Analysis: Computer-assisted reporting

I found a story about the White House visitor logs from www.nicar.org--the EXTRA! EXTRA! link.

The reporter used statistical computer skills to do this reporting because they needed to look at the White House visitor records requests and figure out in what way the visitor logs are incomplete or if they look incomplete in any way contrary to what the Obama administration says about them.

These are necessary computer skills for the story because it is a lot of data from a pretty long time period and would be extremely difficult to go through without the help of a computer.

The story also has a live data feed from whitehouse.gov, and that extra feature is another computer skill that the reporters had to have been aware of to produce this story.

Here is the link to the story: White House visitor logs riddled with holes

Pakistan Supreme Court frees 5 accused of gang rape

The Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday freed five men accused of gang-raping Mukhtar Mai, the woman who emerged as a symbol of the opressed Pakistan women, on the orders of a village council, reported the New York Times.

The Supreme Court, led by Justice Shakirullah Jan, came to the judgment on the account of perceived flaws in Mai's account of the rape and other discrepancies in statements, which she said during initial investigations, reported the New York Times.

According to the Los Angeles Times, because of the severe social stigma associated with rape in Pakistan, many victims commit suicide or do not even file complaints about incidents.

Mai has won international recognition for going public with her case, which in turn helped to illuminate the discrepancy in the conservative Muslim nation of how disturbingly low conviction rates are with cases of rape and domestic violence, reported the Los Angeles Times.

University of Minnesota student, Benjamin Van Handel, who had been in a coma since Friday morning from a hit-and-run incident last week, died Thursday afternoon, reported the Minnesota Daily.

According to the Minnesota Daily, Van Handel was one of three students hospitalized, after a car going the wrong way down Fifth Street Southeast hit two groups of pedestrians.

According to a statement from a spokeswoman for Hennepin County Medical Center, Van Handel passed away with his family and friends by his side, reported the Star Tribune.

Van Handel suffered a servere brain injury and broken bones, while the others who were also struck had only minor injuries, reported the Star Tribune.

Teen suicides stir two families to action

Two distraught families gathered Thursday in search of the strength to speak out, after the families' 14-year-old southwestern Minnesota girls jointly committed suicide on Saturday, reported the Star Tribune.

The Marshall-area eighth grader Paige Moravetz and her best friend Haylee Fentress took their lives together, and Tricia Behnke and Joel Deruyck, the mother and stepfather of Paige Moravetz, searched for the signals that they missed along the way, according to the Star Tribune.

According to the Marshall Independent, the superintendent of the Marshall School District, Klint Willert, gave a public statement on Monday, in response to the deaths, and said that it was important that the community be allowed to grieve.

Willert said school administrators and staff have communicated with the girls' families in order to respect their wishes and privacy, reported the Marshall Independent.

The renowned Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei's detainment on April 3 at the Beijing International Airport while passing through immigration to board a Hong Kong flight, still has no clear answers as to the reason why it happened, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to the Los Angeles Times the artist has no doubtedly ruffled the feathers of the Chinese authorities, but authorities in light of his detainment have failed to notify his family of his wherabouts or disclose the charges against him, even though there is a law that they must do so within 24 hours.

The New York Times reported that throughout his 30-year career, he has become an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, and has sent his most powerful messages through risky rebukes from within the country itself.

Five accused of luring Florida teen to gruesome death

Fifteen-year-old Amber Wright and Seath Jackson, also 15, at the beginning of March were in what looked like a young normal relationship. After breaking up weeks after Jackson posted on Facebook his love for Wright, Wright, along with four other people, has been accused of leading Jackson to a planned gruesome death, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to Marion County Sheriff's Office detectives, Wright, her 16-year-old brother Kyle Hooper, and three other older friends devised a deadly plan in which Jackson was beaten, shot several times, and then burned to ashes, reported the Los Angeles Times.

According to the Gainesville Sun, there was a series of facebook posts indicating growing tension between Wright and one-time boyfriend Jackson.

One of the suspects, 18-year-old Charlie Kay Ely, told a reporter that the group went after Seath for hitting Amber, but that has still not been confirmed, reported the Gainesville Sun.

Southern Tornado outbreak among largest in U.S. History

A vicious storm system created a reported 241 tornadoes since Thursday, with more than 60 tornadoes touching down in eastern North Carolina, according to the Los Angeles Times.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a minimum of 22 people were killed all across the state of North Carolina late Saturday, with another five people killed in Virginia. In addition there was havoc wrecked earlier from the storms in Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia, and Mississippi, all together leaving another 17 people dead, reported the LA Times.

According to officials, the damage caused by the tornadoes in North Carolina is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars, reported the New York Times.

The New York Times reported that the storm system brought with it flash floods and tornadoes and thunderstorms accompanied by giant balls of hail, which left hundreds injured and many dead throughout the southern states.

Wild drama party gets Hastings musical canceled

HASTINGS, Minn.-- Hastings High school's spring musical has been canceled, after a drama club party got out of control, reported WQOW News.

The school district would not say exactly what happened at the drama club party that took place in late March, but according to the Pioneer Press, there was no alcohol or drugs involved, and there was no bullying or hazing, according to school officials.

According to Superintendent Tim Collins, around three dozen students attended the party on a Saturday night held at a drama club member's house. There was no school staff supervision present at the gathering, reported WQOW News.

The Pioneer Press reported that the party was a celebration after one-act play performances and a welcome for new club members. The Monday following the get-together students approached administrators about the happenings, which apparently had gotten out of control in some way.

St. Paul man killed after breaking up bar fight

A St. Paul man was shot and killed Wednesday morning on the city's North End for breaking up a bar fight between other patrons, reported the Star Tribune.

According to the Pioneer Press, four men total were arrested for 26-year-old Trevell Glass's death and a 28-year-old man was also injured in the North end shooting.

Thirty-one-year-old Byron Brantley is accused of shooting Glass, after Glass and a friend stepped in to try and break up a fight between Brantley and other bar patrons at Born's Bar, reported the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, Brantley was charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder on Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.


According to the Star Tribune, A Yale University student about to graduate, was killed inside a university chemistry lab when her hair was pulled into a rotating lathe, a type of lab machine, school officials said Wednesday.

The Star Tribune reported that senior physics and astronomy major Michele Dufault, died Tuesday night while working on her senior thesis. Her body was found by other students in the lab, university President Richard Levin said.

The Connecticut medical examiner's office said that Dufault died from accidental asphyxia by neck compression, reported the Star Tribune.

According to the New York Times, students and Yale staff members were devastated by Dufault's death on Wednesday, and in a letter to students Linda Koch Lorimer, a Yale vice president, called her death a "terrible accident", also stating that couselors would be open for grieving students.