September 2011 Archives

by Sarah See

About four sources were used in a story by the Associated Press about the heavy rains that triggered flooding and landslides in China.

The sources that were named were the country's meteorological agency, Xinhua News Agency, National Meteorological Center, and Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The sources were scattered throughout the story and not clustered together.

The information appeared to have come from the organizations in general, but it may have come from specific people in those organizations who were unnamed in the story because the information they provided was representative of their organizations as a whole.

Some of the information is from records, specifically the paragraphs that source the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the numbers they determined in regard to the effects of the floods and landslides.

The reporter set up the attribution in the story by putting the most important information first.

It was effective and not confusing because the reporter said what happened by presenting facts with critical details, before having people read through the sources.

Because some people may be in a rush for time when reading the news, the way the reporter set up the attribution allows readers to get the main news value of the story right at the start of every sentence or paragraph.

Center City man dies in motorcycle crash

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by Sarah See

A 51-year-old motorcyclist died Saturday night when he was traveling west on County Highway 37 and ran off the road in Shafer Township, according to reports by the Star Tribune and CBS Minnesota.

Officials responded to a report received around 7:12 p.m. regarding the motorcycle crash, the Chisago County Sheriff's Office said.

Jay Carl Tromburg, of Center City, Minn., was the only person on the motorcycle, investigators said.

He was dead as a result of the crash when they arrived at the scene, deputies said.

Tromburg lost control of his cycle in Taylors Falls and left the road, according to CBS Minnesota.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, and speed may be a factor, authorities said.

Tromburg was the second person to die in a motorcycle crash in Minnesota this weekend, according to the Star Tribune.

Nevada air race show crash kills 10 and injures at least 70

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by Sarah See

Ten people were killed, and at least 70 others were injured Sept. 16 by a racing plane crash at the Reno-Stead Airport, according to CNN and Associated Press reports Monday.

Pilot Jimmy Leeward died when his modified WWII-era P-51 Mustang fighter plane, the Galloping Ghost, crashed nose-first into a section of VIP box seats, according to the Associated Press' report in the Star Tribune.

Investigators mapped the scene and collected "tremendous amounts of material" as evidence, including spectator videos and photos, Mark Rosekind, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said.

Investigators also looked at the plane's damaged elevator trim tab which broke apart and was captured in a photograph, Rosekind said.

An onboard data box and camera equipment believed to be from the plane were recovered by officials, the Associated Press reported.

The cause of the aircraft's nosedive crash was unknown, authorities told CNN.

NTSB on-scene public affairs officials returned to Washington, D.C., and the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority resumed operations where the crash occurred, according to the Associated Press.

A full investigation could take six to nine months, and the NTSB will look at safety oversight and the placement of grandstands for the air race, Rosekind said.

BWCA wildfire now 45 percent contained

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by Sarah See

Firefighter crews continued to make progress against the fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota, according to the U.S. Forest Service Sunday.

The Pagami Creek blaze, which burned for more than a month, was 45 percent contained, up from the 39 percent contained Friday night, fire information officials said.

More accurate mapping and warmer weather conditions allowed firefighters to see smoke hot spots easier and shrink the blaze's size to about 146 square miles, according to the Star Tribune and Associated Press.

"The fire has not grown in a week," Jeff Edmonds, an information officer for the state Department of Natural Resources in Ely, Minn. told the Star Tribune.

About 877 firefighters, including Minnesota National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, worked in the extensive operation, officials said.

The Pagami Creek fire, believed to have been started Aug. 18 by a lightning strike east of Ely, was the largest in the wilderness region in recent history and sent smoke as far as Chicago, according to the Star Tribune.

No cause found for deadly fire

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by Sarah See

The cause of a South Minneapolis fire that killed one man and injured two people on Sept. 14 was undetermined, investigators said Wednesday.

The fire started early Wednesday morning on the second floor porch of a duplex at 3317 Bryant Ave. South, setting off three alarms, the Minneapolis Arson Unit said.

The cause of the fire "cannot be proven to an acceptable level of certainty," authorities told KARE 11.

Three people trapped by the flames were rescued, but Jay Beck died from injuries, firefighters said.

The 2 1/2 story duplex on the 3300 block of Bryant Avenue was heavily damaged and immediately torn down, according to KSTP.

Flooding and landslides kill 14 in China

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by Sarah See

At least 14 people died Sept. 17 after heavy rains triggered a massive landslide and flooding in China, according to a state-run media report Monday.

The 100,000 cubic meters of rock and mud slid down a mountain in the afternoon in a suburb of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, CNN reported.

Additional landslides buried people, homes, roads and workshops, and floods submerged homes and cars, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Ten bodies were retrieved Sunday afternoon from the rubble in Sichuan province by rescuers, and 11 people were injured in the flooding, Xi'an vice mayor Zhu Zhisheng told Xinhua.

The floods left more than 80 people dead or missing, forced more than 1 million people to evacuate, caused nearly $3 million in damages and submerged 29,000 houses throughout Henan, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a report released by the Associated Press.

The heavy rains and landslides Sunday morning hampered the rescue efforts of more than 700 police, firefighters and locals, Xinhua said.

The torrential rains were forecasted to continue in the region for another three days, according to China's meteorological agency and the National Meteorological Center.

Analysis: How News Lead works in story about Oakdale Deaths

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by Sarah See

The news lead in a story by the Star Tribune about three people found dead in an Oakdale home was a straightforward hard-news lead.

The news elements that were in the lead were who, what, where, and when.

The reporter, Pat Pheifer, began with the most important information first and said what happened.

Pheifer also focused on the main news value and presented only the facts.

The girl and the three people found dead were detailed to an extent because the story said she was 6 years old, and two of the three dead were adult females, and one was an adult male.

The time was more general because the story said the incident occurred on Thursday afternoon, but it did not yet indicate the specific hour and minute in the lead.

The location was also general because the story said the scene of the incident was in an Oakdale home, but it, too, did not yet indicate the numbered address or street of the house in the lead.

The news lead adhered to the structure of the inverted pyramid in news writing and reporting and worked in the story to reflect the main event of the story.

It highlighted the news value by being general and specific enough to tell the story because the most important feature of the story was found and summarized.

Moreover, detail that was not critical was eliminated from the lead and put instead in the following paragraphs.

Minnesota forest fire spreads quickly

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by Sarah See

A forest fire in the northeastern Minnesota wilderness spread Tuesday, burning more than 60,000 acres, according to reports by CNN and the Star Tribune.

A lightning strike started the fire on Aug. 18, and smoke stretched hundreds of miles from the Canadian border to southern Wisconsin, according to both reports.

Strong 40 mph winds blew the fire to grow 16 miles east on Monday, Jean Bergerson, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, told the Star Tribune.

In addition to the 200 firefighters assigned to the fire, about 25 National Guard troops, four Black Hawk helicopters and Air National Guard members were called to assist them, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced.

Although people were evacuated, no injuries were reported, and no structures were destroyed, Lisa Radosevich-Craig, a spokeswoman for the fire command, told CNN.

Because of the haze that extended 500 miles from the fire, baseball's Milwaukee Brewers decided to close the retractable roof of the stadium for the night's game against the Colorado Rockies, Tyler Barnes, a spokeman for the team, told CNN.

Marine who defied orders receives Medal of Honor

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by Sarah See

Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 23, was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama at the White House Thursday for charging five times into heavy gunfire in an Afghanistan valley to rescue fellow American and Afghan troops, during a six-hour attack from about 50 Taliban insurgents.

The incident began early in the morning on September 8, 2009 when a patrol of Afghan forces and American trainers were on foot in the Ganjgal Valley in Kunar province to meet with village elders, Obama said.

Meyer and Staff Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez were part of a security team for the patrol about a mile away when the ambush began and were denied permission to go in from their commanders four times because the kill zone was too dangerous.

Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez defied orders and drove a Humvee to reach their comrades who were under gunfire from three sides, saving the lives of 13 U.S. Marines and soldiers and 23 Afghan soldiers and killing at least eight Taliban insurgents, according to the Marines' Medal of Honor account.

reported Meyer accepted the medal for four members of his team who died: 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, Pretty Officer 3rd Class James Layton, and Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson.

Meyer was the first Marine and the third living recipient to receive the nation's highest military award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, the Star Tribune reported.

Rodriguez-Chavez was awarded the Navy Cross, the second-highest decoration for Marines, for his role in the firefight, according to CNN.

Meyer was also promoted to sergeant in the Inactive Ready Reserve of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in his home state of Kentucky, according to both news reports.

Minneapolis museum returns ancient vase

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by Sarah See

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts agreed Thursday to return a 2,500-year-old Greek vase to Italy, after an investigation revealed it was looted from an ancient grave and belongs to the people of Italy.

Museum officials notified U.S. and Italian law enforcement when they became aware of its questionable origins several years ago and began to resolve the issue last year, according to reports by the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

The vase was a 2-foot-tall fifth century B.C. Athenian red-figure "volute-krater" that was an ornate vessel used by ancient Greeks to hold a mixture of water and wine, according to both reports.

The museum was not accused of wrongdoing and was one among American museums that also returned questionable objects to their source countries and stopped buying antiquities that lacked verifiable ownership histories, the Star Tribune reported.

The institute was sorry to lose the ceramic 'star' vase bought in 1983 and displayed for almost 30 years because it was an important artifact in the museum's small antiquities collection, Kaywin Feldman, director and past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, told the Star Tribune.

An archaeology professor in Rome determined it was the same vase in photos seized by Italian police who investigated theft of art and antiquities in 1995, and the vase mostly likely came from southern Italy where Greek settlements were established in ancient times, according to both news articles.

Scholars attributed the vase, along with 19 other items, to an artist now known as the Methyse Painter from an era when art was generally made by anonymous craftsmen, according to the Star Tribune.

Three found dead in Oakdale home

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by Sarah See

A 6-year-old girl found three people dead Thursday in an Oakdale residence, authorities said.

She returned home from school, found two adult females and an adult male dead, and went to a neighbor's home where the neighbor called the police, Michelle Stark, community service officer for Oakdale police, told the Star Tribune.

Officers went around 4:12 p.m. to the house on the 7000 block of 13th Street, and investigators worked to identify the bodies to determine what happened, CBS Minnesota reported.

The incident appeared to be contained inside the house, and there is no public safety concern, police told CBS Minnesota.

Although there was no appearance of forced entry, Oakdale police notified the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to help investigate, according to both news sources.

Heavy rains affect millions, killing hundreds in Pakistan

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by Sarah See

More than 200 people were killed, and at least 5.5 million people were affected since August by heavy monsoon rains and floods in Sindh province, southeastern Pakistan, according to reports on Tuesday.

Authorities said 200,000 people were homeless, and 4.2 million acres of agricultural land were flooded, the Star Tribune reported.

At least 1.19 million homes and an estimated 80 percent of cash crops were damaged, authorities told CNN.

Kristen Elsby, spokeswoman for UNICEF, also told CNN 2.7 million children were affected, and half of the 300,000 people in camps were children.

The U.N., the U.S., Iran, Japan and China gave aid, specifically food, tents, clean water, money, and other goods and supplies.

However, continuous heavy rains hampered relief operations, and weather forecasts predicted more rain, with no chance of floodwaters receding anytime soon, according to CNN reports from the National Disaster Management Authority.

Thousands of people were stranded or displaced, and the floods made it impossible for residents to bury their loved ones, army soldier Mohammed Hameed said in the Star Tribune's report.

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