September 2010 Archives

A story by the Minnesota Daily about a sexual assault and robbery at a University fraternity house is an example of good attributing in a short news story.
Four different sources are used in the story including: the police and official police reports, the crime alert issued by the University, the victim's friend, and the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life coordinator. The victim's friend, Sarah Knutson and the OFSL coordinator, Chad Ellsworth, are attributed by name in the story.
The sources are grouped throughout the story ("police reports said" in first two paragraphs, "Ellsworth said" in fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraph, "police said" in seventh paragraph, "Knutson said" in eight, ninth, tenth, and eleventh paragraph, etc.) and almost every paragraph has an attribution.
The paragraphs with the most description of the incident come from Knutson, the paragraphs with the legalities of the U's Fraternity and Sorority policies come from Ellsworth, and the descriptions of the official police reports come from the police records and the crime alert that the University issued.
The reporter sets up the attributions of Knutson and Ellsworth by giving a brief description of who they are and why their role is in the case.
The reporter uses "according to police" and "Knutson said" fairly often throughout the story and the attribution almost always is at the end of each paragraph.
I think the way this reporter set up his attributions is very effective because they provide the reader with a logical flow throughout the story and keeps the different bits of information from overlapping one another and becoming confusing.

Former Girl Scout Leader Sentenced to 30 Years for Child Porn

An ex-girl scout leader pleaded guilty and was sentenced Friday to 30 years in federal prison and probation for life for producing a child pornography video.
Michael Borromeo, 39, of Faribault received a maximum 30 year sentence for producing a video of a 14-year-old girl from his girl scout troop engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the Star Tribune.
The girl reported being raped by Borromeo in February 2009 after he came to her house, taped her mouth, and ripped her clothes off the Star Tribune said.
Borromeo is awaiting sentencing on Oct. 7 on state charges against him for the rape and photographing of the naked 15-year-old girl, the Pioneer Press said.
The girl told investigators that Borromeo had photographed her and her 13-year-old sister naked while another 13-year-old girl told officials that Borromeo had been sexually abusive towards her since she was 6 years old, the Pioneer Press said.
According to the Star Tribune, Borromeo told police he was in love with the 15-year-old girl.

Suspected Drug Lord Arrested by Mexican Authorities

A suspected Mexican drug lord was arrested Saturday near Guadalajara along with eight accomplices by Mexican police.
Margarito Soto Reyes, also known as "The Tiger", is being held under suspicion of drug trafficking between Mexico and the U.S. and may have been one of the leaders of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, BBC News said.
According to MSNBC, Mexican authorities say Reyes shipped around a half-ton of drugs in to the U.S. each month via routes that had been previously operated by Sinaloa cartel leader Ignacio Coronel who died in July. Reyes may have been about to take full control over the cartel in place of Coronel.
Mexican police seized drugs, money, and weapons during the arrests of Reyes and his accomplices, MSNBC said.

Bishop Promises to Fight Accusations

A prominent Georgia bishop promised Sunday that he will fight accusations that he had sexual relationships with four young male church members.
Bishop Eddie Long, of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, assured his congregation members that he will combat the accusations during church services Sunday morning, USA Today said.
Long is facing lawsuits filed by four men that say he lured them into sexual relationships while they were 17 or 18 years old, the Associated Press said.
Two of the young men were members of the church's LongFellow's Youth academy when Long approached them for sexual relationships, according to the Associated Press.
The four men say that Long gave them cars, money and jewelry among other gifts in exchange for sexual favors, USA Today said.
Long's future with the megachurch, which has nearly 25,000 members and opposes gay marriage, remains uncertain according to the Associated Press.

Shooting Kills Man during St. Paul Party

A man was killed early Sunday morning and another man suffered gunshot wounds after an argument at a party in St. Paul, police said.
A man, whose identity has not been released, was treated at Regions Hospital for non-life threatening injuries after suffering a gunshot wound to his leg during a party on Oakland Avenue in St. Paul around 3:30 a.m. while another man was pronounced dead at the scene after being fatally shot, WCCO said.
Police believe that the victim and the wounded man knew each other and the gunfire was a result of an argument between them, according to the Star Tribune.
The case is being ruled a homicide by police WCCO said.

Sexual Assault and Robbery at U Fraternity

A young woman was sexually assaulted in the early hours of Saturday morning at a University of Minnesota fraternity house during a party while only a short 24 hours later, two men were robbed at the same fraternity house early Sunday morning, police said.
A 20-year-old not affiliated with the University was using the University Avenue Delta Kappa Epsilon house bathroom at around 2 a.m. when a black man barged in on her, pulled down his pants, and tried to take advantage of her. The man fled and disappeared, taking the woman's cell phone with him, according to the Minnesota Daily.
The next night, around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, two men were in the basement of the DKE house and were robbed of cell phones and wallets after four black men pinned them up against the wall, the Minnesota Daily said.
According to the Star Tribune, this particular fraternity has had more issues on average than other fraternities on campus. It is being determined whether the fraternity has broken student conduct code.
The president of the fraternity has not returned phone calls or e-mails regarding the incident, the Star Tribune said.

Analysis: News Lead in Story About Missing Shoreview Man

The news lead in a story about a man who has possibly been kidnapped in the Star Tribune is a classic example of a straightforward hard-news lead.
The lead includes all of the standard answers to the "who, what, when, where, and why" questions. It includes the "who" which is the Ramsey County authorities, the "what" which is that authorities are trying to locate the man, the "when" which is that authorities have been trying to locate him since Friday evening, the "where" which is that the authorities are from Ramsey County and the man is from Shoreview, and finally the "why" which is that the authorities are trying to locate him because he called his wife and said that he had been kidnapped.
The details included in this news lead are that the man's voice was hushed when he called his wife and that specifically two men had kidnapped him. The more general elements of this news lead are that the names of the man, his wife, and the authorities are not specifically mentioned, nor are the ages of any of these people listed. The time that the phone call was placed, Friday evening, is fairly general as well. The lead did not list the missing man's specific address or the exact department or town that the Ramsey County authorities work in.
I think that the reporter chose the straightforward, hard-news type lead for this story because the story is currently still unfolding and it is appropriate for the seriousness of the case that the story is about.

BP Oil Well 'Dead'

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Almost five months after the April 20 drilling rig explosion caused environmental havoc with the largest oil spill in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico, government officials announced Sunday that BP's Macondo 252 oil well is finally "dead".
The leaking oil well was successfully fitted with a temporary cap 2.5 miles below the floor of the sea in mid-July after 206 million gallons of oil infiltrated the Gulf, says USA Today.
A cement and mud barrier was pumped into the well in August which allowed the temporary cap to be removed, but the well was not considered killed until two relief wells had been dug in order to seal the Macondo from the bottom, according to USA Today.
A successful pressure test was completed at 5:54 a.m. on the cement pumped into the relief wells, ensuring that the cement plug will not rupture and that the Gulf is no longer threatened, according to the New York Times.
The New York Times also says that now that the well is officially killed, the focus is now on aggressive cleanup efforts to the surrounding waters and shores.
Life on and around the affected shores has been tough since the initial explosion of the drilling rig. The tourism businesses and fishery businesses have taken the hardest hit in the area because of the struggle to attract tourists to the damaged shores and to sell shrimp and fish catches that may have originated from the oiled waters in the wake of the environmental disaster, according to USA Today.

Shoreview Man Missing

A 29-year-old Shoreview man is missing under suspicious circumstances after calling his wife Friday evening saying he had been kidnapped.
Matthew William Anderson was last seen around 1:30 p.m. Friday at his Roseville maintenance job and his wife, Amber, became concerned after he had not returned home or picked up their 1-year-old daughter Amelia from daycare that afternoon, the Pioneer Press says.
Amber received a phone call from Anderson around 7 p.m. Friday evening saying that he had been kidnapped by two men and thought he was somewhere in Iowa. However, the call was traced by police to be located somewhere near Wisconsin Dells, according to the Star Tribune.
The call was cut short after Amber heard Anderson saying "No, no, no," on the other end. The Star Tribune says Anderson had been talking in a very hushed voice, according to his wife.
Amber then received a text message at around 8 p.m. saying, "I love you babe, and Amelia." The text had been sent at 6:09 p.m., however, according to the Pioneer Press.
Anderson's possible kidnapping has been entered into a national database for missing people. No funds have been taken out of Anderson family bank accounts, Anderson has no criminal record, and his wife says she has no knowledge of him wanting to voluntarily leave, according to the Star Tribune.

Man Dies After Being Tased by Police

A 28-year-old man died Friday night as a result of being shot with a Taser gun by Minneapolis police after a Sept. 9 incident at a local YMCA.
David Cornelius Smith was taken off life support at Hennepin County Medical Center and pronounced dead shortly after. He had been in a coma for 9 days, according to the Star Tribune.
Minneapolis police responded to a call at the 30 S. 9th St. YMCA about Smith disturbing members and refusing to leave the facility. Timothy Gorman and Timothy Callahan, the responding officers, say they attempted to remove Smith using physical force but he began kicking and punching them, leaving them no choice but to use a Taser gun on him, the Pioneer Press said.
The Star Tribune says Smith went into cardiac arrest because of the stun gun and was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center.
The Minneapolis police and spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia say that the officers had every right to use a Taser gun on the man after he became violent towards the officers, according to the Star Tribune.
The case is now under investigation as the two officers have returned to work after being put on paid administration leave, the Pioneer Press said.

Standoff Finally Ends

A 22-hour standoff between a Texas man and authorities came to an end Saturday afternoon when the man surrendered and was arrested under suspicion of shooting two sheriff's deputies and a third man, authorities said.
Victor White, 55, of Odessa, is currently being held at the Midland County jail under one charge of aggravated assault of a public servant and two charges of attempted capital murder, according to the Odessa American.
The standoff began around 4 p.m. Friday when oil company employee Luke Bedrick, 35, went to White's property accompanied by deputies Rick Tijerina, 28, and Steven McNeill, 34, to access an oil well owned by Bedrick's company located on White's property, the Odessa American said.
The confrontation quickly turned violent when White opened fire and wounded all three men as they retreated for safety. White then began mocking and threatening officers over the airwaves via the radio located inside the deputies' vehicle, according to USA Today.
During the overnight standoff, White periodically shot at Texas law enforcement officials, SWAT team members, and two Texas Department of Public Safety helicopters before finally surrendering as an armored SWAT vehicle closed in on his makeshift barricade of dirt trenches bunkers located near his trailer, USA Today said.
The two wounded deputies are reported to be in stable condition Saturday at a local area hospital. Bedrick was treated for wounds and released to his home Friday night, according to the Odessa American.
White is said to be locally infamous for being anti-law enforcement, according to USA Today.

Six Arrested Under Suspicion of Terrorism

Five men were arrested early Friday morning and an additional man was arrested around noon by British police under suspicion of terrorism related to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to London.
British police raided a London garbage depot and arrested the first five men at around 5:45 a.m. U.K. time according to MSNBC.
Police were tipped off about the six Algerian street cleaners, ranging in age from 26 to 50, and have not released any details about the basis of the terrorism suspicion reported MSNBC.
The pope has not altered his state visit plans in any way after learning of the arrests, but his security does seem to have been reinforced, according to The New York Times.

UPDATE:
The six men arrested under suspicion of terrorism against the pope were freed without charge Saturday night. MSNBC says that the six men had been overheard at the garbage depot planning an attack against the pope and Metropolitan Police were simply investigating what could have been a serious threat.

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