« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

October 29, 2007

Using facebook as a source

I was very shocked by the news of the online ad that turned into the killing of a would-be babysitter, but I was even more shocked by Chao Xiong's excellent reporting and her use of Facebook.

I have never seen Facebook used as a source before. It is an excellent idea, especially in a case such as this, where minutes of history matter. But, why doesn't Chao Xiong use the facebook writers' identities when she quotes them? Is it because this sort of thing has never been done before? Is it because she can't find out who had written the messages because they were provided by false names?

Either way, she didn't quote the people directly, but I think this is a big step in a great direction.


Blog On Obits

Sometimes, an obituary is almost unreadable because it seems someone as great as the person in print could never die. Arthur Kornburg, a Nobel Prize winning biochemist, and the father of a Nobel Prize winning biochemist, died at the age of 89. It is incredible, that just the facts about this outstanding individual make this obituary come alive, while still laid out in the original NYTimes style.

Obituaries prove the basic points of newsworthiness. The facts are the only thing that atracts a reader, since there is always a basic style. No flair needed. The news is the person, and it works.


Putting out a fire

An article about the California fires is really not about the fires at all. Tamera Jones, a writer for the Washington Post, uses the fire to write about how mutual tragic experiences have the power to bond people together. The neighborhood she writes about was distant and the residents were cool to each other, but now they care for each others safety. She talks about how a group of neighbors had rarely very socialized, but now, after consoling and helping each other, want to group-bid on the contractors who will rebuild their homes.

The New York Times took a different spin on house rebuilding. According to the Times, "In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid out an estimated $1 billion in fraudulent or improper claims, according to Congressional investigators, more than 15 percent of all the aid it distributed to individuals." The Times analyzed the new FEMA regulations that require inspectors to visit every residence to prove that people need assistance, which means that the 158 FEMA inspectors in the area will be busy for a long time, checking out the 2,000 ruined houses.

October 27, 2007

Teacher is put in the workhouse for sex with student

An ex-teacher at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul was sentenced to 3 months in a workhouse for violating a no-contact order, which was menat to keep him from one of his former band students. The teacher, Joseph A. Tucker said, "I destroyed a community that I love very much, and I betrayed a great trust that I worked very hard to establish," according to the Star Tribune.http://www.startribune.com/10242/story/1511551.html

The Pioneer Press reported, "The relationship between Tucker and the girl was revealed in May when two of her friends told school officials that the girl was having an affair with the band teacher." The Pi Press also reported that this was a fourth degree sexual crime. That makes me wonder what 3rd, 2nd, and 1st degree offenses are.

The papers didn't quote the teenage girl involved in this controvery, but a reader would infer from the stories that the relationship was consentual.

Scalping crackdown

After seeing the troubles with the "Hanna Montana" concert, and a lack of students in the stands, the University of Minnesota is cracking down on ticket scalping. They are now enorcing that only the people who bought the ticket enter with it, completely illiminating student ticket scalping. Accrding to the Daily, the Univeristy wanted a better student repepresentation, and just just allumni with a U card. http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/10/26/72164116

Since the U owns the rights to all of those tickets, and the students buy most of them, they can be regulated. But for a larger venue without student differentiation, scalpers have the upper hand. The Star Tribune reported that scalpers have the online advantage and softwear that helps them pick up tickets once they are released.

Since, however, the only way to get tickets is to buy them in Mariuchi, and pick them up there, I don't foresee many ticket problems for the Gopher Hockey Team.

October 26, 2007

Shell is benefiting from border war

Shell's business is doing surprisingly well this quarter, a fact the company blames on the large price increase in oil between when the oil was mined and the current refining process, according to the New York Times.

Shell is really lucky more than anything, they are capitalizing on the border wars between Iran and Turkey. The Washington Post said that the possible military attack of the U.S. on Iran could skyrocket prices, which are now sitting at about $3.36/gallon.


October 23, 2007

New ways, and marketing stradegies to beat infertility

One in 10 couples in the united states is infertile. That is a well established fact, and physicians and companies have noticed this and ran with it.

There are now brand new ways, and marketing stradegies for companies to birth the babe.

The Star Tribune ran a story about a couple from Wisconsin who paid $25,000 for Invitro fertilization. The Strib reports, "For them, it was the guarantee that did it. "If not, then it would be a lot of money," Greg Fox said." The hospital the Fox family chose to receive the operation from had a money back gaurantee.


Besides Invitro fertilization, there are other new ways to combat infertility. The New York Times reported that , "American Society for Reproductive Medicine issued a list of warnings that it says women considering the expensive procedure must be given to ensure they make an informed choice." The Times reported that only 500 frozen and thawed eggs have produced birth compared to 200,000 births from frozen embryos. For the average woman, who would like to have her eggs frozen in her youth and use them in the case of her being infertile later, the ASRM argues against its current effectiveness.


October 21, 2007

Advanced advance writing

Really, what does a book published by a world-famous comedian have to do with Milwaukee? Well, the Milwaukee Journal Setinel, and writer Eugene Kane believe that the several shows Bill Cosby played, and the "Call Out Tour" that lead him to give a speech in North Division High School in northern Milwaukee tie him and his story to the city. Even enough to do an advance of his book.

Cosby's book, "Come on, People: On the Path From Victims to Victors," co-written by Harvard psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussain, is a work that embodies his take-responsibilty attitude toward urban black life.

I thought that this was a great article to analyze because it goes against the grain of advances. The author was very involved with Bill Cosby's speech at North Division, and even wrote an argument against his speech in the Journal Sentinel in 2004. The other interesting thing, is that this story has quotes straight from the author of the book, not from the publisher or friends and family of the author. This gives the story a very personal feel.

Jena started it

The Jena nooses, a gigantic controversy, have spauned several more noose hangings throughout the United States, according to the Washington Post. These nooses, such as the one's hung at factories and colleges where black people are a minority, are seen as very threatening, and some now consider that the noose has taken over as the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/19/AR2007101902543.html

The New York Times reporter Paul Vitelo wrote, "At least seven times in the past few weeks, nooses have been anonymously tossed over pipes or hung on doorknobs in the New York metropolitan area," since the Jena controversy started.

Both of these articles are very interesting because they talk about the quality of the symbol, and about its new context.

The Times reported, '“In the context of today, the noose means, ‘There is still a racial hierarchy in this country, and you better not overstep your bounds,’? said Carmen Van Kerckhove, the founder of a New York consulting firm, New Demographic, that specializes in workplace problems, including racial tension."

October 20, 2007

At least the one's that are still here can play

According to the Star Tribune, 16 players from the WCHA hockey conference went pro last year. Of these, only six are playing in the NHL, while the others are playing in amateur leagues. Three of these players were gophers. This creates a large hole, both in the conference, and especially in the Gopher hockey team. The WCHA conference has 80 freshman players and 48 seniors. Because of this, coaches and players feel that they will never be the same team-they can't build on anything-from year to year and that every season is a completely new start.

The Pioneer Press reports this aspect of the Gopher performance perfectly.
"Minnesota had six freshmen in the lineup, and Okposo ( a player) noted that there will be a learning curve."
""It's all part of growing as a team," he said. "We're a young team; it's going to happen. We just need to rebound."

Taking over the air

Internet Service costs roughtly $10 no matter who the customer goes with. But, Frontier Communications is giving the people of Burnsville the option to take the Internet with them for $9.99. According to the Pioneer Press, Fontier Communications, a Burnsville based company, has made a deal with the city to privde city-wide wireless in Burnsville for a $9.99 monthly fee. This deal is a five year contract between the company and the city, who is also allowing other Internet providers to work in Burnsville, and in return for the deal gets money from the company, and several free Internet accounts.

A simular deal has been struck between USI Wireless and the city of Minneapolis. Wireless Minneapolis, the program's name costs between $17.95 and $29.95 a month, depending on the subscriber's bandwidth and package. This program will soon cover all of Minneapolis, an area USI Wireless said was hard to adapt a wireless system to because of the hills and curvy roads. http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/10/18/72163941

My question is, why is it twice as much in Minneapolis?

October 19, 2007

No more children's cough medicine

According to the Washington Post, "The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13 to 9 to recommend against the use of the products for children in that age group after concluding overwhelmingly that there was insufficient evidence the long-used remedies worked in youngsters." This came after a panel brought this topic up for discussion after years of research. The FDA now says that the drugs shouldn't be used for people younger than six- a complete ban of over-the-counter cough medicine to children six and younger. The Post says that this is in conjunction with the opinion that parents use the drugs as sedatives so that their children (6 and above) can sleep at night and that without them, parents have few options for how to treat these symptoms.

This ban will not take effect today however. The FDA can only immediately remove drugs if they pose a threat to society, and, because these drugs have been proven safe, it may take years for these drungs to leave shelves, according to the New York Times.

October 17, 2007

Turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Countries across the world implored Turkey to do nothing rash, but the vote was 507 to 19. Besides a small, pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party opposed the parliamentary resolution, the Turkeish parliament was compeltely in favor of military action to reduce the threat of Kurdish terrorist group Kurdistan Workers' Party, according to the Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/17/AR2007101700967.html?hpid=topnews

According to the New York Times, "The vote to authorize sending troops, which Turkish officials say gives them up to a year to take action, was, in essence, a blunt request for the United States to acknowledge Turkey’s status as an important ally in a troubled and complex region."

Among phone calls received before the legislation was passed, the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki talked with Turkey's President Abdullah Gul and asked for more time to deal with the PKK.

October 14, 2007

Light rail, a heavy cost

Well, two simultaneous projects are running for the light rail commission boards and one seems to be getting off the ground, and that other that wants to get off the ground can't.

The 40 mile Northstar line, running from Minneapolis to Big Lake got federal approval for funding. The Office of Management and Budget and the Federal Transit Adminstration approved the rail line's $156.8-million request Thursday night, according to the Star Tribune.

Another project, which would connect downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis, entitiled Central COrridor, would end up costing the state of Minnesota about $900 millioin, One major cost is the retrofitting of the Washington Bridge, which would have to be closed down, halting 20,000 cars and all of the U of M students walking across it daily. According to the Pioneer Press, the light rail would be elevated on top of the bridge.

I think that this is poor planning on the state, and cities' part. Obviously the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis should be connected in every way posible, and cities like Chicago and New York have benefitted greatly from their elevated trains, but shutting down this bridge would immobilize the University of Minnesota.

Kasparov blocked

Because the Other Russia Party doesn't qualify as a "party" , the greatest chess player in world history, Gary Kasparov and another candidates will not be able to run because of new Russian laws, according to the BBC.

According to the Star Tribune, the new policies that Putin established while in office has given his party United Russia a true dominance of the Parliament. His party will be overwhelming in the Parliament and other qualified officials, not in United Russia won't get a shot at a seat.

My beef, I guess, is that possibly the world's most brilliant and creative man, who has proven to be very politically involved, has been blocked from participating in the ultimate end to politics, and that possibly Putin is creating a stronghold to invoke his policies in the Parliament and take most of the power from the disillusioned people of Russia who have been living much better since the end of communism.

Crandon: population hurt



gopher's get bonked

This is a cool way to blog. Let's see how correct the newspaper columnists can be at predicting football games.

It is now common knowledge that the Gopher Football team is not having a ribbon year. The Daily points to this by nothing the injuries in the offensive running game and the two interceptions Gopher quarterback Adam Webber came off of his last match-up with. It also notes that the quarterback from Northwestern had a school record the week before with 520 yards.In other words, the Daily wasn't too optimistic.

But, even in light of all of these stats, the Gophers preformed really well on Saturday. They got up 35-14 on Northwestern even though they were the far underdogs in the match. However, the result was what the Daily had "predicted", Webber threw 4 touchdowns and ran one in himself, basically playing without a run game.

According to the Pioneer Press, Coach Tim Brewster put the weight on Webber's shoulders as he was supposed to throw the game winning two-point conversion in the second overtime. A very gutsy move considering that a fieldgoal would have tied. It seems that this would have put the season in a new perspective for the Gophers, but either way. they continue completely defeated in the Big 10.

Noble is one part science and one part smile

According to the New York Times, the Nobel committee described Al Gore as "probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted." And if his awards would speak to that, it is a definite truth. He has won an emmy for The Channel (cable channel), two Oscars for "An Inconvenient Truth", and now the Nobel Peace Prize for his work spreading the word about global warming.

Though it seems a little rediculous that Gore would split this award with scientists who have proven what he has professed, According to the Washington Post, Gore has played the other essential part to research, publicity. The facts recorded by the International Panel on Climate Change would only have been brought to world attention through the antics of the infamous international Gore.

October 4, 2007

Runner Ran Over

Tuesday, a freshman runner from Mankato MN, was taking her first run after coming back from an injury and was killed by a car, according to the Star Tribune. He teammate was biking along side but sustained only minor injuries.

The Pioneer Press reported that she was killed by a driver coming from the other direction after he crossed three lanes of traffic and jumped the curb. There was no alcohol in the driver's body.

Child Health Care Now Big Deal

On Wednesday night, Bush privately vetoed a $35 billion child health care bill. According to the New York Times, the bill could provide aid to familes who make up to $83,000 a year. President Bush said, 'That doesn't sound poor to me." He argued that this bill would raise taxes to a point where it would put people who can right now afford health care into a level where they would need government help.

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodman Clinton, in light of this unpopular veto realeased an ad showing her as the champion of health care. According to the Washington Post the add freatured black and white shots of children and talked about how Clinton already managed to help. An announcer says: "Hillary stood up for universal health care when almost no one else would, and kept standing until six million kids had coverage."

October 3, 2007

Five Dead at an Xcel Energy Plant

This Tuesday 6 workers were killed in an accident in a Colorado Excel Energy mine. They were painting a 4-foot crevice 3000 ft. below ground when a fire broke out, according to the New York Times.

That fire, according to the Star Tribune the fire, which fumes caused the fire also killed the workers. After the workers put the fire out, by the epxy they were coating their tunnel with. The epoxy was meant to come out of a spraying machine, which got jammed. The workers put solvent in the epoxy mix and the ignighter for the machine caught the fumes on fire. Before the workers could get oxygen they died from smoke inhalation.

This is big news! now, will it happen...

According to the BBC, in October 2002 North Korea admitted to having a secret weapons program. And, since 1945, there has never been as much as a three-day summit between North and South Korean officials

On Tuesday Oct. 2, that all changed. In the talks between U,S., China, S. Korea and others, an agreement was reached between the group and N. Korea that would stop plutonium production and would give the UN a complete update of the nuclear popwerplant programs in N. Korea, according to the New York Times. The negotialtion were agreed upon by the U.S., China, and N. Korea, and the others are suspected to follow suit soon.

October 1, 2007

Done with smoking... on paper

Today, the smoking ban went out across Minnesota, and according to the Star Tribune, Wisconsin bars and Minnesota bars are changing strategies for the occasion. Supposedly Minnesota bars are resorting to making patios or spare rooms either to accommodate smokers outside or to add a new way for patrons to enjoy a venue. http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1455207.html

The Pioneer Press has stated several of the points both sides of the ban are arguing.

Those for a smoking ban believe that smoking is bad and no one should be subjected to it or second hand smoke. But, those against the ban state that it will hurt small business and that governments don't have the right to govern adults lives in this way. Also, people believe that if the public really wants smoke-free bars they will stop going to smoking locals.


Diversity, cultural speech

Through two stories in the Startriune, I can see how a reporter tried to capture some of the cultural aspects of an individual's speech. Using a quote saying, "You all better clear out because I am gonna come back and shoot this party up," reporter Terry Collins tries to capture the ebonics of a youth Amfrican American culture in print. This is really difficult to do.


Most reporters just tend to paraphrase this kind of material because it is extremely difficult to put in ways that an audience will understand. But Collins does a great job.

Another example of this kind of reporting is Choa Xiong reporting just a day after Vernice Hall's shooting, quoting Steve Hall, her father: "I seen my baby lying on the ground," he said as he hung his head low and tears welled up in his eyes. "Our hearts are just ... I'm angry and I'm trying to be understanding, man."


I wanted to put these two examples in this special entry because I believe that it is possible to be culturally accurate through speech and not be incomplete or improper. Instead, this kind of writing actually increases the personality of he story. I get a deep connection to these people and their hardships.

Farve: King or Jester?

Coming from Wisconsin, sitting on the couch with my Frat borthers was a thrilling experience today watching my hero get the Touch Down pass record today. Brett Farve of the Green Bay Packers surpaseed Dan Marino today as the NFL's leading quarter back in touch down receptions with 421 according to the Pioneer Press. http://www.twincities.com/

I didn't really have to sight that, because I watched the game, but it sure is nice to be legitimate.

The fact that I will have to bring out of my own experience though, is how close Farve is to setting another, less popularized record: most career interceptions according to the Star Tribune. Farve right now is three away from also topping that list, something no one can be proud of. Or should they?

Something must be said for George Blanda, the current interception reccord holder, because he threw the ball enough times to get that record. More like, his coaches allowed him to throw the ball that many times, even after his repeated failures. And, that is what makes a hall of famer, a play who exhibits greatness for an impressive amount of time.

Will I be less proud of Farve when he tops the list of career interceptions? No. I will think him even more a human being, a great human bing.

Kasparov, check out that mate!

In an interesting maneuver, the Other Russia party elected Gary Kasparov as its frontrunner in the next national election according to the Startribune. The world champion chess player was a major political figure in the Other Russia party in the last few years and has helped to unite the liberal and nationalistic forces in opposition to the Kremlin.

In a surprise move, Vladimir Puttin will not be running in the next election as he feels that his four-term regime has come to a legitimate end, according to the Washington Post. As leader of the United Russia party, Putin and the Kremlin have had great ratings lately and it appears that runners such as Kasparov will fall to whoever Putin points to succeed him.