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February 28, 2008

Event Coverage

Find a news report that advances some event - an exhibit, a movie opening, a festival. What are the sources used in the story? What is the angle of the story? How has the reporter crafted something more than a listing?

The advance I found is for a movie premiere, found at Variety. It promoting the release of the new Indian Jones film, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18. The authors seem to be fans of Steven Spielberg, as they talk about him with an air of praise. This is the main angle of their story - that Spielberg will "grace" the Cannes Film Festival with his presence. The source used is Baseline Studio Systems, which provides background information on Spielberg, actors in the film, and the Cannes Film Festival. This is more than a listing for the movie premiere, because it takes a position and stays with it. It adds detail about Spielberg's genius as a film maker and how honored the authors are that he will be at the Festival. This is more than a cut-and-dry listing, as it adds flavor in about the movie director's high status in the filmmaking community.

Meeting/press conference

Find a news report about a public meeting or a press conference by a governmental organization. If it was a meeting, get the agenda. If it was a press conference, get the press release. Compare the news report with either the agenda or the press release. What choices did the reporter make in crafting that news story?

A press release from the Office of Management and Budget about their citizen's guide to the financial report in the U.S. government was made on February 14, 2008, found at the OMB website, White House.gov TAHOCO, an online site, found at TAHOCO, which writes news stories focusing on government action, wrote a story about the citizen's guide. The press release calls the guide a " user-friendly reference tool," and also calls problems within the government "challenges." The reporter that wrote the news release uses a matter-of-fact tone, and neither praises nor condemns the government's actions. They use facts from the press release, such as when the guide was released and what it will entail, but does not use the language or tone of the release.

Prince Harry in combat

The UK's Prince Harry has been seen in combat in Afghanistan, the MInistry of Defense confirmed on Thursday. Reuters

The prince has been a combat soldier on the front lines for about 10 weeks, but his deployment was kept secret for the security of the prince and others around him, officials said. CNN

The news was leaked by German, Australian, and U.S. Web sites. Harry was deployed to Helmand, a dangerous southern region of Afghanistan, but now there is talk over whether he should remain there, for fear of Taliban militants and others making him a target. Reuters

In the past, Prince Harry has expressed a desire to serve his country.

"At the beginning of this year, it was very hard and I did think, 'well, clearly one of the main reasons that I'm not likely to be going (to war) was the fact of who I am," Prince Harry told reporters in 2007. CNN

Drunk driver charged

The car crash that killed a Two Harbors veterinarian was caused by a drunk driver from Cambridge. MSNBC

Ann Marie Brodman, 53, was charged with criminal vehicular homicide Thursday, police said. She was also charged with criminal vehicular operation and drunken driving. Duluth News

Mary Schlangen, 35, was a small-animal veterinarian who practiced in Duluth. She was the author of "Zoe's Good-bye," a children's book about coping with the death of pets. Duluth News

Schlangen's husband Mark, a school teacher, was the driver of the car, and was seriously injured. The couple's two children, ages 8 and 5, suffered slight injuries, medical personnel said. Brodman was unharmed. MSNBC

Mark Schalangen told reporters that his family is still "learning to live with a new reality" since the crash. MSNBC

Ministry building in Gaza hit

Israeli missiles struck the Palestinian Interior Ministry Building on Wednesday in the Gaza Strip, just hours after Palestinians fired rockets into southern Israel. CNN

A six-month old was killed, along with at least 30 people who were injured, military and medical emergency personnel in Israel said. CNN

Military sources said that the attack was part of a series of air raids in retaliation of the Palestinian rockets. Washington Post

The U.S. announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet with Palestinian and Israeli leaders next week to start peace talks. Washington Post

An opinion poll in Israel showed that 64 percent of Israelis favor peace talks with Hamas, the militants in control of Gaza. CNN

February 26, 2008

Monticello father charged with drug paraphernalia

A Monticello man was charged Tuesday on a count of storing drug paraphernalia in front of children and two counts of first-degree drug possession, after drugs were found according to a complaint filed Monday in Wright County Court. Star Tribune

In Range, the business of Shea Pedersen, 32, was searched Thursday, along with his home in Monticello, the complaint said. Drugs and paraphernalia were found at the business, and trace amounts of drugs and explosives were found in the home. Monticello Times

The Minneapolis Bomb Squad was called in to destroy the explosives, and the drugs and drug paraphernalia, and 3 fire arms found in Pedersen's home were confiscated, the complaint said. Star Tribune

Jessica Pedersen, Shea Pedersen's wife, was also arrested and was charged with negligent storage of a firearm. Star Tribune The couple's children, ages 3,4, and 6, were placed in Wright County Human Services.
Monticello Times

In-flight death of a Brooklyn mother

A Brooklyn mother on board an American Airlines flight died Friday after two oxygen tanks failed to revive her, relatives of the woman said. NY Daily News

Carine Desir, 44, a nurse and a mother, was flying from Haiti to JFK airport when she collapsed, moaning, "Don't let me die," witnesses said NY Daily News

Flight attendants and medical professionals onboard tried to save Desir by giving her oxygen, but it could not be determined if the oxygen was flowing properly, medical personnel said. CNN

Desir's family says that flight attendants and equipment are to blame for her death. Spokesmen for American Airlines maintain that attendants acted as trained, and equipment was in working order. CNN

The cause of death was a complication with heart disease and diabetes, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office. CNN

February 24, 2008

Spot and follows

Look at a news event that has a first-day story and then a follow story the next day. How od the leads in the two stories differ? How is the main news summarized? How does the second story advance the news? Is the second-day story a response to a report from a competing news organization? How has that shaped the follow?

The news stories about who is to replace Fidel Castro as the Cuban leader slowly developed. One story is about an "expected" leader, and the next is from the following day, announcing that Raul Castro will take over. The first is at KXMC , a news station, and it was written on February 23rd. The next is at CNN , and was written about a day later. The leads in the story differ in that the first one says that it is "expected" that Raul Castro will lead Cuban, and the second states definitively that Castro's brother will now reign. The exact wording for the first is, "Raul Castro is expected to be appointed the new leader of Cuba by the country's parliament today." KXMC The second's exact words are, "Fidel Castro's nearly five decades of rule ended Sunday when Cuba's National Assembly chose his younger brother Raul to be the country's new president." CNN The first story does not include random facts other than that Raul will most likely be the new leader, while the second added in more facts pertinent to the story. It thus has more room to advance the story and include more facts, being that it is certain Raul will take over. CNN is a competitor for many news stations, and it is usually very timely, so it could be considered competition for any news station, or at least a standard to live up to. This shapes their follows so that they have more facts and attention grabbing information for the reader.

Ralph Nader enters presidential election

Ralph Nader announced Sunday that he is entering the 2008 presidential election. MSNBC

The political activist will run as an Independent, saying that most Americans are dissatisfied with the Republican and Democratic parties. This will be his third time running for president. MSNBC

Many Democrats do not support Nader, saying that his candidacy in the 2004 election cost Al Gore votes in Florida. Nader disputes this, however, saying that the Democrats themselves are to blame. CNN

Nader told voters to look at his campaign site, votenader.org, which he said contains important issues that Obama and Sen. John McCain "are not addressing." CNN

February 23, 2008

Hit and run on University Avenue

A 59-year-old woman was struck and killed in a hit and run accident on University Avenue Wednesday. TwinCities.com.

The man who hit the woman was Terrance Leonard Oliver, 45, a St. Paul man who was driving on University Avenue near Fairview Avenue at around 8 a.m. when he struck Margaret Prowse. Prowse was walking across the street where there were no crosswalks or street lights, according to the criminal complaint in Ramsey County District Court. Star Tribune

Injuries included those to the pelvis, significant bleeding, a torn aorta, and brain damage. Prowse was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital. TwinCities.com

Oliver told authorities that the sun was blinding, and that he initially stopped, but kept going because his driver's license was revoked in 1996. Star Tribune

Van driver charged

The van driver who crashed with a Cottonwood school bus appeared in court Friday to face vehicular homicide charges, authorities said. Star Tribune

The woman said her name was Alianiss Nunez Morales, but authorities are unsure who she is, saying that she is in the country illegally and using a fake name. TwinCities.com

The woman also told authorities that she has been working in United States at a cabinet shop and living with her boyfriend in a trailer, where a search was conducted by federal immigration officers. "ICE is executing a search warrant in relation to the investigation into the crash and her identity," said State Patrol Cpl. Al Uecker. Star Tribune

The identification of the woman has sparked an immigration debate. TwinCities.com

February 21, 2008

Gray wolves off endangered list

Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies were removed from the endangered species list Thursday, said The Daily Green.

The wolves have been on the list for 13 years, and their population has skyrocketed as a result of the protection, conservationists said. About 1,500 wolves live in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, which is a promising change, said MSNBC. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23275622)

The U.S. Department of Interior announced the removal, which allows for hunting of gray wolves to begin again, possibly in the upcoming year. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23275622) .

Conservation groups such as the Sierra Club are encouraged by the increasing numbers of gray wolves, but do not want the animals off the endangered species list.

“The decision to remove protections for wolves is premature. We still have a long way to go before wolf populations are sustainable over the long term. This is like declaring victory at mile eighteen in a marathon,? said Melanie Stein, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club. The Daily Green

Inoperable satellite destroyed by United States

An inoperable U.S. satellite was struck Saturday by a U.S. Navy missile, military officials said. The destruction of the satellite needed to be done after the space shuttle Atlantis had landed, and the weather had to be perfect, officials said. CNN

The spy satellite was orbiting some 150 miles from Earth, and was destroyed in order to ensure that it did not fall to Earth and cause damage from toxic wastes, government officials said. CNN

Russia says that the missile may be a veiled test of anti-satellite technology under the U.S. defense system. BBC

The launch is also suspected to be a response to military rival China's destruction of a satellite last year, which was denied by U.S. military officials. CNN

February 14, 2008


Analyze the progression of information in a news story. How has the reporter summarized the important elements? How has the reporter ordered the information? Why? Is it effective? Could it have been done differently How?

The news story "Fossils of new meat-eating dinos found," at News Times, has an interesting structure. There is a lot of detailed information on the subject, a discovery of fossils in Africa, and therefore a lot of the facts had to be sorted through and chosen for greatest importance. The lead says that archaeologists found two carnivorous dinosaurs in Africa. This is the most important information, and it is therefore effectively structured. Next the reporter identifies the source, a journal of a fossil-hunter that made the discovery, and says what the dinosaurs are named and what they looked like while alive. This is important information as well, because it is one of the biggest questions that the reader would have after hearing the lead. The next information is about the what the dinosaurs mean to the scientific community and to understanding life 100 million years ago. These are also effectively structured because they are relevant addresses to questions readers would have.

Although the structure is quite effective, as a reader I thought it could have included more information on the paleontologists who discovered the dinosaurs. I knew nothing about the dig site in Africa, and that could have been useful information to know.

Two dinosaur fossils discovered

Two new dinosaur fossils were uncovered in Africa by a Chicago team of archaeologists, said the Chicago Tribune.

The dinosaurs lived some 110 million years ago, said archaeologists. News Times One was named Kryptops palaios, meaning "old hidden face," for a thick skin covering his face, said a journal by University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno and Stephen Brusatte. The other was named Eucarcharia dinops, or "firece-eyed dawn shark," because of its sharp teeth and bony brow.

Also according to the journal, the dinosaurs were about 25 feet in length and stood about 7 feet high. Chicago Tribune

Paleontologists say that this discovery is important to understanding the world 100 million years ago. Peter Makovicky, curator of dinosaurs at the Field Museum, said the discoveries are "an important slice in geological time, and we don't yet fully comprehend how dinosaurs on the southern continents were evolving then." News Times

Man arrested for intoxicated driving dies

A man arrested on suspicion of drunk driving died after being taken to a hospital on Wednesday, said the WCCO.

Marcus James Burrell was pulled over on 23rd and Grand Avenues N.E. at about 2:30 a.m., police said. Police arrested him on charges of Driving While Intoxicated, and was placed in the back of a squad car. the WCCO.

Soon after, the man showed signs of a medical emergency and the EMS was called, police said. CPR was performed by police, and paramedics extracted a bag of possible crack cocaine from Burrell's airway. TwinCities.com

Police said the man was pronounced dead at North Memorial Medical Center. TwinCities.com

Light-rail debate

Critical planning on the future extension of the light-rail will be made soon, said TwinCities.com.

A debate rages as the Central Corridor light-rail line linking St. Paul and Minneapolis must find a route that is affordable and convenient, but also can be built by 2014. TwinCities.com

The plan is to run the light-rail above ground along Washington Avenue to Snelling Avenue, and continue to downtown St. Paul. Administrators at the University of Minnesota are concerned with automotive and pedestrian traffic. WCCO

University of Minnesota Vice President Kathleen O'Brien said, "We believe that either the train needs to go below ground or the traffic needs to go somewhere else, or the train needs to go somewhere else."

Those for and against the plan are working on a compromise. A light-rail listening session wil be held on Wednesday at the University of Minnesota campus. TwinCities.com

California boy shot at school

A California student was shot by a classmate on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Lawrence King, 15, was pronounced brain dead at about 9:30 p.m. He was in his first period English class at his junior high school in California, police said. He is on a ventilator for possible organ donation on request of his family, said a medical examiner at St. John's Regional Medical Center. MSNBC.

The 14-year-old boy suspected of killing King was arrested following the shooting. The boy may face charges of murder if King dies, Prosecutor Greg Totten said. MSNBC

Motives for the killing, which took place in front of over twenty other students, were unclear. Associated Press.

Hezbollah Militant Leader Killed

Wanted terrorist leader Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Syria, according to MSNBC. The man was suspected to be responsible for the attacks on hundreds of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980's.

Israel is thought to be behind the bombing, according to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Iran. No admittance was made to the assassination, but officials did not show remorse in Mughniyeh's death, . AFP

The Hezbollah leader was on FBI's list of wanted terrorist for nearly 20 years, and there was a $5 million reward for information to help with his arrest. In 1985 he was indicted for his role in the hijacking of a TWA airliner when a U.S. military officer was killed. AFP

Along with Israel, the United States was thankful for Mughniyeh's death. "The world is a better place without this man in it," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "One way or the other, he was brought to justice." MSNBC


February 9, 2008


In the story, "2 more Bhutto assassination suspects arrested," found on MSNBC, at least 6 sources are mentioned. These include Pakistani police, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Pakistan, U.S. officials, militant representatives from Pakistan, a spokesman for the British High Commission, and an assignment editor for a private TV news station.

The sources are mentioned paragraph by paragraph, clustered together. The information comes from people, such as Pakistani officials who were involved in the arrest of the suspects. Police reports or other documents are not mentioned. The attribution is set up in a clear and informative manner. The sources are given one by one, and most often are mentioned after the important information is given to the reader. This happens especially at the beginning of the article. Sources are mentioned before the information at the end of the article, because the "who" of the story becomes more important than the "what." This is effective in showing what the most important information is in the article, and it shows the reader how the reporter knows what they know.

February 7, 2008

Two possible Bhutto murder suspects arrested

Police in Pakistan arrested two men possibly involved in the assassination case of Benazir Bhutto on Thursday, said MSNBC.

The two men are Rafaqat and Hasnain, said Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema. MSNBC They were arrested in Rawalpindi, a garrison city where Bhutto was killed in a bomb attack on Dec. 27. The suspects are expected to appear in an anti-terrorism court on Friday, but no further details were given.

A team from Britain's Scotland Yard and Pakistani investigators are looking into Bhutto's assassination. Authorities arrested two other suspects last month, one is 15-year-old Aitzaz Shah, and the other is Sher Zaman. Pakistani officials have not yet named any of the detainees official suspects. MSNBC and CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/02/07/pakistan.bhutto/index.html

Pakistani and U.S. officials concluded that Bhutto's assassination was headed by Baitullah Mehsud, a leader of the Pakistani Taliban who is liked to al-Qaeda. MSNBC and CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/02/07/pakistan.bhutto/index.html

Macy's headquarters in Minneapolis to close

The Macy's headquarters in Minneapolis will close, laying off 950 employees, said Macy's Inc. on Wednesday, according to the Star Tribune.

The retailer announced that a $150 million consolidation was necessary due to slowing sales in recent months, and earnings would be below Wall Street estimates in the coming fiscal year, as shares fell nearly 5 percent. The consolidation will lay off 2,300 management positions nationwide, including the Minneapolis headquarters in Nicollet Mall. This is one of the biggest cuts in the area in recent years. Post Bulletin.

Macy's Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said the new consolidation is the right structure. "We think it is one that will get us back to the place where we can take market share and grow our business back," he said. Post Bulletin.

New York Times.

Video found shows al-Qaeda training boys to kidnap and kill

A video found by U.S. troops shows al-Qaeda training children to kidnap and kill civilians in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials said, according to the New York Times.

The tape was found in December by U.S. troops during a raid in Khan Bani Saad, northeast of Baghdad. It showed that al-Qaeda was using children in terrorist attacks, said American military officials.

The video is believed by American intelligence officials to be a propaganda tape made by al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. It may be used in training young boys to become members of the terrorist group. In it, several violent scenarios are acted out, including one of young boys holding guns to an unarmed man on a bicycle, saying, "Put your hands behind your head." New York Times.

The adult victims were most likely acted by the children's parents or other relatives, according to military officials. It is believed that the tapes are used in early training sessions with children in "the process of indoctrination and training that starts early to ensure they grow up to become future terrorists when they become of age," Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, an American spokesman, said. Union Tribune

Obama and Romney take Minnesota in a strong turnout

The turnout at the Minnesota caucus broke records on Tuesday, the Pioneer Press said. Barack Obama out-polled Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party, and Mitt Romney won over McCain in Minnesota.

One in 10 voters participated at their party's caucus, the Secretary of State said. About 200,000 Democrats came to caucus and an estimated 60,000 Republicans came, Secretary Mark Ritchie said. An expected 330,000 out of 3 million eligible voters will come for additional parties caucuses by the end of this month, the Pioneer Press said.

At Coffman Memorial Union, about 1,700 people voted, and over 1,000 participated in the caucus.

Obama won the Democratic Party, beating Clinton 2-to-1. Mitt Romney beat John McCain in the Republican Party with over 41 percent of the vote. Minnesota Daily

Tornados sweep the South

Tornados struck the South on Tuesday, killing at least 54 people and injuring many others, according to ABC News.

There were more than 50 tornados that swept through several U.S. States, killing four in Alabama, 13 in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky and 30 in Tennessee. Damages included the tearing apart of a dormitory in Tennessee, destruction of highways, the loss of many homes. CNN

This is the most destruction tornado outbreak in over 20 years. It is rare for the tornados to occur during the winter time, and during the early morning hours. Many had little to no warning about the storms, said victims.

The final death count is yet to be determined, but damages are severe in all areas that the tornados struck. CNN

February 4, 2008

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Lead in the Clinton Story

The lead, "Hillary Rodham Clinton challenged her opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination on the environment, health care and foreign policy during a stop Sunday at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, where she appealed to young people to share her vision of an America with "limitless possibility," was written by Pat Doyle in the Star Tribune, in his report on the Clinton rally at Augsburg College on Sunday.

The news elements are the "who": Hillary Rodham Clinton, the "what": "challenged her opponent," the "when": Sunday, the "where": Augsburg College, the "why": "appealed to young people to share her vision...", and the "how": "(on the environment, health care and foreign policy) during a stop." Detailed are the issues that the candidate mentioned in her speech: "the environment, health care and foreign policy." These are emphasized in order to draw the reader into the article, using issues that many people care about. It is also detailed that she "appealed to young people," to show Clinton's purpose in choosing Augsburg College as a place to deliver her speech. What is generalized, however, is how Clinton challenged her opponent. It is not said why, or how, it simply states that she challenged Obama. This may be to keep the focus on Clinton and her striving to appeal to the youth vote, rather than on Obama's stance on the issues or his appeal to young voters.

The lead is not a standard and straightforward hard-news lead, for it begins with the "who" element, but proceeds to give many other elements, and goes into special detail on the "how" when it states the issues that Clinton mentioned in her speech. The reporter may have chosen this approach in order to bring the article's focus to the election's most pressing issues, and subsequently the reader's greatest interests. The lead also details the "why" of the story: Clinton spoke at Augsburg College in order to appeal to young voters. This may have been done in order to show one of the challenges that faces Clinton in the upcoming election - securing the youth vote.

Earthquakes in Congo

A strong earthquake struck the Democratic Republic of Congo in the eastern part of the country near the Tanzanian border on Sunday, according to the BBC. At least 39 were killed, and hundreds were injured.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first quake was a 6.8 magnitude and it struck early Sunday morning near the border of Rwanda. Aftershocks also damaged the city. (CNN.com)

"Dozens of houses have collapsed, several children were buried by the roofs of their houses," said Jean-Donne Owali, a Congolese humanitarian worker, said. (BBC.com) Some were killed while attending church.



Moratorium on Nuke Plants May Be Lifted

In a legislative proposal, Gov. Pawlenty tendered to lift the ban on building nuclear power plants in an effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The plan was prepared by the Office of Energy Security and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said MPR. (http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/02/01/govclimatechange/)

The proposal is in compliance with the state's goal to reduce harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide by 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050, according to TwinCities.com

The plan is tentative, and it will only lift the ban on building nuclear power plants. Edward Garvey, Director of the new Office of Energy Security, said: "Building any large electrical generation facility is a lengthy process, measured in years. All this proposal does is remove the moratorium. If someone wants to make a proposal to build a nuke, you can have discussion and we can consider whether that's a wise and appropriate way to proceed." (MPR.com)

The public will be able to voice their opinion on the matter.


Clinton Speaks at Augsburg College

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at Augsburg College today, and drew a crowd of approximately 4,000 into the overflowing gymnasium, according to the Star Tribune.

Her visit followed Barack Obama's at the Target Center on Saturday, with a crowd of about 20,000. Many who came planned to be late to Super Bowl parties, said MPR.

Clinton's speech was scheduled to focus on the economy, yet the candidate spoke on a variety of topics, including health care and the conflict in Iraq. (MPR.com) Her speech also covered the collapse of the 35-W bridge.

Walter Mondale, former Vice President, introduced Clinton.

Clinton's visit to Augsburg College emphasized her need for the youth vote, a group that Obama has appealed to. The candidate has support, however. As college student Ali Minelli, 18, said: "Obama's young, he still has time. Hillary, I think this is her time." (StarTribune.com)



February 3, 2008

Teenage Boy Murders Family

A 15-year-boy was charged with the murder of his parents and two younger brothers on Sunday morning in Cockeysville, Md, according to CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/03/national/main3783542.shtml).

Nicholas W. Browning was charged with first-degree murder of his father, John Browning, 45; his mother, Tamara, 44; and his brothers Gregory, 13, and Benjamin, 11. (CBS News) The father was found on the first floor, while the other family members were found in their beds at approximately 1 a.m. on Sunday.

According to local police the teenager was arrested at 1:05 a.m. after admitting to the murders. Browning, who had not been on good terms with his father, entered the house and killed the family members with his father's handgun on Friday night. The gun was found in the bushes near the Brownings' house, according to MSNBC. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22979326/)

Browning is too young to receive the death penalty even if convicted with four counts of first-degree murder.

One resident of Cockeysville said, "Very shocking. This is a great neighborhood, great neighborhood. Nothing like this ever happens around here. Nothing, ever. Very quiet." (CBS News)