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November 11, 2007

Diversity analysis

The story in the Star Tribune about not redrawing district lines to even out the diversity in Eden Prairie's elementary schools is interesting to me.
It compares the nonwhite enrollment of the area schools and the Supreme Court decision to not move students around based on race. I never knew that this type of thing was an issue that needed to be dealt with by the Supreme Court.
It does not really focus on stereotypes, although it does seem to say that schools with higher rates of minority groups and those learning English as a second language need special help. I don't know if that is true, but that is the only stereotyping I noticed in the story.

November 4, 2007

Number use analysis

The article in the New York Times on the cost of study abroad programs uses numbers in many ways.
The reporter has included the tuition cost in dollars for many different programs, as well as the mentioning the conversion rate to euros. Numbers of students that study abroad and the percents of which type of programs are chosen.
The numbers are a bit overwhelming to me because they are included throughout the whole story. Although they are needed to prove the point of inflated costs, it's hard to keep them all straight.
I think the reporter tried to make it easier by spreading them out, but with so many figures it was still hard.
The sources for the numbers are not always cited, although all of the universities whose programs are discussed are listed and the costs could most likely be found on their study abroad Web sites.

October 28, 2007

Obituary analysis

The obituary of Francis Mayer in the Star Tribune does not follow the standard formula.
The lead tells some facts about Mayer. The second paragraph says that he died. Former students were used as sources, describing his teaching style and personality.
It works because it lets the reader see a small glimpse of the person who has died, but it is also not the most effective way to inform people.

October 21, 2007

Event coverage analysis

"The Lion King" is coming back to Minneapolis, 10 years after it premiered at the Orpheum Theatre. The Star Tribune reports on the upcoming show and what it was like in 1997.
The sources used in the story were the director Julie Taymor, technical director David Benken and Dave Marietta, operations coordinator and technical director at the Orpheum. Tom Hoch, president of the Hennepin Theatre Trust was also quoted in the story.
I believe the angle in the story was to remember and bring back the feelings during the first time it was on stage in Minneapolis. Specific details about the way the theatre was changed after undergoing a huge renovation three years earlier, the director having surgery and directing from her Barcalounger and how every inch of the Orpheum was turned into a work space. Bringing back these feelings is how the reporter turned this into more than a listing.

October 14, 2007

35W bridge proposal choice

The news focus is different between the Minnesota Department of Transportation news release and the Star Tribune's report announcing the winner.
Both give the specifics on the company and the time line laid out to complete the project. But the focus in the release from Mn/DOT quickly moves to quotes from high ranking officials of Flatiron-Manson and FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc., both companies that will be working on the new project and what they will be attempting to accomplish with their design.
The Star Tribune provides a picture and description of the proposed design, which plans to honor the tragedy of the collapse and keep aesthetics of the surrounding area in mind. The article also gives some information on the companies and designs that did not win the bid and the criteria that played into the decision. Some had bitter feelings about Flatiron-Manson and FIGG being chosen.

October 7, 2007

Follow up story analysis

I blogged last week on a Star Tribune story that two teens had been arrested in conjunction with a shooting of a DHL delivery driver. A follow up story was done a few days later, providing much more information about the incident.
Both leads say much of the necessary information, but the follow up story gives a bit of an answer to the question "why". It says that two teens where charged with the shooting, and had decided to rob him on their way home from school. The first lead says only that two teens, 15 and 17, had been arrested.
The follow up story also gives the names of the two boys, actually 16 and 17, and their charges. Pieces of the two boys; stories are also found within the story. This information was obviously unavailable when the initial story was written. More information on the condition of the driver is also mentioned.
The first story also had a focus of all juvenile crime rates in the area and how they seem to be on the rise. Only information about the specific incident was found in the follow up, which is probably because more information was available and able to be used at the time of the second story.
Both stories organize the news in ways that flow well with a reader, but I thought the first one waited too long to tell the story. It gave facts and talked about juvenile crime before it told the reader what happened.

September 30, 2007

News Story Structure

The Star Tribune's story about the arrest of two teens involved in the Thursday shooting of a delivery driver was structured well, but certain things could have been done differently.
The first three paragraphs talk about the two teens and when and why they were arrested. The next few paragraphs go on to talk about juvenile crime in the metro area, while the last few paragraphs then describe the incident. Having been the first story I read about it, I was unsure about exactly what went on. The headline mentioned the shooting of the delivery driver, but it was still a bit hard to follow because all of those details were at the end.
The way that the reported ordered the story is a bit strange to me, because the background information comes last.
I did like that the story addressed the problem of crime among teens and has Mayor R.T. Rybak and members of Minneapolis Police Department quoted. It was interesting to me to learn more about the fact that overall crime rates are going down, but incidents involving juveniles seem to have been on the rise. I like how that trend was tied into the story.

September 23, 2007

Attribution analysis

The Star Tribune article about a 12-year-old girl critically wounded by a gun shot late Friday attributed its information well, but was not terribly specific.
Most of the details about the incident were said by police or other city officials. No names were given. Because the victim was so young, her name was not given and her family declined to talk about the incident.
The article goes on to discuss violence involving young teens on the North Side and if this is a growing trend. This part of the article is much more developed and contains more quotes and facts about recent crimes. Don Samuels, a City Council member who represents certain North Side neighborhoods, was quoted in the article saying that he believes the age of persons involved in crimes is younger compared to four or five years ago. Samuels is quoted more throughout the story and is easily understood.
Other quotes in the story come from Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan. His quotes seem to contradict at times. He is first saying crime rates among youth are going down, but later said that at least four boys have been shot in the last several weeks, all were not life threatening. Dolan said this is an ongoing issue.
Facts from records, although it does not specify what records, also appear in the story. Numbers and percentages of different types of crimes and youth involvement are given, coming to the conclusion that overall youth crime activity and gang related incidents are declining compared to last year.
The article ends with a woman who lives near the neighborhood where Friday's shooting took place. Natalie Johnson Lee, a former City Council member, saw many kids walking in the area that night as she drove home from church. She thought is was strange because of the time, but none of the children seemed to be causing any problems. Lee heard loud noises about a half hour later, but wasn't sure what they were of if the kids were still in the area. Her quotes add more detail to the story.
Overall the reporter set up quotes and attribution well. A specification on records that were used to find information could have been added, as well as more information about the incident itself, if it was available.

September 16, 2007

Leads Analysis

The lead written for the Star Tribune story about a shooting inside the Target Center seemed a bit vague, even though it did contain what, who, where and when. None of the information, except where, was detailed.
"Two men fought late Saturday," which are the first five words in the lead, tell the necessary information, but do not do much to intrigue me.
It does mention later in the story that police refused to revealed to more details than they did, which may be a reason for the vague lead.
It was a well written hard-news lead, including many basic answers to the questions words and getting the news to the reader effectively.