Recently in Analysis Category

A story about North Carolina sex offenders used computer assisted reporting effectively.
The newspaper created a spreadsheet that kept track of judicial decisions regarding sex offenders for a year.
The newspaper also built a database of statistics that were provided by the GPS monitoring system of sex offender's program and found that 41 percent of the offenders were tracked but were not restricted on where they could go.
The newspaper then used the data to create an interactive map that shows where the GPS-monitored sex offenders are living across the state.
The reporter of this story needed to have a firm grasp on database technology and spreadsheets.
He also would have needed to have a significant mathmatical background in order to interpret the statistics and find percentages.
The interactive map would have required the reporter to have a grasp on internet technology as well.

Analysis: Diversity in a Story About Muslim Opposition Group

A story from BBC News about the Muslim Brotherhood enduring harassment by authorities before the Egyptian political election reflects a stereotype of Egyptian and Muslim culture that may not necessarily be flattering.
Yusuf Agamawi, 19, said he thinks that this article seems to be objective. However, he said he thinks it seems like the people in power and the authorities are the ones stereotyping the Muslim opposition group by arresting them for their political views.
Agamawi said that although this election does not directly affect him, he said he feels like the police keeping people from voting is unjust. He said he is also pretty sure that this type of control by authorities during political races has been happening for a long time.
"This is just a phase that politics always go through," Agamawi said.
Agamawi is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota studying biochemistry. He is half Egyptian and half Chinese and comes from a Muslim-practicing family.
He has been to Egypt five times and his dad has recently been in Egypt about half of the time for the past two years.

A story about the loss of energy by many Xcel Energy customers over the weekend uses numbers in several ways throughout the article.
The story uses numbers to show how many customers lost power over the weekend, how many are still without power right now, how many crews were working to fix the problem, how many jobs there were to be fixed, how many cars were towed Saturday night due to snow removal, how much snow fell in the area in inches and how much water the snow contained in inches.
The reporter uses the numbers effectively because this story is more informational than it is breaking news.
The numbers are not overwhelming because the reporter lays everything out fairly clearly for the reader.
The reporter may have used some math to boil the snow inches and the inches of water the snow contained down for his readers, but that information may have come straight from a meteorology report.
The numbers come from the Xcel spokesman, the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport and presumably the impound lot. The sources are not listed completely.

Analysis: Obituary

A story about a man who helped found an Edina church in the Star Tribune does not follow the standard obituary lead.
It uses four paragraphs worth of description about who the man was, including a quote. It uses an anecdote that summarizes his character.
Yes, I think this lead does work for this story because as you continue to read the article, it becomes clear that the man's character was summarized very well by the anecdote at the beginning of the obituary.
The obituary differs from a resume because it skips between his "claim-to-fame" sections and his chronology very well. It also uses supporting quotes given by family members and friends about him.
The article is written in a very personal and casual manner, instead of using the rigid structure of typical obituaries.

Analysis: Coverage of Speech in Story about Alaska Governor

A news article about a public safety initiative proposed by Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell was written simultaneously with a press release released by the office of the governor.
The news report includes quotes by the governor during a speech and also addresses Parnell's opponent, Ethan Berkowitz's, reaction to the initiative.
The news report also includes background information about Parnell and his upcoming re-election race.
The news release focuses only on the initiative itself instead of on the governor.
The news release uses bullet points to summarize the initiative proposal and discusses it in the most positive light possible.

Analysis: Use of Multimedia in News Stories

The New York Times uses many good examples of multimedia features.
The Times seems to focus a lot on slideshows as it has many different stories with accompanying slideshows right on the front page of the multimedia site.
The Times also has a "Picture of the Day" feature where a new photo is featured daily and interactive features with video and audio as well.
One slideshow featured on the Times multimedia site uses about two sentences per slide and manages to sum up what the photo is as well.
The captions on the slides are condensed and to the point and the slideshow tells a pretty good story in a small amount of space.
USA Today offers similar multimedia features, although I could not locate an actual "Multimedia" page like on the New York Times' website.
USA Today offers similar slideshows, photo galleries, videos, podcasts, audio clips, and interactive features.
One interactive feature about leaves changing colors was interesting and the accompanying news story was written a lot like a feature story about why exactly leaves change colors.
The story was relevant to the interactive feature and was a very informative piece.

A story and a follow-up story, both found in the Los Angeles Times, about an elementary school shooting in Carlsbad, California is a good example of the reporter using the spot and follow technique.
The first story said that the shooter had been identified and gave a fair amount of detail about the event. It gave the chronological events of the shooting and described the shooter as mumbling to himself and carrying a suspected gas tank.
It also talks about the two girls' injuries and how the construction workers managed to tackle and restrain the man from causing any further injury.
The second story adds much more detail to the events surrounding the shooting. It gives a physical description of the shooter instead of just his name and also lists what charges he is being held on.
It gives much more description of the scene of the crime (i.e.: "upper-middle-class neighborhood with tall trees and a large park nearby") and also discusses the possible causes of the girls' injuries.
The biggest difference between the two stories is that the second one discusses similar school shooting events that have occurred around the San Diego region to provide the reader with some connections to past events.
The second story also points out the connections between construction workers in California and children recently by mentioning the construction worker in Fresno who saved a girl from being kidnapped by blocking the suspected kidnapper's path with his truck.
The leads in the two stories are fairly different because the first story is about the suspect being identified and the second story is a more general and detailed report of the event itself.

The structure in a story about a man beating and locking his ex-girlfriend in a dog kennel seen in the Star Tribune is a decent example of a martini glass style structure setup.
Because this story is hardnews style, it follows the standard martini glass setup with the inverted pyramid starting with the general lead and descending into more and more specifics.
The inverted pyramid is then followed by a chronological sequence of events throughout the night of the beatings and the story finishes with a description of the woman's injuries and what the man is being charged with.
The reporter uses some colorful verbs throughout the story, but sticks to reporting only the facts that were presumably in the police report.
This story is set up effectively in that it lays out the series of events and the hard facts for the reader.
However, I think the fact that the bulk of the story is a chronological sequence of events is a little too dull for a story this unique. I think the reporter definitely could've summed up the story more interestingly by skipping the chronology.
The reporter also could have finished off the martini glass style better by ending with a kicker quote or some other interesting fact about the night.

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.

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.

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