December 6, 2007

"T-Rex of the Ocean" Fossil Found in the Arctic

The remains of a prehistoric monster, equivalent to the size of a bus, was found on a remote Arctic island and may be a species that has never before been recorded, startribune.com reports.
The fossils are believed to be that of a short-necked plesiosaur measuring more than 30 feet. It was a voracious reptile often described as the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the oceans.
The fossils were found on the Svalbard islands, 300 miles north of Norway, in August. The dig yielded the remains of teeth, skull fragments, and vertebrae of a reptile. It resembles the species that was found nearby only last year.
According to phys.org, the remains are over 150 million years old, when this region was under water.
"We think it is a species unknown until now. Our plesiosaur shows significant differences from those discovered in France and Britain," said Joern Hurum of Oslo University's paleontology department.
This species resembled a giant sea lion, with four fins and a snout similar to that of a crocodiles when living. The massive jaw of the animal could have swallowed a grown man in a single gulp according to the article on phys.org.
For this international science story I looked at startribune.com and phys.org to gain more insight into the story. The Star Tribune article was very short and just contained the base information, such as the size of the animal and where the fossils were found. However, it did include an artist's rendering of what the beast may have looked like. On phys.org, obviously the article was a lot longer and in turn contained a lot more information. This specific article had information on past plesiosaurs found as well as more in depth coverage on the species.

Man Clearing Snow Falls off IDS Roof and Dies

One of the two men clearing snow off a glass roof at the IDS Center slipped and fell five or six stories to his death, startribune.com reports.
The victim's name was not released and according to police this was a tragic accident, and no foul play was involved.
The man was clearing snow off the roof of the Crystal Court, a part of the tower. The Crystal Court contains a food court and retail shops. The man fell shortly before 2 p.m., through the ceiling of the Crystal Court.
The 51-story IDS center overlooks the Crystal Court. Also included in the court is a 105-foot ceiling to floor water fountain and a canopy of glass skylights.
According to police, and reported on pioneerpress.com, they blocked off the lower part of the Crystal Court and were in the process of the clearing the skyways entering the IDS Center. The police did not want the accident to be a public viewing.
The IDS tower is a city landmark and was built in 1972. It overlooks Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis's downtown major shopping area.
For this local story, I looked at the websites for the major two local papers, pioneerpress.com and startribune.com. The two stories were quite similar. Both stories contained exactly what happened and did not include the victim's name. They also both included past suicides that occurred at the IDS tower which I thought was interesting since this was not a suicide. The Star Tribune article was a little longer and contained more quotes whereas the Pioneer Press did not. The Pioneer Press just had quotes from Police Sergeant Garcia, whereas the Star Tribune had quotes from witnesses.

December 5, 2007

Vikings Edwards Suspended for Steroids

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on steroid use, ESPN.com reports.
Edwards has been a starter for most of the season and currently is tied for second on the team with four sacks. Edwards was coincidentally replaced by Erasmus James in the starting lineup last Sunday against the Lions, however according to coach Brad Childress the decision had nothing to do with Edward's violation, since Childress did not learn about the violation until Wednesday.
Childress was disappointed in Edwards but could not comment further due to the confidentiality surrounding the NFL's drug policy. Childress was quoted on startribune.com:
"It's disappointing, but there are policies in place and our players have to adhere to those policies," Childress said. "Every team goes through challenges as you go through the year. We've been through some of our own. It's an opportunity to have others step up."
The (6-6) Vikings will look to rookie Brian Robison and James to fill in for Edward's absence.
Edwards is in his second year, drafted out of Purdue in the fourth round. He has been one of the Vikings' most consistent performers at defensive end this season. Other than his four sacks, Edwards also has 41 tackles and a defense touchdown week 2 in Detroit.
Edwards is eligible to return after the last game of the season. He could play again only if the Vikings make the playoffs.
For this local sport's story I looked at ESPN.com, the nation's leader in sports news and our local news site, startribune.com. There was no difference in the stories at all. ESPN must have gotten this story from the Star Tribune, since the headline reads: EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN

The Nation's Most Dangerously Drunk Cities are Ranked

A study released by Men's Health magazine ranked the nation's "Most Dangerously Drunk" cities, with Denver topping the list, startribune.com reports.
The ranking which appears in the December issue also ranked Fargo, N.D. not too far behind Denver, as the most dangerous city in the Midwest. According the magazine, the results were based on five things. First, the annual death rates due to alcoholic liver disease. Secondly, the prevalence of downing five or more drinks in a sitting. Third was drunk driving arrests. Fourth was fatal accidents involving drunken drivers and lastly MADD's report card on state efforts to combat excessive drinking.
According to CW2.trb.com, the CW's affiliate in Colorado, the magazine sourced its data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The magazine ranked the city's from 100 to 1, with 100 being the worst. Fargo was 96th, four spots behind Denver. Other cities in the Midwest were Milwaukee (91), Madison (73), Des Moines (54), St. Paul (50), Minneapolis (34) and Sioux Falls (17).
Nationally, the city that was number one, or the least dangerous, was Durham, North Carolina. After that was Miami at number two and Buffalo, N.Y. at number three.
For this national story, I picked startribune.com, where I initially found the story, and a news outlet in Denver to compare how the two stories reported this new study. The Star Tribune report had more of a straight news approach. There were only two quotes and mostly it just contained the information that the report in Men's Health Magazine found. However, it pulled out Midwestern cities and gave their rankings specifically. There was also a little debate as to why St. Paul was higher on the report than Minneapolis. On the other hand, the Denver source was a lot more personal and contained a lot more quotes. They seemed to be quite angry with this report. Specifically the spokesman for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau who claimed that "you could statistics to say anything." Obviously they did not contain any information in their story about Midwestern cities.

December 3, 2007

Earth's Tropical Belt is Growing

Earths tropical belt appears to have expanded a couple hundred miles in the last quarter century, startribune.com reports.
Earth's tropical belt is the area around Earth's middle that stretches from the Tropic of Cancer, just south of Miami to the Tropic of Capricorn which cuts Austrailia in half. It covers about a quarter of the globe and contains mostly desert, according to physorg.com
Teams of meteorologists found that the tropical atmospheric belt has grown by 2 to 4.8 degrees latitude since 1979. That is equilanant to a north and south expansion of 140 to 330 miles.
This could mean more even dryer weather for some already dry subtropical regions, new climate research shows. The area of concern is the dry areas on the edge of the tropics, such as the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Mediterranean and southern Australia.
The two sources that I used for this international story were a local source, the Star Tribune and phys.org, where the article where the Star Tribune got there information was located. I wanted to see what the Star Tribune chose to include and what they thought was important. Obviously, phys.org had a lot more information, such was where the tropical belt is located.

November 30, 2007

First Winter Storm Appoaching Fast

Minnesota may get their first dose of winter weather this Saturday, as the approaching storm will bring heavy snow, sleet, and wind to most of the state, startribune.com reports.
There have been little snow storms so far this season especially around southern and southeastern Minnesota, but these storms are only a sample of what is yet to come.
According to the National Weather Service, there is a powerful storm developing in the Rocky Mountains and it is supposed to hit southern and central Minnesota on Saturday. This storm is big, delivering up to 10 inches of snow in some places, according to the report.
A Winter Storm watch is in effect for most of Saturday around Minnesota, except for the northwestern part of the state. The watch also includes most of western Wisconsin.
According to WFRV.com, Wisconsin's channel 5 affiliate, the storm will indeed effect the Twin Cities mostly on Saturday, and letting up on Sunday. The heaviest part of the storm for the Twin Cities will be late afternoon and into the evening of Saturday.
Travel Conditions are expected to be quite slow and congested throughout the weekend. The blowing snow should reduce visibility greatly, the Weather Service said.
The sun should come out by Monday, with highs in the mid-20s and the lows around 10 degrees, however according to the National Weather Service, another chance of snow is in the forecast for next Tuesday.
This may not seen newsworthy, but as a lifelong Minnesotan I love snow, especially the first big snowstorm of the year. So when I came across this story I had to write on it. Even though this is a local story, it effects two states, so I looked at startribune.com for local coverage, but also a broadcast news website from Wisconsin, WFRV.com. There was not too much difference in the stories, since they both got their information from the National Weather Service. The Star Tribune article was longer and talked about driving conditions and weather into next week whereas the broadcast news website did not. However WFRV.com had photos of the state and of the storm, as a nice visual aid to the story. This was missing in the startribune.com report.

November 26, 2007

City Agrees to Settle Officer's Lawsuit for 4.5 Million

The Minneapolis City Council agreed Monday to settle a $4.5 million lawsuit brought by an undercover police officer who was shot by a fellow officer in 2003, startribune.com reports
This settlement is the largest involving a Minneapolis police officer. It will be paid out of the city's self insurance fund.
On February 25, 2003 Duy Ngo, 34, was on gang surveillance, when he was shot by a black man in his side. His bullet proof vest saved him, and Ngo radioed for help, describing the perpetrator who just fled away on foot.
Officer Charles Storlie was one of the first officers who responded to the call. When he arrived Ngo was crouched under a streetlight waving his arms. Storlie got out of his car, and immediately opened fire on Ngo, shooting him six times with his MP5 semi-automatic machine gun.
When Ngo was shot, he had a radio microphone and his police insignia visible. Also, he did not match the description of the suspect at all. Ngo is off Vietnamese descent.
After months of rehabilitation, Ngo returned to work, however he had to remain at a desk, since the shooting permanently injured his left hand and he now cannot grip a gun. Ngo sued the city and Storlie in 2004 and it spanned through three police administrations.
According to pioneerpress.com, Officer Storlie has since left the Minneapolis police to do contract security work in the Middle East.
For this local story, I looked at the difference in reporting between our two biggest local papers, The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, by looking at their websites. The story in Pioneer Press was extremely short and just had the facts in about six paragraphs. On the other hand, the Star Tribune report included everything the other story did, but more importantly included quotes from the mayor and police chief as well as gave a detailed account on exactly what happened the night Ngo was shot.

NFL Star Sean Taylor Injured in Shooting

Washington Redskins Safety Sean Taylor was shot in his leg at his home in Miami early Monday, police are investigating a possible robbery.
According to startribune.com the Miami police said that Taylor is in "critical condition." Officers were sent to Taylor's home at 1:45 a.m., after his girlfriend called 911. According to Lt. Nancy Perez, Taylor was shot in his lower body and was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital. She did not disclose how many times Taylor had been shot.
"It could have been a possible burglary; it could have been a possible robbery," Perez said. "It has not been confirmed yet."
However, according to Richard Sharpstein, Taylor's attorney, he was shot in the leg and there was much bleeding because his femoral artery was severed.
According to ESPN.com, Taylor has a home in the Miami suburb of Palmetto Bay and Taylor remained home and did not travel with the team because he had a sprained ligament in his right knee. He was expected to miss at least two games, probably more.
The 24-year-old is in his fourth season with the Redskins. He was the number five pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft from Miami University, where he was an All-American. Even though he has missed two games, he currently leads the NFC with 5 interceptions.
Taylor has had a hard time staying out of trouble in the past. He has been fined at least seven times, including a penalty for spitting in the face of another player during a playoff game. Also in 2005 Taylor was accused of beating a man with a weapon during a fight that broke out after Taylor and his friends went looking for the people who allegedly stole his all-terrain vehicles, startribune.com reports.
Since this was a national sports story, I looked at ESPN.com the worldwide leader in sports news, and also our local paper, the Star Tribune. Even though these are two completely different news outlets, the two stories were quite similar. They both included the troubled past of Taylor as well as the details from the accident and quotes from the police officers and Taylor's attorney as well. However, ESPN.com had more of a sports angle to it. For example, they interviewed some of Taylor's teammates, such as Clinton Portis to get the players' reactions. They also interviewed the head coach Joe Gibbs. Lastly, on the ESPN.com website, this story was listed as breaking news and took up a lot of their homepage. The story did not carry the same weight on startribune.com.

Deadly Riots Break Out in Bolivia After Approval of New Draft Constitution

Riots ensued in Sucre, Bolivia on Sunday in which at least two people were killed, after allies of President Evo Morales approved the framework for a new constitution, startribune.com reports.
In this new constitution, it would permit indefinite reelection for President Morales and could radically change Bolivian Politics, CNN.com reports.
This new constitution has yet to be approved but if so, would establish a multiethnic state with 36 governing regions for indigenous groups.
The riot on Sunday prompted national police commander Gen. Miguel Vasquez to order all units out of Sucre, Bolivia. According to Vasquez, he wanted to "avoid more confrontations."
One of the victims was a police officer. According to hospital officials the other victim was a carpenter who died of injuries after a tear gas cannister struck him. Over 100 inmates also escaped from the city's jail due to rioting. The group set fire to the jail at police headquarters.
Even though I looked at two completely different sources, startribune.com and CNN.com, it was an AP story so the two stories were exactly the same. Neither of them contained too much information, especially about the new constitution which seemed quite important since it could change Bolivian politics. Hopefully there will be a follow-up story.

Defense Makes History as Vikings Rout the New York Giants 41-17

The Vikings continued to own Eli Manning Sunday intercepting him four times, and returning three of them for touchdowns, startribune.com reports. This set a team record for the most defensive touchdowns in a game.
Eli Manning in this career has thrown eight interceptions in two career starts versus the Minnesota Vikings. It is the only two times in his career that he has thrown at least four interceptions.
Darren Sharper scored on a 20-yard interception return in the first quarter. Safety Dwight Smith added another defensive score rumbling 93 yards on a return. Then on the ensuing drive, Manning got picked again and linebacker Chad Greenway ran it in from 37 yards out, pioneerpress.com reports.
"When you throw four interceptions, it's never a good day," Manning said in a post game interview.
The NFL record for interception returns in a game is four, set by the Seattle Seahawks against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 4, 1984.
Apart from the defensive scoring, Quarterback Tavaris Jackson connected with Sidney Rice on a 60 yard touchdown on the Vikings first drive. Chester Taylor also had a touchdown and kicker Ryan Longwell added to the scoring with two field goals.
The win helped get the Vikings right back into the playoff hunt; they are only a game out of the wild-card and will host the Detroit Lions, holder of that last playoff spot, next Sunday.
To compare this local news story, I compared the two local major papers and their respective websites, startribune.com and pioneerpress.com. They were both quite similiar, the only big difference was that the startribune.com article talked in great detail about the last time these two teams met and compared this game to the former game. In their last meeting the Vikings also had three return touchdowns, one interception, one kickoff return, and one punt return. That is the only time in NFL history that has happened.

California Wildfire in Malibu Destroys 30 Homes

A wildfire raced through the canyons and over the mountains of the wealthy enclave near Malibu for the second time in little more than a month Saturday, forcing 14,000 residents to flee, startribune.com reports.
The fire started early Saturday, around 4 a.m., and destroyed 49 homes, 30 homes were completely destroyed, cbs.com reports.
By midafternoon, the fire was estimated at 7 square miles, with a 25 percent containment. By Saturday evening, about half of the evacuees were allowed to return to their homes.
Fifteen helicopters and 15 airplanes attacked from the air to combat the fire, while nearly 2,000 firefighters battled flames from the ground, according to startribune.com. The planes skimmed the ocean to reload their tanks to help extinguish the fire.
Hundreds and firefighters and equipment had been positioned throughout the week in Southern California, due to the predicted winds of over 50 miles per hour. According to the Mayor, the fire "could have been far, far worse than it was."
For this national story, I compared our local coverage, startribune.com, with a national news outlet, in this case cbs.com. I wanted to see if the coverage was any different and indeed it was. The biggest difference was that the startribune.com report was more of a straight news story where it just included what exactly happened on Saturday. For example, the amount of airplanes and helicopters was courtesy of startribune.com. However, cbs.com had more of a feature story, concentrating less on the fire on Saturday and more on California wildfires as a whole.

Two People Die in Fairbault Plane Crash

Two people were killed when a small plane crashed Sunday afternoon at the Fairbault, Minn municipal airport, startribune.com reports.
Two other people survived the crash, although authorities had not released the identities of the victims.
The Cirrus SR 22 plane, according to KSTP.com was a four-seat single engine plane and registered to Mayo Aviation in Aberdeen, S.D, according to a spokeman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane was 26 feet long and had a wingspan of about 36 feet, according to the story released on Star Tribune's website.
Each Cirrus SR22 is equipped with a large parachute which can be deployed to help lower the aircraft to the ground and according to photos taken on-scene the parachute was deployed from the plane as it was burning at the crash site.
I looked at the print and broadcast differences for this local story by comparing the KSTP.com website (broadcast) and the startribune.com website (print). Surprisingly, the KSTP.com website contained more detailed information such as the make of the plane and how big it is and the fact that it contained a deploying parachute. The startribune.com report did not include as much information. However, it was an initial report since this accident happened later today. I would imagine that the story in tomorrow's paper will be a lot more in depth.

November 19, 2007

Vikings Escape the Raiders 29-22 on the Shoulders of Taylor

No Adrian Peterson? No problem. The Minnesota Vikings hosted the Oakland Raiders Sunday, and welcomed back Daunte Culpepper, without the NFL rushing leader. In his place was Chester Taylor who did just fine amassing 202 total yards, including 164 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and helping the Vikings to a 29-22 victory KSTP.com reports.
"Chester has been overshadowed the entire year with Adrian, but I would take Chester Taylor on my team any time," center Matt Birk said on startribune.com. "He runs hard. He fights for every last yard he can get."
On the other side, Culpepper did not have too good of a homecoming, getting sacked four times while fumbling twice and throwing a costly interception in the fourth quarter.
The game started rather unusal with wide receiver Sindney Rice completing a 79-yard pass to Visanthe Shiancoe on a wide receiver reverse. The Vikings followed up with a touchdown, but went into the half tied due to four first half turnovers. The Vikings outscored the Raiders 10-3 in the second half and knocked down Culpepper's hail mary pass in the endzone for the game tying score at cement their victory.
The (4-6) Vikings are away next week playing the New Giants.
I did three things in this article. I actually went to the game so I tried to do a little of my own reporting. Everytime I go to a game I try to report on it as well. I also looked at the difference between broadcast and print journalism once again between KSTP.com and startribune.com. Startribune.com had a lot more background information. They provided some statistics from Daunte's time as a Viking, as well as provided quotes from coach Childress and other players. On the other hand, KSTP.com had a shorter article, probably intended for the nightly news, just comenting on the highlights, such as the score and Chester Taylor's performance.

Two Mankato Students hit by a Car, One Dead and One Seriously Injured

A Minnesota State University, Mankato upperclassmen was killed early Sunday and another was seriously injured when a vehicle struck them, startribune.com reports.
One of the women was reportedly lying in the road while the other was helping her on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Kingswood Drive, according to Mankato police.
The women's identities were not released. According to the victim, the two girls were leaving a sorority gathering walking north when they were struck by a vehicle driven by a 17-year-old Mankato resident. The police will not release his name because it is an ongoing investigation.
Both women were taken to Immanuel St. Joseph's Hospital in Mankato, where one was pronounced dead and the other underwent surgery, according to the news release.
However, according to university spokesmen Michael Cooper, there were not sorority residencies in the area. The police would not say why one woman was lying in the the street and what they were doing before the accident.
On KSTP.com, police commander Dan Schisel said the area of 3rd Avenue and Kingswood Drive "is industrial and not close to residential streets. There is no stop signs or traffic lights in the area, where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour."
According to Cooper, as early as today, a page will be added to the university's website to allow friends and family members to access information about the accident and post their thoughts. A memorial is also being planned for sometime before Thanksgiving break.
I looked at the difference between broadcast and written journalism for this local story, KSTP.com and startribune.com. The obvious difference is that the star tribune report contains a lot more information including the memorial service and included quotes from the police commander and the university spokesman whereas KSTP.com just had the hard facts. However, the KTSP.com report was a lot more specific giving the ages the people involved and time of the accident, as well as the intersection in which it occured.

Another Toy Recalled After a Baby's Death

Jetmax International Ltd. recalled 36,000 toy storage racks after an 8-month-old boy died, startribune.com reports.
The infant was playing with the storage rack and when he tugged on it, the top rail landed on his neck and killed him.
"Young children are at risk of injury when the storage rack can tip over, posing entrapment and suffocation hazard to them," the Cosumer Product Safety comission said Friday on the FOXnews.com website.
The name of the toy was "Home Trend Kids 9 Canvas Bin Boy's and Girl's Organizers." This toy is made in China and its company is located in Irving Texas.
This toy was sold at Wal-Mart from August 2004 to July 2005 and at Ollie's stores from July 2006 to the present.
There were two types of storage racks, one for boys and one for girls.
This was an AP story that was found almost identically on FOXnews.com and startribune.com. Since this story was not written by a local writer for either website, it was obviously just picked up and ran through the respective websites. However, the startribune.com report created a new title and also a new lead whereas the FOXnews.com report just ran the story as is.