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December 10, 2007

U Professor Claims Nobel Prize

University of Minnesota professor Leonid Hurwicz will claim his Nobel Prize Monday at Northrop. He was selected as a winner earlier this year due to his work in economics. At 90-years-old, Hurwicz is the oldest person to ever receive the honor of a Nobel Prize. Hruwicz laughed at what he thought was a joke when he heard the news, according to the Daily article. He said he didn't think the younger generations appreciated where economic theories originated from. Due to his old age, Hurwicz will receive the prize in Northrop Auditorium instead of Sweden.

The article that ran in the Daily was full of a lot of good information. Instead of just describing the event, it also gave some background and funny anecdotes that made what could have been a dull story go down a little easier. One thing I appreciated about the Daily article was the explanation of exactly what this professor did to win the Nobel prize. Explaining a Nobel prize winning economics theory with a few sentences in the newspaper is no easy task, and I thouhgt it was done well. One thing I didn't like about the Daily stroy was how much of it was attributed to websites press releases.

http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/10/16/72163879
http://www.startribune.com/local/12303571.html

Pyramid Scheme Bust

A son-and-father pyramid scheme bust landed the two in jail on Friday. According to the article, the duo was making false claims of free excercise equipment to schools, including some in Minnesota. They father was sent to more than 5 years in prison, and the son 17. They also have to pay 39 million dollars in restitution.

These stories were pretty straight forward. Probably just a standard beat story for the Strib reporter. I appreciated how the Strib attempted to address a critical voice in the article by mentioning the dispute over jail time. It made it a little more interesting.

http://www.startribune.com/local/12295276.html
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/mn/press/econ/econ0122.htm

November 26, 2007

Elementary School Upping Security Measures

The new Watertown Elementary School was recently built with a few modifications that stray from the ordinary, or perhaps not. Maybe it is merely the next step in our seat belt legal smoke-free world to build an elementary school based around extreme security measures. Among the innovations, this school has 23 cameras, low camoflauge-free bushes and windows that can not be easily accessed from the outside, according to the article. This system also happens to be on the cutting edge of environmental efficiency. The future!

I liked this article. It examined this unusual school building -- a good idea for a featury type of story -- but then went into further detail. It talked about the eco-friendliness of it, then about the aged concept being utilized in a new way.

http://www.startribune.com/west/story/1572425.html

Hennepin County Crime Drops

After years of annual increases, the crime rate in Hennepin County is finally dropping, and there are a few ideas of why. First, experts believe the 35W bridge falling contributed. This connection was not explained in the article, but I suppose it's easy to draw our own conclusions.
The other suggested reason is that there were new task forces implemented by Sheriff Richard Stanek designed to crack down on violent crimes and drugs. According to the article, one task forces arrested 60 people and siezed 54 guns. Another arrested 71 and siezed $43 million worth of drugs.

This article began addressing recent crime statistics, but didn't stay there for long. Instead, it used the new information as an avenue to find its way into explaining these new task forces. The Strib went into much greater detail than the AP. It was a good, informational, fluid article that suck closely to inverted pyramid style writing. I also liked word choice such as "eye popping".

http://www.startribune.com/west/story/1566939.html
http://news.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?z=2&a=316663

November 19, 2007

Man goes to trial for murder

Richard Scheibe, a 33-year-old Elk River man, is going to be sentenced for the murder of Amy Woollard Monday. Woollard was found in her car recently dead sitting next to a suicide note. But the case did't add up.

Before too long, it came to light that Scheibe had had an affair with Woollard and was the father of her baby. Woollard had tried to get Scheibe to pay child support, but she refused: the motive!

Eventually, Scheibe admitted to fighting Woollard for the gun, which went off and killed her. Scheibe was charged with first degree murder.

The Strib article was more recent, and gave the article only the basic facts they needed to understand that Scheibe is being sentenced today. Kare 11 gave a more in-depth look at the motive and such.
I found the Strib's word choice interesting. For example, "an affair that led to Wollard giving birth" obviously translates to "he impregnated her" -- much more simple. I also found it interesting that the deck and the lead were one and the same.

Hate vandalism in St. Cloud

The carvings of two swatiskas were found on the St. Cloud State campus Saturday, and SCS is not looking the other way. Police are currently investigating the incident, calling it "bias motivated property damage", according to the Strib. College officials and students were featured in the stories.

I thought this was a very interesting story, and I wanted to examine the way that touchy subjects such as racism are dealt with in newswriting. The St. Cloud Times, clearly having a proximity advantage -- as well as obligation -- took a much more in-depth look at the issue than the Strib. It covered the incident, consequences and related occurances. The Strib just did a quick who,what,why,when,where,how. The Times was of course more interesting, although it's probably just fine that the Strib didn't give it too much print. Not being an extremely serious issue, the newsworthiness of the event minimizes with every mile further one gets from St. Cloud, in my opinion. But I did think it was good that the Strib had a brief about it. It seems like it has had a sizeable impact on the St. Cloud community and therefore worth bringing to the attention of Twin Cities residents.

One thing I found interesting about both of these articles is that niether addressed that it might just be dumb college kids that think they're funny. To me, this seems a whole lot more likely than it actually being an act of hate. I suppose a publication has to be very careful with a thing like this though.

http://www.sctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071118/NEWS01/111170045/1009
http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1558491.html

Two Die in North Mankato

A mobile home exploded early Saturday morning in North Mankato, leaving two dead. The causes are unknown, and the bodies have yet to be identified.

The Strib and Pi-Press both took very different approached to covering this. The Strib was much more in-depth. It began with an anectdotal lead, which, although it is apparent it was written quickly, worked well. It was engaging and drew me in. The story then took the reader on a ride down the inverted pyramid, covering everything newsworthy and seemingly moving back in forth across a hazy line of news story and news obituary. One thing I especially liked about it was, although the identities were not yet confirmed, the writer wasn't afraid to say who they most likely were. It did not make the mistake of saying it was anyone for certain, and it also didn't make the mistake of not acknowledging that it was very likely the people who lived there. It then talked about their lives, with some personal info that made the story more real.
The Pi-Press went with the brief. A few lines of the facts, and only the facts. A safe bet, but I liked the Strib's better.
One thing I did not like about the Strib article was the quote "She was such a good employee, I didn't want to see her leave the Free Press."
I'm sure the reporter meant well, and did not have much to work with, but it sounds like this lady is mad because her employee died so she can't work for her anymore. I know this is most likely not what was intended by the reporter or the source, but that's how it read to me.

http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1557923.html
http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_7495691?nclick_check=1

November 12, 2007

Sex Offender Results

This article outlined the results of sexual abuse cases in Ramsey County Last year. It was an interesting article, because it didn't really tell a story. Instead it just listed the numerical conclusions of the 35 people charged with sexual abuse last year.
I think that normaly, this would be much too confusing. However, for some reason it works. I think it doesn't intend to be entertaining, but rather to give the raw facts. If I lived in Ramsey County and was interested in hearing the outcomes of all of these cases, I wouldn't have to look far.

http://www.twincities.com/minnesota/ci_7437150

Park Officer Dies

Mark Bedard, a Minneapolis Park Police officer, died yesterday. He was struck by a police squad car while in pursuit of a shooting suspect on Nov. 1. Since the Minneapolis Park Police were established over 100 years ago, Bedard is the first to die in the line of duty.

I chose to blog about this story because it is an obituary, although niether article followed the format we learned in class. The Strib article didn't talk much about Bedard's life, but also did not comply with the inverted pyramid style, which I found interesting. The main focus seemed to be the funeral details.
The Pioneer Press article addressed the victims life quite a bit more. In addition to talking about how he was killed, it also found a way to work in little anecdotes, like Bedard swimming for a Polar Bear fundraiser.
To me, the Pioneer Press article worked better. It was more personal, and in turn more envocative.

Pi-Press: http://www.twincities.com/ci_7420480?source=rss&nclick_check=1
Strib: http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1543262.html

October 22, 2007

Miley Cyrus takes over the Twin Cities

Miley Cyrus, along with her alter ego, Hannah Montana, took over the Twin Cities this weekend. Or so it seems based on these two articles.
Apparently the Disney Channel pop-star is the biggest thing to hit the world of young teen music since whatever was popular last year.
The majority of both of these articles focused on the ticket price aspect. The show sold out in seconds, and now that ticket scalping is legal in Minnesota, sites like ebay, cragislist, and stubhub were overflowing with seats -- some which going for over $1,000 a piece. If that doesn't seem crazy enough, it seems people were dying to shell the money out.
The angry mothers and fathers described as "knowing just how lucky they are to be here" almost seemed to steal the focus away from the actual event, especially in the Strib article.

Kare 11:http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=267847
Strib: http://www.startribune.com/music/story/1498609.html

Stillwater Man Killed on Moped

While making a left turn in Stillwater, a moped rider was struck by a car and killed on the scene. The other driver, a White Bear Lake woman, along with her daughter who was in the passenger seat, were just fine.

Although this was only a breaking news brief, it interested me because I am from Stillwater. I thought that it was a good article. It gave me all the facts in the inverted pyramid format.

Strib: http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1499616.html
MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21419258

October 15, 2007

ID determined of man's found dead in Fridley creek

This was a breaking news story about a man whose body was found in a creek in Fridley. Authorities must have just identified it because it was not on any other website.
The article talked about a body that was found by hikers this weekend. They were able to identifiy the body. The article also outlined other relevant information, like how long authorities believe he had been there. It followed the inverted pyramid strictly.

Strib:http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1484951.html

Suspected Rapist Apprehended

Police arrested a man they believe beat and raped a woman near the light-rail earlier this month.
The woman was waiting for a train after leaving some friends at a bar when a 20-year-old man put a gun to her head and brought her to a nearby laundry mat. The woman's description along with security cameras allowed police to find a person who they think is guilty of beating and raping the woman.
This was a great article. It followed the inverted pyramid closely. It also included information about rape and crime statistics, which I thought was interesting. However, it's possilbe that the reporter was just trying to find more sources to put in the story. Either way, it worked for me

Strib: http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1482645.html

October 8, 2007

Moose goes down

A couple of St. Paul men killed a large moose up by the boundary waters. The moose's antlers could be a record size for the state. It is mandatory to let the antlers dry out for 60 days before doing final measurements.

When I first opened this story, there was a picture of a moose behind a "No Trespassing" sign that I took as the photo for the story. As I scrolled down, I saw the picture again, and I noticed that it said "On the wrong side of the sign? Fall Auction" under it. As I got toward the bottom of the story, I discovered that the fall auction is an annual drawing to see who gets to be in the lucky 233 Minnesotans that are allowed to go moose hunting. The moose picture was actually an ad for the auction.
I know that this has nothing to do with the writer, and it is probably designed to appear whenever anyone looks at anything moose related, but it still raises some ethical questions.
Running next to this story, it seems like the strib is not only condoning, but promoting moose hunting. I'm sure that a lot of people read this story and were not pleased with the fact that such a large wild animal was killed for sport. Those people would probably not be please with an ad for moose hunting running twice on the same page as the article!

As far as souces go for this article, they were kind of weak, in my opinion. They got a few solid testimonies from the hunters, which was vital. But attributing the estimated weight of the moose to an unspecified bioligist, and not naming the taxedermist makes the story flimsy, in my opinion.

Strib: http://www.startribune.com/531/story/1471213.html
wcco: http://wcco.com/local/local_story_279132233.html

Eating Again!

As the yearly Ramadan dawn til dusk fast comes to an end, restaraunts around the area fill up with hungry people. The Big Marina Grill and Deli in Columbia Heights was prepared on Friday. Last year, the restaraunt had a 2+ hour waiting period. This year they erected an enormous tent to accomodate more people.
Ramadan is a religous Muslim tradition. The twin cities have a vast Muslim community. The post-fast feast is a huge deal for a lot of restaraunts around the area.
The sources in this story include restaraunt owners and patrons. The combination of the two gave the story an overall well rounded voice.

Strib: http://www.startribune.com/456/story/1469945
HNT: http://www.thnt.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071005/NEWS010401/710050426/1001

October 1, 2007

Delivery driver shot in North Minneapolis

A 15 and 17 year old boy are in police custody after allegedly shooting a a delivery driver in North Minneapolis. The driver delivered a package and walked back to his truck to find the two boys standing there pointing a gun at him. Thr driver, Dwayne Greer, attempted to drive away and received one of three shots fired near his hip. Greer, a father, is now dealing with the reality of the aftermath- they might not be able to get the bullet out due to the high risk area that it was lodged.
Politicians boast about the descending crime rate Minneapolis, specifically the North side. However, the North side also was the setting for the 12-year-old girl who was shot a week ago.
This was a good article. It seemed to be written in a visual sort of way. I could picture the event unfolding.

Strib:http://www.startribune.com/crime/story/1455952.html
Secondary:http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_271193903.html

Campus Tailgaters

Tailgaters downtown near the dome have been stirring up some mixed emotions from the local residents, according to the Star Tribune article. Gopher and Vikings tailgating sessions both took place within a span of 17 hours this weekend. Some local residents were upset by the behavior, particulalry from the Gopher tailgaters. Others didn't seem to mind.
The Daily article discussed Gopher tailgaters only. A lot of parking lots around the area are banning tailgating due to rowdy behavior.

The Star Tribune article was interestingly written. There were a few parts that seemed odd to me. For example, it reads that a Gopher's tailgater "alleges he is twenty-one", which obviously implies that the writer does not believe that this is so.
It was an interesting story to read though, and I am curious as to how he was able to find actual residents to talk to. It seems like that would be tough.

Strib:http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1455854.html
Daily:http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2007/10/01/72163602

September 24, 2007

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.

Primary- http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1441135.html
Secondary- http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_266213828.html

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.

First- http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1441192.html

Secondary- http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/08/15/rybakspeech/

September 17, 2007

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: http://www.startribune.com/10204/story/1426482.html

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: http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1426188.html
Secondary- MPR: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/03/28/toxic2water/

September 10, 2007

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.