January 2012 Archives

Analysis of News Lead

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In the Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon story, the lead functions as the attention grabber. The location given (Silicon Valley) is fairly specific, but not completely so.

After asserting the date of the action in the lead as being March, 2009, the phrase "an eternity ago in Silicon Valley" is used. This serves to exaggerate the rapidly advancing field of technology, and creates a background foreshadowing the story's primary focus on expanding digital book technology.

The lead also includes the description: "a small team of engineers," which lends itself not to explicit specificity but rather a specificity that is appropriate in the fairly vague context of this lead. It is purposefully vague and successful in that the reader is excited and encouraged to read more in order to fill in the blanks.

The final part: "rethink the future of books" is monumentally important in securing reader interest and attention. This makes the reader intent on reading more to discover what the implications of such a dramatic allusion could possibly be.

Occupy protestors clashed with police on Saturday as they attempted to take over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.

The demonstration, dubbed "Move-In Day," was part of Occupy Movement plans to set up a commune-like establishment in the vacant building, where movement command operations could be carried out.

In an open letter to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan on Wednesday, the group warned that if police attempted to interfere with the takeover, "indefinite occupation" of Oakland's airport, port and City Hall could follow.

Police prevented attempts by the group to enter the building, only to encounter movement occupation of the Oakland Museum of California, the YMCA and City-Hall, all of which resulted in arrests.

Police told The New York Times that throughout the chaos, protestors used bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares to attack them. Police responded with smoke, tear gas and bean bag projectiles.

Collectively, Occupy Oakland events have resulted in around 400 arrests.

In November, the Women's Foundation of Minnesota announced the public launch of MN Girls Are Not For Sale, a $4 million campaign aimed at ending the trafficking of teen girls.

The foundation has launched the first philanthropic campaign in Minnesota centered on sex trafficking of teens.

Last week the foundation announced its first grants in the state, which was already a pioneer in the fight against sex trafficking.

Lee Roper-Batker, foundation CEO told the Star Tribune that foundation staff have so immersed themselves in the the investigation of the seedy underworld of teen sex trafficking that they've even "become adept at checking out prostituted girls on backpage.com," the controversial Village Voice Media website that is a major source of trafficking. The intent being to monitor the activities of pimps, customers, and, of course, the trafficked teens involved.

Minneapolis to Open First Taproom

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On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council approved the city's first taproom license for Harriet Brewing, in the Longfellow neighborhood.

A taproom- defined as a brewery that also serves pints of its own beer on the premises- was illegal until the Legislature passed the "Surly bill" last spring.

All over Minnesota, people are joining in the brewery craze. MPR says that the number of breweries in the state jumped by about 30 percent last year.

Harriet, set to be the first taproom in the city in over 76 years, will operate on limited hours and have a capacity of 49. According to mnbeer there are even plans to have live music & an outdoor patio.

Violence and Chaos Rampant in Northern Nigeria

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Last week, over 180 people were killed by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, in Nigeria's second city, Kano.

Northern Nigeria, the poorer part of the country, lacks infrastructure and reliable power and has fallen into chaos at the hands of this group. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who has long been a polarizing figure in Nigerian politics, has stated that "military action alone would not stop Boko Haram; and northern Nigeria needed economic development."

President Jonathan on Sunday warned that the violence blamed on Boko Haram was worse than the 1967-70 civil war.

Violence between Christians and Muslims has been a persistent problem for the country, said a correspondent for The New York Times.

"Despite its many problems, Nigeria has natural wealth and a growth rate of 7%. Boko Haram is unlikely to have much impact on the broader economy, but Nigeria's boom is concentrated in the south and may lead to even greater inequality" The New York Times.

The Boko Haram is an Islamic extremist organization united in animosity toward Christianity. Also targeted by the group is the traditional Muslim hierarchy, and wealthy Muslim elites who have "sold out" to the federal government.

The federal government has been criticized with displaying a lack of sufficient effort to calm the situation.

Barnes & Noble vs. Amazon

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Barnes and Noble is facing challenges in the form of heavy competition from Amazon.com and the Kindle digital e-reader, among others.

There is significant concern that Barnes and Noble stores will wither away slowly as more readers embrace e-books and e-readers. Traditional publishers are uneasy about the advent of the digital book expansion, fearing for their livelihood. William J. Lynch Jr., C.E.O. of Barnes and Noble says that his stores "will endure" and that the thought of digital book technology making bookstores obsolete is "nonsense."

Fox News asserts that Approximately 67 percent of libraries in the U.S. offer some e-books -- a 55 percent jump from 2 years ago, illustrating the rapidly growing digital book trend.

Barnes and Noble responded to competition with it's own e-reader: the Nook.
According to CBS, the Nook e-reader boasts more RAM and 16GB of storage - double the amount of Kindle Fire.

The device has obtained some popularity, but nowhere near that of Amazon's Kindle.

Amazon issued a statement that said, "Kindle unit sales, including both the Kindle Fire and e-reader devices, increased 177 percent over the same period last year."

Lynch has plans to improve the image of his stores, with new display space for the Nook device. He also wants to experiment with reducing the size of the stores and taking the device overseas to reach a previously untapped consumer market.

Publishers rely on Barnes and Noble to advertise their product. Having a retail space to house printed books allows for a carry-on effect on reader purchase incentives, "the display of a book contributes to selling e-books and audio books." Said David Shanks, the chief executive of the Penguin Group USA.

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