September 2010 Archives

Fatal bus accident in Germany

Twelve people died and many more injured when a bus full tourist crashed in Germany on Sunday, according to CNN.

Seven passengers who were on the bus were in critical condition as this story went to press with an additional 27 injured according to CBS. Most passengers on board were believed to be Polish tourists, but that cannot be confirmed at this time.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said, "This accident doesn't just concern our Polish friends, it also affects us. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends of those who died."

The Bratz are back

The Bratz dolls are re-entering the market place after a small breakthrough in a long legal battle, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, Sept. 18.

This collection of dolls has been at the center of a legal battle between MGA Entertainment Inc. and Mattel Inc. Both companies have been claiming rights to the dolls.

Mattel won an early victory in the on-going battle but once a retrial was ordered, MGA announced that they would be releasing 10 new dolls on October 10 for the brand's tenth anniversary.

The Sydney Morning Herald remarks that this is just another competition among many in the ever present battle of the brands.

A gift for mindfulness

His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a large donation to a Center in Wisconsin, according to The New York Times.

The University 0f Wisconsin-based Center for Investigating Healthy Minds received a gift of $50 thousand to advance research in mindfulness. The research will be lead by Dr. Richard Davidson.

The research project will teach meditation skills to fifth graders and will follow those students through middle school to see how they benefited.

"We are deeply honored that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is so supportive of our work," Davidson said to The Cap Times.

Analysis: Attribution and His Holiness

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The week, as already summarized in this blog, The New York Times reported that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave $50 thousand University of Wisconsin research center.

The New York Times names the Dalai Lama in its lead and headline, yet he is not one attributed to once in the article. This piece focuses more on the work being done by Dr. Richard Davidson at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.

When referring to Davidson, the times typically used the traditional "said" with both direct quotes and paraphrased quotes. Once in this article, they deviate in a way that is usually best avoided:

"It's about changing habits of the heart," said Dr. Davidson, 58, a Brooklyn native with gray-flecked hair, a warm smile and, as might be expected, a kind manner that puts people at ease.

The Cap Times, also covering this story, made a different style choice. "Said" was the word of choice for The Cap Times.
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The death of the English language and of proper leads

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Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post wrote a comical article about the death of the English language, but, in his grief, he forgot how to start a story.

There are many ways to start a story, but usually one starts with the news. Although the "death" is announced in the first sentence, it comes only after the inclusion of two dense facts.

"The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead."

It is good reporting to have important facts, such as who will be impacted by the tragic passing of the English language, included in the story. It is too much for many readers when it is included in the first sentence, the lead.

One sentence was not enough for Weingarten to open the story and hook the reader. Two sentences formed the lead. Although this is not necessarily incorrect, the information could have been easily been condensed to one sentence with some of the interesting facts included in the second paragraph.

Missing "cult" members found alive in California


Five women belonging to what some have called a "cult-like" religious group were found alive with their eight children on Sunday after being reported missing with a fear of group suicide on Saturday reports CNN.

The adult members of the group, all female Salvadoran immigrants, left notes for their husbands and all of their legal identification and cell phones behind when they left their homes. The children in the group ranged from the age of three to 17 according to The Huffington Post.

The group's leader, Reyna Marisol Chicas, is currently being detained for 72 hours because authorities deemed that she was unable to care for herself or others.

The members of this group say that it was just a misunderstanding at they no suicide was ever planned. One member, Martha Clavel, said, "I guess it was a misunderstanding, and I'm sorry about that."

Quadruple amputee swims the English Channel

By Megan Maertz

The 42-year-old quadrouple amputee swam across the English Channel in 13 and a half hours acrording to the Gaurdian (UK) reports.

Philippe Croizon, who lost both of his arms and legs in an electrical accident 16 years ago, made the 21-mile journey with the aid of specially designed flippers.

"I did it, I'm happy, I'm so happy, I can't believe it, it's crazy," he told France-Info radio, and as was reported to CBS.

Croizon has not let his disability stop him from achieving his dreams. His memoir reflecting upon this is entitled J'ai Décidé de Vivre, which means 'I decided to live'.

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