December 14, 2008

Car crash in Brooklyn Center leaves 1 dead and 3 injured

A car crash in Brooklyn Center on Saturday left one dead and three injured.

According to the Star Tribune, “Authorities said the chain-reaction crash, reported at 6:17 p.m., at the intersection of Hwy. 252 and 66th Avenue N., was alcohol-related but no arrests had yet been made.�

The Star Tribune only commented on one injury, though information concerning the other injuries may not have been released as of press time for the newspaper.

Details were still scarce as of Sunday morning; however, WCCO reported that “Police say several cars were stopped in the eastbound lanes of 66th Street. A vehicle approaching from behind never stopped and slammed into the traffic. They say the driver … after his car somehow caught fire.�

Both news organizations focused on the primary and basic information of the crash. WCCO had more specific references than the Star Tribune, including car makes and a few names. Furthermore, WCCO ended the article with a brief mention of the weather conditions expected for the rest of the weekend, emphasizing caution for drivers in hazardous weather.

December 8, 2008

Recount for Senate race ended Friday

The recount of ballots in the senatorial race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman ended Friday.

Though the final count shows Coleman leading by 192 votes, the recount is not the final step in determining who will become the next senator of Minnesota.

Many articles pertaining to the situation emphasized that the election was far from over despite the completion of the recount of 2.9 million ballots.

According to the Pioneer Press, “if Republican Sen. Norm Coleman or Democratic challenger Al Franken hopes to be sworn in on time Jan. 6 — and the odds of that dwindle as the recount drags on — he will first have to go through a five-member state canvassing board charged with determining voter intent on potentially thousands of challenged ballots.�

The canvassing board is set to begin on Dec. 16, and will deal with the approximately 6,000 votes that have been challenged by the two candidates.

The Washington Post also reported on the unlikelihood of a quick resolution of the recount. According to the Washington Post, “The Secretary of State's office in Minnesota hasn't released an official count and won't declare a winner in the race until after that board meets.�

The Washington Post article was far more limited in scope than the extensive analysis proffered by the Pioneer Press, though the Washington Post focused more on viewing the election through a national lens.

November 30, 2008

One man killed, one injured in drive-by shooting Saturday

One man was killed and another wounded in a drive-by shooting in Minneapolis on Saturday.

The Pioneer Press released very little information in relation to the incident. According to the Pioneer Press, “in a news release, Sgt. Jesse Garcia III says the victims' car was stopped at an intersection around 3 a.m. Saturday when the other car pulled up and someone fired shots.�

The victims’ car eventually crashed into a private home. The Pioneer Press did not reveal any further details on the shooting and its consequences.

The Star Tribune, on the other hand, managed to create a fuller story by interviewing the resident of the home into which the car crashed. According to the Star Tribune, “Michael Allen, 30, of Minneapolis said Saturday he had come by the house where his father lives on the way home from a night out with friends and discovered the home surrounded by police tape and his father's prized Cadillac destroyed by the white Ford Bronco that had slammed into it.�

These specifics create an image in the mind of the reader that better convey the incident in its entirety. The Star Tribune also interviewed Allen’s neighbors to ask about a separate shooting that took place in a nearby apartment complex on Wednesday. The newspaper reported that police said the two shootings, though close in proximity, were unrelated.

November 24, 2008

Coleman's lead over Franken stands at 167 votes by end of Saturday

By the end of Saturday, the margin of votes separating Sen. Norm Coleman and his opponent, Al Franken, stood at 167.

The official recount of the ballots in the senatorial race has Coleman ahead, with about 65.5 percent of votes having been looked at again. 1,893 votes have been challenged, indicating the outcome of the race is still unclear.

The incredibly close race has led many to stress the importance of voting. According to the Star Tribune, “Coleman volunteer, Lynda Bodin, a dental hygienist from Wayzata, said: “If you stayed home (on election day) thinking your vote doesn’t count, this proves it does.�

The Star Tribune also discussed the problem of missing ballots on a county by county basis, and included quotes from representatives from both campaigns.

The Pioneer Press focused much of its attention on the challenged votes. According to the Pioneer Press, “‘They told us that they were given strict orders to challenge as many as they could,’ she said. ‘So they challenged every stray mark.’�

November 17, 2008

Fridley teen shot and killed

A Fridley High School senior was fatally shot in the chest on Friday.

18-year-old Emmanuel Bartuoh, one of his school’s star football players, died from a gunshot wound in his home in the Rice Creek Townhouses development.

Fridley police Sgt. Rick Crestik said that there was a suspect in the shooting. According to the Star Tribune, “Shortly after the shooting, a man came forward and said he was involved, Crestik said. The man, who is between the ages of 17 and 21, had remained at the house after the shooting. He was in custody Friday night, and police are not looking for other suspects.�

The Star Tribune article had a lot of detail, even quotes from a one of Bartuoh’s teammates to add a more personal element to the tragedy. Description of the scene outside the victim’s house helped reveal the tragedy of the incident. “A large group of high school football players remained outside the house for more than an hour, many of them crying as they huddled in the cold.�

The Pioneer Press also reported on the killing, but with far fewer details. However, it is important to note that the article specifically mentioned that the cause of the shooting was not verified. According to the Pioneer Press, “police have not ruled out that the shooting was an accident.�

November 9, 2008

Coleman cmapaign denied its request to stop the counting of 32 absentee ballots Saturday

Senator Norm Coleman’s campaign was denied on Saturday its request to exclude the counting of 32 absentee ballots that were found in an election official’s car on Friday night.

According to the New York Times, ““We’re just trying to make very sure that no one’s stuffing ballot boxes,� said Mr. Knaak of the Coleman campaign.� Knaak’s statement reveals Coleman’s concern for voter fraud and the suspicion the Coleman campaign has of the continually narrowing margin of victory he is holding onto after polls closed.

This doubt was echoed in statements given by Coleman’s campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan, as cited in the Pioneer Press. “Sheehan said Friday it was ‘statistically dubious and improbable’ that the tally changes had overwhelmingly benefited Franken.�

Coleman’s opponent, Democrat Al Franken, has refused to concede in a senatorial race that has come down to a difference of 221 votes and an automatic recount.

The Pioneer Press gave much more in depth coverage of the story, considering its local focus. The paper especially discussed the legal aspects of the motion and its denial, including a mention of historic precedent of vote swings that have occurred in Minnesota’s past after elections had ended.

The New York Times, however, did a good job of encapsulating the race, the results, and the feeling that an actual winner will not be declared for quite some time.

November 2, 2008

St. Olaf professor admits to stealing McCain lawn signs

A professor at St. Olaf confessed Thursday to removing McCain lawn signs along Highway 19.

Philip Busse, a visiting professor teaching a class in the theater department of the Northfield college, admitted to stealing the signs on the national blog Huffington Post. In a post titled “Confessions of a Lawn Sign Stealer�, he said he stole seven Republican presidential candidate signs.

Busse talked with the Rice County sheriff Friday and offered restitution for the signs.

The Pioneer Press was concise in its reporting of Busse’s actions. The article recognized that Busse deemed his own theft immature, but that “he is disappointed most readers have focused on the thefts and not the larger issues of his writing.�

The Star Tribune had much more coverage of the incident, including quotes from the director of marketing and communications at St. Olaf as well as representatives from both the McCain and Obama campaigns. This serves to broaden the local focus and help increase interested readership.

The Star Tribune noted that Busse had intended to show the excessive lengths some people go to during election years. “‘In this politically charged environment we all say and do stupid things,’ Busse said. ‘I found it interesting that an otherwise very mature person like myself would have this impulse.’�

There was a slight discrepancy in the two articles, with the Pioneer Press reporting seven stolen signs and the Star Tribune only mentioning that Busse had removed three signs.

October 19, 2008

Bachmann's comments spur donations for her opponent's campaign

Comments made by Minnesota Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann about Barack Obama on Friday evening have since fueled giant contributions to her opponent’s campaign.

Bachmann appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball� with Chris Matthews and asserted her concern that Obama had “anti-American� views.

According to the Pioneer Press, “Democratic challenger El Tinklenberg’s campaign said Saturday about 9,000 people from across the country had donated at least $450,000 online since about 6 p.m. Friday.� The figure is even more impressive considering the fact that Tinklenberg’s had previously raised $313,000 in donations in a span of five weeks prior to Bachmann’s comments, as reported by the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune reported similar findings, quoting Tinklenberg as saying that since Bachmann’s interview, “there's been a deluge of support unlike anything we have seen ... our phones haven't stopped ringing�.

The Star Tribune had less depth than the Pioneer Press in its details about Bachmann’s comments. The Pioneer Press also reported on the reaction of Bachmann’s campaign to Tinklenberg’s newfound financial support.

Neither articles described another portion of the interview in which Bachmann expressed the need for the media to research the extent of pro-American and anti-American views in Congress.

October 12, 2008

McCain responds to hostility directed at Obama in Lakeville

John McCain defended his opponent Barack Obama from hostile comments expressed by McCain supporters at a town hall meeting in Lakeville on Friday.

According to the Star Tribune, McCain was “responding to repeated questions about Obama's truthfulness and personal background�. In answer to these queries, McCain urged his followers to be respectful of Obama.

The speech took place in a gym at Lakeville South High School. The Star Tribune specifically noted that “Gayle Quinnell of Shakopee called Obama ‘an Arab’�, and later referred to him as a terrorist.

The New York Times was not as specific as the Star Tribune on the details of the Lakeville rally. Instead, the New York Times used the Minnesota meeting as a platform to discuss the growing hostility toward Obama in other McCain rallies, their effects on the presidential race, and how the McCain campaign is handling them.

Much of McCain’s response to the angry crowds seems to be derived from the fact that he is beginning to lose ground to Obama in presidential polls, according to the New York Times. “The events reflected Mr. McCain’s frequently lurching campaign…Mr. McCain’s traveling road show has veered from message to message and from pumping up hostile crowds to trying to calm them down.�

This is an example of how local news can become national news. The coverage that Quinnell’s comments at the Lakeville rally received was quite extensive, and became synonymous with the opinions of many of McCain’s supporters.

October 6, 2008

More media attention for Dean Barkley

Dean Barkley, the Independent Party candidate for Senator, is beginning to garner a lot of media attention.

Barkley is running his campaign against Al Franken, the candidate for the Democrats, and Norm Coleman, the candidate for the Republicans. Though his campaign finances are nowhere near what the other two candidates have raised, his name is starting to find some recognition.

Just so far in October, both MinnPost and the Pioneer Press have published in-depth articles and interviews with Barkley. The coverage likely is due to Sunday's debate.

The Pioneer Press cited that, “One recent poll has him at 19 percent, only 14 points behind Franken.� Considering the overwhelming financial disparities Barkley faces as a third-party candidate, this is already an accomplishment.

The actual numbers perhaps serve to show the difference best. According to the Pioneer Press, “Franken and Coleman have raised more than $30 million between them, making it the most expensive Senate race in the country. As of this week, Barkley had raised about $53,000.�

The Pioneer Press focused on Barkley’s extensive personal history, which includes political experience as a lobbyist and as a campaign manager for Jesse Ventura.

The MinnPost article, however, devoted its length to analyzing Barkley’s political reality. “IP candidates, including Barkley, have another big advantage: Their opponents don't know how to deal with them.� Being an Independent Party candidate gives one a little more freedom in debates and with campaign promises.

MinnPost also discussed the issue of the ‘wasted vote’ syndrome. The applicability of this problem in the Minnesota senatorial race proves how integral the understanding of the ‘syndrome’ is in politics.

September 29, 2008

DNA match links Maple Lake burglaries to a suspect

Blood samples taken from multiple burglary scenes in Maple Lake in 2006 and 2007 finally revealed a DNA match that provided officials with a suspect in the case Friday.

Wright County authorities sent the samples to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. In June, Wright County Sheriff Gary Miller was notified that a match had been found in the Minnesota Convicted Offender DNA system.

According to the Star Tribune, “‘The teen is expected to be charged with third-degree burglary and criminal damage to property,’ Miller said.�

The St. Cloud Times noted that during an interview with a county deputy, the juvenile suspected of the burglaries “at first denied being involved, but later admitted to knowing some of the details of the burglaries.�

Both papers indicated the date and location of the two incidents. The first took place Dec. 11, 2006 at the Old Town Creamery, and the second occurred Jan. 19, 2007 at St. Timothy's Catholic Church.

The information in both articles was nearly identical, though the St. Cloud Times had more detail on the specifics of the burglaries. In the first incident, “About $87 in cash and other items were taken. A window also was damaged.� In the second incident, “Someone vandalized the basement by prying open the doors, rummaging through cabinets, removing ceiling tiles and breaking a window.�

Continue reading "DNA match links Maple Lake burglaries to a suspect" »

September 22, 2008

No prosecution of journalists arrested during RNC

St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman said Friday that the city would not pursue misdemeanor charges against journalists arrested at the Republican National Convention.

Over 800 people were arrested during the RNC. Though many advocacy groups say they are happy with the decision to drop charges against legitimate journalists, some still find flaw with the fact that over 50 journalists were detained in the first place.

A Pioneer Press article reported the city’s decision. Much of the article was devoted to the question of what constitutes a journalist in the age of technology and blogging. “On one extreme, reporters, camera operators, bloggers or anyone else who received media credentials for the RNC by convention organizers will be considered journalists…On the other extreme, a person who claims to be a journalist merely by virtue that he or she was documenting events will not be considered journalists.�

The explanation of the broad definition of ‘journalist’ was also referenced in a Minnpost article. Minnpost went on to include the text of Coleman’s speech in the article.

According to the Pioneer Press, “It was made clear that the determination of dropped charges would be done individually. “Coleman emphasized that every charge will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Coleman said if prosecutors believe a journalist was breaking the law — "more than just doing their job" — prosecutions might proceed.�

The Minnpost article reported simply on the most vital facts, while the Pioneer Press went into more detail on the discussion surrounding the ramifications of police arresting journalists.

September 15, 2008

Triple stabbing on Lake Street in Minneapolis

A stabbing occurred at around 3 a.m. Saturday morning near Third Avenue South and Lake Street in Minneapolis. Three people were injured and hospitalized, though their condition is unknown.

The suspects in the attack were cited by witnesses only as a man and a woman, and no further details were given about the cause of the stabbing. It was made public that it did not appear to be a robbery.

The Pioneer Press reported that police did receive reports of a fight outside the Taco Bell at the location of the attack prior to 3 a.m. Emergency vehicles arrived on site to find the victims on the ground.

There exists a discrepancy over the victims. The Star Tribune reported that “A 26-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman were stabbed in the chest, and a 24-year-old woman was stabbed in the arm.� Following is the link to the article.

The Pioneer Press, however, reported that “a man in his mid-20s and a woman in her 40s had been stabbed in the chest, and a man in his 20s had been stabbed in the arm.� This information is quoted from

The gender of the third victim is unclear, especially as both papers attributed their information to Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer.

More details were given in the Star Tribune, including the hospital to which the victims were taken following the stabbing. All three were taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center. The extra coverage is possibly due to the fact that the Star Tribune is considered a Minneapolis-based newspaper, while the Pioneer Press is based in St. Paul.