September 2011 Archives

Facebook redesign earns mixed reviews

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Facebook is slowly rolling out a new design for user profiles, and not everyone is happy, according to a PC Magazine article.

They reference an unscientific poll of about 1,000 users, finding that 86 percent dislike the changes.

CNET compounds on the findings, noting that "Not even the sight of Mark Zuckerberg's adorable puppy on his Timeline could soften the hearts of some critics".

But a certain group of people seem to embrace the changes.

55 percent of IT workers indicated they like the redesign, reported PC Magazine.

Facebook's biggest changes are set to begin rolling out Sept. 29.

Attribution key for Star Tribune article

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Attribution was key to the Star Tribune's article, "New trees to cover bar North Side."

The first three paragraphs explained the hard facts of the story, but from then on, quotes added to the story.

The forth paragraph began with a quote, attributed by the word "said." The person quoted was someone directly affected by the situation.

The article followed this person, Rudo Joplin, creating a narrative effect.

Also attributed was Ralph Sievert, the Park Board's forestry director. His words were paraphrased, so they weren't enclosed in quotation marks.

Each time a quotation was in the article, it led a new paragraph, and usually stood completely on its own.

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Attribution was key to the Star Tribune's article, "Taxes in Minneapolis are all about location."

Kill admitted to hospital following another seizure

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Jerry Kill was admitted to the hospital Sunday following yet another seizure, according to the Star Tribune.

Kill said he and his wife decided to "do what it takes to find a solution," reported the Pioneer Press.

Kill has suffered from about 20 seizures in a six-day span, according to the Pioneer Press.

Coaching the University of Minnesota football team is his first priority, but the amount of recent seizures has begun to put it in a new perspective.

"The seizures continue to be a concern for me and my family," said Kill, according to the Star Tribune.

The team met for meetings and practice Sunday, reported the Pioneer Press.

Cain defeats Perry in Florida straw poll

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Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll Saturday, signaling a tightening of the GOP presidential candidate race for the 2012 election, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Cain received 37 percent of the vote, finishing 22 percentage points ahead of the second place finisher Gov. Rick Perry.

The New York Times partially attributes Cain's win to his Friday afternoon speech, where he received an extended standing ovation.

Jeff Lukens, 54, decided not to vote for Perry after he gave "a disappointing performance in the debate," reported the Chicago Tribune.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., came in dead last, earning just 1.5 percent of the votes. Bachmann has had trouble raising campaign money from high-dollar donors, reported the New York Times.

Medvedev endorses Putin for Russia president

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday that he will not seek another term, calling on the United Rusia party to endorse Vladimir Putin, reported the Washington Post.

The endorsement will give Putin favorable support, as United Russia has what the Washington Post calls a "stranglehold on the country's politics."

Putin, currently prime minister of Russia, is "all but certain of winning the presidential vote," reported the Guardian.

The political duo of Medvedev and Putin will likely continue; Medvedev said he was ready to serve as prime minister under Putin, said the Guardian.

It may be the reverse of the 2008 election, in which Putin "engineered" Medvedev's win. This continues an "unbroken string of presidential elections here without public input," reported the Washington Post.

Kaler inagurated at 16th University president

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Eric Kaler was inaugurated as the 16th president of the University of Minnesota Thursday, though his official reign began July 1, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Kaler hopes to focus on two issues: advocacy and diversity, said the Minnesota Daily.

But the Pioneer Press identified research as a strong point of Kaler's speech.

"If your research is stale, if your classroom is boring, if your community engagement is ineffective, you must reinvent yourself or, frankly, step aside," said Kaler, reported the Pioneer Press.

One of Kaler's biggest tasks is to convince the Minnesota State Legislature that investing in the University will greatly benefit the state. Kaler wants the University to be one of the top three public research institutions in the country, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Good lead

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The lead for the story "Lemont siblings held on $2 million bail in jewelry robberies" was textbook.

Leads for hard news stories traditionally include the who, what, where and when. Reporter Christy Gutowski incorporates all into her lead, without causing the reader too much difficulty in sifting through facts.

The names of the siblings are withheld from the lead -- they are not prominent figures -- although they do appear in the headline.

The what is very detailed; readers know the amount of bail and the original crime the sisters are accused of committing.

Because it is a hard news story, this type of lead works. The busy reader knows the basics within the first few seconds of reading the article.

Provost search continues

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The University of Minnesota provost search is down to four candidates, reports the Minnesota Daily.

All eyes are on University President Eric Kaler, who will make what the Star Tribune calls "his most important hire."

Two of the three already announced candidates are from within the University, with the other from Washington University in St. Louis, reported the Star Tribune.

Tim Mulcahy, chairman of the provost search committee, said he's excited about the academic diversity of the candidates.

The four candidates were selected out of a pool of 300 candidates, 50 or 60 of which agreed to participate, reported the Star Tribune.

The final candidate will be announced Monday.

'Class warfare' in Washington

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A new minimum tax rate for millionares is being dubbed "class warfare" by top Republicans, according to the New York Times.

"When you pick one area of the economy and you say, 'We're going to tax those people because most people are not those people,' that's class warfare," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, reported CNN.

The label was in response to a tax proposal leaked by one of President Barack Obama's aides. The proposal would ensure individuals "earning over $1 million a year pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income Americans," reported CNN.

But some say class warfare is worse than just a term: it's bad economics.

"It adds further instability to our system, more uncertainty, and it punishes job creation," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc, according to the New York Times.

At least 26 slain in Yemen protests

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At least 26 protesters were killed and hundreds more were injured when Yemen security forces opened fire Sunday, according to BBC.

The demonstrators were calling for Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, continuing similar protests that began in February, said the Miami Herald.

"I have never seen anything like this," said Dr. Tariq Nooman, a surgeon working near Sanaa, Yemen, reported the Miami Herald.

According to the Yemen defense ministry, protesters threw petrol bombs at the security forces, prompting more trouble, BBC reported.

Automatic weapons, anti-aircraft guns, tear gas and water cannons were used, according to witnesses.

RIM declines in 10's

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Research in Motion, the company behind Blackberry smartphones, saw a 10 percent drop in revenue in a three-month period from last to this year, reported BBC.

This mimics an approximate 10 percent workplace cut in July, and a 10 percent stock price fall following RIM's second quarter financial announcement.

Mike Lazaridis, RIM's co-chief executive, said a new crop of devices "will be available in the not too distant future," reported the New York Times.

Analysts predict this effort may be RIM's last, if the company's finances don't turn around.

The company predicts to ship between 13.5 million and 14.5 million smartphones next fiscal quarter, according to BBC. RIM shipped only 10.9 million smartphones this quarter, reported the New York Times.

Snow temporarily relieves wildfire

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Snow helped relieve a massive Minnesota wildfire Wednesday, but it remains one of the largest in state history, the Pioneer Press reported.

The fire covered over 100,000 acres, and over 500 firefighters are working to extinguish it, according to the Star Tribune. It originally started from a strike of lightning on Aug. 18.

According to the Pioneer Press, the fire grew "merely a quarter-mile" Wednesday, but the sudden change in weather could soon be reversed, as forecasts show warmer weather coming in from the south, says the Star Tribune.

Forest Ranger Mark Van Every told the Star Tribune that the wind forecast was "completely wrong." An infographic by the Pioneer Press shows how rapidly the fire has spread.

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