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February 22, 2009

Analysis: Week of 2/16 (Spot and Follows)

I chose to compare the first and second articles written about the Minnesota, Northwestern basketball game.


The lead in the first story is shorter and more to the point than the lead in the second story. The first article mentions the top scorer and the score of the game. The second article builds up to the lead with a few sentences describing the Gopher's struggles of the past few weeks.

The second article summarizes the news in more of a narrative format, giving more of a backstory. The first summarized the back story and gave more statistics. The second article also has lenghty quotes, where as the first did not have quote at all. The second story advances the news by adding more post-game comments and reaction from players and coaches.

I am not sure if it is the result of a competing news organization, but around the time of the initial article in the Star Tribune, WCCO had a lengthier version which did have quotes.

Gophers pummel Northwestern, 72-45

Led by Lawrence Westbrook's four three-pointers and 17 points, Minnesota easily defeated Northwestern Sunday night by a score of 72-45, the Star Tribune reported.

According to WCCO, Westbrook has only been averaging six points per game since the beginning of February.

"I have confidence in myself," Westbrook said. "I stopped thinking so much."

Kevin Coble and Craig Moore, who combined for 42 points in Northwestern's previous win over Minnesota, were each held to single digits. Northwestern as a team had difficulty making shots from the beginning, and were held to a season-low 14 field goals.

The Gophers pulled away from Northwestern in the first half, closing the first half on a 20-5 run. Minnesota led 26-18 at halftime.

Jeremy Nash and John Shurna each scored nine points, while Gopher reserve Devron Bostick also scored nine.

Minnesota has stopped their two game skid and is now 20-7, 8-7 in the Big Ten Conference.

Knife-wielding suspect fatally shot by police

The Pioneer Press reported that a man who threatened police with a knife was shot and killed by two Shakopee police officers on Sunday, police said.

Gordon William Denmark, 36, refused to obey police orders to drop his weapon. The police tazered Denmark, but it had no effect on him.

Denmark was wanted by police for second-degree assault, second-degree domestic assault, and violation of an order for protection after he allegedly attacked his estranged wife and a neighbor at about 11 p.m. on Friday.

Police returned to the scene 4 p.m. Saturday to continue an investigation, but they noticed that someone had broken into the home. Police searched the home and found Denmark in the attic holding a knife, police said.

Police said they tazered Denmark and then shot him because they feared for their lives. Denmark died at the scene.

The officers were placed on paid administrative leave while the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigates the shooting. Police told the Star Tribune that this is standard procedure in cases like these.

Cop accidentally fires gun, hits retired cop

A retired St. Paul police officer was injured Saturday when an off-duty Minneapolis police officer's gun accidentally discharged, the Star Tribune reported.

The police officer was sitting in a chair when the gun holdster caught onto it and the pistol discharged, with one round hitting the floor, Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia, said. The bullet fragmented and hit the retired St. Paul officer in his left leg and in his hand. He was treated and released after suffering minor injuries, Garcia said.

Garcia called it a freak accident and said he was greatful no one was hurt. He said that authorities are examining the gun and holdster to see what could have caused the gun to discharge. Garcia said the officer will not be disciplined, since it is not considered to be a critical incident, in which case officers are put on paid leave during an investigation.

Garcia told the Pioneer Press that officers keep the safety switch off when a gun is in a holdster.

"When you need it, you need it," he said. "Every split second counts."

NAACP Wants NY Post Cartoonist Fired

The NAACP has called for a New York Post cartoonist to be fired for his controversial cartoon that parodied the stimulus bill, CNN has reported. The NAACP says that the cartoon is racist and encourages violence against Barack Obama.

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous says that the group will protest the paper if the cartoonist is not fired.

"...we will move this from a local, regional issue to a very national issue," Jealous said.

Critics of the cartoon say it plays off of historically racist images by comparing Barack Obama to a chimpanzee.

The New York Post offered an apology on their website Thursday, stating that it was not their intent to express racism. The apology also accused some of using the cartoon as an opportunity to attack a paper they disliked.

"Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon -- even if the opportunists seek to make it something else," the apology said.

The NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called the apology "beyond ridiculous."

"This was an invitation to assassination of the president of the United States and anyone who was not offended by it doesn't have any sensibilities," Julian said.

NAACP officials said that they will reach out to organizations across the country to join them if the Post does not take "serious disciplinary action," Fox News reported.

Gas Explosion Kills 74 in China

Yahoo News has reported that 74 people have been killed and 114 are being hospitalized after a gas explosion at a coal mine in northern China. The official Xinhua News Agency said that 436 miners were in the coal mine at the time of the explosion.

All of the trapped miners had been found by late Sunday, the News Agency said. However it is unclear whether all the bodies have been recovered.

Shanxi Coking Coal Group is the owner of the mine. The company is China's largest producer of coking coal, second largest in the world. The mine produces 5 million tons of coking coal each year.

The death toll from the explosion is the highest in China since December 2007, when 105 miners were killed from a gas explosion in an unventilated tunnel in Linfen City, the State Administration of Work Safety said.

The New York Times said 3,200 people died in mining accidents in 2008, a 15 percent decrease from 2007.

Zhao Tiechui, a senior official in charge of coal mine supervision, said that coal mines often have the most serious accidents because a large number of them are operating illegally.

“The industry also sees the most frequent covering-up of accidents," Tiechui said.

February 16, 2009

Analysis: Week of 2/9 (Structures)

The article "Cats removed from St. Anthony mobile home euthanized" from the Star Tribune is structured in a way that presents the most important information towards the top of the article. Information becomes less important as you read on.

The information in the first paragraph is the most important, stating that 120 cats have been euthanized. The second paragraph describes what the cats had. The third talks about supplementary details in regards to how many cats were removed. The fourth and final paragraph describes the couples' previous attempts at keeping too many cats in their previous home, the least important bit of info in the whole story.

While the article is still lacking information, like the names of the cat owners, it effectively presents information from the most to least importance so that the reader reads the important portion of the story first.

February 15, 2009

Gophers Win Thanks to Buzzer-Beater

Gopher Guard Brittany McCoy hit a buzzer-beating three point shot with 1.9 seconds remaining to help the Gophers defeat the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, by a score of 60-59 at Crisler Arena, the Star Tribune reported.

McCoy became the go-to shooter after leading-scorer Emily Fox fouled out of the game. McCoy had only attempted 34 three-pointers before she sank Sunday's game winner.

McCoy didn't think that the ball was heading to the rim, and it wouldn't have gone in if it weren't for it hitting the backboard in just the right spot.

"I think she [Michigan's Krista Phillips] might have even tipped the ball," McCoy said.

"I don't think Brittany knew that we didn't need a three-pointer," Coach Pam Borton said.

Sunday's victory puts the Gopher Women at 4th place in the Big Ten, behind Purdue and Ohio State.

The Gophers next opponents are the Ohio State Buckeyes, who currently lay claim to second place in the Big Ten.

118 Cats Removed from Mobile Home

118 cats had to be removed from a St. Anthony mobile home because they contained diseases ranging from ringworm to feline AIDS, the Star Tribune has reported.

Officials from the Humane Society had to remove 118 cats from the mobile home on Tuesday. More cats were found by police and were brought to the Humane Society's shelter in Golden Valley.

In 2002, the same couple had 72 cats removed from their previous home in Coon Rapids.

KMSP-TV is reporting that there was only one litter box for all 118 cats, and that the home was full of cat urine and feces.

KMSP-TV also reported the couple's names: Robert and Cheryl Salidas. The couple is now in the care of social services.

Train Kills Man in St. Paul

A 33-year-old man was found around 11 p.m. Saturday night after being struck by a train, The Pioneer Press has reported.

The man was discovered lying on a set of railroad tracks close to Bush Avenue and Burr Street by a Union Pacific Railroad worker, St. Paul Police Cmdr. Kevin Casper, said.

The railroad worker discovered the man on a different set of tracks than he was traveling. When the man was struck is unknown.

The Star Tribune reported that police do not consider the death to be suspicious at this point, and that transients are common around the area.

Pilot May Have Violated Safety Recommendations

Investigators have said that the pilot who operated the plane that crashed into a house near Buffalo may have violated safety precautions, BBC News has reported.

The plane was reportedly on autopilot before it crashed. Pilots are recommended to fly manually when conditions are icy.

"You may be able in a manual mode to sense something sooner than the autopilot can sense it," Steve Chealander, a National Transportation Safety Board member, said.

The pilots did not mention any problems during the flight until the crew reportedly noticed a build up of ice before the crash.

Yahoo News reported that the National Transportation Safety Board issued a safety alert back in December. This alert said that pilots should turn off or limit the use of autopilot during ice conditions, so that it would be easier to sense changes in the way that the plane is handling.

Laura Brown, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said that flying manually during icy conditions is not mandatory, since there are some planes which fly better with autopilot.

Investigators are looking into whether the crew on the plane had enough time to rest between flights and will take a further look at the mechanics of the plane.

Chavez Asks Venezuelans for Extended Term

President Hugo Chavez is looking to lengthen his term as leader by asking Venezuelans to overlook the constitutional ammendment that would not allow him to run after 2012, Yahoo News reported. Chavez says that he is the only leader who can transform Venezuela into a socialist state.

People had been waiting in line before the polls opened at 6 a.m. and according to Chavez, 40 percent of those people registered before noon.

Those who support Chavez cite his record of giving unwealthy Venezuelans free education, quality healthcare, and cheap food. Those against Chavez say he is too powerful, since the election council, courts, and legislature are all controlled by him.

Venezuela has had 15 referendums already during Chavez's presidency and Chavez says that another referendum may be in the works, even if he loses.

Both Ecuador and Bolivia have already changed their constitutions to allow a less stringent re-election process. Nicaragua is also planning to propose an amendment that would allow their president, Daniel Ortega, to run for another term in office.

The Obama Administration has so far played a quiet role in in regards to Venezuela, The New York Times reported.

“That’s an internal matter with regard to Venezuela,? Robert Wood, a State Department spokesman, said.

February 8, 2009

Analysis: Week of 2/2


The sources named in this article include the National Weather Service, Sheriff Bob Bratton, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Fishermen Gary and David Vaughn, the Toledo Blade, and Chief Petty Officer Robert Lanier. The sources are scattered throughout the story. The information is from people, the National Weather Service, and newspapers around Lake Erie. When CNN was attributing a person, they would say that the person "said." When CNN attributed a newspaper, CNN would mention that the person "told" the newspaper. When CNN mentioned the National Weather Service attribution, they wrote that "the National Weather Service issued..." CNN's use of attribution is effective because it tells you who said what and what each person's credentials are. It is not too confusing, but you have to scroll back to where the person was first mentioned to see their credentials again.

Minnesota Timberwolves' Al Jefferson injured in loss

Minnesota Timberwolves Center-Forward Al Jefferson had to leave Sunday nights game against the New Orleans Hornets with an injury to his right knee, the Pioneer Press reported.
With 27 seconds remaining in the game, Jefferson fell to the floor as he was fighting for the ball with Hornets center Sean Marks. Jefferson ended up landing his right leg on the inside of Marks' right foot, causing an apparent twist on Jefferson's knee. Jefferson attempted to get up after the fall, but fell back to the court and grabbed his knee.
"I just came down wrong on it. I felt it pop," Jefferson said.
An MRI will be used to see what happened to the knee.
"You never feel good when you see anyone go down," Wolves coach Kevin McHale said.

St. Paul gives protester $5,000

The City of St. Paul will pay an RNC protestor $5,000 for an incident last June when police detained Mark Kelly, 51, for handing out leaflets outside of the Xcel Energy Center, the Star Tribune reported.
Kelly, from Minneapolis, was approached by police and driven 10 blocks away in a squad car. Afterwards, he was given a citation and then released. The Pioneer Press reported that the citation was for "peddling near the entrance of an entertainment venue within three hours of an event." However, the citation was retracted because the ordinance refers to the selling of goods and not leafleting.
After Kelly was arrested, he alerted local news media which prompted an investigation by the police, who found that Kelly had been improperly detained. Despite this, Kelly filed a suit with the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
Kelly argued that the police owe him $5,000, as each confiscated flier was $50 each.
"The fact they are paying me $5,000 speaks volumes," Kelly said.
St. Paul City Attourney John Choi said otherwise.
"The settlement is a great outcome for the city," Choi said.

One man dies, 134 are rescued after ice chunk breaks away on Lake Erie

All 134 fishermen who were trapped on a piece of ice that broke off on Lake Erie were rescued today after ignoring signs that the ice was cracking, reported the Detroit Free Press.
The break in the ice occured near Oak Harbor, Ohio, located in the western part of Lake Erie. The fishermen created a makeshift bridge out of wooden pallets. However, as the ice shifted, the fishermen became stranded 1,000 yards offshore.
CNN reported that Sheriff Bob Bratton, of Ottawa County, Ohio condemned the fishermen for their actions.
"It's a shame you can't arrest people for stupidity," Bratton said.
The lone fatality was Leslie Love, 65, of New Albany, Ohio, whose snowmobile broke through the ice before he suffered a heart attack.
Several ships and helicopters from surrounding areas helped out with the rescue, but it was not without cost. According to Bratton, the rescues cost thousands of dollars and pulled emergency responders away from their duties.
Once the fishermen were rescued, their names were taken and they were informed that they would be fined if they were on the ice under similar conditions in the future.
This was the first ice rescue for Petty Officer Mindy Poorman, 22.
"There was a lot of people out here doing tremendous efforts today," she said.

Woman withdraws suit concerning voodoo due to divine intervention

Mary Nabila Muma, from St. Paul, has withdrawn her case against her ex-husband in which she accuses another woman of using voodoo to lure him away, this according to a report by the Star Tribune.
She changed her mind about the suit after praying for her husband and going on a private retreat. Muma mentioned how she believed herself to be the recipient of divine intervention when she lost control of her vehicle and came out unharmed. She believed that God had intervened in order to send a message that she should drop the charges against her husband.
After the incident, Muma wrote a letter to the judge withdrawing her suit and was grateful to the Federal Court as it helped her to gain attention.
"All I know is God will answer my prayer in his own time," Muma said.

Australian Fires Kill 49

Forty-nine people have died from what is being called Australia's worst fire disaster in a quarter-century, according to The Associated Press.
A record of 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 C) made for perfect conditions for blazes. Witnesses described seeing trees explode and skies full of ash, reported the The New York Times.
Police are still trying to confirm the details of the deaths from the fire, but they believe that charred bodies found in cars points to people being engulfed in flames as they were attempting to flee.
NASA released photos of the fire that could be seen as a white cloud of smoke from their satellite.
The largest fire of about a dozen in Victoria went through farmland, forests, and towns north of Melbourne. A goldrush town northeast of Melbourne has almost been completely destroyed.
"Marysville is no more," Senior Constable Brian Cross said.
Temperatures are expected to cool to around 77 degrees Farenheit Sunday, however wind changes due to this cooling may push the fire in unexpected directions.
Some of the fires may have been set on purpose, Kieran Walshe, the Deputy Commissioner said. Walshe predicted that it would be a number of days before the blazes are able to be controlled.
''Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours,'' Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.

February 1, 2009

2/1 Analysis: Leads

The Lead: "Gari L. Stewart, 28, is charged in a one-day crime spree allegedly involving arson, rape, kidnapping and burglary."

The news elements in this lead include the who: Gari L. Stewart, and the what: a one-day crime spree allegedly involving arson, rape, kidnapping, and burglary. The "where, when, why" questions do not really seem to be answered, but I suppose they don't necessarily have to be. The general information that is included is the person's name, her age, and what she did that is news worthy. What is detailed is what she did on her crime spree.

Gold medalist Phelps regrets pipe photo

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, 23, has admitted that the photos of him using a pipe bong to smoke marijuana are authentic, and that he vows to not do it again, CNN reports.
"...I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me," Phelps said. "For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public -- it will not happen again."
Phelps also released a statement of apology on his Facebook account, which was greeted with comments of both acceptance and dissent.
The U.S. Olympic Committee released a separate statement that said it was "disappointed in the behavior recently exhibited by Michael Phelps."
"Michael is a role model, and he is well aware of the responsibilities and accountability that come with setting a positive example for others, particularly young people," the committee said. "In this instance, regrettably, he failed to fulfill those responsibilities."
The Committee added that, "Michael has acknowledged that he made a mistake and apologized for his actions. We are confident that, going forward, Michael will consistently set the type of example we all expect from a great Olympic champion."
BBC News reported that Phelps may no longer be able to take part in a pilot test program formed to increase the accuracy of doping tests.
"For one of the Olympics' biggest heroes it's disappointing, and we'll evaluate whether he remains in that programme," Travis Tygart said.

St. Paul Man Gunned Down

Jeffery Logan, 44, was heading to his home in St. Paul around 1 a.m. when he was met by 3 men, the Star Tribune reports.
Logan, who was with his cousin at the time, fought with the men before they fired on him. Logan was then sent to Regions Hospital, which was where he died.
Police saw the vehicle that matched a description by witnesses, and followed the vehicle until it crashed at the intersection of Laurel Avenue and St. Albans.
The men in the vehicle were searched and booked into the Ramsey County Jail. The suspects, a 20-year-old West St. Paul man and two St. Paul men, ages 27 and 28, await formal charges by the Ramsey County attourney's office.
Logan is described by friends and family as a staple at the American Legion, and was even compared to the character Norm from the sitcom Cheers.
No, he was worse than Norm," said Eric Coleman, Logan's longtime friend. "He'd tell you about yourself."
"It was senseless. They hurt a lot of people," said Logan's sister, Sharon Comer. "I don't know if it was for a dollar, or two or three. But it wasn't worth it."