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February 22, 2009

Suicide Attack Kills One, Injures 17 in Cairo

A suicide attacker in Cairo killed a woman and injured 17 people in a famed bazaar.

February 15, 2009


In the Star Tribune article, "Rail Crewman Spots Man's Body on Tracks," the reporter, Chao Xiong summarizes the elements in order of importance. The lead includes the elements of who, what, where, when, and why the event occurred, though with little detail and in as few as 14 words.
The second paragraph summarizes the story the rail crewman who found the body, omitted in the lead, and explains what is positively known about the event or the "how." This paragraph explains how the body was found and how the authorities eventually learned about the body.
The third paragraph explains the who and what in greater detail, typically the most interesting points of a story. This paragraph explains who this unidentified victim is (apparently in his 30s) and what happened to him (nothing suspicious about death).
The fourth and fifth paragraphs take a quote from the police and explain the "why." In other words, why was the man dead on the tracks and why was he on the tracks to begin with.

I find this structure sound because it puts the most newsworthy information first, then includes the process of the events occurring, and finally suggests what news is to follow (such as who the man is and why he died). If anything could change in the article, I believe it would be that parts of the process of the events occurring could be lowered in the article. The matter of who this man is might be equally important to how he was found. Simply because the man has not been identified does not make the "who" information less important. As soon as he is identified, though, it is likely that this information will precede the "how" section.

Xiong, Chao. "Rail Crewman Spots Man's Body on Tracks." Star Tribune: February 15, 2009.

Clinton Travelling to Asia for First Trip as Secretary of State

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first mission abroad, to begin Monday, will be to strengthen relations with Asian nations.
Upon her departure for Asia, told reporters that part of her trip will include communicating to Asian leaders what the Obama administration's plans are for healing the world economic crisis. This briefing will include explaining the plans the U.S. has with its $787 billion stimulus bill.
Her trip will include "seeking cooperation on ways that we are going to work through these very difficult economic times," Clinton said.

Illinois GOP Leader Calls on Sen. Burris to Resign

Illinois politicians are calling for Senator Roland Burris to resign following an affidavit released by the senator that contradicts statements he made before legislators during former Gov. Blagojevich's impeachment.
"I can't believe anything that comes out of Mr. Burris at this point," Rep. Jim Durkin, Illinois House ranking Republican for the impeachment committee, said at a news conference Sunday. "I think it would be in the best interest of the state if he resigned because I don't think the state can stand this anymore."
The brother of Rod Blagojevich had asked for campaign donations soon before his appointment, according to Burris's affidavit.

Man Found Dead on Train Tracks in St. Paul

A man was found Saturday night lying dead on train tracks in St. Paul. The man was apparently run over by a train the same night.
The man, appearing to be in his 30s, was found by a passing Union Pacific train operator at about 10:30 p.m. The train operator reported the body to the train-dispatch center, which then notified authorities.
Police do not so far suspect foul play in the early stages of the investigation.
"It doesn't look like he was hit by the train and knocked on the [adjacent] tracks," Peter Panos, a St. Paul police spokesman, said.
It is common for people to cross these tracks in this area of St. Paul, Panos said.

Close Vote Ends Terms Limits for President Chavez of Venezuela

In a Venezuela referendum Sunday, President Hugo Chavez won the right to seek an unlimited number of terms. With 94 percent of the vote counted, the constitutional amendment was favored 54 to 46 percent.
Chavez is not up for re-election again until 2012 but may now have a lifetime to construct his view of a socialist state.
"Today we opened wide the gates of the future," Chavez said, who is in his third term as president. "In 2012 there will be presidential elections, and unless God decides otherwise, unless the people decide otherwise, this soldier is already a candidate."

St. Louis Park Man Dies from Smoke Inhalation

A man was found dead Friday after a fire ravaged his house. A fire believed to have originated in the kitchen area of his house left Thomas Costello Holden, 56, dead from smoke inhalation.
The fire was reported by a neighbor who noticed smoke and flames emanating from the house around 1 p.m. Friday. Firefighters found Holden lying in his first-floor bedroom.

February 8, 2009


In the Reuters story on Rodriguez's past use of steroids, four sources were used: Sport's Illustrated, Alex Rodriguez, Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing, and an ominously stated "four independent sources." Two of these sources appear in the first paragraph (the "four independent sources" and Sport's Illustrated) while the other two appear much later in the article. Alex Rodriguez is the only singular person attributed, the other sources are either not identified as people or are organizations or records, the latter being the Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing. The reporter sets up the attribution so that it follows a statement of information. He attributes Sport's Illustrated and the "four independent sources" early because they are the two sources that have made this event newsworthy and relevant today. The attribution is effective and not confusing, though it is unique how this article is a report on a report by a different news organization, which broke the story. The writer of the story is sure to always attribute Sport's Illustrated, which broke the story, in a paragraph where the information is purely from the magazine. In an instance where two sources are cited simultaneously, the writer makes no confusion in writing it thusly: "according to four independent sources, Sports Illustrated magazine reported on Saturday."

Ginsburg, Steve. "Yankees' Rodriguez tested positive in 2003: report." Reuters.

Colleges and Students Expected to Receive Billions in Stimulus Plan

The stimulus plan in debate in Washington is expected to bring billions of dollars to students and colleges. Those expected to benefit most are students trying to pay for an undergraduate degree and colleges trying to pay off construction projects so that they do not have to be paid in student tuition payments.

108 Die in Austrailian Wildfire

In the most deadly wildfire ever reported in Australia's history, 108 people have died as of Monday. This figure is expected to rise as firefighters move further into the fire zone. At least 700 homes were destroyed as well in the Victoria state, located in the southeastern corner of Australia.
One of the hardest hit areas include Marysville, 50 miles north of Melbourne, where 90 percent of the buildings have been destroyed and trees were reported to have exploded in contact with the fire.

Democrats Spent $1 million more on Minnesota House Races

Democrats helped increase their advantage in the Minnesota House of Representatives by spending more than $1 million more on races in the November election, a report stated recently. Democrats were able to add two more seats to their House majority, though they fell short of a veto-proof majority by three representatives.

Judge Allows 4,800 Rejected Absentee Votes in Franken-Coleman Recount

A three-judge panel announced Tuesday that they will accept 4,800 absentee votes previously rejected in the U.S. Senate election between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. During the initial recount these absentee votes were rejected for various apparent errors and other discrepancies but will are now considered fair play.

MLB Athletes Supposedly Tested Positive for Steroids

Alex Rodriguez and other Major League Baseball players supposedly tested positive for steroids early in the decade, according to Sports Illustrated. Rodriguez, in particular, tested positive in the year 2003 during an MVP season. Rodriguez has yet to comment on the report by Sports Illustrated, but has many times before denied having ever used steroids.

February 1, 2009


It is important to relate the who, what, where, when, and how or why when in many news leads. Some of these parts, however, may be omitted because they are not of much importance. For example, many scientific studies will not communicate the where in the lead--or even the story--if the who suffices.

In the story, Governor Pawlenty's Budget Proposal Puts State Art Schools at Risk, the where is not important in explaining the art schools are at risk. It suffices that these schools are in Minnesota, which is understood by explaining the who, Gov. Pawlenty. It is therefore the who and what that are most important, while the when, where, and why may be general, or omitted.

The reporter may opt for a less straightforward hard-news lead if the story has a quirky side to it. These stories may be more fascinated with one certain aspect, like the what, and omit the other parts. For example, Draper begins his story with this lead: "The Perpich Center for Arts Education -- a hallmark of school choice in the state -- faces a fight for survival." Draper believes the who and what are very important, but finds no reason to even include the why, when, and where. As a result, the lead has a shocking effect.

Draper, Norman. "State arts school fights to survive." Star Tribune.

Israel Retaliates from Militant Rocket Fire

Following rocket and mortar fire from Palestinian militants in Gaza Sunday, Israel soon retaliated with bombings and gunfire. The attacks come during Israel's declared ceasefire and preceding Israel's parliamentary elections next week.

Governor Pawlenty's Budget Proposal Puts State Art Schools at Risk

A budget proposal by Gov. Tim Pawlenty will reduce funding for some state schools devoted to the arts by converting them to charter schools. The conversion will cut $4.5 million from Minnesota's annual budget during a time when the state is seeing a budget shortfall.

Draper, Norman. "State arts school fights to survive." Star Tribune.

Greenfield Residents Learn that City Council Members Carry Guns to Meetings

Greenfield residents learned this week, following months of rumor, that city council members carry guns to meetings. The revelation came about following a confession by Council Member Howard Velhuizen that he was carrying two handguns in a meeting in December.

Some council members explained that they brought their guns out of concern for their safety around council opponents.

Senate Unlikely to pass stimulus bill says GOP leaders

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that a stimulus bill supported by President Obama and congressional Democrats would likely fail as a result of spending issues. The GOP leader suggested that a need to reduce spending and cut taxes would help resolve conflict over the bill.

Non-violent Protest Signals Easier Pullout Obama says

Elections in Iraq on Sunday will bode well for a pullout of U.S. military in the near future says Obama.

"We are in a position to start putting more responsibility on the Iraqis and that's good news not only for the troops on the ground but for the families who are carrying an enormous burden," Obama said.

Obama's campaign promise was to remove troops from Iraq in 16 months.