This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

March 2013 Archives

Analysis: Obituary

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For this analysis, I looked at an obituary in the New York Times for Simpsons writer Don Payne. The obituary used two sources, fellow Simpsons screenwriter John Frink, and an old interview with Payne. The quote about Payne's cause of death was attributed to Frink.

This obituary follows standard New York Times obituary style, with the lead including the deceased's name, "claim to fame," location and day of death, and age. The news value of this obituary was that Payne was a successful writer for not only the Simpsons, but also movies like "Thor." Also, he was only 48 when he died.

This obituary differs from a resume in that it digs into who Payne was as a person more than just listing his jobs and accomplishments. The reporter included a quote from an older interview with Payne, describing his nervousness when he started writing for the Simpsons. Through details like that, the reader gets to know more about Payne than just his past writing experiences. The inclusion of his family member's names also added more to drive home the fact that he was more than just a Hollywood screenwriter.

2 inmates escape from federal prison in Duluth

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Two inmates serving time for fraud in a low-security federal prison in Duluth escaped Saturday, KSTP reports.

Michael Krzyzaniak of Minneapolis, and Gerald Greenfield of Bloomington were discovered missing Saturday night around 10 p.m. during a nightly inmate count. Krzyzaniak, 64, was serving a 12-year sentence for wire fraud and tax evasion, and was expected to be released in 2022. Greenfield, 67, was serving a four-year sentence for conspiracy to commit money laundering, and had a release date Nov. 2, 2015 the Star Tribune reports.

Prison authorities said they discovered the two men missing around the same time, although it is unknown whether or not the two men escaped together. Kryzyzaniak's father Joseph was unaware of his son's plans for escape, and said that he sounded fine during a phone call two days ago. Anyone with information on the two are encouraged to call the U.S. Marshals Service.

The prison, located on the former Duluth Air Force Base, holds inmates to the "honor system," authorities said. There are no walls surrounding the facility, where inmates sleep in dorm-like rooms and have access to a gym, movie theater, and a dining hall with a salad bar.

Jeffrey Trevino, the husband of missing St. Paul woman Kira Trevino, pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed his wife on Friday, KSTP reports.

Trevino was charged with second-degree murder after his wife's disappearance, after investigators found blood stains throughout the home the couple shared. Although Kira's body has not been found, the amount of blood found in the house and the fact that she didn't contact anyone before disappearing give authorities reason to believe she is dead.

Searches for Kira Trevino's body have focused on Keller Lake in Maplewood, after witnesses reported two men carrying what appeared to be a body near the lake the day after Trevino disappeared. Family members also found a bag filled with her bloody clothes during one of their searches, the Star Tribune reports.

Volunteers and family members continued their search in Lake Keller Saturday, cutting holes in what remained of the lake's winter ice. Warmer temperatures made parts of the ice thin and dangerous to stand on, but relatives of Trevino say they are convinced her body is in the lake, and will continue to search until she is found.

Riots between Muslims and Buddhists continue in Myanmar

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A dispute last week between a Muslin store owner and a Buddhist couple trying to sell him a piece of gold sparked riots in the Myanmar town of Meiktila, Myanmar's Eleven News reports.

Witnesses say that the store owner beat up the couple, who then called for help and drew a crowd of onlookers that erupted into violence. As violence spread to the area around the town propaganda, fake photos of dead bodies and hate speech spread on the Internet, Reuters reports. As the violence continues, many fear that it will reach Yangon, the country's commercial capital.

In the past week, at least 40 people have died in the violence, CNN reports. Thousands have had to evacuate their homes as rioters set fire to houses, schools and mosques in Meiktila. Myanmar declared a state of emergency in the country Friday, giving the military permission to help reinstate order. Things had appeared to calm down until this weekend, when Buddhist groups carried out a series of arson attacks in towns across the region.

The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar has issued a warning to any Americans in the country to avoid the violent areas, but said no specific threats against Americans had been made.


Obama appoints first female Secret Service director

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President Obama announced Tuesday that he will appoint 30-year veteran agent Julia Pierson as the first female to lead the Secret Service, CBS News reports.

Pierson will take over for previous director Mark Sullivan, who announced his retirement last month. Her appointment comes during a time of turmoil for the agency, which is facing criticism after thirteen agents were caught in prostitution scandal while accompanying Obama on a trip to Colombia. Out of those involved, eight agents were forced to leave the agency in the wake of the incident.

In addition to her experience with the agency, many believe Pierson's appointment is an effort by the president to change the atmosphere in the male-dominated Secret Service and possibly avoid future scandals like the one in Colombia. Out of the 3,500 agents in the service, only 10 percent are women, and women only began serving with the agency in 1970.

In a statement, Obama made no mention of the prostitution scandal, but said Pierson "exemplified the spirit and dedication," the New York Times reports. Pierson is the first woman to serve as the director of the Secret Service since its inception in 1865.

University of Minnesota basketball head coach Tubby Smith was fired Monday less than one day after the Gophers lost to Florida in the second round of the NCAA tournament, ESPN reports.

The firing came as a shock to many after a fairly successful season for the Gophers, one of the best in recent years. This season was Smith's sixth coaching for Minnesota. After Minnesota's win over UCLA on March 23, Smith was given a $150,00 bonus for the school, and had the team beat Florida, he would have received an additional $200,000 on top of his $2 million salary. Now, the school will pay Smith $2.5 million for the remaining four years of his contract, Forbes reports.

Under Smith's guidance, the team - while the tenth-most profitable in the sport of college basketball - never placed above sixth in the conference. University athletic director Norwood Teague thanked Smith for his dedication to the team and the school's community, but said it's time for the program to get a "fresh set of eyes."

Teague reportedly has a list of candidates for Smith's replacement. Among the rumored contenders is Shaka Smart, the coach at Virginia Commonwealth University where Teague served as director before coming to Minnesota.

A tour bus carrying the Seton Hill University women's lacrosse team crashed in Central Pennsylvania Saturday morning, killing two and injuring others, CNN reports.

The team was headed towards Millersville, Penn. on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for a match when their bus veered off the road, broke through a guardrail, and a hit tree. The driver and the team's coach, who was 6 months pregnant at the time, were killed. Fourteen of the twenty three players on board at the time were taken to area hospitals for treatment of injuries. Three of the injured players needed to be airlifted from the scene.

A representative for Cumberland County public safety department said police were investigating the cause of the crash, and that environmental officials were at the scene responding to diesel fuel spilled from the bus. Seton Hill is a small Catholic college located outside of Pittsburgh. ESPN reports that the school has scheduled a memorial mass on campus Sunday night.

Minneapolis schools brace for budget cuts

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A plan proposed by the Minneapolis school board Friday could result in half of Minneapolis schools receiving less funding in the coming school year, the Star Tribune reports.

The plan is an effort to reduce a $25 million budget gap and a large deficit facing the district. Along with some schools receiving less funding, District Finance Chief Robert Doty recommended a 7.4 percent property tax increase, which the board passed on in exchange for a 4 percent levy increase.

Parents spoke out against the proposed cuts on Friday, with more than 40 parents in attendance at the usually lightly-attended school board meeting. The Southwest Minneapolis Patch reports that school board members have received hundreds of emails and phone calls regarding the proposal. Parents have voiced their opposition for the cuts, stating that it would cut funding for crucial funding for school psychiatrists, social workers, and testing assistance.

The school board has made it clear that this plan is preliminary, and they are open to working with parents to find better solutions to their budget woes.

"In over 300 emails, I spotted only three with specific suggestions on how to do this differently," at-large board member Richard Mammen said. "We really could use more of that help."

Cardinal Bergolglio from Argentina elected as new pope

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In a surprise choice that rocked the Catholic world Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Bergolglio from Argentina was elected as pope, the New York Times reports.

Bergolglio, who chose the papal name Francis, is the first pope to hail from South America and the first cardinal of the Jesuit order to hold the title. The election of a non-European pope recognizes the fact that the bulk of the Catholic population now reside in the Southern Hemisphere, especially in South America.

Pope Francis' first act as pope was to ask the faithful gathered at the Vatican to pray for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict. A Vatican official said that the two spoke by phone Wednesday evening. Francis, who is known for his humility and devotion to the poor, chose to pass on the official limousine offered to him, choosing to ride the shuttle bus with the other cardinals back to their temporary residences Wednesday night.

Many Catholics hope that Francis will serve as a turning point at a troubled time for the church, which is mired by sex abuse scandals and power struggles within the Vatican. Although different from his predecessor in his humility, Francis is known for his traditional conservative views, including opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and ordaining female priests, Reuters reports.

The election of Pope Francis was a relative surprise, as he was not included in lists of frontrunners for the papacy, and at 76 years old, was one of the oldest possible candidates.

Minnesota Turbo Tax issues fixed

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Intuit, the maker of tax software Turbo Tax, said Monday it has fixed recent issues with the program that caused problems for Minnesota taxpayers, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

Minnesota's Department of Revenue warned taxpayers last week to not use the software until the issues were resolved, and said it found the errors "unacceptable," the Star Tribune reported. The issues included giving political contributions to the wrong party, incorrectly calculating property tax refunds, and other calculation issues.

Taxpayers whose Turbo Tax filings were affected were notified, and will be refunded their tax preparation costs ABC News reports. The company that the program is safe to use for people who haven't filed their returns yet, but that Minnesotans who already used Turbo Tax to file may need to refile.

"We've had all hands on deck to address these issues and reassure the state and our customers that our Minnesota state products are accurate and complete," Intuit Vice President Bob Meighan said in a statement.

Judge reverses NYC sugary drink ban

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A New York state judge reversed a ban on large, sugary beverages set to take effect on Tuesday, USA Today reports.

The ban would put a 16 ounce size limit on beverages with more than 25 calories in an 8 oz serving at locations across the city like restaurants, delis, movie theaters, and and street vendors. The ban would exclude beverages that are 100 percent juice, or milk.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been championing the ban, citing the negative health effects of sugary drinks and their link to obesity. Bloomberg maintains that the ban really isn't a ban at all, rather "portion control."

A New York state judge reversed the ban Monday, after various business groups sued the city over the impending ban, CNBC reports. Judge Milton Tingling called the ban ""arbitrary and capricious," and decreed it invalid.

Bloombreg took to Twitter to say that the city must take a stand against obesity, and limits on sugary drinks is one way to do that. He said the city will appeal the judge's decision on the ban, and believes it will ultimately be upheld.

Vatican Conclave to Begin Tuesday

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The conclave to choose Pope Emertius Benedict's successor will begin Tuesday at the Vatican, USA Today reports.

Cardinals will be locked in the Sistine Chapel each day of the conclave, and will cast ballots for their choices four times a day until a winner is chosen with a two-thirds majority of the votes. The last conclave lasted just two days, and while experts expect this conclave to last longer, they speculate it won't last longer than three or four days. The last conclave to take more than four days was in 1831.

Many Vatican insiders have speculated that the next pope could come from outside of Europe, including Cardinals Timothy Dolan and Patrick O'Malley from the United States, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet from Canada. Vatican analysts have picked Cardinal O'Malley as the favorite, followed by Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil and Angelo Scola of Italy, the Telegraph reports.

The conclave follows a week of meetings between the cardinals that have gained attention not for any standouts in the running to become pope, but for the questionable use of social media by the cardinals that has led to a complete technology blackout for the conclave. The 11 cardinals from the United States had been holding daily press briefings of their meetings, but were quickly stopped by traditional Vatican officials.

The new pope is expected to be chosen in time for Holy Week, when he will lead Catholic faithful around the world in celebrations leading to Easter Sunday.

Analysis: Speeches/Meeting

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I chose to look at an article about President Obama's sequestration speech, from the Chicago Tribune.

The reporter in this story did lead with the fact that Obama was making remarks on the sequester at a press conference, but chose to at first focus on Obama's combative nature towards Republican lawmakers, and a remark he made about a "Jedi mind-meld," mixing up Star Wars and Star Trek in a pop culture reference.

After a few paragraphs made up of mainly quotes that Obama made toward the GOP and their unwillingness to come to a deal on the sequester, the reporter stepped back and talked about recent remarks by the president and Republicans on the deal, and some background information on the budget cuts.

The reporter then ended the story by going into more detail on the "Jedi mind-meld" gaff, explaining the difference between the two references, and pulling from Twitter remarks made by the White House and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.

I think the reporter did a good job at stating the importance of the sequester in this article, and explaining the disagreements between Democrats and Republicans on the matter. The reporter also did a good job at not leading immediately with all the hard details, but rather luring the reader in with the humorous gaff about the mind-meld.

The story was well crafted in that it informed the reader, and didn't shy away from the details about the sequester or Obama's press conference. At the same time, it included a humorous anecdote that may lure in a reader who isn't too concerned with politics, or interested in fights between the two parties. By giving this important event and topic a slightly lighter side, this reporter succeeded in pulling in people with a concern for politics, as well as people who may just be interested in the President making a misguided pop culture reference.

A St. Paul man has been charged with first-degree premeditated murder after he killed and dismembered his wife, the Pioneer Press reports.

Steven Roger Johnson shot and killed his wife during an argument on Jan. 6, then dismembered her body and hid the remains in a friend's garage. Johnson told police his wife, Manya Jewel Johnson, told him she was going to leave him and take their toddler son with her. He then drank two shots of vodka, and shot Manya with a gun he stole from her father.

Johnson dismembered Manya with supplies he bought from a local Menard's, and took the remains to his former prison-mate Nathan Schram's garage without his knowledge. Johnson called Schram and told him what he had done some time later.

Schram contacted authorities, who were already at Johnson's house with one of Manya's co-workers, questioning him about her whereabouts, the Huffington Post reports. Officers got the call that Manya's body had been discovered, and took Johnson into custody.

Johnson was sentenced to life in prison. He has already served time in prison for first-degree criminal sexual contact after he and two other men raped a Coon Rapids woman in 1996. He was released in 2008.

Minnesota mom sues air traffic controller over crash

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A Minnesota mother whose three sons and ex-husband were killed in a 2010 plane crash in Wyo. is suing the air traffic control company that serves the Jackson Hole Airport, the Star Tribune reports.

Michelle Bucklin is suing Serco Inc., claiming that a negligent air traffic controller is at fault for the crash. Bucklin's ex-husband Luke was piloting the small plane with their three sons on board, when inclement weather caused the plane to lose elevation,

The plane collided with a mountain in the Wind River Range, where the wreck was found a week later. Bucklin's case claims that the air traffic controller allowed Luke Bucklin to fly at too low an altitude for the weather conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board's report on the cause of the crash states that Luke Bucklin called the Jackson Hole Airport to receive weather conditions on the day of the crash, and that he was warned of possible turbulence and icing.

However, the air traffic controller gave Bucklin an incorrect flight path through the mountain range, one that would have him flying at too low an altitude. The National Transportation Safety Board ultimately concluded that Bucklin's decision to fly the heavily-loaded plane in inclement weather caused the crash, KSTP reports.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer, CNBC reports.

Chavez governed the oil-rich country for 14 years, staying in office through months of declining health and chemotherapy treatments in Cuba. He was reelected in 2012, but missed his own inauguration due to treatment.

Chavez first rose to prominence in the early 90s as a military officer behind a failed overthrow of then-president Carlos Andres Perez. He was elected into office in 1999. During his rule over the country, the populist Chavez became known as fiercely anti-American and a champion for the poor.

Chavez's death was announced Tuesday by Venezuela's vice president Nicolas Maduro in a speech delivered on the country's state-run television station. In a speech just hours earlier announcing Chavez's health taking a turn for the worse, Maduro placed the blame for Chavez's cancer on "historic enemies" like the United States, ABC News reports.

In a statement, President Obama acknowledged the challenges facing Venezuela in the absence of its long-time leader, CBS reports.

"As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history," Obama said, "the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights."

Baby born after fatal hit-and-run crash dies

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A premature baby delivered by emergency Cesarean after a hit-and-run crash that killed both parents has died, the LA Times reports.

The baby died Monday, one day after a hit-and-run crash in Brooklyn killed the baby's parents, Nathan and Raizy Glauber. The couple were on their way to the hospital after Raizy– who was seven months pregnant – complained of not feeling well, when a BMW struck the cab they were traveling in. The cab driver suffered minor injuries.

Police are searching for the driver of the BMW who fled after the crash, CBS News reports. The suspect has been identified by police as 44-year-old Julio Acevedo, who had a DWI just last month. Authorities say he was traveling at least 60 mph when his car struck the Glauber's cab.

Members of the Orthodox Jewish community to which the couple belonged are asking for Acevedo to turn himself in to authorities, calling him a "coward" for running. Hundreds of mourners packed the streets of the couple's Brooklyn neighborhood for their funerals on Sunday. A spokesman for the community said the baby will be named and circumcised according to Jewish tradition before being laid to rest, USA Today reports.

Analysis: Multimedia

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For this analysis, I chose to compare a local newspaper, the Pioneer Press, with a very multimedia-heavy news organization, USA Today. I've chose to compare the two because of the Pioneer Press' role as a traditional print paper who is supplementing their publication with an online edition, and USA Today's focus on multimedia.

The Pioneer Press has a section of their website focused just on multimedia, called the Twin Cities Media Center. Within the section you have the option to look through by story subject, or type of multimedia, including photo galleries, local video, national video, and audio. Readers also have the option of buying photos. This section gives greater depth to some of the stories that run in the paper version of the Press by including more photos than are possible to include in print. However, the majority of this section is dedicated to photos. These photos and galleries are accompanied by captions, written like a typical newspaper cutline. They are short and to the point.

The USA Today homepage is filled with multimedia, like videos, a stock market chart, photo galleries, and a thumbnail photos arranged like tiles to show the day's news stories. These features complement the news stories by giving them a visual side, perhaps drawing in more readers than a simple headline might. Full stories accompany the photo tiles on the news page, probably mirroring the stories that USA Today runs in its print edition. The photo galleries are accompanied by captions describing what is going on in each photo. They are written like newspaper cutlines, very short yet descriptive.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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