September 2011 Archives

Analysis: Structures

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Analyze the progression of information in a news story. How has the reporter summarized the important elements? How has the reporter ordered the information? Why? Is it effective? Could it be done differently? How?

In the NPR article about the typhoon in the Philippines, the reporter spread the important elements throughout the article like a narrative instead of a hard news story. The reporter was very descriptive.

The information was in a narrative-like order because of the way they phrased their sentences and in a so to speak, "beat-around-the-bush" way.

I think this particular article would be more effective as an in-depth analysis and not as a hard news story.

To be changed into a hard news story, there would be less description such as the sentence,

"Pounding rains obscured the view of anyone on the streets as soldiers and police scrambled to safely evacuate thousands of people in low-lying areas, where rivers and the sea spilled into shanties, hospitals, swanky hotels and even the seaside U.S. Embassy compound,"

to something more of the lines like this: Soldiers and police safely evacuated thousands of people in the pounding rain out of low-lying areas.

The second sentence is more succinct and gives the news right away in less words.

Greece Hanging On

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Greece continues to struggle financially as the government sorts through the complications with the ratings agencies and recession, Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis said.

"There's a wonderful madness in this whole thing- but there it is," Lambrinidis said to the L.A. Times.

Greece faces bankruptcy in mid-October, according to the Associated Press through Google News, if the country does not receive bailout funds from other European countries.

Germany, though the biggest economy in Europe, is said to be "not available" to provide the necessary money, Associated Press also said.

The Japanese government is considering to contribute to the cause in Greece because it exports heavily to Europe, International Business Times said.

Vikings Keep their Heads Up

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Vikings lost their third consecutive game Sunday to the Detroit Lions, 26-23. The football team had strong leads in the first half, but then "stay in the locker room" during half time, Associated Press said.

Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune said now would be a good time to switch out veteran Donavon McNabb with rookie Christian Ponder to quarterback for the team.

Head Coach Leslie Frazier said during a press conference that he was not planning to change anything about the quarterback position.

Frazier and the other coaches aim to improve McNabb's accuracy for the next game Sunday against Kansas City, Star Tribune said through Boston Herald.

"We've got the right guys on this football team. It seems dour right now, but we'll get it turned around," Frazier said to Pioneer Press.

Typhoon in Philippines

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A devastating typhoon struck the Philippines Tuesday. Thirty-nine people were killed and over 300,000 had to evacuate from their homes, CNN said.

The Philippines are hit by more 20 typhoons a year, Voice of America said, so disaster authorities were well prepared for the evacuation.

Before the typhoon hit the island, heavy monsoon rains soaked the area, the Associated Press said through NPR, in addition to 93mph winds.

Housing Market on the Decline

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Home sales has been on the decline for years but this past August, it has met a new all-time low.

"New home sales are on pace for the worst year since the government began keeping records a half century ago," NPR said.

These new homes are competing in prices with the surplus of existing homes as well as the ones in foreclosure.

Buyers in the home industry are not only having trouble qualifying for mortgages but also selling their current home, according to Forbes.

Banks like Wells Fargo don't make buying a house any easier when they are not as willing to lend and asking for larger down payments, NBC said.

Kill Aims to Get Better at Mayo

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Coach Kill checked into the Mayo Clinic Sunday after suffering another seizure.

Kill announced that he will take a temporary leave from the football team to address his health, Minnesota Daily said.

Kill had over 20 seizures in a span of six days since he was "stricken with a major seizure" during a football game against New Mexico State September 10, Star Tribune said, but the head coach was determined to keep coaching.

According to Pioneer Press Monday, there were no updates on Kill's condition.

Analysis: Attributing the Sources

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Source, sources, sources. In BBC News.
How many sources are used? 7.
Which sources are named? 4 with a name, 3 are spokesmen.
Are they scattered/ clustered together? They each have their own line in the story.
Is the information from people? Records? All people.
How does reporter set up attribution in story? The reporter introduces the attributed person with information of who they are and how they are relevant to the story.
Is it effective/confusing? The set-up is easy to understand and effective.

Facebook Expanding Horizons

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One of today's most popular social-networking sites announced its interest in partnering with television, film and music labels.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is collaborating with Netflix, Dow Jones, Hulu and others who offer their services to the users, NPR said.

Zuckerberg wanted the users to expand their horizons as Facebook was and with the installation of the Ticker and the Timeline, friends can explore the interests of their friends,International Business Times said.

Google+ has been a growing rival for Facebook and according to PC World, each new change that Google+ makes, Facebook creates their own version of it, such as video chatting.

Train Heading North toward Duluth

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The Federal Railroad Administration approved the plans for the Northern Lights Express Rail line to connect the Twin Cities to Duluth. The time factor of the project, however, is uncertain.

The rail line could be operational in five years or not until the year 2025, Minnesota Daily said.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation received a $5 million grant for the project, September 9, said.

Additionally for the proposed 2012 budget, the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority allocated $64,000 to the project, said.

Child Cage Fighting Video Goes Viral

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Two boys, under the age of ten, were filmed cage fighting in front of a live audience at a England pub September 10. The video went viral online and caused a debate with its viewers.

The event was serious enough for police to investigate but confirmed that the pub's license allowed to hold such events, BBC News International said.

The manager of the pub, Michelle Anderson, 39, said to BBC the boys were only "grappling" and therefore not in danger.

The British Medical Association and parents argued that there is danger in the sport, especially when the boys on the video were not wearing any protective gear.

Additionally, the environment that the boys were in, with a 250-strong paid adult audience, was described by the British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as "barbaric," ABC News International said.

Lutheran Church in Dinkytown Closing

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A new apartment complex is planning to replace the Dinkytown church at 1100 University Ave. SE after it closes the end of this year.

The University Lutheran Chapel has been struggling to keep the property for almost a year, said the Minnesota Daily.

The Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the board who decided to sell the Minneapolis property, are not on even terms with the chapel. The board attempted to sell the property in 2008, but was unsuccessful considering situation of the real estate market at that time.

"It's been a contentious relationship since I've been here and before that. It's a relationship that I've worked hard to strengthen and repair," Pastor of the Lutheran church, David Kind, said to Finance and Commerce.

Kind and fellow congregation members started a national fundraiser campaign in hopes of reaching a goal of $1 million to buy the property themselves.

The End has Come to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy

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The repeal on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was put in effect Tuesday. This policy forced members of the military to lie about their sexual orientation.

Over the 18 years that the policy was active, over 14,500 gays were discharged from the service, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said through Reuterst. Discharged persons can reapply now that the Pentagon is accepting applications from the openly gay, but there are no guarantees.

Stacy Vasquez, 30, applied to be reinstated in the military after being discharged under the policy, but after eight years of being out of the service might not make her qualified.

"It depends on how many people they're looking for, what background they're looking for, what skill sets they're looking for," Vasquez said to NPR.

For the gays in the service, one burden of many is lifted off their shoulders. The partners of gay military members still have the obstacle of receiving support when the federal Defense of Marriage Acts doesn't recognized same-sex civil unions, said the Washington Post.

Analysis: A Lead that Catches the Eye

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A conversational style type of lead in a water bottle ban article in the Star Tribune really grabbed my attention.

"The College of St. Benedict used to like bottled water enough to affix its logo to the plastic and hand it out at alumni events. Macalester College did the same. But bottled water isn't welcome anymore.

The lead gave what was necessary for a reader to understand the content of the article in a short paragraph, the who and what, while adding a little flair to the style of writing.

This type of lead made me want to read more and interested.

The elements in a lead are the who, what, when, and where. Collectively, they act as the "why this article should be read." Some elements are more important to emphasize in certain stories which in this case the who and what: St. Benedict and Macalester Colleges and water bottles.

The who and what are specific. Instead of Minnesota colleges, they give the names of the schools and the water bottles are directly linked to the schools with affixed logos. However, the reporter doesn't explain until later that they mean disposable water bottles and not reusable ones; that is, if you are looking at the lead itself and not the headline nor the accompanying photographs.

The reporter, Jenna Ross, used this approach in writing her lead as a way to get the reader to wonder and then would have to continue reading the article in order to answer their questions.

By Holly Olson

Dakota Meyer, 23, received the highest award in the nation Thursday for his extraordinary bravery when an operation in Ganjgal Valley, Afghanistan in 2009 went awry and support was disconnected.

Meyer described himself as not a hero in a 60-minute interview with CBS David Martin. He was just a guy from Kentucky doing his job.

His job resulted in running through a barrage of enemy fire multiple times, disregarding orders to standstill, and attempting to rescue his fellow comrades, who were already dead upon his arrival.

He saved 36 marines and soldiers, evacuated 12 friendly wounded, and killing multiple Taliban fighters within a six-hour long fight, said USA Today. A fellow Marine assisted him, who received the second-highest award, the Navy Cross, drove the Humvee that Meyer shot from as the enemy fighters started to swarm them.

In comparison, two army officials received career-ending letters of reprimand for failing to aid the soldiers when the Taliban ambushed them. The same two officers "were clearly negligent," and were the direct cause of losing the lives of the four marines trapped under fire, said retired Colonel Richard Hooker to CBS.

The mother and widow of two of the deceased soldiers were not satisfied with the punishment the commanding officials were given, said Star Tribune, and expected more severe consequences given the circumstances.

P-51 Mustang Crashes into Box Seats at Reno Air Race

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Nine people were killed by a WWII-era P-51 Mustang aircraft dive-bombing into the box seats section of the Reno Air Race grandstand Friday.

A total of 69 people were injured by the shrapnel flying at high velocities from the crash, said ABC News.

The pilot was a Hollywood stunt flier Jimmy Leeward, 74, and performed in this event for multiple years. Witnesses told reporters that the pilot appeared to maneuver the aircraft to avoid hitting the crowd seconds before crashing, said Fox News, CBS, and ABC.

Investigators suspect mechanical failure derived from the videos and photos taken by the spectators.

Six to nine months is the estimated amount of time for a full investigation, said Mark Rosekind of National Transportation Safety Board to CNN.

A Month of Fire in Northern Minnesota

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On August 18, a lightning bolt initiated a fire that spread across 100,000 acres of forestry. The largest fire on record before this was in 1918, said Duluth News Tribune.

Campers, business and home owners were evacuated from areas in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Lake and Cook counties. Only one relief cabin for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had fallen victim to the fire in terms of structures.

The fire burned for this long partly because it was naturally induced and "if its started by nature, the idea is nature can let it run," said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Mary Shedd to Kare 11 News.

Firefighters around the nation and the National Guard are extending their resources to help extinguish the fire.

By: Holly Olson

College of St. Benedict was the first school to stop selling disposable water bottles on campus in Minnesota and ninth in the nation. Macalester College joined in suit soon after.

Hydration stations are replacing water sold in vending machines and at convenience stores. This also includes giving bottles of water at sporting events and other campus events.

The purpose of the ban is to address environmental concerns as well as the human's basic right to access water without having to pay for it. The cost of water bottles is also a factor.

The ban also poses issues when it comes to hydrating at events and convenience. Students at St. Benedict's protested against the ban feeling that it was restricting their freedom of choice, reported by Kare 11 News

The University of Minnesota is less likely to participate due to its size and its contract with Coca-cola, said Jenna Wilcox of the Minnesota Daily.

Bemidji State and University of Minnesota Morris decided against the ban on their campuses at the moment. Instead, both colleges promote the use of tap water to reduce the use of bottled water, said Jenna Ross of Star Tribune.

By: Holly Olson
An Iranian judge needed to sign bail papers for the imprisoned hikers' release is on holiday until Tuesday.

The signature would prove that the bail for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal was paid for.

One judge had signed the papers September 17, said Bauer and Fattal's lawyer Masoud Shafiei to CNN, but a second signature is required in order to complete the process.

Bauer and Fattal, both 29, spent the past two years in prison convicted of spying and illegally entering into Iran. A third hiker, Sarah Shroud, was released September 2010 and allowed to return home, said Associated Press. All three were set a bail of $500,000 each.

President Mahmoad Ahmadinejad told Ann Curry of NBC that the hikers would be released in "a couple of days," in an interview Tuesday. Ahmadinejad added that Bauer and Fattal might accompany him when he travels to New York for the United Nation's general Assembly.

Ahmadinejad called the release of Bauer and Fattal a "humanitarian gesture," but to Iranian journalist Omet Mamuria the release and the UN general assembly is "hardly a coincidence." The release of Shourd was timed similarly to the General Assembly in 2010, said CBS Evening News.

Journalist Maziar Bahari notes to the Early Show Wednesday that the Iranian government is purposely unpredictable in order to create insecurity within their people as well as the international community. Furthermore, Bahari explains that Bauer and Fattal are "entangled" into an internal battle within Iran in addition to the U.S.

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