February 2011 Archives

Analysis: Multimedia

I compared the New York Times multimedia site and the LA Times.

Both of these sites were extensive and well polished. Both had slideshows covering various topics as diverse as the unrest in the middle east to the business attire of men these days. The interactive feature of the workers response to the oil rig blowout here on the NYT site was especially engaging for viewers, with a video/interviews, a complete diagram of the oil rig, etc.

The LA Times also had a piece on gang violence, with separate sections labeled "victims", "advocates", etc. The writing accompanying these photos gave a background of gang violence, its effect on innocent people, the neighborhoods, etc. Many of the captions would give some information regarding the photo and then more extensive coverage on its meaning to the main subject. The writing tends to be concise, almost like a lead, but more spread out (in comparison to the "pyramid" style).

Copper Thieves Hit Fire Museum

Thieves attempted to steal copper from the Firefighters Hall and Museum sometime in the past three weeks, resulting in costly damage to the nonprofit museum, the Star Tribune reported.

A museum worker noticed condenser coils missing from the heating units while checking an ice dam situation on the roof, KARE 11 said. Replacing the units will cost $13,000, a financial blow to the nonprofit, which is only open on Saturdays.

Police say that copper thefts are on the rise. Most of the replacement costs will be covered by insurance, but not all of it.

Brooklyn Park Mayor Dies

The mayor of Brooklyn Park, Steve Lampi, died Sunday night only weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, KARE 11 reported.

Lampi died surrounded by his family in his home. He was only 56 years old and had been elected to his third term as the mayor in November, FOX said.

Lampi was also the owner of the ice cream company Bridgeman's, where he had worked since he was 15.

Former M.A.D.D. President Gets D.U.I.

The former president of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) in Gainesville, Fla., was arrested under suspicion of D.U.I. last week, KTLA reported.

Debra Oberlin, 48, was pulled over when police saw her driving erratically. Oberlin blew a .234 and .239 when given a breathalyzer test, Inquistr.com said.

Oberlin told officers she had drank four beers before being arrested. She had previously been president of the Gainesville MADD chapter for four years.

Yemen President Orders Protection of Protesters

The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered police to protect demonstrators and stop clashes between government supporters and opponents, the New York Times reported.

Two anti-government protesters were shot and killed by government supporters at a sit-in at Sana University. 15 people have been reported killed since the protests started two weeks ago, and members of the ruling party have resigned as a result of government's handling of the situation, BBC News said.

Saleh has been in power since 1978 and has promised to step down in 2013 when his term ends, but the protesters have expressed that will not be soon enough.

Maryland Senate Approves Gay Marriage Bill

The Maryland Senate approved a bill Thursday that gives same-sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexuals, the Washington Times reported.

The bill was amended so that religious groups and and other institutions don't have to be forced to participate in gay weddings, according to the Huffington Post. Gov. Martin O'Malley said he would sign the bill into law if it passes in the House.

Obama told Congress it would stop opposing challenges to the law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman on Wednesday, marking a a change in long-standing American policy.

"It provides full equality under the law for thousands of same-gender couples in our state, couples like Mark and myself," Sen. Richard Madaleno, the only openly gay member of the Maryland Senate, said regarding the bill.

House Blocks Federal Aid to Planned Parenthood

The House of Representatives passed a bill, also known as Title X, on Friday that blocks all funding to Planned Parenthood, according to the Washington Post.

GOP Rep. Mike Pence, the chief sponsor of Title X, argued that taxpayer's dollars should not go towards groups that support or provide abortions. The bill cuts the entire $317 million in aid for family planning, and will go to the Senate, which is Democratic by only a small majority, the New York Times said.

Advocates are outraged at what Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, called "the most dangerous legislative assault on women's health in Planned Parenthood's 95-year history."

Planned Parenthood primarily assists low-income women with family planning, H.I.V. counseling, treatment for sexual diseases, and, in fewer than 10 percent of its cases, abortion.

Almost Postal Puppy Finds Home

A 5-month-old schnauzer-poodle mix named Guess, who was almost took a deadly air-mail plane ride to Georgia, found a new home on Friday, KSTP reported.

Guess had been in need of a new owner since late January, when workers at the Loring Station downtown spotted the box he was in moving, the Star Tribune reported.

Stacey Champion, 39, apparently was trying to mail the dog to Georgia for her 11-year-old son. She lost custody and is facing misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

Numerous people tried to adopt Guess after the mailing fiasco, but the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley decided to hold a drawing of people who met care taking criteria.

Terri Ford was the first person chosen out of about 50 who gathered, and gets to keep Guess.

Local Priest Faces Felony Charge Involving Woman He Counseled

A St. Paul priest has been charged with felony criminal sexual conduct involving a woman whom he counseled from 2003 to 2005 at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, according to the Pioneer Press.

Christopher Thomas Wenthe, 46, appeared in court Friday and was ordered to have no contact with the victim, the Star Tribune said.

The woman told police that she talked to Wenthe about her problems with bulimia and sexual abuse she suffered as a child. She was in her early 20s at the time of the counseling. She reported the abuse to police in April of 2010, after being advised to do so by church representatives.

"This was a consensual relationship," Paul Engh, Wenthe's attorney, said. "Having sex with someone who has become a close friend is not illegal, though contrary to Father Wenthe's vows. He provided a complete statement of his innocence five months ago, and there has been no intervening act that would have required his arrest [Thursday]."

Bahrain's Military Cracks Down On Protestors

Bahrain military have taken over several key areas in the capital, according to the New York Times.

Empowered by the Egyptian uprising, demonstrations began several days ago protesting the government, which is an absolute monarchy. Reports surfaced yesterday that the military had stormed a peaceful protest in Pearl Square, leaving at least four people dead, the Washington Post said.

The police threw tear gas and shot rubber bullets and pellets, and protesters told news reporters that they had no warning and were "attacked" by the police.

The U.S. holds a tricky position in regards to Bahrain because of good relations with the king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, who has been a key ally in pushing back the influence of Iran. Al-Khalifa is a Sunni in the small nation which is 70 percent Shiite.

Chicago Population Dips 7 Percent

The Chicago population dropped 6.9 percent- about 200,000 people- between 2000 and 2010, according to recent census results and Yahoo! News.

The recent recession is to blame for the decline as many families are flocking to the suburbs, Fox 9 said.

Chicago's population peaked in 1950 but had been in decline until the 1990s when there was an economic boom. African Americans are still the largest racial group at 33 percent, but are becoming more even with other racial groups, such as Hispanics (29 percent) and Non-Hispanic whites (32 percent).

Surrounding counties like Cook County, Kendall County, and DuPage all saw increases in their population.

Analysis: Progression

In the Star Tribune article about the woman who beat a tiger with a ladle, the reporter gives the most important information first: the news that she chased off a tiger with a ladle. This is effective because it draws the reader into the story, and makes the reader want more details. The second paragraph gives a little more information as to where it was, what the man was doing, etc. I think that makes the reader more knowledgeable about the scene before the third paragraph, which explains the action- "The woman rushed out ..." etc. The following paragraphs give more detail about the condition of the man and his thoughts. I think this is a very effective set up because it gives enough information that the reader can understand what's going on, but also wants to keep reading. It could possibly be done differently by giving all of the action up front instead of filling you in on where the news took place, but this might be too much for the reader, or they wouldn't want to read the rest of the article.

Woman Wards Off Tiger Using A Ladle

A woman saved her husband from a tiger attack when she hit the animal multiple times on the head with a ladle, the Star Tribune reported Sunday.

The attack occurred in Northern Malaysia in the jungle settlement of the Jahai tribe, according to News.com. Apparently the man was attacked by the tiger as he was hunting squirrels, screaming and causing his wife to run out and hit the tiger with a ladle. The animal ran off after she repeatedly struck it on the head.

At first the man tried to climb a tree, but the tiger dragged him down. "I was terrified and I used all my strength to punch the animal in the face, but it would not budge," the man said, "it would have clawed me to death if my wife had not arrived." He was taken to the hospital with lacerations to his face and legs, but is in good condition.

53rd Annual Grammy Awards Kick Off Sunday

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards happened Sunday night at the Staples Center. There were a few upsets and Lady Gaga managed to surprise everyone once again with her entrance.

According to the Washington Post, the biggest upset of the night was when Esperanza Spalding beat out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence + The Machine, and Mumford and Sons for Best New Artist.

Lady Gaga arrived on the red carpet inside of an egg which was being carried by several scantily clad models, the Huffington Post reported.

Muse beat out Neil Young for best rock album, and Cee Lo Green had an Elton John-esque performance mixed with Gwyneth Paltrow and the muppets. Eminem's "Recovery" won best rap album as expected (it was 2010's best selling album).

Man Plunges Car Off Washington Bridge

The Washington Avenue bridge was closed Thursday after a car plunged off of it, according to Kare 11.

Authorities said that the car was going westbound toward the bridge when it went over a snowbank and down an embankment.

The driver, an 18-year-old male, was taken to HCMC with non-life-threatening injuries, KSTP said.

Authorities believe the man was suicidal.

New Roof Approved For Metrodome

The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission voted for a new roof of the Metrodome Thursday after engineers recommended its replacement, Kare 11 reported.

The new roof could cost almost $19 million and would hopefully be done in before August 1, days before the Vikings are supposed to start playing. The recommendation took several weeks to establish because of safety hazards on the roof, the Star Tribune said.

The decision came several months after the Dec. 12 snowstorm that dumped nearly 20 inches on the Twin Cities, damaging the Metrodome roof panels and consequently collapsing the structure. It was the fourth time the dome collapsed in its history, but the last collapse was 27 years ago.

Several commissioners are pushing to build a new stadium in Ramsey County, but budget disputes complicate the situation. The Vikings have said they would pay for one-third of a roofless stadium, but lawmakers have said they would prefer a more expensive, retractable roof.

Mubarak Tells Egypt He Won't Step Down

After another day of protests and rumors that the President would resign by nightfall, Mubarak announced on Egyptian national television that although he would allocate many powers to the Vice President, but not step down.

Throughout the day several sources told news networks like NBC Nightly News that Mubarak was planning on resigning by nightfall, but networks and protestors were shocked when he said he would stay in office until September.

Analysts were concerned that the country would erupt into chaos or violence, according to National Public Radio. As Mubarak made the announcement, many protestors in Cairo began chanting "Get out! Get out!" and holding their shoes in the air, the ultimate sign of disrespect in the arab world.

Packers win the Super Bowl

The Green Bay Packers were crowned the new Super Bowl champions Sunday night after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, the New York Times reported.

Aaron Rodgers, the Packers' quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and was named M.V.P. during the post-game ceremony. It was Green Bay's fourth Super Bowl title, CBS News reported. Rodgers lead the team to their first championship since 1997, when Brett Favre was quarterback.

The Steelers and the Packers both had the fewest points allowed by defense this year, but the Steelers couldn't seem to rally their offense enough to score the points they needed. After cutting an 18-point deficit down to four points, the Steelers had a chance to narrow the game to one, but kicker Shaun Suisham missed the 52-yard field goal.

Analysis: Attributions

In the Associated Press' article published by the Washington Post, the author quotes four different people who lend valuable information to the story. The first was the chief of police, who gave clearer details about what happened in the shooting, a smart decision for the first quote because it helps establish some of the who, what, when, where, why information.

All of the sources are people who are named, and they're scattered throughout the story. I don't think that the attributions are confusing at all. They seem very effective, each contributing to what the reader knows about the story. The sources are the police chief, a representative of the fraternity, the president of the university, and a neighbor who lives right next to the house. One of the quotes was taken from a news conference, but the rest of them seemed like direct quotes told to the reporter.

If they had all been clustered together, the quotes would have been confusing, but since the reporter cushioned each of them with information about the story, they are effective.

Frat house shooting leaves 1 Dead, 11 injured

A student was killed in a shooting at a Youngstown State University fraternity house in Ohio early Sunday morning, the Washington Post reported. Two men were arrested and charged with aggravated murder, shooting into a house and 11 counts of felonious assault. "Something happened that they became unhappy," Youngstown police Chief Jimmy Hughes said, "they had some type of altercation."

Jamail E. Johnson, 25, was shot once in the head and multiple times in the hips and legs, according to Yahoo! News. 11 others were injured in the shooting, including six students and one 17-year-old who had a critical wound by one ear. Police said more than half of them were shot in the foot.

"(Johnson) was just an excellent, excellent young man, and our loss runs deep," Christopher Cooper, a legal officer for Johnson's Omega Psi Phi fraternity, told the Associated Press. Cooper also said that Johnson had recently gone to North Carolina to participate in a fraternity program emphasizing manhood and scholarship.

Members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity lived at the house, but Cooper said the fraternity did not own the house itself.

Senator Reinart Proposes Sunday Liquor Sales

Liquor sales might be allowed in Minnesota on Sundays thanks to legislation proposed by Sen. Roger Reinert Wednesday.

The state's current statutes "puts our state at a competitive and economic disadvantage-particularly in communities that border Wisconsin," Reinert told Fox 9.

According to CBS News, a change in policy could generate up to $10.6 million in tax revenue for Minnesota. The current regulations are one of the state's "blue laws", which are meant to enforce religious practices.

"Sunday liquor sale laws are remnants of a bygone era that no longer make sense in a 21st Century world," Reinert said. Other lawmakers say that the bill could raise a lot of money for Minnesota, which is trying to solve its deficit.

St. Paul Police Looking For Knife Wielding Robber

St. Paul police are looking for a man who robbed the same SuperAmerica three times in six weeks. According to the Pioneer Press, he threatened employees with a knife two separate times but no one was hurt.

The incidents occurred at the SuperAmerica on 56 North Snelling Avenue Dec. 23, 2010, Jan. 11, and Jan. 26, the Kare 11 reported.

The suspect is described as white, in his late teens or early 20s, thin and 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall. In the first two incidents he wore the same clothing; a tan colored fur hat with ear flaps, a scarf, and dark colored jacket. During the second incident he was wearing an Arizona sweatshirt under the jacket, and on the Jan. 26 robbery he wore a baseball cap.

Protestors Clash With Mubarak Supporters In Cairo

Protests in Cairo became increasingly violent Wednesday while anti-government protestors clashed with pro-Mubarak supporters. The eruptions came were a result of Mubarak's announcement on national television that he wouldn't step down immediately but finish the last seven months of his term, the Huffington Post said.

Thousands of Mubarak supporters rhode into Tahrir Square on camels and horses, breaking through human chains made by protestors and armed with clubs, stones, knives and rocks, according to the New York Times. Many men were carried away bleeding.

There were many indications that the supporters were organized professionals. Protestors said that many of the supporters carried Police identification. Some offered the protestors 50 Egyptian pounds, or the equivalent of $8.50, to carry signs supporting Mubarak.

"Mubarak's primary responsibility is to ensure an orderly and peaceful transfer of power," an Egyptian government official said, "we can't do that if we have a vacuum of power." The official also said that the Egyptian government had "a serious issue with how the White House is spinning this," the New York Times reported.

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