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Analysis: Records-CAR

The Star Tribune article "Collision in the Courts" investigates BNSF Corp., and judicial penalties it has received for misconduct.

Paul McEnroe and Tony Kennedy uncovered court records that show BNSF and its attorneys destroyed evidence and other obstructive practices in four court cases. The Star Tribune and Pro Publica, a non-profit new organization, reviewed 200 lawsuits against the company.

Both news organizations needed to identify cases against BNSF, and how the judges reacted to the company.

The Star Tribune was fair, and allowed BNSF to respond to the investigation.

BNSF said in a statement to the Star Tribune, "It is highly misleading, unfair and plain wrong for the Star Tribune to pick these few instances to paint and malign BNSF as a company with corporate culture or failing to follow the rules of judicial conduct."

McEnroe and Kennedy needed to understand how to read court documents and what they said. Therefore, they would not misinterpret or misrepresent the fillings against BNSF.

They also needed to know how and where to find the court documents.

Analysis: Diversity

The article is about a student at Benilde-St. Margaret's School who is trying to start a gay-straight alliance at the school. The article was in the Star Tribune, and is titled "Benilde student wants to start gay advocacy group."

Matt is a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, where he is a political science major. Matt has worked on a few political campaigns for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, and he identifies himself as a member of the gay community.

Matt said the article written by Kelly Smith provides balanced coverage of the conflict between a student starting a gay-straight alliance at a Catholic school.

He specifically noted the balance in the following statement:

Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said he doesn't know of any such group at the metro area's 13 Catholic high schools, and "that has to say something."

It presents the details of the conflict without the writer editorializing and interjecting her own opinions. Matt said that the gay community was not stereotyped in this article, but that she presented the details of the situation.

Smith allows the story to unfold with the use of many quotes throughout. Therefore, she is using the words of others, and not herself. Sean Simonson, the student at the Catholic school, and Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, are quoted. Therefore, both sides of the argument are presented.

Smith also uses facts about gay-straight alliances at other Catholic schools in the area, including Catholic universities, such as the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University.

This article could be more controversial because of the struggle between the gay community and the Catholic church, but Smith has objectively reported on the different groups represented in the article.

Analysis: Numbers

The article that will be analyzed is titled "As Glaciers Melt, Scientists Seek New Data on Rising Seas" from the New York Times.

Justin Gillis, the writer, begins the story by describing the actions of scientists as they measure the water temperature in Greenland. Gillis said the temperature was around 40 degrees, which sets up the focus of the story.

Gillis includes quotes from the scientists about why the temperature is troubling. Then he includes how many inches scientists had expected the sea level to rise this century, and then it is compared to what happened in the 20th century.

The story unfolds with recent calculations that are different than the projections. Therefore, Gillis identifies the problem by showing the amount the sea level had risen, the projection and how the sea level is not consistent with predictions.

Next, he uses numbers by conveying how the coastline would be affected in the U.S., and how many people would be affected in Asia.

Gillis uses the average of coastal flooding that once or twice a century, and then said it would happen every few years. The numbers enhance the understanding of the numbers because of the difference between what is happening and what is projected.

Gillis also uses numbers when discussing the flow rate from the fjord in Greenland that is discussed in the first few paragraphs. According to the article, it has doubled or tripled within the past decade.

Also, quakes near this fjord have increased "severalfold from the level of the earl 1990s," according to the article. Therefore, more evidence conveys that current results are not consistent with past findings.

The numbers are not confusing in this story. Gillis makes it easy to understand, and conveys that there is a problem, which sets up the discussion of the debate of global warming. He uses them to tell the story, and show the bigger picture. This story could not be told without numbers. But it could have been boring if Gillis had used a lot of confusing numbers.

There are also interactive features with this article that show speed of melting ice, and the areas of the U.S. that are vulnerable to the rising seas.

Analysis: Obituary

The obituary I will be analyzing is "Andy Irons, Surf Champion, is Dead at 32" from the New York Times.

This obituary uses a standard obituary lead, because it states who the person is, Andy Irons, that he is a notable surf champion, and that he died Tuesday in Dallas. Therefore, it identifies him, why he is notable, and when and where he died. The next sentence gives his age, which is 32.

This lead does work, because it leads the reader to question why Irons died at a young age. This question is answered in the second paragraph with the cause. The cause is not known at this time, but the medical examiner did not find evidence to suspect foul play.

The sources include: Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office, Billab,ong, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iron's agent, Steve Astephen, Bernie Baker, an amateur contest director, and pro-surfer Kelly Slater.

The obituary shifts into the claim-to-fame section with a quote from his agent. Then it goes on to describe his life as a competitor while Irons was an amateur surfer, and then it shifts into his pro-surfer career. Each part contains quotes from people that knew him.

The obituary proceeds in chronological order of his achievements as a surfer. This section ends with recent struggles that Irons had. It provides many quotations from other people that describe how he was perceived by other people.

The second to last paragraph contains information about when he was born and his family. He was born on July 24, 1978. Irons is survived by his parents, brother and wife, who is expecting their first child in a few months.

The last paragraph is about the "paddle out" memorial service that was held in Puerto Rico by surfers and fans. Therefore, providing relevant details about the service.

This obituary does not list off all of the titles he won and competitions that Irons competed in, but it provides examples from different competitions so the reader can understand the person he was. If Irons' resume was listed you would not be able to understand the qualities he possessed, and what made him the person he was. Whereas, describing specific events shows his work ethic, drive and what mattered to him.

A press conference given by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Oct. 19 will be analyzed, and the press release can be found here.

The press release by Gibbs is a press briefing on questions from journalists regarding the president's upcoming schedule and his message, among many other things.

I will be focusing on what Gibb's said in regards to the president's message when rallying across the country and whether it will change or stay the same.

The article it is being compared to is: "Democrats Try to Revive Female Voters' Enthusiasm" that appeared in the New York Times on Oct. 21, and was written by Helene Cooper and Monica Davey.

Robert Gibbs was asked about the president's message during the last two weeks of the campaign. His response was that the message would remain the same as in previous weeks. In the article, Cooper and Davey included the message that the economic stimulus and health care bills have pushed the country forward. However, the message was targeted specifically to women and how these policies have helped them. This message has been consistent throughout because Obama has had to defend the success of both policies.

Gibbs was also asked about the president's interest in the races of Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and of Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. Cooper and Davey choose to include quotes from a recent rally on behalf of Sen. Murray where they paraphrased Obama's discussion of his wife, daughters, and other women who are making progress and pushing the country in the right direction. This is also consistent with the president's tone throughout the campaign season.

When asked about the connection between a report being released last week about women in the economy and Obama's campaigning for Murray and Boxer, Gibbs denied any connection between the two. However, in the New York Times framed the article around how women turned out for the president in the 2008 election. Also, how women have typically favored the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party. Gibbs said in the article "that the report on women had nothing to do with politics."

Cooper and Davey discussed how commercials aimed at young women have been placed on Hulu before "Glee," in hopes to reach young, single women. Also, the article notes that First Lady Michelle Obama has been campaigning in hope of rallying women.

Therefore, the article is framed around why female voters are important in the upcoming election to democrats, despite Gibbs' denial of the connection between the president's message and the report on women in the economy.

Analysis: Multimedia


The first news organization is the New York Times.

The New York Times offers slideshows, interactive features, videos and audio with photos.

This interactive feature conveys information with audio that explains the plans for the World Trade Center. It also includes a map with pictures, and the areas of the map being discussed are highlighted with photos that can be enlarged. This feature complements the news by explaining the context of the new architectural plans, while explaining the old structure of the towers. The photos include one sentence putting the shot in context, and the writing is concise.

The slideshow contains typically one sentence with each photo that describes the context. Hyperlinks to relevant material are also included. The slideshow allows the article to briefly describe and put the photos in context, but then the article transitions into the bigger picture, which is the German fear of repeating past mistakes, especially between Muslims and Germans.

The second organization is the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune offers video, audio, slideshows, photo galleries, news graphics and a place for readers to submit their photos and videos.

The videos contain a sentence about the context of the photo and related content. The videos are also divided into different sections, such as most recent, news, sports, lifestyle and entertainment, which the New York Times did not do. They also offer different news shows on their website.

The audio contains music from different artists, podcasts, and excerpts that complement the news, such as the excerpts from the near collision of two airplanes over the Twin Cities.

The slideshows contained photos with one sentences that explain the photo, which is similar to the New York Times.

The news graphics include charts, tables and maps. For example, these maps show different locations along the Mississippi River to view the fall leaves, which include directions and driving times.

Both organizations' multimedia include clear, concise writing that complements the news story. The multimedia also adds more dimension to the news story, and it allows readers to understand the subject matter more easily and in depth.

The article being analyzed for the spot and follow was written by Kathryn Elliott of the Pioneer Press, and the article can be found here.

The lead from the initial story was vague and general, because the details of the incident had not been confirmed yet. Also, the names were not released because law enforcement officials needed to contact the family members of the dead. The news lead now is more specific by including details. For example, two students were cheerleaders at the University of Minnesota.

Initially, it was reported that only three people were killed, and did not mention the fourth U student that was injured in the accident.

The updated article focuses on who the people were. Whereas, the accident was the major focus in the first article written on Thursday. The accident is not summarized until the seventh fact block in the second article.

The second story advances the news by confirming that the people killed were U students, and then it discusses the impact their deaths are having on U students, specifically the impact on the U's Spirit Squad.

I do not believe this article is the result of a competing news organization. However, Elliott does use information from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The information is not attributed throughout the article, but it is attributed as the last fact block.

The article was written by David Hanners of the Pioneer Press, and can be found here.

The lead shares the most recent news in a case against two men. The news is that they were charged in court Friday for the Sept. 17 killing of a Minneapolis man.

The second paragraph adds more description to the lead by giving the names of the two men charged and the name of the man that died. This paragraph refreshes the details of the news, and sets the reader up for the fact blocks that follow.

The third paragraph allows the following paragraphs to chronicle the events of murder because it says that no one witnessed the crime, but Minneapolis' ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System caught the killing on camera. This paragraph also allows for a smooth transition to the details of the fourth paragraph, which is about the getaway car the men were in.

The fifth paragraph is the end of the inverted pyramid in this article, because the next 4 paragraphs are a chronology of the killing that occurred on Sept. 17. All relevant information to the charges of the two men has been discussed.

This article could have been structured differently. The article could have discussed what was caught on camera, and use this information to transition into the bigger picture. The bigger picture is how the gunshot detection system has impacted Minneapolis. Also, the article could discuss other cities that have installed this technology, and whether or not they it has influenced the amount of illegal activities.

Attribution: Lohan Posts Bail and Spends Less Than a Day in Jail

The article was written by Associated Press writer Anthony McCartney, and it was distributed via the Star Tribune.

This article uses 7 sources. There are 6 sources named throughout the article, but 3 of them are reported based on court documents. They include Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elden Fox, attorney Shawn Chapman Holley, and Judge Patricia Schnegg.

The information attributed to Judge Fox is from the sentencing of Lindsay Lohan. Lohan's Attorney Shawn Chapman Holley filed an appeal, and Judge Schnegg made a ruling regarding the appeal. Therefore, the information can be attributed to court documents. All of the documents from these sources was paraphrased throughout the document.

Steve Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is the spokesman regarding Lohan's release from jail. The writer also paraphrases the details of Lohan's release early in the story. was attributed with reporting Lohan's release first.

Lohan's tweets were quoted, and director Matthew Wilder was also quoted.

The legal sources are clumped together at the beginning of the story, and then it shifts to Lohan's tweet and Wilder's quote. By doing this, the readers learn the details and history of Lohan's legal issues, and then he puts it in a bigger context. He addresses how Lohan's legal issues will affect her career from this point forward.

The attribution is also ordered this way because the details of the court documents are the most important in this story. Some people may not care about how this affects Lohan's career, which is why it is at the end of the article.

Attributing it any other way would be confusing to the reader. The information regarding Lohan's recent release from jail needs to be first, then how she ended up in this situation, and finally, how she moves forward from her legal proceedings. Therefore, McCartney attributes this article in an effective way for the reader.

Leads: US Woman Detained in Iran for 13 Months Speaks

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The featured lead is from an Associated Press article written by Karen Matthews and distributed via the Pioneer Press.

The lead features the who, what and when. The who of the article is the American woman that recently arrived home after being imprisoned in Iran, and her name is not detailed in the lead because she is not a household name. Many people know Sarah Shourd as the woman "held in Iran for 13 months and accused of espionage," which is how the lead describes her, however, Matthews provides the reader with a general but yet specific description that sets the reader up for the quote from Shourd.

The detailed quotation from Shourd reveals that she and two men were wrongfully accused of espionage is the what of the lead.

The when, which is Sunday, plays a minor role in this lead, because Matthews leaves us wondering how the accusations of espionage of three Americans by the Iranian government are a misunderstanding.

Matthews chose to include a quote from Shourd because it was one of the first times she has been able to speak publicly since returning to America. The news coverage leading up to this moment has been speculation of the diplomacy between America and Iran for the release of the men and woman, and also speculation by family members of the accused.

Matthews does not include where Shourd was speaking in the lead, because it is not as important as what was being said.

Even if readers have not heard about the detainment of three Americans in Iran, then they will most likely continue reading because of our current relationship with countries in the Middle East.

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