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April 26, 2009


In this story about dirty police, the reporter uses a lot of public records for sources. These records range from police arrest blotters to transcripts of official police reports. The reporter needed to know how to dig up information on the internet in order to be this comprehensive. They also had to have access to information that not very many people had available to them.

Poll Shows Minnesotans Think Coleman Should Concede

In a new Minnesota Poll released today, nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans think Norm Coleman should withdraw from the U.S. Senate race.

The Poll, released in the Star Tribune, showed that 64 percent of responders believed that Coleman should accept the recount trial verdicts.

Conversely, 28 percent of people thought that Coleman's appeal to the trial was "acceptable".

QB Stafford is First Pick in NFL Draft

Matthew Stafford was named the number one overall pick in the NFL draft on Saturday, after being selected by the Detroit Lions.

Stafford, a quarterback for the University of Georgia, led the Bulldogs to a 27-7 record while throwing 51 touchdown passes versus 33 interceptions, Reuters reports.

The Lions signed Stafford to the biggest contract ever for a draft pick, with a $72 million contract with over $41 million guaranteed.

Fans in the Radio City Music Hall venue booed when commissioner Rodger Goodell announced Stafford’s name.

Driver Will Not Be Jailed for Accident

A driver who struck and killed a road-construction worker last year on what was U.S. 212 will not receive any jail time, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

LuAllen Kettner spoke at his trial Friday, where he told the judge that he would trade his life for 47-year-old Leo Kuisle from Stewartville.

Kettner struck Kuisle with his SUV while Kuisle was working on a stretch of road in Carver County that has now been renamed Highway 61.

Prosecutors were seeking a 15-day jail sentence for Kettner, but the judge disagreed and sentenced Kettner to 40 hours of community service and a $685 fine.

Swine Flu Spreads

Over 80 people have died in Mexico and it is estimated that over 1400 people have been infected with a new strain of swine flu.

The Mexican government cancelled all mass services as well as sporting events and prison visitations to try and halt the spread of the virus, the Pioneer Press reports.

Cases have been found as far away as New Zealand and over 20 cases have been found in New York, California, Kansas and Ohio.

The U.S. declared a public health emergency in order to ship around 12 million doses of anti-flu medication from a federal stockpile to the infected states, however the Star Tribune reports that the 20 infected people are recovering rapidly.

Riot Erupts iNear Dinkytown

Six people were arrested Saturday night after a riot broke out during a block party near Dinkytown.

Police were called several times and forced to employ crowd control tactics such as tear gas, smoke grenades and rubber bullets.

The crowd, estimated to be in the several hundreds, were gathered to celebrate the annual Spring Jam hosted at the University of Minnesota.(Associated Press)

Along with smashed beer bottles, the crowd tore down street signs and started several fires and threw beer bottles and other debris at police officers.

The names of those being arrested have not been released yet. (Minnesota Daily)

April 19, 2009

New Campaign Pledges a Dollar for Every Day Norm Coleman Remains in Senate Race

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a new group working to get certain candidates elected, has started a new protest campaign against Norm Coleman.

According to the New York Times, the movement, titled “Dollar A Day””, the campaign urges democrats to donate one dollar for every day that Norm Coleman refuses to withdraw from the Minnesota Senate Race.

The email, sent to the mailing lists of the Change Campaign and Howard Dean’s Democracy for America, urges voters to donate for every day Coleman “refuses to concede.”

“Think about how this Dollar A Day will change the game,” the e-mail message continues. “If thousands of people sign up, and Republicans up for re-election in 2010 see the progressives who are out to defeat them get an infusion of donations each day that Coleman is obstinate, what do you think will happen?”

In a response to the new campaign, Tom Erickson, a spokesman for Coleman, repeated the accusation that Al Franken owes money in back taxes and suggested that the campaign should pay for them.

North Dakota Journalist Convicted of Spying in Iran

Roxana Saberi, the American journalist who was imprisoned in Iran, has been convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison, the Star Tribune reports .

The verdict marks the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of spying, according to the Pioneer Press.

Saberi, 31, appeared before a closed Iranian court Monday, and was sentenced Tuesday in a quick one-day trial. Her parents, who had flown to Iran in an effort to help their daughter, were not allowed to be present during the trial.

President Obama said that he is “deeply disappointed” about the conviction, and the United States has called the accusation baseless and demanded her release.

Saberi, a Fargo, North Dakota native, had lived in Iran for six years and was planning on returning home this year. She had been working on a book about Iranian culture. She had been arrested in January for working without press credentials, but Monday the government leveled much more serious charges on her.

Man Charged With Four Counts of Manslaughter In Driving Accident

The man suspected of being intoxicated when he drove his vehicle into a rain-filled ditch that drowned five children riding with him was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter, the New York Times reported Sunday.

A Houston police spokesperson told the Times that Chanton Jenkins, 32, was charged Sunday. Police are still looking for the body of one of the five children.

Police said Jenkins failed a field sobriety test after the crash and that he apparently lost control of his car while on a cell phone. It is not known yet whether Jenkins has an attorney.

Police told CNN that the bodies of the children found were identified as a girl, 1, and three boys, ages 4, 6, and 7

Hopkins Man Killed In Fast-Food Parking Lot

A 24-year-old Hopkins man was shot and killed Sunday following an argument between two groups of people in a fast food parking lot, The Pioneer Press reported.

Police have two suspects in custody but have not yet released more information.

The police station told the Star Tribune that witnesses saw two groups of people begin arguing in a White Castle parking lot in Hopkins at about 2 a.m. when shots were fired.

April 12, 2009


In this story about Easter celebrations around the world, the writer does not really dwell on any particular stereotype, choosing instead to show how different groups of Christians spent their Easter holiday. The story tells me about the different routines that Christian groups go through for Easter and what they decided to do different this time. Overall this story is very good and does not get caught up in racial stereotypes at all.

Barge Captain Freed

Cargo ship captain Richard Phillips was rescued Sunday from Somali pirates, five days after he was taken hostage, Reuters reports.

U.S. Navy snipers shot and killed three Somali pirates who were holding Phillips captive in a lifeboat.

Navy officers judged that Phillips’ life was in danger when snipers aboard a destroyer shot his captors, freeing him and killing three of the four men holding him. The fourth man was taken into custody.

The U.S. Navy commander who gave the order to shoot listed deteriorating weather conditions and negotiation breakdowns as reasons to believe Phillips was endangered, saying that they were “pointing AK-47’s at the captain.”

According to CNN, this is the first time in modern history that the United States has a pirate who carried out an attack on an American citizen in custody. Figuring out what to do with the pirate is a sensitive issue.

Adm. Rick Gurnon, head of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where Phillips trained, said he wasn’t really worried for him.

"I actually was more concerned for his family," Gurnon said. "As a captain in sea, in a lifeboat, he was comfortable -- even if he was sharing it with Somali pirates."

Body Found in Mississippi River

A body found Saturday morning is not that of missing St. Thomas freshman Dan Zamlen, the Star Tribune Reports.

According to the Pioneer Press, the body, discovered near Warner Road in downtown St. Paul, is a woman’s. Police believe it may be the woman who reportedly jumped from the Roberts Street Bridge a few weeks ago.

Police are waiting for the body to be identified, although it appears to have been in the water for some time. The body was discovered by employees of a local barge company near the intersection of Childs and Shepard Roads.

April 9, 2009

Simpsons Get Own Stamps

Famed TV family “The Simpsons” can add another item of merchandise to its ever-expanding list. Come May 7, the prime-time family will be featured on the newest series of stamps released by the U.S. Postal Service, Reuters reports.

Series creator Matt Groening said that being on a stamp was “the biggest and most adhesive honor ‘The Simpsons’ has ever received.”

The set of five stamps will feature each member of the Simpsons’ family, and fans are encouraged to go online and vote for their favorite family member.

Producer James L. Brooks commended the postal service on their choice.

“We are emotionally moved by the Postal Service selecting us rather than making the lazy choice of someone who has benefited society," Brooks told CNN.

UK Anti-Terrorism Officer Resigns

A leading member of Britain's anti-terrorism team resigned Thursday, a day after he was photographed with a document that disclosed sensitive information regarding an extensive counter-terror investigation, Reuters reports.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick resigned Thursday, a day after he was photographed with a document listing the names of a dozen suspected terrorists who were about to be arrested.

The gaff prompted British police to stage a highly unusual daytime raid on several locations, arresting 12 people. Reuters reports that 10 of the suspects were Pakistani nationals in Britain on student visas and one was a British citizen.

The document was titled “Briefing Note: Operation Pathway”, and was marked “secret.” The document described the operation and listed several of the suspects by name.
In a statement Thursday, Quick announced his resignation.

"I have today offered my resignation in the knowledge that my action could have compromised a major counterterrorism operation," Quick said in a statement, according to CNN. "I deeply regret the disruption caused to colleagues undertaking the operation and remain grateful for the way in which they adapted quickly and professionally to a revised time scale."

3M Offering 3600 Workers Early Retirement packages

3M is offering 3,600 people, 11 percent of its U.S. work force, an early retirement package as part of their ongoing efforts to reduce costs.

The voluntary buyout is directed towards nonunion U.S. employees who are either 59 years old and have five or more years of company service or 55 years old with at least 30 years of service.

3M spokesperson Jacqueline Berry told the Associated Press that employees will be notified of the package on Thursday. They will have until May 31 to decide.

3M cut over 2,400 jobs in 2008 and have already cut 1,200 from its international labor force in 2009. The buyouts come as the next cost-saving step. The company has already saved $235 million.

Currently 57 percent of 3M’s workforce is outside the United States, and the company now earns about two –thirds of its business overseas. (Pioneer Press)

April 5, 2009


In this story about Chrysler, the reporter uses numbers to show how many U.S. jobs Chrysler employs, how many employees it has laid off, and how much Chrysler owes suppliers and other businesses. The numbers are credited to Chrysler's own turnaround plan it filed with the government, and it is listed whole. The reporter uses numbers effectively to advance the story and the reader is never overwhelmed with the numbers. This piece is very effective at letting numbers tell the story but never overusing them.

30 Die from Three Separate Incidents in Pakistan

Around 30 people lost their lives Saturday in Pakistan, which saw two suicide attacks and a suspected U.S. missile strike.

Around 12 people died when a truck carrying explosives was fired on by security forces at the tribal region of North Waziristan, CNN reports. Officials say the truck blew up before it rammed into the checkpoint, killing bystanders and pedestrians, including several children, at around 1:30 p.m.

A second bombing occurred when the bomber walked to a vehicle security checkpoint in Islamabad and blew himself up. Six people died, police spokesperson Bin Yamin told CNN.

From 12 to as many as 18 people were killed by suspected U.S. missile strikes in northwest Pakistan, local sources told CNN. The airstrike targeted a home in the village of Datakhel.

U.S. Accused of Spying on China, Russia

Russian television accused the United States of spying on Russia and China after turning its last airbase in Central Asia into a state-of-the-art surveillance center, Reuters reports.

The base, located in Kyrgyzstan, was used to send supplies to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan ordered the United States to close the base in February, after it had received a $2 billion stimulus package from Russia.

The accusation was aired on Rossiya television, widely regarded as the official station in Russia, and was shown just as U.S. and Kyrgz officials had resumed dialogue over the base’s future.

The documentary says that the base now spies on countries all over the world.

"This station can eavesdrop the whole world -- every fax, every e-mailed letter. Every call from a mobile or landline phone is being recorded and processed. Billions of messages are being intercepted”

U.S. officials called the claims ridiculous

New York Times Co Threatens to Close Boston Globe

The New York Times Co has threatened to end operations at the Boston Globe unless the Globe’s unions can agree to over $20 million in concessions, Reuters reported Friday.

Executives from the company made the demands Thursday morning, during a meeting with leaders of the newspaper’s 13 separate unions, the Globe reported.

Boston Newspaper Guild president Daniel Totten said that possible concessions for the paper could be pay cuts, ending pension contributions by the company, and eliminating lifetime job guarantees for veteran staff. The guild is the Globe’s biggest union representative, with over 700 advertising, business and editorial employees.

The Boston Globe is the 14th-largest U.S. daily paper by circulation, and was purchased by the Times Co in 1993, for a record setting $1.1 billion, the Associated Press reports.

The 137-year-old paper has lost money in recent years, and the Times Co is now $1.1 billion in debt.

Boston University communications professor Tobe Berkovitz called the threat a “huge warning shot across the bow of the newspaper industry.”

“If this can happen to the storied Boston Globe,” Berkovitz added, “pretty much nothing is safe.

Saturday executives announced that the Boston Globe has 30 days to reach a decision.

Star Trib Reporters Out To Save Paper

A group of reporters from the bankrupt Star Tribune are launching a campaign to build up public support for the paper. (Associated Press)

The group’s website, www.savethestrib.com, goes up Monday. Members of the group will be out and about Monday, including showing up at the Twins’ home opener, to raise public awareness, collect petition signatures and give out hats and T-shirts with Star Tribune logos on them.

A spokesperson for the group said that now is not a time to look back at what caused the paper to fall into bankruptcy, but instead to look forward towards convincing people that the paper is a vital resource.

The group plans to solicit ideas from people on possible new business model or ownerships to ensure the paper’s continued existence.

St. Thomas Freshman Missing

A St. Thomas freshman was reported missing early this morning after his cell phone conversation ended abruptly, the Star Tribune reports.

Dan Zamlen, 18, was last heard from around 3 a.m. Sunday. His friends told the Pioneer Press that he was headed home after a party and was walking on Mississippi River Boulevard, near St. Claire Avenue. Friends said they heard an exclamation, and then the phone went silent.

Zamlen, from Eveleth, Minn., was diabetic and had an insulin pump attached to his arm. Because of this, police suspect that he may need medical attention.

Zamlen’s family has come down to the St. Thomas campus while waiting for news. His mother, Sally Zamlen, said that there is evidence to suggest that Zamlen might have fallen into the river. She told the Star Tribune that his friends told her that they had just told him that they would come pick him up.

“Then they heard, 'Oh my God, oh my God,' so we think he fell," Sally Zamlen said.

So far, no broad police search has begun. Police Spokesman Pete Panos told the Star Tribune that police have no reason to suspect foul play and as an adult, Zamlen has the right to stay out of touch.

The family said that Zamlen’s phone was still accepting calls and messages until this morning, so it still works.

Zamlen’s sister, Andrea, 17, just wants the affair to be over.

"He's my big brother, and I just want him to come home," she said.