December 4, 2008


I looked at the headlines of four different online or print publications. I scanned through some of their pages and just looked for headlines that grabbed my attention.
The first headline I noticed was one from the Star Tribune. The headline was "How bad is Minnesota's budget deficit? Mega Bad." I noticed it because I thought the use of "mega bad" was kind of funny for a headline. It was funny 'cause it sounds like something I would say when I am overexagerating something and it doesn't seem like something that would really be appropriate for a headline. I actually first noticed that headline this morning when I glanced at the Star Tribune and it seemed funny and then I saw it again online and I remembered it from this morning.
The second headline I looked at was from MSNBC. it was, "Who will sit at Energy?" I noticed it because they used a question for the headline which I thought was interesting. The headline from the star tribune used a question too and I had never really thought of using a question before. I had always thought that headlines just summed up very succinctly what was in the article. But I guess if the article itself was asking a question that it would make sense to have a question as a headline.
The third headline was from the NY Times. It was, "A shrine for a friend who made a Starbucks a village." This headline was for a story about a homeless man who had frequented a Starbucks in NYC and everyone loved him and he was recently found dead and the chair he always sat in was turned into kind of a shrine. I noticed this one because I had previously read an article about this story. I new what the story was about from reading the headline because I knew of the story already but I didn't think that someone who wasn't already familiar with it would really understand what the story was about. I also thought it sounded a little clunky.
The final headline I looked at was from the LA Times. It was, "Mystery shrouds chained teenager." I thought this headline was really good because it really grabbed my attention. I really wanted to read the article so I would know who this kid was that was chained and why. I guess that is the point of a really good headline, if it can grab the readers attention and make them read a story they might otherwise skip over.

November 20, 2008

journalism ethics

When i googled "journalism ethics" there was a wide variety of sites and information that came up. There was information from the Society of Professional Journalists, which we looked at in class and that basically says the same stuff that we read. It says that Journalists should seek the truth and report it, minimize harm, and be accountable. A wickipedia article said that the core of journalism ethics is truthfullness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability. This page also went into more detail about what each of these principles mean and why they are important. I also say a page about journalism ethics on the internet which I thought was very interesting. I think lots of people feel like they can put up whatever they want on the internet, but this site was saying that if you are really a journalist, and not just a person writting whatever they want, than you will follow a code of ethics like a print or broadcast journalist would.
There was a page by the New York Times that stated their official policy on journalism ethics. This went into a lot of detail about every aspect of a reporters job. There were rules for special departments in the paper, rules on how to act while on the job, how to act while off the job and how to best represent the company. It seemed to me that other ideas about journalism ethics were more abstract but this was a clear set of rules about what their journalists can and cannot do.

November 10, 2008

restaurant reviews

I was really surprised by the differences I noticed in how different newspapers wrote their restaurant reviews. I guess I figured they would all be written pretty much the same way. I suppose some of it depends on the individual writer but I also got the feeling that the individual publications also have a certain style in how they review.
First I looked at the Charleston Post and Courier. There was a review in this newspaper for a restaurant called The Lettered Olive. This review focused a lot on how everything in the restaurant was connected to each other. Whether or not the decorations reflected the style of food being served and even how metal from the handles of serving dishes is also found in the napkin rings and in detailing on the backs of the chairs. Other reviews did talk about the atmosphere of the restaurants and the decor but not to this length. This review also provided examples of tons of different options on the menu and whether they were worth the price. They gave opinions about a much wider variety of foods than the other reviews I looked at.
Another review I looked at was in the Star Tribune. This was a review for La Chaya bistro which I have been to and its right by my house. I was really confused by this review because it seemed like everything they were saying about the restaurant was good. They praised the uniqueness of the cuisine, how its both mexican and italian and upscale, and he gives high praise to the soups. The reviewer also said the owners did a great job of renovating the restaurant because it used to be a KFC but you would never know by going in there. But on the side bar he rates the restaurant and only gives in two stars. I thought that was really strange to only say good things about the restaurant in the review and then not give it more stars. Since he didn't say anything negative about the restaurant I was confused about why it didn't get more stars.
The third review was from the New York Times. This review was the harshest in my opinion. I expected a review in the New York Times to be pretty harsh because I assume that they are used to really high-end restaurants and have very high expectations. What I thought was really good about this review is that it gave more info about the ingredients in the food and what stood out and what the food was missing or what should have been taken out. This was very interesting because it really gave me an idea about what the food had tasted like.

October 27, 2008

business articles

When I was looking for articles about business this week it was really difficult to find any article that was not about the crisis on Wall Street. This makes sense since the economy is on almost everyones mind and it has a lot to do with business but I was hoping to have found more written about small businesses since thats the kind of article we will be writing when we do our piece on the minority business owner. I was only able to find one news source that had a lot of articles on small businesses and that was the LA Times. In their business section they had a sub-section that was all about small businesses so that was really helpful. I found a very interesting article about a man who started a coffee shop in LA that he hopes will attract a lot of Latino customers. What I noticed that was different about this story is that there was a lot written about investors, percentages, profit margins, transactions per day, and sales goals. I don't think this kind of information would have been in an article if it was just a feature piece about the coffee shop owner.
Another article I looked at was from the Star Tribune and it was about the plans to close the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. At first what shocked me about this article is that I had no idea people still actually traided grain and crops like that anymore. I guess I figured it was all done online now. And thats actually what the article said was the reason why the grain exchange will be closing is because most of the traiders were just doing it online anyways. I thought this was an interesting article because it shows how ways of conducting business are changing as we become more and more dependent on technology. This story didn't really talk at all about any kind of typical business stuff though, like if there would be any affect on the cost of items if trading was moved to all online.
The third article I read was about the jobs cuts at Chrysler. What I think made this article different than a non business article that would have been about this topic is that there was a lot of information about the loss of money that was the reason behind the job cuts that was very technical. I don't think this type of information would have been placed in a normal article because people who don't know a lot about business would probably have been lost and gotten bored with the article, because I did. When I see lots of numbers in an article it usually scares me away from reading it because I automatically think I won't understand what they are talking about and I think that is true for a lot of other people as well. But in this case a lot of specific information about money and numbers was needed because the type of person who would probably read an article in the business section would want to know about that kind of think.

October 20, 2008

Opinion pieces

SInce there is so much political activity right now a lot of what is being written in the opinions section is about the upcoming election. So I chose to look at three opinion pieces that have some connection to the election. Two are from the Sunday Star Tribune and one is from the Miami Herald.
The first one from the Star Tribune is written by Garrison Keillor. I usually like reading his pieces so thats where I started reading and I was surprised by the turn his article took at the end. At first he was talking about being in church and how we all need to be kind to one another and then all of a sudden he switched to talking about the election and how Americans need to do the right thing and vote for Obama. I thought it was kind of a strange way to write a piece endorsing Obama because 3/4ths of the article are about how there are so many people suffering and as fellow humans we need to think about this people. I guess I can kind of see the connection between doing the right thing for other people and doing the right thing on election day but the change was just so abrubt I thought it was a little confusing at first. But besides that I liked the piece because everything Garrison Keillor writes has humor and is always fun to read.
The next opinion piece was written by the editor of the editorial section of the Star Tribune, Scott Gillespie. This piece was interesting because it was explaining that in the upcoming weeks the Star Tribune was going to be endorsing candidates running for a wide variety of office including president and why they were going to do this. I liked it because Gillespie first wrote about how his father had been an editor and was an ardent supporter of objectivity, especially during elections. He then went on to say why he felt it was important for the Star Tribune to endorse candidates and tell the reader why. He wrote that the Star Tribune has printed material for and against candidates and that by endorsing one in particular they were not trying to tell the reader how they should vote, they just hope that the reasons they give for the endorsement will help those who are still undecided. Even though I think its fairly obvious which candidates they will endorse I really liked that they printed this to explain the reasons behind why they would forgo objectivity and endorse a candidate. I think it shows that journalism can be about more than just presenting people with the bare facts. The other thing I liked about it is that I actually didn't know before I read this that some newspapers will come out and officially endorse a candidate.
The last piece from the Miami Herald was their endorsement of Obama for president. What I liked about this piece was the clear way they stated why they felt Obama was better suited for the job than McCain. They gave examples of actually policy decisions each candidate has made and for each one said why they felt Obama made the better decision. But even while supporting Obama they never made any attacks on McCains decisions, they just said they agreed more with Obama. I think if someone was an undecided voter this piece would provide them with a lot of important information that would help them make their decision. From reading the Star Tribune article it seems that this is the point of newspapers endorsing a candidate, to help people make an educated decision, and I think the Miami Herald achieved this with their endorsement.

October 13, 2008

online news slideshows

The three news sources whose online photo slideshows I looked at were the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the L.A. Times. All three were very different and there were things I liked about each and things I didn't.
The slideshow from the New York Times was pictures taken while traveling with the candidates through western states.
The photos were meant to show the varying political beliefs that can be found out west, but I couldn't really grasp what the intent of the photos were unless I read the captions that explained about the pictures. Some pictures were just of cars traveling down the highway or of people sitting at a restaurant who I guess were watching the debates but without the captions telling me that I would have thought they were just people looking really bored at a restaurant. Even the pictures that you could tell were supposed to show the political leaning of some people were pretty bland in my opinion. For example, one picture was of a McCain poster in a storefront. It just seemed like a kind of redundent picture because the caption says that the city where the store is, is in a part of the state thats mostly conservative, so to me it seems that most likely if someone who lives in a conservative area is going to put up a campaign sign its most likely going to be for the conservative candidate.
The slideshow from the L.A. Times was about street scenes from a place called Orange Plaza which is supposed to be the largest historical district in California.,0,7311252.htmlstory
What I liked about this slideshow were the pictures of people in their everyday life in a small community. People at a coffee shop, children drinking from water fountains, people going to a yoga class. It thought it was a neat depiction of the town. The one thing I didn't care for about the slideshow was how it was presented. Unlike most slideshows that the viewer can scroll through at their own pace, this one was put together as if it was a video so the view could click from picture to picture but had to wait until the next picture automatically came up, so that was a little difficult.
The slideshow I liked the best was the one from the Washington Post.
It was a look at the weeks worth of world news in pictures. What I liked about it was the combination of really incredible pictures as well as captions that really explained what was happening in the pictures. The pictures also gave more impact to some events then you would get if you just read a story about it. One picture was of an Ethiopian women and a Somali man who were forced off a boat when it was captured by Somali pirates and they drowned and their bodies had washed up on the beach. If I had read that story I would have been sad about what had happened but it definitely would not have hit me with such an impact as it did when I saw the two bodies laying on the beach. It was very stark.

October 6, 2008

Vice Presidential Debate

Since this blog is supposed to be about the vice presidential debate I thought it might be interesting to look at an article from a newspaper in Alaska so see how they covered their governor and also because Alaska is so far away I think their newspapers often gets overlooked. I found an article from the Juneau Empire that was about some Palin supporters who met at a local bar in Juneau and what their reactions were. I think it gave pretty much the same kinds of analysis that any other article about Palin supporters might give. There were some comments by the supporters about how well they thought Palin did followed by some comments by some local Democrats. I don't really know what I thought would be different about a newspaper in Alaska reporting on their governor but I guess I thought they might give a little different perspective but I really didn't find that.
When I was looking for articles I was scanning through a search on Google news and what caught by eye was that almost half of the articles that came up in my search were about Tina Fey on SNL playing Sarah Palin. I thought that was really interesting how a political satire about the debates would get almost as much coverage as the debates themselves. The article was even by the AP.
The article actually acknowledges this because the first line of the article says, "It feels like Tina Fey is running for vice president." This is somewhat surprising that it would get this much attention but I guess it kind of makes sense because I recently heard that more and more Americans are getting their news from sources like The Daily Show and Colbert Report.

September 30, 2008

Presidential Debate

From what I have read about the debate on Friday in the media there seems to be a lot of different opinions about how it went and who won.
There were two things that I found in common between two articles and that was how different the two candidates are. They didn't always refer to their political differences but also their physical and generational differences.
This was the main point of an articles from the Star Tribune.
The first difference the article talked about was the difference in their appearance; Obama being the tall, young black man and McCain is an old, short, white man. The article also talked about their differences on dealing with hostile nations like Iran.
Another article that focused on the differences between McCain and Obama was one from the New York Times.
This article chose to focus on the generational gap between the two candidates and how it showed during the debate. One example the article gave was how McCain kept refering to old, past leaders like Eisenhower, while Obama used more up to date references, like talking about Google.
The third article I read was from Newsweek and it was all about fact checking what the candidates said.
I thought it was very interesting because I think that when the candidates quote people or talk about statistics and that kind of thing, many people don't even think to consider that those facts might not be true. Or they don't believe the candidate they don't agree with but like to think that everything their candidate is saying is true. So I think its good to have people that are looking into what they are saying and letting us know if what they are saying is true or not.

September 22, 2008


For this entry I tried to find three articles that covered different aspects of the economic crisis on Wall Street. An article on the front page of the Sunday Star Tribune takes a local angle and covers the effects the crisis is having on the middle class. It uses two middle class Minnesota families to show how it might affect people here. Being a local, Minnesota newspaper the focus of the stories is going to be on subjects that will be of interest to Minnesotans so that’s why I think they chose to give this story this particular angle and place it in an area of such prominence.
The second story I chose is from the Wall Street Journal. Below is the link.
It discussed the $700 billion bailout the government is asking Congress to grant in order to try and halt the financial crisis. Since this paper is targeted towards people who are very familiar with how Wall Street works the article is very technical and goes into a lot of detail about what the plan would entail and how it could work to help the current situation. Since I don’t know a lot about Wall Street I found it very confusing but I am sure someone who knows more about how all of that works would find the article very informative.
The third article is from the Chicago Tribune. The link is below.,0,488924.story
It gives a very different look than the previous two articles. While those were different in their content they were similar in that they only reported the facts and the only type of opinion came through quotes from interviews. This article though was very opinionated and the writer was not afraid to blame the Bush administration and the Republicans for the current situation.