Recently in Notable and Analysis Category

Appeal Trial Grants Amanda Knox's Request of Reviewing Evidence

CNN reports that Amanda Knox appealed her conviction of the murder of her British roommate on Saturday in the Italy.

Fox News reports that Knox won an important victory in her appeals, when the court ruled that it would allow an independent review of crucial DNA evidence. In the lower court trial, which convicted Knox of murder, this request was denied. The defense argues that DNA traces presented at the firs trial were inconclusive and may have been contaminated when they were analyzed.

Fox News reports that the court selected two experts from Rome's Sapienza University to review the evidence. The Prosecuting lawyer Giancarlo Costagliola opposed the review, stating that it was "useless" because "this court has all the elements to come to a decsion.

CNN reports that former American student Amanda Knox along with her former Italian boyfriend were convicted of killing Knox's roommate, Meredith Kercher. Kercher was found with her throat slashed in their shared villa in Perugia in November 2007. Knox was sentenced for 26 years in prison, and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced for 25 years in prison. Both were found guilty of the murder.

Fox News reports that Knox has been in prison in Perugia since Nov. 6, 2007, four days after her roommate's body was found in their villa.

This news story is notable because it is a follow-up story on a case that previously received a lot of media attention. Many people are familiar with the Amanda Knox case and the charges against her and her boyfriend for being guilty of murder. This story is significant because it has the potential to change the ruling on this case. Not only is this a story that refreshes the public's memory of what happened in 2007, but because the court ruled that the evidence will be re-evaluated there is an opportunity for the charges to be changed.

I thought that the story was significant because it displays the significance of the court's rulings on cases, and also how evidence can be mishandled. Although the review has not begun yet, because the court ruled to allow a review it shows that there is potential that the evidence was manipulated. This shows the other side of news stories that deal with crime, not just the act and the punishment, but the manipulation that can take place to charge a suspect.

Olbermann and Scarborough's Suspension

The Washington Post reports that MSNBC suspended two on-air journalists in November for making undisclosed political contributions to the Democratic Party.

The Washington Post reports that it is forbidden for MSNBC and NBC's journalists to donate to political candidates. Joe Scarbourough confessed that he had violated this rule, stating he'd forgotten he made the contributions. He made five contributions of $500 each to candidates, and MSNBC found out he made three other contributions to past local candidates. Scarbouough's colleague Keith Olbermann was suspended by MSNBC two weeks earlier for donating money to candidates.

The Washington Post reports that their ethics policies draws no distinction between news reporters and opinionated hosts. MSNBC does not want to send out the message that their employees are favoring one party or individual candidates. The policy states taking part in political activities and making donations jeopardizes an employee , "standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest."

Ted Koppel writes for the Washington Post about how journalism is changing, and therefore it does not make sense to enforce these policies on opinionated hosts. Koppel writes, "to witness the most opinionated MSNBC's left-leaning, Fox-baiting, money-generating hosts" suspended for donating to the Democratic political candidates, "seemed like a whimsical, arcane holdover from a long-gone era of television journalism."

Koppel argues that Olbermann is already defined by the public as left leaning, and therefore it would not be a surprise that he would donate to those candidates. Koppel states that we live in a "cable news universe" that celebrates opinionated journalism and forgets about hard nosed reporting along with objectivity. The commercial success of Fox News and MSNBS are the reason that investigative reporting has dwindled and the number of opinionated hosts has dramatically increased.

I found that the suspension of Olbermann and Scarborough was almost as if the MSNBC was making fun of the ethics of the situation. The hosts were only suspended for two days for making donations that clearly violate the station's ethical standards. I believe MSNBC suspended the hosts because they were obligated to and it was the right decision to make so the organization looks reputable, but I believe the lack of severity of the suspension shows how strongly they feel about the issue.

I believe the Ted Koppel brings up many interesting points about the changing ethical standards that need to accompany the changing journalism. We are in a new-era of journalism, and the ethical standards seem to be outdated for this era. Investigative journalists searched for objectivity and providing the public with the truth. Today cable news has changed journalists to provide the public with the type of story they want to hear. Individuals can chose MSNBC's liberal news station or Fox New's conservative station to be spoon fed the opinion and spin they want to hear. This is where it seems almost silly that the hosts were suspended, because their viewpoint is already proudly displayed in their opinions.

I think that the suspension of these two hosts raising questions about a bigger issue that needs to be addressed in journalism. With journalism evolving into a new practice, there needs to be a new code of ethics that guides opinionated journalism.

This policy is

Sex Offender Accused of Sexually Assaulting 2-Year-Old

CBS San Francisco News reports a registered sex offender raped a 2-year-old girl inside the Dollar Store in Union City, CA. The girl was shopping with her aunt and grandmother and had been unsupervised for less than a minute when the incident took place.

ABC 7News reports in an interview with Police Captain Brian Foley that "the child was out of the her sight for maybe thirty seconds". Investigators say that the girl had left her aunt to return a ribbon to the Christmas wrapping section. Eugene Ramos, 36, of Union City grabbed the girl and took her to an adjoining aisle. Foley said that as the grandmother approached the aisle she could see that an unknown male had the child pinned to the ground, with both hers and his pants down. When discovered, Ramos pulled up his pants and fled the store.

CBS San Francisco News reports that two good samaritans were able to catch Ramos. Police say that DeMario Hawkins was standing outside the store collecting donations when Ramos tried to flee the scene. Hawkins said he chased Ramos past nine stores, before the man tried to fight him. Thats when the second good samaritan, 55-year-old Sammy Johnson stepped in. Johnson said he tackled Ramos to the ground, sat on him, and called 911. "I'm not a hero, I was a helping hand," said Hawkins. The Union City Police gave Hawkins and Johnson an award for their help in the arrest.

ABC 7 News reports that Ramos has a prior conviction for the attempted rape of a 7-year-old Hayward girl from 2003.

This is a notable story because it shows a reporting discrepancy similar to the Powderhorn Park story. In the ABC coverage of the story the word rape was used, but in the CBS story the term "sexually assaulted" was used. Because of the connotations that accompany the word rape, it should be used cautiously only when the act was what the public believes is "rape".
This story is also notable because of the way the two news stations focused on different aspects of the incident for their broadcast. ABC News presented the story with the hard facts and indepth reporting from witnesses about what happened. CBS presented the story focusing on the good samaritans. They put more emphasis on the stories behind the two men that caught the suspect than the suspect. I think that both stations did a good job reporting the story, but ABC had a stronger report of the news element.

The NY Times reported that Tyler Clementi,18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University in New Jersey, commit suicide on September 22 three days after his roommate streamed a video of him having sexual intimacy with a man.

This story has a compelling lead that sets the scene for the article. The New York Times opens with, "It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19, 'Roommate asked for the room til midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.'"

By setting up the story with this type of action from the night of the incident it makes the reader feel like they are "in the know" on a personal level. This style of setting up the story eases the the reader into the harsh reality that this choice of action by the roommate led to Clementi's suicide. Suicide is a very hard topic to read and write about, so this helps to make it seem more personal, not like it is just another news story.

The New Yorker reports that Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson river in an apparent suicide.

The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Clementi posted a note on his Facebook page the day of his death saying, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry."

The New York Times reports that Clementi's roommate, Dahrun Ravi,18, stated on Twitter that his roommate was gay, but according to classmates at Rutgers University it is unclear what Clementi's orientation actually is.

The New York Times reports that it appears that Ravi tried to make another attempt to broadcast Clementi's personal life. On September 21 he posted a message on Twitter saying, "Anyone with ichat, I dare you to chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it's happening again."

The Middlesex County prosecutor's office said Clementi's roommate, Dahrun Ravi, 18, and another classmate, Molly Wei, 18, have each been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy. The most serious charges could lead to a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The New York Times reports that Ravi and Wei stated that the initial broadcast was an accident, but became the gossip of the campus.

The New York Times reports that Rutgers officials would not say whether or not the two students have been suspended. Rutgers officials would not say whether the two suspects had been suspended. In a statement on Wednesday, University President Richard L. McCormick said, "It is more clear than ever that we need strongly to reassert our call for civility and responsibility for each other."

Clementi's family issued a statement on Wednesday confirming the suicide. "Tyler was a fine young man and a distinguished musician, " the statement read. "The family is heartbroken beyond words." Thomas Jung,19, who shared a music stand with Clementi in the orchestra said, "He loved music. He was very dedicated. I couldn't tell if anything was wrong."

This type of article showcases a more personal news story because Clementi's decision to commit suicide was triggered by the hurtful actions of his roommate and classmate. This story provides the hard facts of the story, the police reports, university statements, and events that took place, but does so in a way that does not take away from the magnitude of the event. The choice to release say that it was a suicide was made by the family, because of the bullying that provoked it. In most cases, suicide deaths are not reference which also makes this a notable article. This case has repeatedly been in the news since the incident occurred in late September, which shows that it was an important topic that has left lasting effects on the family, Rutger's University Policies, and students that attend Rutgers University.

The USA Today reports, the Hickory Police say testing has matched the bone fragment with the DNA of 10-year-old Zahra Baker from North Carolina. The remains were found in an area close to where the girl's stepmother used to live. The police found the girl's prosthetic leg before they discovered the bone.

The Star Tribune reports, the police found the bone in some brush alongside the prosthetic leg earlier this month. Authorities revealed that one of the bones was found five miles away from the other remains. "We have recovered enough physical evidence to think we have found Zahra," Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins said.

The Charlotte Observer reports that no one has been charged in Zahra's disappearance, and Adkins did not make any announcements about suspects on Friday. Zahra was reported missing on Oct. 9 by her father, Adam Baker, 33, and her stepmother, Elisa, 42. District Attorney James Gaither Jr. said the investigation into the homicide is ongoing.

According to the USA Today, Zahra's stepmother has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police say she admitted to writing the fake ransom note that was found the day after Zahra was reported missing.

The Star Tribune reports that Elisa Baker is currently in jail. She has not been charged with Zahra's death and has recently been cooperating with the police. She led them to the areas where the remains were found.

The USA Today reports that Zahra's father Adam Baker was arrested on charges unrelated to Zahra's disappearance. He is free on bail, but the police reported that he has not cooperated.

According to the Star Tribune, Zahra was diagnosed with bone cancer five years ago. She had her leg amputated and underwent chemotherapy, but still had partial hearing loss.

According to the Star Tribune, Zahra was born in Australia and moved to North Carolina two years after her father met his soon-to-be wife online. Zahra's friends and relatives from Australia described her as an outgoing and happy girl, and said that she didn't want to come the the U.S.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Emily Dietrich, birth mother who gave up Zahra as a baby, headed to the Hickory house where Zahra lived on Friday.

This is a notable story because it is a very rare situation. The fact that Zahra was a 10-year-old bone cancer survivor who had recently moved to the United States from Australia added to the importance of the story. The Charlotte Observer reports that Zahra's disappearance and homicide has become one of the most high-profile cases for a missing child in North Carolina. Anytime a homicide case involves a child it is a notable news story. The articles that are cited below are updated news stories, like the lab we did in class on spot news. As I was reading the Star Tribune article it was updated and I was able to see the different parts that were added to the article. I found that the Charlotte Observer covered this story with the most depth, most likely because they are the local newspaper and were the first to pick up on the story. The Star Tribune (article by Associated Press) went into depth about the background of each person in the story. The USA Today provided a brief explanation of the story and had a link to the Charlotte Observer story.

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