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

April 2013 Archives

Analysis: Data sets article

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By Kiera Janzen

The website for the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting had an article on its "Extra! Extra!" blog where the reporter used and analyzed records and data sets for a story about buying and selling guns online.

The reporter used the records, data sets, and information on websites like ARMSLIST.com to produce the story. Theses resources were analyzed to discover how people are illegally advertising and selling guns on websites like ARMSLIST.com.

In order to do this reporting, the reporter needed to be able to locate and effectively analyze websites where weapons are being illegally advertised and sold. He or she needed to have certain computer skills that allowed them to carry out this type of analysis that would produce meaningful information for the story.

The news organization did not use online tools, such as interactive graphics, to engage the reader. The article did have links to several websites related and relevant to the story, but interactive graphics would have helped the article to be more interesting, engaging, and easier to understand.

An envelope containing a suspicious substance prompted authorities to evacuate a Wells Fargo building in Shoreview on Thursday, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that authorities arrived on the scene around 2:30 p.m. after a person at the operation center for the bank opened the envelope. The building's security safely evacuated all people before authorities arrived.

According to the Pioneer Press, one person was treated on the scene and then taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. Although the person did not show any symptoms at the time, he or she might have come into contact with the suspicious substance.

The Star Tribune reports that the North Suburban Hazardous Materials Team handled the removal of the suspicious substance, which is now being tested by the Minnesota Department of Health.

According to the Star Tribune, the building and surrounding area was decontaminated and cleared by authorities.

Minneapolis fire destroys deli and closes busy street

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A fire broke out in a Minneapolis deli and grocery store early Thursday that destroyed the building, news sources report.

Kare 11 reports that the fire broke out around 3 a.m. in the basement of Chicago Avenue Food and Deli. The fire lasted for a few hours and left the building destroyed.

According to Kare 11, fire alarms at the nearby Children's Hospital went off because the wind blew the smoke over. However, the hospital was not damaged at all.

The Star Tribune reports that the street where the deli is located, Chicago Avenue, will stay closed until fire officials are sure that the situation is completely under control.

According to the Star Tribune, there were no injuries related to the fire. The fire's cause is unknown at this point.

An eight-story building in Bangladesh collapsed Wednesday morning, killing at least 87 people and trapping and injuring hundreds more, news sources report.

The Washington Post reports that the building, near the country's capital, houses multiple garment factories and shops. Some survivors have been rescued by people cutting or drilling holes into the debris, but hundreds are still trapped inside.

According to the Washington Post, some workers said they did not want to go to work because the building had large cracks in it the day before the collapse. However, a building manager told workers that there were no problems with the building.

CNN reports that military and fire personnel, along with police, have been working at the scene. However, rescue progress has been moving slowly as rescuers are working carefully to avoid another collapse.

According to CNN, there are about 4,500 garment factories in Bangladesh. The last garment factory building collapse in the country in 2005 resulted in the deaths of more than seventy people.

The hospitalized suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings told authorities that his brother created the plan for the attack and that they worked independently of any terrorist groups, news sources report.

CNN reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, has been unable to speak due to gun shot wounds and a tube down his throat, but he has been writing and using head movements to communicate with authorities regarding the case. Tsarnaev was shot, either when he was arrested on Friday or in an earlier shootout with police, in the head, neck, legs, and hand.

According to CNN, the suspect indicated that his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a chase with police on Friday, created the plan for the bombings because of jihadist thought.

NBC News reports that Tsarnaev also told investigators that he and Tamerlan and their plan for the bombings was not connected to any international terrorist group. He said that they learned how to make the bombs that they used on the Internet.

According to NBC News, Tsarnaev was charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. and malicious destruction of property with an explosive device. If convicted of these charges, he could face the death penalty.

London Marathon pays tribute to Boston Marathon

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Athletes and organizers participating in the London Marathon Sunday paid tribute to the victims of the bombings at the Boston Marathon last week, news sources report.

The New York Times reports that there were about 35,000 athletes competing in the race, and all stopped for a moment of silence before the race to honor the victims of the Boston bombings. Spectators held American flags and a banner that read "For Boston." Many of the athletes also wore a black ribbon to honor the victims.

According to the New York Times, around 20 people ran in both the Boston and London marathons. The winner of both women's wheelchair races, Tatyana McFadden, said Sunday "was about running for Boston."

CBS News reports that thousands of spectators come to watch the London Marathon each year. As a safety measure, police said they would increase their presence at the race.

According to CBS News, organizers of the race in London planned to donate money to a fund established to help victims of the bombings in Boston.

Boston locked down for manhunt of marathon bomber

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Police placed a lockdown on the Boston area on Friday in order to find the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, news sources report.

NBC News reports that the lockdown included Boston, its suburbs, universities, and transit system. Police are searching for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

According to NBC News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, who was also a suspect in the bombings, were attempting to flee from the Boston area after the FBI released pictures of them to the public. While fleeing, the men killed a MIT police officer and stole a car.

CNN reports that Tamerlan, 26, was fatally shot by police during a chase. Authorities say he was wearing explosives and a trigger and both brothers were shooting and throwing explosives out of their car window at police.

According to CNN, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is still on the run and considered by authorities to be dangerous. Boston is the nation's fifth-largest metro area and citizens have been urged by authorities to stay inside and lock their doors and windows.

A group of seven people connected to al-Qaeda was arrested in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, news sources report.

BBC News reports that officials in the United Arab Emirates say the group had plans to attack within the country, threatening its security. The seven people, who are all thought to be Arab nationals, reportedly tried to gain support, both in terms of members and finances, by recruiting and promoting al-Qaeda in the country.

According to BBC News, the United Arab Emirates arrested another group believed to be members of a terrorist organization in December. The United Arab Emirates said that this group planned to attack their country as well as Saudi Arabia.

NBC News reports that the group arrested in December is referred to as a "deviant group." Officials at this point are uncertain whether the "deviant group" is related to the group arrested Thursday.

According to NBC News, the United Arab Emirates is a major oil exporter and a major trading location. The United States is an ally of the country and has worked to help prevent terror and militant violence in the region.

Computer problems stop state math test for thousands

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Computer problems forced the Minnesota Department of Education to stop the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment math test, which thousands of students were taking Tuesday, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that the computer server slowed down and caused problems for some of the 15,000 students that were taking the test online. Some could not log in to take the test and some were forced to stop taking the test before they were finished.

Joe Cohen, executive vice president of American Institutes for Research, told the Star Tribune that the cause of the computer problems was identified and that testing will resume tomorrow.

The Pioneer Press reports that 9,000 students were able to successfully take the test. The system will be closely monitored as testing resumes.

According to the Pioneer Press, schools are transitioning to taking all of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests online. Charlene Briner, chief of staff for the Minnesota Department of Education, says that students feel more comfortable taking tests on computers and teachers like the instant feedback the online tests provide.

Authorities searched an apartment in a suburb of Boston late Monday and early Tuesday that may have some connection in the Boston Marathon bombings, news sources report.

CNN reports that law enforcement officials, including bomb experts, searched an apartment in Revere, Mass. Authorities took some items from the apartment but they are not saying if and how the apartment is connected to the attacks. The apartment's tenant, a Saudi citizen in the country with a student visa, is not being suggested or named a suspect at this point.

According to CNN, no warrant was needed for the search. Authorities searched the apartment for any clues that will help them find suspects and motives for the bombings.

CBS News reports that the man living in the apartment was chased and caught by a civilian after he was seen running from one of the explosions. Speaking about the capture and questioning of the man, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller said, "This could mean a lot, or this could mean very little. It's too soon to call him a suspect."

According to CBS News, at least three people were killed and more than 140 were injured Monday in two bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Officials have heightened security at public events and locations across the nation.

A bust of a walleye poaching ring in northern Minnesota resulted in 21 people being charged for fish poaching, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that the bust was a result of a three year investigation called Operation Squarehook. Minnesota wildlife officials worked with national officials, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in the investigation.

According to the Pioneer Press, the charges, which were announced on Monday, include illegal purchase and sale of game fish. The fish, which were mostly walleye, were taken from Cass, Leech, Red, and Winnibigoshish lakes on the Red Lake and Leech Lake reservations.

The Star Tribune reports that this case is the largest fish poaching case in Minnesota since 1993. Despite the bust, DNR enforcement chief Jim Konrad said he thinks "there is a lot more of this activity going on out there."

According to the Star Tribune, the people facing charges are not members of either tribe working on the investigation. They face state fines amounting to thousands of dollars.

Analysis: Diversity article

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By Kiera Janzen

The Pioneer Press wrote a news story about a Hmong nonprofit group buying a popular Vietnamese restaurant in St. Paul. The story gives information about the Hmong nonprofit group and also discusses the restaurant and the Frogtown area where it is located.

This story moves beyond stereotype and into something more substantive by discussing the different Hmong and Vietnamese cultural groups within the context of the restaurant situation. Rather than just focusing on the cultural groups, the reporter tells a relevant story about a popular local restaurant while including important details about the cultural groups involved.

In order to gain information, the author of this article used officials from the St. Paul City Council, the CEO and president of the Hmong nonprofit group, and representatives from the Vietnamese restaurant as sources.

Lockdown at a North Carolina university called off

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The lockdown on the campus of North Carolina A&T State, issued after an armed man was seen on campus, was lifted Friday afternoon, news sources report.

The Los Angeles Times reports that officials called for campus to be locked down around 9 a.m. Friday after campus police received a report of an armed man on campus. All students and faculty were told to stay where they were and all doors and windows were locked.

According to the Los Angeles Times, university police did not find the armed man and lifted the lockdown around noon. Afternoon classes were set to continue as scheduled.

University Police Department Chief Glen Nowell told the USA Today that the original report said that a man was seen carrying a weapon and possibly a backpack into one of the campus's main classroom buildings. Although the lockdown was lifted, Nowell said that university police would continue to search the area for the man.

According to USA Today, two other schools in the Greensboro area were also placed on lockdown as a result of the report.

A Minneapolis man was charged with assault Wednesday after he bit off the finger of a decorated Minneapolis police officer on Tuesday, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that the 54-year-old man, James Curtis Dawkins, was an ex-felon and had previously attacked police officers. Police were responding to a complaint of a man causing a disturbance when Dawkins attacked them.

According to the Star Tribune, Dawkins attacked officers Chad Meyer and Laura Turner. Meyer, whose finger was bitten off by Dawkins, is a decorated officer for the Minneapolis police department.

The Pioneer Press reports that Dawkins punched and kicked Meyer and Turner before biting Meyer's finger through his glove. Meyer permanently lost the part of his finger up to the first knuckle.

According to the Pioneer Press, Dawkins is being charged with first-degree assault and his first court date is scheduled for Thursday.

A pilot was charged Tuesday after being arrested on Jan. 4 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when he was suspected of being drunk during preflight checks, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that a blood test showed that Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, 48, had a blood alcohol content of .09 percent at the time of the flight. The state's legal limit to fly a commercial plane is .04 percent.

According to the Pioneer Press, Kristiansen is charged with attempting to operate an aircraft under the influence of alcohol. He is currently not allowed to fly and potentially faces jail time and fines.

The Star Tribune reports that airport police officers saw Kristiansen before his flight and thought he showed signs of being drunk. He admitted to drinking the previous night.

Peter Wold, the attorney for Kristiansen, told the Star Tribune, "He never operated the aircraft. He never touched the controls."

North Korea told foreigners in the South on Tuesday that they should be ready to find shelter or evacuate, news sources report.

The New York Times reports that North Korea is warning of an oncoming nuclear war on the Korean peninsula. Despite the warning, South Korea's President Park Geun-hye said her country will not give into North Korea's threats and efforts to escalate tensions in the region.

According to the New York Times, North Korea said that, "It does not want to see foreigners in South Korea fall victim to the war." Tuesday's warning comes after a warning last week in which North Korea told foreign embassies in Pyongyang to plan to evacuate.

The Washington Post reports that most security analysts have dismissed the warning. South Korean officials said they have not seen any recent unusual military activity in North Korea.

Robert Kelly, an international relations specialist at Pusan National University, told the Washington Post, "I don't take the [evacuation threat] seriously. If the North really wanted a war with a chance of winning, they'd have to do a surprise attack -- like Pearl Harbor..."

Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister of Great Britain, died after she had a stroke on Monday, news sources report.

CNN reports that Thatcher, who many referred to as the "Iron Lady", was 87 at the time of her death. She was prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

According to CNN, Thatcher retired from politics in 2002 after she had a stroke. She had several more strokes after that and was hospitalized late last year to have a growth removed from her bladder.

NBC News reports that while Thatcher served as prime minister, Great Britain fought and won a war with Argentina for the Falkland Islands. She also had a working and personal friendship with former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.

According to NBC News, current British Prime Minister David Cameron said on his official Twitter account, "It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton."

Analysis: Number use article

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By Kiera Janzen

The Pioneer Press wrote a news story using numbers about the use of electronic pull-tabs as a revenue source for the new Vikings stadium. Numbers are used to predict and estimate future revenues, to discuss the implementation of the electronic pull-tabs in bars, and to discuss the budget for the stadium.

In this article, the reporter incorporates numbers in a way that is not overwhelming throughout the story, along with information and quotes regarding the new stadium plans and budget. The numbers are significant in helping readers to understand the issues that lawmakers are facing regarding the stadium budget and how the electronic pull-tabs would help to increase revenues.

The reporter cites lawmakers, officials involved in the new stadium project, and budget statements as sources for the numbers. If the author would have use math to crunch the numbers he used, the story would have been more interesting and the numbers could have been more effective to support and elaborate on the story's points.

It was announced Wednesday that Richard Pitino was hired to replace Tubby Smith as the head men's basketball coach at the University of Minnesota, news sources report.

The Pioneer Press reports that Pitino, 30, left his position as the men's basketball coach at Florida International in order to take the job with the Gophers. In his first season as head coach at Florida International, he led the team to its first winning season in 13 years.

According to the Pioneer Press, former Gopher men's basketball coach Tubby Smith was fired on March 25. Several coaches turned down the offer to coach for the Gophers before Pitino accepted.

The Star Tribune reports that Pitino grew up around basketball. His father, Rick Pitino, coached for the New York Knicks and Kentucky and now coaches at Louisville. Pitino has been an assistant for his father at Louisville, as well as at Florida, Northeastern, and Duquesne.

Pete Garcia, the athletic director at Florida International, said that even though Pitino is young, he "will be the best up-and-coming coach in America."

A Twin Cities man pleaded guilty Thursday in a case regarding a 2011 crash on I-94 in St. Paul, new sources report.

Kare 11 reports that the 63-year-old man, Eugene Michael Farrell, pleaded guilty to counts of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation. Farrell was drunk at the time of the crash.

According to the Pioneer Press, Farrell and a passenger were driving near the scene of a previous accident on the left shoulder of I-94 near Lexington Avenue on the night of Dec. 18, 2011. Farrell's van hit an overturned car and three people standing outside of it.

The Pioneer Press reports that Marcus Andary, 21, was thrown in to traffic and fatally hit by another car. The other victims, Keith Barnes, 38, and Alicia Kaufenberg, 23, both had to have a leg amputated as a result of their injuries from the incident.

The article by the Pioneer Press states that at the time of the crash, Farrell's blood alcohol level was .01 over the legal limit. "I don't remember hitting any people or car, but if the film shows I did, then I did," Farrell said in court.

A five-year-old St. Paul girl, along with St. Paul firefighters and doctors, was honored and thanked Tuesday for helping to save a teen from a burning house in January, news sources report.

The Star Tribune reports that the girl, Shayna Yang, insisted multiple times to her father, Ong Yang, that she smelled something burning on the afternoon of Jan. 31. Hearing a loud noise, her father went outside and found their neighbor's house on fire, prompting him to call 911.

According to the Star Tribune, Daphine Scott, 17, was trapped inside the burning house. Scott was unconscious and did not have a heartbeat when firefighters found her. However, Scott has been released after extensive treatment at Regions Hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, and Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.

The Pioneer Press reports that Janella Scott, Daphine's mother, went to St. Paul Fire Station No. 7 Tuesday to thank firefighters, Yang, and doctors who helped to save her daughter's life. Scott told the Pioneer Press, "I'm just so grateful to ... all these people. I got the best gift I could ever receive in life and that's my daughter. ... I'm just so blessed."

According to the Pioneer Press, Daphine Scott returned to school on Monday. Her mother said that she is not going to school full time yet though, because she still gets weak and tired.

North Korea announced Tuesday that it plans to restart a nuclear reactor that the country shut down in 2007 at its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, news sources report.

The Washington Post reports that the announcement came from a North Korean news agency and it provides some real action to go along with the country's recent nuclear threats. The country says it is restarting the reactor to help with the "acute shortage of electricity", but experts who have seen the reactor say that it is best suited to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

According to the Washington Post, it will take a total of six months to restart the reactor. It is unclear whether North Korea has already started this process.

CNN reports that North Korea shut down the reactor and other facilities in a 2007 agreement with the United States and four other countries.

According to CNN, following the announcement, the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said he was "deeply troubled" by North Korea's actions and threats. Speaking about the current situation with North Korea, he said, "Things must begin to calm down, as this situation, made worse by the lack of communication, could lead down a path that nobody should want to follow."

Prosecutors said Monday that they will push for the death penalty for the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 more at a Batman showing in a Colorado movie theater last summer, news sources report.

CNN reports that defense attorneys for the man, James Holmes, said last week that he would plead guilty in order to avoid being sentenced the death penalty. The prosecution responded to the defense's deal last Thursday calling it "grossly improper" and saying it was, "For the intended purpose of generating predictable publicity."

According to CNN, Holmes is being charged with 166 counts of murder and attempted murder for a shooting at an Aurora movie theater on July 20 of last year. He went to the theater with weapons, tear gas, and body armor with the intention of killing audience members at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

NBC News reports that George Brauchler, the district attorney for the case, made the decision to seek the death penalty after talking with hundreds of victims and their family members.

According to NBC News, Judge William Sylvester set the trial date on Monday for Feb. 3, 2014. He expects it to last about four months.

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

March 2013 is the previous archive.

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