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January 30, 2007

Stonehenge discoveries

Six homes have been found by the Stonehenge monument reported the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/30/AR2007013000661.html?sub=new">) .They were found underneath the Stonehenge Wold Heritage Site and show that Stonehenge is part of a larger monument. The excavation started in the summer of 2006 and will continue through 2010. In the homes contained tools, jewelry, pottery, and human and animal bones. The six newly excavated houses within the Durrington Walls were dated to the same period, Michael Parker Pearson, one of the main researchers, said, leading the team to conclude that they housed the men and women who worked on the structures, and people who came to the site for ceremonies. The homes were 16 feet by 16 feet and housed men and women who worked on the monument and came for funerals.

The reporter, Marc Kaufman, used alot of fact in his article, since there really is no opinion associated with this topic. He quoted a main researcher, but doesn't say if the person is important or not. The quotes are used to show what the researchers think about the uses of Stonehenge.

The Star Tribune also published an article about this discovery (http://www.startribune.com/722/story/970619.html). Their reporter, Thomas H. Maugh li, was shorter and focuesed more on how this will effect the archaeologists' community rather than historical meaning. Maugh also quotes the same person as the Washington Post, Michael Parker Pearson, but the Star Tribune says Parker Pearson led the team. Maugh also quoted someone who wasn't involved in the reasearch but it is used to show reaction and opinion about the discoveries.

I think the Washington Post reporter did a better job of informing the audience of what was found. It was more interesting for me to know what was found rather than how it will effect a community I have no relation to. It would have been nice to have a quote from someone other than Parker Pearson, but the focus of the story seemed to be more on the findings to show the real meaning of Stonehenge.

Girl dragged under van

After seven years Maria Reyes and Antonia Carrera met again. After Carrera and her husband witnesses a tan van hit and drag a sixth grade girl for about 500 yards, Curt Brown with the Star Tribune reported(http://www.startribune.com/467/story/966690.html), they visited the 11-year-old in St. Paul's Regions hospital on Monday. They realized both Reyes and Carrerea had taken a parenting class together seven years prior. On January 29, 2007, Gladys Reyes was crossing Wentworth Avenue in West St. Paul with a friend when the accident occured. The Carreras forced the van to turn into a parking lot. The driver took off on foot and poilce tracked him with police dogs. The suspect, who is being held in the Dakota County jail, wasn't supposed to be driving.
Reyes suffered severe injures and many people pray for her recovery. "Gladys is a permanent fixture around here," Jill Garibay said, adding that the girl was so welcome in their home that she could enter without knocking. Gladys never missed a chance to help others, from unloading groceries, to helping Garibay's own children clean their bedrooms, to baby-sitting with other children in the neighborhood, Garibay said, reported Brown.

The lead isn't strong to match the importance of the story. One difficulty with this story is not to make the suspect sound accusted. It is tough in a situation like this to remain 100 percent objective, since some one was hurt. The reporter used attribution well to show opinions of the victim. This allowed opinions of the victim in the story without the reporter writing them.

The Pioneer Press also reported on the accident (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/16573120.htm). Brian Bonner, the reporter, did use a strong lead, even though it contains an opinion: "An 11-year-old girl may be alive today because a Good Samaritan saw her being dragged underneath a moving van and took bold action to force the van's driver to stop." The victim might be alive without the Good Samaritan. This is a tough situation because someone was hurt, but the reporter has to continue to stay objective. Bonner mentions the name of the accused in the sixth paragraph. Bonner does not use many quotes to show the personality of the victim, but the police chief is quoted on how the girl is doing.

I think that the Star Tribune reporter did a better job with showing the kind of person the girl is. He attributed the quotes well and correctly. He also didn't mention the name of the suspect, which won't lead to premature accusations. The lead for the Pioneer Press story grabbed my attention more, but overall, contained very little information about the people involved.

January 24, 2007

President Bush's state of the Union address

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/nation/16530227.htmhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/24/washington/24bush.html?ref=us
President Bush's state of the union address on Tuesday night focused on an international and domestic agendas. Bush has less then two years left in his term and he warned the democratic about not approving his new Iraq strategy; allowing more troops into Iraq. There was no mention of rebuilding new orleans, limiting stem cell research, banning gay marriage or remaking Social sSecurity like he said he would 2 years ago. Another domestic propsal included taking steps toward a balanced budget, dealing with the long-term financial condition of Social Security and Medicare, and imposing tighter standards on schools. He got a "polite reception" from the Democrats in the crowd even though he spoke with a confident tone.
The New York Times used a lot of jargon in this article. Examples are "bipartisan resolution" and "exert some leverage by accusing Democrats of intransigence." They quoted the words that Bush used but did not explain what those words meant. This could confuse a reader. The lead contained an opinion. "President Bush tried to resuscitate his ailing presidency Tuesday night, using his State of the Union address to present a modest agenda of energy and health care proposals while warning an increasingly assertive Congress against undercutting his new Iraq strategy." Not everyone may think that his presidenct is in trouble or that Congress is assertive. This puts a bias on the whole story and shows a disliking for the president. The article explained the actions that would result from his proposals and how Congress might react. There were a lot of quotes responding to his speech.
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/nation/16530227.htm
The Pioneer Press also covered President Bush's State of the Union address. The lead also wasn't objective; "President Bush used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to try to revive his presidency against what may be the greatest odds any chief executive has faced in a generation." His presidency might not need reviving or he may not be facing the greatest odds any president has faced. This article assumed that the "president's problems all stem from the same reality." The author made many assumptions and this led to a biased report. It isn't untill the fifth paragraph that the author let the reader know what was in President Bush's speech.
I think the New York Times did a better job reporting because it mentioned the key things in Bush's speech right away. It was more engaging from the begining, where as in the Pioneer Press I had to wait until the fifth paragraph to learn what Bush actually said in his speech. If I was actually reading the article in the Pioneer Press, I would have quit reading because it didn't tell me the important information. The Pioneer Press was also more biased against the president.


death in helicopter crash

http://www.startribune.com/722/story/956817.htmlhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/24/world/middleeast/24iraq.html
The New York Times reported that five men were killed Tuesday when their helicopters came under attack during a routine protection detail. The first helicopter carrying four men crashed into one of central Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods. This sparked a five-hour battle where the second helicopter was hit by gunfire. American forces recovered the bodies and secured the area. It is unknown the condition of the bodies as well as exact details about the attack. Violence overtook the city and included bombings. Groups of insurgents tried to escape across lakes in boats or atop roofs. Many recent attacks have also killed 12 American soldiers.
The author put the whole picture together. He wrote what, to whom, where, why and when it happened. The story provides a clear timeline of what happened. He didn't write how this will effect the war in Iraq, but he does explain the current situation. His lead was strong but the first sentance was wordy. He mentioned the action (death of soldiers), when it happened and how it happened. It grabbed the attention of the reader and continued to explain what exactly happened. It is hard to stay objective in writing about a war, but the author does a good job of keeping his opinion out of the article.
http://www.startribune.com/722/story/956817.html
The Star Tribune also wrote about this event. The Star Tribune wrote about who was responsible for the attacks, although at this time that information is unknown. Both stories do not name the soldiers involved in the shooting because that information has not been released. The Star Tribune doesn't mention the second helicopter until the fifth paragraph. The New York Times wrote "the gunner in a second helicopter apparently died when he was struck," whereas the Star Tribune wrote "a second helicopter also was struck, but there were no casualties among its crew." The Star Tribune's lead was also wordy but gave most information to draw the reader in because they mention how the soldiers were killed. The Star Tribune wrote that the soldiers were killed execution style while on the ground but the New York Times doesn't mention this in the article.
I think the Star Tribune did a better job of providing a strong lead to the story, although the facts between the two stories are different. The New York Times offered a better idea of what happened once the hellicopter crashed. Overall, the New York Times did a better job of reporting the story, in my opinion.

January 23, 2007

Passports

http://www.startribune.com/484/story/954031.html
The Star Tribune reported when a person is flying into the United States from Canada, they will need a passport. The rule is put into effect on January 23, 2007. The State Department is optimistic about the number of people who will follow this rule because many have already registered and gotten their passports.
The reporter gave the basic information and it was clearly stated.No jargon was used to confuse the reader. His/Her verbs are active, but there are no quotes from anyone. How do travelers feel about this change in poilcy? How are officials going to handle people with forgotten passports?
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/16521810.htm
The Pioneer Press used more information than the Star Tribune. They included more information about the change in policy. For example, the Pioneer Press states "new rules take effect today requiring everyone traveling by air between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a valid passport upon arrival in the U.S." Where as the Star Tribune states "new rules kick in requiring all travelers flying back into the U.S. to have a passport." The Pioneer Press also gave information on how to get a passport and how much it would cost. The Pioneer Press also states what would happen if a person forgot to get a passport compared to the Star Tribune who states "there will be a trial period for those who don't have the proper documentation." The Pioneer Press also shows why this change is taking place when the Star Tribune has no mention of why this poilicy is changing.
The Pioneer Press did a better job informing the population. I think it was very helpful to give information on how to get a passport, what happens if you forget your passport, and why this change is taking place. The Star Tribune gave a brief summary of what was happening but I felt I got a complete picture when I read the Pioneer Press' version.