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September 24, 2007

Blackwater security at fault

The Blackwater Security company that was accused of open firing unprovoked last week on Iraqis is now being blamed.
A videotape was revealed that showed that the security company open fired for no reason, killing 11 people.
The case has been refferred to the Iraqi Judiciary.
Blackwater refused to comment.

MIT student arrested at airport

MIT student Star Simpson was arrested at Logan International Airport in Boston, MA on Friday. Simpson had some sort of computer device strapped to her chest that authorities believed to be a bomb. After being spotted, she was swarmed by troopers with automatic weapons prepared to use "deadly force".
The suspected explosive device turned out to be some of Simpson's art. She was arrested and is still in jail on charges of "disturbing the peace and possessing a hoax device''.
Logan International Airport was one of the aiports that 9/11 hijacked planes took off from.
Simpson said that she was wearing it because she was proud of her art.
The article made no further mention of why she thought that this would be an acceptable thing to do.

The lead in this article was somewhat confusing to me. First of all, it was verbatim the deck. This should not be.

Also, it said: "..with what police feared was a fake bomb attached to her chest .." This doesn't make much sense to me. The police seem to have feared that it was a REAL bomb. If they feared that it was a fake bomb, they wouldn't have had to arrest her at gun point.
The rest of the article was good. It was clear, concise, and informative.

12-year-old shot in North Minneapolis

12-year-old Vernice Hall was shot in the head Saturday night in north Minneapolis near her house after a party.
Vernice has still not regained consciousness. Police believe that she was an innocent victim, and currently have no suspects.
She is in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical center. Steve Hall, Vernices Father, had another child shot to death in 2005 when he lived in a rough area of Millwaukee. He said that he moved to Minneapolis to get away from the violence.
Although there have been many shootings in the past few weeks in North Minneapolis, authorities still say that crime is way down from last year.

This was a very moving article. The author did a great job making Vernice seem real by describing her interests. It was difficult to read at times.
The delayed lead was very affective. It painted a picture of a sad scene before telling the reader how they got there.


Rybak beefs up public safety

Minneapolis Mayor R .T. Rybak announced a plan for the 2008 budget that will focus on increasing public safety.
Rybak's plan includes the addition of 18 new police officers, more 911 operators and a focus on cleaning up graffiti. The plan will call for an 8 million dollar increase in public safety spending.
Rybak's public safety stance has been criticized in the past, but he continues to make it a priority.

I thought that this article (Strib) was worded a bit awkwardly at times. Mainly the second graph seemed to have a few to many "ands' in it. Overall it was very informative and to the point. It definately followed the inverted pyramid.



September 17, 2007

Shoot-out Kills Iraqi Civilians

A shoot-out unfolded in Iraq Sunday after a security contract company open fired on the streets of Baghdad.
A State Department motorcade that the security company was guarding was fired upon, causing the company to return fire. However, Iraqi officials claim that the security company took extreme retaliatory measures. At least 9 civilians were killed, Iraq officials said.
By the end of the day, approximately 40 total people died as a result of the shoot-out.
Iraqi officials are calling it “a crime?.
This lead was possibly the best of the four. It was clear, concise, informative, and intriguing. It was straight to the point, and gave me all of the facts that I wanted to know.

First- Star Tribune:

OJ Faces Time

OJ Simpson, once known for being a famous football player, will perhaps forever remain branded by the media as responsible for killing his ex-wife. Simpson was recently arrested on suspicion of armed robbery.
Police believe that Simpson and a friend broke into a Las Vegas hotel room and stole memorabilia at gun point. He was arrested Sunday and is being held without option of bail.
Simpson said that he went into the hotel room to retrieve items that were stolen from him, and that he was not armed. He said that he did not contact police because they have not been cooperative towards him since his murder trial.
According to the David Roger, Clark County District Attorney, Simpson could face 30+ years jail time.
This lead seemed a little wordy to me. I think there is room for improvement. For example, though it was relevant to talk about Simpson's murder trial, it was not necessary to put it in the lead. It could have come later in the story. However, it was informative, and did draw me in.


Minneapolis Mayor Embarrassed

As Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak prepared for the upcoming U.S. Conference of Mayors, he admitted being embarrassed with the states failure to respond to the I35-W bridge collapse.
Due to the epic flood damage in southern Minnesota, a large portion of the states funding is being directed away from bridge repair. While other states are concentrating intently on making certain that the bridge collapse does not repeat itself, Minnesota is not going nearly as much as Pawlenty originally promised.
The lead on this article is good. It is concise, informative, and very interesting. The mayor admitting embarrassment on such a controversial and timely issue is almost unbelievable. This lead drew me in immediately. It was very effective.

First- Star Tribune:

Hazardous Drinking Water

So far this year, citizens of Minnesota have been expressing a lot of concern regarding the safety of their drinking water. As a result, the state has conducted testing in attempt to put these concerns to bed-- with little success.
Many tests have yielded worrisome results. Hazardous chemical waste and pollutants have been discovered in drinking water all over the state. In particular, many of the wells of Washington County, my homeland, have been contaminated by a 3M compound known as PFBA. Minnesota Department of Public Health officials seem to be scratching their heads in lieu of any sort of explanation.
In attempt to combat this threat, the state is going to be testing any water that they think could have the potential to be contaminated.
I found the lead to the Star Tribune article interesting. Although it answered the who, what, why, when, where, it was not concise. It far exceeded the norm of 20-25 words. It was subtle, and almost seemed to take a narrative approach, which could be effective to drawing some readers in. However, I think that the average reader may be scared off by the length of it.

First- Star Tribune:
Secondary- MPR:

September 10, 2007

Young neo-nazis get busted

A group of 8 young neo-nazis were recently arrested in Jerusalem. They were discovered by police through an investigation of a vandalized synagogue. Upon arresting the group, police discovered videos of brutal beatings and hate crimes being committed.
All 8 were around the age of 20, from the Soviet Union, and had some Jewish heritage. The youths are currently being held for assault and vandalism charges. They are believed to be in connection with at least 15 brutal attacks against specific groups, such as Jewish and homosexual people.

Miner's Memorial

There was a memorial held in Huntington, Utah on Sunday in honor of the 6 minors that were recently killed by a devastating mine collapse. The memorial took place in a junior high footbal field, and was attended by about 1,000 of close friends and family.
The mining collapse has been one of the nation's biggest stories this summer.

Nude robber apprehended in Duluth

Last week Wayne Boniface walked into his Duluth home to find a young intruder in his house. Boniface and the young man wrestled for a while, and in the process the burglar was completely stripped of all his clothes. The burglar then fled the house.
The burglarr was caught by the police shortly after leaving Boniface's house. He was charged with first-degree burgalery on two accounts.
Boniface attributed his wrestling ability to some boxing in his youth and a bit of luck.

County treatment center might be shut down

West Metro Recovery Services, a Hennepin County treatment treatment center, recently failed an inspection. According to the report, WMRS was cited for 37 different violations. As a result, the center is now in jeapordy of being closed.

According to Patrick Mus, the President of the treatment center, these violations do not accurately depict the scene. He defends his center in the article, saying that the citations are unjust. "No one has ever been harmed at West Metro," he said.

In my opinion, the article is well balanced. It goes back and forth from citing the state's report and stating Mus's defense. It does not seem to favor either side.