Analysis: Data

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For this analysis, I focused on a collection of stories from ICIJ writers about offshore banking.

The main story, written by seven journalists, analyzes data from leaked files about offshore bank accounts, spending, and more.

The authors analyze the secrecy permeating offshore banking and corporations. They use data about money transfers and links between individuals and corporations. According to the story, they crunched numbers they extracted from over 30 years of emails, records, and files, detailing offshore banking in over 170 countries.

The authors explain the significance of the data by making comparisons. For instance, according to the article, the amount of data measured in gigabytes in the leaked files is 160 times more than the files involved in Wikileaks. That kind of simple comparison to a situation that Americans are generally familiar with helps readers wrap their mind around the huge impact of these files.

The investigative journalists use the immense amount of data and information to break down a complicated subject like offshore banking to readers. It is the job of the journalists to "translate" the information to readers who may be otherwise uneducated about the issue.

On the main page of the collection of articles, there is a sidebar of infographics, interactive maps, and similar links that break down the subject even further. For example, this interactive map shows readers the location and identity of certain people who are buying up British land and property through tax loopholes. By clicking on a house graphic on the map, readers are shown a street view of the property as well as information on the property's owner.

To produce these stories, the various journalists needed to be able to comb through seemingly endless amounts of files and emails. They had to possess adequate computer skills to navigate the files and extract the data. The journalists and graphic creators needed to be able to create the infographics and make sure they were easy to use by the readers.

The bride-to-be is among five women who died when their limousine caught fire on a bridge Saturday night near San Francisco, USA Today reported.

The limo was carrying nine women from Alameda to Foster City to celebrate a bachelorette party, CNN reported.

The driver and four of the women were able to escape. The party guests were brought to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns, reported USA. The driver was uninjured.

The other five women were trapped in the car and pronounced dead at the scene, according to CNN. USA Today reported that the women had to be identified by their dental records due to the extent of their burns.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Highway Patrol spokesman Ron Simmons speculated that the fire had started in the trunk of the limo.

The company that owns the limo, LimoStop, Inc., has issued a statement expressing its condolences and intent to cooperate completely with authorities in the investigation, reported CNN.

U Senate Passes Smoke-free Campus Resolution

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The University of Minnesota could soon be a smoke-free campus, joining the likes of U of M Crookston and U of M Duluth, reported the Minnesota Daily.

The University Senate passed a resolution Thursday to ban smoking on campus grounds.

The resolution must be signed by President Kaler to take effect.

President Kaler says that in the past he has been hesitant to sign the resolution due to a lack of consensus on campus. However, he feels that as a university committed to health, it is time for the U of M Twin Cities campus to go smoke free.

According to the Daily, some feel that the resolution will not be effective. Without serious consequences, many smokers may ignore the ban.

University health officials will begin working on how to effectively make the campus tobacco-free.

Person of Interest in Missing Woman Case Dies

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The man who authorities hoped knew where a missing Eden Prairie woman is shot himself Thursday afternoon before he could be questioned, thePioneer Press reported.

David Marshall Roe of Victoria was the 24-year-old ex-boyfriend of Mandy Marie Matula, 24, reported the Press. Matula was reported missing after she did not show up for work Thursday morning.

Roe shot himself in the head in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie Police Station, reported the Star Tribune. He was there to answer police questions about Matula's disappearance. He was pronounced early Friday morning.

According to the Star Tribune, friends and family members say Roe and Matula had broken up, but Roe wanted the relationship to continue.

The Press reported that Roe picked Matula up Wednesday evening, and witnesses say they were last seen near Miller Park.

Search teams are looking for Matula around Miller Park, were they found an unfired bullet Saturday. Authorities believe the bullet may be linked to Roe or Matula and are running ballistics tests on it.

Search teams are also looking for Matula near St. Cloud State University, where Matula had attended college, reported the Pioneer Press. According to cell phone records, Matula had been in the St. Cloud area Thursday morning.

Prosecutor for Bhutto Assassination Fatally Shot

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The lead prosecutor in the assassination case of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, was killed Friday by gunmen in Pakistan, USA Today reported.

Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali was driving to court in Rawalpindi when bullets rained down on him, USA reported. In addition to litigating the Bhutto assassination case, he was also the lead prosecutor in cases involving the terroism incidents in Mumbai in 2008. CNN reported.

USA Today reported that Ali was hit by at least 13 bullets. CNN reported that Ali lost control of his car as he was being shot at and hit and killed a woman passing by. A bodyguard in the car with Ali was also wounded.

The parties responsible for the shooting have not been identified, but militant groups are suspected due to Ali's involvement in high-profile cases that implicate them, USA Today reported.

This incident, along with another shooting in Karachi that left an anti-Taliban politician and his six-year-old son the same day, are thought to be in response to the upcoming Pakistan parliamentary elections May 11.

According to CNN, Bhutto was killed in December 2007 by a 15-year-old suicide bomber connected with the Pakistan Taliban.

Gunshots Fired in Tex. Airport Leave One Man Dead

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A man who fired a gunshot into the ceiling died from gunshot wounds Thursday at the Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport,CNN reported.

According to the Houston Police Department spokesman, the man, who remains unidentified, entered Terminal B carrying an semiautomatic rifle. He then fired a shot towards the ceiling.

USA Today reports that a Department of Homeland Security official approached the man and ordered him to drop his weapon.

The man did not immediately comply, and the official fired shots at the man. At the same instant, the man pointed his rifle at himself and fired at least one shot, USA reported.

CNN reported that the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials will not know whose bullet killed the man until an autopsy has been performed.

USA Today reported that United Airlines, the airport's largest airline, was waiving change fees for passengers whose flights were redirected due to the incident.

The Federal Aviation Association ordered a ground stop just after 2 p.m. that lasted until 4:30 p.m. Terminal B remained closed while authorities investigated the matter.

Eight-story building collapses in Bangladesh

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A building which housed several shops and garment factories collapsed Wednesday near Dhaka, the capitol of Bangladesh, CNN reported.

The death toll is over 250. Rescue crews are still searching for survivors in the rubble. CNN reported that over 2,000 people had been rescued so far.

Bodies were laid out, their faces covered, for family members and friends to identify. The site of the collapse is surrounded by hundreds of people hoping to find their loved ones alive, CNN reported.

USA Today reported that workers had noticed cracks in the building on Tuesday and alerted local authorities. The police ordered the building to be evacuated, but the factory owners ignored the orders and told the workers to continue.

CNN reported that the factory and building owners have been ordered to appear in court to answer for the tragedy. Thousands of protesters besieged the head offices of the factories Thursday, demanding the death penalty for Sohel Rana, the building's owner.

Officials said many of the owners have gone into hiding.

USA today reported that the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association had requested the factories be shut down after hearing about the cracks, but managers ignored the warnings.

CNN reported that the rescue efforts will continue until Saturday morning.

Analysis: Culture & Ethnicity

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For this analysis, I will focus on USA Today's coverage of the Chechen and Russian ties to the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

The suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings are brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. They are of Chechen ethnicity, but never lived in Chechnya. They have been U.S. residents for the past decade, and prior to that lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, reported USA.

The relationship between the U.S. and Russia has not always been friendly, so maintaining objectivity in reporting on the Tsarnaevs' Russian connections and ancestry is challenging.

With a history of violence and bloody wars in Russia and the former Soviet republics, it is easy to assume that violence translated through the generations to the Tsarnaev brothers. The risk is attributing the bombing to the Tsarnaevs' Chechen ancestry.

However, as Oleg Orlov, chairman of the Memorial Human Rights Society, points out in the USA article, the bombing wasn't a result of the brothers' heritage, but of their radical Islamic beliefs.

I think that the reporter of this article maintains a balance while reporting on a difficult subject. The reporter writes about the violence and wars between Russia and Chechnya, but does not center on them. She is also not quick to assume that the suspects' Chechen heritage is the cause of the bombings.

She makes it clear that the brothers were not actually raised in Chechnya and have lived in the U.S. for a large part of their lives. She shares the other side of the story by quoting Russian authorities and political experts on that region.

While she doesn't exactly paint a peaceful picture of Russia or Chechnya, she seems to portray them honestly and makes it clear that there is no evidence for a significant link between Chechen violent extremists and the Boston Marathon Bombings.

Shots Fired at Nat'l Pot Rally

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Denver authorities are searching for the culprits in a shooting that wounded three people Saturday at a pot rally, USA Today reported.

A man and a woman were each shot in the leg and rushed to the hospital. A third victim was reportedly grazed by a bullet and able to walk to a nearby hospital, according to USA.

Police say they do not yet have a motive for the shooting, and are asking witnesses for any photos or video of the shooting, reported USA Today.

The Pioneer Press. reported that the shootings sent the crowd running from the park in all directions. Witnesses describe the experience as terrifying and chaotic.

The rally was an annual event to celebrate 4/20, a date that marijuana users view traditionally a day to celebrate the drug and smoke it together, reported the Press.

Colorado, along with Washington, is one of the first states in the country to legalize pot use. Although public use of marijuana is still illegal, USA Today reported that law enforcement typically looked the other way on 4/20 and did not arrest people for public use.

Students Disappointed in Spring Jam Artist Lineup

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U of M students have expressed disappointment and confusion upon hearing the lineup for Spring Jam '13, the Minnesota Daily reported.

On the lineup are Greg Bates, Chastity Brown, and hip-hop artist Theophilius London. Mat Kearney is the headliner. The full schedule for the April 25-27 festival can be found here.

The total cost to hire the musicians is about $64,500, which is average for a Spring Jam festival, reported the Daily. About $116,000 comes from student fees, which the Daily said costs each student about $3.

The Daily reported that many students had not heard of the artists on the lineup, and were disappointed that the Spring Jam Committee couldn't find more popular artists. Several students felt that they should have had more say in who was chosen.

An anonymous commenter on the article wrote that the process of choosing an artist is complicated, and the Student Union & Activities Committee had in fact gone out on campus to survey students about who they felt should headline Spring Jam. The commenter wrote that choosing an artist is based on student interest, artist costs, and artist availability.