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May 3, 2007

Artic Ice Melting Faster Than Anticipated

An article published on theage.com.au has reported that the artic ice cap is melting much faster than anticipated by predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Climate Change. The ocean at the top of Earth could be free of ice by the year 2020, three decades sooner than anticipated. No ice on the top of the Earth like this could be a major catalyst to global warming, because ice reflects light and heat and with it gone the earth and sea will absorb it. Glaciologists believe the change is a result of greenhousr gases.

The lead establishes the main point of the article flatly, and leads into the details of the changei n prediction, 30 years ahead of schedule. The rest of the article basically hinges on statements attributed to various climate experts and glaciologists. What might be the most important detail is saved for the end of the article, with the glaciologist asserting that the levels are not a result of natural climate change, but rather due to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Coverage of the story at cnn.com is much more in-depth, but covers the same basic points. It feels like it's overwhelmed by details about the study done by the panel, but at the same time it des manage to clearly convey the main points, which are that the study is anticipated to be off by 30 years, and that the change is probably due to greenhouse gases.

The CNN article is less immediately readable than the article written for The Age, and saturates the article with facts that feel superfluous. There's also not as many quotes given from people working in the field, which doesn't help it.

May 2, 2007

Verdict Received in Car/Bus Collision Case

A truck and a bus engaged in a fatal collision on I-94 in late 2005, and a jury on the case has recently decided on a not-guilty verdict for the accused truck driver according to a Star Tribune article. The driver's trailer overturned, and the bus plowed into the trailer, killing students and the driver. People are divided on both sides of the issue, but the jury ruled not-guilty on the over 30 charges placed against the driver. Negligent homicide was the most prominent charge, though there were other misdemeanors and felonies. The jury would not comment on the deliberation process. The bus was carrying Chippewa High School band members. During the trial, prosecutors tried to show that the driver was too tired to perform his job. The community remains divided on the issue, with people supporting the driver and being disappointed in the end verdict.

The main pointo f the article is that a verdict was reached, so that's mentioned in the first graph. The rest of the article after a brief chronology of the incident, which doesn't take place til a little later so there is no clear when element, is primarily giving the opinions of those in the community about the outcome of the case. Lots of direct attribution is used, and it' clear a lot of reporting was done to gauge the overall reaction as split. In particular the article focuses on a band teacher paralysed by the incident, and how he recovers. There is an especially nice human-interest element to the piece, and I mean there was obviously a lot of potential but it's pretty nice how they interview the band instructor after the invident and focus on him and one of his classes.

And another element of the case is brought up in the Pioneer Press' treatment of the story. It presents a similar reconstruction of the events after the first few graphs, giving dates and describing the events, but rather than focusing specifically on the element of the community's reaction, it talks about lawsuits being filed against the courts as a result of the verdict of the jury to acquit the driver. There is then quite a bit of debate as to who is to blame, whether the driver can really be blamed, etc, and there's not as much of a human interest element but it's equally interesting and raises questons about the legal system. The case is difficult because there's really no way to tell what happened or who was responsible, so in this case the jury just had no real way to prove the negligence. There is direct attribution from defense attorneys about the incident.

Both articles are adequate, and complementary because together they give a broader spectrum of information about the story. One has information and viewpoints that the other does not cover, and they appeal to different interests. One article is more concerned with the humanity, while the other focuses on the lgality issues and what could be done in the case. The two papers each picked a different angle for the story, and while the Star Tribune's is obviously the more compelling one ot read, I'd say they're both essential for a total comprehension of the story.

Man Charged in St. Paul Weekend Murder

An article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported the shooting of a local man by the brother of his fiancé. The 23-year-old man was charged on the shooting today, while the act occurred this past Sunday night. The shooting is alleged to have occurred during an argument between the two men on Sunday night in a parking lot behind an apartment building. The victim's fiancé heard two gunshots, and the victim stumbled in to tell her he was shot before he died. The article says the two men had a history of fueding, one that included previously ramming one anothers' vehicles on a freeway. The accused denied being at the victim's apartment, and apparently returned the gun he used to his girlfriend after committing the act.

This is a solid piece of hard news without a real twist or angle. The thing that distinguishes it from a story that would be reporting any other murder is the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. This relationship is thus establishes in the lead early on, right after the mention of the murder. It also gives the location of the shooting, the Highland Park area of St. Paul. The victim and perpetrator are then identified, and a brief chronology is given including the ties between the two men. The only attribution given is lifted from the police complaint. It specifically mentions what the perpatrator did after committing the crime, whic his engaging in rapport with his spouse. The article is pretty straightforward, and would likely be shorter if not for the small angle related to the two mens' knowledge of one another.

Pioneer Press coverage of the article uses the awkward phrase "sister's boyfriend" instead of fiancé, which sort of screws up the lead in my opinion. The article also seems choopier and really lacks any semblance of narrative flow, and makes it less pleasaing to read.

I prefer the Tribune's article because it flows easier, there's attempts at a sort of chronology midway through, and it contains all the same facts as the Pioneer Press article. You get all the necessary information quickly from either and might not need on past the first graph, but the Pioneer Press piece's first graph also feels awkward and screwed up do to some confusing wordchoice.