This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

March 2013 Archives

Analysis: Phil Ramone Obituary

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By Kiera Janzen

The New York Times wrote a news obituary about Phil Ramone, a famous record producer and a 14-time Grammy Award winner.

The obituary follows the general New York Times obituary formula. It opens with a standard obituary lead that includes the person's name, something notable about him, when and where he died, and his age (at the time that he died) stated at the end. The source used for information about the cause of Ramone's death was his son, Matthew.

The rest of the article continues with the formula, giving information about the cause of his death, significant characteristics and achievements the he is known for, a basic chronology of his life, and surviving family members. This obituary, and most obituaries in general, differ from resumes chiefly because they provide quotes and other relevant information about the person who died from family, friends, and other people that knew the person or that the person had an impact on.

The news value key to this story is prominence. Ramone was famous in popular culture, particularly in the music industry. This obituary discusses well-known artists that he worked with and also lists some of the popular songs that he helped produce.

Authorities say that a Minneapolis man who died from a cardiac arrest after a fight is now considered a homicide victim, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that Jimmie Ray G. Herron Jr., 45, died following a fight on March 4 outside of a Denny's in south Minneapolis. The man was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, and he died there a few hours after the fight.

According to the Pioneer Press, when authorities came to the Denny's in response to the fight, Herron told them he had a pre-existing health problem and he needed to be treated. The other person who the man fought with had fled by the time authorities arrived.

The Star Tribune reports that the medical examiner's office reported that the assault on Herron was a factor that led to his cardiac arrest. Police are looking for the suspect, who they think is a man is his 20s.

The man's mother, Assata Damani, told the Star Tribune that Herron was a "very quiet person...who wasn't one to start conflicts, but he wasn't one to back away, either."

Minneapolis synagogue vandalized

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Vandals sprayed graffiti on Temple Israel, the largest synagogue in Minnesota, on Tuesday night, new sources report.

MPR News reports that the vandalism occurred before midnight on Tuesday, the second night of Passover. Workers who removed the purple graffiti from the building on Wednesday say that the graffiti did not seem like it was obviously anti-Semitic.

According to MPR News, Senior Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman said that the building's security cameras showed that one person was responsible for the vandalism.

Zimmerman told the Star Tribune that the vandalism "jogs the historic memory of vandalism throughout the world in the Jewish community."

The Star Tribune reports that about 6,000 people attend the synagogue, which was built in 1928. The synagogue and other buildings in the neighborhood have been spray painted by vandals in the past.

In his first public speech since resigning as director of the CIA, David Petraeus apologized Tuesday for the affair that led to his resignation, news sources report.

NBC News reports that Petraeus included his apology in a speech as the keynote speaker at the University of Southern California annual ROTC dinner. Although he was invited to speak at the event before the scandal broke last November, USC president C. L. Max Nikias stood by his decision, saying, "In our post 9/11 world, Gen. Petraeus' influence on our military is unmatched, and his contributions to the CIA are far-reaching."

According to NBC News, despite beginning his speech with an apology for his affair, Petraeus made it clear that his speech and the event were not about him. He discussed the post 9/11 generation of veterans and said they should be known as "America's greatest generation."

CNN reports that last fall, Petraeus admitted to having an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. He resigned from his position as head of the CIA last November.

The CNN article reports that Petraeus is a retired four-star general. While serving as director of the CIA, Petraeus controlled CIA operations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gophers fire Tubby Smith as men's basketball coach

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The University of Minnesota's athletic director Norwood Teague announced Monday that men's basketball coach, Tubby Smith, had been fired, news sources report.

According to the Star Tribune, Teague and other university athletic administrators had been evaluating whether to fire Smith for months. They said that once the season was over, they would quickly put their decision into action.

The Star Tribune reports that Teague thought that Smith and his staff, which was also fired, were inconsistent and did not have a strong recruiting history or reputation. Speaking about what he wants in a men's basketball coach, Teague told the Star Tribune, "Our goal is to secure the best candidate to build a Big Ten and NCAA men's basketball program that is a consistent winner."

The Pioneer Press reports that Smith, 61, coached Kentucky to a national championship in 1998. His contract with the Gophers went through the 2016-17 season, and he received a $2.5 million buyout.

According to the Pioneer Press, possible candidates for the position include Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders.

The Italian Supreme Court will decide Monday whether the case of Amanda Knox will be retried, news sources report.

The Washington Post reports that prosecutors are appealing the acquittals of Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, in the murder of a British student, Meredith Kercher. Knox lived with Kercher while they were both studying in Perugia, Italy.

According to the Washington Post, Kercher was found dead in her apartment, her throat slashed. Originally, Knox and Sollecito were convicted for Kercher's murder and sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively. However, in 2011, an appeals court acquitted them due to lack of evidence and motive.

CNN reports that if the Italian Supreme Court does not overturn the acquittal, the case will be closed. However, if it is overturned, the case will go back to the appellate court.

Knox's lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, told CNN that Knox is confident that the Italian legal system will not overturn the acquittal and that she will be able to return to Italy as a free woman.

The lieutenant governor of Florida resigned Tuesday after being questioned in the investigation of a $300 million charity scam, news sources report.

ABC News reports that Jennifer Carroll, 53, was questioned Monday in an investigation of a racketeering and money laundering operation that was hidden as a non-profit called Allied Veterans of the World. Police are not accusing Carroll of any crime, but she was a consultant for the non-profit in 2009 and 2010 when she was working for a public relations firm and also serving as a state representative.

According to ABC News, the organization claimed to be a charity for veterans but was running 49 illegal gambling centers that it said were internet cafes. The gambling centers raised $300 million but police sat only 2 percent of that money went to charities.

The Los Angeles Times reports that 57 people have been charged in connection to the scheme. Authorities identified the main defendants to be Johnny Duncan, 62, Jerry Bass, 62, Chase Burns, 37, and Kelly Mathis, 49.

The article by the Los Angeles Times reports that Carroll was formerly a Jacksonville state legislator. Her son, Nolan, is a defensive back for the Miami Dolphins.

Minneapolis pedestrian fatally struck by semi

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A semi truck fatally struck a Minneapolis man who was outside of his car on the freeway on Wednesday, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that according to the Minnesota State Patrol, the man, Dahn Le, 45, parked and got out of his car on the shoulder of U.S. 169 when he was hit around 10:20 a.m. The trailer of the Peterbilt semi hit him, but Le's vehicle was not hit.

According to the Star Tribune, two witnesses told the Minnesota State Patrol that the man was walking or running into traffic when he was hit. Authorities say they are not speculating about whether the man meant to be hit.

One of the witnesses, Debra Halenbeck, who was driving right behind the semi, told the Star Tribune that she saw the man jump under the semi. She told the semi's driver, Angelo L. Hughes, "I saw what happened. I don't think it was your fault."

DNR asks judge to dismiss White Bear Lake suit

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Attorneys representing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asked a Ramsey County judge Monday to dismiss a suit regarding plummeting water levels in White Bear Lake, news sources report.

According to the Pioneer Press, the White Bear Lake Restoration Association filed the lawsuit against the DNR in November. The nonprofit group filed the suit under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, which allows private citizens to sue public agencies.

The Pioneer Press reports that an unpublished study by the U.S. Geological Survey provided the basis for the White Bear Lake Restoration Association's claim. The study linked the drop in White Bear Lake's water level to surrounding communities pumping too much water from the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer below the lake.

A report by the Star Tribune states that the DNR argued that the suit should be dismissed because the surrounding communities should be included as defendants. Officials also feel that rather than being handled in court, the issue should be handled at the legislature or the Metropolitan Council.

The Star Tribune reports that the water level in White Bear Lake has plummeted more than 5 feet in the last 10 years. Despite rising 6 inches by the end of February, the level is still far below the long-term average.

Black smoke at Vatican signals no new pope

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After the first vote on Tuesday, black smoke coming from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel signaled that cardinals had not selected a new pope, news sources report.

The New York Times reports that the smoke signal appeared, lit by a spotlight, at 7:41 p.m. and was seen by thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square. Two rounds of voting are scheduled for the morning and the evening each day, and the next round is set to begin at 9:30 tomorrow morning.

According to the New York Times, in order to win, a candidate must receive two-thirds of the vote. This means that 77 of the 115 cardinals must vote for a candidate to be named the next pope. When a new pope is selected, the smoke will be white instead of black.

CNN reports that according to Catholic rules, cardinals older than 80 cannot vote in the conclave, but they can attend the meetings that are held before it. Electors are prohibited from using electronics to communicate with the outside world during this time by jamming devices.

The CNN article states that there is no one clear frontrunner in this conclave. However, Italy's Cardinal Angelo Scola, Brazil's Odilo Scherer, Canadian Marc Ouellet, U.S. cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston and Timothy Dolan of New York, and Ghana's Peter Turkson are among the favorites.

Harvard administrators secretly search faculty email

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Administrators at Harvard University secretly searched the email accounts of 16 faculty members last fall in order to find out who leaked information about a cheating scandal to the media, news sources report.

According to an article by CBS News Boston, the faculty members were resident deans on Harvard's Administrative Board. They worked to address the cheating scandal that occurred last spring that involved students cheating on a take-home exam in an undergraduate level government course.

The New York Times reports that Harvard's policy states that although the administration does have the ability to search the email accounts of faculty members as a part of an internal investigation, the faculty members must be notified before or shortly after the search. In this case, administrators did not notify the deans until about six months after the search.

According to the New York Times, Timothy McCarthy, a lecturer and program director at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, said, "This is disgraceful, even more so than the original cheating scandal, because it involves adults who should know better -- really smart, powerful adults, with complete job security."

By Kiera Janzen

CNN wrote a news report about Gov. Bobby Jindal's speech at the Republican National Committee's Winter Meeting in January. In crafting the news story, the author made deliberate choices about what content and context information to include and how to structure these pieces within the story.

The author opened the story with a direct quote Jindal said during the speech and followed this lead with a summary of the politician's main points, along with general information about the speech's context, in the next paragraph.

The rest of the article follows the general point-support structure commonly used in speech coverage. Some paragraphs contain direct quotes with no explanation, some have direct quotes with explanation, and some provide background information and use paraphrased quotes.

Throughout the story, the reporter inserted background information about the issues discussed and explained certain references that Jindal made. Basic biographical information about the speaker and general details about the audience were also included to help the reader understand the importance of the speech.

Lion kills intern at California animal park

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A lion attacked and killed a volunteer intern at an exotic animal park in California on Wednesday, news sources report.

The Washington Post reports that the intern was 24-year-old Dianna Hanson, who had been working at Cat Haven, a private zoo in central California, for two months. Authorities said that the 5-year-old lion likely escaped his cage and broke Hanson's neck with his paw.

According to the Washington Post, authorities are continuing to investigate how exactly the incident happened. However, they think that the lion attacked Hanson while she was cleaning the larger enclosure after he used his paw to escape his partially open cage.

The New York Times reports that Paul Hanson, the woman's father, told the Associated Press that his daughter was "absolutely fearless" and that her position at the animal park was a "dream job." Hanson also added that Dianna had had a strong interest in big cats.

The article by the New York Times states that Cat Haven is a 100-acre park that has been open for 20 years. The lion, which police fatally shot in order to safely reach Hanson in the enclosure, was named Cous Cous and had been raised at the park.

Study shows homelessness rising in Minnesota

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A recent study by the Wilder Center found that homelessness continues to rise in Minnesota, news sources report.

According to a report by the Star Tribune, the study found that homelessness in Minnesota has risen 6 percent since the study was last conducted in 2009. The number of people making use of Minnesota's emergency shelters rose 27 percent.

The Star Tribune reports that the study found that about half of the homeless were 21 or younger.

An article by the Pioneer Press reports that the study's results are based on a single-day count on Oct. 25. More than a thousand volunteers surveyed 400 sites across the state, including traditional shelters, transitional housing, and drop-in locations, which are known to shelter homeless people.

The Pioneer Press reports that the growing rates of homelessness have slowed since the recession. However, the study's directors said that their count is lower than the actual number of homeless people in the state because it does not consider homeless people who do not seek shelter in the "shelter system."

Missing Soviet soldier found in Afghanistan

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A former soldier who went missing in Afghanistan in 1980 as a part of the Soviet Union's invasion of the country has been found alive, news sources report.

USA Today reports that the soldier, Bakhretdin Khakimov, was a rifleman for the Red Army. A group of Soviet veterans found Khakimov in a search for 264 Soviet soldiers reported missing in Afghanistan after the invasion.

According to the article by USA Today, Khakimov, who now goes by the name Sheikh Abdullah, sustained a head wound in battle and was rescued and treated by local Afghans. When found, he was living with locals and working as a healer in Herat.

CNN reports that the group who found Khakimov made contact with him two weeks ago. He has no identification papers, but he could accurately identify pictures of other Soviet soldiers who served during the time of the invasion.

According to CNN, Khakimov, now a widower, was married while in Afghanistan. The group responsible for finding the man is trying to arrange for him to meet his remaining Russian relatives.

Police arrested a Coon Rapids man Saturday after he was caught videotaping a boy changing at an Andover YMCA, news sources report.

According to the Pioneer Press, police are charging the man, Robert Dennis Minor, 53, with suspicion of interference with the privacy of a minor and possession of child pornography. The incident at the Andover YMCA occurred in a bathroom stall on Feb. 24.

The Pioneer Press reports that police searched Minor's home and found at least 25 videos of boys changing in locker rooms at local YMCAs and other health clubs. Minor also had child pornography, which police do not think he made, on his computer.

An article by the Star Tribune reports that Minor used a wristwatch with video and photo capabilities to film the boys.

Speaking about the potential victims in this case, Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff's Office told the Star Tribune, "We anticipate many victims, although they are most likely unaware they have been victimized."

Doctors say toddler cured of HIV

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Doctors announced Sunday that a two-year-old Mississippi toddler born HIV positive has been cured of the virus, news sources report.

CNN reports that doctors, knowing that the baby's mother was HIV positive, administered high doses of three antiretroviral drugs immediately after the girl was born. Now researchers say that the child is "functionally cured", meaning that the presence of HIV is so minimal in her blood that she will not need to receive continued treatment.

Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist with Johns Hopkins Children's Center, told CNN that treating the girl soon after her birth is likely the reason why she is now cured.

According to the New York Times, doctors were initially unaware that the girl's mother was HIV positive and were unable to treat her before the pregnancy. Early tests showed that the baby was most likely infected with HIV in the womb.

An article by the New York Times reports that according to the United Nations, 330,000 babies were infected with HIV in 2011. If researchers find that this type of treatment works in other cases, they will most likely use it to cure other babies.

Analysis: News Organizations' Multimedia Options

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By Kiera Janzen

Examining, analyzing, and comparing the multimedia options on the websites of CNN and NBC News provides insight into what types of multimedia these major news organizations use and how they effectively use the different options. Both websites feature text, video, inforgraphics, photos, and slideshows to deliver and enhance the news.

On the CNN website, the majority of news stories feature a video that tells the story (and often gives additional information), at least one photo relevant to the event(s) or the people involved in the news, and text that gives information and tells the story. Below the videos and the pictures, there is usually a brief, simple caption in bold that tells readers what they are looking at. The text itself is broken up into small chunks and includes a sidebar with the main points of each story, making stories easier to read.

The multimedia used on the NBC News website is similar to that used on CNN. Many news stories feature text, at least one video (that provides information different from the text), and at least one picture. The captions underneath the videos and pictures, however, are longer and provide more information (including quotes and additional details). Like CNN, the text in stories is broken up into small pieces and also regularly contains hyperlinks which link readers to related stories.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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