September 2012 Archives

Analysis: Function of structure in story on mass shooting

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With the tragic nature of the Accent Signage Systems shooting, there is a definite need for sensitivity, but also a need to inform. A tasteful, kind, yet accurate style is displayed in the article from Kare 11 News on the victims of the shooting.

The reported summarizes the most important information about each of the victims of the shooting in their own individual paragraphs/information groupings. The owner of Accent is mentioned first, possibly due to the fact that he founded and operated the store where the shooting occurred, and information is given to confirm his death and honor the other victims.

This mentioning of other victims allows the reporter to move to another victim, the UPS driver, who is possibly mentioned next because of his tragic involvement (wrong place, wrong time). Again, the same information is given again to establish a sense of pattern and consistency.

Other "less prominent" victims are then mentioned in the same style. Most importantly with this structure of information, the reporter seems to arrange the information based on victim in order of how much information is available on each victim. The owner's death had a significant amount of publicity and information released; the UPS driver had a tragic involvement; another Accent employee is named as a victim, with others named and unnamed following based on available information.

By placing the information about the shooter himself at the end of this list of victims, the reported may have attempted to instill a sense of distance between the audience and the shooter, whereas he created a close connection between the audience and the victims. Personal information and quotes were given on the victims, but only dry statistics and chronology on the shooter. It may have been an attempt by the reported to even create a feeling of dislike for the shooter by listing the victims of his shooting first.

Five people, including the shooter, are reported dead after a workplace shooting Thursday in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis, police said.

Police rushed to the north-side neighborhood after receiving a 911 call at roughly 4:30 p.m., according to Kare 11 News, with reports of shots fired.

Reuven Rahamim, 61, founded and owned Accent Signage Systems Inc., the location of Thursday's shooting. The 61-year-old immigrant served in the Israeli Army before coming to the U.S., Kare 11 News reported, and was recently honored by being invited to go to a signage seminar at the White House.

Keith Basinski, a veteran employee of the United Postal Service for 29 years, was identified as the UPS driver killed at the scene, reported the Star Tribune. In a statement released Friday, UPS Northern Plains District President Jill Schubert said, "Our deepest sympathies go out to his family...we are going to miss him very much."

The suspected shooter, now identified as former employee Andrew J. Engeldinger, 36, of Minneapolis, was described as having recently lost his job at Accent, the Star Tribune reported. Scanner reports came an hour into the shooting saying that the shooter had died of a self-inflicted gunshot.

2013 reciprocity deal with Wisconsin in limbo

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The tax deal between Wisconsin and Minnesota will most likely be called off due to unpaid reimbursements, a Minnesotan revenue official said Thursday.

Myron Frans, Minnesota's revenue commissioner, said that an agreement is not expected to be made before the Monday deadline for the reestablishment of tax reciprocity, the Star Tribune reported. The dispute is over the exact amount owed by Wisconsin for the first year of the tax reciprocity deal.

So far, the two states have not agreed on how much Wisconsin owes Minnesota under the first year of the deal, reported the Pioneer Press. Minnesota estimates $96 million and Wisconsin estimates $55.6 million.

If an agreement can't be made, people living in one state but working in another will have to file two income tax returns, one for each state, according to the Pioneer Press.

6.2-magnitude quake hits near Mexican Baja Peninsula

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A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the southern part of Mexico's Baja California peninsula Tuesday, with shakes felt in the nearby city of La Pez, Mexico, the Washington Post reported.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage in La Pez, said state civil defense director Carlos Rincon. He said that the public is to stay calm in case of aftershocks.

The quake's epicenter was in the Gulf of California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A 6-magnitude earthquake has the potential to cause severe damage, Yahoo News reported, but the area surrounding La Pez has little population outside the nearby city of Los Cabos.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake happened at 4:45 p.m. with several lower-magnitude quakes following, the Washington Post reported.

California toy-maker sues Toys R Us over children's tablet

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A Los Angeles toy-maker is suing Toys R Us for allegedly stealing trade secrets of the Californian company's child tablet, the Nabi.

In the San Diego legal suit, Fuhu Inc. claims that Toys R Us stole trade information to create and design its own tablet called, the Tabeo, from the designs of the Fuhu Inc. tablet, Nabi, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Last year, Fuhu Inc. had a contract with Toys R Us to sell the Nabi, but the lawsuit claims that the toy company did not follow through on the advertising and selling of the tablet. The lawsuit also states that that several design details were copied, including the protective butterfly-shaped bumper that surrounds the tablet, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Toys R Us is planning on releasing the Tabeo for the important upcoming holiday season, according to the Los Angeles Times, but Ronald Katz, a lawyer for Fuhu Inc., says that the company is looking to stop the toy giant from selling it altogether.

NYC schools to give 'morning after' pill to students

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Students at 13 New York City high schools will now have access to the morning-after pill, Plan B, without parent consent.

The New York City Department of Education is providing the morning-after pills through school nurse offices, Fox News reported. School nurse offices can now give Plan B to girls as young as 14 without telling their parents but parents are allowed to "opt out". After receiving a school policy letter, parents can choose to exclude their children from the offer.

The city's Board of Health has said that only 1 to 2 percent of parents have chosen to opt out, reported ABC News. According to health department spokesman Chanel Caraway "this suggests that parents are OK with the service being available to their children". Roughly 5,500 of the 12,000 girls were given the drug last year, the board of health said.

Plan B works like normal birth control pills, but it is taken after unprotected sex to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, said the manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals.

This distribution of Plan B would be the first in the U.S.

Analysis: Function of attribution in story on prison break

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A prison break, especially one near a border, is bound to create some stress. When nearly 130 inmates escaped from a Mexican prison near the border of Texas, a quick and concise (and accurate) report is vital, like the article from CNN News.

With the international nature of the prison break, an American news organization may have run the risk of reporting inaccurate information due to lack of proximity, so reliable sources were key. Directly quoting the Coahuila state attorney general, who made a public statement on CNN en EspaƱol, provided a reputable source, one who was directly involved with the breakout and handling its publicity and aftermath.

Continually attributing the statement from police and officials helped to establish a level of accuracy, as well. Their public statement helped to illuminate the overall story, from numerical figures to current investigations. They provided the hard-news facts: the who, what, where, when, and (the very interesting part) the how.

In an attempt to mention the U.S. involvement, information was attributed from a homeland security official. By quoting this government official, responsible for protecting our borders, the article attempts to provide a sense of security. With the prison break so close to American borders, U.S. citizens would most likely be concerned with the possibility of international criminals coming into their hometowns. The information from the homeland security official will help to assure the public that, although there was a large prison break, there is no need to flee your homes.

Apple's iPhone 5 hits stores

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The latest Apple creation, the iPhone 5, was released at 8 a.m. local time Friday in Apple retail stores across the nation.

This latest iPhone, according to The Washington Post, has several new additions to put it ahead of the gadget pack. Even with a larger screen (4 inches compared to the iPhone 4S's 3.5 inches) and an 18 percent thinner body, the iPhone 5 is supposed to be faster than earlier models, taking advantage of the new high-speed 4G LTE networks.

With two million units sold online the first day that customers were able to order, the iPhone 5's in-store lines were equally packed. Over 700 people stood in line at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York City, The New York Times reported.

Complaints were made about the poor performance of the iPhone 5's new Apple Maps application. The app suffered from inaccurate landmarks, directions, and imagery, according the the Times, but Apple has said that its service will improve.

The new iPhone 5 starts at a base price of $199.

U's golf course scheduled to get much needed renovation

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The University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course is scheduled for renovation, according to an email sent Thursday morning by the U's golf club president, David Okita.

Back in September, The Minnesota Daily reported that the University-owned golf course was in disrepair, with issues ranging from a condemned club house to a short layout. At the time, Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for student affairs, told the Star Tribune, "To have this big piece of land for a golf course - are there other purposes for it?"

Rinehart reported Wednesday that U President Eric Kaler is asking for a proposal for redesign that "would come in at no more than $7.5 million", a significantly lower amount than the initial $19.5 million proposal, The Tribune reported.

The proposal is due Dec. 1, according to both emails.

Edina woman allegedly made her nephew ride in trunk of car

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An Edina woman has been charged with child endangerment after allegedly making her wet nephew ride in the trunk of her Lexus.

Susan Marie McCarty was charged after admitting that she had her 11-year-old nephew ride in the trunk because he was wet from a ride at Valleyfair, according to the criminal complaint. McCarty said that she didn't want her nephew to drip water on the leather seats of her Lexus.

Witnesses in the Valleyfair parking lot said they saw a boy climbing into the trunk of a car as two women watched, the Star Tribune reported. The witnesses reported the incident to police, who pulled over McCarty.

According to CBS News, McCarty told the police that she had the back seat folded down so the boy could get air. She also said that air-conditioning vents were directed at the opening if the boy got hot.

If convicted, McCarty faces a potential $3,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

Prison break : 132 inmates escape near U.S.-Mexico border

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Roughly 132 inmates escaped from a prison in northern Mexico via tunnel on Monday, authorities in Coahuila state reported.

The prison break, which happened at a Piedras Negras prison just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, resulted in a massive search by federal police and Mexican troops, the Huffington Post reports. An elite military special forces unit was also sent to search the prison.

The inmates escaped from a minimum-security area of the facility by using a 7-foot-long tunnel, according to a statement from the state attorney general. The tunnel is reported to have started in the prison's wood shop.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has placed the area on alert, CNN News reports, and Mexican authorities offered a reward of $16,000 for information leading to the recapture of the inmates.

Telephone threat prompts search of planes at JFK Airport

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Two planes were searched at JFK Airport after a telephone threat was received early Monday, officials said.

An anonymous call was made to the Port Authority Monday morning by a man claiming that terrorists with explosives were hidden in the wheel wells of two incoming flights, ABC News reported. The two flights were American Airlines Flight 524 and FinAir Flight 55.

The two planes landed at roughly 3:45 p.m. and were immediately moved to a safe area where FBI and Air Marshals could investigate, CBS News reported. Crew members were interviewed and the planes were searched.

No terrorists and no explosives were found on the planes, officials said, and the flights were cleared around 4:40 p.m.

Analysis: Function of lead in story on U.S. ambassador death

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The death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens was national news, with coverage in publications spanning from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. Initially their publications' articles were stories with hard-news leads, like the article from the Los Angeles Times.

The reason for the LA Times selection of a hard-news lead was most likely the timeliness of the story. The event was less than 12 hours old. So, the most important information was the basics of the event: the who, what, where, when, and why. All are included in the lead, but the most newsworthy part, the who, is mentioned first because it contains the greatest news value. Ambassador Stevens was a prominent U.S. figure. In addition, his death contained another big-bank news value - conflict.

The lead bordered on wordy, with detail given on nearly every news element, but the detail was likely warranted given the gravity of the event and it's possible involvement with the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Overall, the lead focused on objectivity and accuracy. Information was sourced from the Associated Press, Libyan officials, and the State Department. The goal was to give as much information as possible and the function of the lead was to efficiently inform.

Bomb threat leads to NDSU evacuation

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The students of North Dakota State University (NDSU) were evacuated Friday morning after a bomb threat was reported.

"The threat was delivered via phone," said agents of the Fargo FBI. The call, which came in at roughly 9:45 a.m., led to a campus-wide evacuation of students and faculty by 10:15 a.m. While the evacuation caused major traffic jams, said the NDSU Communications Department , students were commended on a quick and orderly evacuation.

Students were alerted of the evacuation through email and phone call, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Alerts were also sent through social media, like Facebook.

There was concern among administrators that the NDSU bomb threat could be connected to an earlier bomb threat at the University of Texas, reports Kare 11 News. The University of Texas had received a similar call earlier that Friday morning at 8:35 a.m. So far, no connection has been found between the two separate calls.

Police said no accidents were reported and students were able to return to classes by 2 p.m.

Ban on large sodas approved by New York health board

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New York City's Board of Health approved a ban on the sale of sugary drinks Thursday, in an effort to fight the growing obesity rate in residents.

The ban, which bars the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, will apply to locations like restaurants, movie theaters, and sports stadiums, said the Huffington Post. But venues like grocery stores will not be included.

"It's time to face the facts," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "Obesity is one of America's most deadly problems, and sugary beverages are a leading cause of it." Roughly 58 percent of New York City adults are overweight or obese, with one in eight having diabetes, reports CNN News.

Several protests have come from the soda industry and other soda vendors with concerns that the ban will affect business.

The soda ban will take effect in six months, with restaurants given a nine month adjustment period before facing fines of $200.

U.S. ambassador killed in Benghazi attack

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Christopher Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three of his staff members were killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, said Libyan officials early Wednesday.

Ambassador Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and fellow embassy employees tried to evacuate people still inside the consulate, reported the Los Angeles Times. The consulate came under attack as protesters fired off guns and grenades.

The attack was led by protesters over a film that mocked the Islamic prophet Muhammad, with similar protests having occurred in the neighboring country of Egypt.

U.S. response included two Navy destroyers and increased protection of overseas Americans, reported the Wall Street Journal, with a federal investigation to find the suspected religious extremists who performed the attack.

Ambassador Stevens was 52.

Construction bids for new Vikings stadium showcase designs

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Five architectural firms, in competition to build the new Vikings stadium, showcased their work for officials and fans Thursday at the Metrodome.

Architectural work was displayed from the firms' previous projects, but none of the proposed stadium plans were released at the event, reports the Star Tribune. The final design will most likely be a combined effort of the winning firm, the Vikings, and the Sports Facilities Authority, said Michelle Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the authority.

The Sports Facilities Authority is working with the team to build the $975 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis, said the Greenfield Reporter, near the current Metrodome location. Construction is scheduled to being in 2013. Completion is set for 2016.

The architectural firms are:

Populous of Kansas City

AECOM of Los Angeles

Ewing Cole of Philadelphia

HKS of Dallas

HNTB of Kansas City

Smooth 1st day for alcohol sales at TCF Bank Stadium

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University of Minnesota officials said alcohol sales at TCF Bank Stadium went smoothly during the first game of the season.

Yesterday marked opening day for the Minnesota Gophers Football season, the first season where fans will be able to purchase alcohol during events.

U spokesman Chuck Tombarge said that extra security isolated the area where the alcohol was sold and vendors stopped sale after halftime, which he said helped lessen rowdiness. Although Tombarge didn't have an exact number of incidents, he said that they were lower than usual, reported the Minnesota Public Radio News.

Tombarge also said that the total amount of alcohol sold at Sunday's game won't be clear until next week.

Around 47,000 spectators watched as Minnesota defeated New Hampshire 44-7, reported the Star Tribune. The Gopher's last FCS victory was a three-point win over South Dakota State in 2009.

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