April 26, 2007

Twins Stadium One Step Closer

The MN Twins, MN Ballpark Authority and Hennepin Country all sat down to signoff on who gets what and who does what for the Twins stadium today. The signing of a 30-year contract brings fans one step closer to seeing the new ballpark, which is scheduled to open in 2010.

I'm going to be editorial right off the bat. While the local paper, the Star Tribune at least writes their own story about the huge mark for Twins fans, the Pioneer Press simply runs an AP story. But, may I add, an AP story that is much more thorough and much better written than the Strib's piece. However, the AP does fail to mention anything about Hennepin county's role in the ordeal which is kindof a big deal.

I say the AP's story is better because they go into more of the details of the contract than the Strib does. They look at the $900,000 annual rent the Twins will have to pay, along with the fact that the Twins keep all profits of the ballpark, but will give 10 percent of net revenues from non-baseball events.

I just think a few more minutes spent on the story, the Strib could have pulled together twice the story they threw out in the media world without thinking twice.

St. Paul Council Approves Dog Ordinance

The St. Paul City Council approved a dog ordinance Wednesday that would prohibit pet owners that have been cited for abusing or neglecting an animal from legally owning another pet.

The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press report on this story. The Strib runs a short story that covers the basics and uses no sources or quotes. They link the ordinance to the multiple dog attackes that have happened over the past few months. Specifically, they name 4.

The Press runs one of their lengthier pieces. They blame the dog attacks on bad owners, which they say, this ordinance will address. They provide many quotes and provide both sides of the coin throughout their story. They also talk about the pet license that St. Paul requires, which I think is critical because not all cities require this. They also look at how other states are handling dog issues.

Red Wing School Bomb Threats

Bomb Threats closed some schools in Red Wing sometime this week, according to the Star Tribune and AP. Pretty vague? Well that's all I can tell you because the Star Tribune and AP don't have their stories straight.

The Star Tribune writes about a 200-300 word story on the threats, saying that they happened in the Twin Bluffs Middle School on three occasions. The story gives locations of where the threats were found and that other schools were named, including the high school and elementary school. The superintendent was quoted at the end of the story saying more closed days may mean a longer school year.

The AP story starts with the superintendent's quote about possibly lengthening the school year; however that's about it. From there the AP story states the bomb threats happend in the Red Wing high school and it was twice during the week.

Who's right? If it's a slow news day, maybe we'll find out tomorrow.

April 20, 2007

My Story

I wrote the following story for an assignment that required reporting on a local government meeting. I first researched online for a city counsel meeting. I located at time for a special worksession that sounded interesting to me. I downloaded the meeting's agenda and highlighted the points I thought a story could develop out of.

A few days later I attended the council meeting, took some notes, and received some quotes. From the information I attained at the meeting, I changed my story idea to something new. I then tried contacting three of the more vocal council members for interviews. I continued to call them for the next fews days with little luck. Finally one called me back and wanted me to send her my questions in an e-mail. So I did, but she didn't give me her answers until after I had handed in my story.

In the meantime, I spent an afternoon walking through some of Burnsville's neighborhoods and interviewing some residents.

I then compiled all my information and wrote my story.

I think that my main challenge in writing the story was the inability of people to pick up the phone and call me back. Interviews with the directors of this program would have immediately helped me understand where this story was going and would have helped me find an angle quicker. Nonetheless, I continued to call people and leave messages in voicemail and e-mail. Luckily, I had taken some notes at the meeting and quoted people directly. I didn't know their name at the time, but with today's technology I had no problem finding out who they were so I could put a name with a quote.

The paragraphs talking specifically about the idea of the project and the objections to it could have benefited greatly by more people calling me back. If I had another couple of days to work on the project, I think I could have gotten interviews from more people and this really would have filled out these paragraphs and the story as a whole.

I would have loved to of shot this story throughout the course of it. I would have taken photos of the people that I interviewed. I would have also tape recorded them for uploading to the web. I also think it would of been neat to video the council meeting and upload that to the web so that anyone that wanted to could take a look at how my story came out of the meeting. I also think it would have been neat to take photographs of some neighborhoods in the Burnsville area, specifically ones that seemed to need a little TLC. The way that I incorporated the television show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, would have also provided a cool twist to the story online by playing a little clip of that show or incorporating their theme song into the webpage.

Continue reading "My Story" »

April 19, 2007

14-Year-Old Found Safe

A St. Paul teen who was reported to be missing flagged down an officer Wednesday. The 14-year-old, who police had been searching for in the past two days, found an officer after she heard police were looking for her. Where was she? No one knows. The teen appears to be unharmed and the Star Tribune reports she was taken to Regions Hospital for an evaluation. What an unusual case!

The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press report on this story. They both have very similar stories that cover the same, minimal facts. The Pioneer Press gives more of a time table of what happened where as the Star just gives the facts with specific dates and times, just the day she was found.

Execution-style murder

Three teenagers have been arrested because of ties to a double homicide late Wednesday. The murders are being described by police as execution-style. The victims were robbed and shot as they walked down the alley from Waldo's bar.

The Star Tribune
and Pioneer Press report on this story. The Star gets to all the facts and leads into the broader view of the homicides. They also talk to various neighbors in the area that at first thought the shots heard were fireworks.

The Pioneer Press leads their story talking about how people are calling this a cold-blooded murder. They talk about all the facts and also name the 19-year-old arrested for suspicion of murder. The Star doesn't name any of the suspects, which I think is a smart choice. The Press also ends with a broader statement about this being the 17th and 18th homicides this year.

John Doe, charged.

Criminals be aware, the police don't need your name or address to convict you of a crime anymore. The Hennepin and Ramsey County Attorney's offices say charging criminals by their DNA may become more common. They have charged one criminal of robbery without knowing his name or face. Prosecutors are identifying the criminal from the saliva from an orange juice bottle. They have identified another criminal for a rape case by DNA extracted from a sweat band.

The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press report on this story. The Star provides a lengthy story and focuses primarily on the robbery case. They give distinct information such as where the DNA was found and how they write the DNA profile in the court filing. Although it is interesting to see what DNA looks like on paper, I don't think it's crucial and kind of confusing for the average reader. The Star also looks at if it is even legal to charge someone in Minnesota by their DNA alone.

The Press reports a shorter story and talks about two separate cases right off the bat. They report on the same robbery case, and also a rape case that the Star only mentions towards the bottom of their story. The Press misses a key part in their story that is where Police got the DNA from. I think that knowing the DNA was found on the lip of a juice bottle and a sweatband is one of the most interesting pieces to this story.

April 15, 2007

A Sad Story

Police are currently trying to find the parents of a toddler who was found walking around aimlessly in St. Paul's Frogtown. Chue Siong found the 2-year-old Thursday morning outside his apartment building. He and his wife sat with the toddler for 2 hours waiting for someone to come looking for him, but no one did. The child has been placed in a foster home for now until his parents are located.

The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press report on this story. The Press takes a different route than the Star by writing a more causal, touching story instead of a hard news story such as the Star did. They start the story out by excaliming he had no shoes and his socks were soaked. They go into the details and then talk about how no one knows where this child came from because all the businesses around in the area having nothing to do with children.

The Star simply reports the details in a rather dry, boring piece to me. It doesn't happen much, but I can strongly say that the Press out did the Star on this piece.

April 12, 2007

Newborn found in garbage can, dead.

A newborn baby was found dead in a garbage can after police received an anonymous 911 call Wednesday. The mother, a 17-year-old student, may face criminal charges. The incident happened on the 1700 block of Hinton Trail in Oakdale.

Once again, the Star Tribune has a lengthier story than the Pioneer Press. Although, I do think the Press' lead line is more interesting because it includes the detail that the baby's body was found in a garbage can. The Star reports this information about halfway through it's story.

The Star also says the mother was held in a juvenile detention facility, whereas the Press says she was held in Washington County Jail. The Star adds that the teen's parents had no idea she was pregnant. They also go into Minnesota's safe haven law which allows mothers to leave their baby at a hospital without any legal charges. In addition, they talk about previous newborns found dead in Minnesota rivers.

Hopkins Crash

It's 60, no it's 70--well who cares what the number is or who is right. A 60-70 car pileup occurred Wednesday due to icy roads in Hopkins. The crash happened at about 10 P.M. on HWY 169 near 5th Ave. Among several injured, two pedestrians had the most severe injuries. It is unclear whether these people were out walking or were a part of the accident and had gotten out of their cars.

The Star Tribune, as usual, writes a lengthier story than the Pioneer Press. The Press simply writes the facts, an accident happened, where, pedestrians were injured, thats it. While the Star has interviews and looks into another accident that happened due to weather and states that over 218 incidents occurred Wednesday due to road conditions.

I found it interesting that the Star reports it was 60 cars, and the Press says 70. Also interesting to me was the Press' use of the words life threatening to describe the pedestrian's injuries, while the Star just explains them as serious injuries.

April 8, 2007

One Killed When Pickup Hits Store

A woman was killed Friday when she was riding in a pickup truck that hit JoAnn Fabrics. The truck was driving down the road in Wilmar when it blew through a red light and hit another car. THe truck then bounced off that car and drove through the parking lot of a strip mall, eventually hitting JoAnn Fabrics. The passenger was killed, the driver and her daugher were injured and released.

The Star Tribune writes a lengthy story explaining exactly what happens, with quotes from police and officials from the hospital. They showcase the weird route the truck took to it's final destination--the store.

The Pioneer Press posts a AP story. The AP story doesn't mention anything but the basic facts. However, they do mention that the driver will be charged with criminal vehicular homicide and was intoxicated over the legal limit. The Star Tribune doesn't mention anything about charges or that alcohol was involved.

April 7, 2007

Three Gopher Football Players Arrested for Rape.

BREAKING NEWS! Three Gopher football players are sitting in jail today. They were arrested because of connections to a rape reported last week. I write breaking news here, not because I think it's breaking news, but because the Star Tribune categorize the story as such news.

The Star Tribune does an excellent job with the story. Their reporting is thorough and covers many aspects of the story. They look at the possible charges, who the girl is, what positions the players hold, what their coach says about the ordeal, and so forth. They also look at how many rapes or assults occur on the University every year.

The Pioneer Press and the MN Daily, the University of Minnesota's student paper, also report on this "breaking" news story. I find it a little interesting that the Pioneer Press and the MN Daily's stories are very similar. Their stories are about the same length, half the length of the Star Tribunes, and they both cover the same details. They really focus on the major details of the rape and comments from Gophers coach, Tim Brewster. They also mention that the players have been suspended, which the Star Tribune doesn't report.

April 6, 2007

3M

When will it ever stop? 3M is in the news again. For those of you who don't know what's up--3M is in the process of being sued by area residents because of contaminated drinking water. The ground water got contaminated by chemicals 3M dumped at local landfills and dumps.

Both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press wrote stories on the latest in the 3M ordeal. But two very different stories at that.

The Star Tribune wrote their story on the residents who filed the lawsuit against 3M and how they are trying to group together and form a class action lawsuit. The class action would mean a better chance at winning the lawsuit and an increase in money for a settlement.

The Pioneer Press didn't even mention the class action lawsuit, but wrote their story on the discovery of 4 more landfils that are effected. They also run over the concentrations of chemicals in the drinking water and at what locations those concentrations were at.

March 28, 2007

MN's Other Season

Minnesota's "other" season, road construction, is just around the corner. Both the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune report on the local bridge and interstate detours and closing.

Now I understand that these stories aren't big news or hard news at all, but, if it's going to be in the paper I still think the writing should be good and the article should be complete.

The writing in both papers could use some work. I find it interesting though that both papers are writing about the same topic on the same day, yet the Star Tribune writes about two major reroutes and road closings, while the Pioneer Press only finds one. Search a little harder Press!

Also, road construction affects alot of people and many commuters have something to say, whether positive or negative about it--ask them what they think!

If you're going to write about a story--do it. Don't just cover the facts that a bridge is closing and there will be detours, get some other facts and talk to some people--the people who it affects!

Baby found dead in River

The body of a newborn baby was found in the Treasure Island Casino's marina Monday. A casino worker while getting ready for the upcomming boating season found the body in a slip at the marina off the Mississippi River. This is the third newborn found in the river since 1999.

The Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press report on the story. Both stories contain basically the same informaiton; however, the Strib includes information on the possibility of the area forming a task force to look at the three homicides.

In my mind, the Pioneer Press blows the Strib out of the water on this story. They provide a concise, well-informed, organized story. They cover the basics, plus some, and a few interivews. The story is way easier to understand and isn't repeatitive like the Strib's story.