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February 15, 2009


The story in the Star Tribune on the man who was hit by a train in St. Paul uses a bare minimum structure that puts out the facts but little more.
The story starts with a short and succint lead that says who, what, where, and when. The man remains unidentified by police, so his name is also left out of the second graph.
The second graphy moves on to paraphrase the St. Paul police statement, the only source used in the story. It tells where the body was found, when, and by who, which adds more detail to the lead that he was found.
The next most important part, who the man is, is discussed next. The writer explains as much as he can about the man, and tells the reader why he is not identified.
It then uses a quote from police. The last graph seems to end the story awkwardly. I believe one way the story could be changed would be to switch the last to paragraphs in order to end with a "kicker quote."

Clinton's First Trip

Hilary Clinton's first trip as Secretary of State was to Asia, as the Voice of America News reported Sunday.
VOA reports Clinton left Sunday for a week-long visit to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China.
In Japan, Clinton will sign an agreement to ease tension over American troop presence by removing over 8,000 American troops, said VOA.
BBC also reported on the story, and said this trip is the first time an American Secretary of State has made an initial trip to Asia since then 1960s.
The BBC reports that Clinton said she wishes to broaden and deepen American ties with Asia.
Clinton called America both a trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific power.

Delta to Continue in Bemidji

The Pioneer Press reported that Delta will continue to "robustly serve Bemidji", even after the rebranding and merger with Northwest Airlines is complete.
Airport managers had had questions about the continuation of service in January.
Delta Vice President for Coporate Affairs Tammy Lee Stanoch told the Pioneer Press that differences between the two airline's policies had been "harmonized."
Delta announced last week it planned to merge three regional carriers under Northwest and Delta into one, Regional Handling Services, and that the carrier would be based in Minnesota.
The Bemidji Pioneer also reported this story on Friday, and they reported Stanoch told them both Delta and Northwest tickets are recognized in ticket kiosks, and that 11 Northwest planes have been repainted with the Delta logo.

Man Killed By Train

A man was killed by a train in St. Paul late Saturday the Star Tribune reported.
The man's body was found on the tracks near Palen Blvd. and Payne Avenue by passersby. Police told the Star Tribune they believe the man may have passed out or fallen asleep on the tracks.
The Pioneer Press reported the man was 33-years-old.
The Press also continues further, saying a Union Pacific worker found the man and reported it at around 11 p.m.
The Press said the man was found on tracks near Bush Avenue and Burr Street, and that he appeared to have been hit.

February 13, 2009

Plane Crashes in Buffalo

The Washington Post reported Friday a plane crash in Buffalo, New York.
The Continental commuter plane crash left no survivors, killing 50 people, the Post said.
In addition to the entire crew and all passengers, a resident of the home the plane crashed into also died. Two other residents received minor injuries.
The plane nose-dived into the home, the Post said. Firefighters continued to put out the fire the crash caused before investigators could try to determine what happened.
President Obama said Friday morning one of the deceased was Beverly Eckert, wife of Sean Rooney who died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. She and others had met with Obama last week to discuss his plans on terrorism, the Post said.\
CBS News reports the plane that crashed was almost new, and had only been in use for one year.\
The model had a strong safety record, with no fatal crashes, CBS reported.

Gregg Withdraws

Eric Black's coverage on Minnpost of Judd Gregg's withdrawal from Commerce Secretary nomination reports Gregg gave "irresolvable conflicts" with Obama as his reason.
Black reports that disagreements on issues such as the economic stimulus package may have led to the withdrawal. Gregg is the second nominee to withdraw.
Black also said that some Republicans had told Gregg to withdraw after Obama's decision to move responsibility for the Census Bureau to the White House.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released a statement implying Gregg sought the Commerce position, and Black said the statement "rings of annoyance" with Gregg.
The Economist reports the withdrawal is another setback for the Obama administration.
According to the Economist, the nomination of Gregg was seen as a commitment for a monderate government from Obama.
The Economist also reports the withdrawal was "rather odd" because Gregg knew the nature of the stimulus package when he agreed to accept the nomination only ten days ago.

February 8, 2009

Minnesota Media Continues Downslide

David Brauer's reports of local Minneapolis media were not hopeful this week, with the Pioneer Press accepting unpaid furloughs and more stress at the Star Tribune here and here.
According to Brauer, the Pioneer Press voted this week to approve unpaid furloughs, the equivalent of 6 full-time jobs. Leaders of the Pioneer Press Guild said the decision was painful, but obvious.
Co-Chair of the Guild Gayle Grundtner told Brauer the Guild was committed to the future of the Pioness Press, despite the union unsuccesfully gaurenteeing wage freezes during the furlough period.
The Star Tribune also went through turmoil this week according to Brauer.
In a memo Brauer published written by publisher Chris Harte, more savings and budget cuts are coming.
The company's 401-K matching program has been stopped, and pension plans have been frozen. There will also be a 2009 pay-freeze, changes in vacation time, and manager incentives will be stopped said Brauer.
As of now, only non-union members will be affected by these changes, but the memo did say that negotiations with the unions would be taking place.

February 5, 2009

Iran Denies Visa

Iran denied a visa for the U.S. Women's badmitton team it had invited to play in Iran this weekend, the Washington Post reported.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said during a weekly news conference that the U.S. team would not be playing in the event, the Post said.
The head of the Iranian Badmitton Federation that invited the U.S. team asked for forgiveness and said it had done all the neccessary follow-ups on the visas.
The Obama administration said it was "mystified" by the refusal, and also said they had hoped to reciprocate the invitation by having the Iranian team come to the U.S. to play this summer.
The badmitton event would have been the first cultural exchange with Iran under the new administration, the Post reported.
The U.S.A. Today's coverage included State Department spokesman Robert Wood saying he was disappointed by Iran's actions.
He said the team had supplied all the required paperwork.
U.S.A. Today also reported that the 12-person team is currently headed home from Dubai.

Ginsburg Undergoes Surgery

Supreme Court Justince Ruth Ginsburg underwent surgery Thursday for pancreatic cancer, the Star Tribune reported.
The Star Tribune reports this raises the possibility that the court's only woman may have to step down before she had planned.
While pancreatic cancer is often deadly, doctors said they caught Ginsburg's at an early state, said the Star Tribune.
The Start Tribune said that in 1999, Ginsburg had surgery for colon cancer and had radiation and chemotherapy, but never missed a day at work.
The Star Tribune reported President Barack Obama wished her a speedy recovery, but also reported if she were to step down, it would be up to him to appoint a new judge.
The Washington Post reported Ginsburg will remain in the hospital for the next week to 10 days. The Post also reports that Gisburg is a "reliabe liberal vote" on the court, but she has many friendships with her more conservative colleagues.

Madoff and Minnesotans

Nearly 400 Minnesotans are on the list of Madoff clients, released today in U.S. Bankrupcy Court, the Star Tribune reports.
All of these people qould have lost money when Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme was revealed late last year, said the Star Tribune.
While the exact amount each person lost was not made public, local attorney's contacted by clients told the Star Tribune that local losses could exceed $300 million.
Clients included Sid Hartman and other notable Minnesotans such as Harold Roitenberg, the retired CEO of the former Modern Merchandising.
The Pioneer Press also names foundations such as the Mayo Foundation.
The Pioneer Press also notes the Madoff name spoke of wealth, and that investing with him was a "badge of honor."

Franken Asks for Election Certificate

Al Franken's lawyers asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to issue an election certificate today, citing Minnesota's constitutional responsibility to provide two senators as a reason why.
Franken's attorney Mark Elias told the court that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are abusing their power and going against federal authority by not certifying Franken as the junior senator from Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune.
Lawyers for Norm Coleman, Franken's opponent, told the courts that Minnesota election law clearly states a certificate cannot be given until after all legal battles are finished.
The Star Tribune also reported how Judge Paul Anderson asked Elias if after a certificate was signed, he would argue that the recount trial was no longer legitimate. Elias, after Anderson pressured him, answered he would not argue that, the Star Tribune said.
Anderson also noted that the Senate could seat anyone it wanted, even without a certificate. However, the Star Tribune reported that would be unlikely, even in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The Pioneer Press's coverage of today's legal battle focused on one absentee ballot lawyers spent part of the morning arguing over. The article did not cover Franken's appeal for an election certificate.

February 1, 2009

"It's the Economy Girlfriend"

This week, the New York Times reported on a new support group around time, the DABA girls.
These girls, who are "Dating a Banker Anonymous", have banded together in the hard economic times to support each other and talk about their banker boyfriends.
The girls, who are dating and married to bankers, blame the hard economy for their relationship problems. They get together once a week for drinks and to discuss their boyfriends and husbands problems.
In addition to the meetings, the original DABA girls Laney Crowell and Megan Petrus, have stared a blog that invites other women to join.
The New York Times talked with relationship experts and divorce lawyers, who told the Times that problems with bankers and financial-types during economic recessions do go up, citing blows to egos and financial stress as factors.
The DABA girls told the New York Times that they can judge their partner's moods by paying attention to the financial news of that day, and convey warnings to other DABA girls via color-coded warnings on their blog.
Despite the hardships of the economy weighing on thier relationships, the girls told the Times they are still attracted to their "FBFs" because of their attitude and confidence.

Lead Analysis

In this story, reported by the Star Tribune on the Senate Economic Stimulus Bill, the journalist chooses a hard news lead with a focus on a quote.
The lead begins with a "who" or Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Because the lead focuses on what he said, and also because he is a fairly well known and important person, the author chooses to use his full name and title. It then tackles the "when", or Sunday, and only then begins to talk about the "what", or the stimulus bill.
Another person is then mentioned, President Obama, due to his prominence and involvement with the bill, but then becomes more general with "congressional Democrats". This could be because Obama is now considered the head of the Democrats, and so in mentioning Obama, specific reference to other important Democrats is not neccessary.
Then finally, the lead discusses what McConnell said, or that the bill could be defeated without certain parts of the bill cut.
I find it interesting that the author chooses to use a quote or paraphrase lead rather than a hard news lead. Although this is certainly a hard news story, it does mostly discuss the decision of a group of people, and the paraphrase quickly outlines what that decision will be and why. Also, due to the high number of stories on this important bill, the author may have wanted to focus on a specific angle and set the angle clear in the lead in order to attrack the attention of the reader.

Iraq Votes

In what was called "the most important election to take place since the fall" of Saddam Hussein by a top Iraqi election offical, about half of Iraqi registered voters turned out, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Even still, Iraqi officials told the Times that they were satisified with the result.
According to the Times, just over half of Iraq's 15 million voters actually voted in this weekend's elections, with turnout as low as 40 percent in one province.
The Times reports that "campaign fever" had gripped the nation over the past few weeks, but that confusion over new voter registration practices may have prevented some voters from casting thier ballots.
The Associated Press also reported on the story, and said the election could show trouble for the biggest Shiite party in Iraq.
AP reported the results could show voters have punished religious-leaning parties that have been blamed for spurring violence, and could reward secular parties said to have helped peace.
Official results, however, are days away, according to AP.