May 6, 2007

Girl gang slash fest by megamall shrimp shop

As a result of a possible gang related attack at the Mall of America, one 14-year-old girl from Bloomington was in critical condition Saturday at Hennepin County Medical Center after being slashed in the stomach and abdomen with the razor blade from a utility knife. Another 14-year-old girl is in custody for the attack and will probably be charged with felony assault. Three women helped the victim within seconds of the attack. A nearby kiosk worker told the Star Tribune that despite it being a busy afternoon crowded with shoppers outside the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant at the Mall of America, the incident drew little attention from passers-by.

The Pioneer Press refers to the Mall of America as the “megamall� in its headline, and its subhead relates the important information that the victim, though hospitalized, is expected to survive and also that the suspect has been arrested. The Pioneer Press also places the incident as happening on the food court side hall of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. rather than the wider, carpeted store hall side.

Both papers state that the attack was not random and emphasize the malls safety statistics. The Star Tribune also details all past high-profile incidents occurring at the mall since its inception and refers to the Mall of America as "MOA" in its front-page headline.

Norm Coleman considered vulnerable in 2008 Senate reelection bid

Sunday’s Star Tribune’s page 16 headline, “Why is Coleman considered at risk in ‘08� and subhead, “It’s official. Norm Coleman is one of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents up for reelection in 2008,� an exclusive to the Star Tribune, gives details for the many reasons of his vulnerability: geography, timing, his relationship with President Bush, the Iraq war, etc., but it counters that Coleman shouldn’t be considered “political dead meat� yet. Some positives are then included starting with the fact that Coleman is a proven winner, and that his two likeliest Democratic opponents – Al Franken and Mike Ciresi, aren’t.

Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, DSCC partisan website, gives its opinion that Coleman’s reelection bid is at risk because after his visit to Iraq last month, Coleman said there is a lessening in sectarian violence, despite statistics to the contrary.

May 2, 2007

Cycling Armed Robbers in Northeast Minneapolis

A on-duty, plainclothes cop, Sgt. Bill Blake, who was out at Legends Bar & Grill in Northeast Minneapolis Monday afternoon, came to the rescue reacting to two armed robbers by firing several shots at two ski-masked gunmen in the populated eatery. The fleeing suspects rode bicycles to the establishment but fled on foot. Blake wounded one suspect who was later located; the other suspect is still at large as of Tuesday. The Pioneer Press has a picture of the police-tape-wrapped restaurant parking lot in its local news section and refers to the incident as occuring during lunch at the eatery and not naming the officer. The Star Tribune puts the story on the front page, below the fold and mentions the establishment as being a bar, and names the officer.

Charitable Swindler

A former director of finance and 13-year veteran of Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota, Raymond Weeks, was charged with stealing nearly $162,000 from the nonprofit organization over 2 ½ years. According to the Pioneer Press, who called it “looting,� Weeks told investigators just how easy it was to take the cash that came in through monthly car auctions and hide it with accounting tricks.

The Pioneer Press put this story on its front page, above the fold, yet the Star Tribune buried it in the middle of page four of its regional section.

April 22, 2007

U of M dropout heads to St. Louis

After one season with the Gophers, men’s hockey defenseman Erik Johnson jumped to the NHL to join the St. Louis Blues next season, Friday’s Minnesota Daily reported. Johnson said his three-year contract will be in the neighborhood of $765,000 each season, plus a signing bonus. Thursday’s Star Tribune puts his salary at $850,000 with the potential of earning $2 million a year with incentives. Johnson was the first Minnesotan ever to be a first overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft. He turned down the chance to join the Blues for the remainder of this season.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows a color picture of Johnson putting on a Blues jersey last summer after being chosen first overall draft pick in Canada. This related article is from March 27, 2007, speculating whether Johnson would join the Blues to finish out their season and help them during the playoffs. It refers to his current team as being the Minnesota “Golden� Gophers.

April 21, 2007

Southwest High School National Chess Champs

The Southwest High School chess team of Minneapolis just returned from winning its second straight national championship at the 2007 National High School Chess Championships in Kansas City, MO. Southwest’s coach Alex Adams said the games are extremely challenging, lasting from three to four hours each and the teens typically play 15-30 hours of chess during the three-day tournament. The Star Tribune listed by name each of the nine chess team members.

In a related story, the only corresponding coverage I found was a KCTV5 story that a 15-year old chess competitor was attacked in his hotel lobby at the Hyatt Crown Center. Four older teens jumped him, punched him, demanded his sneakers and ran off with the North Carolina boy’s neck chain and ball cap. The victim said he didn’t recognize any of the attackers from the chess competition. The attack was caught on surveillance video. The robbers are still at large.

April 15, 2007

Torii Hunter balks on Jackie Robinson Day

Sixty years after Jackie Robinson entered the clubhouse at Ebbets Field to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the color barrier, Major League Baseball honors him. The .311 career hitter and Hall of Famer who helped Brooklyn win six pennants and one World Series endured vicious taunts and insults from fans and players throughout his career. In tribute to him, select players from every team will wear Robinson’s No. 42 and in some cases, the entire roster will wear his number which has been retired in all of baseball for the past ten years.

The Star Tribune said Twins centerfielder Torii Hunter was originally set to be the only player on the Twins to wear No. 42 for the game, but as more than 200 players throughout baseball will honor Robinson by wearing his number, Hunter has been quoted as saying the tribute has been diluted now that anyone can join in.

The New York Daily News told the story that might explain to Torii Hunter why the more players who wear No. 42, the more meaning there would be in the tribute:

Robinson’s teammate, Gene Hermanski, remembered the day in 1948 when Robinson received yet another death threat if he dared take the field. In the locker room Dodgers manager Burt Shotten asked the players what they wanted to do. Hermanski said maybe they should all wear No. 42, then he won’t know who to shoot.

In my opinion, Hunter selfish attitude misses the point of Jackie Robinson Day. The Star Tribune article said Hunter helped his sixth-grade son write a paper on Jackie Robinson that earned 110%. As much as Hunter declares he’s an expert on Robinson, Hermanski’s bold offer of solidarity isn’t included on Wikipedia, so Hunter doesn’t know about it. I hope that Hunter father and son soon realize there is even more to learn about their hero and more to learn from him.

April 12, 2007

Slavery Question on YouTube

Thursday’s Star Tribune said St. Louis county commissioner Keith Nelson’s board meeting remarks landed him on YouTube and in hot water. Nelson has said many times that he’s there to represent the majority wishes of his constituents, but in February he elaborated that he’d support slavery if his constituents wanted it. When the video of that meeting hit YouTube last week prompted complaints, Nelson apologized in the manner of “if I offended anyone in any way� response. He has amended how he would now respond if it turned out his constituency favored slavery: he would resign, saying, “I could no longer represent them.� Nelson’s original remarks were said during a board debate over a proposed county smoking ban where he explained his opposition to the ban because most of his constituents wanted him to.

The Duluth News Tribune published Monday headlines a Nelson quote that his slavery comment was taken out of context and includes a link to the YouTube video. At the Feb. 27 board meeting, board chairman Bill Kron asked Nelson the slavery question to make the point that there are principles where you don’t always go by the majority. Kron’s question is not on the YouTube tape; only Nelson’s response is.

April 7, 2007

Metro area teen hangout couldn’t stay afloat

Thursday’s Star Tribune said the Twin Cities Underground closed its doors amid financial woes. Since the Uptown area club opened in June 2003 more that 12,000 teens flocked to the alcohol-free, no-frills live music venue open on weekend nights. Wendy Wilde Pareene and her husband founded the center with the goal to make young people feel accepted. The TC Underground was located on West Lake St. yet drew teens from all over the metro areas, not just the Uptown neighborhood. A volunteer board of parents and teens ran the center. Its funding relied on grants, donations, and admission fees for musical events and found difficulty competing with homeless shelters and emergency-care centers for funding.

The City Pages reported the demise of the under-22 teen music club and listed several alternatives for teens visit all-ages music venues.

Pigeon War in St. Paul

The front page of Thursday’s Pioneer Press said St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman has given the OK to wage war against the city’s population of pigeons. Coleman plans to have the pigeon problem under control by its own D-Day, that is, before the Republican National Convention comes to town in September 2008. The mayor has ordered Bob Kessler, the city’s director of licensing, inspections and environmental protection to come up with a battle plan. Kessler’s 3-point plan starts with a way to destroy the pigeons’ homes by putting a slant on their nesting areas. Step two is to create pigeon condos to entice pigeons to relocate to specific rooftop structures so that step three can be implemented: steal their eggs. After the pigeons lay their eggs in these controlled condos, the building’s maintenance staff would snatch the eggs. “We’ll keep taking their eggs, and they won’t have little ones,� Bill Stephenson, the city’s animal control supervisor said.
A sidebar explained that pigeon droppings are more than an aesthetic nuisance: they can transmit potentially deadly fungal diseases to humans if the material is inhaled. Val Cunningham, a member of the St. Paul Audubon Society said these sound like humane ways to deal with the problem.

AP ran their own take on the topic, focusing on the dramatic concepts of “stealing pigeon eggs� and “egg-stealing scheme� as the way the city plans to make a good impression for the Republican National Convention.

April 1, 2007

Blind reject free rides

The Star Tribune said that to counteract the misunderstanding that Muslim cab drivers turn away blind riders who have guide dogs because of their Islamic faith, the Minnesota chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations announced last week that 300 Muslim taxi drivers will offer free rides to blind passengers with guide dogs on April 21 when the Minnesota Guide Dog Users Inc. holds its semiannual convention in Minneapolis. The president of the Minnesota Guide Dog Users Inc. said her group hopes the drivers are trying to make reparations for past refusals rather than offering free rides just because they feel sorry for them.

On April 16, the Metropolitan Airports Commission will announce its ruling on whether to institute stiffer penalties for fare refusals based on drivers’ Islamic faith.

The Pioneer Press said the president of the Minnesota branch of the National Federation of the Blind, the group that is organizing the upcoming convention, is uncomfortable with the idea of free rides and would rather the Muslim taxi drivers just do their jobs.

Herb Carneal, Voice of the Twins, died

On the eve of the season opener, the voice of the Twins, Herb Carneal, died Sunday of congestive heart failure. He was 83. The Pioneer Press said that for the past 45 years Twins fans counted connecting with their club listening on WCCO-AM to his voice bring play-by-play to their cars, porches, kitchens or cubicles. In a 2003 AP interview, Carneal said his favorite call came in 1987, when the Twins won their first World Series. In 1996 Carneal won a spot in the broadcaster’s Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In the Star Tribune Twins great Harmon Killebrew said Carneal was not only a great announcer, but also a real professional and a wonderful human being. At Monday’s season opener the Twins will likely wear black armbands and a uniform patch will be designed to honor Carneal.

March 25, 2007

Two new racial graffiti incidents jar St. Thomas campus

Friday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press back page Metro Briefing section reported two recent incidences of racial graffiti have resurfaced at the University of St. Thomas. On Feb. 9 and again on March 16 racial slurs were found on separate posters displayed in the school’s lounges.

The last report of racial graffiti at the campus was about a year ago. A university spokesman said racial graffiti is condemned by the university and not tolerated. A reward of up to $500 is being offered. No other local coverage can be found.

YouTube a good deal for local techie

Friday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that 1997 St. Paul Central High School graduate Jawed Karim, 28, is back in town from Silicon Valley to speak Monday at the University of St. Thomas about his life after YouTube. When Google bought out YouTube last year, Karim and his two former partners in YouTube reaped big monetary rewards. Now $64.6 million richer, the Stanford University graduate student is on the lookout for the next big thing as a venture capitalist with a new Web site, Youniversity Ventures. Along with appearing with Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens, Karim is in town to visit his mom and dad during his spring break.

Sunday’s New York Times reported financial details on the sale of YouTube to Google last year, breaking out the figures for each of the three YouTube partners, including Karim. Accusations of copyright infringement by movie studios and other media are clouding Google’s acquisition of YouTube. Viacom demanded last week that YouTube remove over 100,000 video clips it said it owned.

March 10, 2007

St. Paul fire chief in union dispute

St. Paul Fire Department Chief Doug Holton was handed no confidence vote this week by Local 21 union. Pat Flanagan, president of the union, said the problems have to do with Holton’s style of leadership rather than race. Holton, who is the city’s first black fire chief, said he view the no-confidence vote as an opportunity to get his department back on track.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press’ front-page Saturday coverage added a picture of Holton and showed 2 informative sidebars including pertinent fire department statistics, the firefighter department’s racial breakdown and Holton’s personal vital statistics. This was the paper’s 4th day of detailed articles. Friday’s Star Tribune talked about the vote in its Metro section on page 3; Saturday’s Star Tribune buried the follow-up story beside the obituaries.

March 7, 2007

Ridder exits Pioneer Press; crosses river to Star Tribune

Tuesday’s Pioneer Press reported in a surprise move Monday that the publisher of the Pioneer Press left to become publisher of the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune. Par Ridder, 38, is the son of former Knight Ridder CEO Tony Ridder, part of the family who owned the Pioneer Press for decades until late last year. Ridder said he’s not interested in destabilizing the Pioneer Press by taking top executives with him. MediaNews CEO William Dean Singleton named Frederick Mott as interim publisher of the Pioneer Press. Singleton owns competing newspapers in other big-city markets and has consolidated certain business operations in some cases to save money, but denies he is thinking of a joint operating agreement between the Twin Cities papers.

Newspaper scion Par Ridder joins Star Tribune

Tuesday’s Star Tribune included the fact that Par Ridder crossed the river to work for his former rival as new publisher and CEO on the same day that the Star Tribune completed its sale to new owner Avista Capital partners. Ridder told his new employees that he hopes to capitalize on the Star Tribune’s growing website and will work to produce more relevant and local stories.

March 2, 2007

Cop accused of slur against Rep. Ellison

Friday’s Star Tribune reports that a Minneapolis police lieutenant denies implying that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is a terrorist. Rep. Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress. Mayor R.T. Rybak said Lt. Bob Kroll allegedly made these comments this week during a required police ethics training class. According to two officers present at the training class, who spoke on condition of anonymity, when Kroll made the inflammatory comments, classmates challenged Kroll’s comments. Kroll is the vice president of the Police Federation. Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan denounced the comments and demanded that the Police Federation do the same. Dolan issued a company-wide e-mail denouncing the comments and issued a public apology to Ellison. Kroll will remain on duty during the internal investigation.

Friday’s edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press didn’t run the story, but the AP version ran online. There is quite a bit less information here. Ellison issuing thanks to Dolan and Rybak for setting the right tone stands out as a new point not included in the Star Tribune.

February 26, 2007

Guardian Angels ready to protect St. Paul

Monday’s Star Tribune talks about how six months ago the Guardian Angels citizen-patrol group returned to Minneapolis, re-establishing its presence after first surfacing here 20 years ago. Curtis Sliwa, who founded the Angels 28 years ago in New York City, is impressed with how well the Minneapolis Guardian Angels helped in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras, calling them “outstanding and well-trained.�

After the Minneapolis Guardian Angels ventured into St. Paul last month to help police capture a possible serial rapist, St. Paul let Sliwa know they would like their own Guardian Angels.

The red-beret-wearing patrol has already made an initial positive impact in St. Paul. Sliwa told the Star Tribune about plans to expand the Guardian Angels into St. Paul to better meet the needs of the Twin Cities.

The most recent comparative articles are both from late January.

The Pioneer Press issued an alert that the Minneapolis Chapter of the Guardian Angels would patrol the St. Paul East Side after two recent rapes. This article gave a short description of the Guardian Angels and noted that St. Paul did not have its own chapter. offered details of the Guardian Angels’ efforts to help police find a rapist in St. Paul. This story explains that even though the volunteer citizen patrol is well-trained, it’s their neighborhood visibility that acts as a strong visual deterrent and empowers and inspires neighbors to look out for each other.

February 24, 2007

Minneapolis settles with produce company for $2.3 million

According to the Star Tribune, Minneapolis agreed to pay $2.3 million to a local produce company when a federal judge sided with the company that an anti-noise ordinance illegally hurt its business. Longfellow neighbors complained about noisy operating overnight and the Minneapolis City Council tried to ban Metro Produce Distributors Inc. from loading or idling its trucks or operating units between 10:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. causing the produce company to sue the city for causing business losses.

The only other related story also came from the Star Tribune, a Feb. 9 article that gave more background details. This story gave the important information that I was looking for, that Metro Produce Distributors Inc. moved into the neighborhood in 2002 and that the area is zoned for this business. Those two important points are missing from the settlement article.

Before I found the background article I searched business records to determine when the company either became a business or moved into the area. According to a Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. company profile, Metro Produce Distributors Inc. has been in business since 1986 but from the report I wasn’t able to determine when it moved to its present site.

February 21, 2007

Car crash cuts short career of local actor Chase Korte

The Star Tribune news obituary highlighted the death of Chase Korte, 24, who is best known in Minnesota for playing a teen who drag races a policeman in TV ad for Treasure Island Resort and Casino. Korte died in a car crash in California last week. Korte was born in Minneapolis and graduated from the U of M. Last year he moved to Hollywood where his acting career took off.

The Minnesota Fringe links to a tribute page of the actor which includes YouTube films from his latest film, “Peace Walker� in which Korte walked the length of Great Britain, 1,100 miles.

The obituary in The Minnesota Daily said Korte was a University theater alumnus, graduating in fall 2005.

The Minnesota Daily also carried a personal tribute to the death of Korte by columnist Adri Mehra. This heartfelt piece mentions that a drunk driver killed Korte. Mehra calls readers to action to lobby Congress for zero tolerance for drunk driving.

February 17, 2007

Flooded cars floating to Minnesota

The Star Tribune warned Minnesotans against inadvertently purchasing flood-damaged cars in its Consumer Lookout column in its Money + Business section Sunday. The three 2005 hurricanes in the Southeast are the reason for the 173 percent surge in number of cars, trucks and vans with water damage compared with the national average being 103 percent. Carfax, a company that sells vehicle-history reports, provided much of the information describing water damage details. A spokesperson from the National Insurance Crime Bureau describes how crooks “wash� titles or once-soaked, scrapped cars, among other “worst-possible� scenarios buyers need to watch out for. In my opinion, this article is news for its timeliness, its proximity to our state and clearly conveys the relevance to local car buyers and how much this impacts those consumers. Business Wire publication of New York must have used the same Carfax press release for its story. The Star Tribune localized the press release by including details pertaining specifically to Minnesota in its second paragraph.

Good Guys Race to the Top of the IDS Tower

The Star Tribune reported that early last Saturday morning Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback and a group of Minneapolis and St. Paul firefighters and police officers led 700 civilians in a race up the 1,280 steps of the IDS Tower in downtown Minneapolis. The 26th annual Climb for a Cure charity benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It took Minneapolis firefighter Dan Casper, 40, just over 6 minutes to complete the climb although the average person takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes to scale the same 50 flights. They all took the elevator back down. In my opinion, The Star Tribune tackled the challenge to approach this straightforward story in an exciting way by use of a photo showing Roseville Fire Department members wearing full gear standing next to at sign indicating the 49th floor hinting at the tough conditions they endured for the climb, causing readers to realize their burden they endure when they fight real fires. In my opinion, another aspect that draws the readers into this story is the sub-headline is printed as though they are climbing down stairs! A search of Pioneer Press archives and ProQuest database shows that this local story ran only in the Star Tribune.

February 11, 2007

Teen’s 911 call: “Please hurry�

By Paul Levy
Star Tribune, Saturday, February 10, 2007

Story Structure Analysis
The story starts with, “What sounds like a gunshot is heard . . . ,� then quickly progresses to the most important feature of this story, that 13-year-old Alec Kruger was shot to death moments after he frantically tells the 911 operator as an intruder is threatening his family. All of this action, plus the location of the home are conveyed in the lead.

The next fact block paragraph mentions his father was also shot to death, the other most important feature of the story.

Next comes a paragraph paraphrasing the 911 transcript attributing the conversation to the Waseca County Sheriff’s Office and explaining the medical condition of the third victim, Alec’s mother, Hilary Kruger. This effectively introduces the direct quote sequence of the 911 call between the dispatcher and Alec, save for one line from his mother explaining to the dispatcher there’s been an intruder.

After the quote sequence the dispatcher’s reaction to the possible gunshots and shrieking on the phone logically followed.

Next came a more thorough detailing of the mother’s critical medical condition, attributed to her family telling the Sheriff’s Office.

Next came the first detail of the intruder, starting with his name, Michael S. Zabawa, age, and paraphrasing without attribution what he was accused of.

The next paragraph included attribution and further details of his charges, and also paraphrased Zabawa’s explanation to the authorities that the shooting was accidental.

The third paragraph in this sequence relating to Zabawa lists the chronology of the event as attributed to “authorities� and “court records.�

The penultimate paragraph starts with the Chief Deputy’s last name, “Millbrath said� to continue the step-by-step path that led Zabawa to the Kruger home.

The final paragraph paraphrases the mother’s account attributed to court records accusing Zabawa of shooting her husband, herself and her son.

The article was written in logical sequence, beginning with the most important information in the lead, with details explained in later paragraphs. Even though the basis of this article was a 911 transcript, most of it was (clearly) paraphrased and in my opinion the writer chose a dramatic segment of the transcript to quote directly.

The details of the victims were disclosed before the details of the intruder, and those paragraphs concerning Zabawa, “like material,� were kept together. The final paragraph highlighted a powerful summary.

In my opinion 911 transcripts shouldn’t be public knowledge and shouldn’t be released as news stories. I know that must seem to go against everything a journalist stands for and I know that a 911 call transcript is essentially an eyewitness account and therefore extremely newsworthy, but I think that publicly publishing 911 call details may prevent proper emergency help from being administered because a person who calls 911, fearing later possible public repercussions as a result of revealing, say, details of a delicate nature, could subconsciously hold back information that would have been pertinent and vital to giving the best response for the victim. And in my opinion they should be private just because articles and news stories detailing 911 transcripts seem morbid, intrusive, too upsetting to the reader and exploitative to victims.

Waseca county officials release 911 call from shooting

In this related ABC TV News/AP story from the town where the tragedy occurred, Alec is labeled a hero and a different slice of quotes is given. This shorter story mentions the intruder in the last paragraph.

February 10, 2007

Say It – With Rooftops

Local site sends messages with letter-shaped buildings in satellite photos

By Julio Ojeda-Zapata
Pioneer Press, Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The sub-heading above wasn’t included in the actual newspaper that highlighted this website as its “above the fold� top story of the day. I suppose this story counts as news because its accompanying picture spells out a valentine greeting, so that’s timely. Or because a Roseville man, Jesse Vig, developed the site, so because of proximity that’s news too.

But in my opinion this article shouldn’t have been so prominent, or even in the main section of the paper at all. It should have been in the Daily Life section or the business technology section because on the front page it just smacks of a pure news release story generated for publicity. The article’s penultimate and ultimate paragraphs (in the manner of paraphrasing/direct quote) even speak to the question of how Vig will profit from his site and answers it by explaining it will be from the Google ads, another plug.

Spreading holiday cheer

By Randy Salas
Star Tribune, December 21, 2006

I did find a related story in my research that was mentioned in a Christmastime 2006 online blog about holiday cheer, so in my opinion this story wasn’t even that timely if the original press release has been hanging around for at least a few months.

Virtually Visiting

By Julio Ojeda-Zapata
Pioneer Press, Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Coincidentally, the same reporter who wrote the Pioneer Press rooftops article wrote a similar story the day before. This article describing 3-D computer software tweaked by another local man, Todd Goehring of Minneapolis, took up most of the entire front page of the Daily Life section of the Pioneer Press.

February 3, 2007

Billboard dispute: Minnetonka wins Round 1

By David Peterson
Star Tribune, Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This top story on the front page tells the results of a court decision siding with the city of Minnetonka saying they had the right to order the power cut off to the new digital billboards put up recently by Clear Channel Outdoor. The reason for the decision given by Hennepin County District Judge Lloyd Zimmerman was because ample evidence showed the billboards’ owner tried to sneak the new technology into place.

ATTRIBUTIONS were hinted at right away in the first sentence, "a judge in Minneapolis ruled . . ." The second paragraph began with that judge's title and name and more details. Next came a different ATTRIBUTION, detailed as follows: paragraph three started with a paraphrased introductory sentence, “Officials in Minnetonka hailed the decision as a major victory.� Next came a paragraph containing direct quotes of an official in Minnetonka: “’People are agitated about this,� City Attorney Desyl Peterson said. “Our mayor is getting a lot of e-mails and phone messages saying, “Please fight this, it’s terrible.’��

Another paraphrased article explains that other cities are monitoring this dispute because they’re worried about the driving danger caused by the distracting flashing lights of these billboards, and about the negative potential of having our roads become a flashy Las Vegas-like Strip.

Twin Cities/Billboard company loses court round
By Meggen Lindsay
Pioneer Press, Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This article in the Pioneer Press doesn’t include an ATTRIBUTION until the fourth paragraph, and any reference to Clear Channel’s sneakiness wasn’t mentioned until the 13th paragraph.

Wintry Carnival weather to shorten tonight’s parade

By Joe Kimball
Star Tribune, Saturday, February 03, 2007

This front-page story informs us that although it’s cold outside, even for Minnesota, the parade will go on. The carnival has never been cancelled in the carnival’s 120-year history because of cold, however carnival officials worried all week that frostbite would threaten parade-goers’ exposed skin. The Winter Carnival Torchlight Parade has been shortened three times before, as it will be tonight, too.

The article gives details on the parade route, such as “So tonight’s parade will begin at 5th and Wabasha Streets – outside the Dunn Bros. coffee shop – proceed the two blocks west to the St. Paul Hotel at 5th and Market Streets, then south on Market for one block,� yet my opinion on this extreme journalistic technique of mentioning the name of the coffee shop on one of the four corners is unnecessary and inappropriate, possibly even unethical. Why should that particular business get singled out for publicity in the newspaper article? I’m more upset by the coffee shop mention than the St. Paul Hotel one because that hotel has been a city landmark for 96 years but coffee shops come and go.

On second thought, the parade prevails
By Laura Yuen
Pioneer Press, Saturday, February 03, 2007

The St. Paul newspaper placed this important local story “front and center� as the top of the front page, above-the-fold story. The sub-headline hints at the contradiction of opinions about whether to cancel the Torchlight Parade or not between carnival officials and the mayor.

By keen use of ATTRIBUTES, the story details the back and forth that happened. The explanation began with paraphrasing, “With the city's "encouragement," the group decided on a three-block long procession beginning at Fifth and Wabasha streets and concluding at Rice Park, said carnival spokeswoman Mary Huss.� And then continued with a direct quote, “"The mayor wants it to go on and be a mobile parade," Huss said Friday afternoon.� What then follows is more clever paraphrasing, then finishing with a direct quote. “Did Coleman order up a parade? Mayoral spokesman Bob Hume wouldn't say. Either way, the mayor's preference was clear. "It's very important to the mayor that we reflect the decades-long tradition of the Winter Carnival," Hume said.�

Please note: in the Pioneer Press’ article, they also mention the starting point of the parade “procession beginning at Fifth and Wabasha streets� yet never mention any landmarks. I think this is more suitable for the article; product placements in the form of coffee shop mentions are not necessary to get the point across.

January 27, 2007

Hibbing college puts football program on hold

By Richard Meryhew and James Walsh
Star Tribune, Thursday, January 25, 2007

Consistently poor academic results of students recruited to play football at the Hibbing Community College caused college officials to suspend the football program indefinitely. They plan to recruit students with the intent to increase diversity instead of for football prowess.

Later in the story a point other than poor academic performance is made as to another possible reason for this move: a string of incidents and crimes involving football students during recent years.

Meanwhile, Hibbing’s local newspaper got right to the point by putting the word “suspended� in the headline. The paper also included information about a public forum where citizens weighed in on the decision with the majority of those who voiced an opinion in favor of continuing the football program.

The local paper concentrated on the poor academic performance as being the reason for the suspension. There was no mention of any other possible reason for discontinuing the football program, such as the crime incidents brought up by the Star Tribune.

January 25, 2007

Boy, 4, put off school bus; but why?

By Joy Powell
Star Tribune, Thursday, January 25, 2007

A 4-year-old boy was stranded for at least an hour on a St. Paul street Monday, after he was already on a school bus heading for school. For some reason, the bus driver put the boy off of the bus instead of taking him to school.

The reporter chose the Delayed Identification Lead and never did actually name the child or his family. This could be to protect his privacy, or because the reported may not have been given that information.

The article did not disclose much information at all about the incident. It must have been a challenge for the reported to report on a story that was newsworthy, but didn’t offer many facts for the reader.

Since KMSP-TVwas cited in the article I chose to use that report as a comparison.

The online article not only offered more identification detail such as the boy’s name, Nicholas, it identified his mother in an interview, Blia Vang.

The online article named the boy, Nicholas, but the did not mention his last name. It did mention the name of another mother talking about her two toddlers and had a photo of them.

It wasn’t until I watched the sidebar video that I discovered the children pictured in the print article and their mother who was interviewed, Latrice Harris, were not the boy and his family. Later in the video a short interview clip identifies Nicholas’ mother, Blia Vang. The boy is never shown.

I feel the KMSP-TV reporting was misleading. It is my opinion that TV news offers more personal identification details in their reports than corresponding newspaper articles do, and that was the case with this story. I feel that identifying the young boy’s first name, his school and his mother’s full name was unnecessary and possibly dangerous to the boy’s safety.