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March 7, 2007

Virtual Anxiety

this story had potential for me, someone here at the U who hates flying and has nightmares every couple months about it.
The reporter wasted too much time in getting to the effectiveness of the treatment through virtual reality (which i think sounds like a crock. how is seeing some obviously computer generated images through some headset gonna make me feel like i'm on a plane?! that's like playing a video game.)
But, obviously, the reporter faced the challenge of newsworthiness here. Her opinion was that what the treatment is was more important to be put at the top. It's not like she failed - i'm most likely part of the minority audience that a writer can't spend his/her time fretting over and trying to appease. But she certainly did face the challenge of story construction and value judgement.

February 18, 2007

More than a year after death, man's body found in front of TV

holy crap. Here's a quote from the story: "The partially mummified body of a man dead for more than a year has been found in a chair in front of his television, which was still on."
This is crazy. the reporter here did a good job wasting no time in getting quotes from people who said the same thing the reader was surely thinking: how the hell did this happen? How come no one was alarmed when they hadn't seen the guy?
I guess we'll have to wait for those answers. It said he had a wife already dead, but nothing about children.

February 6, 2007

Astronaut To face attempted murder charge

I just read this story on startribune.com about some crazy astronaut who flew off the handle. Apparently she had a crush on some other astronaut, and when she found out that guy was seeing some non-astronaut woman, astronaut-girl donned a disguise and tried to pepper spray the woman. The story was good because it was full of crazy details. The reporter gave pretty extensive lists of the weapons and items astronaut girl had with her - buck knife, bb gun, $600, garbage bags, a wig, a trench coat, pepper spray - and also the reporter got gross details about how Nowak, the astronaut girl, drove from Houston to Orlando to confront the woman and wore diapers for the drive so she wouldn't have to stop the drive (gross!). The reporter also did a good job by getting comments from other astronauts and a couple of higher-ups at NASA, which revealed that though she's being charged, her status as an astronaut has not yet changed. However, the man she pined for and the woman she is charged with trying to kill didn't comment by the time the story was printed. All and all though, good content, good coverage. i hadn't heard about this until now and the piece wasn't written like follow-up, it gave me the full story.

January 27, 2007

Live turkeys used in Pennsylvania archery competition

this pisses me off. I'm not a vegetarian, and i'm not some left-wing bleeding heart, but who the hell ties up animals and charges people money to shoot them with arrows. Now, turkeys aren't exactly like puppies, but doesn't picturing this event kind of make you sick? I agree with the inspector who said that it was a gutless act of cruelty and the people there were there to have fun by torturing animals.
Good hard news reporting, and it was good they went to try to get information from the clubowner and the sportsmen's clubs. those would be two different perspectives worth having in the stories, and the fact that they would not or could not comment does more for the emotional impact of the story.
http://www.startribune.com/484/story/963251.html