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Katie Couric and the presidential election of 2008

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Eve MacSweeney interviews Katie Couric in Vogue magazine about her memorable interviews in the 2008 election, her skills as a journalist, and her impact on the news and the industry.

The article maintained its fashion agenda without skimping on the significant details of what makes Couric important as a journalist. In the beginning MacSweeney described her as being  "buffed to a high polish: shiny blonde bob, apple-cheeked smile, crisp white shirt, sharp black pencil skirt, and smooth, honey-colored legs." But what followed afterward was anything but superficial.   

I found it interesting that this profile feature highlighted Couric's struggles and successes in relation with each notable candidate she had previously interviewed: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and John McCain.  

McCain: When she accepted the position as anchor for the CBS Evening News back in September of 2006, Couric described it as "almost like being John McCain, running for office in a really tough environment." She had to deal with new audiences that have been accustomed to cable shows, the Internet, and changing lifestyles. In the midst of all this, Couric also had to face certain realities. The show lost more viewers and ratings fell with Couric anchoring the CBS Evening News. They were rated third place among the other networks.

Clinton: Many critics found pleasure in seeing Couric struggle with the ratings, as they did with Clinton and her decline in voters' support. Couric was criticized for aiming too high, but to a certain extent encouraged at the same time. MacSweeney described it as wanting "to see Couric, like Hillary, chastened but not persecuted."

Palin: There were also some similarities between Couric and Palin. Both women wanted objective and non-judgmental reporting. When Couric reminisced about her interview with Palin, she described it as fascinating when she watched her formulating answers. She wanted to remain neutral. "I was just a conduit to get her point of view out there," Couric said.

Obama: Like Obama, she earned the trust of viewers as time went along. Through quality news stories and objective journalism, she had proven herself once again to the public.  

A taste of Tianjin, China in Chanhassen, Minn.

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In Peter Lilienthal's consumer guide feature, he talks about his experiences at Ryan Ran's restaurant in Chanhassen, Minn. Serving authentic Szechuan and Mandarin dishes, Lilienthal was not disappointed with the entrees.

Based on how Lilienthal has structured his article, he not only rates the restaurant, he also adds a lot of color to the feature by describing his experiences at Tian Jin. I thought his narrative was interesting because through the details he provided, you felt as if you were experiencing the food and the atmosphere along with him.

He starts out by giving a description of the scene and atmosphere at the restaurant. The walls were painted red, assorted lanterns hung from the ceiling, and ornate dark wood tables filled the restaurant.

After taking in the scenery, Lilienthal indulges in more than 12 entrees. What was served was not the typical kung pao chicken. He sampled "mandarin beef with golden garlic, chung king chicken (light, colorful, and bursting with spices), head cheese-style ma la beef, herbal cumin lamb, and boiled fillet of sole served in a piquant Szechuan sauce."

Although Lilienthal's overall experience was an enjoyable one, he wants the readers to be aware of the inconsistent pace of service. "At times the pace is too swift and at others it can be on the slow side. It's a small price to pay for a truly memorable experience," Lilienthal said.

His other recommendation? Leave the ordering up to the waiters and waitresses, and prepare your palettes for some amazing Chinese cuisine!  

Sweet treats: Minnesota's best pastry chefs

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From traditional chocolate chip cookies to elaborate buttermilk sorbets, the Mpls St. Paul Magazine has picked out some of the best pastry chefs in the Twin Cities.  

In this feature Andrew Zimmern emphasizes the differences of each chef's personal history, culinary background, and techniques. The individuality of each chef is reflected in the delectable desserts that they create.

Zimmern gives a description of, what he considers, the top five pastry chefs in the Twin Cities. Christina Kaelberer of Chambers Kitchen, Leah Henderson of D'Amico Cucina, Carrie Summer of Spoonriver, Khanh Tran of Cosmos, and Michelle Gayer of La Belle Vie are among those that made the list.    

At Chambers Kitchen, Kaelberer is known for her "passion fruit soufflé with passion fruit caramel and bitter chocolate sorbet." It is considered as "one of the three best desserts in the Twin Cities." 

Over at D'Amico Cucina, Henderson likes to whip up a "lemon mascarpone panna cotta with roasted black mission figs, ruby port glaze, and candied spiced pecans."

As for Summer, she likes to stick to the classics, but adds a modern twist to all her dishes. Her "chicory-chocolate cream and sake apricots," are recommended at Spoonriver.    

At Cosmos, Tran likes to play with contrasting textures and flavors. Her chocolate tart is a great example of this. She tops it off with white pepper ice cream, smoked hot chocolate, spiced figs, and salted almond praline.   

And last but not least, Gayer of La Belle Vie impresses customers with her rustic and classical style. Her menu has not yet been finalized, but customers should be expecting a lot of browned butter.  

This piece combines a consumer guide feature and a profile feature into one article. Zimmern not only provides an index of their restaurant's information, but he also personalizes each pastry chef's profile with entertaining anecdotes. I thought providing information about what their "favorite sweet" was was an interesting touch to the feature.  Throughout the feature Zimmern provided intricate details, but still kept everything clear and concise.  

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