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September 29, 2007

Stick it to Sprint

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson flied a lawsuit stating that the State of Minnesota has sued Sprint corp. for extending customer contracts without their knowledge or consent, according to the Pioneer Press. In addition to changing the policies, Swanson is looking to provide a $25,000 fine for each future incident.
http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_7020817?nclick_check=1

"Swanson's lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court alleges that Sprint Nextel has violated Minnesota's Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Trade Practices Act 'by misleading and defrauding subscribers through the extension of wireless consumers' contracts without adequate notice or meaningful consent ... 'when consumers made small changes to their phone service," as reported by the Star Tribune.
http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1450982.html

A spoonful of sugar, but nothing else

"The basic question is, why should a product be so relentlessly marketed when it's not safe or effective?" said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore's health commissioner. "It does not make sense, in the absence of information, to say 'consult a physician,' because they do not have superhuman powers. They cannot make a product safe or effective." This is a quote from the Washington Post article about the push to get rid of children's cold medicine which has been proven both ineffective and unsafe. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/28/AR2007092800953.html

In an article published in the New York Times, safety experts for the FDA have urged the organization to drop the "seek advice from your physician before using" clause from children's medicine because the medicine has not proven to be beneficial for children and doctors won't be able to help. This proposal follows a 356-page proposal to take these medicines off of the shelf.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/29/health/29fda.html?hp

September 24, 2007

The Big Walk-out

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/business/business-gm-uaw.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

A national GM strike happened today because of job security. The strike was origionally thought to be only just a tool for bargaining, but as the bargain didn't reach where union leaders thought it should, it materialized into a reality according to the Washington Post. The union leaders had stayed at the "bargaining table" until the moment they said they would call in the strike, hoping that his gesture would lead GM executives to reconsider. It did not. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/24/AR2007092400417.html?hpid=topnews

According to the Washington Post, the 1988 strike that lasted for 53 days cost GM billions of dollars.


According to the New York Times, the strike ended and it seems that GM got the last laugh. In a deal that GM cut with union officials, GM will keep 16 plants running through 2011 bu has changed its retirement program. The GM retirement cost is valued at $50 billion, but executives cut a deal to pay the United Auto Workers Union a $30 billion deposite. This will save GM about $3 billion each year from now on.

Numbers

Journalists are afraid of numbers because they can confuse, and can be used to distort. But, when numbers are used properly, they can be a powerful tool for the news media. In the Startribune article about the hunger strike Jef Shelman uses perfectages and dollar amounts to stres exactly what the union's terms are and what the current situation is. If he were to write, "The AFSCME demands a quarter increase per year," the reader would be left in the dark about the big picture. But Shelman was able to compare the union's wants with the price of inflation when he wrote, "The AFSCME has said that if the university bumped the salary increases to 3.25 and 3.5 percent, the strike would likely end.

Through great, specific questions, great reporting can bring monetary amounts onto the page that can really add depth to a story. Everyone may not have the same feelings for the amounts, but these amouts are very definitive, undisputable measurements that every reader can understand.

AIDS Vaccine Fails

It appears that the highly anticipate AIDS vaccine from Merk has failed in its second of three USDA tests. According to the Washington Post, the study took results from people that were highly at risk for getting aids, homosexual men and women sex workers.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/21/AR2007092102146.html

The New York Times reports that the test was aimed at boosting the power of the helper-T cells in the body, those cells that fight AIDS. It did not hoewever as 24 cases were found in 741 people that had received the medicine in the last 13 months.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/health/22vaccine.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1190601133-/6A9ePOAeUbw4ZxCZcFb/Q

Pakistan, a new front for peace or a terrorist training camp

The BBC reports that Russia, the European Union and the United Nations now back the U.S. proposal of Pakistani peace-talks. This group, known as the Quartet, is concerned that its roadmap for peace in 2003 has seen little progress. Also, the Quartet wants to end missles being fired into the Gaza strip.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7009712.stm

The New York Times, however, reported on a German terrorist who recently returned to Germany after a being held in Pakistan. Aleem Nasir, 45, was held for two months while he was questioned by Pakistani and Western agents about his involvement in the tribal lands of Pakistan. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/world/asia/24terror.html?hp

While in the tribal lands, Aleem Nasir was burned and he confessed to the agents that he was injured when a bomb he was being trained to make in an Al Queda camp blew up prematurely.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/world/asia/24terror.html?hp

September 22, 2007

Flood Relief comes in many forms

According to the Startribune, it has been a month since the President has declared Minnesota to e a disater area, and already $31million in funds toward the area's recovery, with half going to business and half to private home owners so far. http://www.twincities.com/ci_6963113?nclick_check=1

Also, the Startribune reports that Winnona is the area that sustained the most damage in Minnesota. http://www.twincities.com/ci_6963113?nclick_check=1

In one area of flood-damaged Minnesota, the citizenry are also trying to help out with a charity concert. The nonprofit organization, Root Relief, named for the root river, held a concert and silient auction on Friday to help those families who's homes were damaged, according to the Pioneer Press.
http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1439602.html

U.S. Dollar Falls, But areas could really benefit

The drop in the U.S. dollar compared to the Canadian loonie and the Euro appears to have litltle affect on the average U.S. citizen, but it could cause big wave according to the New York Times. The country of Dubai on the Persian Gulf is looking into buying a large portion of the Nasdaq, which is causing some concern to U.S. economists. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/21/business/worldbusiness/21dollar.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Though it may not be a great things for the United States, the caribean could benefit greatly from the drop in the U.S. dollar according to the BBC. Because the Carribean is set at the dollar, everything sold there, including services, is cheaper. Since also, the Carribean imports all foodstuffs from the United States, there will not be any inflation. This makes it a much more attractive area for European vacationing. http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2006/11/061127_sanders27nov.shtml

September 19, 2007

Hunger Strike

My first encounter with the hunger strike wasn't in they newspapers, but on the bridge.

At first I thought that the group was another anti-war gathering, as I have seen many of them before, but then one member handed me a flyer mentioning several students were goign to go without food until the conflict was resloved involving the union andthe University of Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Isaac Kamola, a political science graduate student, said, " By taking this step, we can drum up visibility and moral outrage." http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/09/19/72163427

In response to the hunger strike University spokesman Dan Wolter said it is, "unfortunate when people choose to use their personal health to make a point in a labor dispute," according to the Star Tribune. http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1429043.html

According to the stoy in the Daily, several hunger strikers said that this is a last resort. The University has provided a nutritionist from Boynton to explain to the hunger strikers what going without soild food will do to their bodies. http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/09/19/72163427

Hunger Strike

My first encounter with the hunger strike wasn't in they newspapers, but on the bridge.

At first I thought that the group was another anti-war gathering, as I have seen many of them before, but then one member handed me a flyer mentioning several students were goign to go without food until the conflict was resloved involving the union andthe University of Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Isaac Kamola, a political science graduate student, said, " By taking this step, we can drum up visibility and moral outrage." http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/09/19/72163427

In response to the hunger strike University spokesman Dan Wolter said it is, "unfortunate when people choose to use their personal health to make a point in a labor dispute," according to the Star Tribune. http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1429043.html

According to the stoy in the Daily, several hunger strikers said that this is a last resort. The University has provided a nutritionist from Boynton to explain to the hunger strikers what going without soild food will do to their bodies. http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/09/19/72163427

September 17, 2007

Leads

This week I will concentrate on two different leads, one from the BBC and the other from The New York Times, to analyze the difference between an ear-catching broadcast lead and a great, informative print lead.

Both of the stories cover a speech given by Gen. David Patraeus about the continued U.S. presence in Iraq, but the leads stress different perspectives. The BBC lead recognizes the two main points of the speech:30,000 in troop cuts and George Bush's future address. The New York Times' lead instead goes more in-depth-it points out that the coming changes won't really alter the situation in Iraq- and mentions that two U.S. officials have given the speech.

These differences occur because of the medium of the message. The BBC wanted to mention ear-catching phrases like, "President Geroge W. Bush", "30,000" and "White House". The name of the U.S. president, the large number, the most important building in the world, mentioning any of these items can wake a listener from a deep sleep. In the case of the New York Times however, author David Sanger provides the framework needed to create his argument using his many quotes.

Both of these leads do a great job introducing the story. But, since each medium calls for a different approach, one must be curt and powerful, while the other must be intriguing and captivating.

September 16, 2007

Biker is Killed

Late on Wednesday, cyclist Mark Loesch went for the last bike ride of his life. Loesch was found Thursday morning barely breathing, according to the Star Tribune, and he died before paramedics arrived. Loesch had left his cell phone and wallet at home after watching the 10:00 news. http://www.startribune.com/crime/story/1425232.html

The Pioneer Press reports that Loesch was found at 7 a.m. Tursday a mile and a half from his southern Minneapolis home. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said that Loesch's death was a homicide caused by "multiple blunt force head impacts." http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_6904928

On Their Way to 0-8: Falling Apart in Florida

Gossip around campus suggests that the Gopher football team is going to have a terrible year. The Golden Gophers are projected to not win a single game in the Big Ten conference and the game on Saturday is evidence of such ineptitude.

This Saturday, the Gophers suffered an agonizing defeat to the Florida Atlantic Owls, 42-39. According to the Pioneer Press, Florida Atlantic's sophmore quarterback, Rusty Smith threw for a record 463 yards and five touchdowns against the weak Gopher secondary. Four hundred of those yards were in the first half. http://www.twincities.com//ci_6906577

The Gophers' offence didn't have a good showing either. In total, the Owls had seven take aways, another school record.

According to the Star Tribune, the Gophers' head coach Tim Brewster wanted to take the brunt of the blame for the loss, but some senior players defended their coach. "Players play the game, and the coaches can only do so much," senior linebacker John Shevlin said. "If you're going to be in this game and you're going to be successful, you have to be hard on yourself." http://www.startribune.com/gophers/story/1424843.html

No matter who is at fault, they better correct themselves if the Gophers want to contiune their bowl-appearance strek of five.

Stealling What Belongs to Him

O.J. Simpson was arrested today for alleged robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary with a firearm, all felonies.

The Pioneer Press reported that O.J. said, ""We didn't break into any room. There was no armed robbery," Simpson told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. But, this proved to be false. http://www.twincities.com/ci_6897745?nclick_check=1

Witnesses disagreed with Simpson, saying that deadly weapons were present, and police found those weapons on Sunday.

According to the Star Tribune, police searched a Simpson residence and found evidence: the two weapons used and the clothes allegedly worn by Simpson. http://www.startribune.com/484/story/1425985.html

Simpson entered the room with some men and took his Hall of Fame certificate and a picture of himself with J. Edgar Hoover.

Long-Term MIlitary Presence In Iraq


On Tuesday, Gen. David H. Petraeus gave a speech and responded to questions about the current status of Iraq.

According to the BBC, after the speeches Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) said, "It sounds to me as if Gen. Petraeus is presenting a plan for at least a 10-year, high-level US presence in Iraq." http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6990361.stm

According to the New York Times, Gen. Petraeus recommended a withdrawl of 30,000 troops from the region by next July. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/12/washington/12policy.html?pagewanted=print

According to the New York Times, when Senator John W. Warner (R) asked whether the current strategy in Iraq was "making America safer," Gen. Patraeus said, "Sir, I don't know, actually." http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/12/washington/12policy.html?pagewanted=print


Currently the troops are at an all-time high of 168,000 according to the BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6990361.stm

September 12, 2007

Japanese Prime Minister Resigns

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation Wednessday September 12th.

According to the BBC, Abe said Japan needed a "new leader to fight against terrorism". Abe also said, "The people need a leader whom they can support and trust." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6990519.stm

The New York Times reported that Abe's support rating has fallen to 30 percent and that his party's loss of control of the upper house of parliament. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/12/world/asia/12japan.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


The New York Times reports that Abe's drop in ratings stems from scandals within his cabinet. Four of Abe's cabinet members were forced to resign over the past nine months. One of them, agricultural minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka, killed himself before his court appearance.
According to the New York Times, Abe stood behind Matsuoka when the agricultural minister claimed he needed $42,000 for the utilities bill for his Tokyo office. http://www.nytiimes.com/2007/05/29/world/asia/29japan.html?ei=5070&en=e2fd4d37223d3cd6&ex=1189742400%pagewanted=print