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May 2, 2007

Police shoot suspects in two unrelated cases

Two armed men attempting to rob a bar on the North Side of Minneapolis were shot by a police officer who was at the bar Monday afternoon, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1154637.html). The two men emerged from the bathroom of the bar, Legends Bar & Grill at 825 E. Hennepin Av., wearing ski masks and holding guns at about 3:30 p.m. By chance Sgt. Bill Blake, who was on duty and in civilian clothes was sitting at the bar with his cousin. Bill Blake pulled out his gun and yelled "police" before firing at the assailants. One of the men's gun was shot out of his hand. The other man was shot. The suspects fired no shots and escaped out the door. Blake tried to run after the suspects, but lost them after making sure everyone in the bar was ok.
One suspect turned himself in after suffering injuries. The other is still at large.
In an unrelated incident Monday, MInneapolis police officer Tony Adams was working in the North Side when someone aimed a sawed off shotgun at his vehicle around noon.
Adams heard the suspects shoot off several gunshots when he saw them come around a corner. One aimed a shotgun at him. Adams fired several shots at them. A car chase ensued with the suspects shooting at Adam's car, and Adams shooting out the suspect's rear windshield. An unidentified woman was driving the two shooters.
After the suspect's car stopped, one suspect pointed his gun and fled. The other and the driver remained in the car. Adams also discovered weapons and a baby in the car. Adams arrested the two suspects in the car and the suspect who fled was caught later.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the suspect's identities in the cases have not been released (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5788828?nclick_check=1). Blake is apparently a regular customer at Legend's. Police have seized two bicycles and a shotgun wrapped in a blanket in the bar shooting incident. Both officers Blake and Adams have been placed on paid leave as a result of the shootings.

I think the Tribune did a great job telling the stories, although I question the placement of them together. I think that there is a common theme, and it is very uncommon for two incidents like this to occur in one day. However, I think that readers might get the stories confused and some of the facts seem to blend together. However, I also don't like how the Press emphasized the bar story, and summarized the car chase shooting in one graph. I think the reporting here was thorough based on the deadlines. I would've liked the baby angle to be more fully developed by the Tribune in updated pressings. I also think the context of recent shootings in the middle of the story awkwardly separates the nut graph from the chronology and would've been better utilized as a closer. I liked how the Press got quotes from someone who works at the bar for added insight, something the Tribune lacked. Finally, I was confused why the Press article didn't mention the names of the police officers involved while the Tribune did. Is this to protect the cop?

April 29, 2007

St. Paul Mayor's car hit by alleged drunken driver

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's vehicle was hit by an alleged drunk driver Thursday night, although he was uninjured by the accident, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1149693.html). The alleged drunk driver, Abbie Raymond, 22, of St. Paul was jailed on a charge of driving under the influence. Her registered blood alcohol level was .26, more than three times the local limit.
Coleman was leaving a forum at a church when he stopped at a red light at the intersection of Victoria and Summit. He was struck by Raymond at around 8:40 p.m., according to police.
Police said Raymond could'nt have been traveling more than 12 miles per hour when she struck Coleman's vehicle.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Coleman was with his police escort in his black Crown Victoria while struck by Raymond's Honda sedan (http://www.twincities.com/searchresults/ci_5761607). Raymond was travelling with another person who also appeared to under the influence.
Police said there was only minor to the vehicles.
This is the second time Coleman was involved in a car accident since he was elected.

The Tribune story took a very straightforward, news approach. It is a trimmed-down story with the essential information. It starts with a "who" lead, which makes sense in this case because the mayor is who makes this a story. The story gives the reader very little information about the drunk driver or the accident. It mostly explains the incident in plain language and closes off by saying everyone is okay. In contrast, the Press story could seem superfluous. It includes much more detailed information about the accident, adds more quotes from police, and provides a story of another time Mayor Coleman was hit while driving. I liked the Press's attention to detail. One thing I don't understand is why Raymond is referred to as an alleged drunk driver. It said she was charged with drunk driving and registered a .26 blood alcohol level. I'm not sure why alleged is included.

Plane crash injures three from Hibbing

Three members of a Hibbing family were injured Saturday after their plane crashed while attempting to land at Amery airport, according to the Associated Press (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1151225.html). Nobody involved in the crash suffered serious injuries.
The three involved, Lawrence Stoffel, 64, his wife, Rowena Stoffel, 28, and their 6-year-old child, were taken to a nearby hospital, but none had suffered serious injuries.
Lawrence Stossel was trying to land the plane, a single-engine Cessna, when the plane came down into some trees near the runway.
Firefighters put down foam to stop leaking fuel from igniting.
According to the Pioneer Press, the crash occurred at about 4:30 Saturday (http://www.twincities.com/minnesota/ci_5776163?nclick_check=1).
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the causes of the crash.

Both these stories were very short and contained the same information. I think some more vigorous reporting could've been done. Neither story bothered to get a quote from police, or firefighters, or FAA officials. There was minimal description of the crash. The story served its purpose by providing the basic who, what, where, when but did much little. The only thing different between these articles I found interesting was that the Pioneer Press waited much later in the article to say that the family's injuries were minor. It makes me think they were trying to draw the reader in, making the reader wonder whether they are ok or not.

April 22, 2007

Teen fatally shot on Metro Transit bus in downtown St. Paul

A St. Paul teenager was shot and killed on a Metro Transit bus in downtown St. Paul early Sunday, according to the Associated Press (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5727317?nclick_check=1). The shooting followed a dispute between two groups of young people on the bus.
After one group got off, a young man shot through the rear access door and hit a 16-year-old in the chest. The victim's name has not been released.
According to a security recording, the suspect is in his late teens, and was wearing a white T-shirt and dark, baggy pants. He is currently at large.
The shooting happened at Fifth and Sibley Street. St. Paul and Metro Transit officers were investigating.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the shooting happened on Route 74 (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1136728.html). Police are not sure whether the violence is gang-related nor do they know the details of the dispute. This incident is the third serious violent attack on a Metro Transit bus since early March. Metro Transit Police Chief Dave Indrehus said Metro Transit hasn't seen this kind of violence in years and that it reflects the life on the streets. He also said they are increasing security by adding more police and improving security camera systems.

The biggest difference between these articles I want to discuss is the mention of race. In the description of the suspect, the Tribune says the suspect is black, while the AP story omits this. I do not like when race is brought into a story when it is not needed, and I think the media unevenly focuses on predominantly black, inner-city violence. That being said, I think the race of the suspect is very important here because the suspect is at large and police need all the information they can get. I also liked how the Tribune put the story in the wider context of recent violence on Metro Transit buses. The Tribune story was also more detailed, giving the Bus Route number and also giving a better description of the events, although stopping short of a chronology. The quotes from Indrehus were also very interesting and provided an interesting viewpoint on street violence and bus security.

April 19, 2007

No bomb found in University of Minnesota buildings after threat warrants evacuation

No bomb was discovered after a note found in a University of Minnesota building warned of bombs going off in several buildings on campus, triggering an evacuation of several buildings, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_5695553). The note was found in the men's bathroom of Smith Hall, home of the University's chemistry department. Kohltoff, Smith, Frasier, Johnston and Morrill halls as well as the Walter Library and the Science Classroom Building were all evacuated initially. Appleby Hall was evacuated later.
Due to the Monday's incident at Virginia Tech, where a gunman shot and killed 32 people, authorities were not willing to take any chances. There are no suspects and the FBI was notified.
Classes were cancelled for the rest of the night for those buildings, while campus activity continued in all other buildings.
The note threatened five buildings on campus. University officials said they were anticipating copycat attempts and hoaxes of Monday's tragedy.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, authorities described the evacuation efforts as calm and orderly (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1129296.html). Students were said to be more in a state of confusion than panic.
The threat also disrupted a meeting of U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. She and others were evacuated from a meeting room in McNamara Alumni Center. Secret Service agents were sent in and found no bomb. The rest of the building was not evacuated.

I thought it was interesting that the Press story waited until the fourth graph to reveal that no bombs were found, while the Tribune put that in the lead. Both stories had very similar structures. Focusing on the specifics of the threat and the evacuation efforts taken by police. These parts were well sourced, using good quotes from Hestness and other university officials. The Press article ended by focusing more on the student reaction to the threat, with several quotes from different students evacuated because of the bombs. I liked the human aspect but I thought it was given a little too much weight in the story. On the other side, the Tribune story didn't get any student reaction, which I felt made the story slightly incomplete. It focused much more heavily on the efforts of the U of M to notify students of the threat. I like the inclusion of the Transport Secretary story. That was interesting to read and closed off the story in an interesting way.

April 16, 2007

Woman robs bank in Virginia, Minn.

A woman who robbed a bank in northeastern Minnesota is on run from the law, according to an AP report (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1121580.html).
Authorities were still looking for the woman who robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in Virginia, Minn., who escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.
Police said the woman was wearing a purple jacket with a white cloth over her head. She passed a note to the teller, demanded money, and fled with money. No weapon is reported to have been seen.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, both St. Louis County Police and the FBI are currently searching for the woman (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5670687?nclick_check=1).

Both of these stories are nearly identical. I think both missed a lot of essential details that could've made this an interesting story. How come there are no quotes from any bank tellers, the bank manager, local police officials, or any witnesses. It feels like both were written directly from a police report, with no effort to dig deeper to develop detail. I think maybe the story was written on too short a deadline. Perhaps a second or third edtion of the story will prove more interesting. Perhaps the police were unwilling to divulge too much information.

April 13, 2007

Oakdale teen arrested after police find dead baby

A 17-year old girl was arrested Wednesday after police found her newborn baby dead in a garbage can outside her Oakdale home, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5647156?nclick_check=1).
The girl's identity has not been released. The baby was found in the 1700 block of Hinton Trail in Oakdale. Oakdale police searched the house after being notified by the St. Paul police of an anonymous 911 call that had to do with an abandoned baby.
The teen is being held at Washington County jail on suspicion jail. Charges depend on an autoposy.
According to the MInneapolis Star Tribune, the baby appeared to be injured (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1115553.html). The girl is a student at Tartan High School. No other people are being investigated by police currently.

Both these stories were very brief, but their were a few key differences. The Press article, although its circulation more heavily falls in the Oakdale area, covered the story in much less depth. It was basically a blurb in the Press, while the Tribune fleshed it out into a full story, be it short. I also thought it was interesting that the Press said the girl's identity was not released, which was true, but the Tribune gave much more clues as to who she was, saying where she went to school and talking about her work. The Tribune story also dealt with the discovery of the body in fuller detail. Also, I found it interesting that the Tribune article ended the story talking about recent stories about babies being abandoned and the efforts to stop this thing from happening. Also, I was wondering why the Press referred to the girl as a "woman" when she is only 17.

April 9, 2007

Familiar suspect charged with 2005 slaying

A man who has been arrested 65 times, has been charged for allegations of killing a man in 2005, according to the Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1106103.html).
Tyvarus Lindsey, only 25-years-old, has been convicted several times, but never on violent offense. Last Monday police said he was charged with second-degree murder of a man in St. Paul, Leon T. Brooks, back in 2005, while he is also a "person-of-interest" in last month's triple homicide on the city's North End.
Last November, Lindsey was released from jail from federal gun charges after a prosecutorial error.
Lindsey was in Ramsey County jail as of Friday, with $500,000 bail set. According to his arrest warrant, Lindsey had 40 encounters with police before turning 18.
His six convictions include three for theft, two on drug charges and one for giving a police officer a false name, according to Bureau of Criminal Apprehension records.
Brooks was shot to death at an afterhours party with Lindsey on April 24, 2005 when he was shot to death. Brooks had two very distinct pieces of jewelry that police say Lindsey was seen wearing in a photo they obtained. Less than two weeks after the incident, Lindsey was shot in the neck. He suffered no severe injuries and police have no leads in that case.
Lindsey comes from a family of people with criminal problems.
According to the Pioneer Press, two of his relatives are locked up for murder and attempted murder (http://www.twincities.com/searchresults/ci_5605117). His younger brother Tydale is suspected in a home-invasion burglarly. Both brothers are in the Rolling '90's Crips gang. Tyvarus's father is also in jail. He has been arrested seven times on burglarly charges.

I think both stories presented very good, well reported information in a very confusing way. The Tribune article was a little clearer, taking most focus on Tyvarus and on the crimes he is suspected of. However, starting with his background, although framing the story nicely, dodges the most important part of the story. I did like how the family information and the police quotes were saved to the end and used to explain some of the earlier parts of the story. The Press article tried to scatter in family history throughout the article and it made it very difficult to follow. Plus, the excess of name's had me confused as to who was charged or jailed for what. I think both of these stories could've benefited from using a chronology to present the facts in a clearer manner.

$100,000 bail set for three University of Minnesota players

A $100,000 bail was set Saturday for the three University of Minnesota football players jailed on suspicion of rape, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5619088?nclick_check=1).
Hennepin country prosecutors must charge or release them by noon Monday, although they can still be charged at a later date. As of Saturday evening, the players haven't been formerly charged.
The three players were arrested Friday on suspicion of raping an 18-year-old student, who doesn't attend the University of Minnesota. The players, Alex Daniels, 20, Keith Massey, 20, and E.J. Jones, 19, appeared in Hennepin County court Saturday.
University of Minnesota officials tried to not let the news infiltrate their annual spring scrimmage that took place Saturday at the Metrodome. New Gophers football coach Tim Brewster said he would support these men and declined to say who was responsible for suspending the players.
Joy Harris, E.J. Jones's mother, said that this was not like her son and called him "well-rounded" and mature."
According to Harris, all three suspects are roommates. One of Jones's classmates at the university said that the allegations didn't seem like Jones and the news was shocking to him.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the alleged rape happened late Tuesday or early Wednesday at the University Village Apartments on University Avenue (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1106913.html). The players were booked on third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The woman waited until early Friday to flag down a police officer and report the incident. According to police eight to 20 of cases similar to this occur annually.

These articles took very different approaches to the story. The Press story focused heavily on the Gopher football administration reaction and ended the story with interviews of friends and family members. There was very little information concerning the police or court proceedings. I thought this made the story a little biased because the majority of the quotes were from coaches, friends and family that all agreed that the boys were innocent. The police's case against the players was not discussed. I think the family angle is important, but it should be weighed more evenly against the facts of the case. The Tribune article on the other hand focused largely on the police account, with most of the quotes coming from University Police Chief Hestness. However I didn't like how the impact of this incident of the Gophers football team preceded the facts of the case. It seemed to undermine the allegations and place a higher precedent on sports. One other problem with the article was that it claimed Brewster was responsible for the players' suspensions, while the Press article claimed that Brewster refused to comment on who was responsible.

April 2, 2007

Herb Carneal, longtime Minnesota Twins radio announcer, dies at 83

Herb Carneal, the longtime Minnesota Twins radio announcer, died Sunday morning, according to an AP report. He was 83 (http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_5571569?nclick_check=1).
Carneal died due to congestive heart failure. For 45 years Carneal had been the voice of the Minnesota Twins.
Carneal grew up in Richmond, Va. He got a job in radio right out of high school. After a few years broadcasting for other teams, Carneal moved to Minneapolis in 1962 to announce for the Twins, only one year after the Twins moved to the Twin Cities from Washington.
Carneal was given the Ford C. Frick award in 1996.
He was well known for his extensive knowledge of baseball facts and statistics. In 1998, Carneal stopped traveling with the team. He scaled back his duties again in 2003. Last year he would just do the first few innings of day games at home.
Carneal also dabbled in other sports, but baseball was always his main passion.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Carneal has six months in the hospital this winter with various ailments (http://www.startribune.com/509/story/1093520.html).
He is survived by his daughter, Terri, and grandson, Matthew. Funeral arrangement are pending and will be announced when they become available.

I liked parts of each article but I thought both were missing a few key pieces. First I didn't like how the Pioneer Press ran an AP story. This seems like something that should be written by a local reporter. Also I found it interesting that both stories kept his age out of the lead. The AP story focuses very little on the cause of death before jumping right into what he is known for. I also didn't like how both articles brought up the Frick award, but didn't explain what is was or why it is so prestigious. The AP story did a much better job gathering quotes and placing them throughout the story. The ending was very nice, bringing up quotes from other interviews and closing off well with the Garrison Keillor quote that's both touching and encompassing of the tone of the whole story. Interestingly though, the AP story doesn't mention Carneal's family or the funeral arrangements. The Tribune article uses quotes that come off as bland and forced. It quotes ballplayers who probably didn't have that close of a relationship with Carneal. I thought the other article did a better job of quoting Carneal's colleagues. The Tribune article did do a good job stating Carneal's recent health problems. This article came off as much more formulaic, without the humanity of the AP story.

March 27, 2007

Infant's body found in river near Red Wing

A dead baby was found along the banks of the Mississippi River near Red Wing Monday, the third instance in less than a decade, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5527196).
The infant, who was a newborn, was found by an employee of Treasure Island Resort and Casino in the company's marina while preparing for the upcoming boating season.
Visual examinations of the body show no signs of trauma. Authorities are waiting for an autopsy to determine the baby's age and how long it had been in the water. The sex and ethnicity of the infant have not been released.
This is the third infant since 1999 to be found in the river near Red Wing. A baby girl in 1999 and a baby boy in 2003 were also discovered. As of now, neither of those cases have been solved. Neither child has been identified.
Anyone found guilty of placing a newborn in the river faced severe criminal prosecution.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, authorities said in the previous two cases, they followed hundreds of leads, but they went nowhere (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1081077.html).

The Press article was very confusing and poorly written in a few places. I found it interesting how both stories focused on the fact that this was the third case of infants found in the river, rather than the actual discovery of the infant. To me, Monday's discovery is more important. Three babies in less than 10 years may be an anomaly, but I don't see that as the main story. It should definitely be included, but not as thoroughly as it is here. Also, I didn't like how in the Press story, the description of a man discovering the baby is followed by a quote from a police officer. It was confusing because I expected a quote from the man. I also thought if they were gonna focus on the anomaly of three infants in under a decade, they should've talked about infants found in other spots in the river. I thought the Tribune article was even worse because it went directly from the lead into the fact that this is the third one. Not until much later was the description of the baby's discovery brought up, which had much more news value.

March 26, 2007

Minnesota National Guard member killed in Iraq

Minnesota National Guard member Greg Riewer died Friday on patrol in Iraq near Fallujah, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1077920.html). Riewer was the 12th member of the Minnesota guard to die in Iraq, after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.
Three other members of his Minnesota unit were injured in the explosion. Their names and medical conditions have not been released.
Riewer was a 1997 graduate of Frazee High School, near Detroit Lakes. He enlisted shortly after high school, and had served in Bosnia as well as Iraq. His unit's tour of duty had recently been extended.
Riewer was single with no children. He had five sisters and seven brothers, one named Andrew who is still serving in his unit.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Riewer's parents said he was a quiet son who enjoyed hunting and sports (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5515504).
His father said Greg loved the feel of freedom on his motorcycle.
Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Tribune article took a very straightforward, formulaic approach to the story. It started with the fact he died, said what he was known for, talking about the causes of his death, broke down into a chronology, and talked about his family and funeral arrangements. I thought the personal memories of Greg at the end of the story felt forced. They should have been integrated into the theme of the story better. I really didn't like the Press story. The lead editorializes his death and comes off a political posturing. Although I agree this war has no end in sight, it feels unfair to the family to say that Greg should have been back home. I also thought it was interesting that the Press said he was the 47th member of the armed forces from Minnesota to die in Iraq while the Tribune said he was the 12th from the Minnesota Guard. The Press article did, however, work better quotes about Riewer as a person into the article.

March 22, 2007

St. Paul third-grader suspended after bringing marijuana to school

A St. Paul third-grader who brought a small bag of marijuana to school on Monday was suspended, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1068073.html).
The third-grader, who attends the Benjamin E. Mays Magnet for Communication Arts and Leadership on the 500 block of Concordia, had been showing the pot to friends when police officers were called to the school, according to a police report.
According to the boy's mother, the pot might have come from a friend who dropped it off at their house.
No arrests have been made and the police have said that no signs of negligence were or ever have been present.
According to a St. Paul Pioneer Press report, the case has been referred to the Ramsey County Child Protection Services (http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_5482361).
According to a St. Paul Public School spokesman, the student will be suspended according to policy, but didn't specify the length.

The Tribune focuses on the suspension more than the Press article, which merely states the child brought the pot to school. I also found it interesting that the Tribune article put the school in the lead while the Press didn't. I think it was a better decision to move the school title out of the lead, especially because it is such a long name. One thing about the Press article I didn't like was the end quote. It was very bland, unoriginal, and didn't highlight the novelty of the story. The Tribune did a nice job sourcing its information from police reports and officials. If I had one problem with both of these articles it was that they didn't develop the stories further enough. I would've liked to know more about how the child got caught or how he managed to identify marijuana in the first place.

March 9, 2007

Man killed in drug deal gone awry

A man died in shooting Wednesday evening after a drug deal went awry on St. Paul's West Side, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1040980.html).
Robert Renville, 20, was shot while riding in a car shortly after 6 p.m. near the intersection of Ohio and Stevens Streets, according to police. Renville was taken to Regions Hospital shortly after where he died.
Several shots were fired into the car, and two of the other people riding were also injured.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Livon Lucket, 19, was shot in the leg and Russell Robinson, 40, was shot in the arm (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16856534.htm).
Lamont Wilson, 24, was arrested by police on suspicion of homicide.
Police officials had originally thought this was a gang related crime, but after further investigation concluded that the violence had been related to a drug deal gone bad.

Both of these articles were very similar. I thought it was interesting that the Press article focused on the fact that police had determined that it wasn't gang-related, putting that fact in the lead. I later realized that there have been several gang-related crimes in the last few weeks in St. Paul, which makes for the confusion. However, I still don't know that this fact merits lead status. I think the details of the murder should get the most attention. Both articles were a little light on the details, particularly the Tribune article, which excluded everybody's name except Renville.

3M executives quizzed by congressional panel on chemical pollution

Executives from Minnesota-based corporation 3M were questioned Tuesday by a panel of government officials concerning chemicals manufacturing by the company, which were discovered in local groundwater supplies, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1035952.html).
The chemicals, which used to be manufactured by 3M, have been detected in public wells, especially near areas where 3M used to dump the chemicals between 1956 and 1974. Some of the areas infected include Lake Elmo, Woodbury, Cottage Grove, and St. Paul Park.
The Minnesota State Health Department recently lowered the maximum levels on the chemicals acceptable in the water supply. Legislators have tried to establish many bills increasing the restrictions.
3M executives countered by saying that the amount of chemicals in the supply was neglible and would have no health effects. 3M officials also said they would not offer filtration systems or bottled water to affected areas because the water poses no threat.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, a study found that one of the chemicals, PFBA, caused enlarged livers in rats when they were exposed to extremely high doses for a month (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/16847622.htm). The study also showed that the threshold of no effect on the rats was 420,000 times more potent than the current amount in the water supply.
3M is beginning a 90-day study to get fuller results on the effect of the chemicals. The EPA is also studying the effect.
The chemicals in question came were used to create Teflon, photographic film, and Scotchguard.

The Tribune article focuses heavily on the debate itself, between Congress and 3M. Its lead is very uneffectively however because it does little to grab attention or illuminate the entire theme of the article. It's merely another quote that just as easily could've come later in the story. I also thought the article failed to explain the studies and effects of the chemical. The Press article did this well, focusing more on the aspect of the story. It was almost an overload here. I also thought the Press story was somewhat biased to the perspective of 3M, presenting their perspective much more frequently. The lead of the story is 3M's perspective, and even though the science may support them, I think there is a more evenhanded way to present it.

March 5, 2007

Coon Rapids soldier killed in Iraq by bomb blast

A U.S. soldier originally from Oklahoma, who lived in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was killed in an explosion in Iraq Monday, according to an AP report (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1031703.html).
Army Sgt. William "B.J." Beardsley, 25, a Muskogee native, was on his second tour of duty when he was killed, according to the Department of Defense. Beardsley joined the military at age 18 and had previously served in South Korea and Fort Campbell, Ky.
He had lived in Coon Rapids for a while to work with his father as a landscape contractor, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=117A483AF302EA08&p_docnum=1
He re-inlisted, in part, in order to pay for his wife's medical bills. She was released from the hospital the day he died.
A memorial service will be planned for the Twin Cities, although Beardsley will be buried in Indiana where his widow and two children now live.
Beardsley is the 45th member of the military from Minnesota to die in Iraq.

The AP article was a very standard news story, but I thought it was unfilling just because it was so dry and stereotypical. It did have a nice usage of quotes though. I simply thought the Press article was brilliant. The lead was great, starting with the image of Beardsley's wife returning from the hospital, and shortly after, being informed of his death. The article uses quotes from several family members, friends and associates that helps flesh out and humanize the story, giving it a perfectly affecting tone. It also documented Beardsley's military journey in better details. The only thing both articles were missing was the circumstances of Beardsley's death in Iraq. It does seem relevant, if not entirely essential. One thing that stood out was the fact that the AP article said Beardsley divorced his wife, but there was no mention of that in the Press article. I also was wondering why one article ended by saying he was the 52nd member to die in Iraq and Afghanistan while another said he was the 45th to die in Iraq. I just thought it was curious.

March 1, 2007

St. Paul approves ban on toy guns

The St. Paul City Council unanimously banned realistic-looking guns Wednesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/16804073.htm).
Mayor Chris Coleman commended the ban, saying the ruling is testament to the city's concern for public safety.
The ban doesn't include water guns or obvious toys. It bans pellet guns and Airsoft guns, or requires that they are brightly painted.
These realistic-looking guns have often been involved in police shootings, where officers mistook them for real weapons.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it will be a misdemeanor to public display these weapons (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1031077.html).

The Pioneer Press article is a straight-forward news story. It's very short, only offering the quote from Chris Coleman as support. I thought it should've discussed the chronology of what led up to this ban. It also wasn't clear what the penalty was for carrying the weapons. The Tribune article was also very short, although it focused more on the City Council action then discussing the reasons for the ban. This article was missing the voices of the people who voted on the ban and the voices of the industry affected by this decision.

February 22, 2007

Washington couple arrested in pot bust

Two road trippers from Washington were arrested Monday after police found 157 pounds of marijuana in their car, which was discovered by a mechanic working on the couple's vehicle, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16744230.htm).
The couple's pickup truck was having fuel problems when they brought it into Midas Auto Service Experts on St. Paul's East Side. The mechanic working on the vehicle grew suspicious when he saw a modified gas tank with fresh weld marks.
The couple had told the man not to touch the tank. He grew even more suspicious and called the police. Authorties found 157 pounds of marijuana crammed into two welded compartments within the gas tank.
Marvin E. Kennedy, 48, and Patsy R. Floyd, 62, were being held in the Ramsey County jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance. Charges had not been filed as of Tuesday.
Authorities said the couple were driving from Yakima, Wash. to Chicago. A DEA officer said the problem may have been caused by mariajuana seeping into the gas tank.
According to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report, the couple have been released and federal prosecutors have declined to prosecute the suspects (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1016733.html). The case has been turned over to the St. Paul Police. The couple's whereabouts are currently unknown but since no arrests or warrants have been filed, they are not considered fugitives, officials said.

These articles were released at different times so it is interesting to note the differences in the focus of the articles. The Press article begins with an interesting lead. It starts out with a pun. Then it tells a very brief chronology that doesn't mention the marijuana until the end of the third paragraph. The article largely focuses on the police and mechanic perspective, documenting how the suspicion led to the arrest. The article supports several of its main points with comments by local and federal police officials. The Tribune article focuses on the release of the two suspects by federal authorities. The chronology of the drug bust is very brief and placed near the end of the article. This article has no quotes and very little information to support its points. For example, it doesn't explain why the couple was released, which is crucial. It also doesn't explain how the St. Paul police intend to arrest the suspects if they choose to do so. There were many key points missing in this article.


February 20, 2007

Bill Proposes Tax on Plastic Surgery

Minnesota state Representative Phyllis Kahn wants to extend Minnesota's 6.5 percent sales tax to include cosmetic surgery and appearance-enhancing procedures, according to an AP report (http://www.startribune.com/587/story/1011675.html).
Some of the procedures include chemical skin peels, laser hair removal, cosmetic injections, breast implants and spider-vein treatments.
Kahn said that those who can afford plastic surgery can also afford the tax. She also said the tax would raise $7 million a year.
The proposal had its first hearing before a House tax panel Monday. So far, no vote has been taken.
The bill excludes medically necessary procedures, such as facial reconstruction resulting from an accident. It also wouldn't apply to laser eye surgery or certain important dental procedures.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, said there was only a slight chance of adding it to a larger tax bill later in the session (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/16736466.htm).
Currently only New Jersey levies a sales tax on comestic procedures. Dr. George Landis of the Minnesota Medical Association said it would be difficult to determine which procedures are simply cosmetic and which aren't.

The AP article is a hard news story that just scratches the surface. It touches the main components of the story and gives the reader an idea of what sort of bill Kahn wants to pass. However, it lacks any conflict and comes off as dry and static. The Pioneer Press article presents much more depth. There are several quotes instead of paraphrasing, and the reader gets the perspective of several people who disagree with the bill. I also found it interesting that the AP article tried to jam tons of information in the lead, while the Press article had a very short lead that was more of a teaser than a summary. The Press article also discusses the possibility of the bill passing in the House committee, while the AP article doesn't delve very deeply into the political context.


February 18, 2007

One man killed in Inver Grove crash

One man died in a car collision on Hwy. 52 in Inver Grove Heights Saturday morning, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1009010.html).
The man driving the car was struck head on by another car that had crossed the median.
According to State Patrol, Antonio Alatorre-Garcia, 24, was driving in his SUV and heading southbound when his car crossed the median and struck the other driver. Alatorre-Garcia was treated for injuries, but was later released. The name of the deceased was not released by State Patrol.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, a State Patrol report states alcohol was detected in Alatorre-Garcia. No charges have been filed (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16724664.htm).

Both articles felt too short. The Tribune article presented this story as a short, hard-news story. The Press article was even shorter, although it included a few interesting specifics. I thought it was strange the Press article mentioned exactly what type of car Garcia drove. I also found it very interesting that the Press article mentioned the alcohol factor, while the Tribune left it out. Finally, both articles were not very specific about whether the drivers were both driving alone. This story works as a quick, first account, but I'd hope the second account delves into more detail about the circumstances and consequences of the accident.


February 13, 2007

14-year-old Inver Grove Heights girl abducted by father

An Amber alert was issued Monday night after a man abducted his 14-year-old daughter from her home in Inver Grove Heights, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/998527.html).The father, Stephen Michuda, 34, does not have custody of the girl, Deidra Michuda, and according to the mother, is a convicted sex offender. He is prohibited from being with Deidra without supervision.
The two left in a green 1998 Chevrolet Ventura minivan, which was found Tuesday morning in South St. Paul. Police are searching the van for evidence.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, police are uncertain whether Deidra was abducted by force or if she went willingly (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16685579.htm).
Anyone with information about the pair's wherabouts is supposed to call 911.
The Tribune article starts by presenting the hard news facts about the story. It has one paragraph of chronology. Then the rest of the article is a detail description of Deidra and Stephen, and gives instructions to readers about what to do if they see the either of the people. The Press article is structured in the same way. The chronology is slightly more detailed. Because these articles are based on the same police report, they are similar and both make sure to present detailed descriptions of Stephen and Deidra. One important difference I noticed was that the Press article put the Stephen's sex offender history in the lead, while the Tribune article waited until the nut graph.

February 12, 2007

Twins sign Mauer to a $33 million deal

The Minnesota Twins signed catcher Joe Mauer to a $33 million, 4-year contract extension Sunday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/509/story/995546.html).
Mauer was scheduled for a salary arbitration meeting in Phoenix this Tuesday before the Twins General Manager Terry Ryan announced the deal.
Last season, Mauer became the first catcher to win an American League batting title, batting .347. Also, last season Mauer made only $400,000. "Mauer will make $3.75 million this year, $6.25 million in 2008, $10.5 million in 2009 and 12.5 million in 2010."
Mauer was planning to go into arbitration, which usually starts with the player and team offering separate bids for a one-year deal.
Ryan said that arbitration can be a tricky deal and it is usually best to avoid it. By avoiding arbitration and sticking to a four-year deal, Mauer also gets the chance to hit the free agent market at age 27 in 2010.
This is the Twins second largest guaranteed contract in team history. Only Johann Santana's $40 million contract exceeds it.
Other stipulatons of the deal include additional award bonuses and the right to designate three teams each year, which means he can't be traded to them without his consent, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/16677073.htm)
The Tribune article begins with a chronological lead, leading up to the point when Mauer realized that he'd been signed. Then the writer spends time giving quotes from Mauer and other Twins staff. Later on in the article, the writer breaks down some of the more complicated parts of the contract and also compares the contract to other players in the league. The Press article goes with a hard news lead and then gets into Mauer's background right away. As the story progresses, it gets more into quotes from Mauer and the Twins staff. I personally liked the Tribune article more. The lead captured my attention more and it broke down the contract deal into a more understandable way. The comparisons to other players also kept my attention.

February 6, 2007

Former FBI Agent wins suit

A Minneapolis FBI agent and whistleblower was awarded over $500,000 in compensation Monday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16631479.htm).
Former agent Jane turner was awarded $565,000 from a U.S. District Court of Appeals in Minneapolis when the jury decided she had recieved unfair reviews, unwarranted threats of being fired, and was forced to resign.
Turner, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, had always recieved either satisfactory or high performance ratings. In 1998, she filed a sexual discrimination claim with the FBI saying female agents didn't recieve enough credit for cases.
Turner's supervisor, Craig Welken, retaliated against her by not assigning her to a high-profile, child pornography case in North Dakota, despite the fact that Turner was one of the FBI's top specialists in crimes against children.
The U.S. attorney for North Dakota intervened, demanding Turner be assigned to the case. Turner eventually got a confession out of the child pornographer.
However, Welken criticized Turner's handling of the case and gave her negative performance ratings for the first time in her career. After several negative reviews, Turner was transferred to a desk job in Minneapolis in May 2000.
In Minneapolis, the FBI was planning to fire Turner for poor performance. Turner countered by complaining that she wasn't being assigned to cases in her area of expertize. In 2003, Turner resigned before she could be fired.
The government attorney's representing the FBI were not able to be reached for comment.
Stephen Kohn, the president of the National Whistleblower Center in Washington, and one of Turner's lawyers, called the case the most important jury verdict in a case filed against the FBI, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/982647.html)
The Pioneer Press article had a very usual structure for a story like this. The lead goes over the basics of the court case. The second paragraph goes into further detail about the case. Then there are some fact graphs and quotes that cover a little background. Then after the first four paragraphs, the story is told chronologically, starting from Turner's filing of the complaint in 1998, and leading all the way to her resigination in 2003. The Tribune article takes a very similar approach, but it gives the reader more information about the result of the court case, adding many quotes from friends of Turner in response to the verdict. The chronological retelling comes much later in the story and goes into less detail. Personally, I think the Pioneer Press article was better because it gave more background.

February 5, 2007

Two killed and one critically wounded in Waseca home

A father and son died, and a wife was left critically wounded, when intruders broke in their home and shot the family, outside Waseca, Minn. Saturday morning, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/978914.html)
Police officials found Tracy Kruger, 40, and Alec Kruger, 13, dead in the family's farmhouse outside of town. Tracy Kruger's wife, Hilary, 41, was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and is in critical condition.
The family also had a younger son who was at a friend's house when the killings took place.
One man, who was a stranger to the Kruger family, was taken in by investigators because he was linked to a truck found in a ditch by the Kruger's house. The Kruger's SUV was also in a ditch as well as another vehicle that was stolen from a neighbor's house.
There was no information as to whether the man was arrested or not.
According to the County Sheriff's office, the police recieved a 911 call from Alec Kruger around 3:00 Saturday morning. Shortly after the dispatcher heard gunshots and the line went dead.
The killers were gone, and Tracy and Alec were dead, by the time the police arrived.
At the time of the Tribune article, investigators refused to discuss motives and said they had no other suspects at that time.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, investigators believed that the neighbor's car was stolen after the killings had taken place. (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16618691.htm)
The Tribune article approached this story as a hard news story, focusing on the killings and the police investigation. It saved some space at the end for some obituary-type information about the family. It attributes most of it's information to the Waseca County Sheriff's Office. I felt the quote near the beginning of the story by Elizabeth Cram, was out of place. Near the end of the story the article uses good quotes from neighbors and friends in the community. I liked the Tribune article, but I think it shifted in tone too much, going from murder story to obituary.
The Pioneer Press article kept a more consistent tone, but I felt that article left me with too many questions.

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. (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16575869.htm)
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. (http://www.startribune.com/467/story/966690.html)
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.

January 29, 2007

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. (http://www.startribune.com/462/story/964991.html)
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. (http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/16563173.htm)
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.