This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

March 2013 Archives

3 people dead after 75 vehicle pileup

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Three people are dead after a 75 vehicle pileup that also injured at least 20 people on the Virginia-North Carolina boarder Sunday, according to the AP.

The crash was probably caused by extreme fog in the Fancy Gap Mountain area, according to NBC.

The crash began around 1:15 p.m., and traffic backed up for 8 miles, according to the AP.

Aaron Schaffhausen, 35, has pleaded guilty but insane to three counts of intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson, according to Kare11.

Schaffhausen of River Falls was charged with the killings of his three daughters last summer. His defense will now have to prove he has a mental disease and could not control his actions, according to the Huffington Post.

The trial will begin on Monday. Schaffhausen is currently at the St. Croix County Jail, and is on suicide watch, according to Kare11.

Analysis: Obituary

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What sources are used? Does it have a standard obituary lead or an alternative? What is the news value? How does the obit differ from a resume?

Obituary analyzed

The obituary attributes information to Cal's son, Christopher, and Cal's 1986 oral history for the Time Inc. A Life editorial is a source,

The lead is a little different from a standard obit lead. It opens by telling the reader a few of Cal's most notable accomplishments. The reader isn't told he has died until the second paragraph.

The news values are prominence and impact.

The obit differs from a resume because it doesn't just tell what Cal has accomplished, but it also goes into the effects of his accomplishments, more personal details then what you would find in a resume, and it contains quotes.

Minnesota synagogue vandalized

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Minnesota's largest synagogue, Temple Israel, was vandalized Tuesday night, according to the Star Tribune.

All sides of the historic building were spray-painted with purple letters, which Jewish religious leaders say do not immediately appear to be hate-related, according to the Star Tribune.

Senior Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman said security cameras showed only one person, and that the act occurred sometime before midnight, according to MPR.

The graffiti was removed Wednesday, and police are investigating, according to MPR.

A 14-year-old girl was found dead after being mauled by a pack of dogs Tuesday, according to the Telegraph.

Jade Anderson was found dead in a house in Greater Manchester. She had wounds consistent with those of a dog attack. Four dogs were put down by police, and a third was contained at the scene, according to the Independent.

Police were called after someone reported seeing an unconscious teenager and a pack of out of control dogs, according to the Independent.

Anderson had been visiting a friend, and the dogs were owned by the friend's mother, according to the Telegraph.


A new trial for Amanda Knox was ordered by Italy's highest court Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.

Amanda Knox will be retried for the 2007 murder of her British roommate. Her conviction had been thrown out of court in 2011, after she spent 4 years in prison, according to ABC.

Knox's former Italian boyfriend will also be on trial again. He also had been convicted and acquitted, according to the Washington Post.

The new trial will probably start next year, although Knox does not plan to return to Italy for the trial, according to ABC.

Two Quebec inmates escaped prison Sunday by climbing a rope into a hovering helicopter, according to CBS.

Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, 36, and Danny Provencal, 33, escaped in broad daylight from a jail northwest of Montreal, according to the New York Times.

Quebec police say they arrested three people, including Hudon-Barbeau, about 30 miles north of the jail. They are still searching for Povencal, according to CBS.

Boys in Steubenville rape trial found guilty

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The two boys charged in the Steubenville rape trial have been found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl, according to CBS,

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16 were found guily of rape and Mays was found guilty of distributing a nude photo of a minor, according to CNN.

Richmond is sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile facility, and Mays is also facing a minimum of one year with an added year for the photo, according to CBS.

The 16-year-old victim was not in the courtroom as the verdict was announced Sunday, but her mother released a statement, according to CNN.

The 16-year-old accuser in the Steubenville rape trial testified she couldn't remember anything about the night she was allegedly raped, according to ABC.

Witnesses say she was too drunk at the party to stand or talk. The accuser says she later learned about the night through texts, photos, and social media, according to NBC.

The prosecution and defense rested their cases, and the verdict will be delivered Sunday morning, according to NBC.

Body of teen pulled from river

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The body of a 16-year-old girl was recovered from the Sioux Falls Friday.

Madison Leigh drowned when she jumped into the Big Sioux River at Falls Park Thursday. Leigh had been trying to rescue her 6-year-old brother from the river, according to Kare11.

Leigh's brother was able to make it back to shore, and was not injured, according to Kare11.

A Sioux Falls man, 28, also jumped into the river trying to save Leigh. His body has not yet been recovered, according to Fox.

St. Paul cop sued for excessive force

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A former Minneapolis police officer who is now with the St. Paul police is being accused for the second time of using excessive force, according to the Pioneer Press.

Sgt. Paul Cottingham was involved in brutality cases in 1990 that cost Minneapolis $500,000. Cottingham was fired in 1995 for two incidences which news articles from the time say were unrelated to the brutality cases, according to the Pioneer Press.

Cottingham and officer Craig Rhode are being sued for allegedly using excessive force by a Twin Cities man who spent 3 days in the intensive care unit at Regions Hospital after Cottingham and Rhodes arrested him in 2012, according to the Star Tribune.

Two New York undercover police officers shot and killed a 16-year-old boy Saturday night.

Kimani Gray was approached by two undercover police officers when the officers noticed him acting suspicious and adjusting his waistband. Gray then pulled out a loaded .38-caliber revolver and pointed it at the officers, who fired on him, according to NBC New York.

It was not known yet how many rounds were shot by the officers, or whether or not the officers had identified themselves prior to Gray pulling his weapon. Gray was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital Center, according to the New York Times.

Minnesota residents are being warned by the Minnesota Department of Revenue to not use Intuit tax programs like TurboTax to file their taxes, according to the Pioneer Press

About 10,000 tax returns will be affected by problems in the TurboTax program. The problems are only in Minnesota, and affected people have been notified, according to ABC

The problems include political donations going to the wrong party, childcare tax credit, and the property tax refund, according to the Pioneer Press.

A New Mexico man who was held in solitary confinement for 22 months will be paid $15.5 million by the county, according to CNN.

Stephen Slevin, now 59, was arrested in August 2005 on charges of drunk driving, and receiving a stolen car. He was placed in solitary confinement in the Dona Ana County jail, but was never prosecuted, according to CNN.

Slevin will be awarded $15.5 million dollars in one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history, according to CBS.

Analysis: Covering Speeches

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The reporter took a traditional route in the layout of the story. The lead gives the general idea of the speech, and the second paragraph has a direct quote that supports the lead, and tells the reader where and when the speech happened. The story alternates between paraphrase, quotes, and background info.The article includes photos and video.


The reporter really tried to capture the tone of Michelle's speech. One way she does this is by using sentences such as "the point was clear as she weaved a tapestry of their early years together..." and "...to that end, the first lady painted a portrait of a leader who knows first-hand the struggles of everyday Americans". The reporter writes in a flowery and sometimes cliché way ("paints a portrait..." is used more than once).

The reporter goes beyond the event by including additional information not directly pertaining to the speech. She uses the background information to support the main ideas of the speech. One part of the article says, "Malia and Sasha, are also expected to join them on stage during the convention's closing night, leaving voters with fresh images of the photogenic family."

There are some comments that I think are unnecessary. They do help support Michelle's agenda and the feelings the speech is trying to evoke, but some author-comments also start to feel biased. For example, "Mrs. Obama never mentioned the president's Republican challenger, who grew up in a world of privilege and wealth." If Michelle didn't mention it, then why should the article? There are a lot of distracting details, and this one felt particularly snide.

The 18-year-old St. Paul woman found dead in an impounded car had posted prostitution ads online, and the man suspected of her murder may have been a client, according to Kare11.

The 23-year-old man from Woodbury whom police have arrested on suspicion of murdering Brittany Clardy is wanted for three previous attacks on escorts in Georgia, according to the Winona Daily News.

Police arrested the man in Woodbury after locating him by looking through cell phones that were found in the car with Clardy's body, according to Kare11.

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve new sanctions against North Korea in response to the country's nuclear tests last month, according to the New York Times.

The sanctions are intended to make it difficult for North Korea to fund or create nuclear or missile programs. Cargo will be more closely inspected, and all countries are now banned from exporting expensive jewelry, yachts, luxury cars and racing cars to North Korea, according to the AP.

North Korea responded to the sanctions by declaring against the United States what may be what the AP calls "the most specific open threat of a nuclear strike by any country against another."

The sanctions were drafted by China, who is an ally of North Korea, and the United States. China's support of the sanctions has greatly angered North Korea's government, according to the New York Times.

Multimedia Analysis

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News organization example 1: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/sunday-review/the-holocaust-just-got-more-shocking.html?src=me&ref=general

The New York Times article incorporates a lot of hyperlinks into its stories, as well as large, high-quality photos. In the article about the Holocaust, there is also a sidebar labeled 'multimedia' that has a couple maps of the ghettos and concentration camps. The story is about the results of an attempt to count the number of ghettos and concentration camps. It gives the figures (42,500) but the maps help a reader really grasp the sheer number.

News organization example 2: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/03/03/173258954/scientists-report-first-cure-of-hiv-in-a-child-say-its-a-game-changer

This article by NPR is about how scientist believe they have cured a young girl of HIV. It also includes a lot of hyperlinks, and big photos that wouldn't look nearly as good in a newspaper. NPR's articles include the chance for its readers to comment on individual stories.

Both stories are able to achieve much more depth because of the multimedia features. The writing is more layered and detailed because hyperlinks provide additional information, background info, and save the author from having to describe everything-- they can just point the reader to a past story. Features like photos and video are useful because it can help different learners access news. For example, the map of the ghettos may help a visual learner better grasp the significance of the numbers.

An apartment fire in north Minneapolis injured nine people Saturday, according to CBS.

Over 20 people were living in an apartment with eight units. Only one unit had a smoke alarm, according to CBS.

The scene was chaos, according to Fire Captain John Romero.

One resident had to throw her two grandchildren out of the window. The baby was caught by a neighbor, and the 3-year-old was caught by firefighter Robert Martin, according to WCCO.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to WCCO.


Florida officials say they will stop looking for the man who is lost in a sinkhole after it opened up underneath his bedroom Thursday, officials said.

Jeff Bush, 37, is presumed dead after a sinkhole, now up to 60 feet deep, opened up under his bedroom, according to the LA Times.

Jessica Damico, a spokeswoman with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, said workers will attempt to recover his body after the ground is determined stable enough to support heavy machinery, reported USA Today.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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