October 2011 Archives

Freak Snowstorm in the Northeast

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Halloween enthusiasts were taken by surprise when a freak snowstorm strolled in the Northeastern region October 29.

"This is absolutely a lot more snow than I expected to see today. I can't believe it's not even Halloween and it's already snowing," Carole Shepherd of Washington Township, N.J., said to NPR.

Over 2 million homes and businesses were without power due to the snow "toppling leafy trees and power lines," NPR said.

Authorities reported to CNN 13 deaths that were attributed to the storm, some to vehicular accidents, trees falling, and carbon monoxide poisoning of alternative heating sources.

Rick Perry Pushes to Compete for Votes

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The Governor of Texas tries to rebuild his reputation with different strategies after poor debate reviews and overpowered by his competitors.

Over the past several days according to the Christian Science Monitor, Rick Perry proposed a flat tax plan, and amongst other news planning to broadcast a new commercial reflecting the debate reviews in Iowa Monday.

"I'm a doer, not a talker," Perry says into the camera adding that he is, "not a slick politician," New York Times said.

Ohio Zoo Animals to Be Quarantined

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The widow of the man that released 56 exotic animals from their cages and then killed himself was denied retrieving the remaining six live animals Thursday due to a quarantine order from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The animals are held indefinitely at the Columbus Zoo under the order issued by Agriculture director James Zehringer.

Zehringer was led to believe that the animals should be examined for potentially dangerous diseases such as the herpes B virus, the Columbus Dispatch said.

There was also concern for the unsanitary living conditions of their homes before their release that could have exposed these diseases to the animals, Star Tribune said.

"These animals are the innocents in this situation, and our job is to really take care of them as much as we can and make sure their welfare is looked out for," Zoo president Dale Schmidt said to Star Tribune.

Debt Deal for Europe

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European countries agreed to a debt plan in Brussels Thursday.

The plan included banks to agree to take a voluntary 50 percent loss on Greek bonds and aims to reduce the country's debt by 40 percent, NPR said.

According to CNN Money, the debt plan aimed to resolve the debt crisis in Greece as well as instability in the banking sector and the expanding bailout fund.

GLBT Protection from Bullying in Schools

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Dispute over a Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy and anti-bullying has taken priority in the Anoka-Hennepin district.

Six students have filed suit against Minnesota's largest school system and charging for "failing to address the persistence and widespread harassment of GLBT students," Lacrosse Tribune said.

The Sexual Orientation Curriculum policy allows teachers to discuss issues involving sexual orientation but requires of them to stay neutral and does not "shield" gay and lesbian students from being bullied by their sexuality, Star Tribune said.

Schools in other states like California have implemented a new law that includes teaching about GLBT Americans in social studies whereas in Tennessee, a law dubbed "don't say gay" bill is being considered for teachers to not discuss homosexuality with middle school and elementary students, Lacrosse Tribune also said.

Libyan Leader Gadhafi Dead Thursday

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Moammar Gadhafi died on the way to a hospital after being shot in a cross-fire Thursday.

Gadhafi, 69, was in power 42 years and was hiding in a sewage pipe before being shot at.

In CNN's This Just In updates, it was a matter of hours before reporters could confirm that it was Gadhafi who was captured and killed.

With Gadhafi dead, Libya's people are rid of the world's longest-serving dictator, President Obama said through the Washington Post at a Rose Garden address.

"The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted. And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility," Obama said.

Algae Scum as Future Fuel

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Commercializing the green substance was the main event at the 5th Annual Algae Biomass Summit in Minneapolis lasting from Monday to Thursday.

Over 800 people attended the summit including 80 exhibitors which was double the number of last year's account, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.

Algae as an alternative fuel to petroleum was the key topic at the summit which was hosted by the Algal Biomass Organization.

"We are on the verge of breaking out on a global scale, not just here in the U.S.," Mark Allen, the president of the organization, said to Star Tribune.

The University of Minnesota facility in Rosemount has been researching on algae fuel but director of the University's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment John Sheehan said to Star Tribune to not expected anything soon.

"High-volume production is not going to be possible for at least five years and probably longer," Sheehan.

Malaria Vaccine in Action

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After two decades of research, a malaria vaccine was put to the test African babies and children.

Malaria claims around 780,000 lives each year, most of them children, even with insecticides and bed nets which had decreased the number of deaths by the disease by 200,000, the Seattle Times said.

The early results of the vaccine show it is 50 percent effective but proved to be an improvement, Newsday said.

"The addition of a malaria vaccine to existing control interventions such as net beds and insecticide spraying could potentially help prevent millions of cases of this dellibating disease," chief executive of the British drug company GlaxoSmithKline Andrew Witty said to the Sydney Morning Herald.

GlaxoSmithKline developed the malaria vaccine and tested it on 15,000 children in Africa, Seattle Times also said.

Fight in McDonald's Caught on Video

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A McDonald's cashier was caught on tape beating two unruly customers when he was chased behind the service counter Wednesday morning.

The video shows that two women started arguing with Rayon McIntosh, who was taking the order, after he questioned their $50 bill, CBS New York said.

Denise Darberau, 24, and Rachel Edwards, 24, were hospitalized with a cut, broken arm, and cracked skull, CNN said. Police said the two were also arrested and charged with menacing, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

McIntosh, 31, was also arrested and charged with two counts assault and possession of a weapon, CBS New York said. McIntosh previously served a ten year sentence for manslaughter of a high school classmate in 2000, NY Daily News said.

Analysis: Obits

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Look at a news obituary- not a paid death notice, but an obituary written by a reporter about the death of someone notable in the community. What sources are used? Does it have a standard obituary lead or an alternative? Does that lead work? How does the obit differ from a resume?

NY Times

Al Rooney of "60 Minutes"

Sources: CBS News, Time Magazine, New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen, The Advocate newspaper, Walter Cronkite (a colleague) and Mr. Rooney himself.

Lead: The reporter used a standard obituary lead and could have strayed from the standard lead considering the prominence of the person.

An obituary differs from a resume because of the narrative aspect of the person being profiled. In a resume, one just writes objectively and in an obit, the writing is more in-depth and with color of personal stories.

Analysis: Speeches and Meetings

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Find a story that is based on a public meeting. Look at the role the meeting itself played in the story. Was the story a recap? If so, what was the story's focus? Did it highlight one issue? Or did it cover a range of issues? Alternatively, is the story an advance of the meeting? If so, how did the reporter get the information? What are the sources tapped for the story?

TwinCities.com covered a public hearing in Ramsey County about the new Vikings stadium proposal. The focus on this hearing was to allow taxpayers to voice their opinion on putting anti-stadium language on the county ballot.

Analysis: Multimedia

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Compare two news organizations' multimedia options. What are the kinds of multimedia they feature?
Duluth News Tribune and Washington Post feature a photo slide show on their main pages.

The Washington Post has its own Multimedia tab at the top of the website whereas the Duluth News Tribune has a video and photo gallery link at the bottom of website in addition to a Photo of the Day and Top Picks Video in the middle of site as you scroll down.

The Washington Post's Multimedia page offers featured videos and many photo galleries where readers could also post their photos.

The Duluth News Tribune has videos and photos separated.

How do those complement NEWS stories?
Photos and videos make strong impressions on readers where text sometimes cannot accomplish.

The reader can feel that they were witnessing the event itself being able to see the event through a picture or video.

What kind of WRITING do you see in those items? What are the characteristics of that writing?
The writing that accompanies the visuals mainly describe the visual and then perhaps further detail about the context of the visual. This kind of writing helps the reader to understand what is truly going on in the visual, to not be led to misinterpretation, and is very straight-forward.

Skater's Life Saved by Two Zamboni Drivers

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A skater at Amsoil Arena was struck in the face by a friend's skate and cut into two arteries before two maintenance workers came to the rescue October 6.

Rich Mertz, 33, was playing a pickup game of hockey when his friend tripped on his hockey and sliced his cheek, Associated Press said.

One of the workers, Thomas Lund, 21, is a trained emergency medical technician and with his coworker Aaron Hinnenkamp, was able to keep calm for Mertz.

"I was terrified at first, but I had to remain calm to help him remain calm. Once he knew we were calm and relaxed, it helped him calm down," Lund said to the Duluth Tribune.

Catholic Bishop Indicted for Not Reporting Child Abuse

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The Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese, along with their bishop, faces a fine of $1,000 for waiting five months to expose a priest with hundreds of child-pornography images on his computer, Star Tribune said.

Bishop Robert Finn has become the first high-ranking U.S. Catholic official to have been charged for neglecting to tell authorities of child abuse and faces, in addition to the fine, one year in jail, Star Tribune also said.

Both the bishop and Diocese pleaded not guilty, Reuters said.


Ohio Public Sector Workers Fight Union Law

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Police, teachers, firefighter unions alike are fighting to repeal Senate Bill 5, which was enacted in March, and is up for debate for the future voting in November.

Senate Bill 5 limits unions collective bargaining rights and ask public sector employees to pay more for health care and pension benefits, said Ohio Senate president Thomas E. Niehaus to the Atlantic Wire.

Supporting and opposing sides to a repeal on Senate Bill 5 plan to fight for support and expected to spend approximately $20 million in phone-banking and door-knocking campaigns, the New York Times said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the national president and secretary of the nation's largest law enforcement union, the Fraternal Order of Police, are to visit Ohio and rally members in support of the repeal.

Occupy Protest Goes Global; Rome Riots

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People around the world joined in a collective protest in spirit of the Occupy Wall Street in New York Saturday.

The protest against corporate greed started in early September and now a month later has influenced nations around the globe including Germany, Spain, London, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Switzerland Portugal, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and the Philippines, NY Daily News said.

Citizens of Rome, Italy also participated Saturday but on a different level of intensity; to the extent of torching cars, breaking shop windows and enough damage for riot patrols to use tear gas and water cannons, Reuters said.

The amount of damage done from the riot was estimated at $1.4 million and dozens of civilians and several police officers injured, the Washington Post said.

Special Ed. Teacher Dead on Suspicion of Theft

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A father and son from Albertville were arrested for the death of a special ed. teacher at St. Michael-Albertville.

Delbert Huber, the 81-year-old father, told police that he shot and killed Timothy Larsen, 43, on the basis that Larsen stole $50 from his son, Timothy Huber, 45, and some tractor parts, Star Tribune said.

Delbert Huber could face charges of second-degree murder and his son could be charged as an accomplice, said St. Michael Patch.

Both Hubers are being held in the Kandiyohi County jail with bail set at $5 million for Delbert and $1 million for Timothy Huber, Star Tribune said.

Analysis: Follow-up Stories

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The first day story is very basic and not very detailed. The story gives a general idea of what it is about. The updated story/ the next day story is more detailed and provides more information about what is being reported or investigated.

The updated version of the story can provide accurate information and be more complete for the reader to understand.

In my opinion, the story should not be a response to a competing news organization report because the news story should be based on what the reporter knows of the story and just give the facts.

If a reporter did the follow in a response to another reporters version of the story, it would seem unprofessional to me. The story would be focused on the other news organization instead of the story content.

Three Women Receive Nobel Peace Prize

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded three women-activists the Nobel Peace Prize Friday.

Rights activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen and Liberian Pres. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with fellow activist Leymah Gbowee were recognized for their efforts to ensure the safety of women and women's rights, Associated Press said through Star Tribune.

All three women have a list of accomplishments, such as being elected as President (Johnson Sirleaf), that pertain to women being acknowledge as equals in society where the public sphere is dominated by men.

"We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society," the committee said to CNN.

Lynx Win First Title Since 1991

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The women's basketball team from Minnesota won the WNBA championship Friday after beating the Atlanta Dream 73-67.

The last time a Minnesota professional team had a title was the Twins in the 1991 World Series.

Seimone Augustus, Lynx forward, said to Star Tribune that their win should "give people of Minnesota something to smile about," and for other teams to follow up on. Augustus said she was also optimistic that the team would get more recognition.

A crowd of fans awaited the team at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Saturday and were well-received, the Pioneer Press said.

"To come home to this is really indescribable," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.

Occupy Protest Reaches Minnesota

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Over 300 citizens of Minnesota gathered at the Hennepin County Government Plaza Friday in support of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement happening in New York.

Since September 17, the movement's influence has spread across the nation in major cities expressing a basic message that government is not representing the people, the Minnesota Daily said.

Former Gov. Jesse Ventura made an appearance at the Minneapolis protest and compared the movement similar to those in the Middle East.

"I hope that this country can step forward and follow the leads that have happened in the Middle East to many of the Arab countries where people's movements rose up and you see the results of them," Ventura said to Minnesota Public Radio.

Organizers of Occupy Minnesota arranged with Minneapolis police for a long-term occupation in the downtown area, MPR said.

Steve Jobs Leaves Behind His Legacy

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The co-founder of one of the most successful technology corporations in the nation died Wednesday because of complications of pancreatic cancer, a family friend said to NY Times.

Steve Jobs was 56-years-old and was battling with cancer since 2003, LA Times said.

Jobs had started Apple Inc. in 1976 with a high school friend Stephen Wozniak and over the years watched the company grow into the great technological influence it is today.

According to International Business Times, the news of Jobs' death have cause an "outpouring" of tributes from the many Apple fans, celebrities and business leaders alike around the world.

American Woman Cleared of Murder Charges

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The Italian jury cleared 24-year-old Amanda Knox Monday of all charges after 4 years of persecution/custody.

Knox was arrested on suspicion of murdering her British roommate, Michelle Kercher, in Perugia, Italy, CNN said.

The victim's family is now left with no answers and confusion, the Associated Press said through the Washington Post, especially when the decision against Knox two years ago was "so certain."

"We are left back to square one," Kercher's brother, Lyle, said to the Associated Press.

Knox returned home in Seattle Tuesday reuniting with family.

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