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I chose this article from the Extra Extra section of www.nicar.org.

Since Rep. Mel Watt started in Congress in 1992, he has received $1.33 million in campaign contributions from the finance, real estate and insurance industries.

The records in this story state that President Obama appointed Watt to oversee mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Watt has received more campaign money from financial interests than any other industry of special interest.

Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), in short, govern the integrity of home loans, lending refinancing, and loan modifications.

This article talks about where the campaign money has come from for Rep. Mel Watt, how much it has cost the U.S. government and other finance giants, and the percent of new mortgages Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy (90 percent).

This author, Alison Fitzgerald, accessed the company's websites to get information. She also managed to get information from the U.S. Treasury on the amount Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cost the U.S. government.

There were no interactive graphics included on this site, but the reporter did understand the skills needed to find the statistics she ended up using in her article. She obviously knew how to sift through public records to find the most relevant information that helped the readers understand the depth of the campaign costs for Rep. Mel Watt.

Fitzgerald found an interesting piece of information from the Fannie Mae website, which said Fannie Mae has contributed $3.3 trillion in mortgage credit to the market. She calculated how much both companies have borrowed from the U.S. government.

Fitzgerald related each of her statistics to the time period it was happening in, and how it was relevant/contributed to Watt's campaign.

George W. Bush Library: Analysis

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After the opening of George W. Bush's library, many people wrote about it, but in my opinion, few did it as well as the Los Angeles Times.

There were five presidents at the gathering; almost all of them had something to say about the opening of the library. The reason why I chose to write on this for my speech analysis was because so many people spoke at one time.

The reporter used a few quotes from the different president's speeches, but the quotes were not the bulk of her story.

She used quotes from almost everyone who spoke and it really added to the story. In the first two paragraphs she prefaced the scene and used a quote from President George W. Bush.

She then wrote about how Obama spoke about supporting President Bush and his new library.

The author then talked about the minor speeches given. George H.W. Bush just gave a brief thank you and a God Bless America. While President Clinton spoke about how even though democrats and republicans may have their disagreements it makes this country great.

The last few paragraphs of the story were quotes from President Bush, with many descriptions of what him and the others looked like at the ceremony. It uses words like "smiled," "joked," and "wiping away a tear," which really made the story come to life.

It ended with a quotation from one of the few "average Joes" who attended the ceremony, which I thought was a good way to wrap up the story, since there were so many different aspects of it.

All in all the article was informative and interesting to read but I think a little bit of chronology would have added to this story. It got a bit confusing because at one point President Obama was giving a speech then it was President Clinton, then it was President Bush, then it was President George H.W. Bush, and then back to President Obama and President Bush again. Since there were so many speakers there needed to be a little more order.

This story done by the Chicago Tribune is about two men from Russia, who unfortunately follow the stereotype for terrorists.

Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are from Russia and have the same look as middle-eastern terrorists.

Dzokhar and Tamerlan were both born in Russia and have lived in the United States for a number of years. Dzohkar had become a naturalized citizen last year. Tamerlan was working toward citizenship. He was unable to gain citizenship because of a suspicious trip to Russia a little over a year ago.

This article began by depicting the injuries the surviving suspect, Dzokhar is currently sustaining.

It moved into what Dzokhar's criminal charges will be. It also discussed how Dzokhar will be defended in trial by a federal public defender.

It then went into how the suspects were located. Older brother, Tamerlan, was shot in a police shootout on Friday, and Dzokhar was found a few hours later "cowering in a boat in a backyard in Watertown."

The article then talked about the Tamerlans suspicious trip to Russia and why it was significant. It went into family history and their family's emigration to the United States ten years ago.

The article went in depth on each part that was significant about the bombings. It talked about the criminal trial; it gave detailed information, and allowed the reader to see that even naturalized citizens of the United States can commit heinous crimes.

The article did a good job shading stereotypes of the culture. Although the two men went with the stereotypical grain of terrorists, it showed that not all people from that region are interested in hurting America. It showed the Tsarnaeva family supported America and they were open and willing to talk to the media and the government about their suspicions with the boys, and why they think the two brothers planted the bombs.

This article on tainted meth by the Star Tribune caught my eye, because I thought to myself "isn't all meth tainted?"

Star Tribune started the article without any sort of lead. The article jumped right into "more than a dozen people to the hospital in less than 24 hours," and also added what the side effects of the tainted meth were.

The story goes on to quote the Sheriffs Department spokesperson Randy Gustafson. Gustafson talked about what part of the metro area the victims were coming from and gave some statistics about the number of people who, on a typical day, enter the hospital on drug-related cases such as these ones.

The article also addressed my counter to the idea of "tainted meth," stating meth is already a highly addictive and extremely dangerous drug, and tainting it made it much more dangerous.

The article also talks about location, and the victims of the tainted meth have only been found in the east metro, no victims have been reported elsewhere.

This article is a mix between a breaking news story and it is a time-sensitive piece, but it also used quotes from the spokesperson, and added his standpoint to the article. Most of the article used what Gustafson had said, so although it also wasn't a profile piece, it allowed a response to the situation from a professional standpoint.

Schaffhausen Stories: Analysis

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There were two stories about the trial against Aaron Schaffhausen. Each took a different part of the trial and made it the most important aspect.

One story was by CBS and the other was by the Pioneer Press

The Pioneer Press piece was about the testimony of Aaron Schaffhausen's cousin, Liz Daleiden. It began with background about the case, and then featured quotations from Daleiden during the trial.

This story also covered testimonies by some of Schaffhausen's co-workers, who told of his inability to control his temper, his hostility toward his wife and her boyfriend, and his homicidal ideations toward his daughters. We also learned about his daughters and their personalities, ages, and interests, and how Schaffhausen disengaged from them and his wife through alcohol and video games over the last few years of the marriage.

The story then went on to more background of Schaffhausen, and his depression, medication, and the many things that may have led him to commit murder.

The CBS story was about the testimony from Schaffhausen's ex-wife, Jessica.

The CBS story highlighted the high emotions involved during Jessica's testimony. The journalist used phrases like "crying softly" and "she was emotional as she described the 9-1-1 phone call."

This story was a close up on Jessica's relationship with Schaffhausen and a recall of the day of the events where Shaffhausen killed his three daughters. The story seemed to be in chronological order of the events in the trial.

The story started with strangeness in Shaffhausen's behavior before he murdered his daughters, the order of events of the day he did murder them, and what Jessica did after Shaffhausen called Jessica and said "You can come home now, I killed the kids." She then said she immediately called the police and her thoughts on each event.

Rocket Scientist Yvonne Brill's Obit: Analysis

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Yvonne Brill, a rocket scientist died on saturday evening. Her many scientific successes did not trump her beef stroganoff, at least in the eyes of the writer or her obituary, Douglas Martin.

After learning of the many different do's and don'ts of obituary writing I felt this story was a must. Yvonne Brill, a brilliant rocket scientist who created a propulsion system that made sure satellites stayed in orbit, was made out to seem like just a housewife.

The introduction to Brill's obituary began like this, "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. "The world's best mom," her son Matthew said.

Many people chastised this horrible beginning, was this beginning supposed to be anecdotal or what? What were Douglas Martin and his editor thinking about when they allowed this to be published? One would think her propulsion system would at least make the first paragraph.

The author has since changed the introduction but the original was organized in a way that put her as a woman and a mother first. The second paragraph then discusses her achievements as a rocket scientist, but then turns back to the sexism when the author mentions she preferred to be called "Mrs."

In the last paragraphs the author, thankfully, admires her many life achievements and awards.


** The keyword original brings you to a blog, if you scroll down to the bottom of the blog page, you can find the original obit there.


Vikings Sign Greg Jennings: Analysis

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In the article written in ESPN this week about Greg Jennings, there were many words and statements that may have led readers to believe Jennings is lowering himself to be a Viking.

Now, as an avid Vikings fan, I do have to admit that if someone has a bad comment to say about my team, I'm not one to take it lightly.

The author(s) used phrases "desperately open arms," and "fill a gaping hole in Minnesota." Granted, Minnesota was in desperate need of a decent WR, but these words just added a side that as a journalist, I didn't think needed to be portrayed to the reader.

The authors did portray a side of Jennings that showed his excitement about wearing purple and gold, like when they used a quote, "'I'm not the first Packers player to jump on this side,' he said with a smile."

ESPN set the story up in this way, giving a background of Jennings as a player, the contract he signed with the Vikings, and previous injuries he's had. Then they moved into quotations from Jennings, Leslie Frazier (Vikings Head Coach) and Christian Ponder (Vikings QB).

They did not use any quotations from the Packers players though, which I think would have helped the reader fully understand the heat of the rivalry between the Vikes and the Pack.

Hugo Chavez Dies: Analysis

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In the CBS article "Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan Leader and U.S. Foil, Dies" a reader may bypass it, because it seems as if it is going to be a biased story.

The author struggles to contain any bias he may have toward the Venezuelan leader, sometimes getting off track by saying "the exceedingly popular leader," which makes the author out to be a fan of Chavez, and another statement where the author writes about Chavez's closeness with America's enemies (i.e. Saddam Hussein).

The title suggests Hugo Chavez's death was a good thing for America. The author begins with his death itself and why, then goes on to use two quotes, one mild one from President Obama, then another not-so-mild quote for Rep. Mike Rogers, where he talks about Chavez as a "destabilizing force" the chairman of the House of the House Intelligence Committee.

The article then goes onto talk about his Venezuelan opponents, and compares Chavez to Fidel Castro, and Hitler himself.

The author then continues to talk about the closeness of Chavez's ties with Cuba, and socialist points of view, and how the state attempted to keep his illness private.

The background information, the death reports, and the government Chavez ran were displayed well in this article. Although the use of the words "fiery" and "polarizing" and the title itself displayed the author's point of view on Hugo Chavez, it turned out to be an informative piece on the life and leadership of Chavez.

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