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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.

February 25, 2007

"Not-so-sorry CEO wraps up assault case" by Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune

Life Time Fitness CEO, Bahram Akradi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor after attacking a 17-year-old in the Minnetonka High School parking lot. Scott D. Harrison, the victim, drove his car into the parking lot and was cut off by Akradi. Harrison honked and Akradi got out of his car and punched Harrison's car leaving a dent. Akradi then tried to pull Harrison out of the car, but just ripped his shirt. In exchange for his plea, a felony damage to property charge was dropped. Akradi agreed to donate $5,000 of athletic equipment to Minneapolis' public school's and attend an anger managment class. Akradi said he was not sorry for what he did and would do it again.

The challenge in this story is correctly explaining the evidence to the reader. A lot of different sides were presented in the article and allegations were made. It is important that the correct information is conveyed to the reader.

John Welbes reported on the same story for the Pioneer Press. There was a large difference in their stories. Welbes version of the incident in the Minnetonka High School parking lot varied from the Star Tribunes. Welbes said that Harrison drove his car towards Akradi's like he was going to hit it. Akradi then got out of his car, smashed his hand against Harrison's car and opened Harrison's door and grabbed Harrison by his collar.

February 18, 2007

"Resolution on Iraq falls 4 votes short in Senate" by Shailagh Murray, Star Tribune

Despite the outcome, the Democrats in the Senate made it clear they are against the escalation in Iraq. Republicans blocked the possibility of opening the debate on the nonbinding measure. Democrats are now more fueled than ever to criticize the Republicans for supporting an unpopular war among the nation. Norm Coleman argued to be some what in the middle. He opposes sending more troops to Baghadad and thinks sending troops to Anbar Province would be a better decision.

The challenge in this story is finding the newsworthy items. A lot of material was presented and the reporter needed to decide what was newsworthy for Minnesotan readers. Murray went for finding how Coleman and Amy Klobuchar felt about the issues, both Minnesota representatives.

Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny reported for The New York Times about the Senate vote. Most of the information was the same, except Coleman and Klobuchar were not mentioned in the Times article. Instead they focused on the Republicans who switched the vote with the Democrats.

February 11, 2007

"Stunning downfall for dedicated astronaut," by Tamara Lytle, Star Tribune

Summary:
NASA astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak has been charged with attempted murder and could face life in jail. Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman was the victim of her plot when Nowak stalked and assaulted Shipman for persuing a space shuttle pilot, William Oefelein.
Challenge:
The authorities were not releaseing much information at the time of print, so it was a challenge to give the reader enough information to understand the story.
Comparison:
Marc Kaufman of the Pioneer Press focused on what NASA is doing to up their screening process of potential astronauts. Kaufman's story also goes into more detail about Nowaks plan for assaulting Shipman.
Kaufman's story is set up well with like material together. He begins with what NASA is doing about the admission program and screening process. He then puts in chronological order the events Nowak went through to travel to and assault Shipman. He continues with the charges against Nowak and ends with a statement from NASA about how Nowak gave no indication for concern.

January 28, 2007

"'America must not fail in Iraq'" by Doyle McManus and Maura Reynolds, Star Tribune

Summary:
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush focused on his agenda for Iraq, but also gave insight into his plans for health insurance coverage and gas consumption. Bush's domestic policy proposed that health insurance spending be tax deductable up to $15,000 per family which can benefit some families and have a negative effect on others. He also proposed cutting gas consumption by 20 percent in the next 10 years by requiring the use of alternative fuels like ethanol. Bush's main concern was with his decision to send more troops into Iraq.
Challenge:
This story is one of the most important stories in the nation at the time and the pressure to report accuartely and promtly is a challenge. Also deciphering what the most news worthy topics were in the address was key.
Comparison:
Dan Balz of the Washington Post reported on State of the Union Address as well. All of the same topics were stated.
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/16530227.htm
Lede: I noticed that the lede is a hard-hitting quote.