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January 30, 2007

West St. Paul girl in critical condition after dragged by van

An 11-year-old, West St. Paul girl was struck and dragged by a van Sunday night, putting her in critical condition, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. (
She was dragged for nearly one-third of a mile until another driver was able to stop the van. The girl, Gladys Reyes, suffered from severe burns and is currently in Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
The man who dragged her is Mauricio Sanchez, who fled the scene of the accident and is facing multiple charges, including criminal vehicular operation and driving with a suspended license.
David Carrera was the driver who forced Sanchez to stop. Carrera was driving with his family when he witnessed the accident. He called the police and then drove aside the van to slow it down. After that failed, he pulled in front of the van and slowed down.
Carrera forced the van to pull into a parking lot. Once the van stopped, Reyes was 12 feet away from the van, according to reports from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. (
Police dogs were used to apprehend Sanchez. Blood tests indicate that it was unlikely that Sanchez was intoxicated.
The Pioneer Press article takes a narrative approach through most of the story, going into great detail about how the girl was dragged and how Carrera was able to stop the van. It uses quotes from the West St. Paul Police Chief and from Carrera, but it doesn't overuse them. It paraphrases in order to paint a better picture of how the incident transpired. In contrast, the Star Tribune focuses more heavily on the aftermath of the accident. It goes into more detail about the reponse of Reyes' middle school and the consequences for Sanchez. The article takes a more personal approach, quoting Reyes's principal and neighbors. Carrera's viewpoint of the accident is told more in quotes, rather than paraphrasing into a narrative.

Miami to hold party after Castro's death

The city of Miami is making plans to throw a celebration in the Orange Bowl whenever Cuban President Fidel Castro dies, according to (
The city commission recently appointed a committee to coordinate the event.
The planning has become more specific since last summer when Castro became ill.
Miami's large ex-patriot population is very hostile toward Castro and the Cuban government. The Orange Bowl is significant because it was the site of President Kennedy's 1961 "Free Cuba" speech and a refugee camp for Cubans during the 1981 Mariel boatlift.
According to a CNN report, a leader of the Miami-based Democracy Movement organization worried how the party might be percieved outside of Miami's ex-Cuban population (
The MSNBC article quotes the Miami city commissioner involved in planning the party and balances the article by quoting the Democracy Movement leader who was opposed to the party. I personally would've liked to hear the opinions of local Cubans immigrants and non-Cubans living in Miami. The CNN article also attributed a former state representative offering some interesting insight about the implications of the party. I found it interesting that the articles shared some of the same quotes. In my opinion, this showed a lack of in-depth reporting.

January 29, 2007

Saudis seek Palestinian dialogue

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia invited Palestinian leaders from both Fatah and Hamas to Mecca for discussions aimed at stopping the recent fighting between the rival parties, the BBC reports (http://
Hamas and Fatah both accepted the invitation, but no date has been set as of yet.
At least 24 people have died in the last three days in the fighting between the groups.
The violence began in the Gaza strip and spread to the West Bank. A senior Hamas member was abducted by Fatah gunmen during the violence.
In a letter, King Abdullah said, " What is happening on the pure land of Palestine is a disgrace, which has tarnished the history of the honourable national struggle of the people of Palestine."
According to the New York Times, Saudi Arabia does not have a tradition of involvement in Palestinian affairs. (
Egypt and Syria have both failed in attempts to reach an agreement between the parties.
Hamas unseated Fatah in recent parliamentary elections, but the Prime Minister Mammoud Abbas, a member of Fatah, still has considerable power and sway in the goverment.
The BBC lead is a "who" lead placing Saudi King Abdullah at the beginning. The story shifts between describing the violence between the recent parties and talking about the peace talks with Saudi Arabia. In my opinion, the story should've delved further into why King Abdullah was so concerned with peace talks and what implications leaders think they might have. The New York Times also uses a "who" lead, although its lead feels wordy. Saying the "holy city of Mecca" and "worst ever Palestinian internal fighting" feels excessive. On the other hand, I thought the New York Times did a more thourough job explaining the history of the situation and discussing the implications of a dialogue. I do agree with the choice of a "who" lead in this case because the Saudi King has high name recognition, at least to those who follow world politics.

Oakdale man dies in fire

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a man died while trying to escape a fire in his mobile home in Oakdale on Saturday morning. (
The man, whose name has not been released, died within a few feet of his door.
Officials are trying to notify the 61-year-old man's family.
Investigators are uncertain of how the fire started, but they are saying that the fire started in kitchen around 9 a.m.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that no one else was inside of the home at the time of the fire. (
According to Oakdale Fire Chief John Anderson, it appears that the man was attempting to escape before he died.
The Tribune article uses a straight-forward "what" lead. The beginning "An Oakdale man died..." is effective, utilizing the active voice to grab the reader's attention. It was clear however that this story was derived from a KARE TV report. I felt the Pioneer Press story did a better job of describing the scene and adding texture to the story. I liked the sentence "When firefighters arrived at the scene, flames and smoke were spilling out the front end of the home." It sets the scene in a more personal way than the Tribune article, which comes off as bland and second-hand.

January 26, 2007

An Interstate Pileup in Pennsylvania

CNN is reporting (
a 50-vehicle, chain-reaction accident occured near Erie, Penn. Thursday.
Officials said that one person was killed, and several people were slightly injured.
Several tractors-trailers and tanker trucks, and also an ambulance that was carrying patients, were involved in the pile up.
The accident occured during a snow storm on Interstate 90.
The Interstate was blocked off in both directions for several hours.
CNN says that authorities have not released any information on the death.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, (
a hazardous materials crew was dispatched to the scene, but none of the tanker trucks were damaged or turned over.
The CNN articles addresses the essential facts and puts them into a crisp, concise article. The lead emphasizes the "what" and begins with "About 50 vehicles", which is an attention grabber. It saves the "where" for later. In contrast, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article puts the "where" into the lead and also delves into more specifics, especially the "when", in the later paragraphs. The Tribune article also goes further into detail, quoting a hospital spokeswoman.

January 24, 2007

Hezbollah clashes with government in Lebanon

The New York Times reported (http://
that on Tuesday, militant, Islamist group Hezbollah clashed with government supporters and blocked roads in Beirut. Three people died and over 100 were wounded during the clashes.
The protest was called off after the day, but Hezbollah warned that more protests could ensue.
Hezbollah was protesting what they said was the corruption of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, a Sunni Muslim.
Hezbollah called for Mr. Siniora's resignation, and also for their own veto power within a "unity" government.
The NY Times article's lead felt a little too long and descriptive. I also didn't like how the article brought up points about the Lebanese civil war and didn't elaborate on the history of the situation. A CNN article ( had a similar lead. I found it interesting that, on both of the web page headlines, each news outlet mentioned that three people died, yet both sources left out this fact in the lead. The CNN article went much deeper into the upcoming conference in Paris and it's economic implications for Lebanon.
In my opinion I don't think both news outlets needed to say that Hezbollah is supported by Iran in the lead because Iran wasn't mentioned anywhere else in either article.