February 2010 Archives


I decided to analyze the multimedia content for the New York Times and the BBC.

The multimedia section for the New York Times mainly focuses on photo slideshows.
There are also a few interactive features and an occasional video feature. A link is included on their multimedia page to connect to their podcasts.

The BBC's multimedia section mainly contains video and audio clips. The BBC also has a small photo section, but it seems that they mainly ask readers to contribute to this part.

The multimedia sections seem to illustrate the news stories that reporters write. They add more color and personality to the story and help introduce a "human" angle or experience.

The writing in the New York Times' photo slide shows is short and to the point. Often the reporter used the first sentence to describe the scene and the second to broaden the context of the story.

However, many times the reporter used only one sentence to both describe and broaden the context. Other times the reporter simply described the scene in the photo.

Quotes were rarely, if ever, used and verbs were in the present tense.

The phrases that accompanied the BBC's video and audio content were short snippets that summarized the content that would be covered. They seemed to mimic news headlines.

Couple Of 62 Years Plays On

An Iowa couple married 62 years, entertained a crowd of 500 gathered at the Mayo Clinic with piano and hand-bell duets, the Post Bulletin reported.

Marlow, 91, and Fran, 84, Cowan, who played in the Gonda Building lobby in 2008, became a viral sensation after a patient posted their performance on YouTube.

More the 6.4 million people have watched the Cowans on YouTube and 500 more gathered when the duo returned to Rochester, Minn., on Wednesday for an encore performance, the Post Bulletin said.

"We had no idea this would happen," Marlow Cowan told ABC. "We didn't know it happened because we don't even have a computer."

"We didn't even know we were on YouTube," Fran Cowan added. "We didn't even know what YouTube was," ABC reported.

The Cowans returned to the clinic for a doctor's appointment and wanted to perform in the lobby again.

"What's heartwarming is to see them smiling in a place where they're having so much trouble," Fran Cowan told ABC.

Psychological Violence May Be A Crime In France

The National French Assembly added a clause to a proposed law that will make psychological violence a crime, the New York Times reported.

The clause is part of a greater law addressing conjugal violence. The proposed law is expected to pass easily with support from both the left and right in France, the BBC said.

According to the proposed law, repeated actions and words that damage and affect the victim's life conditions, rights, dignity, physical health, or mental health, would be punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to $103,000, the New York Times said.

Some legal officials have questioned the practicality and ambiguity of the law however.

Criminal law, "is not the solution for every human behavior," Christophe Vivet, vice prosecutor for Grenable and member of the main union for magistrates said.

The clause about psychological violence was added because it is often seen as a precursor to physical violence.

Each year 160 women are murdered in France by their partners and husbands, or roughly three women a week. These numbers do not include women driven to suicide, the BBC reported.

The proposed law also includes a clause requiring men, who under court orders to stay away from their partners, to wear electronic bracelets. The bracelets would alert police if the men broke the court order, the BBC said.

"Cause and Effect" Aired On The Current

A local Twin Cities station exclusively premiered Prince's new song, "Cause and Effect," on Friday, the Star Tribune said.

The Current, 89.3 FM, debuted "Cause and Effect" at 7 a.m., and continued playing the track throughout the day.

"It means an awful lot that he gets behind MN Public Radio, and public radio in general," Steve See, a morning personality at The Current, said of Prince, Kare 11 reported.

The song was described as, "A rocker filled with virtuosic guitar work, explosive drum breaks, a poppy chorus, trademark shrieks and whoops," Kare 11 said.

Prince recently relocated back to Minneapolis after residing in Los Angeles for many years.

Mexican Drug Kingpin Sentenced

A brutal drug kingpin who headed a Mexican drug cartel was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to give up $50 million on Wednesday in a Houston trial, CBS said.

Osiel Cárdenas-Guillen pleaded guilty to five counts, including drug dealing, money laundering, and attempted murder and assault of federal agents, the New York Times reported.

The trial took place behind locked doors at the request of the government.

"The defendant, court personnel, United States marshal personnel, other courthouse personnel and the general public will be placed in imminent danger," Judge Hilda G. Tagle said if the courtroom was opened.

Cárdenas, also known as the "the friend-killer" headed the Matamoros-based Gulf cartel, which transported tons of cocaine across the Texas border and into the United States each year, CBS said.

Cárdenas was notorious for violent crimes against his enemies and for enlisting former military personnel to serve as his gunmen, the New York Times said.

"Kidnappings, extortion, gun battles in the streets, a desperate economy, innocence lost -- that is your legacy to your country, to our communities on both sides of the border, and to society," Tagle told Cárdenas, the New York Times reported.

Tax Proposal On Tattoos, Manicures, And More

Minnesota mayors proposed a bill to tax tattoos, facials, manicures, body piercings, and digital downloads, the Post Bulletin reported.

On Friday, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota announced the bill, which would generate $60 million. The coalition hopes the bill will lessen the impact of aid cuts proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the Pioneer Press reported.

While several democratic lawmakers support the bill, Rochester state Sen. David Senjem, assistant minority leader, does not feel optimistic, the Post Bulletin reported.

"There has been no appetite at all...for tax increases of any sort," Sen. Senjem told the Post Bulletin. "If the majority is not interested in tax increases, it's a bill that's going to go nowhere."

Spot and Follows

The story from the Huffington Post, about a lawsuit brought against a Philadelphia school district for allegedly spying on their students, was updated twice the following day.

The lead for the original story focused on the fact that a lawsuit was filed against a Philadelphia school district for spying on students with webcams.

The lead for the first update focused on the reply the school district gave to in response to the allegations.

The lead for the second update emphasizes the FBI investigation into the incident.

The updates do not summarize content from the main article. The reporter only referenced the original article in the lead by referring to the circumstances surrounding the allegations the school faced.

The updates only serve to advance the material of the story by answering questions posed by the reporter of the original article.

Gray Wolf Lost in Forest Lake Area

Update: Authorities captured the missing Mexican gray wolf Thursday, WCCO reported.

The search for a missing gray wolf started Monday after an intruder apparently released her and two other wolves from the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, MPR said.

The intruder, who broke into the center Sunday night, released the 3-year-old Mexican gray wolf and her two sisters, the Pioneer Press reported.

Employees arrived Monday to find two of the wolves trying to get back into their enclosure. The third wolf ran away when the employees approached, MPR said.

The missing wolf was last seen Monday on Coon Lake. She has also been sighted around Forest Lake, MPR said.

Peggy Callahan, executive director of the Wildlife Science Center said that the gray wolf does not pose a threat to the community unless provoked, MPR said. Callahan said the wolf is shy and has lived her entire life in captivity, the Pioneer Press reported.

"She's lost. She's confused," Callahan said. "It will be a death sentence if we can't catch her," she told MPR.

Callahan is also worried because the wolf resembles a coyote. The hunting season for coyote's is open now, the Pioneer Press said.

The Mexican gray wolf is one of the rarest mammals in North America, the Pioneer Press reported.

A Philadelphia school district faces a lawsuit and investigation after they were accused of using webcams in school-issued laptops to spy on high school students, MSNBC said.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, parents Michael and Holly Robbins accuse the Lower Merion School District of spying on their child. The Robbins alleged that webcam photographs captured students and family members in compromising situations, such as undressing, the Huffington Post said.

The Robbins learned of the incident when the assistant principal at Harrington High School, Lindy Matsko, disciplined Robbins' son, Blake for improper behavior at home. A photo taken through Blake's webcam was used as evidence, MSNBC reported.

The FBI has begun an investigation to determine whether school officials broke federal wiretap or computer-intrusion laws, the Huffington Post said.

Lower Merion officials said they remotely activated laptop webcams on 42 occasions in the past 14 months to find missing laptops, the Huffington Post reported.

The laptops contain a security device to track lost, stolen, or missing laptops, school officials said. The device only has the capability to take a still photo of both the operator and their screen, the Huffington Post reported.

The District's security and technological departments were responsible for activating the webcams, the Huffington Post said.

Crime Alert Issued For Two Twin Cities Areas

Both Kenwood neighborhood and the Lake of the Isles area are under crime alerts issued after two men tried to lure children into their vehicle last Wednesday, Kare 11 reported.

Minneapolis police issued the crime alert in response to two attempts made on Feb. 10 to lure children walking from Kenwood School into a vehicle, Fox News said.

Two children were crossing Penn Avenue South around 2:30 in the afternoon when two men in a silver 4-door SUV or truck stopped and asked them if they needed a ride. The suspects drove away after the children refused, Kare 11 said.

The driver, described as a white man about 40-50 years old, had white hair in a buzz cut and a long beard that went down to his chest. He had a thin build and glasses. The passenger, described as a black man about 20-30 years old, was balding and was smoking a cigar.

The second incident occurred as a child was walking away from school down Lake of the Isles Parkway around 3:15 p.m. The suspects, who drove a white truck, stopped, blocking traffic. The suspects stared at the child until other cars began to honk. The child was not followed after walking away, Fox News said.

The description of the driver in the second incident matched the description of the driver from the first incident. The passenger was described as a black man about 20-30 years of age with dreadlocks and a thin build. He was smoking a cigarette.

The children, boys and girls 10 and younger, were not harmed, Kare 11 reported.

Student Proceeds With Lawsuit Suing Principal Over Facebook Page

A federal judge granted a south Florida student permission to continue her lawsuit against her former principal after he suspended her for a creating a Facebook page criticizing a teacher, the New York Times said.

Katherine Evans created a Facebook page titled "Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I've ever had" in November 2007.

Evans wants the three-day suspension she received from her former principal, Peter Bayer, removed from her record. Bayer suspended Evans for cyberbullying and disruptive behavior two months after she created the page, the New York Times reported.
Evans removed the page of her own free will a few days after she posted it.

Judge Barry L. Garber upheld the lawsuit, filed Monday, after Bayer requested the case be dismissed, the New York Times and the Guardian reported.

According to the lawsuit, Bayer violated Evans' First Amendment rights to "free exchange of ideas and opinions in a public area," the Guardian said.

Maria Kayanan, the associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and one of the lawyers involved in the case, said that Evans' posts did not threaten anyone, the Guardian reported.

"This is an important victory for both Ms. Evans and Internet free speech," Kayanan told the New York Times.

Canadian Students Rescued Off The Coast of Rio De Janeiro

After surviving 16 hours on life rafts off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, 64 students and crew members were rescued by the Brazilian navy and merchant ships, the Wall Street Journal said.

The three-masted SV Concordia sent out a distress signal Thursday at 5 p.m., 300 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The 64 people were rescued Friday morning between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., the Guardian said.

Only one person, a doctor, was injured before the rescue. Of the 64 rescued, 48 were students.

A Brazilian air force plane spotted the life rafts after receiving the distress call. Edgardo Ybranez, captain of the Philippine flagged Hokuetsu Delight cargo ship, rescued 44 people in rafts, while another ship rescued the remaining people.

"You can tell their parents that everything is ok," Ybranez told the Guardian. "Everybody aboard my ship is fine."

The navy transferred the rescued passengers to two of their own ships using helicopters. The ships are set to arrive in Rio de Janeiro around 9 a.m. Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The students on the SV Concordia, high school juniors and seniors, and college freshmen, were participating in a program that allowed them to study while sailing around the world, the Guardian said.
The Brazilian navy said the SV Concordia had sunk and that the ship had encountered strong winds and rough seas, the Guardian said.

New "Shock Order" Policy Affects Rio's Beaches

Rio de Janeiro's new "shock order" policy, aimed at restoring safety and sanitation to the city's beaches, has been met with mixed reviews, the New York Times reports.

Many residents are worried that the policy will destroy the traditions, spontaneity, and soul the city's beaches are built on, the Brisbane Times reports.

The policy, enforced by new Mayor Eduardo Paes and Public Order Secretary Rodrigo Bethlam, comes as the city prepares to host two major world events in the upcoming seven years.

"You can't think of hosting a World Cup in 2014 and an Olympics in 2016 and not have a city that is ready to abide minimally by its own rules," Bethlam said, reported the New York Times.

However, as things such as ball games and food on skewers are banned, some beach-goers are concerned.

"It's ridiculous," Victor Javier said when two city guards refused to let him continue his soccer game on the beach, the Brisbane Times reported.

The new policy also threatens the informal economy that takes place on the beach.

"We are a struggling people from the slums of Rio, and these jobs are a means of survival for all of us," Edivan Brito do Nascimento said, who sells lemonade and mate on Ipanema beach, the New York Times reported.

Despite the changes, some residents welcome the new order on the beaches.

"I have never seen the beach here so clean and orderly," Luis Fernando Bensimon, 45, a Rio native told the New York Times. "It has improved a lot."

Frisbee Inventor Died

The man credited with inventing the Frisbee died Tuesday at the age of 90, CBS said.

Walter Fredrick Morrison died at his Utah home after struggling with cancer, the Examiner reported.

"Old age caught up," Walt Morrison said of his father, who he described as a nice guy and entrepreneur that was always on the lookout for something to do, CBS said.

Morrison sold the rights to his "Pluto Platter" in 1957. Wham-O Manufacturing purchased the rights and rechristened the toy "Frisbee," the name college kids used to refer to the disk, CBS said.

The service for friends and family took place on Saturday.

State Trooper Hit By Drunk Driver

A drunk driver hit a State Patrol police car early Sunday at the intersection of Stinson Boulevard and Interstate 35W, WCCO reported.

The trooper was hit when he drove through a red light with his lights and siren on, Capt. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol told WCCO.

The woman driving the other car had a green light. Langer said she had been drinking.

Neither driver was seriously injured however, the women's passenger sustained minor injuries.

The woman was arrested on charges of drinking and driving, WCCO said.

This accident marks the second time this weekend that an officer was struck by an alleged drunk driver, Kare 11 reported.

Local Film Maker's Doritos Commercial Airs

A Doritos commercial created by two Minnesota filmmakers aired during the final minutes of the Super Bowl and has become the most viewed television commercial of all time, the Star Tribune reported.

Cole Koehler and Ben Krueger's commercial, which featured a Doritos gym samurai, aired three minutes before the end of the game to an audience of 116.2 million, Nielsen Co. announced on Tuesday.

Koehler said he never thought he would produce a commercial that would be seen by 116.2 million people.

"That's a pretty huge accomplishment," Koehler said. "And humbling," the Star Tribune reported.

The duo competed against 4,043 groups to become one of five finalists in the Doritos commercial contest, Kare 11 said.

Doritos told the five finalists that only three commercials would air, however Doritos made a surprise announcement that a fourth commercial would air in the second half of the game, Kare 11 said.

Koehler and Krueger did not win the $1 million grand prize for their commercial, but they did receive $25,000 for being finalists, Kare 11 reported.

Koehler and Krueger, both assistants at production companies in Minneapolis, plan to use their prize money to kick-start their own production company, the Star Tribune said.

The commercial was filmed in four hours using local actors and friends at Uppercut Boxing Gym in northeast Minneapolis. The pair spent less than $1,000 to make it.

Alexander McQueen, Fashion Designer, Found Dead

One of the most influential UK fashion designers, Alexander McQueen, was found dead in his London home Thursday morning, the BBC reported.

The Metropolitan Police are not treating McQueen's death as suspicious.

A statement was released from McQueen's office, the BBC reported, which said, "At this stage it is inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying that we are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief."

The designer's death comes shortly after his mother's death on Feb. 2, ABC said.

McQueen won the award British Designer of the year four times between 1996 and 2003, the BBC reported.

"His death is the hugest loss to anyone who knew him and for very many who didn't," Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue said.

Story Structure

The story from Kare 11 news, about a locally made Doritos commercial, follows the typical structure for a hard news story.

The first paragraph, the lead, includes all of the key facts of the story such as who did what, when they did it, and where.

However the style of the lead seems to be more similar to a lead for a feature story. It presents the straight facts in a more interesting and narrative way.

The second paragraph essentially restates and elaborates on the facts presented in the lead.

The following four paragraphs alternate between quotes from one of the film makers and facts about what led up to the showing of the commercial.

The quotes introduce a personality and voice into the story, while the two fact blocks help the reader understand the circumstances under which the commercial was shown.

The article then concludes with two fact blocks that give more information about how the commercial was made and what the two film makers plan to do in the future.

I agree with the way the reporter organized the story. Readers would still understand the article, even if the last two paragraphs were cut off. This shows you that the reporter placed all of the crucial facts towards the top of the article.

If Kare 11 was especially short on space, the first two paragraphs would even give the reader enough information about the topic.


NBC New York used four sources in their report about a level three sex offender working as a building superintendent in New York City.

They named all of their sources by at least their first name. When NBC New York attributed individuals in their report they used an additional identifier, such as resident, neighbor, or New York State assemblyman.

NBC New York also named the New York Post, the news organization they received some information from.

The sources are scattered throughout the story. The information from the New York Post was used as background information, quotations from the resident and neighbor were used to give a personal angle to the story, and the information from the assemblyman was used to expand the story beyond this specific situation.

The reporter typically uses one paragraph to introduce the topic of the quotation.

I believe this style is effective because it prepares the reader to understand the quotation that opens the following paragraph.

Five of the ten Americans charged with illegally trying to remove children from Haiti have pleaded their case to a Haitian judge on Tuesday, the New York Times reported.

Haitian authorities arrested 10 Idaho missionaries on Friday after they attempted to cross into the Dominican Republic with 33 children they claimed were orphaned by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The remaining five Americans will plead their case on Wednesday.

The Americans did not have the proper paperwork documenting the children as orphans or allowing them to remove the children from the country, the New York Times said.

Some of the children were not orphans and had parents, ABC reported.

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, quickly pinned the missionaries as kidnappers, but said later that they might have been misguided while acting in good faith, the New York Times said.

All 10 Americans were quick to deny any kidnapping allegations and insisted they wanted to help children orphaned by the earthquake, the New York Times reported.

Haitian police have reported that several parents, such as Lely Laurentus who gave his two daughters to the missionaries, agreed to give their children to the Americans in hopes that they would receive an education and live a better life, the New York Times reported.

The earthquake separated many families and Haitian authorities are worried that children are more vulnerable to child traffickers now.

New Zealand Teenager Fought Off Shark

A New Zealand teenager fought off an attacking shark by hitting it over the head with her body-board, the BBC reported.

Fourteen-year-old Lydia Ward was waist deep in the water with her brother at Oreti Beach in Invercargill, New Zealand when the shark attempted to bite her hip.
Ward said she tried to convince herself she stepped on driftwood when she felt something slippery beneath her feet. One look at her brother's face told her she was wrong, the New Zealand Herald reported.

She said she saw "a massive grey thing twisting in the water," which Clinton Duffy, Conservation Department marine scientist, more accurately described as a broad-nosed seven gill shark, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The shark did not seriously wound Ward, however she needed hospital treatment for two of her wounds, the BBC reported.

Ward's parents claim that they didn't believe Lydia until they saw the blood dripping from her wet suit. Fiona Ward, Lydia's mom, said Lydia was a little shaky, but cool-headed, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Fourteen-year-old Ward said that now she will stick to rivers and lakes.

Level Three Sex Offender Works As Building Superintendent

A registered level three sex offender is the superintendent at three apartment buildings in the Upper West Side of New York City, the New York Post said.

William Barnason, 57, served more than 14 years in prison for rape, sodomy, and sexual abuse of three Long-Island girls, one as young as five.

Barnason has keys to at least 50 apartments at 144 W. 73rd St. and at 140 and 142 W. 75th St, NBC New York said.

Landlord Stanley Katz hired Barnason shortly after his release from prison in 2001.

Residents allege that Barnason suggested they engage in sexual relations with him to avoid rent disputes.

Carol Engle, a resident, said Barnason asked for an additional $1,000 in 2007 after she paid a security deposit and two months of rent. She told him she couldn't afford it and he offered her an alternative.

"He said if we were special friends he could help me out," Engle told NBC New York.

Currently no law prohibits Barnason from working as a building superintendent, but Micah Kellner, New York State assemblyman, wants to change that, NBC New York said.

Kellner is proposing a new law that he hopes will prevent owners of multiple dwellings from hiring level two or level three sex offenders as building superintendents, managing agents, or resident managers.

Santo Golino, Katz's attorney, claims Katz was unaware of Barnason's criminal history and said Katz has no plans to dismiss him, the New York Post reported.

California Wind Turbines Can't Handle The Minnesota Winter

Minnesota winters freeze 11 wind turbines from a California a wind farm, rendering them ineffective until the problem is fixed, Fox News reported.

Eleven cities such as Anoka, North St. Paul, Chaska, Shakopee, and Buffalo are struggling with the cold hydraulic fluid in the wind turbines becoming gel and the oil lubricants running slowly, the Star Tribune said.

Avant Energy of Minneapolis operates the turbines for Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and said they plan to hire a company within two months to fix the issues.

Derick Dahlen, Avant president, estimates that each wind turbine, purchased with federal renewable energy bonds, cost about $5 million, Fox News and the Star Tribune reported.

Dan Geiger, Chaska's electrical director, said he hasn't seen the city's wind turbine turn since early November when it was put up, the Star Tribune said.

City officials said that they have received inquiries from the public asking why the wind turbines aren't running.

St. Paul city manager Wally Wysopal told the Star Tribune, "It's been a little embarrassing to have in not turning on the windiest of days."

Woman Abused And Burned With Hot Iron

Police arrested a St. Paul man Thursday who burned his girlfriend on the stomach with a hot iron, the Pioneer Press said.

Julius Antwon Coleman, 33, was charged Tuesday with assault and criminal abuse of an unstable adult.

According to Coleman, his girlfriend didn't iron his shirt right. He proceeded to show her the proper way by placing the hot iron on her stomach, the Star Tribune said.

Police found Coleman while searching a house under an unrelated search warrant, the Pioneer Press reported.

The women had suffered a traumatic head injury from a previous boyfriend, whom she said had "given" her to Coleman.

Police learned of the women's burns when Coleman brought her to the pharmacy to be treated. Coleman stayed in the car because of outstanding warrants, and the women screamed for help once inside.

In her complaint, the women said that Coleman had prevented her from leaving the house on the 1200 block of Galtier St. for six months and had prohibited her from speaking to anyone besides his 3-year-old niece, the Star Tribune reported.

Coleman was also wanted for felony theft in Stearns County, and for criminal sexual conduct in Crow Wing County, the Pioneer Press reported.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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