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In CNN's story "Questions surround $55 million program to cut violence in Chicago," the three special investigator reporters, Scott Zamost, Drew Griffin and Elizabeth Nunez had to utilize multiple forms of data to form a full story.

Research was conducted on Pat Quinn's campaign for governor so the story could have a fuller view of the plan's origin. Statements were taken from the minutes of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to increase the stories creditability.

Some of the data that was necessary for the story was information about the effectiveness of the program to reduce the Chicago murder rate. The reporters also referred to a series of pay rates that would need to be both discovered and verified. The reporters attended open meetings in Chicago to understand what recommendations were made before the plan was implemented.

Like we discussed in class, reporters can request information from letters sent that pertain to the story. These CNN reporters obtained information from letter from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.

The story incorporated quite a few numbers that helped the reader understand the story. "Two years after the program was implemented, there have been 476 murders in the city, a nearly 20 percent," CNN reported. These figures would need to be checked over multiple times to ensure accuracy.

Researchers at the University of Illinois are rechecking some of the numbers about the costs and success of the program since the numbers were self-reported. This was an important point in the story because it is necessary to look at where the source of the information is coming from to determine how trustworthy it is. The people reporting it may have a larger stake in making the numbers look favorable for them.

The accompanying multimedia was a video featuring some components of the news story from Anderson Cooper 360. Although it is not an interactive graphic, it is a suitable compliment for the story. It tells the story in a different format to reach a broader audience. The story was so fully reported and researched and the video clips reflected the depth of the story well. I do think an interactive graphic that compared murder rates across the country and/or across the years in Chicago would have been engaging.

To create this a number of tools would have had to have been utilized. The video required skills with video cameras and video editing software. This also would include being able to overlay text and write explanatory captions that were short and succinct but still informative. To gather all the data described above the reporters needed to be able to successfully navigate websites containing meeting minuets and interpret and compare data with numbers.

Analysis: Diversity - Somali Voter Fraud

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The Huffington Post posted an article about voter fraud really focused on Somali voters that I found very interesting. It lead be to the original story posted by Human Events about the situation.

The article cited Human Events for information about groups of Somalia voters who could not speak English arriving by the "van-load" at an Ohio polling place during the election and being subjected to voting with only democratic interpreters present. It was later discovered that there were republican interpreters present as well. The Human Events story criticized the right of non-English speaking people to vote.

"The logical follow-up question is whether a non-English speaking person is an American citizen," The article read.

I grew up in an area with quite a few Somali immigrants and Minnesota currently has the largest population of Somalis in North America. What really drew me to this cultural group are the stereotypes that this culture gets stuck with so often. Receiving driver licenses fraudulently is one of the most common stereotypes given to the Somali community. This Human Events story really perpetuated these stereotypes in this article. It cited almost all of its information from anonymous citizens at the polls who witnessed this activity. This really hinders the credibility of the reports, and as seen in the article, some of these reports ended up being incorrect. The claimed there were only democratic interpreters encouraging them to vote for Obama, but late found out that was not true.

The article continued to attempt to tear down the legitimacy of the Somali community's right to vote by citing information from Somali Community Association of Ohio's web site. According to Human Events, "over 45,000 Somalis live in Ohio. Only 40 percent have become citizens of the United States, and only 25 percent speak English well enough to get a job." First off, more than 45,000 Somalis live in Ohio, not over 45,000. Second, the information on the ability to speak English well is irrelevant to a citizenship status. It is a not a requirement to be able to speak English to be allowed to vote and the Huffington Post article mentioned only very basic English is needed to become a naturalized citizen. This really just was included to try and lesser the worth of the Somali vote.

Analysis: Numbers - JC Penney

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In Reuters story on Friday discussing JC Penney's major third quarter loss, numbers were utilized both clearly and effectively. The write used numbers in multiple ways, to compare loss percentages with expected loss, to describe share holder's percentages, to report on sales per square foot, elaborate on time-frames and quantities, and to describe shareholders stakes in both percentage form and dollar amounts. Even with all the hefty information the numbers are used to explain, as a novice business news reader, I was easily able to follow the writer's way of reporting the numbers.

First, the author's lead explains what the numbers mean without actually overwhelming the lead with numbers. By explaining that sales have decreased significantly more than expected, by the time a reader sees the decrease of 26.1 percent compared to the expected decrease of 17.9 percent, it is easy to see how significant that is. By using percentages rather than dollar figures is also helpful in this instance because many readers wouldn't be able to interpret for themselves the dollar amount that would have a significant impact on sales for such a large company.

The numbers I found most interesting were the explanations of sales per square foot. The difference in sales per square foot in the same stores over different departments really added to the emphasize the writer was trying to put on the success Penney's has had. Although the company's sales were dismal, some progress has been made in the retail revamp.

Stocks are something that can be extremely confusing. The reporter of this story was able to incorporate them successfully by using both the percent the stocks fell as well as the dollar amount. By concluding the story with a look back at the sales percent loss, the reporter was able to incorporate the actual dollar figure there. This was a smart placement because readers who have stuck with the story until the end may be better able to digest and interpret that number now that they have the full context of how much sales have dropped.

The numbers the reported gathered came from JC Penney Co. Chief Executive Ron Johnson released and elaborated on some of the numbers and stock change for the company is publicly available. The reporter was able to compare all of JC Penney's third quarter reporting with analysts' estimations and past sales to determine the percentage it had dropped.

Analysis: Obit - Larry Bloch

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The New York Times reported the death of the Wetlands Club creator, Larry Bloch, in the obituaries on Saturday following the standard for obituaries.
The lead follows the structure for a typical obituary with the introduction of Bloch, what is most recognized for and then the place of his death. The lead concludes with his age.

Bloch's wife is used as a source for confirmation of the cause of death in the second paragraph. His own comments from past interviews were placed within the obituary to help readers see what he was hoping to accomplish with his club.

Bloch's obituary has news value because it was timely, he had prominence in his community, and, in a way, novelty. His work on an environmental driven rock club is not a common business venture. He was also able to work with very prominent musicians and celebrities throughout his career at the club.

An obituary is significantly more emotion driven than a resume. A resume lists skills and expertise that an individual has but an obituary include details about the deceased's relationships and accomplishments in more than just work life. Although the professional work of that person may be listed, an obituary can be created for a prominent figure who has gained his or her notoriety through personal accomplishments.

The reporter for the Washington Post's coverage of President Barack Obama's speech in Virginia, Jerry Markon, crafted his message with a thorough description of Obama's attitude and actions rather than just what he said.

A speech is supposed to be treated as an event, and Markon really exemplified that idea in his story. His lead describes the kitschy terminology Obama referred to when talking about "Romnesia." This reference then grew into a detailed description of Obama wagging his finger and mocking Mitt Romney.

Markon then went on to say Obama spent the majority of the speech attacking Romney rather than discussing what he would do if he is reelected. By inserting quotes from the speech such as, "Now that we're 18 days out from the election, 'Mr. Severely Conservative' wants you to think he was severely kidding about everything he said over the last year," the author was able to reinforce this idea. Markon then refereed to crowd's reaction to the comments Obama made during the speech. By reporting crowd reactions, the readers have a better understanding of the gravity and reception of the speech.

By also reporting on commentary by people listening to the speech on Twitter and by responses from Romney's campaign the reader is able to see a fuller picture of the speech's reception.

After a series of fact blocks discussing the negative campaigns Markon returns to Obama's references of "Romnesia." He refers to it as a curable disease and brings up multiple points that reflect symptom's of the disease such as, "You know, if you say you're for equal pay for equal work, but you keep refusing to say whether or not you'd sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have 'Romnesia.'"

The author also enhances the speech coverage by incorporating multimedia into the story. A photo gallery is available for reader's to browse. This gallery gives a strong visual impact to the story and allows the reader to see the context of the speech and the audience reaction.

The New York Times multimedia section is filled with slideshows, videos, and interactive features. They include what photographs have been used with certain stories as well as slideshows and pictures of the day. The text that accompanies slideshows is simple and straightforward. One slideshow I browsed explored the best craftsmen in France. The pictures explained who the person was they were discussing and then in subsequent photos discussed what they have created and quotes from the featured craftsman. The interactive features on the New York Times website are engaging, interesting and really vary in topic. From college debt, to the weather, to Facebook, the New York Times has created interactive features for everything.

The Los Angeles Times has a framework section that includes both photos and videos that contribute to the news value of the site. For the LA Times, I was most interested in their "Week in Pictures" section. The first photograph has a long story describing all the pictures that will be viewed and how they relate to the news of that week. Then each photograph has an additional caption that explains where the picture is from and then has a very simple description of what the viewer is looking at.

The major difference I noticed between the two was the ease of access to reach the New York Times multimedia section. The LA Times seems to have it more spread out over the entire site where as the NY Times allows users to easily access the multimedia page via the links on the side. The New York Times also seems to have a wider variety of interactive features. For example, they recently put up an interactive feature that breaks down the meaning and repetition between the presidential candidates hand gestures.

When looking at the differences in the slideshows from the pictures that accompany stories, the main difference I noticed is the impact of the pictures. The images in the slideshows are very standalone and make a huge impact with just one or two sentences where as the images that add value to an actual story help depict the main points of the entire story. When creating multimedia it is important to make is simple and straightforward while still being informative.

CNN's coverage of the meningitis outbreaks is a prime example of a spot and follow story. The stories are being updated multiple times a day and knew reports are published online when the number of deaths increases. For each lead in the three stories I analyzed for the meningitis story, the number of deaths and states in which the outbreaks have occurred has increased and the leads have become more specific on what has happened. From the story published on Oct. 3 to the story published on Oct. 6, the deaths rose from four to seven and the lead contained a reason behind the meningitis in the second lead.

The update on the story reveals how much the issue has grown and how the FDA has responded to the outbreaks. The first story speculates on what may have caused the outbreak, but the follow reveals the steroid injections were confirmed to have caused the outbreak and where else they were distributed. The information about what the FDA is doing and the confirmation of where the outbreak stems from is vital to understanding the next steps of the news story and the information about where else the steroids were distributed leaves room for the reporter to continue to follow the story.

Both stories contain information on what meningitis is, but the second one dedicated quite a few more fact blocks to the understanding of the fungal meningitis compared to bacterial and viral meningitis. This adds to the story because people are becoming more and more concerned with the case and the information about the fungus is pertinent to the reader.

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.

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.

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.

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