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December 10, 2007

International Story 12/9 EU ministers debate Kosovo's future

Kosovo remains a province of Serbia, but ethnic Albanians are threatening to declare independence once a deadline posted by the United Nations passes. Ministers from the European Union will meet to discuss its future and NATO will keep its 16,000 troops to deter any clashes.

The BBC uses a direct lead and follows an inverted pyramid format, spending most of the story on the recently failed negotiations and reporting on a previous flare-up three years ago as the BBC mentions the myriad of plans from foreign ministers regarding Kosovo's status. In the final news bloc, Iran's nuclear programming, an unrelated issue, is also reported.

Middle East news outlet Al-Jazeera also uses a direct lead, but uses it to report an assertion from Russia that the deadline is not a binding one. The first news bloc then follows the same direction as the BBC version. Al-Jazeera, when quoting sources, also uses partial quotes more frequently than other outlets, often mixing paraphrasing with a quote. The majority of the Al-Jazeera story focuses on the effort to make Kosovo an independent nation before the pyramid style directs readers to highlight which EU members fear recognizing Kosovo as a nation.

December 9, 2007

National Story 12/9 Oprah seeking to lift Obama

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey joined Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on tour Sunday in South Carolina as Obama competes with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

Although Oprah's support could bring the South Carolina primary to a dead heat, Clinton leads Obama in the polls, the main news value in theAssociated Press report of the story was Obama's remarks towards his audience. The article is developed in the style of covering a speech, where observations on the mood of the crowd, estimates of crowd size and anecdotes from speeches made by Obama and Winfrey occupied the first half of the article. The second half of the story examine's Winfrey's feelings about going on the campaign trail.

Reuters uses more of an anecdotal lead to drive the story with its main news value reporting predictions on black voter turnout in South Carolina. Obama is not attributed until a few paragraphs later. Both articles interviewed a speech attendant, but the Reuters differed by interviewing an institutional source after introducing data showing Clinton's lead has shrunk in the last few months.

Local Story 2 12/9 Vikings win fourth straight

All the scoring happened in the 1st half and Adrian Peterson was held to three yards rushing on 14 carries, but the Minnesota Vikings got the job done with a 27-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, forcing five turnovers.

Beat reporter Kevin Siefert uses an anecdotal lead and discusses what he believes are two groups of teams that emerge as the season comes to a close. Some interviews with Vikings players and head coach Brad Childress are used, but the article is more of an analysis describing the transformation of the Vikings since they were 3-6 four weeks ago.

There were also two Associated Press feeds of the game. The first was a short piece where the key plays were reported, very much like a highlight reel on newspaper. The second was more of a mix between reaction and reporting, although neither article interviews anyone from either team. A detailed breakdown follows the main news value in the second AP article.

Local Story 1 12/9 Chisholm woman killed in Colorado shooting

A 26-year-old Chisholm woman was killed from a gunshot wound at Youth With a Misson Center in Arvada, Colorado. Another person died and two more were killed in a separate shooting in Colorado Springs. An investigation is underway to see if the two are related.

Julianne Olsen of KARE 11 wasted no time developing an obituary style story for the 10:00 news, where an anecdotal lead featuring the aspirations of Tiffany Johnson, the Minnesota woman who was killed. Olsen gets a lot of information about Johnson despite only talking to one source and breaks her story up with details on the other victims in the Arvada shooting.

The Associated Press stuck with a direct lead on the Arvada shooting before briefly reporting on the Colorado Springs shooting. After using the first main news bloc, two more supplement the story. The first was a description of the gunman and reports from people who talked to students at Youth Wish a Mission Center. The following news bloc goes into the obituary style that Olsen composed for KARE-11.

December 3, 2007

International Story 12/2 Venezuelans reject Chavez's referendum

In a fiercely contested referendum on Sunday, voters said "No" to reforms that would have scrapped term limits on Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's rule, given him control over foreign currency reserves and boosted his powers to expropriate private property. About 51 percent of voters voted against the referendum as more than nine million of Venezuela's 16 million registered voters went to the polls.

CNN goes with a direct lead, mixing quotes from Chavez throughout the story, only getting one quote from the opposing side. Details on what Chavez did and observations, including thousands of people who gathered to sing the country's national anthem, make up the bulk of the story. The article ends explaining how the referendums would have affected power in Venezuela had they been approved.

Reuters reported their version of the story in a way not often seen in articles; their lead is almost split into two paragraphs. The first simply states that voters rejected Chavez's referendum, the second gives more details about when and what happened. Like the CNN story, Chavez remains the main news value for the duration of the article, ending it by informing readers that despite the defeat, Chavez still holds enormous power in Venezuela.

National story 12/2 BCS selections made, it's LSU vs. Ohio State

On the national sports scene, Ohio State will get a chance for redemption after last year's blowout loss to Florida in the Bowl Championship Series National Title Game where they will face LSU after BCS selections were made Sunday. Ohio State, who plays in the Big Ten conference where no championship game is held, got help from losses by No. 1 Missouri and No 2. West Virginia on Saturday. The title game will be played January 7th, 2008.

The San Francisco Chronicle took an approach many newspapers did following the BCS selection; sending a reporter to cover the story and reaction from college personnel on the results, followed by analysis of the selections with arguments for and against them. For the article, the lead plays out the dichotomy of no college football games on Sunday when the results are released. Only two sources are used for the story, with the article focusing more on the controversies that have surrounded the BCS selections in the last few years.

Pat Forde of ESPN offers more of a columnist recap in his article, reflecting on the college football's never-ending fountain of upsets that began when Appalachian State defeated Michigan in the first week. The second half of the story offers his opinions of the BCS selection system. A lot of games are attributed, although no interviews are conducted.

December 2, 2007

Local Story 2 12/2 Vikings back in playoff race

Three weeks ago, the Vikings looked like they were headed for the exits. Now, after a 42-10 victory Sunday over the Detroit Lions that was fueled by scoring 28 points in the second quarter alone, the Vikings are in a three-way tie for the second NFC wild card playoff spot with a 6-6 record.

An Associated Press story focused the lead on star rookie running back Adrian Peterson, who returned after suffering a leg injury three weeks ago against Green Bay. Typical with recaps of NFL games, the writer mixes in statistics with storytelling, reporting on the reversals of fortune for both teams (Detroit was 6-2 four weeks ago and now have lost four straight). Once the storytelling is done, the key stats are listed for those interested in player performances.

Kevin Siefert, beat writer for the Star Tribune, makes a joke for his lead as the Vikings by saying they were clinging to a 32-point lead midway through the third quarter, an almost insurmountable margin by that point. Continuing on the "fun" aspect of ripping the opponents apart, Siefer brings the human element of the story into play when the article talks about Kenechi Udeze's interception return that was halted by his slow-motion run; he got tackled from behind. He ends the article on a more serious tone with another player reaction as safety Darren Sharper commented on how good the Vikings can perform if running on all cylinders.

Local Story 1 12/2 Pipeline explosion kills two

Two welders were killed Wednesday in an oil pipeline explosion in northern Minnesota. The cause is still yet to be determined, but the explosion isn't expected to affect oil prices, although crude oil did rise $4 on Wednesday before fears were settled.

An Associated Press feed was brief, a quick surface story going over the most vital details of the case. The lead begins with an update on the news and then recapping what occurred on Wednesday before elaborating on further details about the section of pipe that will be investigated.

Scott Goldberg of KARE-11 emphasized his story on the victims who were killed, reporting it as something that can't be repaired. A few paragraphs are spent reflecting on the victims from Enbridge's vice president (Enbridge owns the pipeline) and one of the victim's father before shifting focus to how oil prices would be affected in the explosion, tailoring the story where people not related to the victims would be impacted.