November 2009 Archives

Analysis: Diversity

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Analysis: Diversity

by Dallas Johnson


For this analysis we will look at the CNN article regarding the United States and China.

For this article, I discussed the diversity issue with a student named Lina., who is Chinese-American.

At first look, it seems like the coverage of the story itself is pretty straightforward.  There doesn't seem to be much stereotyping going on in the actualy coverage.

However, it seems as though there is some accusation of some preconceived thoughts.  Not necessarily stereotyping though.  There is a section about halfway through the article that talks about the President underestimating the Chinese government.

There is even a suggestion that the United States is trying to take advantage of the Chinese, making it sound as though the U.S. thinks China is weaker.

This suggests that the report can move into more substantive issues using quotes and observation, but that it seems like stereotypes are still existing within the topics the story covers.

The article does a good job of providing quotes from the director of the Beijing Private Equity Association, this allows for any stereotypes or prejudice that might sneak in to be neutralized.

Lina and I have discussed stereotypes and prejudice.  It sometimes seems that people dig themselves into a stereotype, perpetuating it.  This makes it difficult for reporters to sometimes put those stereotypes aside.

However, it is also good for a reporter to a least give those being stereotyped the chance to break out and prove themselves to the reporter and the rest of the world.

Diversity is something that is tough to cover.  It requires prejudices and sterotypes to be put aside.  This isn't necessarily easy.  As long as the reporter is making an effort, however, we have assume that progress toward representing people fairly is being made.


Titans owner fined for rude gesture

Titans owner fined for rude gesture

by Dallas Johnson


Bud Adams, the owner of the Tennessee Titans, was fined $250,000 by NFL Monday for making rude gestures Sunday, ESPN reported.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Adams of the fine on Monday.  League spokesman Greg Aiello said the fine was for "conduct detrimental to the league."

Adams was photographed giving the middle finger to Buffalo Bills fans from his owner's box near the end of the Titans 41-17 victory over the Bills, CNN reported.

Adams, 86, apologized Monday for his actions.  "I got caught up in the excitement of a great day, but I do realize that those types of things shouldn't happen," Adams said.

The Bills and Titans have a rivalry that has existed since the the 1960s when both teams were in the AFL.  At the time, the Titans were the Houston Oilers.

Adams was one of the founders of the AFL along with Bills owner Ralph Wilson.

"I obviously have a great deal of respect for [Bills owner] Ralph Wilson and the history we have shared. I also understand there will probably be league discipline for my actions and I will accept those," Adams said.

The game was part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the AFL.  Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said he knew Adams was exited for the game because of the history between Adams and Wilson and the two teams.

The two teams have had many emotional playoff games, including the Music City Miracle in 2000. 

This is the biggest fine the NFL has issued an individual since New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for illegally taping opponents on the sidelines.





Dozens killed in mine accident in China

Dozens killed in mine accident in China

by Dallas Johnson


An explosion at a mine in China killed at least 42 workers Saturday, CNN reported.

The gas explosion left at least 66 others trapped around 500 meters below ground in the state-run coal mine in northern China, MSNBC reported.  Rescue efforts are underway.

Rescue efforts have been difficult because the explosion cut power, ventilation and communication links.

Around 530 workers were at the mine around 2:30 a.m. Saturday when the explosion occured at the Heilongjiang Longmei's Xinxing mine which is operated by the Hegang company.

The mines in China are the world's deadliest and he incident shows the difficulty the Chinese government has trying to make mines safer.

The incident is troublesome to the Chinese government because generally larger, state-run mines are considered safer than smaller, private ones.  China now faces a difficult task of boosting the industry's safety.

China has been tracking down on unregulated mines, which accounts for almost 80 percent of the 16,000 mines in the country.

China closed about 1,000 small mines last year, halfing the number of miners killed.

The government faces a difficult balance, however, as the country depends heavily on coal mines to power three-quarters of the country's electricity needs.


Fort Hood suspect's hearing to be held in hospital

Fort Hood suspect's hearing to be held in hospital

by Dallas Johnson


A pretrial confinement hearing for the suspect of the Fort Hood shootings will be held in the suspect's hospital room Saturday, CNN reported.

The hearing is to determine whether or not pretrial confinement, which the suspect has already been placed under, is appropriate for Maj. Midal Malik Hasan, his attorney said Friday.

The Fort Hood Judge Advocate Office confirmed that the hearing will take place Satudrday.  Hasan's attorney, retired Army Col. John Galligan, is arguing that the hearing is being conducted hastily and without regard to the medical condition of Hasan.

Galligan added that he did not know when Hasan would be discharged from the hospital and that he had not yet been informed where Hasan would be taken when he was discharged.

Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is accused of killing 13 people and injuring as many as 30 in the shootings at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, MSNBC reported.

Hasan was shot during the shootings but was found alive and in stable condition, miltary officals said.

Hasan is paralyzed from the waste down but has had coherent conversations with his attorney and understands the next steps in the legal process. 


St. Paul firefighter dies; declared in the line of duty

St. Paul firefighter dies: declared in line of duty

by Dallas Johnson


A St. Paul firefighter died Saturday after his heart failed due to a disease he contracted while on the job, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Ramon Hain came in contact with a patients body fluids in 1997, according to Fire Engineering.  Doctors believe Hain contracted a disease that weakened his heart.

Hain received a heart transplant in 1998 but still had to retire in 2000.  Hain's heart began to fail in recent months.  He was 50.

The St. Paul Fire Department considers Hain's death to be in the line of duty, despite the number of years that have passed since the incident.

This is fire department's first such death in 20 years.  Hain's name will be inscribed on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Maryland.

Hain did not know he would be honored before he died.   "I think that would really touch him," his wife, Gail, said.

Hain, who was also an emergency medical technician, described what happened to the Pioneer Press about four months before getting sick.

"I responded to a cardiac arrest call during which I knelt down over the person and came in contact with body fluids on the floor," he said. "I'd had a sore on my knee at the time, and a few days later I developed some kind of massive infection in the thigh of that same leg."

Hain is survived by his wife; daughters Rachel, 14, and Sara,12; father Edward Hain, of Olathe, Kan.; sisters Sherry Duval, of Cottage Grove, ansd Karen Sitzmann, of Lenexa, Kan.; and brother Steve Hain, of Olathe Kan.



Park Board wants debris from 35W bridge removed

Park Board wants debris from 35W bridge removed
by Dallas Johnson

The Minneapolis park board wants to have the debris from the 35W bridge removed from Bohemian Flats Park where it has been stored since the bridge collapsed in August of 2007, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

In a complaint filed Friday, the Park and Recreation Board said they wanted the pieces removed from the park immediately.  If that does not happen, the board said it would seek more than $50,000 for the loss of the use of the park, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The board says it is losing more than $60,000 a year in parking and docking revenue.

The steel, which belongs to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, would be difficult to move.  MnDOT says it would like to move the pieces but would have to cut them, altering the evidence being used in several other lawsuits.

The parks board is worried that the parts will be on park property for a long time because the bridge suits aren't expected to begin until early 2011.

The board stated in their complain that MnDOT has refused to pay a "reasonable rent."  The board also turned down MnDOT's latest permit extension request.

Analysis: Numbers

Analysis: Numbers
by Dallas Johnson

To analyze the use of numbers, we can look at this CNN article about a new Arlington probe by the Army Chief.

The reporter uses numbers near the end of the story to illustrate some of the points made earlier in the article.  It seems like a good usage of point-support.  The beginning of the article is the story, the end backs up the points made in the article and even helps to provide a little explanation.

The numbers are certainly not overwhelming because the writer does a good job of making sure they are relevant and in context.  They refer to the cemetery and the number of burials and number of staff members.  The writer uses these numbers in an appropriate place relative to the point the numbers make.

The reporter did use math to illustrate their point.  More specifically, the writer used percentages of burials going up over 20 percent while staffing has gone down 20 percent.  This helps to illustrate an explanation to the problems Arlington has been having in its burials recently.

The sources in this case, come directly from Arlington.  This gives legitimacy to the numbers.  There is no better place to get numbers from than the direct source. 

There are a couple of issues with the sources.  The first is that Arlington is going to try and prove that their problems are not a big deal and may provide statistics that paint them in a good light.  However, it is the journalist's responsibility to make sure they get what they need.

The second issue is that the writer does not explicitly state where the numbers come from.  We can see with a little back and forth reading that the numbers come from Arlington, but this is frustrating.  The numbers should be attributed directly.

No charges filed in Kansas University brawls

No charges filed in Kansas University brawls
by Dallas Johnson

There will not be charges filed against Kansas University football and men's basketball players for fights started in September, ESPN reported Saturday.

Jerry Little, the Lawrence city prosecutor, said that evidence forwarded to the prosecutor's by campus police was insufficient to charge anyone with disorderly conduct.

Tyshawn Taylor, a sophomore guard on the basketball team, was treated at a hospital for a hand injury received after a pair of altercations with members of the football team on Sept. 22 and 23, Fox Sports reported.

The injury will keep Taylor out of the lineup for up to a month on a top-ranked Jayhawks squad.  Taylor later apologized for his role in the incident, calling it an embarrassment to the teams and school.

Lew Perkins, the Kansas athletic director, said he spoke with both teams after the second incident, saying that he was "as mad as I've been in a long time."

The fights started after Taylor posted vulgar passages from a rap song on Facebook.  The comments posted by Taylor helped to heighen already existing tensions between the two teams.

Man found dead in Minneapolis under suspicious circumstances

Man found dead in Minneapolis under suspicious circumstances
by Dallas Johnson

A man was found dead early Saturday morning on a Northeast Minneapolis street, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The man, found on the 1000 block of Lowry Ave. NE, is believed to have died under "suspicious circumstances," the St. Paul Pioneer Press said.

Emergency responders were called to the scene around 5 a.m. to help what they believed to be an unconscious man.  When they arrived, responders found the man dead.

The man's identity has not been released and police have not given any information about what they know in regards to the man's death.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner is expected to release that information pending an autopsy.

The Minneapolis Police Homicide Unit is investigating the case.  They ask anyone who has information on the incident to call the Minneapolis Police Department tip line at 612-692-tips.

Suicide car bomb kills 11

Suicide car bomb kills 11
by Dallas Johnson

A suicide car bomber killed 11 people and injured 25 at a police checkpoint in Pakistan Saturday, CNN reported.

The bomb went off after authorities stopped the bomber at the checkpoint in Peshawar, making it the second straight day with major violence in the area, MSNBC reported.

The blast killed three women, three children, a policeman and four other men, said Shafi Ullah, a deputy superintendent of police said.

This bombing is the most recent of several attacks on the city of Peshawar in the last few days,

The attacks are most likely retaliation against the army for their efforts to rout militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, intelligence officials said.

Police forces were increased at all checkpoints after a dual attack Friday that killed 17 people.

While the Taliban took responsibility for the attacks on Friday, no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the Saturday attack.

Qari Hussein, senior commander of the Taliban, said that the attacks will continue but their intensity will grow.

Hussein, is angry at the Pakistani government for its un-Islamic ways and alliance with the United States, says it plans to target political parties who have taken an anti-Taliban position.

He added that the illusion that their government will protect them is incorrect.  "We will be able to take them out," he said.

The government responded, saying that the attacks would not stop them from carrying out their operation.

Balloon boy parents plead guilty

Balloon boy parents plead guilty
by Dallas Johnson

The parents of 6-year-old "balloon boy" pleaded guilty Friday to charges relating to the highly-publicized incident, CNN reported.

Richard Heene pleaded guilty in Larimer County Court to a felony count of knowingly and falsely influencing Sheriff Jim Alderden, MSNBC reported.

Heene's wife, Mayumi Heene, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of knowingly filing a false report with emergency services.

Both agreed to a sentence involving probation, the Heenes attorney's said.  In addition, Richard faces up to 90 days in jail while Mayumi faces up to 60.

Richard also told judge Stephen Schapanski that he knew he may have to pay restitution for the money spent in attempts to ground a balloon authorities were told contained the Heene's son.

Authorities spent at least $62,000 in October pursuing the balloon.

The incident started when Mayumi called police and told them her son, Falcon, was trapped in a large silver balloon that come loose from its moorings in their yard.

Authorities then chased the balloon, trying to ground it, as it floated over Colorado.

Mayumi later told police that the whole incident was a hoax, developed to try and gain hype for the possibility of a future reality television show.

Schapanski told Mayumi, a Japanese citizen, that her please doesn't necessarily prevent federal authorities doing something regarding her immigration status.

Lee Christian, Mayumi's attorney, agreed with the statement, adding that the plea would help her chances.

Missing woman found unharmed

Missing woman found unharmed
by Dallas Johnson

A Crystal woman was found Wednesday after she was reported missing earlier this week, Fox 9 News reported.

Maricruz Hernandez, 21, was found by the Crystal Police Department unharmed and with her child, Sgt. Doug Leslin said.

Leslin could not elaborate on Hernandez's or the child's condition.

Hernandez was last seen Sunday at her apartment complex with a 21-year-old St. Paul man, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and was booked in the Hennepin County jail, jail records said.

The man has not been charged, Leslin said.

The Crystal Police Department continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding Hernandez's disappearance.

Analysis: Obituary

Analysis; Obituary
by Dallas Johnson

The obituary of anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss from CNN can show us the differences between a news obituary and a news story.

Most of the sources in this obituary are from colleagues or associates.  It seems as though Levi-Strauss may not have had any family, based off the way the obituary was written.  If the obituary were written about someone with living relatives, we would probably see some quotes from them as well.

The lead to the obituary is different than that of a standard news lead.  It starts in a kind of storytelling way.  It appeals to the general public, referencing anyone who has ever taken an anthropology class.

This type of lead works because the reporter is not trying to provide the public with what happened exactly.  They are simply trying to let the public know that Levi-Strauss died and what he was known for.  The reporter backs this information up with less formal sources than would be required and/or desired for a normal news piece.

The obituary differs from a resume because it does not simply relay all of Levi-Strauss' strengths and weaknesses or his jobs.  It talks about his accomplishments, and gives some background information on his life. 

More importantly, the obituary talks about how his work inspired others in field.  We see this in some of the quotes from his colleagues.  So, in other words, a resume is trying to focus a person's strengths in trying obtain a job.  The obituary is focusing on a person's accomplishments and their impact on the world.

Gopher recruit suspended, faces charges

Gopher recruit suspended, faces charges
by Dallas Johnson

Royce White, the Minnesota men's basketball highly touted recruit, was suspended Tuesday by head coach Tubby Smith, who cited team rules violations stemming from a legal incident, ESPN reported.

White also faces misdemeanor charges of theft and fifth-degree assault for an incident Oct. 13 at the Mall of America.

Police Cmdr. Jim Ryan said White tried to shoplift a pair of pants under his sweatpants.  When he was confronted, White shoved a security guard who worked at Macy's several times.

White was later found by Bloomington police and was made to give the pants and a stolen shirt found back.  The items totaled $100.

The Bloomington city attorney's office said that White has an arraignment set for Nov. 17.

White sat out of Thursday's exhibition opener against the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  Smith has said that White will be out for Monday's exhibition game against Minnesota State-Moorehead as well.

The suspension "could be two games. It could be five, six. It could be more," Smith said, "it could be 20. It depends on what I want, what I decide."

White's suspension comes alongside the suspension of senior Devron Bostick.  Bostick was suspended for violations of team rules, Smith said.

White's suspension also comes after junior college transfer Trevor Mbakwe's suspension.  Mbakwe is being held out of all games until his felony aggravated battery charge, stemming from an incident in Miami in April, goes through the legal process.

Mbakwe is scheduled to have a trial court date Dec. 14.

Typhoon kills at least 14 in the Philipines

Typhoon kills at least 14 in the Philipines
by Dallas Johnson

At least 14 people were killed and four others are missing after Typhoon Mirinae struck the Philipines Saturday, CNN reported.

The typhoon left more than three inches of rain on the island of Manila, leaving some places, such as Daet, with almost six inches of rain.

The flooding from Mirinae comes at a bad time for the Philipines, which has now been hit by four typhoons in the last month.  The first of the typhoons, Ketsana, left 80 percent of Manila under water.

The flooding from Ketsana lasted well into October, when Typhoon Parma made landfall.  Typhoon Lupit followed, narrowly missing making landfall, but still delivering heavy rains to the Philipines. 

Tens of thousands of residents are still residing in evacuation centers from the previous typhoons.

The government closed schools, grounded ferries and mobilized an army battalion for rescue operations prior to Mirinae making landfall, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.  Trucks filled with food and other supplies were also dispatched to the areas expected to be hit by the typhoon.

The previous storms killed 929 people in floods and landslides.

After making landfall, Mirinae, which had winds of over 90 miles per hour, quickly dissipated and is now classified as a tropical storm, forecasters said.

It is expected to weaken even more before making landfall in Vietnam on Monday.

Three North Dakota students found dead

Three North Dakota students found dead
by Dallas Johnson

Three students at a North Dakota university were found Tuesday in their SUV in a pond near their school, CNN reported.

The women, Kyrstin Gemar, 22; Afton Williamson, 20; Ashley Neufeld, 21; had been missing since Sunday.  They were found Tuesday afternoon after a search team found tracks leading to the pond five miles northwest of Dickinson, N.D.

Foul play is not suspected, police said.

The police were lead to a farm near Dickinson State University, where the women played softball, by signals from phone calls the women made to friends while they were trapped, MSNBC reported.

Two calls were received from the women by teammates around 11:15 p.m. Sunday.  The women were panicked and mentioned something about water and a lake, Connie Walter, director of Dickinson State University relations said.

The teammates called law enforcement immediately and a search began for the women.

Police believe the women were on a stargazing trip when they drove straight into a pond.

Teammates and family gathered at the pond Wednesday to throw roses and softballs into the pond where the women were found. 

"I can't believe that my baby is gone. I miss her terribly," said Claire Gemar, mother of Kyrstin.

"We threw out last pitches to each of the girls," said Gemar's father. "That heavenly softball team someplace where we hope that they all are. We know they hit them out of the park."

Man convicted of murder

Man convicted of murder
by Dallas Johnson

Audie Matthews was convicted Saturday of the murder of Blaine Christofferson in 2008, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Matthews was convicted by a jury in the Ramsey County District Court of first- and second- degree murder in Christofferson's death in March of 2008.

District Judge Gregg Johnson sentenced Matthews, 33, to life in prison following the conviction.  An automatic appeal has been made to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Christofferson, 39, was shot around 2:30 a.m. on March, 8 2008 near White Bear and Minnehaha avenues in a parking lot across from the Cherry Pit bar, WCCO reported.

Christofferson and a friend were leaving the bar when they were approached by a man with a gun.  The man demanded their wallets.  Christofferson handed over his wallet but the gunman wanted more.

There was a struggle and the gunman fired twice, once as Christofferson was running away, and once after he was on the ground.

Christofferson was brought to Regions Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

A K-9 unit tracked Matthews from the scene to a front yard in St. Paul.  Along the way, police found a hand-gun, jacket, sweatshirt and ski mask.


Man sues police after being tasered

Man sues police after being tasered
by Dallas Johnson

A Minneapolis man filed a civil lawsuit Friday against the Minneapolis Police Department for an incident in which the man said he was tasered by an officer after he had surrendered, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Rolando Demetrio Ruiz, 18, filed the lawsuit Friday, naming the city, Police Chief Tim Dolan, officer Todd Lappegaard and others.  Albert Goins, Ruiz's lawyer, released video of the incident.

The video shows Ruiz standing with his hands on the hood of the police car when Lappegaard uses a taser on the back of his neck, according to City Pages.

The lawsuit is seeking damages between $75,000 and $400,000.  The lawsuit is claiming civil rights violatioins, which means that it could exceed $400,000.

Dolan has asked the FBI and the city attorney's office to review the claim.  The video is "very disturbing," Dolan said.

"Minneapolis police training and policies related to use of force and Tasers are based upon national best practices and standards," Dolan said in a statement Tuesday. "We take any violations of those policies very seriously."

Along with civil rights violations, the lawsuit is citing nine other incidents.  A 2002 incident involving Lappegaard was cited, in which an SUV driven by a woman who was running from police was hit by Lappegaard's police car.  The SUV ran off the road and killed a man jogging.

The lawsuit said that the city should have known that Lappegaard was a danger to Minneapolis citizens.

Ruiz pleaded guilty Thursday to a gross misdemeaner for throwing a brick at a Minneapolis police car.  He was sentenced to 62 days in jail, which he has served, two years probation and a $50 fine.

Lappegaard has been assigned to office duty pending the investigation.

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