December 9, 2007

Von Maur store in Eden Prairie closes early after threat

By Ryan Prescher

This was certainly a slow weekend for news. I think it’s safe to assume that crime is down due to the cold. Only a couple of news stories were important enough for several news sources to publish. One that caught my attention this morning was the closing of the Eden Prairie Von Maur store. The Pioneer Press article “Eden Prairie Von Maur store receives threat, closes Saturday night? by Nick Ferraro stated that the store closed after a threat was called in around 6 p.m. Saturday. Considering what happened earlier in the week where a gunman shot and killed eight people and then himself at a Von Maur store in Omaha, authorities did not want to mess around. After the call was received, store managers and Eden Prairie Police evacuated and closed the store for the rest of the evening. Police will continue to investigate the case, the article stated.

Almost all of the news sources in the metro had an article about this incident, but the Pioneer Press was the only publication that had a reporter who contributed to the story. Everyone else used the AP story. This article had specific quotes and more information than most other articles. For example, the article starts with specific details of what happened, and there is a quote from the Eden Prairie Sgt. Bill Wyffels, then there is specific information about where the story is located and why this incident was treated the way it was. Lastly, the article explains that police are still investigating, and the threat did not appear to be anything really serious.

A couple other news outlets that had this story were WCCO.com, KSTP.com and the Star Tribune. They all used the same AP story, and while much of the information was the same, the article was incredibly short. There was only one source, which was the police, and there were very few quotes. Overall, it is slightly disappointing to see that none of the other news stations did more to enhance this story, especially considering what took place earlier this week. The Pioneer Press did a reasonable job in making the story important and providing quotes. Most importantly, the Pioneer Press made the article important without over doing it.

December 8, 2007

Two window washers fall 47 floors in New York City

By Ryan Prescher

As two window washers stepped onto the scaffold from the roof of a 47-story apartment Friday morning in New York City’s Upper East Side, it fell straight to the plaza below, the MSNBC.com article “NYC window washer dies after 47-floor plunge? by the Associated Press stated. Both of the men were brothers. One, Edgar Moreno, 30, died at the scene. His 37-year-old brother was taken to a hospital in critical condition. New York authorities are still investigating why the scaffold failed. About three hours after the accident, a piece of glass from a window on the top floor, where the scaffold had been attached, fell to the ground. No one was hurt, authorities said. According to data from the federal bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006, 43 construction workers died on the job in New York. In 2005, 23 people died.

The MSNBC.com article comes only three days after a Minneapolis man died after falling 5 to 6 floors at the IDS building. This article paints the reality that life can change very quickly. The beginning of the article started with the most important information such as where did it happen, what took place and unfortunately, who died. There were several sources listed, and many statements from the company that employed the two men. In addition, the article also included statistics about how many workers have died in New York City construction.

Another source that included information about this unfortunate incident was CNN.com. The only form of information that I found was a breaking news video titled “Window washers fall 43 stories.? There was no article in attachment with the video, and not all of the information provided with the video was confirmed. The video was added on Friday right after the incident happened, and CNN has not updated it since. For example, information in the title is wrong. The building was actually 47 stories. In addition, the video has only two people, both of whom are reporters. The reporter that is on the scene and providing the information was able to get some facts confirmed by the New York City Fire Department, but there is a lot of information still missing.

South Korean coast affected by large oil spill

By Ryan Prescher

Due to a damaged supertanker, an oil spill is affecting the shoreline of South Korea’s western coast, the CNN.com article “Spill oozes onto S. Korean coast? by the Associated Press stated. The coastline, which is about 95 miles southwest of Seoul, and is popular for its scenic beaches, fish farms, national maritime park and resting stop for migrating birds. More than 2.7 million gallons of oil poured into the ocean Friday from a 146,000-ton Hong Kong supertanker after a barge carrying a crane slammed into it, the article stated. Dozens of South Korean ships were dispatched Friday to contain the spill, but strong winds spread the oil spill to an area about 1 mile wide and 10 miles long. The ship company stated that the ship was moving from a construction site, lost control after a wire linking it to the tugboat was cut due to high winds, waves and currents. Many aspects of the incident are still being investigated, the article stated.

This unfortunate event is the most recent of many oil spills it seems like. The CNN.com article did a reasonable job in reporting this incident. It was rather long considering how much information is likely unknown right now. Most of the paragraphs were much longer than most other paragraphs in a normal story. Regardless, I thought it was interesting that the reporter described the area of the spill in such detail. By specifically explaining what the area is known for, it made the article and incident all that much more captivating. In addition, it was nice to see so much information on what the coast guard has been doing to restrict the spill from spreading. Many sources were included, and there was a lot of background information about other oil spills.

Another source that included an article about the spill was MSNBC.com. The article “South Koreans struggle to clean up ‘sea of oil’? also by the Associated Press, started out with a much more anecdotal lead than the CNN.com article. The information is the same, but the really big difference is that the first sentence is much more captivating. The reporter set the tone and scene for what information would follow. In addition, this article used similar descriptions for the beach area that is affected, but this came much later in the article instead of right away after the lead. This article included many of the same sources, but it appears that MSNBC.com did some reporting on their own as well. A few environmental activists are quoted in the article. Lastly, this article also has the same extensive background information about previous spills.

December 7, 2007

Teen shot outside Minneapolis high school

By Ryan Prescher

A teenager was shot outside Roosevelt High School in south Minneapolis Thursday night, the WCCO.com article “Teen shot, possibly in face, outside Mpls. H.S.? stated. The shooting occurred at 40th Street and 28th Avenue at about 9 p.m., and police are still looking for suspects. Police believe that a group of young men were standing in the parking lot after a basketball game at the school, and someone from about 500 feet away came and shot them. A bullet hit one young man, possibly in the face. A spokesman for the Minneapolis Public Schools said the student that was shot is not attending public schools in the district. The young man was taken to HCMC, and his injuries are not life threatening. Police are still investigating.

The WCCO.com article was, surprisingly, well written. Usually, I find WCCO.com articles poorly written, primarily because there are so many spelling errors and because they lack sources. This time, it seems like a reporter got it right. I wasn’t able to find this story on KSTP.com, which is where I usually get most of my news. The article used the inverted pyramid lead, and provided the most important facts immediately in the article. It was nice to see sources such as witnesses, police and even a Minneapolis Public School spokesman.

Another source that had an article about the shooting was the Star Tribune. The article “Teen shot outside Roosevelt High School? by Tim Harlow contains many of the same facts, but the order and the style of the writing makes the information easier to understand and read. This story used similar sources such as the Minneapolis Police and the spokesman for the Minneapolis Public Schools; however, this article also used the assistant superintendent of Emergency Response and Crisis Management. While I consider this article far superior to the WCCO.com article, there are a few places where attributions are missing. The first paragraph starts out with the Minneapolis Park Police (not sure if he meant just Minneapolis Police), but the second part, where most of the information about the shooting is given, has no source. This mistake is very rare within the Star Tribune and is usually left to the broadcast news stations such as WCCO.

December 2, 2007

One person still missing after fire at oil refinery

By Ryan Prescher

An employee is still missing after a fire took place at the Marathon Petroleum Co. refinery in St. Paul Park on Saturday, the KSTP.com article “Employee still missing after fire breaks out at St. Paul Park oil refinery? by the Associated Press stated. The fire started around 8:30 a.m. in a fuel oil tank and was declared out around 9:30 a.m. The refinery’s human resources manager, Bob Behr, stated there were no immediate reports of injuries, but that one employee was still unaccounted for at midday. The employee was working in the area of where the fire broke out, the article stated. In addition, it is unclear of how the fire was started, and an investigation is still ongoing.

The KSTP.com article was very clear about what is known at this time about the fire at the oil refinery. In addition, to the statements from the refinery about the fire, there is a lot of information about what the plant does. For example, the article explained that over 75,000 barrels of oil are produced at this plant per day. Also, there are many sources that are used such as the human resources director and Washington County authorities. Lastly, the article makes mentioning of the pipeline explosion earlier in the week near Clearbook in northern Minnesota that killed two people.

Another source that contained information about this story was WCCO.com. The article “Employee missing after Twin Cities refinery fire? also by the AP, is the exact copy of the story that appeared on KSTP.com. There is no difference in the wording or structure of the sentences. All of the information is the same, and the sources are the same. Even the last statements about the Clearbook pipeline explosion are the same.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press also included an article about the fire. The article “Marathon refinery employee still missing after fire? by Nick Ferraro was relatively similar in the information that was provided, but the sentences and word structures are very different. This article was much easier to read because the sentences are shorter, and the most important information is at the top. In addition, this news article included statements from the Marathon Petroleum Company spokesman. In comparison to the last two articles, this one does not make any mentioning of the pipeline explosion.

December 1, 2007

ETA of Spain responsible for the shooting of two guardsmen in France

By Ryan Prescher

A Spanish civil guard died and another was wounded after being shot by members of the Basque group ETA in southern France, a BBCnews.com article “ETA blamed for killing in France? stated. The two men were participating in a “joint surveillance operation? with French police against ETA suspects, the article stated. The two “plain-clothed officers? were gunned down from a close range as they were entering their cars outside a restaurant. This is the first death that has been linked to the ETA since the group ended a ceasefire in June. There was another ceasefire in March 2006, but the group broke it in December 2006 when two people were killed in a car bombing at the Madrid airport, the article stated.

BBCnews.com reported this story in a very informative manner. Not only were facts about the shooting presented, the article included a mountain of additional information about the ETA group that some readers may not have known. In addition, there are several sources from French and Spanish police forces to interior ministers. This article contains more quotes than I think most American based news stories have, and the quotes seem to be much longer than what is normally the standard in the States.

Another source that included information about the ETA killings was CNN.com. The article “ETA gunmen kill Spanish guard? by Al Goodman is surprisingly very informative. The article contains all of the same information that the BBC article contained such as the locations, names, etc. In addition, this article contained a piece of information that the BBC news failed to report, which was that there were three ETA suspects, and immediately after the shooting, they held a French woman and her son hostage, but quickly released them. Although this article does not contain nearly as much quotes and sources as the other source, it is easier to read and contains the information about the ETA group that is necessary to understanding the context of the story.

Double murder in Minneapolis

By Ryan Prescher

Minneapolis Police were called to a south Minneapolis apartment building Saturday where an argument led to the shooting death of two men, the Star Tribune article “Argument led to two shooting deaths? by Jim Adams stated. The double homicide took place at the 3100 block of Pleasant Avenue S. around 7:30 a.m. Police found a man’s body in the hall of the apartment, and a second man ran out of the building and died in a nearby ally from his gunshot wounds, the article stated. Police believe the shooting does not appear to be random, and that neighbors are not in danger of a gunman in the area. There is still some uncertainty if anyone else was involved and whether or not there were weapons recovered. No one is in custody at this time, and police are still investigating.

The Star Tribune article did a reasonable job reporting on the many aspects of this case. There is a specific location, which other sources did not mention. In addition, there is more bulk to the story. While there is a lot of information that is obviously not known at this time, the reporter tried to make it reader friendly and interesting. The only major drawback in the story is the lack of sources. The only main attribution in the article is police. It would be nice to have that people aspect. I am sure there were many worried and upset neighbors nearby.

Another source that included an article about the south side double homicide was WCCO.com. The article “Two killed in Minneapolis double-homicide? by the Associated Press reports much of the same information and uses police as its main source. One major difference is that there is no interesting quality to the article. There are four sentences, and that is it. It almost seems like bits and pieces were taken from another article then compiled together. This article is choppy and not very reader friendly.

November 30, 2007

Woman kills two kids in convenience store

By Ryan Prescher

A 22-year-old woman in Augusta, Georgia killed her two children in a convenience store bathroom on Thursday, the Atlanta station, WSB-TV 2 News, reported in “Police: Mom stabs, kills her two children.? The children were taken into the bathroom with their mother, Jeanette Michelle Hawes, where police believe she stabbed them to death with a steak knife. A worker at the Food Mart store reported hearing a scream from the bathroom and called police. Jordon Hawes, 1, and Shakayla Hawes, 3, were pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital. Jeanette was charged with two counts of murder and with possession of a knife, the article stated.

The article from the Atlanta area news station did a very good job in reporting this news story. While this was likely the first reporting of this incident, with all the additional witness reports, it almost seems like a follow up story. This story included many sources, many of which are witnesses, which ultimately could take away credibility. Overall, the most important information is provided right away in the article, and there are additional facts and accounts stated throughout the story.

The news outlet, CNN.com, sourced WRDW-TV News out of Augusta. The article “Witnesses in shock after mother stabs toddlers to death? by Lynnsey Gardner, contains much of the same information, but like many stories, the information is in a different order. In addition, there are some disputing facts such as when the children were pronounced dead. This story also includes many witness accounts, but the quotes that are used are extremely long. Overall, the information contained in the story is similar, and most of the sources are witness accounts.

November 25, 2007

2-year-old girl in box identified

By Ryan Prescher

The body of a 2-year-old girl that washed ashore in a box in October in Galveston, Texas has been identified, the CNN.com article “Police identify girl found dead in box; arrests made? by Hank Bishop stated. The child that was nicknamed “Baby Grace? has been identified as 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers. Authorities are certain this is true, but they are still waiting for more DNA tests, the article stated. The girl’s mother and another person have been arrested the article stated. They have been charged with “injury to child and tampering with physical evidence?, and bonds have been set at $350,000 each.

The CNN.com article was very well written. It not only included specific information about the identity of the child and arrests that were made, but the article also included a lot of background information about what initially occurred a month ago. There are several sources listed in the article. In addition, the article has an explanation for why authorities deemed the nickname for the case “Baby Grace?. The authorities and community have been deeply affected by this incident, and the article makes this point very clear.

Another source that included an article about the new information in this case was ABCnews.com. The article “Charges in Child Case: Is it ‘Baby Grace?’? by Angela K. Brown stated much of the same information, but in a different order. This article follows the inverted pyramid method while the other article is more like a follow up story. In addition, this reporter interviewed family members of the mother that was arrested. The child’s grandfather and father, who live in Ohio, stated that authorities asked them not to comment, but the father stated he is still hoping his daughter is not “Baby Grace?. This article did not include as much information about what initially took place in October, which is necessary to explain the importance behind the believed identification.

November 23, 2007

Light-rail train kills man at 46th Street and Hiawatha Avenue

By Ryan Prescher

A northbound train hit a man at 2:45 p.m. at the 46th Street Station Wednesday in South Minneapolis, the Star Tribune article “Light-rail train hits, kills man in south Minneapolis? by Courtney Blanchard stated. All the safety warnings were working at the time of the accident, and police are still unclear about why the man was on the tracks, the article stated. The victim, who died at the scene, did not have any identification. This is the second death at the 46th Street Station and the fifth death along the Hiawatha light rail line since it opened in 2004. Buses transported people along the line until the trains started running around 4 p.m., the article stated.

The Star Tribune article is well written and very well organized. All of the most important information is up towards the top of the story with the less important information at the bottom. The authorities are sourced along with the Metro Transit Assistant General Manager Julie Johanson. In addition, the article has statements by Chris Fitzharris who was trying to get to the airport Wednesday evening. The following statement was the ending of the story, “I’m pretty sure this will be the start of all my delays,’ Fitzharris said.? While the shutdown of the light rail line was an inconvenience, a man died. By adding this component into the story, it makes the death of the man less important.

Another source that reported this accident was KSTP.com. The article “Man killed by LRT in south Mpls.? by Nicole Muelhausen, was very concise and reported on what was most important to the story. The article explained where the accident happened and where trains were shut down. According to this article, train service was only shut down from Franklin Avenue to Fort Snelling. In the Star Tribune article, it did not specifically state. The article also states the increase in number of passengers due to Thanksgiving, but the article ends with a more serious note stating that this is the fifth incident since the light rail opened.

Cruise ship strikes ice in Antarctica

By Ryan Prescher

A cruise ship with more than 150 passengers and crew aboard is believed to have collided with an iceberg near Antarctica, the CNN.com article “Sinking ship ‘struck iceberg’? by the Associated Press, stated. All were rescued and there have been no injuries reported. They were forced to evacuate the boat and travel on lifeboats in sub-zero water, the article stated. A Norwegian cruise ship MS Nord Norge took the passengers and crew to King George Island in the South Shetlands. The ship was on its 12th day of a 19-day tour when it struck a large “submerged piece of ice? around 10 p.m. ET Thursday. Several nationalities were aboard including 14 Americans. It is uncertain if the ship will sink, but there is a hole the size of a fist and there is some cracking, the article stated. Gap Adventures, based in Toronto, Canada, owns the ship.

The CNN.com article was very choppy. There did not seem to be a flow to the article. Instead, I felt like the article simply stated random facts without any real theme or angle. While this is a breaking news story, there could have been more organization. In addition, to the lack of organization, I felt like the story was missing more information from important sources. For example, there is very little information from the officials and company that owns the ship.

Another source that reported on this story was MSNBC.com. The article “Stricken cruise ship off Antarctica evacuated? also by the AP is entirely different. First, the beginning section of the article contains many of the same facts, but the organization is much better. In addition, the article has several quotes from Susan Hayes of G.A.P. Adventures of Toronto about the safety of the passengers and the rescue mission-taking place now. In addition, the article includes several statements from the British Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard and Argentinean Coast Guard about what happened, the position of the boat and thoughts about will happen to the boat.


November 21, 2007

Woodbury Kowalski’s closes after fire

By Ryan Prescher

The Woodbury Kowalski store is closed this week after a fire in the generator room on Sunday, the KSTP.com article “Fire closes Woodbury Kowalski’s on eve of Holiday rush? by Nicole Muehlhausen stated. Everything in the store, including canned goods, were thrown out, the article stated. It is believed that damage totals could reach $1 million. The owner, Jim Kowalski, commented that the store had been fully stocked for Thanksgiving. According to the article, the backup generator turned on after an electrical outage on Sunday and ignited something nearby. Many of the “non-perishable? items are being transported to other locations in northern Minnesota to be sold as damaged goods. Kowalski stated the store should be open by Sunday afternoon.

The KSTP.com article did a reasonable job in reporting this news. It was unclear if this news story was covered earlier in the week, but this article was more like a news feature. While the article started with a hard news lead, the majority of the article was based off what Jim Kowalski stated. The focus was not necessarily on the fire, but on the impact or loss of the fire. In addition, the article included other information such as what may have caused the fire and where some of the canned goods are being transported. The article also touched on the fact that this week is one of the busiest for grocery stores.

Another source that included a story about this fire was the Star Tribune. The article “Woodbury grocery fire won’t stop the turkey? by Kevin Giles, leads with a much different angle. The Star Tribune article states that people who ordered turkeys through Kowalski’s will still get them, but the store is closed. The article used Mike Oase, the company’s vice president of operations, as the main source. The article does not mention anything about all the food that was thrown out. In fact, the article states that besides the workrooms, there was no further damage. The article also states where customers can find another Kowalski’s store. This article seems to be lacking a lot of additional information that is important to the overall story.

November 18, 2007

Mobile home blast kills 2 in North Mankato

By Ryan Prescher

While this is not news within the metro, this is one of the more important stories within the state this weekend.

Two people died after an explosion and fire at a mobile home park in North Mankato, the KSTP.com article “Explosion kills two in North Mankato? by the Associated Press, stated. Police say they received several 911 calls early Friday morning. When firefighters arrived at the Camelot Mobile Home Park, the rear of the mobile home was “fully engulfed.? Two bodies were found, but the names have not been released, the article stated.

The KSTP.com article presented the most important information regarding the fire and deaths. It is surprising the article did not include more sources. The only source included is the authorities. In addition, the article does not appear to have been updated since Saturday morning. It is likely that there are new updates, but the article does not report them.

Another source that included this story was the Star Tribune. The article “Two bodies found after explosion in mobile home? by Sarah Lemagie, is entirely different from the KSTP.com article. First, the article starts with an anecdotal description of a nearby neighbor who saw the mobile home start on fire. Secondly, there are several sources such as neighbors, police and the Ramsey County medical examiner. The story is set up in much more informal way. For example, the KSTP.com article is written in an inverted pyramid form, while the Star Tribune article is much more story like. In addition, the article also updates readers about the names of the victims.

November 17, 2007

Alcohol may be related to the deaths of beach house victims

By Ryan Prescher

Alcohol was found in six out of the seven college students that were killed in October in a beach house fire in North Carolina, the CNN.com article “Alcohol found in 6 victims of beach house fire? by the Associated Press stated. Even though alcohol was found in their systems, the prosecutor does not believe drinking played a role in the deaths. The blood-alcohol levels ranged from .16 percent to .29 percent, the article stated. The legal level is .08 percent, and Dr. John Butts, the state’s chief medical examiner believes the alcohol levels may have affected the students’ coordination, the article stated. There was no trace of alcohol in the seventh victim, and six other students staying at the house were able to escape the blaze.

The CNN.com article is well done. There are several sources to support the information that was provided. In addition, the article gives information about the fire that happened as a refresher to readers, and it gives an update on the investigation. According to the article, it is believed that the six students died from carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation. In addition, the article stated that investigators have not ruled out improperly discarded cigarettes.

Another news source that reported this development was MSNBC.com. The article “Examiner: Beach house fire victims intoxicated? by the Associated Press is almost exactly alike. The only difference between the CNN.com source and the MSNBC.com source is that MSNBC.com included a video and special interview with the seventh victim.

There were very few other sources on this incident.

Cyclone in Bangladesh leaves several dead and many injured

By Ryan Prescher

Death tolls are expected to rise today, after a large cyclone made landfall on the western coast of Bangladesh Thursday night, the CNN.com article “Cyclone death toll hits 1,700? by the Associated Press said. A total of 1,723 people have been confirmed dead, the article said. Aid workers expect to find “scores more bodies? in remote villages where large numbers of people live. In addition, there are more than 15,000 people injured, and thousands displaced and missing, the article stated.

The cyclone, which made landfall Thursday, sustained winds of more than 131 mph, sending floodwaters inland. The Bangladesh air force, army and navy are working to provide assistance to all of those affected, the article stated. More than 280,000 families have been classified as homeless, and a large amount of the rice-crop and livestock was destroyed, the article stated.

Several world organizations are helping with this aftermath such as World Vision and the U.N. World Vision is sending 135 staffers and 7,000 volunteers. In addition, the group is hoping to send $1.5 in aid, the article stated. The U.N. World Food Programme confirms they have enough “high-energy biscuits to feed 400,000 people for several days.? The U.S. Department of State also stated to aid in the effort to help those affected by the storm, the article stated.

The CNN.com article is quite extensive and covers several different aspects of the storm. The destruction of the storm is mentioned, descriptions of the storm are given, and lastly, the aid efforts are mentioned. Several sources are included using many CNN correspondents and the Bangladesh government. In addition to the article, CNN has maps, photos and a video to coincide with the article.

Another news source that included information about the cyclone in Bangladesh was MSNBC.com. The article “Bangladesh cyclone death toll tops 1,700? by the AP, contains many of the same facts about the death tolls and number of injured. While the article was provided by the AP, the article is entirely different the CNN.com article. This article has more emphasis on what actually happened during the storm. There are witness accounts and descriptions that the CNN.com article lacks. Similarly, to the CNN article, this one also includes extensive information about what is now being done to provide aid and assistance.