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March 29, 2009

Media Analysis on Obituaries

The New York Times featured an obituary for Natasha Richardson, a well-known actress who died last week. The lead in her obit was just like the formula for leads we wrote in lab. It started with her full name, a reason why she was known, when and where she died. However, it was not followed up with a She was XX age, the first paragraph also explained how she died, her age, and where she lived. Sources in her obit included a spokesman for her husband, also a famous actor, a spokeswoman from the resort where the accident that lead to her death took place, references to her works, past interviews with her, references to articles about her in the Times, and her grandfather. The set up of the obit is in pretty much the same order as the ones we wrote, with the lead, the cause of death, her achievements, and the chronology. However the survived by part is stuck in the middle and the article ends with a quote from her grandfather. Its different than a resume because it goes into more detail about her life and is not written like a list.

Cause of Bridge Collapse Wrong

The New York Times reported that a new development in the cause of the I-35W bridge collapse points to the failure of a horizontal beam called a chord as the cause of the collapse, not the fracture of a key gusset plate that was originally the blame. The engineering firm, Thorton Tomasetti Inc. were able to figure out the actual cause, and claim the National Transportation and Safety Board got the cause wrong. The firm was hired by the lawyers representing the 117 families of victims and survivors from the collapse. Lead lawyer, Chris Messerly, says the firm was able to determine that the beam was under too much stress partly because of the hot weather, and the loads on top of the bridge the day of its collapse, according to the Star Tribune.

Gay Marriage in Vermont Threatened by Veto

Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont said in a news conference he will veto the gay-marriage proposal if it passes in the Legislature reported the Star Tribune. He said Vermont’s civil union’s law, the first in the nation to be passed in 2000, granted enough rights to same-sex couples and that marriage should be saved for a man and a woman. He hoped that by voicing his opinion on the bill up front they could move on from the debate more quickly. Law makers vowed to keep fighting for the bill after it passed in the Senate Tuesday by a voiced vote and a 26-4 vote in its preliminary hearing. The New York Times reported that some legislatures reacted with disappointment to the Governor’s statements and worried they would not have enough votes to override a veto.

Space Tourism

The Star Tribune reported the blast off of a Soyuz capsule carrying a Russian-American crew and American billionaire, Charles Simonyi, as a space tourist, Thursday for the international space station. The Russian rocket took off from Banikonur, Kazakhstan on schedule Thursday morning and is scheduled to return with Simonyi after 13 days. This trip will make Simonyi the first two-time space tourist. He told the Tribune the going rate for a seat to space was $35 million, a price he said would be going up in the future. The New York Times reported that the space capsule also carried two other passengers along with others, Expedition 19 commander Gennady Padalka, a Russian air force colonel, U.S. flight engineer Michael Barratt, a physician- astronaut, who will remain in space to man the international space station.

St. Paul Superintendent Moves to Austin

St. Paul school district’s superintendent, Meria Carstarphen, is leaving the district when he contract expires this June and moving to Austin, Texas where she was unanimously voted in by the Austin school board as their new superintendent according to the Star Tribune. Carstarphen is leaving St. Paul as the district faces a $25,000 budget deficit, and earning a 40% pay increase at her new job in the Austin school district. Carstarphen spent her years in St. Paul focusing on trying to bridge the achievement gap between white students and students of color. The Austi Board of Trustees President called Carstarphen “passionate” and “energetic”, and says she is someone who “understands the challenges of a diverse urban school district.” The Pioneer Press reported that the Austin school district is more than twice the size of St.Paul’s, and that her contract calls for four years, but they may add a fifth.

Craig's List Killer on Trial

The Star Tribune reported Tuesday that the man who lured women to his house by posting ads on Craig’s List and then murdered one of them is now on trial charged with premeditated first-degree murder and also faces a second charge of unintentional second-degree murder. Michael John Anderson, now 20, is a high school drop-out who was socially awkward and had a very hard time talking to members of the opposite sex. He posted ads on Craig’s List to lure women into his home. One ad in particular was for a babysitter. Katherine Olson, 24, of Minneapolis answered the ad and showed up at his house only to be found dead the next day stuff in the trunk of her own car. The prosecutor believes the murder was intentional and premeditated, however the defense states that it was his longing for sex that prompted Anderson to lure the women to his house and he had no prior intention of killing Olson. According to the Pioneer Press, her father, Rolf Olsen, testified Tuesday about the life of his beloved daughter. The next three to four weeks of trials will be focused on reaching the truth about whether or not Katherine Olson’s murder was premeditated or not.

March 21, 2009

Suicide Bomber Takes Lives in Iraq

A suicide bomber killed 33 Iraqi army officers on their way to a reconciliation conference on Tuesday, raising concerns about rising violence in Iraq reported the Star Tribune. This has been the second attack this week to kill more than two dozen people. An eyewitness told the Times that the attacker was wearing a national police uniform and struck the group in a marketplace in Abu Ghraib, just outside of Baghdad. The New York Times reported that the Iraqi Interior Ministry put the death tool at 33 with 46 injured from the bombing.

'Massage Therapist' Takes Cash

An Oklahoma man was robbed of his casino winnings by two women claiming to be massage therapists at the hotel the Associated Press reported in the New York Times. The man won about $2,000 at the Creek Nation Casino, then invited the women to gamble with him and go home with him for drinks around 4 a.m. Monday police said. The woman claimed they were massage therapists, removed his pants, and took off with his cash. After hearing his description, an officer recognized the 21-year-old women at a gas station and had them arrested after finding large amounts of cash and marijuana in their car.

Phish Returns!

13,800 screaming fans showed up at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va. Friday evening to celebrate the return of the four members of the band Phish that had not been on tour together since August 2004 reported the New York Times. When the band announced their reunion and return to touring in September, it appeared that almost every hotel within a 20 mile radius of the Coliseum was booked solid for the weekend shows. Not only that but very few people at the show paid the face value for tickets, which was $49.50, instead it seamed most people were paying hundreds for a ticket to one night’s show. The Times reported of rave-reviews with the almost universal opinion that Phish is much tighter and more energetic than the band that toured 5 years ago. However the Star Tribune reported that however the concert was a complete hit, the band was not the fearless, flawless Phish of the 1990’s pre-breakup.

Fight at High School Game Results in Arrest

St. Paul Police arrested a young man for possession of a stolen fire arm, and ticketed another for disorderly conduct after a fight broke out at a high school basketball game Saturday the Star Tribune reported. The showcase basketball game was held at Arlington High School, and the fight that broke out between fans on opposing sides took 20 police men to break up according to the St. Paul police spokesman. An 18-year-old Highland Park High School student was arrested after a gun fell from his waistband during a struggle with police. He had not threatened anyone with the weapon. The Pioneer Press reported about a dozen involved in the fight, but no serious injuries and that both the aforementioned young men were arrested.

Stepfather Abducts Teen

An Amber Alert was canceled after being issued Sunday when an abducted teen drove to safety and called authorities the Star Tribune reported. A 17-year-old girl was kidnapped Saturday, at gun-point by her stepfather around 7:30 pm in Fergus Falls. The girl now has a restraining order against her stepfather, David R. Sabby of Elbow Lake, Minn. Sabby, 46, approached the girl and her stepbrother (who is not biologically related to Sabby) in the parking lot of West Ridge Mall. With his gun drawn, he bound the boy with duct tape and left him in the car he arrived in, then fled with the girl outside of city limits according to the Fergus Falls Police chief. The boy was able to release himself later and called authorities who issues an Amber Alert, which was then cancelled when the girl called police from a gas station saying her stepfather let her drive away. Police took Sabby into custody shortly after finding him at a stranger’s door asking to borrow the phone. The Pioneer Press reported the girls name was Amy Henning, and her stepfather was charged with 14 counts of third-degree criminal-sexual conduct according to the Sheriff. Whether or not Henning was the alleged victim in this case is still unclear.

March 6, 2009

Media Analysis on Event Coverage

The Star Tribune published an advance for the upcoming Gopher women’s basketball game in the Big Ten NCAA tournament. The writer put an interesting spin on the story by interviewing the team’s captain and focusing on what it will take for them to win. After they have suffered so many loses in this tournament already they need to win this upcoming game against Iowa to stay in the tournament. The main source in the Gopher team captain and the angle is her opinion on what it will take for them to win. This turns the advance into a story, not just a listing.

Car Bomb Explodes in Baghdad Market

A bomb in a parked car exploded in a livestock market Thursday in the Babil Providence of south Baghdad. The New York Times reported the bomb killed 14 people and injured 38 others, most of them severely, however the Star Tribune reported a different story. According to the Tribune story, the bomb killed only 12 and wounded 60 people. Both sources agree that the bomb exploded during a busy time at the market and all victims were civilians. Witnesses of the bombing say the ground shook and there were bodies and animal carcasses everywhere. The area where is occurred is usually non-violent. It is a Shiite-majority farming district where the ruling tribes keep a close watch on outsiders. No one has taken responsibility for the act, although this shows that militants are still able to stage violent and bloody attacks even with the general decline in violence in Iraq.

California's Supreme Court Hearing on Same-Sex Marriages

California’s Supreme Court will hear arguments to the Proposition 8 measure taken last November by “traditional-marriage supporters” on Thursday according to the New York Times. The three hour hearing is just for the court to hear oral arguments to Proposition 8 and will take up to 90 days to reach a decision on the matter. Gay-Rights supporters have been rallying around the hearing, and plan to have a jumbo screen out front of the court for spectators to watch the hearing on. Advocates of Proposition 8 may be protesting, but the campaign manager for the leading group behind the proposal has asked that any supporters who choose to show up Thursday not provoke confrontation, and not carry signs unless they bare positive language. The Star Tribune reported that on Wednesday night, protestors marched from San Francisco’s pro-gay Castro District to City Hall to demonstrate public protest against Proposition 8.

Boat Accident Involves 2 N.F.L. Players

After their boat capsized, one man was rescued and three, including two N.F.L. players, remain missing in the Gulf of Mexico reported the New York Times. Nick Schulyer, was rescued Monday after being found clinging to the capsized 21-foot boat just off the coast of Clearwater, Florida. Of the remaining three men, Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith are N.F.L. football players, and Will Bleakley, a former player, are yet to be found. The four men went out on a fishing trip on Saturday when the waters turned rough creating almost 15-foot waves, and their boat capsized as they were pulling up the anchor. All 3 reportedly had their life jackets on, and the men’s size might help insulate them from hypothermia, but the amount of time they have spend in the water will be working against them. The Star Tribune reported the search ended at sundown Tuesday (coincidentally the exact time I am writing this, and the sun has just barely set) and the three men, including the two N.F.L. players were not found.

Teen Girls Rob Cab Driver at Knife Point

Two teenage girls robbed and carjacked a cab driver in Minneapolis, only to be caught the next day attempting the same thing according to the Star Tribune. The girls, ages 15 and 17, called for a taxi around 6 p.m. Monday then robbed the cab driver at knife point and fled in his vehicle. The victim was a driver for the Latino Americano Taxi Service. Both girls are facing felony charges and are being held in jail after being caught the very next day trying to rob a second cab driver. The names of the girls have not been released because they are juveniles. The cab, a minivan, was recovered undamaged. The Pioneer Press, which is more geared towards St. Paul news, did not cover this story at all, even days after it happened there was no report.

Two Boys Shot in Edina Parking Lot

The Star Tribune reported that two teenage boys, ages 15 and 18 were shot on Friday during what police are saying was a gang related fight in the parking lot of the Southdale mall. The names of the victims have not yet been released, and the shooter has not been identified after fleeing the scene. One of the boys was shot in the leg, and is not seriously injured, but the other boy was shot in the abdomen and went into surgery Friday night at Hennepin County Medical Center. Police say that customers and the teens involved in the fight scatted when 4 shots were fired from a .45-caliber handgun. Police are reviewing security tapes from the mall and parking lot to get any clues as to who the shooter might be. According to the Pioneer Press the shooter was believed to be a male age 15-18.

March 1, 2009

Meeting/Press Conference Media Analysis

I couldn't find a news report on a press conference or meeting that met the criteria for this media analysis so instead I found a news story on a speech and found the speech transcript as well so I chose to analyze that because I thought it would be fitting for the assignment.
President Obama gave a speech about withdrawing from Iraq at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Feb. 27, 2009. In the transcript of his speech, President Obama talked about his plan to withdraw all troops, but also that there would be a transferring of troops back into Afghanistan. His speech went into great detail about politics and economics of the war. The coverage of this speech in the New York Times and in the Wall Street Journal was a very short summary of the entire speech. The newspaper coverage highlighted the important parts about the plan and even repeated the total number of soldier and the total estimated cost of the war, but didn’t go into nearly as much detail. When the articles quoted the president, they chose quotes that were short and to the point, and they paraphrased everything else.