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September 30, 2007

Analysis: structure

The Star Tribune's story on Carlson School of Management's travel-abroad requirement is structured in a sensible order. They first state the most important fact--that all undergrads will be required to travel abroad before graduating.

The reasoning behind the decision immediately follows. And rightfully so, since the reader will automatically wonder why the Carlson administration decided on this.

Then, authoritative views are exposed--specifically a quote from the school's dean and information from university officials. This gives credibility to the news source and furthers the readers understanding.

Next, the story covers "how" the students can fulfill the requirement, elaborating on study/work abroad programs available.

The story, again, mentions why the requirement will prove to be useful and beneficial to students. Quotes are included from faculty member(s) and student(s) to add more substance to the story, as well as varying persepectives.

It seems as though the story is organized in the format of the inverted triangle--the least important information is included at the end, and the lead is very straight-forward and tells, basically, the most important of the information in the entire story. It is effective in that it is informative and relevant, but not too lengthy or wordy.

Smoking Ban will be put into effect Monday

Minnesota's "Freedom to Breathe Act" takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, according a WCCO report.

Minnesota is the 17th state to execute a statewide ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, among other public places.

The article is mostly formed in a Q/A format; topics that were discussed include the following:

The ban prohibits smoking and/or carrying a lighted cigarette or cigar in most indoor public places and workplaces inclusive of: bars, retaurants, private clubs, bowling alleys, country club lounges, hotel lobbies, public transportation, and home offices/businesses where more than one person may be present.

Minnesotans can legally smoke in private homes, cars, buildings on family farms, among a few other places. Also, smoking is not banned from American Indian ceremonies or actors performing on state, WCCO said.

The ban does not apply to casinos or other establishments on Native American lands, Fox 9 News reported on Sunday. Fox 9 did not supply additional information beyond what WCCO included in their report.

The new smoking ban does not outlaw outoor smoking, but certain local laws may.

The Minnesota Department of Health is ultimately responsible for the ban that is put into effect, but private owners (restaurateurs, etc) must enforce the policy. Spotters of illegal smoking are encouraged to tell proprietors or to anonymously submit and post letters on the department's Web site, WCCO said.

The consequences of smoking illegally may entail "petty misdemeanor charges with fines of up to $300. The same goes for proprietors who flout the law -- plus, the Health Department can add penalties of up to $10,000 and some local public health agencies have authority to suspend or revoke liquor licenses," WCCO said.

Kare 11 News formatted their story on the smoking ban in a manner similar to WCCO's; almost all of the material was the same. However, a video clip is available on the Web site, in addition to the story.

Arabic advertisements to aid in the search for Madeleine McCann

Arabic television ads will be screened across Morocco requesting reports of sightings of Madeleine McCann, since her parents believe she may be alive in North Africa, reported London's The Observer Sunday.

Although the blond girl sighted in the Moroccan town of Zaio was not Madeleine, her parents believe she may be somewhere in the country, said The Observer.

Billboards in villages and supermarkets throughout Portugal and Spain will feature the girl in case someone may have missed out on the news of the disappearance.

The latest sensational stories coming from Portugal include claims that the girl's body was stored in a fridge and moved to 'various locations' around the Portuguese resort before being placed in the trunk of her parents' rental car and dumped, The Observer reported.

The story also includes details on background information on the case, including affiliated attorneys/lawyers and media officials, all of which has been mentioned in prior news reports and stories throughout the UK.

September 28, 2007

Chlamydia-stricken koala subjected to the wrath of blindness

A rare white koala named Mick was found north of Sydney and taken to a local hospital to receive medical attention, reported Monday.

Mick underwent surgery and was given antibiotics to restore his sight and health, which was affected by chlamydial conjunctivitis.

Mick is not an albino koala due to the fact that he has a black nose and yellow eyes; he is a rare species nonetheless, Cheyne Flanagan, Koala Hospital supervisor, said.

Chlamydia affects a wide range of animals and is considered to be the main pathogen of koalas, said the news source.

"Infections occur in the urogenital tract and respiratory tract and can cause infertility, blindness and ultimately death. The visible symptoms are conjunctivitis and urinary tract infections causing incontinence, leading to a condition known as 'dirty tail' or 'wet bottom.'"

September 26, 2007

Carlson School of Management requiring students to travel abroad

The University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management is making it mandatory that all undergraduate students travel abroad before graduating with a business degree, the Star Tribune reported Monday.

The business school currently has 1,800 students enrolled, and that number is expected to increase by 50 percent when their new building opens next fall.

Because the business world is becoming more global, these students will need to be adequately prepared to work internationally, said the school dean.

Faculty member, Kevin Upton, said such an opportunity will broaden the horizons of many students.

"This past year, we did a corporate visit at L'Oreal in Paris, and the students afterwards were all sort of embarrassed to discover that executives and every young marketing person that they talked to spoke at least three languages," Upton said.

Several options will be available for the undergrads to fulfill the requirement, including short-term winter and summer study-abroad programs.

The experience will prove invaluable regardless of whether students ultimately work abroad or not, added Upton.

September 24, 2007

Miss America Organization neglecting to pay up scholarship money

Contestants of the Miss America Pageant have been encountering obstacles when trying to collect their scholarship funds from the Miss America Organization, reported the New York Times Monday.

Ashley Wood, who was crowned as Miss South Carolina in 2004 enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania's business school this fall and has yet to receive any of the scholarship money she was promised after winning the pageant more than two years ago, said the Times.

Wood was told she would not be granted the $20,000 scholarship because her two local pageants did not pay her yet. Both groups backed out on the scholarship.

“It’s like a game of gotcha,? Wood said. “What is very clear to me is that the goal is to not give out the scholarships if at all possible.?

The report further explains how pageant directors of the Miss America Organization apparently have issues with returning phone calls and emails, and have been known to close down local pageants before scholarship distribution.

Pageant organizers, however, say such problems occur as a result of contestants' lack of punctuality or thoroughness.

The Miss America Organization assured that they are looking into the allegations and promised that they have not purposely withheld any scholarships from pageant participants.

“To my knowledge there is not a single contestant in the state of South Carolina who has abided by the rules who has not been paid? Gail M. Sanders, comptroller of the Miss South Carolina contest, said. Sanders declined to discuss Ms. Wood’s case.

Safiya Songhai, Miss Five Boroughs of New York in 2004, also said she confronted issues in receiving her scholarship money.

“Basically, if I hadn’t gone after them, I wouldn’t have gotten my money,? Songhai said. “There is no real checks and balances to make sure the contestants get their money.? She also added, “[Miss Five Boroughs Scholarship Pageant] is disorganized and [...] bad with money management.?

State pageant contestants have little control over resolving the scholarship issues besides taking the matter to court, however, the legal expenses make the scholarship not worth fighting for.

September 23, 2007

Analysis: attribution

The Minnesota Daily reporter, Andy Minnix, uses a wide variety of sources in the article "There's a new apple on the block."

He names David Bedford-a research scientist, Leslie Cooney-the membership manager of the UofM Landscape Arborteum, James Luby-the University's fruit breeding supervisor and Caston Johnson-first-year student at the University and employee at the arboretum.

The sources provide several different points of view and are spaced out throughout the article. However, the article is rather short, so they are fairly close together.

The reporter attributes the sources mostly in the form of quotes, with the exception of the information provided by the University of Minnesota student/arboretum employee. This approach to crediting sources is straight forward and easy to comprehend while reading the story, but doesn't seem to provide a strong foundation to the story. Basically, the story seems to be composed of a lot of quotes lumped together.

Denver man rips head off live duck

According to a WCCO news report (Sunday), a man from Denver was in custody for allegedly ripping the head off of a live duck in a hotel lobby "pond."

The guest of the Embassy Suites Hotel in St. Paul apparently cornered the animal Saturday morning and decapitated it with his hands, despite the presence of onlookers, the article said.

The man, allegedly drunk, threatened to also eat the bird, said St. Paul police Sgt. John Wuorinen.

He was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and is scheduled to appear in court Monday to be charged. He could face up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine, Tim Shields, general counsel with the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies, said.

Shields also said that the hotel needs to find ways to keep the ducks safe, or consider using fish like "most hotels" would.

University of Minnesota breeds, names new apple

University of Minnesota fruit breeders are letting the public give input on naming the newest breed of Minnesota apple--breed MN 447, according to the Minnesota Daily.

This is the first apple named by the public, the Daily said.

The apples bred by the University are produced at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota, which is made up of over 1,000 acres of apples, the source said.

"James Luby, the University's fruit breeding supervisor, described MN 447 as a small, red, 'ugly duckling' apple with a firm texture," reported the Daily.

Also, Leslie Cooney, the arboretum's membership manager, said that people are very eager to participate in the naming of the apple.

Breed 447 is still years away from being available for purchase, although the apple is one of the program's oldest selections; the University decided that it was "too unusual of an apple to be sold commercially, and was instead used as a 'breeding parent' for other apples," said David Bedford.

So far, the list of names is nearing 700. The arboretum will be accepting name ideas through the end of October, said the news source.

Perfect breast shape: revealed

London's The Independent reported on Sunday that an "attractive breast has a balanced proportion between the upper and lower halves, with the nipple sitting about 45 percent down from the top, pointing slightly upward," according to plastic surgeon Patrick Mallucci.

A presentation will be made at London's Royal College of Surgeons conference this week on the secret of the "perfect breast augmentation surgery."

Mallucci has allegedly come up with a "formula for perfection" based on research on topless models who have not received breast augmentation. "He has come up with a list of attributes and a specific ratio to use as a template," said the Independent.

Chinese factory provides dangerously strong Viagra

A Chinese factory has been supplying British chemists with Viagra that is three times more powerful than the regular product, according to The Times.

The levels of the active ingredient--sildenafil--in the Viagra are life-threatening to men with heart conditions, said the source. A spokesperson from Pfizer, its manufacturer, said, "The effects in men with existing diseases, such as cardiovascular conditions, may be unpredictable and potentially serious.?

The pills were supplied by Gabriel Zhang, a 32-year-old businessman, whose intentions are to expand his business from sex drugs to life-saving medicines, said the Times.

According a separate article in the Times (reported on Sunday), Gabriel Zhang is a "devout Catholic" involved in the "illegal counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals."

The factory where the fake drugs are produced is in a remote location in the Henan province of China.

Reporters from The Sunday Times went undercover as UK wholesalers to investigate the Chinese counterfeiting scandal and found that the Viagra contained "overdose" levels of the active ingredient."

The factory has been getting ready to start producing drugs for heart disease and cancer as well, said The Sunday Times.

"The packaging and the pills look like the real thing but with forensic analysis you see impurities and we often find that the active ingredient is reduced," Mick Deats, head of enforcement at the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said.

September 19, 2007

Warning: Escalators may crave a taste for your Crocs

The ever-popular brand of clogs, Crocs, have been posing as a threat to the safety of many consumers, particularly children, said the Star Tribune Monday.

The Washington Metro has even posted signs cautioning riders that wearing such shoes on moving stairs can be dangerous.

A 4-year-old boy from Virginia got his foot caught in an escalator last month, ripping off nearly the entire toenail on his big toe. All serious accidents involving Crocs or similar shoes have involved young children.

Ironically, the two biggest selling points of shoes such as Crocs--their flexibility and grip--are the largest contributing factors to accidents like that previously mentioned.

There have not been any known litigation filed in Minnesota over the issue; however, the government in Japan has received 29 reports of Crocs or similar shoes getting stuck in escalators from late August to early September.

September 16, 2007

Analysis: Leads

The lead in The Observer 's article (in the September 16 issue) "Confessions of a feisty choirgirl," provides the "who," "what," "where" and "when" elements, emphasizing that Leslie Feist, a native Canadian, has become a very well-known pop musician this year as a result of her third album's popularity.

These elements provide general information that is elaborated on later in the story. The paragraph following the lead is written in a more creative and descriptive style, but those that follow give more insight about Leslie Feist herself, the history of her career in the music industry, her current album, etc.

The lead of this music article is not necessarily attention-grabbing since it does not inform readers of a news event that is extremely vital; there is not a high level of newsworthiness. While the article does adhere to the interests of many readers, it would be a relevant article whether it was published September 16 or September 26. Timeliness is not as significant of a factor as interest is in this story, which is why the lead may seem more general and the author is able to save the details for the body of the article.

Madeleine McCann's body dumped in sea?

Portuguese cops fear that no trace of Madeleine McCann's will ever be found, as it is a possibility that the body was put in a weighted sack and dumped at sea, reported London's The Sun on Saturday.

Without a body, it will be hard to charge the parents with murder due to a lack of supporting evidence.

The article says that the sea theory is "one of the few police have left after four months of exhaustive land searches turned up nothing. Ocean specialists gauged where a body dumped off a beach would have been washed back ashore by tides." However, "a body weighed down with stones and dumped in deep water from a boat several miles out would simply disappear."

Madeleine's parents said they think the police in Portugal have forgotten about their daughter and that the investigation has become political. They are frustrated and feel as though the police are "playing a game with them."

In the article titled "Police 'cannot prove Madeleine's death'" in London's The Times, there was no mention of Madeleine's body being dumped into the sea.

"The forensic evidence which led to Kate and Gerry McCann being made official suspects in the disappearance of their daughter does not prove that Madeleine is dead, it was claimed [Friday]."

"Detectives have been struggling to create an accurate timeline of events after 6 p.m. on May 3, when Madeleine was taken by her parents to their holiday apartment to prepare her for bed." Kate McCann says she discovered Madeleine was missing after she made a check on the apartment at 10 p.m.

Traces of hair and bodily fluids were discovered in a Renault Scenic rented by the couple 25 days after Madeleine’s disappearance and prove that her corpse had been in the trunk, reported the Times.

However, homicide could not be proven even if the DNA tests were a 100 precent match of Maddie's, said one officer. "The elements could only prove that the girl had been transported in the car."

Portuguese police are waiting for the test results of samples taken from the McCanns' apartment on their resort and rental car. "The results on the final samples will be added to 4,000 pages of evidence, including Kate McCann’s diaries, which are being studied by a Portuguese judge."

September 15, 2007

Marbury's sexual encounter devalues testimony in sexual harassment suit

According to MSNBC, "Stephon Marbury testified Wednesday in the case of a fired team executive who has accused [Knicks] coach, Isiah Thomas, of sexual harassment."

"Browne Sanders [said] she is owed her vice president position back and at least $10 million for enduring a sexually harassing workplace for five years," as she claimed she was fired for "telling the truth" about crude behavior and "unwanted advances" by Thomas.

Marbury considered the lawsuit, filed by Vice President Anucha Browne Sanders, a joke. Not only did he make light of the lawsuit, but also acted nonchalant regarding a sexual encounter with a drunken intern.

The plaintiff made reference to a conversation with an MSG intern, who told her Marbury lured her to his car for sex after a drunken outing to a strip club; the intern was concurrently in a relationship with one of Marbury's cousins.

Marbury allegedly left the courthouse smiling and singing aloud. When asked to share more information about his relationship with the intern, he replied with a compliment on a reporter's shoes.

The New York Post's story covering the sexual harassment trial starts with a focus on the scandalous sexual relations between Stephon Marbury and a team intern.

Marbury was also forced to "admit to further encounters with the intern after the April 2005 incident, but the judge quickly cut off the questioning because Marbury is not a defendant in the lawsuit [...] filed by Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders."

When Marbury was asked if he disliked Sanders he said that he "never even had thought about her" and didn't have a reason to not like her, but was later forced to admit that he vented his anger at her to another team executive.

The article further reported that Sanders testified that "Marbury had always disliked her, refusing to participate in promotional events and demanding special privileges against team rules."

After learning that Marbury had been cursing behind her back, she made additional complaints only to have the Knicks president threaten her professional reputation.

Stars Wars exhibit coming to Science Museum

A Star Wars exhibit is coming to the Science Museum of Minnesota next summer, the Star Tribune announced Thursday. The Minnesota museum is one of eight museums across the country to present the exhibit.

The exhibit will be focused on "the real-world science behind the fantasy of the science fiction," said Mike Day, senior vice president of the museum. It will entail costumes and props, interactive stations, a robot theater and a replica of the Millenium Falcon cockpit, among other features.

The article also said that, although Star Wars has a shorter running period than prior exhibitions at the Science Museum, it is estimated to draw in more visitors considering the ratio of visitors to exhibition length.

In addition, there are plans to have a Star Wars related "component" at the museum's Omnitheater, however, the plans are indefinite.

The Science Museum will run the exhibit, Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, from June 13 to August 24, said the Pioneer Press.
According to the news source, the display will consist of vehicles, props, costumes (inclusive of a Chewbacca costume), droids and science.

Both news sources attempted to incorporate clever Star Wars puns into their articles, as well.

September 13, 2007

Putin makes obscure decision in appointing new prime minister

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Russian president, Vladimir Putin, accepted Mikhail Y. Fradkov's resignation as prime minister and appointed the low profile politician, Viktor A. Zubkov, to fill the position.

Russian diplomats were puzzled by the president's selection, though some believe his motive was to show that he is still in charge.

"He pulled this rabbit out of the hat, and that shows he can shake up the Russian world, and the international world, whenever he wants to," said Cliff Kupchan, a former American diplomat in Russia.

President Putin is banned from seeking re-election, which created speculation regarding how he would bow out and who would replace him. Editor of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta and former adviser to the minister of economy, Konstantin V. Remchukov, said, "the new prime minister is likely not a presidential successor. Rather, he was a man who has Putin's confidence to help solidify the government and who will follow his instructions precisely during the months preceding the expected succession."

According to London's The Times, "President Putin deliberately left open the key question of who will succeed him in the presidential elections next March." He wanted to confirm to two First Deputy Prime Ministers, both presidential contenders, that his authority is still in tact.

Also, according to the article, sources said that "Putin was already thinking about what role he would play in Russia after his successor is chosen."

September 12, 2007

Walker Art Center selects new director

According to the Star Tribune, Olga Viso, 41, will become Walker Art Center's director in January, taking the place of Kathy Halbreich.

Viso has been the director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. for 12 years. Her salary will be between $350,000 and $400,000, compared to Halbreich's current salary of over $400,000.

Viso, whose main goal is to increase the museum's attendance at shows and programs, has been described by one article source, Neal Benezra, as a "wonderful person who has a tremendous amount of experience and will bring enormous energy to the Walker."

The Pioneer Press reported that "the Walker Art Center has chosen an executive from the Smithsonian Institution as its new director." Olga Viso, 12-year veteran of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, will replace Kathy Halbreich, who announced her resignation in March.

"[Viso] has the quiet ability to be open and listen, but she's also very clear and decisive," said Ned Rifkin, former head of the Hirshhorn.

Her artistic emphasis in on Latin American art and artists.