February 2012 Archives

Media analysis

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Fox 9 News and Star Tribune have quite a difference in their multimedia usage.

Fox 9 has a lot more video, with only scattered photos in its online articles. This makes a lot of sense, since the organization is broadcast not print. The videos complement the writing by showing what/where it is happening in real time. You get to view the scene of an accident or witness somebody doing an action through the video. The writing is still just the news article, because the video doesn't have a cut-line with it to explain things. The writing has the characteristics of broadcast; when you read through it, it sounds a bit more like a "performance" whereas a print article will give it to you a bit more straight and less flair. There seems to be a bit more personality to it, a voice but not necessarily a bias.

Star Tribune has a significant number of picture galleries. This makes sense, since it is a print organization and those can be used in the paper! The pictures can tell their own story, like the photo gallery of Twins Spring Training. It shows pictures of the different players and the cut-lines tell who the players are, what they are playing and practicing. This writing is very simple. Not many of the Twins pictures have a second sentence with them, but the other galleries have pictures with a quote or a fact following the cut-line. The pictures complement the news by giving you a visual. If I said "Span covered center-field" people might question who he was and a picture will help clarify that. It also adds more flair and fun to the pieces!

Ex-pastor sentenced to life for murder

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A former Minneapolis Pastor was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of Parole for the death of a North High School staff member.

Derrick Trevor Griffin, 41, was sentenced on Friday on charged of first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree murder in the May 2011 drive-by shooting of Kristopher Miller, reported the Star Tribune.

KSTP reported that Miller was romantically involved with Griffin's estranged wife, from whom Griffin was separated.

The shooting happened in May 2011 and police used cellphone records, a bullet taken from Miller's body and surveillance cameras to trace the killing to Griffin.

Long Island serial killer case finds more remains

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The remains of a woman reported missing in 2010 were discovered in December 2011 in Long Island along with several other bodies or parts of bodies of others, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Since the woman, Shannan Gilbert, was reported missing in May 2010 there have been up to 11 bodies found, indicating a serial killer is on the loose.

Dr. Scott A. Bonn, a serial killer expert and assistant professor of sociology at Drew University, said he believes it is a single seasonal killer between Memorial Day and Labor day-- the beaches busiest season, reported the Huffington Post.

A majority of the discoveries occurred since December 2010. Only five of the 11 bodies have been identified.

A child and a male body are among the 11 and don't seem to fit the MO of the other victims-- female prostitutes reported missing between Memorial day and Labor Day. Police believe Gilbert was also an accidental drowning and not connected to the other bodies.

Bonn, however, said that there is no reason to rule out Gilbert, and that both the child and male victim can be included for simple reasons.

"It's not uncommon for prostitutes to take a child along. There's no prostitute daycare I am aware of," Bonn explained.
As for the male victim, who was dressed in women's clothing, Bonn said "Let's say the serial killer picked up this [individual], not knowing this was a man. When he found out, he bashed the victim's head in, which is contrary to how the other victims were killed, which appears to be strangulation."

If all of these cases are connected, the beach has been used by the responsible person since at least 1996.

Students find dead body on field trip

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An outdoor field trip in Eden Prairie on Thursday morning resulted in the discovery of a dead body, reported Kare 11.

Approximately 125 students from Oak Grove Middle School were on a field trip exploring the Richard T. Anderson Conservation Area in Eden Prairie for science and orienteering class when the body was discovered, reported 5 eyewitness news.

A group of 30 students were walking down a trail when they found the body. Police said he died from a gunshot wound in his head. A weapon was found near the body, but no autopsy has been performed to confirm the cause of death.

The students were let out of the field trip early and grief counselors were on hand for those students who needed them.

Romney and Paul tag-team in debate against Santorum

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Rick Santorum's position int he presidential candidate race relies heavily on his notion that he is a consistent conservative, especially in the current field.

At the GOP debate on Wednesday night, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul tag-teamed against Santorum to question his conservatism, reported the Washington Post.

Reports from the Atlanta Journal Constitution said that Newt Gingrich mostly stayed out of the cross-fire.

The National Journal has reported that Santorum's campaign party is now showing frustration after having held back suspicions of a Romney-Paul alliance.

"Clearly there is a tag-team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney," top Santorum strategist John Brabender fumed to reporters after the debate.

Paul has been running an anti-Santorum ad in Michigan while not campaigning for himself in the area, Romney's home state.

However, the National Journal has reported that Gingrich is helping Santorum in Michigan the same way Paul has been supporting Romney.

A Gingrich spokesperson told a Washington Examiner reporter that Gingrich will not be making an effort to compete in Michigan so he doesn't peel votes away from Santorum in order to defeat Romney.

$170 billion Greek bailout deal reached

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European officials came to an agreement Tuesday to give a $170 billion bailout to Greece in order to prevent the country defaulting, reported St. Louis Today.

The finance ministers of 17 countries sharing the euro currency made the agreement after 13 hours of negotiations, reported the Los Angeles Times. .


Had the countries not agreed on the bailout, Greece would have defaulted in March, reported the Washington Post.

The terms of the bailout mean that private bondholders will have a larger loss than previously anticipated in order to get Greece's debt to a sustainable level by 2020. The interest for the long-term loans was also reduced in attempt to reach this 2020 goal.

The ministers demanded that Greece set up an escrow account so the money would be spent on the country's debt, not other public expenses

Other terms of the agreement included a 150,000 person shrink to the public sector, lowering Greece's minimum wage by 22 percent, cutting pensions, and working to sell off publicly owned companies. Other measures filled a 50-page booklet.

This bailout is on top of a $145 billion bailout in May 2010, making it the largest bailout out in European Union history.

3 dead, 8 missing in Washington Avalanche

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Three people have died and as many as eight may be missing, according to authorities reported by the LA Times.

The avalanche occurred at Stevens Pass ski area just after noon Sunday.

The deaths happened in an out-of-bounds area near the resort, said Sgt. Cindi West reported by KSTP.

Stevens Pass, about 80 miles from Seattle, is one of the state's most popular recreation areas.

This winter has been a deadly one with four people disappearing while hiking and climbing on Mount Rainier in vicious storms, and 13 avalanche deaths across the West as of Feb. 16.

In a separate incident, a snowboarder died when he fell off a cliff at Alpental ski area east of Seattle. No other information has been provided about the accident.

First-day/ Second-day story analysis

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The story from CNN about a robbery in Greece has a quick first day story in the form of a blog as well as a strong follow-up story article later.


The leads are actually quite different in each story. The first focuses on the fact of the robbery occurring and the follow up story is talking about the actions happening now in order to find the robbers.The first story has a more descriptive bit about what the robbery was like. While the second story has some of that description, it is not about the same aspects.

The news in the first story is summarized in three short paragraphs. It attributes everything to current police given information. The second story has more sources (footage from museum, state news reports, the president of the Greek Archaeologists' Association etc). It is put together in slightly longer paragraphs with greater detail.

The second story advances the news by giving a lot more detail of the robbery as well as more sources to give different angles on what happened and what that means. It talks about the importance of the robbery and the effects of it.

The second one may have been in response to CBC's news about the robbery. They had a longer, more thorough article at a sooner time than CNN and CNN may have been trying to catch up to that. It made the follow get more interesting details (about why, from the GAA, which wasn't included in CBC's article). They had to dig for different information to make their article stand out in a different way.

Train hopping kills Minnesota teen

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A 15-year-old boy was found dead by railroad tracks in northeast Minneapolis, reported Fox News.

Christopher Hanson was out with his friends Thursday night when the accident happened.
It was about 10:20 p.m. when a railroad employee found his body near the track, reported the Star Tribune.

When Hanson hadn't returned home for his 11:00 p.m. curfew, his mom, Melissa Standal, drove to one of Hanson's friend's house to see if he was there. He wasn't and she called the police.

Standal had warned her son and his friends Wednesday about the dangers of train hopping, after she learned that they'd sometimes made a game of hopping on and off the freight trains.

Standal said she wouldn't call her son a thrill-seeker.

"He was a people pleaser. He probably did it to be cool," she said.

Record number of twins at Andover High School

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The number of twins at Andover High School is at a possible record high of 28 sets, reported the Coon Rapids Herald.

The school is unsure whether this number is actually a record high for the number of twins in a single school but they have submitted the number to the Guinness Book of World Records and expects to hear where it stands in a few weeks.

Two sets of twins were born on the same day in the same hospital. Another pair has a mother that teaches a third set's little sister, according to reports by the Star Tribune.

"We're all connected, one way or another," said Peyton Zapzalka, to the Star Tribune.

Zapzalka and her sister are a rarity in the school as identical twins, because most of the pairs are fraternal.

Two other high schools appear to have had more twins in the past. J.J. Pearce of Richardson, Texas, had 32 sets of twins last year, but according to several parents, they didn't want to do all the paperwork for Guinness.

Currently, the official record holder seems to be Louis Marshall School in Brooklyn, N.Y., where there were 29 sets of twins in 1999-2000.

Santorum releases tax statements

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Republican Presidential candidate hopeful, Rick Santorum, released his tax returns for 2007-2010 on Wednesday Night.

Santorum released more returns than his fellow republicans and his show a steady increase from 2007 to 2009 before decreasing again in 2010, reported a New York Times blog post.

Santorum's tax releases show that his annual adjusted gross income went from about $660,000 in 2007 to $1.1 million in 2009 before slipping to $923,000 in 2010, earning Santorum 3.6 million in the four years, reported the Washington Post.

The republican has presented himself in the primaries as a social conservative and a Washington outsider, appealing to working-class and religious voters.

Santorum's returns show his tax payments rose from $167,000 in 2007 to $310,000 in 2009, a combined tax rate of approximately 28 percent. This puts him in the upper middle-class bracket.

Santorum's republican competitors have also recently displayed their income tax returns. Newt Gingrich paid about 31 percent while Mitt Romney paid about 14 percent. Romney's rate is lower because much of his income is from investments taxed at the capital gains rate.

UN Votes to crack down on Syria

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The U.N. General Assembly voted Thursday to implement a resolution demanding Syria end its brutal 11-month crackdown on anti-government protesters, reported Fox 9 News.

The resolution included endorsing an Arab League plan for a political transition that would require President Bashar al-Assad to yield some of his powers.

he vote in the 193-member world body on the Arab-sponsored resolution was 137-12 with 17absentations, although some countries complained of being unable to vote due to complications, reported the Washington Post.

The U.N's decisions are not legally binding but they are a reflection of world opinion. The resolution cannot be vetoed.

Efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria have stalled since China and Russia vetoed a resolution calling for the establishment of a government of national Unity. The Arab League hoped the U.N.'s vote on Thursday would reinforce that plan.

In Syria, forces have continued trying to suppress the revolt with attacks across the country. Twenty-six have been reported killed by human rights groups on Thursday.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he'll push to overturn the mandate because it is another example of government meddling, reported the Washington Post.

President Obama backed down on the requirement that religious-affiliated employers, like Catholic hospitals or colleges, cover birth control in their insurance plans. A new tweak of the rule said the employees would be offered free coverage directly from their insurer but employers wont have to provide or pay for it, reported Star Tribune.

The plan should drive up costs because birth control, along with other preventative care measures, is less costly than pregnancy.

Opponents say that unless makers stop charging for contraception, the cost will likely be passed to employers regardless.


Some Catholic groups supported the change, but others continued to say it attacks their religious freedom. This theme is also being used by the Republicans.

"There is no compromise here," said GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, a Catholic, reported by the Washington Post.

White House chief of staff Jacob Lew defended the newest plan as the best possible compromise in order to provide women access to contraceptives and respect employer's religious freedoms.

Information Progression Analysis

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When looking at the story from the Star Tribune about a man being shot, the progression follows a hard news inverted pyramid style.

The lead summarizes the main points: a man was shot in a hotel.

The next paragraph gives the information of the type of wounds, who the man was and when he died.

After that the story continues to walk through the other elements of the stories (witnesses, if there's a suspect/who that is, the relationship between the two, wider view of the shooting--comments from the police about the safety of the area).

I think the reporter did it this way because it gives all the important information right away, since it is a hard news story, and then proceeds to put all the other pieces in place. It is effective because it gets the news across and gives the reader the details they need, and then the ones they may want.

I think it could have been differently. The suspect could have been higher up, as well as the possible relationship between the victim and suspect.

Man shot in Downtown Hotel

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A 33-year-old man was killed in a shooting early Saturday on an upper floor of the Millennium Hotel in the city's first homicide of the year, reported the Star Tribune.

Jeremy Robert Shannon was found around 2:30 a.m. in one of the hotel's rooms and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Reports by Fox News said 33-year-old suspect Brian Griffin was taken into custody after being found in a nearby hotel. Griffin has a criminal history, including multiple charges of assaults, drug possession, terrestic threats and recklessly discharging a firearm.

Police spokesman Steve McCarty said the men likely knew each other.

Blasts in Syria kill at least 25

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Twin bombs struck security buildings in Aleppo Syria on Friday, killing at least 25 and injuring 175 according to state media statistics reported by the Los Angeles Time.

This has been the first sign of significant violence in Syria's largest city-- one that has stood by President Bashar Assad during the 11-month-old uprising against his rule, reported the Washington Post.


Damascus, Syria's capital, has seen three bombings in December and January that killed dozens. The accusations by the state that these are attacks by "terrorist" have been exchanged in each incident.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

State television showed footage of at least five corpses. The TV presenter said one of the blasts went off near a park and was claiming children among those dead, but none were in in the broadcast.

The other blast was outside the headquarters of a police force in a different part of the city.

antipathy for Obama outweighs qualms about Romney

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Interviews by The Associated Press at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Thursday found little passion for former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, reported the Washington Post.

However, nobody said they wouldn't support Romney if he was in the position to beat President Barack Obama.

Although it was only a day of interviewing in one area, if these feelings represent the wide-spread view, it means Romney may be able to rally conservative support if he is the Republican nominee, reported the Star Tribune.

Scott and Donna Olson, small business owners in the Milwaukee suburbs, said their dislike of Obama outweighs their feelings for the GOP contenders.

Donna Olson said "No one who wants to get rid of the Obama agenda will sit out the election because Romney's the nominee."

Jewish leaders oppose marriage amendment

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All across Minnesota, Jewish leaders are urging voters to oppose the marriage amendment on the 2012 ballot that would ban same-sex marriages in Minnesota.

Thirty-five rabbis from the Minnesota Rabbinical Association have signed a statement opposing the proposed amendment, reported MPR. The group is made of conservative, reform and reconstructionist clergy from 15 congregations ranging in place from Duluth to Rochester.

Eighteen orthodox rabbis did not sign the statement, reported the Star Tribune.

The statement says that the amendment is leaving families of the LGBT community vulnerable and unprotected by law.

"To honor an individual is to fight against discrimination in society for any reason, including race, religion, natural origin, gender, age or sexual orientation. Throughout history the Jewish community has faced discrimination, and therefore we will not stand by while others are targeted."

The Catholic church, on the other hand, has been a major supporter of the amendment.
Minnesota Catholic bishops are among those in a group called Minnesota for Marriage, in effort to get the amendment approved.

Source Analysis

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The storm-chaser story on the Star Tribune website uses a great deal of sources.
The sources range from the deceased's father, the Weather Channel, a forecaster at KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls, S.D, and a friend of Gabrielson. Even quotes from Gabrielson in interviews are used.

Most of the sources are generalize, except for Hartman from KSFY. Even Gabrielson's father is not mentioned by name. Many of the sources are companies or reports, like the Weather Channel, or interviews from WFAA-TV.

They are scattered throughout the story. Attributions are "so&so said" style.

I think this is an effective use of sources and attributions. It doesn't confuse the reader and it adds effective information where it is needed. It makes the story credible because you aren't just having the reporter tell you "He died in an accident" but rather having the situation around the accident explained a little as well as who the man was.

Minnesota Storm Chaser Dies

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A native Minnesotan storm chaser died in an accident involving four vehicles Saturday in Oklahoma.

Andy Gabrielson, 24, of Luverne, was killed when a driver going the wrong way caused a pileup on interstate 44 near Sapulpa, Okla. reports the Star Tribune.

Gabrielson was a part of The Weather Channel's "Tornado Hunt" and he contributed to severe weather coverage on the network.

Reports by Kare 11 said that Gabrielson stayed in Oklahoma City during severe weather season to be closer to the storms.

Another person was also killed, reports Kare 11, and alcohol is suspected to have been the cause of the crash.

Gabrielson leaves behind a 3-year-old daughter.

Thousands of protestors march against Putin

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Tens of thousands of Russians marched in bitter cold Moscow on Saturday to stand up against Putin's control.

Reports by the Washington Post, say that the protestors "have few illusions that they can drive Putin from power now, but for the first time in years Russians are challenging his control and demanding that their voices be heard."

Put was president from 2000-2008. When he was unable to take presidency for a third term because of laws against it, he was made prime minister but remained in main control.

The anti-Putin protestors have been connected largely through social networking sites and is driven mainly by the educated and urban middle class.

Police said over 130,000 supporters of Putin rallied just a few kilometers away, reports MSNBC.

The two hour peaceful protests, complete with signs saying "we are frozen in solidarity" and "they froze our democracy", was monitered by police without intervention.


20,000 Pounds of chocolate lost in PA Fire

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A fire at a candy factory in Pennsylvannia destroyed nearly 20,000 pounds of chocolate, reports ABC News.

According to the Star Tribune, the fire, which does not appear suspicious, broke early Friday morning at the packaging area of Sarris Candies in Canonsburg in Washington County.

A health inspection determined that Sarris must destroy an additional 5,000 pounds of candy that either contained smoke or was melted.

However, most of the companies product stock is stored in an off-site warehouse, so it survived.

New Ulm students play alarming recess game

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Fifth graders at a school in New Ulm have been playing a game they call "rape tag" at recess.

The game, played at Washington Elementary School, is like freeze tag. Instead of tagging somebody to unfreeze them, the children thrust their hips on them, reports KSTP.

A parent contacted principal Bill Sprung on Jan. 9 to notify him of the game. Sprung notified fifth-grade teachers who addressed the issues in their classes as well as notifying recess supervisors, according to the Pioneer Press.

A letter was sent out last Thursday, after rumors and speculation had spread on Facebook. The letter was intended to end speculation and give accurate information to all the parents.

Some parents are more disturbed since the letter went out, according to Sprung, because they now have to address sexually explicit topics, like rape, with their children.

U of M Athletics Director to Retire

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University of Minnesota Director of Athletics is retiring, effective June 30.

Joel Maturi, director at the University for 10 years, announced his retirement at a news conference on Thursday, reported the Star Tribune. He laid out his intentions in an email to athletes,coaches, staff and supporters.

Maturi put in long hours, 14 to 16 hour according to his statement at the press conference Thursday, and the work was affecting him physically.

Maturi expressed sadness at leaving the position but said "there is excitement because President Kaler has asked me to remain next year as a special assistant to the president."

University President, Eric Kaler, said search will start as soon as possible for the next athletic director, reports KSTP.

Maturi was hired to merge separate men's and women's department in 2002, says the Associated Press. He dealt with dysfunction and contention due to scandal and NCAA violations and was praised because of the way he guided players, staff and coaches of 25 varsity sports through the transition.

"Joel's legacy will be a lasting and shining one," said Kaler

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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