May 4, 2007

University Student-Athletes in Academic Danger

The University of Minnesota’s academic performance met NCAA requirements on Thursday but decreasing performance in men’s basketball and football are particularly distressing for university officials.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Dennis Brackin. This story reported that a large amount of teams were penalized for their academic performance.

A total of 112 teams -- none in the Big Ten -- were penalized Wednesday when the NCAA announced its latest APR scores, which measure student eligibility and retention within programs.

The story reported that the university’s academic performance over the last three years in men’s basketball and football were under the mandated NCAA guidelines. The story was actually able to successful quantify how poor the university’s basketball program was.

The university's 887 rate for men's basketball -- compiled under former coach Dan Monson -- was the lowest for any Big Ten program. But the university escaped the penalty of losing scholarships because they fell within a margin of error.

This story reported that the success of football and baseball are increasing while men’s basketball is decreasing because of retention issues. The story said that the university would have to fill out a plan of change in order to meet with success in these two sports. The story did report that there were some positives to be taken out of this report.

Men's basketball and football were the only programs at Minnesota below 925, although wrestling was close to the minimum with a 927. Seventeen of Minnesota's 25 sports ranked at or above the national APR average for their respective Division I sports.

I think that the biggest issue with this story was making it interesting to non-university readers while making sure that the story is objective rather than defaming the basketball or football players as all poor students. I’m sure that not all of these student-athletes are as poor academically as this story and the report might lead the reader to believe.

A second version of the story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Ray Richardson. This story reported much of the same information that the university was not very successful when it came to the academics of football and men’s basketball. This story cut right to the chase to tell the reader exactly what could happen if the scores don’t increase in the coming year.

Failure by the two programs to improve APR scores over the next academic year could result in the loss of scholarships.

This story reported a much more detailed account of how the APR scores are tallied.

Student-athletes earn one point for each semester they are enrolled and one point for each semester they are eligible for intercollegiate competition. The APR is calculated by taking the number of possible points for a sport during the three-year period and dividing that number by the total number of points earned from eligibility and retention.

I felt that both of these stories were pretty well written but that both of them had traces of sarcasm and could have been written more objectively. Personally, I feel that the majority of coverage of college athletic academics is usually negative. The student-athletes that I know actually do work very hard on their studies and try to prove that they belong here in the class room. I felt the Brackin version was slightly more detailed and that I preferred this detail over the brevity of the Richardson version. Therefore, I preferred the Brackin version although I would accept the Richardson version as a substitute.

Queen Visits The States

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was on hand in Richmond, Va., on Thursday to celebrate the settlement at Jamestown.

The story reported in the New York Times was written by Ian Urbina. This story reported that many people came to see the queen for many different reasons. The story reported the number of people that were present at the Virginia capitol on Thursday to see the queen.

They watched for different things as thousands gathered around the Capitol here under rainy skies with hopes of glimpsing Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to the United States in more than 15 years. Her husband, Prince Philip, is accompanying her on the six-day trip.

There was another more broad social reason for the queen’s presence in Virginia on Thursday. This story reported what that broad social issue was.

In February, Virginia became the first state to pass a resolution expressing official regret for slavery. In recent weeks, some scholars and minorities had asked whether the queen would consider making a formal apology for Britain’s role in slavery and the way early English settlers mistreated the Indians.

The story reported that the queen has a very busy schedule and has a lot of things that she wants to accomplish before she returns to England.

Before her speech, the queen met representatives from eight Indian tribes in Virginia. She also planned to meet with Oliver W. Hill Sr., a 100-year-old civil rights lawyer whose litigation helped lead to the 1954 Supreme Court decision to end racial segregation in public schools.

I think that the biggest issue behind this story is deciphering why this story is important and deciding whether or not people should know about the issue. In some cases I feel like some information could be left out of the public’s knowledge in order to maintain safety and integrity.

A second version of the story ran in the Dallas Morning News and was written by the Associated Press. This story was essentially a long brief that simply reported all of the key information about the story. This story reported in the lead the issues that brought the queen to the United States.

Queen Elizabeth II arrived Thursday for the commemoration of Jamestown's 400th anniversary and praised the cultural changes that have occurred since she last visited America's first permanent English settlement 50 years ago.

This version of the story reported the historical significance of the last time that the queen came to the state of Virginia and reported why she was there at the time.

The last time the queen helped Virginia mark the anniversary of its colonial founding, it was an all-white affair in a state whose government was in open defiance of a 1954 Supreme Court order to desegregate public schools.

I felt like the brief version was nice to read but that I still lacked some of the key pieces of information. I felt like there could have been more in the briefs version of the story. I think that because the briefs version was so shoddy that the Urbina version was a necessary evil. I didn’t particularly like the idea that this type of story could be written in such a quick and concise way without many quotes or sources. Overall, I preferred the Urbina version because it felt more extensive and detailed.

Warriors Bounce Mavericks

The Golden State Warriors became the first No. 8 seed to advance in a seven-game NBA playoff series Thursday night with a 111-86 victory over the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks.

The story that ran in the San Jose Mercury News was written by Janie McCauley of the Associated Press. This story reported that an injured Baron Davis and a controversial Stephen Jackson were mainly responsible for the Golden State win on Thursday night. The story also reported that defense on likely NBA MVP Dirk Nowitzki was extremely important. The story reported how the game was won and who the Warriors will face in the second round.

Coach Don Nelson's emotional bunch of castoffs beat his old organization by holding likely league MVP Dirk Nowitzki to eight points and 2-for-13 shooting, after he saved the Mavs with 30 points in their six-point Game 5 win Tuesday. The Warriors, making their first playoff appearance in 13 years, will open the second round Monday night at either Houston or Utah.

The story also reported why Stephen Jackson was so controversial.

Jackson—who avoided a suspension for Game 6 after two ejections in the series—hit four 3-pointers during a decisive 24-3 third-quarter run and finished with a playoff career-high 33 points.

The story reported the historic context that made this win and this series so important.

The Warriors became only the third eighth seed to upset the No. 1 and the first since the opening round went from best-of-five to the current format. The Denver Nuggets (1994) and the New York Knicks (1999) are the only other teams to win a series.

The story reported that the historic nature of the series win by Golden State was not the only way that the Warriors accomplished something historic.

The Warriors traded for Jackson in January in an eight-player swap with the Indiana Pacers to pair him with a healthy Davis as this playoff-starved franchise tried—and ultimately succeeded—to end the NBA's longest postseason drought.

I feel like the biggest issue with this story is getting people outside of the Dallas and Oakland markets to want to read the story. I found that the only reason I read the story was because it was particularly historical. More often than not I find myself bored with professional basketball and therefore don’t generally read such stories. I did feel that this version was fairly successful in getting me to read the story and be interested in the event.

A second version of the story ran in the New York Times by Lee Jenkins. This story reported much of the same information as the McCauley version. This story focused more on the historically inept history of the Golden State franchise. This story reported that many other teams would dream of an NBA title while the Warrior just dreamed of getting into post-season play.

Few teams have ever been so excited about a No. 8 seed, and no team has done more with it. Golden State, making its first playoff appearance in 14 years, also made history Thursday night. They are no longer the Clippers of Northern California.

This story reported an interesting connection between the last Golden State playoff team and the current playoff team.

The moniker was a twist on Run DMC, a pioneering rap group that achieved its peak of popularity in the 1980s. Today, Mullin is the team’s executive vice president. Richmond is one of his assistants. Their coach then, Don Nelson, is the coach again.

This version of the story reported a much more detailed and extensive background of Stephen Jackson. This story went deep to show the reader what Jackson had done in his past.

Until Thursday night, Stephen Jackson was best known as a wild man with a mean streak. Jackson, then with Indiana, fought with fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills during the notorious brawl between the Pacers and the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He also fired a gun outside a strip club in Indianapolis last year. The Pacers had little choice but to trade him.

I felt that both versions of this story were interesting enough that I would have read them anyway but I did feel that the Jenkins was slightly more interesting to read because it provided more background and information. This version was significantly longer but I felt like the length was acceptable enough that the story could be read without fear that the reader would turn away. The McCauley version was nice but it was a little less interesting which makes it harder to read than the Jenkins version.

May 1, 2007

Orchestra Hall Gets a Face Lift

The board of the Minnesota Orchestra approved a $90 million renovation to Orchestra Hall on Monday to rejuvenate the building.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Michael Anthony. This story reported that the target date for the project was still in the future but that dates had been set to get the project done.

The project, slated to begin in 2009 and open in 2011, will include: expansion of the lobby onto Peavey Plaza adjacent to the hall; construction of a restaurant on the plaza and additional facilities to make the plaza more amenable to outdoor concerts; and installation of new seats, including 150 around the back of the stage.

The story reported that no architect had been selected at this point yet and that the hall would try to remain open during most phases of the reconstruction. The story did report where most of the funding for the project would come from.

Funding for the project, Grangaard said, would come mostly from private donations. Some money has already been raised, he said.

The story reported how much of a success the building was initially heralded to be but how the lobby space was thought to be insufficient and inadequate. The liability of the lobby was a driving force in the renovation. The story did report some of the renovations that will be taking place in the hall.

A new choral loft will be added behind the stage, where the extra 150 seats will offer a front view of the conductor. This addition will push the stage forward, closer to the audience.

I feel like the biggest issue with this story is making it relevant and interesting to the reader because at this point nothing has started and nothing will start for a fairly long time. They haven’t even chosen an architect to work on the project. This story doesn’t really seem to have any timeliness newsworthiness but it did have some proximity news value because we do live near Orchestra Hall. If it weren’t for this I feel like the story would be a total waste.

A second version of the story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Kathy Berdan. I felt like reading this story actually made me dumber. This story was listed on the top of the Pioneer Press’ big news of the day. It turns out that this story could have been compiled by a moderately trained monkey. I couldn’t believe that this story was even given room on the web site. The only information that this story reported was that a $90 million renovation had been approved and then it detailed where and how the renovations might occur. This story was a complete was of the Pioneer Press’ and my time.

As discussed above the Berdan article, if you can really call it that, was a waste of everyone’s time. There is no way that that type of story should be placed anywhere either in print or online. This story was an embarrassment to anything that has been called a story before it. Therefore, the Star Tribune version was better because it actually succeeded in looking like a human being might have written it.

Trucker Found Not Guilty in Crash

The truck driver involved in a crash that killed five and injured several more from Chippewa Falls High School was acquitted on all counts Monday.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Kevin Giles. This story reported much of the information regarding the crash that killed five people in 2005.

Kozlowski, 24, was driving to the Twin Cities when his semitrailer truck overturned on Interstate Hwy. 94 early on Oct. 16, 2005. Moments later, a bus carrying Chippewa Falls marching band students and chaperones crashed into the trailer, which was blocking both westbound lanes 3 miles west of Osseo, Wis.

The story reported the names and ages of all five people killed in the crash. It also listed their relationships as many of them were related and all of them were some way associated with the Chippewa Falls School District. The story reported the reactions and emotions that came from friends and family of the victims when the verdict was read.

As nearly two dozen friends and relatives of the crash victims watched in silence, Kozlowski hugged his attorneys after Judge William Gabler read not guilty verdicts on all 33 felony and misdemeanor counts against him.

In a rather long winded way the story reported the fight that took place between the prosecution and the defense. Essentially, the prosecution tried to prove that Kozlowski was too tired to be driving and was a danger to other drivers while the defense put the dead bus driver on trial because he was tired and was not wearing the glasses the he should have been wearing according to his drivers’ license.

The story reported that while the criminal charges were unsuccessful the legal fight is by no means over.

Monday's verdict ends criminal action in the case, but 10 civil suits are pending against Kozlowski, Whole Foods and the charter bus company, Chippewa Trails.

I think that the biggest issue in this story is relating the details of the case to both the criminal and civil cases that were brought. Obviously, the writer should not want to slander either side of the story but I felt like I could see the Kozlowski side of the story looking rather, slimy. I felt like Kozlowski and his lawyers came off looking like really inconsiderate and evil people and I’m not sure this should have been the intent.

A second story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Kevin Harter and David Hanners. I felt like the lead for this story was a bit more traditional and was a bit more helpful by providing just enough information without overloading the reader with information.

A jury in Hudson, Wis., deliberated less than four hours Monday before acquitting an Indiana truck driver on charges that he was criminally negligent in a 2005 bus crash that killed five people.

This version of the story reported much of the same information in a very similar manner. I did feel like in this version as well the details and quotes about Kozlowski were a little bit editorialized.

Kozlowski, a short growth of hair just barely concealing the tattoos that cover his scalp and neck, did not testify in his defense. His defense rested largely on expert testimony showing that the driver of the bus did more to cause the fatal accident than Kozlowski.

Once again as with the first version of the story this version also commented on the defense’s attempt to place blame for the accident on the bus driver who died in the crash.

The defense said Kozlowski had gotten enough sleep. But they also attempted to focus blame on Rasmus, the driver of the chartered bus. They introduced evidence that he had bad eyesight and wasn't wearing his glasses, as was required by his driver's license. And they said he was driving without getting enough sleep and that the bus had defective brakes.

I felt like both of these stories had good points and poorer points. I felt that the Pioneer Press version was a little bit easier to read. I thought that this version was a little bit easier to decipher. The information presented in this piece was a bit more concise and broken down which made it easier for the reader to read. While I thought that the Pioneer Press version was better to read, I recognize that the Star Tribune version was right on the mark as well and had many good points of its own. I felt like both stories served their purpose but that the Pioneer Press version did so in a way that was more conducive to my personal reading style.

April 28, 2007

Vikings Take Peterson With First Round Selection

With the seventh overall selection in the 2007 NFL draft on Saturday the Minnesota Vikings selected University of Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.

The story that ran in the Pioneer Press was written by Jon Krawczynski. The story reported that despite a collar bone that was still on the mend the Minnesota Vikings selected Adrian Peterson to back up starter Chester Taylor. The story reported the reaction of Vikings’ Head Coach Brad Childress.

"We're obviously elated to have this guy," coach Brad Childress said. "He is an explosive football player that can take it to the house every time from any point on the football field. He has that kind of speed and ability."

With talented Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn still remaining at the No. 7 selection some fans expressed sympathies that would have preferred seeing Quinn holding up a Vikings jersey rather than the Cleveland Browns jersey he sported later on in the morning.

The Vikings passed on Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn to select Peterson, apparently comfortable going into next season with second-year QB Tarvaris Jackson and inexperienced veteran Brooks Bollinger competing for the job.

I think that the biggest issue with this story is making the story interesting to people who may have already heard about the pick either on TV or on the radio. I think that the issue is also relating the event to the broader NFL draft issues of day one. I think that this story did a good job making the story interesting and keeping the story brief in order to keep a broader audience interested.

A second version of a very similar story ran in the Star Tribune and was written by Kevin Seifert. This story began by also reporting the depth at the No. 7 position and how the Vikings had a tough decision between Quinn and Peterson. The story also reported a brief reaction by Childress about Peterson.

Ultimately, the Vikings turned down an offer to move into Washington's No. 6 spot and take Landry. They passed on Quinn, who plummeted to the No. 22 overall spot, and celebrated the arrival of Peterson -- arguably the draft's top offensive playmaker whom coach Brad Childress called a "bright-eyed, electric kid."

This story like the first detailed the injury history of Peterson’s collar bone and the issues that the Vikings may have in the future with this injury.

The Vikings set their sights on Peterson after his quiet April 13 visit to Winter Park. They X-rayed and examined his much-discussed right collarbone, which might need additional surgery, and received a glowing endorsement from running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, who once recruited him as a UCLA assistant coach.
Peterson's collarbone, originally broken last October, ballooned into a national story last week when Peterson acknowledged he had re-injured it Jan. 1 during the Fiesta Bowl. Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel, said last Wednesday on KFAN-1130 that there was a "rumor" that Peterson needed surgery to correct the injury.

These stories both shared the same goals in writing and I felt like both of them met their goals, however, I felt like the Seifert version was much more detailed and interesting. While the Seifert version got a little long I still found the reporting more profound. The Krawczynski version was fine to read but I felt like Seifert did a better job covering the event and all of the issues surrounding the selection of Peterson.

C.I.A. Involved in Secret Detentions

The C.I.A. revealed Friday that they had been holding Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a known Al Queda terrorist, for several months in a secret prison near Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The story that ran in the New York Times was written by Mark Mazzetti. The story reported that al-Iraqi had begun his work for the Al Queda terrorist organization in the late 1990’s and had worked his way to a position as one of Osama bin Laden’s chief aids. The story gave a direct feeling of scrutiny with regards to the government holding suspects secretly and reported why the government has been able to do so.

Mr. Iraqi’s case suggests that the C.I.A. may have adopted a new model for handling prisoners held secretly — a practice that Mr. Bush said could resume and that Congress permitted when it passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The story reported the broader feeling of scrutiny which has surrounded the C.I.A.’s actions in holding al-Iraqi.

Last fall, Mr. Bush declared the agency’s interrogations “one of the most successful intelligence efforts in American history.? But its secret detention of terrorism suspects has been widely criticized by human rights organizations and foreign governments as a violation of international law that relied on interrogation methods verging on torture.

The story went on to detail the complaints of human rights groups further emphasizing the severity that the C.I.A. may have taken in the interrogation of al-Iraqi.

Human rights advocates expressed anger that the United States continued a program of secret detention, and some wondered why the C.I.A. claimed it needed harsh interrogation methods to extract information from detainees when it appeared that Mr. Iraqi had given up information using Pentagon interrogation practices.

The focus on the human rights aspect of the story illustrates the multifaceted nature of the story. I feel like this nature is what makes this story very challenging. This story is responsible for telling the history of the release of al-Iraqi and also reporting the C.I.A. reaction to the announcement. In addition to these the story also has to report the human rights issues presented by secret imprisonment. I feel like this story tried to keep the story interesting while reporting all of the angles but the story inevitably got a little long and lost my interest because of the length.

A second version of the story ran in the San Francisco Chronicle and was written by Josh Meyer of the Los Angeles Times. This story reported a much different aspect of the story which was al-Iraqi had been captured. The story reported that it was the Pentagon who announced the arrest and that al-Iraqi was headed to Iraq when he was detained. The story did report the C.I.A.’s involvement and role in the detainment.

Officials did not disclose where the CIA had held al-Iraqi since he was captured. It wasn't until last September that President Bush first acknowledged the CIA's use of secret prisons around the world. He said all 14 high-value terrorism suspects that the CIA had been holding had been transferred to military custody at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for trials.

This story reported much of the same information regarding how important the information was that al-Iraqi disclosed. The story did report the human rights questions that some had but it was very minimal coverage if that.

Both of these versions were very well written but were very different. I felt like the Mazzetti version bit off a little bit more than it could chew with all of the different aspects portrayed in the story. I felt like there were too many angles present to be interesting. The Meyer version was slightly more focused but even this version bored me. I felt like the paragraphs in both versions were simply too long to be interesting to read. I also found the human rights angle boring because I don’t believe that known terrorists should be treated the same as the everyday American criminal. Overall, I preferred the Meyer version for its focus.

Historic Discovery in Arizona

While digging at the site of a future Wal-Mart store near Mesa, Ariz., on Friday workers uncovered the remains of a camel estimated at 10,000 years old.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by the Associated Press. The story reported that the workers quickly alerted a geologist and he came out to take a closer look at the find.

Arizona State University geology museum curator Brad Archer hurried out to the site Friday when he got the news that the owner of a nursery was carefully excavating bones found at the bottom of a hole being dug for a new ornamental citrus tree.

The story reported that the remains were positively identified as a camel and that the camel type species had been on the Earth more than 8,000 years ago. The story reported the situation surrounding the remains and where they would be taken.

Wal-Mart officials and Greenfield Citrus Nursery owner John Babiarz have already agreed that the bones will go directly on display at ASU.

The story reported the extreme rarity that this type of event is and that the display will likely take several months to be created.

I think that the biggest issue with this story is getting enough information to make the story interesting without making the story feel long winded. I think that this article did a good job at keeping the story brief and entertaining.

A second version of the story ran in the East Valley Tribune and was written by Christian Richardson. This story focused more on the involvement of John Babiarz and how the bones were discovered.

However on Wednesday, that is exactly what the 59-year-old discovered after a backhoe plunged into earth and dumped dirt and bones onto the ground along Lindsay Road near McKellips Road in Mesa.

This story reported much more detailed information regarding the circumstances that led to the discovery of the bones. This story did a very good job detailing the history of the area where the bones were found.

The bones were preserved four feet down in an area known as the Mesa Terrace where the Salt River was located during the Ice Age, Archer said.

The story reported a very interesting connection between Babiarz and Archer. The connection details the history of both individuals and the historic nature of the discovery.

Babiarz is well versed in finding bones. In Wyoming he discovered Tyrannosaurus Rex bones, and 10 years ago worked with Archer to find a Colombian mammoth in Chandler.

I felt that both versions of the story were acceptable and were able to achieve their intended goals. I felt like the story by Richardson was a bit more personal and had a lot more background information which was interesting to have. I felt like Richardson had a better grasp of the story and that he appeared much more knowledgeable on the subject. The Associated Press version felt too forced like the story was just really pushed out in order to cover the event for the sake of covering the event. Therefore, I preferred the Richardson version much more than the Associated Press version.

April 25, 2007

Teenager Charged In Bus Shooting

A 17-year-old St. Paul boy was charged Wednesday in connection with a shooting that took place Sunday on a Metro Transit bus.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Curt Brown and Howie Padilla. This story reported that there was significant controversy surrounding the charges being filed against the 17-year-old boy, Jerome P. Cross.

With about 40 people yelling outside for his freedom, 17-year-old Jerome P. Cross was charged this morning with two counts of murder in connection with an early Sunday shooting on a city bus in downtown St. Paul.

The story reported that two groups of teenagers were on the bus when a fight broke out between the two groups. The bus stopped to force the teenagers off and that is when things escalated.

Cross then got back on the bus, brandished a gun and fired a single fatal shot which struck Freeman in the chest, according to the petition.

The story reported that the police were performing tests to determine if there is a link between Cross and the shooting.

Cross did, however, give investigators a DNA sample and took a gun residue test. Results from those tests aren't yet available. Police found two handguns near the scene of the shooting.

The story reported that there was video surveillance evidence that places Cross on the bus but that was all that the story reported on that piece of evidence. The story did report that Cross’ family, especially his father, were crying to see the surveillance footage because they believed it would prove Cross’ innocence.

The story made specific note of the situation and emotions that are growing between the victim’s family, the Freeman family, and Cross.

Inside the courtroom this morning, authorities expressed concern about retaliation and threats to Freeman's family and friends. In part for his own safety, Jerome Cross was ordered held until his next court appearance on May 16.

I feel like the biggest issue with a story like this, that is very emotionally charged, is that the writer has to report the facts without seeming biased towards one side of the story or the other. The reporter can not express sympathies for either the victim or the person charged with the murder and this can often times be difficult. I felt like this story could have been more transparent but that it stayed in the area of acceptability.

A second version of the story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Shannon Prather and Mara H. Gottfried. This version had a very similar lead but the second graph or the nut graph was much more descriptive and interesting. This graph contained much more detailed facts.

Jerome Pablo Cross, 17, is charged in Ramsey County juvenile court with second-degree murder for the death of Earl Freeman, 16, on a Route 74 bus in downtown St. Paul. Prosecutors are seeking to have Cross certified as an adult.

The story reported much of the same information as the Star Tribune version because of the nature of the protests that were happening outside the courthouse. This version took much the same angle as the star Tribune version therefore the stories turned out very similar.

By reading the Star Tribune version first I felt like that version was better. I felt that it was more focused and was more concise. I felt that the Pioneer Press version was slightly bottom heavy and that the bottom half of the story just got a bit long winded. Therefore I much preferred the Star Tribune version.

April 24, 2007

Twin-Cities Get New Archbishop

The question of who would be the new archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis got its answer on Tuesday with the appointment of a new archbishop.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Pamela Miller. The story reported that John Nienstedt was named coadjutor archbishop meaning that he will share the duties of archbishop with current archbishop, Harry Flynn until Flynn retires. The story reported that Flynn’s retirement was expected.

Last year, Flynn, who will turn 74 on May 2, asked the Vatican to choose an eventual successor. Bishops generally retire at age 75.

The story reported that Nienstedt wants to continue Flynn’s work with the poor and disenfranchised especially immigrants. The story reported the history of Nienstedt’s work with the clergy.

Nienstedt was named bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm in the summer of 2001. Before that, he served as auxiliary bishop of Detroit. He was ordained a bishop in July 1996 and served as bishop for several Michigan communities.

I felt that the biggest issue with this story is making the story interesting to readers who may not be catholic. I think that this story did a somewhat acceptable job at making me feel like this story was important. It was interesting to see how many registered Catholics there are in Twin-Cities area.

A second story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Nancy Yang. This story reported much of the same information as the Miller version. This version used a different method to explain the situation regarding Flynn’s retirement.

Flynn turned 73 last year. When a bishop nears retirement age, which is 75 under canon law, the Vatican often appoints a coadjutor bishop to work with the present leader before taking over.

This story reported that there were only 750,000 Catholics in the Twin-Cities area whereas the Miller version reported that there were 830,000 Catholics in the area. I thought that this was an interesting contradiction between the two stories and really have no idea why the numbers are so different. The story did report the history of Nienstedt’s actions and activism.

Last December, he was one of seven prominent Minnesota bishops who signed a statement of protest against the federal immigration raids on Swift Co. plants. The statement said the raids divided families, disrupted communities and did nothing to advance needed immigration reform.

After reading both versions I felt that the Miller version was slightly more enjoyable and interesting but overall both versions were pretty boring. I found these stories rather boring because I am not strongly tied to the Catholic Church. I understand why it was written because there are between 750,000 and 830,000 Catholics in the Twin-Cities area and they would read a story like this. Overall, I didn’t think that either of them were that good but they did have newsworthy value in their impact on readership.

April 22, 2007

Wild GM Still Firing Shots

The season may have ended on Thursday for the Minnesota Wild but the shots are still flying Saturday particularly between Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough and Ducks’ General Manager Brian Burke.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Michael Russo. The story reported that the animosity between the teams and especially the general managers began with a questionable punch from Anaheim’s Brad May that left Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson with a concussion. The story reported that May tried to smooth the situation over but was rebuffed by Johnsson.

The story reported the history of violence that has followed Burke around throughout his career and that Risebrough was not happy with the situation.

Risebrough, who said, "May's probably made a lot of those calls," insinuated that actions like May's follow Burke around, a subtle reminder that Todd Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore's neck when Burke managed the Canucks.

The story reported that Johnsson said that the attack was unprovoked and that he would have been much more willing to accept the circumstances of the fight if it had been provoked.

"I'm disappointed ... that stuff like that can happen," said Johnsson, who thought his cheekbone was broken. "I feel that's not the right way to do it. If he wants to fight, at least tell me that he's going to do something so I can protect myself."

I felt like the biggest issue with this story was being able to relate it back to hockey in general. This story shouldn’t have been about a fight between teams that escalated in the playoffs. I felt that it should have related to the more general history of hockey violence and physicality in the last couple of years. After all Todd Bertuzzi nearly killed another player when he violently attacked the player from behind, breaking his neck in the process of the unwarranted attack. That is what I thought could have been played up a little bit more.

A second version of a similar story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Brian Murphy. This story reported much of the same information that led to the verbal altercations between the two teams. However, this version did a much better job of relating the recent events to the past series that Burke and Risebrough have been involved in back in 2003. This version also reported the reaction of Johnsson after the event.

Recalling the scrum that developed at the end of Game 4, Johnsson did not realize it was May confronting him nor was he prepared for what happened.

Both of these versions were very well written and did a very good job keeping the reader’s interest. For the most part these stories were very similar but I felt that the Murphy version was more detailed and therefore more interesting to a sports fan like myself. Overall though, both stories were very acceptable and I felt like the length of both stories illustrated the importance of the issue and event for the readers.

Orphanage Fire Kills Five

A fire in a Bosnian orphanage killed five babies and injuring 18 others as the fire tore through the building early Sunday morning.

The story that ran in the New York Times was written by the Associated Press. The story reported that the Bosnian orphanage was nearly totally destroyed by a fast moving fire that claimed five lives.

The blaze broke out on the third floor of the Ljubica Ivezic orphanage in downtown Sarajevo around 6 a.m. and rapidly spread to three rooms where the babies were sleeping, according to the Sarajevo fire brigade.

The story reported that many of the victims were young babies and that one nurse received burns to her hands and face while attempting to rescue the children. The story reported that the extent of the fire was not as critical as had been thought and that some of the building remained intact.

The orphanage was evacuated and its officials declined to comment. Some children were to return later to wings of the large building that were not affected by the fire, Champara said.

I think that the biggest issue with this story is getting enough information to make the story newsworthy internationally and getting enough voice to get American readers to read the story. I felt like this story wasn’t a really good example of a good international story because it was too bland.

A second and much briefer version ran in the San Francisco Chronicle also written by the Associated Press. This story was much more condensed and told very much the same story as the previous version. It said that 23 babies were injured and one nurse was also injured. This story did, however, report more information about how the firefighters responded to the blaze.

Firefighters said the flames raced through the building so quickly that even though they extinguished the blaze in around 10 minutes they were not fast enough to save all of the children.

Both of these stories were pretty brief but did have very relevant information. In some cases I would have preferred a longer story but these were acceptable for the type of event that this story was. I think that the first version from the New York Times was slightly more interesting to read and I preferred this version.

Blue Angel Crash Kills Pilot

A Navy Blue Angle jet crashed in to a residential neighborhood killing the pilot Saturday during an air show in S.C.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Bruce Smith of the Associated Press. The story reported that crash that killed the pilot of the jet also injured eight other people in the area of the crash. The story reported that the name of the pilot would not be released until his family had been notified of his death but the story did give information regarding the pilot’s history.

A Navy statement said the pilot had been on the team for two years — and it was his first as a demonstration pilot.

The story reported the history and training of the Blue Angels flight group.

The Blue Angels fly F/A-18 Hornets at high speeds in close formations, and their pilots are considered the Navy's elite. They don't wear the traditional G-suits that most jet pilots use to avoid blacking out during maneuvers. The suits inflate around the lower body to keep blood in the brain, but which could cause a pilot to bump the control stick — a potentially deadly move when flying inches from other planes.

I think that the biggest issue with this story is getting the information out about the crash without the pilot’s name. I think that this story could have been much more informative and interesting if Smith was able to report the information about the pilot’s life and career.

A second version of the story ran in the Boston Herald and was written by the Associated Press. This story reported much of the same information and even used many of the same sources. Despite the oddity that surrounds using the same quotes and sources in a story I felt like this story was actually mostly successful in getting information across to the reader. This story reported that the formation that resulted in the crash was extremely difficult and was the final trick of the air show.

The crash took place in the final minutes of the air show, said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Walley, a Blue Angel pilot. The pilots were doing a maneuver which involved all six planes joining from behind the crowd to form a Delta triangle, said Lt. Cmdr. Garrett D. Kasper, spokesman for the Blue Angels. One plane did not rejoin the formation.

This story, however, contradicted the previous version because it said that the pilot’s name was not released for a different reason.

The pilot’s name would not be released until Sunday afternoon, keeping with a policy of waiting 24 hours after the death, Kansteiner said. A Navy statement said the pilot had been on the team for two years - and it was his first as a demonstration pilot.

I felt that both versions were very appropriate with regards to length and did a good job working around not having the pilot’s name. I felt like I learned something event without the name and that was really nice to know. I felt that the similarities were a little odd but overall were acceptable. I would have preferred some more diversity in the coverage but it seems like this is just the nature of the journalistic beast.

Bullet Leads to School Lockdown

Students and faculty at an Eagan middle school received a scare Friday when a bullet found in one of the school’s hallway prompted a lock down of the school and a police search.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Curt Brown. This story reported that the bullet found in Metcalf Junior High School prompted a complete lockdown and a thorough police investigation of the building. The story reported that the incident carried some significant weight and importance based on the day on which it occurred.

On the eighth anniversary of the Columbine school shooting and four days after the massacre at Virginia Tech, an unspent cartridge found on the floor of the Eagan school's second-floor hall was enough to prompt a two-hour lockdown.

The story reported that the students were kept in the school while the lockdown was in place.

The roughly 750 students in grades seven through nine were locked in their classrooms with teachers and no one was allowed to move around the building as police searched every locker, nook and cranny.

The story reported that things got back to normal at the school around noon and that classes finished like normal.

I think that the biggest issue with this story is making the story interesting without looking like you’re trying to stir up a story or trying to get the readers concerned about something that they may not need to be worried about. I felt like the Brown version did a good job of finding a balance in this respect.

A second story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Frederick Melo. This story was much briefer and reported a lot of the same information. This story however did report where the bullet was found, a second-floor hallway of the Metcalf Junior High School. As stated previously much of the information remained the same but this story also mentioned the history associated with April 20th.

April 20 marks the eighth anniversary of the shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colo., in which student gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others.

I felt like, for the most part, these stories both accomplished their goals and did a good job of relaying the information about the incident. I felt that the Brown version was slightly more informative and interesting in addition to being more appropriate with regards to length. I felt like the Brown version was slightly more extensive with regards to the amount of reporting that was done. Therefore, I preferred reading the Brown version more than the Melo version.

Teen Killed On Metro Transit Ride

A 16-year-old St. Paul boy was shot and killed on a Metro Transit bus early Sunday morning after an altercation with other passengers.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written as a staff report. The report claimed that the boy was involved in an altercation with another group of young people at about 12:20 a.m. today. According to the report the boy was shot in the chest.

A young man then reached through a rear access in the bus and fired a pistol, hitting the victim in the chest and killing him, police said.

The report did give information about the description of the suspect.

The suspect is described as an African American male, 16 to 18 years old, 5-feet-6 to 5-feet-8 inches tall, with a slender build. He was wearing a white tee shirt and dark baggy pants, police said.

The report gave information about how to contact police who are in the middle of an on-going investigation.

I think that the biggest issue with this story is finding enough information to make the story relevant without sounding too boring and sounding like you're just repeating the police report. I think that this version had some difficulty with this issue because there just wasn't much information available at the time of the article.

A second story ran in the Pioneer Press by The Associated Press. This story lacked any really relevant information. The time of the shooting was not given. The only information about the shooting was that it happened through the rear access door of the bus and that it happened at the corner of Fifth and Sibley streets.

I was extremely disappointed with the Pioneer Press for letting a foreign news service get the jump on a story that should have been theirs. There is no way that the Pioneer Press should have run such a vague and useless article from the Associated Press. Anyone could have written that story. It looked as if the only thing that the writer did was to read the police report. The Star Tribune article looked as if someone might have actually thought about. For the most part I felt that the Star Tribune article was better and that despite the fact that it lacked many key pieces of information, which may have not been released yet, was rather informative. I appreciated that the Star Tribune didn’t outsource their coverage of the story to the Associated Press.