April 29, 2007

"A sooner for the better" by Kevin Seifer, Star Tribune

Anticipation mounted Saturday as the NFL draft picks were announced. For the Vikings, it was Andrian Peterson, a running back, that proved to be their top pick. Many have concerns about Peterson because of many pervious injuries. Peterson has suffered a dislocated shoulder, a high ankle sprain, and the most serious, a broken collarbone. The Vikings' head coach, Brad Childress, is both excited and optimistic of the abilities Peterson will bring to the team. When asked about if Peterson will have any difficulties with offseason workouts, Peterson seemed optimistic. "To my knowledge, he is not going to have any of those issues," said Childress.

The challenge with writing this story is not to offend the Vikings because of a decision. It is important to deliver the news accurately, but the team and coaches are not going to be as willing to give interviews if they open up the paper and read about what horrible decision they are making.

Don Seeholzer reported on the story for the Pioneer Press. The Pioneer Press wrote a brief summary in the beginning; highlighting most of the facts the star tribune hit. After that, in three paragraphs, three questions fans might be asking themselves about the Vikings new pick were answered.

April 15, 2007

"April 12: Oakdale newborn's grisly death: Stabbed 135 times" by Jim Adams and Joel Powell, Star Tribune

Nicole M. Beecroft, 17, gave birth early Monday morning to a baby girl in a laundry room, but the baby was never given a chance. Beecroft is being charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the Washington County District Court for stabbing her baby to death 135 times. St. Paul police received an anoymous report on Tuesday from a cashier at the Cub Foods in Sun Ray Plaza saying Nikki Beecroft gave birth to a stillborn baby and threw it in the garbage can. Police found the baby along with bloody towels and a knife in a garbage can near Beecroft's home and she was arrested at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The challenge in this story is being sensitive to the nature of the content. The crime commited was horrific and done by a minor, although, she will be tried as an adult. It is difficult to be sensitive to the family while still reporting the news fully and thruthfully.

Alex Friedrich reported on the story for the Pioneer Press. The Pioneer Press' article ran a day later, on Saturday. Most of the facts remained the same, however, Beecroft's bail was set a $1 million dollars.

"Soldier From Willmar Dies In Iraq" by Susan Feyder, Star Tribune

Early Saturday Morning, Andrea Schmit received a call notifying her that her husband, Army Sgt. Joshua Schmit died from injuries after a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle he was driving. Sgt. Schmit, a 1999 Willmar High graduate had been in Iraq since May 2006 and was suppose to come home later this month. Schmit is the 58th person with Minnesotan ties to die in Iraq or Afghanistan over the war. Greg Schmit, Joshua's father, is in the Minnesota National Guard and is scheduled to be sent to Iraq next month. Greg says he still plans to go to Iraq and will follow his commanders orders.

The challenge in this story is not letting it fall victim to just another fallen soldier in Iraq. The article noted that Schmit was the 58th person with Minnesota ties to die over the war. The media respectfully covers each death with honor, however, the story is newsworthy, it's not irregular.

David Hanners reported on the story for the Pioneer Press. The Pioneer Press' coverage was more detailed. The reader is told that Schmit's nickname was "Oompa" and that it was just 10 days before he was suppose to return home. It was almost mentioned that his Humvee had been struck three other times by roadside bombs, but Schmit escaped with his life.

March 25, 2007

"U.N. tightens sanctions on Iran" by Alexandra Olson

A unanimous vote on Saturday by the U.N. Security Council confirmed that additional sanctions will be added against Iran because Iran refuses to stop enriching uranium. The sanctions will hult Iranian arms exports and freeze the assests belonging to 28 people and organizations involved with Iran's nuclear and missile programs.

The challenge in this story is conveying the information the way an average reader could understand. The facts were explained well for a person not involved in or following the stories in Iran could understand.

The Pioneer Press published an article about the sanctions by Colum Lynch. The Pioneer Press's coverage was concise and condensed. Both articles presented the same information, however, the Star Tribune took a more drawn out approach to reporting the story.

"State Guardsman Killed in Iraq; 3 hurt" by Dan Wascoe, Star Tribune

Minnesota National Guard Sgt. Gret Riewer, 28, was killed in Iraq from a roadside bomb while on patrol on Friday. Riewer lived in Frazee, Minn. and graduated from the local high school in 1997. Shortly after he enlisted in the National Guard and served in Bosnia. He was sent to Iraq last year with his brother, Andrew, who served in the same unit.

The challege in this story is making it stand out. There are so many stories covered in Iraq and with death tolls at their highest, it isn't unusual to read about another death from a roadside bomb. It is important to pay respect to those killed.

Brian Bonner reported on the death for the Pioneer Press. The two stories primarily had the same facts, however, the Pioneer Press had interviews from the mother and father.

"Under a shroud of anxiety, police seek clues in triple killing" by Tom Ford and James Walsh, Star Tribune

Early Friday morning, three St. Paul residents were murdered in their home. Maria McLay, 32, her daughter, Brittany Kekadakis, 15, and Maria's boyfriend, known both as Otahl Saunders and Othal Webb, 31 were shot to death in their home on the 200 block of Burgess Street in St. Paul. Little is known about the motive, but Police Chief John Harrington said he would be surprised if it was not drug related. McLay's two younger children were in the house when the shooting occured, but were not harmed. They are being considered as witnesses.

The challenge in this story is being sensitive to the family. One of the victims killed was a minor and was named. The two younger children of McLay who are now the only witnesses to the shooting remained unnamed.

Mara H. Gottfried reported for the Pioneer Press on the murders where a more detailed account was given. The two younger children involved were identified as a 7-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl. The address was given as 292 Burgess St. and a close friend of McLay's believes that they were targeted because they lived in the nicest house on the block, built two years ago. Also the boyfriend was idetified as Otahl "Telly" Osei Saunders and has a criminal record dating back to 1997.

March 18, 2007

"U labors for title" by Michael Rand, Star Tribune

The University of Minnesota's wrestling team took home the national title last night with a victory over Iowa State. The Gophers earned a 7.5-point lead going into the finals Saturday night over Iowa State. The win was sealed when heavyweight Cole Konrad won his match, the final one of the night, even though the Gophers would have won without his victory.

The challenge in writing this story is conveying the excitement one would get from being at the event live through writing. Portraying the intensity of the sport through words was the challenge.

The Pioneer Press published an article Saturday before the evening match took place. The article sets up what is to come for the night.

"Behind parad cheer, St. Paul Fire Department rift simmers" by Howie Padilla and Myron P. Medcalf, Star Tribune

The tensions between the St. Paul firefighter union leaders and Chief Doug Holton were not apparent at the St. Patrick Day's parade as they all participated. Just hours earlier, Holton was announced as one of the candidates for leading the Milwaukee Fire Department. It's clear that the St. Paul Fire Department is unhappy with Holton's performance; as shown in the "no trust and no confidence" vote of 366-6 taken earlier this month. It has been difficult for both sides to negotiate.

The challenge in this story is presenting both sides evenly. The Star Tribune gave equal length, in terms of word count, to both sides and their arguments.

Mara H. Gottfried wrote on the topic for the Pioneer Press. The Pioneer Press focused more on Holton's position as a finalist for the Milwaukee Fire Department and the tension with the St. Paul Fire Department.

"A scary morning in Lake City, then the all-clear to go home" by Jim Adams, Star Tribune

Around 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning, more than 100 Lake City, Minn. residents were greeted by police asking them to leave their homes and go to a Red Cross Shelter. A train car leaking anhydrous ammonia, which can be deadly when inhanled, was driving on hwy. 61 when the leak was discovered. Luckily, no one was harmed.

The challenge in this story is finding enough material to fill the story. I found the article to be long and repetitive.

The Pioneer Press ran an article on the same story. This article compiled the facts and was not repetitive. The only different I found between the two articles is that it waswritten in the Pioneer Press that the car was engulfed in flames. They were vague, but did leave the reader thinking the train car was on fire.

March 5, 2007

"Tornado survivors: 'It was like hell, total chaos'" by Adam Nossiter, New York Times

The twister that raged through Enterprise, Ala. killed eight Enterprise High School students. According to authorities, the school was warned about the twister three hours before it hit, but were worried that the outcome would have been much worse if students were out on the road. Back inside the school when the tornado hit, concrete fell on the students from the collapsed interior.

The challenge in this story is being sensitive about the victims. It was mentioned in the story that no one expects to drop their child off at school and return to pick them up out of rubble. Especially since the victims were minors, 16 and 17-years-old, most journalist find it morally right to withhold their names.

Jay Reeves reported about the same incident in the Pioneer Press. Reeves' angle on the incident was whether or not officials should have gotten the students out of the school earlier because of the warnings three hours before the tornado hit. He also noted that 50 other people in Enterprise were injured and 20 died in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri where tornados hit.

"Buried but unbowed in Duluth" by Larry Oakes and Bill AcAuliffe, Star Tribune

Even though those in southern Minnesota thought they were hit hard by the blizzard, Duluth became the blizzard's "ground zero." Snow drifts were created from the 60 mile per hour winds coming off of Lake Superier leaving Park Point citizens with 15-feet snow drifts. Cars were completely covered, doors to houses were immersed in snow drifts and in some places the snow reached as far up as the phone lines. Also noted was that the University of Minnesota closed completely on Thursday which hasn't been done since 1991.

The challenge in this story is reporting the severity of the situation. Everyone who lives in Minnesota should be used to the snow by now, but shocking some Minnesotans isn't as easy; at least when it comes to snow.

The Pioneer Press reported on the blizzard as well. Their article reported that the iconic aerial bridge that connects Park Point to the rest of Duluth was closed down until Friday leaving many stranded.

March 4, 2007

"Shanghai surprise: Stocks tumble" by Floyd Norris and Jeremy W. Peters, Star Tribune

Tuesday the Chinese stock market plummeted setting the tone for the rest of the world. Before Tuesday, the Chinese market had been soaring. The Dow Jones took it's steepest slide since the first day the market reopened after 9/11 attacks, Sept. 17, 2001.

The challenge in this story is reporting all the facts in terms that an average person can understand. I found it difficult to understand the reason why the drastic drop in the marktet occured in the first place. The story also lacked the "what's next" part of the article. The public is going to be anxious as to what the next steps are to getting the market back to normal.

Madlen Read wrote an article in the Pioneer Press that is shockinly similar in the facts reported. However, I still struggled to find the reason why. Read went into more detail about how the market was doing better than usual. His reason behind the drop is that that is the was the economy works; it goes up and it goes down.

March 3, 2007

"Despite protest, play mocking pope opens at U" by Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

The controversial play, "The Pope and the Witch," opened Friday night at Rarig Center after it's Thursday opening was canceled due to the snow. About 70 representatives from the St. John Vianney College Seminary stood outside the center singing hymns and reciting the rosary and Lord's Prayer while 250 marched past them to see the play. Some scences in the play include the fictionary pope injecting himself with heroin and has him advocating the legalization of drugs, yet wanted to take away birth control.

The challenge in this story is being sensitive to all parties involved. It is important to cover both sides, paying close attention to the side who has taken offense to the play.

Paul Tosto wrote about the controversial play for the Pioneer Press. Tosto wrote a more argumentative story highlighting the stronger views of those who oppose the play. Blasphemous, anti-Catholic, sacrilege, and vile are just some of the terms used by those who oppose the play. Tosto also highlights the online squabble over the play that has been taking place in blogs and forums.

"Teen arrested in high-profile rape case" by Howie Padilla, Star Tribune

Joshua L. Smith, 16, has been arrested in Wisconsin on two counts of sexual assualt according to authorities. Smith voluntarily gave a sample of his own DNA to authorites after being accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in his basement in September. The DNA was not only a match in this case, but also in a rape case occuring on Jan. 1 involving a 57-year-old woman on the East Side of St. Paul. In this case, the attacker assaulted the 57-year-old woman and left her unconscious after he raped her. Smith is being held in Racine, Wis. on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct until he is extradited.

The challenge in this story is being sensitive to the victims. Most reporters find it morally and ethically wrong to divulge a victims name in a rape case.

Mara H. Gottfried of the Pioneer Press wrote a similar article about the story. Gottfried's facts matched those of Padilla's, however, Gottfried found a more newsworthy fact to angle her story around. Apparently, the reason why a September rape case is just now pressing charges, is because the backlog at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's St. Paul crime lab prevented authorities from pressing charges earlier. If Smith's DNA had been tested and matched earlier, authories could have pressed charges sooner and therefore prevented the Jan 1. rape.

February 25, 2007

"Best picture: What makes a winner" by Colin Covert, Star Tribune

The Academy Awards are here and the Oscars are ready. The Academy of Picture Arts and Sciences have bylaws for determining one of the most anticipated awards, best picture. For one, it must be 40-mintues in length. Covert goes into detail about each of the nominees for best picture, and even ponders the question if Little Miss Sunshine will pull out the win.

The challenge of writing this article would be discovering the research and determining what is news worthy.

Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press, wrote a more subjective story about the upcoming Academy Awards. Hewitt found the story in not who will be winning the awards, but who will be 'blowing' it. In a different light, Hewitt compiles a list of who will will the awards and who should have won the awards.