January 2011 Archives

How news lead in The Guardian addresses riots in Egypt

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by Maddy Hughes
In the opening sentence for The Guardian's main story about events in Egypt, the writer gave a short summary of the basic message of the article.
If a reader were to come to this page and only read the opening sentence, they would know that most of the action was occurring in Cairo, and what the action was (the conflict ensuing between protesters and officers).
By the second sentence, they would understand the reason for these events.
The lead was written in bold type, as was the case with beginning sentences of fact blocks for the rest of the piece.
The bullet points made the format of the lead unusual because it resembled the form of a reporter's notes as they were witnessing an event.
The lead worked well to engage the viewer directly and immediately; this is a perfect example of a good hard news lead.

Ways the mind benefits from meditation

by Maddy Hughes
According to articles in The New York Times and Science Daily, a study discussed in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (published today) indicates that the benefits of meditation may include improvements in cognition and psychology.
This study focused on the difference between regular meditation and "mindfulness meditation," which focuses on the physical sensations of the body in order to prevent the mind from wandering.
The idea behind this technique is the Buddhist theory that the key to happiness is to be in the present moment, as opposed to thinking about one's past or future.
The two articles differ in their presentation of the facts, as the author of the New York Times article summarizes the findings and relates it back to the situation of her marriage (and her husband, who practices the new mediation) and Science Daily explains the phenomenon more thoroughly in scientific terms.
The main fascination of the results was the decrease in grey matter in the amygdala, the area of the brain that shows levels of anxiety, and an increase of grey matter in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain commonly associated with memory.

Student found dead in boxcar by TCF Bank Stadium

by Maddy Hughes
University of Minnesota student Keaton Murphy was found dead in a boxcar by the TCF Bank Stadium on Thursday, many news sources have reported.
Keaton Murphy was arrested for suspicion of having distributed child pornography.
According to his mother, Rochelle Murphy, her son had told her that he was innocent.
After he was released from jail on Jan. 20, Murphy went missing for a week.
Rochelle Murphy and her husband called the University police last Saturday to inform them of their worry that he was depressed and suicidal.
On the same day, she told The Minnesota Daily that she and her husband were "worried sick."
An article in New York Daily News included information about a facebook profile under Murphy's name, which made him out to be a regular 20-year-old male. This article also posted different dates for both Murphy's arrest and the discovery of his body.
The Star Tribune coverage focused on Murphy's arrest in relation to his death, noting that a woman from his hometown said the death would not have happened if newspapers had not quoted the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's file about his arrest.
That article, in addition to the one by The Minnesota Daily, quoted the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, James A. Parente, in an outreach to those close to Murphy: "Our heartfelt condolences go out to his parents, family, and friends."

by Maddy Hughes
Students from the University of Minnesota came together on Friday to voice their approval of the current protests in Egypt and to show their hope that Egyptian citizens overcome the opposition of their government.
The idea behind the U demonstration was to send the message to Egyptians that they have support across the globe.
The government in Egypt, which the demonstrators called destructive, has blocked the internet, set a new curfew, and tied up phone lines to inhibit communication.
These actions, as these student protesters would have it, signal a need for the rest of the world to speak up.
Twin Cities Daily Planet noted that 100 people were involved in the demonstration, while Minnesota Public Radio and The Minnesota Daily both said the number was around 50 to 60.
However, all three publications said that not all of the participants at the U had connections in Egypt. Some of those who were from Egypt knew people back home whom they could not reach because of the government's choice to block communication even via cell phones.
All of the protesters from Egypt said that the government is indeed corrupt. Referring to president Hosni Mubarak, students said that the country does not need him, that his rule is clear injustice, and the fact that his supposed democracy entails a 30-year rule does not make sense.
Protesters of Egyptian descent were glad to see that the people of Egypt were finally speaking up. Reports say that demonstrations like this are happening all around the U.S.

by Maddy Hughes
All across America, students in their first year of four-year colleges reported an increase in mental health complications due to the stress that the onset of higher education brings.
This report was significant because the levels of difficulty were statistically the worst in the 25-year history of the survey, "The American Freshman: National Norms 2010," given by the Higher Education Research Institute.
The New York Times and The Daily Iowan, in their recent articles addressing the survey, mentioned the same possible causes for the widespread increase in stress: the pressure to succeed in the dwindling economy, and the need to perform well considering the higher tuition rates.
The survey's results emphasized a clear difference in female and male students: both the percent of female students who were overwhelmed, and who responded by getting help, was much greater than that of male students in both cases.
It also focused on the drop in percentage of students who said they felt their emotional health was above average (The New York Times citing the 12 percent decrease from 1985 and The Daily Iowan, a 3.4 percent decrease from 2009).

Riots against president in Egypt

by Maddy Hughes

Protests broke out in cities all over Egypt on Tuesday, a day that marks some of the most alarming public sentiment in the nation's history.
The protesters gathered in efforts to bring an end to the 30-year reign of president Hosni Mubarak, who represents a government that the thousands of demonstrators said is unjust and oppressive.
While the riot police used such tools as tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and water cannons to stanch the uprising, the people consistently fought back. This resistance resulted in the deaths of two protesters and one officer thus far.
The movement is believed to have been inspired by recent similar revolts in Tunisia, both The New York Times and The Guardian have reported.
As the people who convened were mobilized by internet platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the government has responded by limiting access to both tools.
The police force managed to drive away protesters after midnight on Wednesday, through heavy use of tear gas and the sound of firearms. However, the protesters remained vigilant. Hiding in the outskirts of Tahrir Square, they planned to keep fighting once the severe retaliation of the police force ended.

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