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

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This lengthy article by ProPublica is about the FDA's faulty approval process of drugs available on the market.

I noticed something about the links in the article: nearly all of them went to other parts of propublica.org. This tells me that the website has done a lot of research on this topic, because all of their attribution is from other parts of their site. It also tells me, however, that all of their information has come from their website, which can present some bias.

The writers do a good job of embedding the links within the text so that it's not too difficult to see where they got their sources from. The writers didn't do the best job of web writing because of the massive amounts of text in the article. It's fine if there is a lot to read, but no white space made me feel as if I would never get to the end.

But, the writers also utilize the perks of web writing by integrating information boxes on the sides of the article, and enabling comments so that users can leave feedback or other information that might be pertinent to the topic.

This article from the Star Tribune discusses how Minneapolis houses most of Minnesota's Level Three sex offenders, and the implications that creates for both the sex offenders and the people who live in the city. This is obviously a very different group of people than myself. Most people would not identify themselves with Level Three sex offenders, however, due to taking classes on sexuality, I think that I am more comfortable with the topic than most people.

For news organizations and media outlets in general, sex offenders are a risky topic to cover. They provide an interest because parents want to protect their children, but also discussing offenders means that they must go into gory details. In this particular article, the reporter interacts with sex offenders and has quotes directly from them. The unnamed quotes from the offenders perpetuates the stereotype that sex offenders are ghostly, untouchable criminals. The article reflected the way society views sex offenders, but tries to do it in an unbiased way. By writing about how difficult life can be for offenders after they are released from prison, the reporter is acknowledging the often-neglected fact that offenders are people who have made mistakes.

The sources the reporter used in this story range from landlords who do or do not rent to offenders, people who live near offenders, offenders themselves, and authorities who work with the offenders in rehabilitation. These sources help to diversify the angles that the story takes, and ultimately foster an attempt to be as unbiased as this topic can allow.

In this article by the BBC, numbers play a critical role in understanding the message. The use of numbers could be considered overwhelming to readers at first read, because there are lots of numbers written in increments that are close together. In the first seven paragraphs, there are eight references to numbers, which began to distract me as a reader.

Because the BBC is run by British writers, it makes sense that they do not adhere to AP Style. Even though the numbers seem overwhelming at first glance, after they're reread carefully it can be determined that the numbers are actually quite tangible for readers to understand. There could have been more ways to translate the numbers so that they weren't all in percentages or liters (fractions, discussing as 'halves' or 'quarters').

The sources of the numbers are AA (Automobile Association for the UK), Petrol Retailers Association, and Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The obituary written for Richard Griffiths by the New York Times maintains the traditional obituary template used by the Times. The lead starts out summarizing some unique associations with Griffiths's life, and then ends with how old he was at the time of death.

The reporter quoted interviews Griffiths did during his lifetime, as well as quotations from people he worked with during his theater days, and cast members from the Harry Potter series. This helps the reader to get more of a personal connection to Griffiths, because if the obituary lacked these quotations, the reader wouldn't have any voice to his life.

The news value most apparent in this obituary is novelty because the obituary will inevitably be read by the millions of people who enjoyed the Harry Potter series. Timeliness is also evident in this obituary, as the final Harry Potter film premiered last year, so this provides a sad closure to fans of the series.

This differs from a resume in that it discusses some parts of Griffiths's personal life, his upbringing, and how he reacted to common situations in his life (i.e. how he dealt with his weight). A resume would focus more on strictly the professional aspect of his life, and most personal information would be considered irrelevant.

An article by Reuters summarized a speech by Barack Obama that took place on Feb. 12. The reporters started the article with the lead, which summed up the argument that Obama was trying to make throughout the speech: economic fairness for the middle class.

By reading the rest of the article, the reporters referenced direct quotations from Obama's speech. The reporters made sure to provide context, like when they wrote, "It was the second time in a few weeks that Obama has used a major occasion to show a new, bolder side, coming after his inaugural speech in January when he offered a strong defense of gay rights and put climate change back on the agenda." Without this knowledge, the reader not up-to-date with political speeches may not have been able to understand why this speech could be considered controversial to the Republican party.

The reporters went on to describe the reactions to Obama's speech, highlighting House Speaker John Boehner's response, as well as Florida Senator Marco Rubio's response. This allowed the reader to be assured that the atmosphere of the speech wasn't just influenced by the reporters' contextual ideas.

Analysis: New York cannibalism case

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(I accidentally did last week's analysis on the prompt that's due for this week, so I'm now doing last week's prompt. Sorry for the inconvenience!)

In the BBC's first run of this story, the lead is dramatic. Because the audience hadn't heard of the story prior to this, the author probably felt that there needed to be some intense diction. By the time there was a second article covering the story, the author managed to move a lot of the information that was provided later in the first article, towards the top of the second article. The second article focuses more on the link to the UK, so the author gets a lot more of the who, what, where, when, and why covered in the beginning so that the story can progress smoother and faster.

In the second article, the author assumes that the audience has already read a bit on the topic and has become familiar with the context. The second article starts referring to the suspect as "Mr Valle" quicker than the first article did, probably because the author feels comfortable addressing the suspect in a more casual manner. The second article is also longer than the first, presumably because there has been more analysis on the story and the author is able to dive more deeply into the content.

Analysis: BBC News and Pioneer Press multimedia use

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I get a lot of my news from the BBC because I am much more interested in British culture than American culture. Through this source, though, I've noticed that the BBC has a tendency to be random with their writing techniques. In this article, the BBC links pictures throughout. The pictures are in color, and add to the impact of the story that's being written. However, looking at other articles that the BBC writes, it becomes clear that they feel a necessity to add some sort of visual to all of their articles. This article contains a picture, as does this one, and this one. I can't recall an article by the BBC that I've read that doesn't have some sort of visual addition. This is both a drawback, and a good addition to the articles found on the website. It's a drawback because it can be distracting trying to read a news story, only to get sidetracked with a bunch of images. Contrasting, though, it makes the reader much more engaged with the material. I am more likely to read a story if there's a picture added to it, propelling me to be more focused on the content. Additionally, I think it's interesting how the BBC incorporates pictures throughout the article, even wrapping the text of the article around the image. It creates a sleeker look to the article, making it much less cluttered than other news organizations.

Comparing the BBC's use of pictures with their articles, the Pioneer Press also includes pictures with their articles, like this article. The main difference between the BBC's layout and the Pioneer Press's layout is organization. The BBC manages to add a lot of pictures to their articles that complement the writing, while the Pioneer Press adds too many advertisements that make a lot of their articles nearly impossible to navigate. This article by the Pioneer Press, for example, has no images that actually complement the article, but instead has a number of distractingly tacky advertisements. It's clear that the Pioneer Press hasn't been able to master the art of integrating images, much less any other forms of multimedia, as well as the BBC has.

Overall, the use of multimedia will tell the reader something about the organization's attitude towards...organization. With the BBC, the writing is clear and cohesive, and complemented with appropriately placed advertisements and images; while with the Pioneer Press, the images are often lackluster, and focus on the less-engaging writing that the Pioneer Press produces.

Analysis: Middlesbrough house crash: Girls thrown from sofa

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In this article by BBC News, I noticed that a lot of it was summarization. I think it's really interesting how the BBC has a tendency to skim over the details that American audiences would consider interesting--usually to create a brief article. The elements of this particular article were summarized in order of importance: the who, what, where, and when are addressed in the first paragraph, and the following paragraphs are supplements to the story. In the paragraphs following the first paragraph, we are told that the girls were uninjured, the car was reported stolen, and that the house maintained extensive damages.

I think this article could have been much more effectively written. Though the framework for all the public would need to know about the story is set, the "wow-factor" of this story--the fact that a car crashed into a house--is really skimmed over. I would have liked to know more about why the car crashed into the house, what the family saw outside of the window, what sorts of damage the house sustained, etc. Though this might have been the BBC's first article on this story, I think it would have been justifiable to make it more interesting and filled with facts that describe the sensational aspects of the situation, rather than the skeletal description.

The reporter of this article used a few sources, though I felt as if there could have been more attribution. The reporter attributes the officer that the story is about, the executive director for the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith, and it touches on reflection of the officer's record with the police force.

The sources are spread out well as the reader isn't struck with a bunch of them in any one place. That being said, it felt as if they might have been stretched out too far--some of the writing in between felt researched but unsourced. Most of the attributions are set up with the style of: the source, why the source is credible, and what the source said. This isn't the case for the officer himself, as it's implied that he is credible because he's speaking.

The attribution is somewhat effective. Perhaps the reporter was familiar with the story so they felt that attribution wasn't completely necessary, but there were parts (i.e. where did he issue the apology?) left out that rendered me to wonder where the reporter got their information.

The Pioneer Press article "University of Minnesota 'Female Orgasm' workshop draws critics," has a lead that addresses the who, what, where and when. The author addresses the details in a vague yet specific manner. The author could have included specifics like the organization hosting the event and the exact date, but instead stuck with a straightforward news lead. It goes in-depth enough to allow the reader to make a decision about whether or not they want to continue reading the article. The lead also gives some insight as to what the article is trying to take an angle on (conservative criticism) rather than just stating what the workshop is about.

I think that it made the most sense not to include anything that the actual workshop itself entails as that was already made clear by the title of the article. The author did just enough to try to get the reader to be informed but realize they need to continue reading in order to get the whole story.

The news values included in this lead are proximity, conflict, and emotions. The reader in New York might decide not to continue reading due to the location being in Minnesota--and that bit of information is included in the lead. It addresses conflict by noting that conservatives are the people who have an issue with the workshop. Finally, emotions are also addressed because someone who identifies as a hardcore liberal or conservative could continue reading because of their point of interest.

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