September 2012 Archives

Analysis-Structure:Dry September almost record

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The Star Tribune's story about this September being almost the driest to date is a great example of how the structure of news stories groups together facts and progresses through a story in order of a need-to-know basis.

The lead begins by stating the entire story in one sentence. A reader could read that sentence and be satisfied that they have learned something new and had information presented to his or herself in a clear manner. The lead includes what is happening, where it is happening, when it has been happening, and who it is affecting. After stating that this month has been the second-driest ever for the Twin Cities, the second paragraph follows up with data that reinforces that point. The story moves from rainfall that happened this month, to the rainfall that was expected, and then to the rainfall of other areas. These data points are gathered together in a series of paragraphs that complete one larger fact block with smaller sub-fact blocks within it.

Further down in the story, the reporter compares the state to other states in the Midwest. The reporter also gives reasons for other areas of the country experiencing more rainfall. The final paragraph predicts the outlook for the next month.

Although this story might not be the most exciting news story, the progression through the importance of this month being the second-driest September in the Twin Cities history to a basic weather forecast for the future allows a reader to understand the basics of the story immediately. Including information on how this drought is affecting the area could be an interesting addition to the story. This information could be another fact block near the end of the story so it could be cut if it did not fit in the print version of the paper.

Minneapolis workplace gunman kills five

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A Minneapolis man killed five people Thursday afternoon in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood, according to the Star Tribune.

Andrew Engeldinger, 36, recently lost his job at Accent Signage Systems and returned to the business' location to begin shooting, the Star Tribune reported.

"It was a case he was terminated that day, he did come back about 4:25 to that location, parked his car and walked in the loading dock area and immediately started shooting people at that location," Police Chief Tim Dolan told the Star Tribune.

Engeldinger killed four people, including Reuven Rahamim, 61, owner of Accent Signage Systems, and United Parcel Service driver, Keith Basinski, before taking his own life, the Pioneer Press reported.

The police said it was clear that Engeldinger walked by some employees before choosing which ones would be his victims, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the Pioneer Press, this is the deadliest workplace shooting in Minnesota since the Department of Labor and Industry began keeping records of incidents like this in 1992.

Condé Nast promises to avoid using underage models

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Condé Nast Publication announced they are banning the use of underage models in Vogue on Thursday, according to

The publication giant made this same vow last May but was unable to live up to the promise, reported. Condé Nast announced that they will be redoubling their efforts to stop these errors and apologized for any previous incidents.

The magazine recently cast two underage girls to be pictured in Vogue China and Vogue Japan, Nylon Magazine reported. According to, Condé Nast officials say the images of the 14-year-old girl will not be printed in the December issue of Vogue Japan.

"It happened under our radar, and we are truly sorry. We will make sure it doesn't happen again," editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung said, according to Nylon Magazine.

Condé Nast said the promise will not apply to any article published regarding children's fashion and apparel, reported.

Peruvian woman killed after reality show confession

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The body of a Peruvian reality show contestant was found Saturday, just two months after an on-air confession, according to the Global Post.

Ruth Thalia Sayas Sanchez,19, was found by police at the Villas de Media Luna in Jicamara, according to the Global Post. Investigators found poison in her body and signs that she was strangled, reported CNN.

Sayas appeared on "The Value of Truth," a reality show, in which contestants answer tough personal questions in front of their loved ones, reported the Global Post. Sayas went on the show with her parents and boyfriend and admitted to accepting money for sex at a nightclub she worked at.

Police have accused Sayas' ex-boyfriend of killing her because he wanted a portion of the money she earned from being on the show, CNN reported.

Peruvian Attorney General Jose Pelaez is looking into the degree of responsibility the show has in Sayas' death. The teen's family said they do not think the show is responsible, CNN reported.

Four teenagers have been cited and one teacher has been suspended on Tuesday for allegedly hazing and sexually abusing several high school soccer players at La Puente High School in California, Fox News reported.

Attorney Brian Claypool said in a news conference Monday that four freshmen boys, who had made it onto the varsity soccer team, were lured into a room by their coach and then sexually assaulted by four older players, according to CBS News.

The alleged victims were brought into the room, forced to disrobe, and assaulted with what appeared to be part of a javelin pole, Claypool told CNN. "This has been taking place for at least two years, possibly longer," Claypool said.

Sgt. Dan Scott, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Special Victims Unit, said they believe there was a hazing and an assault, but that teachers and staff members were not connected to the events, reported Fox News.

All four suspects, an 18-year-old student and three juveniles were arrested for assault against children and later released to their parents, CBS News reported.

Man dies from head trauma after one punch

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A Greenfield man died Friday after an assault in a St. Cloud alley, the St. Cloud Times reported.

Colton Gleason, a 20-year-old college student, hit his head after being punched by an assailant from a passing car on Thursday night in an alley between the Eighth and Ninth avenues South in St. Cloud, according to the St. Cloud Times. He died from head trauma the next day.

The car, described as a light colored four-door, drove by Gleason closely before stopping. Several people got out of the car and one of the occupants punched Gleason once before driving away, reported the Star Tribune.

The police are offering are urging witnesses to come forward. There were several people in the vehicle that witnessed the event, reports the St. Cloud Times. The two females walking with Gleason are cooperating with the police, according to the St. Cloud Times.

Gleason's father, John Gleason, told the Star Tribune his son was visiting friends in St. Cloud and was expected to be back for a bike trip Friday.

"This was a violent, unnecessary and senseless crime," the elder Gleason told the Star Tribune.

In the Star Tribune's update on David Villalobos's jump into the tiger den, they use multiple sources as well as multiple references to portions of Villalobos's Facebook page. The story attributes most of the facts to Villalobos's Facebook activity, zoo officials, zoo director Jim Brehney, the police, and Paul Browne, a New York Police Department spokesperson. Although the story uses general terms, such as the zoo officials or the police, the naming of both the zoo director and the police spokesperson gives the story more legitimacy. The story also references to comments Villalobos made directly to the zoo officials and the police. By attributing it to both the speaker and the person who received the comment, the Star Tribune is fairly giving credit to both sources so it doesn't appear that Villalobos was speaking directly to the paper.

The story is organized with the sources being mainly focused in paragraph groupings. The officials are mixed within the story, but when sources are directly named, they are mostly found within the same areas of the story.

The setup for the attributions was done very effectively. The reporter uses last names after introducing sources, but mixes in terms such as "added" and "commented" to display the attributions with variety while still staying fairly unbiased. It was noted that the story used the term "claimed" in a place that was not a claim in court. Although this is not proper APA style, it did not seem to take away from the validity of the report.

A man was critically injured Friday afternoon after jumping from a monorail to a tiger pit, USA Today reported.

The man, David Villalobos, was mauled by a tiger after he jumped out of his car on the zoo's Wild Asia monorail, "clearing the exhibit's perimeter fence," Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny told the New York Times. This was the first time in the 35 years the monorail has been operating that a passenger jumped.

Villalobos was with the tigers for 10 minutes before zoo officials chased it away with a fire extinguisher, He suffered bites and punctures wounds on his legs, shoulders, back and arms and broke both an arm and a leg, the Associated Press said. Villalobos was conscious and talking when the official reached him, CNN reported.

Breheny said Bashuta, the 11-year-old male Siberian tiger, would not be put down because it "did not do anything wrong," the Associated Press reported.

U football player hospitalized

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University of Minnesota wide receiver Andre McDonald was hospitalized Thursday, the Minnesota Daily reports.

McDonald is currently undergoing tests after he told the Minnesota Daily he had "a little problem with my heart."

McDonald had suffered a turf burn during a game last week, Fox News reported, which resulted in an infection in his knee. He had returned to practice last week, but did not play in Saturday's game, the Star Tribune reported.

McDonald came to the university as the No. 1 high school football prospect, Fox News said.

Mother-daughter womb transplants debut in Sweden

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Two Swedish women have received the first mother-to-daughter womb transplant, CNN reports Wednesday.

The procedures were completed Saturday and Sunday by 10 surgeons at Sweden's University of Gothenburg, the BBC said. They won't be considered successful until the women achieve pregnancy.

"So far, the procedures have been a success, but the final proof of success will be the birth of a healthy child," Dr. Michael Olausson, surgeon and professor, told CNN.

Both patients started in-vitro fertilization before the surgeries and are expected to have the embryos transferred in 12 months, CNN reports.

The doctors and specialists have been working on the project since 1999. The procedure is being tested to help women who lack uteri become pregnant, CNN said.

According to the BBC, both mothers will be discharged in a few days and both daughters have been recovering well.

Lawsuit filed to block Minnesota wolf hunt

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Two conservation groups filed a lawsuit to stop Minnesota's upcoming wolf hunt, the Pioneer Press reports.

The two groups fighting the hunting season, The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves, said the Department of Natural Resources failed to get the public's opinion regarding the rules and regulations for the upcoming wolf hunting season, according to the Pioneer Press.

"The state rushed to issue wolf hunting and trapping rules without giving people a real chance to voice their opinions," Collette Adkins Giese, a Minneapolis-based attorney with the Center, told the Star Tribune.

In July the DNR ran an online survey regarding the wolf hunt. Out of 7,351 respondents, 1,542 people supported the wolf season and 5,809 opposed it, the Star Tribune said.

Currently, more than 23,000 people have applied for the 6,000 wolf hunting licenses that will be issued for the hunting season beginning Nov. 3, the Star Tribune said.

A spokesperson for the DNR told the Star Tribune that state officials could not comment on the issue until the lawsuit was reviewed.

Thousands of students, staff and faculty were evacuated from Louisiana State University's campus following a bomb threat Monday, reported the Star Tribune.

The East Baton Rouge Parish police received a call at 10:32 a.m. regarding a bomb on campus, spokeswoman Christine Calongne told CNN. Calongne said no specific buildings were mentioned in the call.

The university immediately issued a campus alert to all students and staff telling them to "please evacuate as calmly and quickly as possible," according to CNN.

State police bomb technicians were called to the scene, but no explosives have been found, reported the Star Tribune.

The New York Times story of a man who has been accused of planning to bomb a Chicago bar demonstrates the structure of a typical well-written news lead clearly.

The lead reads: "An 18-year-old suburban Chicago man, who the authorities say was enamored with Osama bin Laden and intent on killing Americans, has been arrested after attempting to detonate what he thought was a car bomb outside a Chicago bar, officials said Saturday."

A primary component of a lead is to include information on who, what, where, and when to get all the most important information out to the reader immediately. By naming the area where the man in the story is from, as well as revealing his age, the writer has added details to identify the man but did not go so far as to actually name him. This creates a good balance of creating a story readers can relate to, but making sure they are not bogged down with details. The added insert about his interest with Osama bin Laden is included to help the reader get a feel for who the man in the story is and what he was thinking at the time.

This lead is also able to tell readers information on what was happening, this young man has been arrested, and why it is happening, for attempting to detonate a bomb. The details about what bar have been left out of the lead because they would confuse readers who are not familiar with the area. Although the actual bar name is not vital to the story, the fact that it was in Chicago was included because it is commonly known and gives the reader a place to set the story. The lead also attributes the information to the officials it came from and does include when the story is from.

Since this is a hard-news story, the writer took the approach of using a standard lead. He left out mundane details and was able to develop the story in a more narrative way in subsequent paragraphs since he had already informed the reader of all the most important facts.

Valleyfair announces dinosaur expansion plan

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Valleyfair began plans to add life-size dinosaurs to the amusement park, the Star Tribune reports Saturday.

They park will be adding 30 dinosaurs to a 5 acre wooded pathway. The large moving dinosaurs will be ready for the public in 2013, said the Pioneer Press.

The exhibit, Dinosaurs Alive!, will feature a wide variety of dinosaur species accompanied by information on how the creatures lived. The new exhibit "will bring science and technology together to not only entertain, but educate our guests," Dave Frazier, the park's vice president and general manager, told the Star Tribune.

The Mesozoic Era collection is part of a $3.5 million expansion for the park, reports the Star Tribune. Guests will be charged a $5 admission fee for the dinosaur display, said the Pioneer Press.

Royal family began legal proceedings over nude photos

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Britain's royal family began legal proceedings Friday regarding topless photos of Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton, published in a French magazine, according to the New York Times.

The photos were taken during the couple's vacation at a private chateau in southern France according to CNN.

''St James's Palace confirms that legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France by the duke and duchess of Cambridge against the publishers of Closer Magazine France,'' the couple's office said in a statement to the New York Times.

Many people have found the publication of the images disrespectful and degrading, but editor of the Closer Magazine, Laurence Pieau, believes they just represent the royal couple as any other couple in love, reports CNN.

Pieau said they have more photographs but are waiting to see if any legal action is taken before publishing them said CNN.

Fire destroys two Orono police cars

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Apparent arson destroyed two Orono police cars early Friday, according to the Star Tribune.

Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok told Kare 11 officers found a SUV and a Dodge Charger up in flames when they returned to the station just before 3a.m. An accelerant was found under each of the vehicles causing the police to question the cause of the fire reports the Pioneer Press.

There are currently no suspects but the lot is under video surveillance according to the Star Tribune.

"If it truly was arson, it takes a lot of guts to get inside our lot and do this right next to the police station," Farniok told the Star Tribune.

Damage estimates are at $100,000 when the police considered the equipment and electronics in the vehicles said Kare 11.

NBC skips 9/11 moment of silence during 'Today'

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NBC did not participate in the widespread on-air moment of silence, Tuesday, in commemoration of the attacks on the World Trade Center, according to CBS.

ABC, CBS, and FOX aired clips commemorating the moment of the attack on the World Trade Center while NBC's "Today" morning program aired an interview with Kris Jenner, mother on the popular reality television show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," reports the Toronto Sun.

The New York Times reported NBC did not apologize for opting out of the moment of silence, but has apologized to the network's affiliates for the criticisms they have received.

A segment aired early on the show featuring an interview with Pasquale Buzzelli, a survivor of the attack. Megan Koph, spokeswoman for "Today" told CBS, "The 'Today' show dedicated a considerable amount of time to September 11th coverage this morning throughout the entire show."

The network received backlash from multiple users on social media sites regarding the moment of silence and the content that aired in its place, reports the New York Times.

Striking teachers picketed outside the Chicago public school system's headquarters Tuesday.

About 350,000 children were unable to attend school due to the strike, reported CNN. Many parents have voiced concerns over where the children will spend their time. "A lot of kids are out on the streets, and that's setting them up for trouble and violence. They need to be in school right now, doing something productive," Valicia Hill, a mother of six, told CNN.

Other parents have supported the teachers' decision to strike. Rev. Michael Grant, an affected father, told the Star Tribune "I'm going to stay strong, behind the teachers."

The Chicago Teachers Union says they are still far from reaching a deal. The parties are close to a deal on pay but far from an agreement on teacher evaluations, benefits, and other aspects of the strike said CNN.

According to CNN, this is the second consecutive day of the strike of nearly 30,000 members of the union.

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