February 2010 Archives

Multimedia options

The New York Times has far more multimedia on their website than that of, for example, St. Paul's Pioneer Press.

On almost any given day, the Times will have a slideshow featured on their homepage, as well as pictures accompanying major stories and videos.

The Press will usually have maybe one or two pictures featured, but I have never seen a slideshow or any videos on the homepage.

I feel vidoes and pictures can complement a news story in that it attracts the reader, and pulls people to read that story first.

As far as slideshow's, they complement news because the pictures help to tell the story.

The Times will have copy with their slideshows whenever they are up, which tells you what is going on in the pictures and how it realtes to the stories. When they just have a series of pictures, they'll generally just have one tagline for all of them, but that is usually for an event that just took place that most people already know what is going on.

The writing that goes along with the multimedia is always very short and to the point. They want the pictures or videos to be the focus of the reader's attention.

By Sam Preston

Team Canada beat Team USA in the men's gold medal game Sunday, both the Star Tribune and the New York Times said.

The final score was 3-2, after Sidney Crosby netted the game winner 7:40 into overtime, both the Times and the Tribune said.

Zach Parise of Team USA led his team into the overtime period, scoring on Canadian goalie Roberto Luongo with only 24.4 seconds left in the third, both the Times and the Tribune said.

Through three periods, both teams had the same amount of shots, penalties and, of course, goals, the Tribune said.

The win gave Canada its 14th gold medal, the most gold medals ever won by a country in a single Olympics, both the Times and the Tribune said.

However, Ryan Miller, Team USA's goaltender, walked away with tournament MVP, both the Times and the Tribune said.

Girl Scouts in Lakeland lose their cookies to thief

By Sam Preston

One of Lakeland's Girl Scout troops are out 407 boxes of the infamous Girl Scout cookies, both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press said.

The cookies, which were held in the garage of an adult volunteer, were stolen on Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., the Press said.

The volunteer was waiting to distribute the cookies to local Girl Scouts, and said the the garage was kept closed but not locked, the Tribune said.

The missing boxes, at $3.50 each, totals a loss of over $1,400, the Press said. Washington County officials are investigating and are asking the public to help identify the burglars.

Girl Scouts officials hope the thief will be found, but in the meantime are working with the affected troops to ensure their orders are filled and delivered on time, the Press said.

Eagan man who decapitated stepmother found insane

By Sam Preston

A Burnsville man was found guilty, but not-guilty Thursday by Dakota County District Judge Kathryn Messerich, according to both the Star Tribue and Pioneer Press.

Stephen R. Miles, 27, beheaded his stepmother, Mary Jo Miles, 68, by striking her in the head with a hatchet, both the Tribune and the Press said, and then removing her head with a kitchen knife, the Press said.

This took place on Dec. 30, 2005, a few hours after Miles was told that he could not stay at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina because the psychiatric beds were full, The Press said.

He was found not-guilty by reason of mental illness, after experts for both the prosecution and defense agreed Miles did not know right from wrong when he killed his stepmother, the Tribune said.

MIles has a history of mental illness, but his health started getting worse in 2005, the Press said. In one of his interviews, he didn't even believe that Mary Jo was dead because he thought her head could be replaced with stitches.

In 2006, he was committed to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter as he awaited trial, the Tribune said. Now that it's over, he will have to remain there and be subject of periodic court reviews.

By Sam Preston

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded hit Chile on Saturday morning, both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press said.

At least 147 are recorded dead in and around the city of Talca, according to Carmen Fernandez, director of the National Emergency Agency, the Star Tribune said.

Due to the 8.8 quake, the city was devastated by toppling homes, collapsing bridges and vehicles plunging into the broken ground at 3:34 a.m., the Star Tribune said.

Scientists in Los Angeles believe the quake can be classified as a "megathrust"-- like the 2004 Indian Ocean temblor that caused an even more devastating tsunami, the Pioneer Press said.

This quake is also responsible for a tsunami that swamped a village on an island off Chile, and is now threatening every nation around the Pacific Ocean-- roughly a quarter of the globe, the Star Tribune said.

The first waves were expected to hit Hawaii at 11 a.m. Saturday, but experts say that they could hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores as well as The U.S. west coast and Alaska, the Star Tribune said.

By Sam Preston

On Thursday evening, following the Canadian women's gold medal victory over Team USA, they came back out on to the ice with cigars, champage and beer, both the Star Tribune and the Vancouver Sun said.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said that the olympic governing body plans to send a letter to Hockey Canada asking for more details on what happened, the Star Tribune said.

IOC executive director Gilbert Felli said that he didn't feel it was a good representation of sports values, and promised an investigation, the Vancouver Sun said.

Members of the team publically apologized for their behavior on Friday, saying that they have learned and promise to uphold the values of the Olympics moving forward, the Star Tribune said.

Steve Keough, a Canadian Olympic Committee spokesman said that "in terms of actual celebration, it's not exactly something uncommon in Canada," the Star Tribune said.

Adams was further quoted saying that "people are in search of a story that doesn't exist... they're looking for someone to say it's terrible," the Vancouver Sun said.

First-day vs. next day story analysis

I would like to do an analyis on a story I was following this week, the one about the 18-year-old who shot and killed his father. The leads from the Pioneer Press differed as follows:

First-day: "A family dispute turned violent Saturday in St. Paul, leaving a father shot to death and his son arrested."

Next day: "The 18-year-old man who allegedly shot his father to death on Saturday at their St. Paul home was trying to protect his mother, according to a criminal complaint."

I chose the Pioneer Press leads because it is the paper for St. Paul, which is where the incident took place. The main difference between the two is that the next day lead has a lot more information in it, mentioning the age of the man who did it, as well as why it may have taken place.

The main news is summarized in the first-day article more up-front, in that it takes 5 paragraphs to get past any basic information and add some voice, via a quote, to the story.

In the next day article, there is a quote in the third paragraph. It seems as though since most of the hard news came out with the first coverage, there is room for more investigative and interviewing in the second story.

The second story does advance the news though, by adding pictures of both the man who did it and the man who was shot, as well as a picture of the scene. There are a lot more quotes from the family, and even parts from an interview of the man who did it.

This story doesn't really strike me as responding to a report from a competing news organization, mostly because I noticed that the Pioneer Press released their follow up story at 6 p.m., whereas the Star Tribune didn't release theirs until 9 p.m.

By Sam Preston

Come the prime time hour today, Team Canada will face Team USA for the first time in this year's Olympic hockey tournament, The Washington Post and The New York Times said.

The winner of this game will not only automatically receive the bye into the quarterfinals, but they will also be deemed as the Group A winner, both the Post and the Times said.

Team USA is currently ahead of Canada 6-5 in points in the round robin tournament. The Americans won their first two games, while the Canadians won their first game and then scraped their way to a win in a shoot out in their second game, the Times said.

On paper, Canada is the favorite, the Times said. But, "the pressure on Canada is 'unremitting and unrelenting,'" Team USA General Manager Brian Burke said, according to the Post.

Team USA is very young, with an average age of 26.5, the Times said. But they lack the firepower and star power of a Canadian squad led by Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, the Post said.

The game airs on CNBC at 6:40 p.m. Central Time, and is sure to be one of the most intense matches of the Olympics.


By Sam Preston

In the news today, it was announced that Roslyn M. Brock was named the new chairwoman of the NAACP, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Brock officially took the seat Saturday, and at an age of 44-years-old, making her the youngest person to take the job in the organization's history, both the Post and the Times said. She is also the first woman to fill the position.

She will be replacing Julian Bond, who has held the position of chairman for the past twelve years. Bond announced last year he would be stepping down, stating that he would stay on until after the association's centennial celebration, the Times and the Post said.

Brock joined the organization 25 years ago as a freshman in college, as a youth board member and Youth and College Division State Conference president, the Times said.

Since then, she has been carefully trained for the top position by NAACP elders -- including Bond and former chairman Myrlie Evers-Williams, the Post said.

The association also recently named the youngest president in its history, 37-year-old Benjamin Jealous, the Post said. This shift comes with the hope of regaining some of the hold the association once held with the civil rights movement.

Brock said her goal is to increase membership and funds for the NAACP, and to focus on a few specific civil rights issues: education, health care, economic empowerment, criminal justice and civic engagement, the Post said.

Lynette Rounds, a 56-year-old employee at Minneapolis City Hall, has been sentenced to six months in prison for dealing drugs at work, the Pioneer Press said.

Rounds was caught in August after selling the drugs to an informant outside her office on the second floor of city hall, the Star Tribune said.

Officers stood by watching the exchange, and Rounds gave the undercover informant a plastic bad with 30 Percocet pills in exchange for $165, the Tribune said.

Following Rounds' charges, three records clerks in the Hennepin County District were charged with two felony counts each: third-degree conspiracy to sell drugs and fifth-degree conspiracy to possess the drugs, the Tribune said.

The three were among ten who were put on leave from their jobs back in September, but county officials would not say at that time why they had been suspended, the Tribune said.

The clerks were Patricia J. Russell, 51, of Bloomington; Rachelle A. Johnson, 34, of Elk River, and Michelle Ann Kowalski, 31, of North Branch. Russell and Johnson have been terminated and the status of Kowalski was not clear, the Tribune said.

St. Paul teen charged in shooting of his dad

Updates about the St. Paul teen who shot and killed his father were released today by both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

The shooting was a result of a heated argument between Aramis Gaither's parents. However, it never got violent between the couple, the Tribune and the Press said.

The mother grabbed a metal bar at one point, the Press said, and the father "tapped her in the face," said the Tribune. The mother even threatened to call the police on Anthony Gaither during the confrontation, but aside from that screaming was all that ensued, the Tribune said.

The younger Gaither stepped in between the two at one point and tried to get his father outside, according to both sources.

But the father pulled away, swung on him, and pushed his son away, the Tribune said.

After some of the younger female siblings got involved and got their father to go outside, Aramis went to his room and picked up his semi-automatic .22 handgun, the Tribune said.

The mother tried to stop him, saying "No, Aramis, don't do that, that's not worth it, that's your dad." But he proceeded outside with the weapon regardless, the Press said.

The father told his son "You've got your gun," and "I want you to shoot me.", the Press said.

Aramis then said he blacked out and shot the entirety of the rounds in the gun, at an estimated ten, the Press said.

His father was hit once in the jaw, and six times in the back, the Tribune said.

The younger Gaither is now charged with second-degree murder, and claiming self defense, the Tribune said.

Palestinian president suspends chief of staff

By Sam Preston

According to stories released by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas suspended his chief of staff, Rafik al-Husseini, Sunday.

Hasseini's suspension is due to a follow up on sex scandal allegations made by an ex-security officer, the Post said.

The officer, Fahmy Shabaneh, is a former intelligence officer who was then in charge of investigating corruption, the Times said. During his term, a woman approached him about unwanted sexual advances Husseini made when she came to the president's office seeking help.

As a result of the woman's accusations, which took place in 2008, Shabaneh set up a hidden camera to prove to President Abbas that Husseini was abusing his position, the Times said.

Husseini was seen in the video waiting naked in the bed for the woman, as well as bashing other members of the Palestinian government, the Times said.

Husseini released a statement in his defense that the tapes were over a year and a half old, and that they have been dubbed in that time, the Post said.

He also stated that he faced pressure from the Israeli government to create a crisis of confidence in Palestinian leadership, as part of an Israeli plot to discredit the Western-backed government, the Times said.

Shabaneh told channel 10 in Palestine that he wanted to release the information sooner, but complained that nothing had been done as a result, the Post said.

"He has threatened to open up "more dangerous files" if those he has already exposed do not result in resignations or dismissals," the Times said.

An 18-year-old man was arrested on Saturday afternoon following a shooting outside of the man's St. Paul duplex, according to the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

Neither the man or the victim had been identified Saturday, according to the Pioneer Press, due to a pending notification of the family, police Sgt. Schnell said. (updated at 10:35 p.m., Saturday, February 13th)

However, in the updated story released by the Star tribune at 9:35 p.m. on Sunday the 14th, the victim has been identified as 45-year-old Anthony Gaither and the shooter as 18-year-old Amaris Gaither.

The 18-year old was the son of the older Garthier, said neighbors interviewed in the story by the Pioneer Press. Also mentioned in those quotes was that neighbors recalled hearing arguing, but did not know the nature behind it.

The nature of the argument has also still not been released by police, said the Star Tribune.

Man fatally stabbed in Minneapolis

According to both the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, a man who is yet to be identified was fatally stabbed on late Saturday night.

The incident took place on the north side of Minneapolis, police said, and the man suffered from a single stab wound.

He was alive when police reported to the scene, but died a short time later at the North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

His identity will be realeased following an autopsy, accoriding to the Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune notes that there are no suspects in the case, but the Pioneer Press said that while there are no suspects in custody, there are several leads being followed up on by homicide investigators.

Both news sources leave a number for police that can be called with any information.

Air-pollution alert in Twin Cities, advisory for central Minn.

By Paul Walsh
Air allerts are issued by the Minneosta Pollution Contol Agency, according to the Star Tribune. And this past week, last Thursday and Friday, an alert was raised for those living in areas including Marshall, the Twin Cities and Rochester, said the MPCA.

An alert means the Air Quality Index has or is expected to top 101, the level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. An advisory applies to readings exceeding 90, according to the MPCA.

"The levels that were reached this past Thursday and Friday were in the 120 range," said the MPCA, and were cause by "light southerly winds, high pressure and increased moisture are encouraging fine-particle concentrations."

According to the Star Tribune "The MPCA issues an air-pollution alert when the amount of fine particles in the air reach a level that's considered unhealthy for certain sensitive groups."

However, by today the levels were expected to get back down to a normal level, "as winds shift and become more moderate," said the MPCA.

I chose this article because it had the most sources out of all of the ones that I did. it had a total of 6 sources.

The sources that are names are: Joan Morris, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation. Courtney Mickalonis, a spokeswoman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Airports Authority. A spokesman for Pepco, a local utility company in Washington. Andre Francis, another spokesman for Pepco. School districts from Baltimore to Spotsylvania County, Va., and an Amtrak spokesman.

The sources are scattered throughout the story, but in my opinion they are very appropriately placed with the part of the story that is being discussed. For example, this journalist began talking about Virginia, and so had a spokesperson from there first, and then respectivly people from wherever they were then talking about.

The information is all from people, though some remain nameless and are just referred to as 'spokesman', which seems more like they are placing emphasis on the company as making the statement.

The reporter sets up the attribution almost each time with a quote followed by 'he said/she said', but there are a couple of times when they just paraphrase the information and simpply state 'a spaokesman/woman said.'

I had no problems following the attribution at all, so I would say that it was very clear and kept the right people linked with the right information.

14-Year-Old Commits to UW Hockey

According to the NCAA, no college is allowed to begin recruiting players until the end of their sophomore year. However in this case of a talented 14-year-old who has aspirations to play, he went ahead and approached the school.

The NCAA has no rules against players contacting schools that they are interested in, and so when this young man went for Wisconsin, they had no problems hearing what he had to say. Jordan Schmaltz gave a nonbinding verbal contract to the UW coaches last week, accoring the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Schmaltz's father, Mike, said that he feels the offer is surreal, as his son hasn't even had his first day at Verona Area high school yet. UW Madison offered Schmaltz a four year a full scholarship four years before he can use it, according to the Sentinel.

Schmaltz said that he accepted the offer because he likes the campus and the coaching staff.

By David Hanners
Howard Porter, who was at one time one of the nation's top college basketball players, was murdered in May 2007 by a man who is finally facing his charges now. That man, Rashad Arthur Raleigh, killed him in cold blood after attempting to rob him, according to the Pioneer Press.

Porter was once looking at a career in the NBA, but he then fell into substance abuse and lost his place. He was able to clean himself up and get back on track however, and after deciding that he wanted to help others like himself, he became a probation officer.

The night that he met his end was when he ended up being the unfortunate victim of a planned attack involving 4 people: Raleigh, Fredquinzo Ronte, "Snake Eyes" King and Tonya Washington. These 4 individulas decided one night that they wanted to rob someone in order to supply their drug habbit, and so they planned for Washington, a prostitute, to go and pick a random man up that the others could then later rob.

The man ended up being Porter, who Raleigh and King attacked. Raleigh hit him in the head with a wrench, and King hit him with a stool, as a result of Porter fighting back. Once he was unconcious, the two men went outside to see what was in his car, and discovered he was a probation officer. Concerned that he would recognize them, they went back in and killed him. Afterwards, they dumped him in an alley in Minneapolis, and Porter was found dead a week later.

King and Washington were convicted in October 2008, and are now both serving prison terms. Raleigh pleaded guilty in August 2008, but later wanted to appeal it, which he soon found out was near impossible. According to the Star Tribune, "Raleigh wanted to withdraw his plea because of stress, improper pressure to plead guilty, mental health issues and understanding the plea's consequences."

But the Supreme Court of Minnesota ruled that he not only offered to plea, but was advised by his counsel of the consewuences, though he claimed not to care. Raleigh now faces life in prison without parole, with the possiblity of facing the life sentence if the federal prosecutor's decide to seek it.

Snow Recovery Slow in Mid-Atlantic

By Matthew L. Wald
Record snowfalls in the nations Mid-Atlantic region brought all activity in that area to a grinding halt this past Friday and Saturday, according to the New York Times about a snowstorm that pounded down heavily on Virginia and Washington.
Accordinig to the Star Trubune, "the total tally of snow was expected to undoubtedly set a record for a single snowstorm for many areas," which nicely compliments the Times report of how the snowfall was waist-deep.
The Times also noted how school has already been cancelled for Monday in most school districts ranging from Baltimore to Spotsylvania, Va., with some even already cancelling Tuesday as well. This is due to a mixture of both people not being able to get to school as well as the sever issues with electricity that many cities are having, said the Times.
What is more is that both the Times and the Star Tribune have reported on how this part of the country still hasn't seen the end of this massive storm, as it has been predicted for the region to face an additional 5 to 12 inches.
The storm however, as halting as it was, was not enough to put everything to a stop. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who were due for a hockey game with the Washington Capitols on Sunday, managed to get there after a 5 hour bus ride from Newark, where they had to make an unexpected landing due to the Ronald Raegan Washington National Airport being closed.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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