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February 27, 2007

Crypt holds remains of Jesus and family

A crypt in Jerusalem contains the bones of Jesus, according to a documentary by the Discovery Channel, reports the New York Times. It also claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and they had a son named Judah. The remains were found in two limestone boxes and were unveiled at the New York Public Library by the documentary's producer, James Cameron. There is a lot of skepticism by several archaeologists, Christian leaders and New Testament scholars. Many also feel that this discovery is being unveiled to jump on the "Da Vinci Code" band wagon.

The reporter quoted many people, including Cameron, a professor of archaeology of Israel at Harvard and an archaeologist who worked on the discovery. This kept the story from leaning toward one view over another. Especially when religion is involved, the story could have been very opinionated.

The Mercury News also reported on this discovery. This newspaper reports that the documentary comes out on Sunday. This newspaper has a better quote from one side. "Biblical experts and archaeologists who are familiar with the central evidence instantly discounted the claim, which Discovery Channel has touted as possibly "the greatest archaeological find in history," as an ill-informed, recycled publicity grab. " The quote has strong language that reflect how that side feels. The reporter also quotes Cameron "It doesn't get bigger than this," Cameron said before the basic findings were presented Monday at a New York news conference. "We've done our homework; we've made the case, and now it's time for the debate to begin."

I think the Mercury News did a better job at reporting this story because the reporter had better quotes. The quotes used in the Mercury News had stronger language and really revealed how the sides felt. The main focus of the story was on the tension between the two sides, not the discovery itself. This makes for a better story because drama is always more interesting than the hard facts.

No one into Hall Again

The Houston Chronicle reported that for the third straight election, the Veterans Committee admitted no new members for the baseball Hall of Fame.
The committee didn't want to lower its standards and be pressured into chosing someone. In 2001, the committee was reorganized because of charges of cronyism. THe new committee votes every other year for players and ever four years for the others. Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark is dissappointed that no one has been elected in the past three voting cycles.

The reporter used many quotes from both sides of this problem to show how each side feels. The article was very balanced because of the fairness given to both sides. "We're being blamed because something hasn't happened," Hall member and vice chairman Joe Morgan said. "If you're asking me, 'Do we lower our standards to get more people in?' my answer would be no." This quote was from the side of the committee showing why they didn't vote anyone in.
This quote shows the other side: "We are disappointed that no one has been elected in the three voting cycles," Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said. "We will be evaluating this process and its trends at our next meeting, which is March 13, and discussing whether there should be any changes."
The reporter also gave many names of people that have been on the ballots and why there should be voted in. This was a little biased because it showed that there were deserving people on the ballots.

Time magazine also reported on this problem. The reporter mentioned that Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were were elected to the Hall by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in January. One side of this problem was quoted "The process was not designed with the goal to necessarily elect someone," Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said." There wasn't a quote from the other side.

I think that the Houston Chronicle's report was better because it gave a clear picture of both sides of the arguement. Both sides were represented and quoted, that way the journalist stayed unbiased, but the reader got both sides of the story.

February 22, 2007

Vikings and the NFL Draft

The Star Tribune reported on the many choices that the Minnesota Vikings have in the NFL draft. They Vikings have the seventh overall pick and NFL Network draft analysis Mike Mayock makes many comments on what the Vikings should do. One possibility is that the Vikings pick a wide receiver that they need, says Mayock. The story reports on the potential draftees and what the Vikings could do.

The article used only quotes from Mayock and this gives a skewed view of the Vikings. The audience is being forced to read only one opinion. The reporter didn't quote anyone assiciated with the Vikings team. This story doesn't show a thorough search because no one else's opinion is give to contrast with Mayock.

The Pioneer Press also reported on the Vikings picks for the NFL draft. Mike Mayock is named in the lead of the story and this puts alot of emphasis on his opinions. "The NFL Network's Mike Mayock believes the Vikings are in position to select one of a handful of elite players in the April 28-29 draft." The reporter also quotes Kiper but the main focus is on Mayock's opinions. No representatives from the Vikings team are quoted.

I think both stories do a poor job because they only give the opinion of one person. This forces the reader to pretty much take on that person's opinion because no other side is shown. Mayock does give many different options that the Vikings could take, but it would have been nice to read what other people thought, if they agreed or disagreed. To make the story even better, someone from the Vikings organization could have been contacted.

Anna Nicole Smith Death

The Baltimore Sun reported on the ongoing battle over Anna Nicole Smith's body with a story from the Associated Press. A judge decided on Thursday that Smith will be buried in the Bahamas and left the decision up to Smith's 5-month-old daughter. The dispute needed to be resolved fast because Smith's body was rapidly decomposing, according to the medical examiner. Smith's estranged mother wanted her buried in Texas but Smith's boyfriend wanted her buried in the Bahamas. Dannielynn, Smith's daughter, is currently in the custody of attorny Richard Milstein. The judge gave a recommendation on the location of Smith's burial, saying " I want her to be buried with her son in the Bahamas. I want them to be together.''

The reporter did a good job staying objective because he did not pick a side on where Smith's body should be buried. It is important in this story because the story has been in the media very frequently the past weeks. He gave where each side thinks she should be put to rest and the reasons why. He quoted the judge because the judge gave an opinion. "It wasn't immediately clear what Milstein would do, but the judge expressed his own preference: 'I want her to be buried with her son in the Bahamas. I want them to be together.' " The reporter also put less important information at the end of the story. For example, when Smith died. He also stayed very vague and unbiased when he was describing Smith's death because it is still unsolved.

The LA Times also reported on this story. This reporter didn't mention the other side of the story; that Smith's mother wants her buried in Texas. This shows the other side of the story and why a judge had to decide where she was going to be put to rest.

I think the AP covered this story better because the reporter gave both sides of the story. The LA Times reporter focused more on the judge's ruling, but didn't even mention that Smith's mother wanted her buried in Texas. This would have shown the drama that surrounds the death of Smith.

February 19, 2007

False Bomb Alaram at Canadian Embassy

The Houston Chronicla reported on Monday an employee at the Canadian Embassy in Paris got a nosebleed after opening an envelope and getting a nosebleed. The envelope had a piece of tissue soaked in liquid, said a fire department spokesperson. The envelope turned out to be a false alarm which was discovered after the Embassy was evacuated. The employee was taken to a hospital for treatment.

On challenge for this story is to not start a panic. The reporter from the associated press gave the bare facts and didn't go into much detail but that is considering that this only happened this morning. The reporter also didn't start naming suspects which is good because the reporter doesn't know for sure who is to blame for this and since it was a false alarm, no one may be to blame for this. They attributed what little information they knew correctly; "The envelope in question contained a piece of tissue soaked in liquid, raising the alert, said Florent Hivert, a fire department spokesman. Initial tests found that the contents were not toxic, he said." The reporter also mentioned that the Embassy was unavailable for comment.

The Vancouver Sun also reported on this story. The reporter used the same quote as the Houston Chronicle, but that is because it is an important quote to the story. This story noted the location of the embassy and that onlookers were kept behind a police line. The reporter also used good imagery: "Men in white protective jumpsuits and gas masks went in and out of the building. "

The Vancouver Sun did a better job with this story because they mentioned the location of the embassy, which is important for international readers. The reporter also gave a big picture when he/she mentioned the witnesses outside the embassy. The imagery gave the audience a clearer picture, where as the reporter for the Houston Chronicle didn't mention the men in white jumpsuits.

February 16, 2007

Twins talk contracts


The Pioneer Press reported that the Twins have signed Michael Cuddyer in a one year $3.575 million contract. This came only minutes before the deadline. This followed the signing of Joe Mauer to a $33 million four-year contract earlier this week. The Twins wanted to sign Mauer, Cuddyer and Justin Morneau during the off season, but all of them filed for at least $ 1 million more than the Twins offered them. The contracts for Torii Hunter, Luis Castillo, Carlos Silva and Ramon Ortiz expire after the upcoming season, which add up to $25.2 million. The Twins would also like to extend the contracts of Johan Santana and Joe Nathan.

The reporter faced the challenge of staying objective in this story. It is great the the Twins signed Mauer and Cuddyer but with many other Twins players contracts expiring the Twins financial situation could be in jeopardy. The reporter used an hourglass type of story. This kept hte most interesting information in the beginning of the story and less important things at the end. The reporter also gave a time line of when all of the contract negotiations happened, which was some of the less important information.

The Star Tribune also reported on recent Twins activities. The reporter focused more on the contracts that will expire after the season. The reporter got alot of supporting quotes from General Manager Terry Ryan that helped give the Twin's point of view on the upcoming contracts.

I think the Star Tribune did a better job because the reporter gave the overall picture of what is going to happen in the future. The reporter also didn't imply that there might be some drama with negotiation talks because the Twins will have to pick who they want to stay and who they can let go or who they will be willing to pay more to keep.

February 13, 2007

Whaler threatens to ram


The New Zealand Hearald reported today that skipper of the Sea Shapherd will not follow through with his threat to ram a Japanese whaling vessel. He was going to ram the vessel bceause the Japanese hunted humpback whale. Captian Paul Watson "will not watch a whale die." The conservation groups are usually in a verbal fight with the Japanese whaling fleet and this confrontation escalated when a Japanese observation vessel collided with Captain Watson's sister boat.

The reporter stayed objective through out the whole story. He got both sides stories and arguements. A lot of quotes were used to show what each side thought of the other and this kept the reporter from picking what side he thought was right. The desicion to chose who is right or wrong should be left up to the audience.

The Boston Globe also reported on this story. The reporter wasn't as objective as he could have been. He used loaded words and didn't give the same amount of space to both sides. It made the story look one sided. "The sharp rise in the number of whales being hunted shows that anti-whalers have to compromise too." THis shows favor of the whaling industry.

I think the New Zealand Hearald reporter did a better job on this story because he stayed neutral throughout the whole story. The allowed both sides to have a fair chance to persuade the audience. It also keeps a fair view of the situation and doesn't place blame on one side or the other.

Gunman kills in mall


The Salt Lake Tribune reported today that a man used a chotgun and randomly started shooting at people in a Salt Lake City Mall. He killed five and seriously injured at least four other people. Witnesses are describing the gunman as emotionless, calm and silent throughout the shooting. Police shot the gunman and are unsure of his motives and the exact events of the shootings.

The lead is very biased in this story. "The expression on his face never changed. Not as he walked into the crowded mall. Not as he began to fire. " Witness' later back this up with quotes, but it gives the story a very biased start. The number killed isn't mention until the third paragraph and that is the most important part of this story. This story is biased because it doesn't give the gunman's side of the story, which is hard to do because he is dead and police don't know his motive. The headline reads "Emotionless killer gunned down victims randomly" is true but mentions nothing of the people killed.


The LA Times also reported on this story. Their headline reads "Teenage gunman kills 5 people in Utah shopping mall." This shows the main point of the story and isn't biased. The story sticks to the facts and gives some witness quotes. This helps set up what happened in the mall. It attributes alot to the police chief and reports.

The LA Times story was less biased than the Salt Lake Tribune. The events that happened are unfortunate and it is easy for a reporter to become biased but police don't know anything about the gunman yet, so it is hard to pass judgement. The headline for the Salt Lake Tribune is very emotional and attention grabbing, but also very biased. It makes the gunman look like an emotionless robot with no feelings.

February 10, 2007

Mistaken Identity

The New York Times reported that U.S. troops accidentally attacked a guard post in Mosul who are allies of the U.S., known as the Kurds. The Kurds live in Northern Iraq and have control of eastern Mosul. The U.S. believed they found insurgents near a bomb-making cell. Five Kurds were killed in the mistake.

The reporter had to face the challenge of staying objective. He used quotes to show the point of view of one side. The reporter didn't describe what happened until very late int eh story. He instead gave background information and used jargon to describe the relationship between the U.S. and Kurds. This can confuse the reader and they may not fully understand what is going on.

The Star Tribune also published a stary about this accident. The reporter mentioned the deaths in the lead and the New York Times reporter waited until the fifth paragraph. The reporter also used many quotes to show how the U.S. is acting after the incident. It showed how others are responding to the mistake, for example, the Kurdish officials.

The Star Tribune article was easier for me to read because it didn't use as much jargon and gave me the facts with in the first couple paragraphs and details later on the article. It mimicked an inverted triangle style of writing.

February 7, 2007

Mercury spill

A mercury leak has closed a school in New Brighton. A school worker is thougt to have brought a box of science equipment to a St. John the Baptist School teacher and when the worker removed that equipment, mercurt leaked from the box, according to Principal Sue Clausen. This happened in the afternoon on Tuesday and the students were asked to leave their backpacks and shoes in the school to be tested for mercury.

The reporter didn't tell the reader how the Mercury was spilled until the fourth paragraph and even then it was just metioned. In the eighth paragraph, the full story is told, according to the principal. The story's lead also could have been more interesting.


The Pioneer Press also wrote a story about this event. The story was much shorter and told what happened in the first couple paragraphs. The reporter attribute authorities instead of the school principal when describing waht happened. It would make the story more credible if those authorities were mentioned.

I think the Star Tribune did a better job covering the spill. The reporter told of what happened and what the effects were, like students having to leave their backpacks and shoes at the school. It also tells the impacts of coming into contact with mercury over a long period of time.

Billionaire robbed


A California billionaire returned to his home to find it being robbed. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Ernest Rady was shocked by a stun gun and joined his wife and housekeeper when he was tied to a chair. The burglar stayed in the house for more than five hours after posing as a delivery person. According to Rady, the burglar used a walkie-talkie to communicate with accomplices outside. Police didn't say if anything was taken from the home. Rady is in the financial and real estate business and has made several large donations in the last couple years. In 2005 he donated $30 million to the University of California for the Rady School of Management. He also gave $60 million to Children's Hospital in 2006.

The reporter started to tell what happened than inserted a paragraph about Rady's financial history and than went back to telling what happened. The financial background isn't as important as telling the reader what happened. The description of the burglar was in the last paragraph and that information might be important in finding out who this person is. It could have been put in the top paragraphs and used to describe the burglar. The reporter used alot of attribution, especially since most of the information they know of had come from the vicitms.

The New York Times also featured a report on what happened. The reporter went into more detail of how the burglar got into the house and what happened. The reporter also gave a specific attribution to the San Diego Police Department commander, where as the other newstory just used the term police. This story also mentioned what was taken from the house, but doesn't include a description of the robber. This might be because the robbery happened in San Diego and the story was published in New York. This reporter put the financial background of Rady in the last paragraph, but doesn't mention the donations he gave only how he made his money.

I think both of these stories are very different. The story in the New York Times is shorter but gives more details about the robbery. The San Diego newspaper gave a description of the burglar. I think the New York Times reporter did a better job on this story because they gave more details about the robbery and the story flowed, where as the San Diego reporter's story didn't flow because he put Rady's background in an awkward spot.

February 2, 2007

Drug Kingpin

A notorious drug dealer from Brooklyn was convicted of murder. Kenneth McGriff is guilty of paying $50,000 to have two rivals killed in 2001. McGriff is facing the death penalty. There are discrepencies as to if McGriff continued to sell drugs after facing an earlier drug charge in 1999.The defense painted the victims as thugs while the prosecutor said McGriff "is on of the most dangerous, feared, ruthless gangster in all of Queens." The jury will return on Tuesday to decide if McGriff will get a sentence of life in prison without parole or the death sentance. The reporter gave history of McGriff's crimes.
-the Washington Post: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/02/nyregion/02mcgriff.html
The reporter used a strong lead because not too much information is given. The reporter did get a quote from the U.S. District Judge Frederic Block asking prosecutors to reconsider the death penalty. The reporter used quotes from people related to the vicitms that balanced out the objectivity of the story.

The New York Times also reported on this story. The reporter didn't use as many quotes but did give alot of history of Mcgriff's criminal record. This makes the story very biased against McGriff.
-The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/02/nyregion/02mcgriff.html

I think the Washington Post version of the story was better because the quotes proived gave a better picture of how both sides felt about McGriff's possibility of getting the death penaliy.