February 2010 Archives

Analysis: Multimedia options in health care summit story

BBC News and Politico used similar styles when presenting multimedia to the audience reading the story about the health care summit.

Both had the basic story talking about the summit, and they enhanced it with multimedia.

The BBC News article featured the story along with video of parts of the summit, as well as pictures with captions, and quotes enlarged off to the side from analysts who watched the summit.

The Politico article was more straight writing. It had the story and video of parts of the speech. There were no pictures of it in the story, though on the front page, it had several large pictures as it was the feature article for the day.

Both articles' multimedia helped add to the news story by adding another dimension. You weren't just reading about the summit - you could see what they said and the context of it, see the layout in the pictures, etc.

The video obviously didn't have writing in it - it was speeches given from politicians. The pictures in the BBC News article did add to the dimension and context of the story, helping give it more character.

Republicans and Democrats spar at summit

Republicans and Democrats clashed at a health care summit called by President Obama Thursday.

The summit was called by Obama to find a compromise on the sticking points between proposals by the two parties and lasted around seven hours, Politico said.

Obama invited 40 congressional members to come to the Blair House, the official state guest house, with hopes to save a health care bill that has been debated since last summer, said BBC News.

The summit was mostly partisan clashing with both sides reiterating their talking points, BBC News said.

Republicans repeatedly proposed scrapping the entire bill and starting over again, Politico said, while Democrats emphasized the need to pass a bill that millions of uninsured Americans are waiting for.

One of the most contentious points came when Obama sparred with Sen. John McCain, who he ran against in the 2008 elections, said Politico.

"We're not campaigning anymore, John," Obama said. "The election is over now."

"I'm reminded of that every day," McCain replied.

Emerald ash borer found in Minneapolis trees

The emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Minneapolis trees, state authorities said Thursday.

Four trees in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis have confirmed infestations, the Star Tribune said.

The trees confirmed with infestation are within a mile of where they were last detected in St. Paul, WCCO said.

Emerald ash borers kill ash trees that they infest when the larvae tunnel through the tree and steal its nutrients, said WCCO.

Dog survives house explosion

A family dog survived the explosion of an Edina house Tuesday after a utilities crew accidentally caused a natural gas leak.

Nobody else was in the home at the time. The house was leveled, said KARE11 News.

The dog, named Grete, was taken to a veterinary clinic and treated for minor burns, said the Star Tribune.

Jen Augustson, who lived in the house with her husband Matt and their two children, said, ""I'm still just thinking about being relieved that we're OK, nobody was there and Grete is OK. Things are things, and we'll be able to replace a lot of them. But we're healthy and happy and that's most important."

Scottish independence referendum published

Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond unveiled Thursday a set of proposals that would potentially lead to Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.

The proposal lays out a referendum that would allow Scottish voters to decide to extend the powers of Scottish Parliament or to completely remove the country from the U.K., BBC News said.

Salmond says that he believes in the sovereignty of the Scottish people and that voters should be allowed to vote on the issue, BBC News reported.

However outside of Salmond's Scottish National Party, leaders of other major U.K. parties voiced concern, said the Guardian.

"As always the SNP puts the politics of narrow nationalism ahead of the interests of Scotland," said Tavish Scott, the leader of Scotland's Liberal Democrat Party. "There is no majority for a referendum in parliament. There is no support in the country for independence. Independence isn't going to happen."

Senate advances jobs bill

Senate Democrats defeated a Republican filibuster Monday to pass a jobs bill after five Republican broke ranks to vote for the bill.

The bill, which pumps $15 billion into the economy to help spur job growth, was approved on a vote of 62-30, the New York Times said.

There were many parts of the bill that received large bipartisan support, including a measure than exempts businesses from paying Social Security taxes on those they hire and an additional $1000 tax break if an employee is kept working for a full year, the Associated Press said.

The bill is expected to add as many as 250,000 new jobs, the Associated Press said.

Analysis: Updates in story about baby killed by dog

The Star Tribune and WCCO stories about the baby being killed by the dog had a few minor, but interesting difference in detail.

The WCCO story was last updated on Friday shortly after police announced that the death had happened. It mostly talked about the event as the police describe, plus a little bit of information on the breed of the dog taken from the Humane Society.

The lead for WCCO reads like breaking news, while the Star Tribune article leads much more into the story.

The Star Tribune article was updated later in the day and includes quite a bit more information.

The article gives the news and adds more human emotions into the story, incorporating several quotes, details about the dog and the family, interviews with neighbors, and even a quote and information from a website that is specifically about supposedly vicious dogs.

While the stories both gave the need-to-know information, they did it in two similar, but different, ways.

Obama to propose insurance price controls

President Obama is set to announce proposals to give the federal government more control of health insurance prices.

A White House official told the press of the coming move Sunday night, suggesting it was a proposal to help win over support for health care overhaul, Politico said.

The proposal would give the federal government the ability to block excessive rate increases to health insurance companies, the New York Times said.

The proposal will come along with the package Obama is set to release that helps bridge the gap between the Senate and House health care bills, said the New York Times. Price controls are not included in either current bill, but the move comes amid populist anger over recent insurance increases in California that have reached up to 39 percent.

A health care summit is being held Thursday and Obama plans to release his proposals early, Politico reported, in an apparent move to put pressure on Republicans to show they have their own solutions to the current problem.

Baby killed after being bit by dog

A newborn baby in Independence was killed Thursday after being bit by a dog, authorities said.

The 11-day-old baby was bit on the head by the family's Siberian husky around 12:30 p.m., said the Star Tribune.

Emergency medical workers attempted to save the baby but were unsuccessful, according to WCCO.

The Siberian Husky Club of America says that huskies are known to have a "delightful temperament" and be "gentle and friendly", the Star Tribune reported. They do, however, have strong predatory instincts and should be supervised around small animals and children.

The dog has been quarantined and is being tested for rabies, said WCCO. Within 10 days it will be euthanized.

Washburn teenager shot in face

A teenager was shot in the face Saturday in a south Minneapolis apartment, police said.

The teenager, 16-year-old Montrell Wade of Washburn, was shot after a group of people entered the apartment he was in, the Star Tribune said.

Wade was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center, said the Pioneer Press.

Wade has undergone surgery following the shooting, the Star Tribune said.

The police received a call around 12:15 p.m., regarding the shooting. Several people were taken into custody, but it is unknown at this time whether they are suspects or witnesses, the Pioneer Press said.

Petraeus to support overturning 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Gen. David Petraeus has indicated Sunday that he would support overturning the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy present in the military.

Petraeus said that it matters very little to soliders whether or not they serve with gay or lesbian military members, Politico said.

The policy, which forbids military members from being open about being gay, has been under review by lawmakers and high-ranking military officials, the Houston Chronicle said.

Politico reports that Petraeus believes it comes more down to the mission than sexual identity. "Frankly, over time we said, 'Hey how is this guy's shooting, or how is her analysis, or what have you?'"

Clinton says Iran becoming a military dictatorship

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Iran is becoming a military dictatorship, Secretary of State Clinton said in a speech Monday in Qatar.

The comment came during a speech at Carnegie Mellon University's Doha, Qatar campus, said Politico.

Clinton said she is concerned with Revolutionary Guards continued encroachment into making decisions regarding Iran's national security, including control of the nuclear program, said the New York Times. "We see that the government of Iran, the supreme leader, the president, the Parliament is being supplanted and that Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship," she said.

Four companies who are controlled by the Revolutionary Guards had their assets frozen by the Treasury Department last week, the New York Times reported. The U.S. government plans to continue to target holding that are under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.

Analysis: Progression in story about Olympic luge death

The story by the New York Times on the death of Olympic Luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili used an interesting progression of story.

The reporter summarized almost the entire story in the first paragraph, though added some unnecessary, but catchy and heartstring-pulling emotions into the lead.

The story first starts with the summarizing lead, followed by a more detail-oriented second paragraph that with the lead almost could be the story itself.

From there, it gives a bit of the narrative of the story, continuing to safety concerns, and then giving more background on Kumaritashvili, followed by many quotes from people who experienced the track, coaches, etc.

For this story, it seems to flow quite well and pulls at the right emotions while also giving a fair look at the story.

Olympic athlete dies in training accident

An Olympic athlete died early Friday in a training accident on the very day the Opening Ceremonies were scheduled to begin.

Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, of the Republic of Georgia, was training as a luge athlete Friday when his sled flipped and he flew over the embankment, hitting a concrete wall, the New York Times reported.

Kumaritashvili was on the last turn of the run and traveling around nearly 90 mph when the accident occurred, the New York Times said.

Paramedics were immediately at the scene, said the Pioneer Press, giving him chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but to no avail.

The Pioneer Press reports that Kumaritashvili was pronounced dead at the trauma center in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

The New York Times reported that this will likely raise questions into the safety of the $100 million luge track that some are calling the most dangerous track ever.

Two arrested in Centennial Hall shootings

The University of Minnesota Police Department has arrested two people as suspects for the string the robberies and shooting of a student on Jan. 25.

The Star Tribune reported that Derrell Cole, 16, and Devon Jones, 21, have been arrested in connection with the robberies and shooting.

The suspects were arrested after extensive surveillance and tracking using GPS signals in one of the victim's cell phones, said the Minnesota Daily.

Police have charged Cole with two counts of aggravated assault, the Minnesota Daily said, while Jones is being held in custody without bail pending charges of aggravated assault.

Minnesota lawmaker proposes Metrodome sale

Rep. Paul Kohl has proposed selling the Metrodome to the Minnesota Vikings for $1 in a new bill Thursday to keep them in the Twin Cities.

The Republican state representative believes this will help keep the team in the state, said the Star Tribune. "Let's give it to the Vikings and let them do what they want with it," he said in a statement. "The stadium has long been paid for."

The Pioneer Press reports that Kohl is opposed to use taxpayer money to subsidize a sports team's stadium.

The proposal, said the Pioneer Press, would give the Vikings ownership of the stadium and allow them to collect full proceeds from tickets and concessions. Currently, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, a government agency who owns the stadium, takes in about 85 percent of profits from concessions.

However the move proposal is not supported by everyone, the Pioneer Press reported.

"The Metrodome no longer works in sports economics or for our fans' gameday experience," Vice President of the Vikings, Lester Bagley, said. "We need to build a new facility to secure the long term future of the Vikings in Minnesota. This doesn't get us there."

Greek prime minister to cut government deficits

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou vowed Wednesday to cut the deficit of the Greek government by any necessary means which sits at four times the allowed rate in the European Union.

His announcement was made amid nationwide protests and public sector strike, BBC News reports.

BBC News says that flights are grounded, schools are closed, and many hospitals have only their emergency rooms open.

The prime minister is proposing a stability program that BBC News says includes a freeze on public sector wages, raising taxes, and changing the pension system to help cover an already $419 billion deficit that is expected to continue to grow.

The Belfast Telegraph said that the prime minister fully expects the entire program to be implemented.

Many are unhappy with the plans and Greece's largest labor organization is planning another strike on February 24, the Belfast Telegraph said.

Rep. John Murtha dies

Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania died Monday due to complications following a recent surgery at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va.

The Marine veteran of the Vietnam War served for 36 years in the House of Representatives before his death and in recent years was known for being out-spoken on opposition to the war in Iraq, Politico said.

Murtha was the first Vietnam War veteran in Congress, elected during a special election in 1974, said the Associated Press.

Politico said that Murtha formed a strong alliance with the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi early in her career while working on the House Appropriations Committee.

Although a strong supporter of the military, the Associated Press says, Murtha shocked Washington in 2005, he called for the immediate withdrawal of troops after having supported the initial actions of President George Bush.

The Associated Press reported that Murtha said, "The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion."

Though he disagreed with the Iraq War, the Associated Press said that Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will remember Murtha as a tireless advocated for the military.

"From health care to weapons procurement, from shipbuilding to pay and benefits, no one understood the needs of our modern military better than he did," Mullen said in a statement.

Analysis: Sources in story about "Mein Kampf"

The article in the Telegraph used a variety of sources when talking about the potential republishing of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

The article used many sources, including historical organization, government organizations, cultural groups, and specific people. These include names such as the Institute of Contemporary History, Bavaria's finance ministry, and Jewish group leaders.

While many organizations were named, there were very few names of specific people in the article except for the Adolf Hitler.

Attribution is used throughout the article, stating who said the facts or opinions that are being reported and overall, the story seems to take advantage of sources very well.

"Mein Kampf" to be republished in Germany

A group of Germany historians are pushing for the publication of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in Germany by 2015.

Those pushing for re-publication, according to the Boston Globe, argue it is necessary to release an annotated version before the copyright runs out in 2015, when it would be open for neo-Nazis to publish their own versions.

"Once Bavaria's copyright expires, there is the danger of charlatans and neo-Nazis appropriating this infamous book for themselves," Wolfgang Heubisch said Thursday, as reported in the Boston Globe.

The Telegraph reported that Bavarian copyright law, under which "Mein Kampf" is subject to, lasts for 70 years after the death of the author.

The book details the life of Hitler and principles of Nazism. The dissemination of Nazi philosophy is punishable by fines or imprisonment, according to the Telegraph.

The Telegraph further reported that Holocaust survivor and Germany's Central Council on Jews opposes publishing the book, but Central Council on Jews general secretary, Stephan Kramer, supports the idea and said, "I understand the survivors, but the publication is going to come anyway. So we should use this opportunity."

The Boston Globe reports that "Mein Kampf" has been translated in many languages including English, Arabic, Russian, and Japanese, though the Bavarian government has attempted to block publication in some countries.

Minnesota's uninsured numbers jump by 100,000

The number of Minnesotans lacking health insurance jumped by over 100,000, according to reports by the state Health Department on Friday.

Minnesota's uninsured now totals to 9.1 percent of the population in 2009, up from 7.2 percent in 2007, the Health Department said in the Star Tribune.

The Pioneer Press reports that most of the losses have come from employers cutting back on covering their employees.

"The percentage of the population with coverage through an employer really declined," said Stefan Gildemeister, assistant director of the Health Economics Program at Minnesota Department of Health, in the report by the Star Tribune.

The number without health insurance rose to 480,000 in 2009 from 374,000 in 2007.

Some, but not all, of the people who lost coverage have picked up coverage on public programs, according to the Star Tribune. The number of people on public programs rose from 25.2 percent in 2007 to 28.7 percent in 2009.

Minnesota historically has one of the lowest rates of uninsured and was among the first states to report uninsured rates for 2009.

Pawlenty talks of possible lottery money for Viking's stadium

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has suggested that lottery money could be used to help publicly finance a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday.

The Pioneer Press reported that Pawlenty talked of creating a new lottery to generate up to $12 million per year for the Viking's stadium on Minnesota Public Radio.

Pawlenty said the lottery could be tied in with a larger funding package that could supply the $29 million to $42 million needed annually for the team, reported the Star Tribune.

Several other proposals have been put on the table, including capturing increased property taxes and the income taxes of players in order to help fund the stadium.

Not everyone supports the proposals though. Former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert opposes the government giving money for the stadium.

If 3M wanted a new plant, asked Seifert, would Minnesota "do a 3M lottery game?" Seifert said that "It's always easy to get the government to try to pay for things." He also said that the state is bankrupt.

The Pioneer Press reported that the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the owner of the Metrodome, has put the current new stadium proposal at a price of $870 million.

Obama to skip European summit

President Barack Obama will not be attending a Madrid summit that includes members of the EU and the U.S. in May.

BBC News reported that the president, who visited Europe six times in 2009, had no plans to attend according to White House officials.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said that the United States is "committed to a strong US-EU partnership and with Europe in general" according to BBC News.

Reasons for why the president is skipping are not clear at this time, but according to the New York Times, American officials felt the June summit in Prague was a waste of time and that the president didn't want to risk going to another summit with little substance.

Defense officials look into ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Two officials from the Department of Defense called for the repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy Tuesday during a Senate hearing.

The announcement, made during a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, was a call to end a 16-year-old policy of banning gay and lesbian people from being in the military.

"No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an article in the New York Times.

According to a report by Politico, the military would launch a review into the changes necessary in order to implement the change in policy which Defense Secretary Robert Gates said would be detailed "by the end of the calendar year".

For some, however, the review process is far too long. "A year is not a reasonable time frame," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of gay advocacy group Lambda Legal. "This may be the first step, but, boy, when they say a year, I get that knot in my stomach. This seems like too little, too slow."

BBC News reports that 428 service members were dismissed from the military in 2009 under the policy, down from 619 in 2008, and far below the 1997 of 997.

Polls show broad support for gays and lesbians openly serving in the military according to the New York Times, which wasn't the case when the law was originally created in 1993.

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