the financial crisis that Greece has been dealing with and then quotes a protestor and an activist; both whom stand on the side of those hurt by the crisis. Yes, this is an important aspect of the story and both quotes are good to use but lack of response from the Greece government leaves the story lacking in fairness. The official reaction from the Greece government should be included or summarized. This would make it a well-rounded story.

Best Buy announced Thursday their plan to close 50 U.S. big box stores. This announcement coincides with their posting a fourth quarter loss.

AP reports that Best Buy is shifting to more smaller, mobile stores that offer a more narrow focused array of products. There is a large decrease in sales of television and gaming products and an increase in phones, tablets, and e-readers. The new mobile stores will focus on these products.

Business Insider reports that although Best Buy posted a fourth quarter loss they exceeded analyst expectations.

Both stories report that losses can be attributed to the recent trend of using Best Buy to survey products before going to competitors such as Amazon and Walmart to make final purchases.

Best Buy's overall goal is to save $800 million in spending through the store closings and layoffs.


Business Insider:

Local News Analysis

| No Comments

Analyzing "Senate passes its version of the voter ID amendment" by Nick Sudheimer in the MN Daily.

This story follows the passage of a proposed constitutional amendment in the Minnesota state senate.

The story starts out by providing the background information on the voter ID amendment and an overview of the process that the legislation must undergo before it could turn up on election ballots. This informs an audience that may not know what the amendment concerns and gets all readers on the same page. Some of the language in these first few descriptive paragraphs contains jargon that could confuse readers. Simple language that clearly addresses the bill is what is needed.

From the background the author goes on to interview the bill's sponsor, Senator Scott Newman but provides only one sentence in support of his opinion. The following information and interviews show the democratic stance on the issue and the reasons behind their opposition to the bill. The article does not feel very balanced until the very end where it returns to the conservative viewpoints; but again it is only a couple sentences.

Clear language and balance are both necessary to gain readership and credibility. This article could improve upon those points to add reliability to the good information that it did present.