Digital Doom or Digital Boom?

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I thought this Frontline documentary was extremely eye opening. The ironic thing I noticed is during the documentary when the researcher was studying multi-tasking, I myself was multi-tasking. I was listening to the documentary while checking Facebook and texting. The truth is, I had to watch the documentary again because my attention wasn't solely on the documentary, and I missed out on some valuable information. It's interesting to see the personal relationships that developed as a result of World of Warcraft, the popular video game. I think questioning our generation's digital knowledge is extremely important. We rely on the Internet and the idea of "staying connected" throughout our daily lives.

What I found most interesting was how South Korea is recognizing some cases of overusing the internet as an addiction. I believe this to be true with anything. Too much of a anything can be toxic. I'm not sure if sending kids to a two week intervention camp would really be the answer, because what happens after the two weeks is over? However, I do think instilling internet manners is a good idea at a young age. If kids are taught how to use the Internet properly, and not destructively there's no reason why this digital era can't be productive. There is a vast array of insightful knowledge that we consume on the Internet. I think it's a great tool to facilitate ideas and connections.

However, I think the digital revolution we're currently in can be self-destructive. In terms of relationships, we might not really be there when we're sitting at dinner with our friends or family. We might might be immersed in a texting conversation or a video game. I think the digital revolution has the power to destroy relationships as a result of not paying enough attention to our surroundings and neglecting those around us. The Frontline program really did a great job at illustrating all sides of the issue.

Star Tribune Story

New York Times Story

The Star Tribune (Associated Press) lead was the following: WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama urged Congress Wednesday to vote "up or down" on sweeping health care legislation in the next few weeks, endorsing a plan that denies Senate Republicans the right to kill the bill by stalling with a filibuster.

I felt like this lead was extremely effective in illustrating the tension that might result due to this vote "up or down" idea President Obama is urging. I also think the use of a direct quote from Obama works well in the context of this lead. This lead illustrates the dichotomy between the Democrats and Republicans on the health care legislation.

The lead for the New York Times article was:
WASHINGTON -- President Obama, making his final push for a health care overhaul, called Wednesday for Congress to set aside political gamesmanship and allow an "up-or-down-vote" on the measure, so that Democrats can pass the legislation and he can sign it into law, after nearly a year of debate.

I don't really like this lead. I feel like it's somewhat confusing in the order. It also doesn't captivate me as a reader. The overall lead is pretty confusing and doesn't give me a clear idea of what the article is about. It also doesn't really illustrate the tension like the first lead did.

"I don't see how another year of negotiations would help. Moreover, the insurance companies aren't starting over," the president said, referring to a recent round of announced premium increases affecting millions who purchase individual coverage.

This excerpt from the Star Tribune provides a good explanation after the quote. I also think the second paragraph of the New York Times article was effective in opening the subject of the article:
"I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on health care reform," Mr. Obama said in a 20-minute speech in the East Room of the White House.

I think the Star Tribune's use of the quote "At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem," from Obama was an interesting quote to use in this article. It illustrates the country's problems as a whole. Obama is indirectly saying that the way we solve this problem reflects how we will solve other problems. I think it effectively connects the speech to a wider range of issues the U.S. is dealing with. We constantly are immersed in this health care battle, and sometimes we don't realize there are other battles we need to fight besides health care. I feel like the Star Tribune has a negative attitude toward the health care plan. I wouldn't quite call it a bias, but I would say it's thought provoking. Contrastingly, The New York Times article seems like a bunch of quotes thrown together with no rhyme or reason. That might be exaggerating slightly. The Star Tribune article has a way of explaining the quote they chose to the straight and to the point. It has a reason and order to how the quotes are presented. I wouldn't say The New York Times article is a poor article, but if I had to choose a better written article it would definitely be the Star Tribune.

Shaun White: He's red, white and gold

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The Associated Press reported Feb. 18th about Shaun White's gold medal.

Lead Paragraph:
WEST VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Shaun White had the trick in the bag, along with an Olympic gold medal.

Might as well go for it, right?

Putting on a show when he hardly needed to, White capped his sensational night on the halfpipe with his signature move Wednesday -- the dangerous, spiraling Double McTwist 1260 during a victory lap that will go down as nothing short of epic.

This lead, right off the bat, captured my attention as a reader. Actually, the article as a whole was really creatively written and employed useful quotes that added to the article to make it easy and interesting to read. Back to the lead. This is not a typical lead that's for sure. Shaun White's Olympic victory was not like every other Olympic victory. The lead did a good job at differentiating his victory from all the others. He got the gold, and he also put on a show. He went above and beyond, and I feel this lead really does a good job at capturing that along with the emotions viewers must have had as they were watching his victory. I even like how the article went on to describe him as "The redhead." It adds some what of a character to White. When someone talks about Shaun White, I am usually unfamiliar with the name, so I refer to him as the red headed snow boarder. The article goes on, "Showtime! To the delight of cheering fans, he jerked his body around to milk the last half of the 3 1/2 twists he crams into two head-over-heels flips." What an enthusiastically put together article, starting from the lead and trickling all the way down to the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this synopsis of his victory.

Vonn falls, loses shot at second gold medal

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The Associated Press reported Feb. 18th about Lindsey Vonn's crash.

Lead Paragraph: WHISTLER, British Columbia - Lindsey Vonn, her bruised shin "killing me," lost her bid for a second Olympic gold medal Thursday when she missed a gate and fell in the slalom leg of the super-combined.

My first thoughts when I'm reading this lead is, what was the writer thinking? Honestly, I am extremely confused about everything. Right off the bat the first sentence threw me for a curve. First of all, it starts off in third person, then it goes to a quote in the first person, then it goes back to third person. I understand what the writer was trying to do, yet I don't believe it is effective. It lacks a certain flow that news reporting usually has. It also lacks straightforwardness. The terminology is also quite confusing. what is a "slalom leg of the super-combined?" I am not a skier, and I assume most people reading this article are not skiers as well. This could have been placed further down in the article since it's more detail oriented.

The second sentence is even worse
"Maria Riesch of Germany won the event, helping to atone for her failure to challenge best friend and biggest rival Vonn in Wednesday's marquee downhill race."
I find this sentence a little confusing. It doesn't quite make sense. "Helping to atone for her failure.." I'm not sure how this fits into the article, and I'm not sure if it makes sense. I'm sitting here reading and re-reading the sentence to try and understand the point the writer is trying to get across. Whatever point it is, could be done a lot more clearly and concisely. I really don't have many compliments on this article. It does however make up for a rocky beginning with a clear middle and ending. Yet, if the lead is the most important part of an article, I think it failed.

As online classes boom, questions of rigor arise

The Star Tribune reported Sunday about the recent boom in students from grades K-12 enrolling in online courses. Advocates for online education reach students whose situations present difficulty with learning in a normal classroom setting. For example, teen moms, elite athletes, and bully victims. One issue evolving from these online courses is the question of how rigorous they are in comparison to the statewide performance levels in reading, science and especially math. Minnesota has at least 24 public online K-12 programs. The courses are also taxpayer funded, like traditional public schools. Also, traditional high schools are offering online courses taught by their very own teachers to address the problem of overcrowding. There is also the question of online lessons being too fast paced, since information is traditionally learned over a span of time to allow for proper absorption of the material.

This news story deals a lot with novelty and conflict. Online classes aren't extremely new, however, online high school classes are. I feel like under certain circumstances these online classes really present a great alternative for those who have difficultly learning the traditional way. I also find it interesting that we call going to high school, and actually sitting in a seat and listening to a teacher, traditional. It never occurred to me there would be any other way. There is also some conflict present between those who think online courses are a sufficient way to learn the information and those who think that the standards are somewhat lacking. Over all, online learning will become a lot more prevalent in the future, so the only way to fix this is to make the coursework online equivalent to the coursework taught in schools. Even if this does happen, students will lose the social aspect of communicating with a teacher physically.

The Pioneer Press reported on Saturday about the opening 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Colombia. There had been an accident on the luge track, the world's most dangerous and fastest track. Nodar Kumaritashvilli, from the Republic of Georgia lost control, flew off the track and hit a steel pole near the finish line. This began to bring up questions about the safety of the track. The track itself was extremely fast, however once freezing rain was added to the mix, the intensity increased. Speeds of 95 mph were reached, leaving a really small margin for error. Kumaritashvilli was going too fast by the time he hit curve 11. However, the Games still went on. The 60,000 spectators gave their respects to the Georgians by a standing ovation.
This story utilizes emotion and immediacy. The event happened on Friday, and was reported on Saturday. Also, emotion is greatly expressed in this article. Everyone gathered together for what was supposed to be such a happy, and exciting opening ceremony. It quickly took a turn for the worst. However, even through the downfall of the ceremony people still gathered together and supported the Georgians. Proximity is also a major news value in this story. Yes, the Olympics are all the way in Vancouver, but they're also in the homes of families all around the world. Everyone feels the pain and loss of Kumaritashvilli as they watch the aftermath of the story.

Drunken man steals ambulance with patient inside

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that a drunken man stole an ambulance from a Wisconsin ski area with the patient inside.

Deaf patient was dying, but no one told her

The Star Tribune reported Friday about how Mary Ann Nelson, a deaf patient ant North Memorial Medical Center, found out her cancer was terminal through a note saying, "We can't cure the cancer!" Mary Ann met with doctors for 3 months prior to finding this out. This had been the first time Mary Ann and her husband, David, found out her cancer was terminal in March 2006, and she passed away in May 2006. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights pointed out it was the medical team's failure to communicate effectively with the Nelsons. This week, North Memorial agreed to pay $105,000 to settle charges that Nelson and another patient were not provided with the service of sign language interpreters. It was very difficult for the couple, because they could not ask questions throughout the process. Another patient, Mark Epstien, was hospitalized at the same hospital in March 2007 for inflammation in his intestines, according to the state investigation. He requested an interpreter daily, however, his request was never granted. When he was given medication, he wouldn't understand what it was for. Finally, when he was discharged 5 days later he had no idea what condition he was in. Overall, by relying on family members to interpret complicated medical information the health of both Epstein and Mary Ann Nelson was jeopardized.

This story employs a great deal of emotion. As a reader, I feel bad that these patients were left in the dark about their conditions, as well as their family members. It's not right to assume that they understand what's going on around them. It's also not right that they're given medication without an explanation or understanding on what the drug is really for. There is also conflict present between the families and the hospital. The families obviously feel that they were wronged and discriminated against. It's comforting to know that compensation was received by the patients from North Memorial Medical Center. Although money doesn't fix things, this might make the hospital think twice about discriminating against their patients.

This week Pioneer Press reported on a warehouse in Ellsworth, WI was seized after officials found several live rodents along with their nests and droppings in and around stored food. More than 1,500 cases of food were taken by the U.S. marshals. The owner, Mark Reisdorf, believes that the building does not pose a significant health hazard. He explained how the officials were there for eight days and saw three mice, which according to him, isn't that high of a number for a 70,000 square foot building. The company has also had other issues with trying to get a state license. They passed the inspection, however, the license was not granted since the check bounced. They also received complaints after trying to distribute food while under state embargo. The owner is unsure of what steps he should take and the future in not clear.
This story deals with proximity in where the food is being distributed. Yes, we live in Minnesota, however we could possibly be purchasing these products that are being made in a questionable environment. There is also conflict present in this story. The owner denies a lot of the claims brought up against him. Whether he's conflicted with himself, the policies, or both, is up in the air. This is a very disturbing story, however, it makes one feel a little comfort that these places are being inspected and brought down so potentially dangerous products cannot be brought to the market. Luckily, no one has gotten sick, but that could always be a potential outcome.