Analysis: Using Large Data Sets

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For this analysis entry, I used an article from Nicar, found here.

In this article the reporter talks about attempting to get information regarding lost war records.

He was working on an earlier piece on a man who died in war, but the army had no record of his death. This sent him on a hunt to find out why records go missing.

He says it's a result of poor communication between US Central Command, and confusion over what records are to remain classified.

To do his piece, he had to submit several FOIA requests. A lot of information was denied because if even one word is wrong in the request, the entire request can be denied.

What information he was able to get, he had to make sense of. He certainly would have needed to be well versed in online searches, as a lot of the information he was seeking could have existed elsewhere online. Not only that, but good Internet searching skills often helps a person narrow and tailor their search to only get the most pertinent results.

Cowboys tackle arrested after fatal crash

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Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was arrested early Sunday after a fatal car crash that killed team member Jerry Brown Jr., CNN reported.

Brent was arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter, CNN reported.

Brent's car was travelling at excessive speed when it hit a curb, CNN reported. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash.

Brent's car flew 900 feet, CNN reported. Brown was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Brent and Brown were also teammates at the University of Illinois, Yahoo News reported.

According to Yahoo News, the accidents serves as another reminder that DUI's are a huge problem that the NFL needs to do something about.

Afton Alps sold to Colorado company

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Colorado based company, Vail Resorts, will purchase Afton Alps, Fox News reported.

Vail Resorts owns the famed Vail Mountain in Colorado among other resorts, the Star Tribune reported.

Vail Resorts acquired Afton Alps and Mount Brighton, a ski resort near Detroit, Mich., for $20 million, Fox News reported.

One of the things Vail Resorts hopes to do for Afton Alps is improve their snow making capabilities to help lengthen the ski season, Fox News reported.

The Star Tribune added that money will be spent updating the facilities and implementing new programs to encourage more people to get involved in skiing.

All parties involve expect the sale to be complete next month, the Star Tribune reported.

Transportation officials will conduct a study of a four mile stretch of U.S. Highway 10 in Anoka and Ramsey following the death of four pedestrians in the last four months, the Star Tribune reported.

A project to turn the stretch from a highway to freeway would cost over $300 million, the Star Tribune reported.

There was a plan six years ago to fix the problematic area, but funds were not available for the project, the Star Tribune reported.

While it is tragic that people lost their lives, both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press noted that none of the pedestrians who were killed were following traffic laws designed to protect their safety.

They were not crossing in crosswalks or crossing when they had the signal indicating right-of-way, the Pioneer Press reported.

Besides a costly conversion of the highway, other solutions include a pedestrian bridge or putting a chain link fence along the center of the highway to deter would-be crossers from not crossing in the crosswalk, the Pioneer Press reported.

City and transportation officials urge pedestrians to follow the law to ensure their safety, the Pioneer Press reported.

An Australian radio station placed a prank phone call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment for a severe form of morning sickness, CBS News via the Associated Press reported.

Friday, the nurse who received the phone call was found dead after an apparent suicide, CBS News via the Associated Press reported.

Jacintha Saldanha patched the call through to another nurse who gave the radio station private details of Kate's condition, CBS News via the Associated Press reported.

Saldanha was found dead in an apartment building affiliated with the hospital, the New York Times reported.

The prank originally aired Tuesday and has since made its way around the world, the New York Times reported.

The two disc jockeys have voluntarily taken themselves off the air to be respectful of Saldanha and the royal family, the New York Times reported.

Supreme Court to rule on same-sex marriage

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The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear two cases regarding same-sex marriage, the New York Times reported.

However the rulings that come out of the hearings will only apply to the states of California and New York, the New York Times reported.

Given the results of last month's election, the country's attitude toward same-sex marriage seems to have changed, the New York Times reported. The majority of Americans reportedly approve same-sex unions.

The issue is important, and the results could impact a generation, the Los Angeles Times via the Associated Press reported.

California lawmakers have reportedly denied themselves an opportunity to defend Proposition 8, the California law that banned same-sex marriage in that state, the Los Angeles TImes via the Associated Press reported.

The current Supreme Court has conservative leanings, yet with the sweeping change that took place in the election, both sides of the issue agree that it is tough to predict where the court will land, the Los Angeles Times via the Associated Press reported.

Analysis: Going Beyond the Press Conference

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Police held a press conference in regard to the slain Cold Spring officer, Tom Decker. MPR reported on the press conference.

For this story, the reporters focused on giving readers a sense of who Tom Decker was. Through anecdotes and quotes from friends and family, the reporters paint a nice picture of an officer who ought to be remembered as a hero.

The reporters have gone beyond the event itself in talking with people who knew Decker. Had the reporters relied solely on information provided by the police chief in the news conference, the story might have seemed dull.

However, including the perspective of those who knew him allows a legacy of sorts to live on. The perspective of friends and family also adds a humanizing element for readers who didn't know him. Through that perspective Decker is no longer a stranger but a man who left behind a family who grieve his absence.

The reporters did their job well by making this story relatable.

Asperger's to be dropped from DSM

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The Guardian reported that Asperger's Syndrome is to be dropped from the psychiatrist's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

MSN News via the Associated Press reported that this is the most major change to happen to the DSM in almost 20 years.

The Guardian reported that although Asperger's Syndrome won't appear in the DSM-5, its symptoms will be listed under "autism spectrum disorder."

The Guardian reported that making this change will ensure that people can be more accurately diagnosed in the future.

As a result of this change, definitions of learning disabilities like dyslexia are likely to be broadened, MSN News via the Associated Press reported.

According to the Guardian, the DSM is the authority on mental disorders and countries around the world use it to varying degrees.

Child tells of mother's drug use

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A woman is in police custody after her son told his principal that she had been using drugs, Kare 11 reported.

According to the St. Michael Patch, the boy brought a baggie of drugs to school to prove his claims.

According to the Star Tribune, police tested the substance and determined that is was in fact methamphetamine.

Sabina Coolen, the boy's mother, has been charged with storing drug paraphernalia where a child has access, according to the St. Michael Patch.

If convicted, Coolen could face up to five years in jail, the Star Tribune reported.

Cold Spring, Minn. officer shot while on duty

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A Cold Spring, Minn., police officer was shot late Thursday after responding to a "welfare call," Waseca County News reported.

Tom Decker, 31, responded to a potential suicide call when he was ambushed, the Star Tribune reported.

Decker died at the scene near Winners Sports Bar, the Star Tribune reported.

According to Waseca County News, a suspect is in custody.

Ryan Michael Larson, 34, is being held on suspicion of murdering a police officer, according to the Star Tribune.

Larson lived above the bar near where the crime took place, the Star Tribune reported.