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May 3, 2008

Convention loophole gives lobbyist perks

Ken Dilanian of USA Today reported Thursday that both Republicans and Democrats are using convention loopholes to give perks to special interest groups.

A new ethics law reduced the amount of influence that big donors can have to a political party, but the law states nothing about fundraisers at party conventions.

As a result, both parties are giving perks to donors who give large amounts of money to either party. The Democrats are listing a meeting with Nancy Pelosi and rooms at hotels during the convention in Denver. Similarly, Republicans are giving away rooms at hotels in Minneapolis and other perks for their big donors.

Dilanian used records to see how much money a donor would have to bring in to get the perks. He found out the cheapest donation is $100,000 and that only really special interest groups can afford this sum of money.

In addition, Dilanian used his computer skills to figure out what perks donors were going to receive. However, he was not able to find all the perks because the Democrats did not disclose all of their perks.

In the end, Dilanian uses information he gathered through computer-assisted reporting to tell how lobbyist are contributing to political parties even though there is an ethics law that is suppose to stop it. He talks about how the loophole exists and though he doesn’t suggest it, he indirectly tells about how the loophole needs to be fixed.

April 13, 2008

San Francisco’s Japantown holds festival

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday the city’s Japantown held a Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend in order to promote Japanese culture.

The festival will go on until April 20 and one of the major events at the festival is the Blossom Queen.

The reporter described the life of one of the contestants. The reporter detailed how Miwa Natsuki is having trouble identifying herself as a Japanese American. The reporter used quotes from Natsuki to describe her life and how she has an American-style life and a Japanese-style life.

In addition, the reporter put in quotes from the festival’s organizers to describe how young Japanese Americans are not affiliating themselves with the Japanese culture. An example they gave is how only five women signed up to compete for the Blossom Queen, when in the 1980s dozens would.

The story informed me about how young Americans of Japanese decent are losing their family’s culture. I knew that older ethnicities such as Germans and Italians have already lost their family’s original culture, but I did not know Asian cultures were having the same problems.

So, the reporter used the detailing of the problem of culture loss in order to tell the significance of the festival. The festival is to preserve Japanese culture and the reporter does a good job of getting this message across without using stereotypes.

April 5, 2008

Markets improve after gloomy reports

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday the stock market improved, despite a report showing the biggest monthly decline in jobs in five years.

In the article, the reporter uses numbers to describe how many jobs were lost and how that affected the unemployment rate. Also, the reporter uses numbers to describe the changes in the stock markets and how oil prices have changed to affect the market.

I don’t think the numbers are overwhelming because the change does not seem that great. The change in the stock market is small, only a few percent, and the loss of jobs is small compared to the overall population in the United States. Instead, the reporter could have used a percent to describe the loss of jobs and not how many were lost.

In getting the numbers, the reporter had to do some number crunching in order to get the percent change. In addition, the sources the reporter used came from the markets themselves. The reporter does give some market highlights of companies that had large changes, which these numbers also had to have percent changes take place.

March 30, 2008

Anti-conscription activist Ivan Toms dies in South Africa

The Associated Press reported Sunday anti-conscription activist Ivan Toms, a white South African doctor, died Tuesday in his Cape Town home. He was 55.

In getting the details about Toms’ life, the reporter talked with a secretary of the African National Congress and a director of health for Cape Town. It appears the reporter found background information on Toms’ life, but does not attribute it to anyone or anything.

The lead is a standard lead in that it cuts right to the point of who died, where he did, when it happened and how old he was. In the next line he tells how Toms died.

I believe the lead works because it helps tell the reader who the person is right from the start. I did not know who the person was until reading the obituary and I think a different kind of lead would have just confused me.

The obituary is different than a resume because it is more personal. A resume tells where a person has worked, their education level and what other groups they are a part of. An obituary gives a more personal level in the story by it connecting the reader through the person’s achievements in life.

March 9, 2008

Eccentric designer to have show in Union Station

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that eclectic fashion designer Jared Gold will have a free, open-to-the-public runway show Friday at Los Angeles’ famous Union Station.

The venue will hold 1,500 people and Gold will be showcasing his largest collection ever. Gold will reveal fifty-five women’s looks and six men’s ensembles in the historic train station. The collection is called Czarina and is inspired by the Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company.

During the event, prima ballerinas from Salt Lake City’s Ballet West Company will perform as the models walk down the runway. Afterwards, goth-rockabilly band Miss Derringer will perform at the after-party in the station.

In the past, Gold has been known for his extravagant shows. The Salt Lake City native has played a flaming xylophone on the runway, filled a venue with silver balloons and had a model tote a pig’s hoof down the catwalk.

Gold is known for his eccentric style, but sometimes it’s not always wearable. This is a problem because stores are afraid to carry Gold’s collections.

“They were scared the edgier stuff wouldn’t sell,? Gold said. “Now I just make whatever I want, and the stuff that Barneys wasn’t going to take a risk on are our hottest sellers.? (Los Angeles Times)

However, one good thing Gold does is he gets his collection to the public fast. In most cases, Gold’s clothing can be on sale to the public the next day after its premier on the runway.

The article only cites one source and that is Gold himself. He is the only person that article has quotes from and no other sources are mentioned. The writer chose to write an angle that dealt with Gold’s uniqueness as a designer. They opened the story about how crazy Gold’s shows are and how he is going to be having one in Union Station. As a result, the author makes the story an advance, but also a profile because they write about Gold’s past and how he is as a designer. So, the reader gets a sense of who Gold is and it helps them decide whether they want to go attend the free show or not.

March 2, 2008

Ahmadinejad holds press conference in Iraq

The New York Times reported Sunday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Iraq. During his visit, Ahmadinejad held a press conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. In the press conference, Ahmadinejad talked about how he wants to imrpove relations between Iran and Iraq, who had fought a bloody war in the 1980s between each other. Ahmadinejad also talked about how the United States is doing more harm than good in Iraq. The New York Times wrote what the Iranian leader talked about, but the writer chose to make Ahmadinejad a villian. The writer spoke about how the two leaders wanted to improve relations, but the writer made it look like Ahmadinejad was trying to get around the U.S. in going to Iraq. The New York Times then talked about how angry people were that Ahmadinejad came to Baghdad.

February 24, 2008

Clinton goes from angry to sarcastic

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton was angry over her democratic opposition Senator Barack Obama’s campaign mailing.

Mrs. Clinton accused Obama of dirty tactics by releasing leaflets in Ohio that said Senator Clinton was in favor of NAFTA. This is a big issue because the state has had controversy with people believing they have lost jobs over the NAFTA agreement.

“Shame on you, Barack Obama,? Mrs. Clinton said. “It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your message in public.? (New York Times)

A woman approached Mrs. Clinton after a rally and gave the leaflet to the senator. However, it was not the first time the senator had seen the leaflets, as she had seen it in an article by Newsday.

“Time and time again, you hear on thing in speeches and then you see a campaign that has the worst kind of tactics, reminiscent of the same sort of Republican attacks on Democrats,? Mrs. Clinton said. (New York Times)

One problem facing Mrs. Clinton is her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was a supporter of NAFTA legislation, which could be a problem with Ohio’s blue collar workings.

However, the tone changed on Sunday as Senator Clinton went from being angry over Obama’s campaign to sarcasm, the New York Times reported.

“Now I could stand up here and say, let’s get everybody together, let’s get unified the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing,? Senator Clinton said. “But I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and make the special interests disappear.?
(New York Times)

Mrs. Clinton has been trying hard to gain votes for the upcoming primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont on March 4. She has been attempting to change how Mr. Obama has been portraying her as a hardnosed realist.

Polls suggest that a tight race is going on Texas and Ohio, which contain many delegates. Mrs. Clinton has lost 11 straight primaries to Mr. Obama.

The information has changed from the first story from the second by changing the mood in which the story is given. In the story on Saturday it appears that Mrs. Clinton is angry and is trying to fight against Mr. Obama’s allegations. However, on Sunday it feels like Mrs. Clinton doesn’t care about the allegations and is just going on with her campaign without any worries. The second story tells of Senator Clinton’s mood and what is coming up. In the Saturday story, the New York Times just talks about the allegations and not of the upcoming primaries, which they discuss in more detail in the Sunday story.

February 17, 2008

Kosovo announces independence

In the BBC’s report of Kosovo’s announcement of independence from Serbia, the reporter separated the information into different categories.

The reporter starts off the article by giving the most important information, which is the fact that Kosovo has announced independence. Then, the reported splits the rest of the information into categories so that they could stay on one topic and transition to another with clarity. For instance, the author uses bolded text and a title to tell the reader when a new topic is coming. This allows the author to present all the information surrounding the declaration for independence.

Furthermore, I believe by separating the information through different topics that it allows the reader to go through the article with ease. It allows for smooth transitions that keep the information interesting.

The only thing that the reporter did not do well was put the information in the correct order. They go from celebrations to information then to protest and then back to celebrations. I believe that they should have put information that was similar, even though separated by topics, together because it would have made things well organized.

February 10, 2008

Prison Escape Analysis

In Pat Pheifer’s article “Prison inmates tried escape on burrowed time,? Pheifer used five sources to get the facts for the story. The sources are scattered throughout the article, but are clear because Pheifer stays with one source and then moves onto another. The information from each source is clear to understand and helps Pheifer tell where the information came from.
The information comes from people and some of the sources are: prison authorities, Warden Lynn Dingle, assistant commissioner in the Minnesota Department of Corrections David Crist, Deputy Corrections Commissioner Dennis Benson and Corrections Commissioner Joan Fabian.
Pheifer sets up the details of the prison-escape attempt by telling that prison officials gave the information. Then, Pheifer presents information that was gathered from the warden. Pheifer continues with information from the warden before explaining information that was obtained from Crist. Afterwards, Pheifer uses information from Benson and then Fabian to finish the story’s details. So, with every source Pheifer gives the name of the source and then presents what information they are bringing to the story.
In all, Pheifer’s information is effective in presenting the reader with good and clear information. The sources are the correct ones and help provide the reader with everything they need to know.

January 30, 2008

East Bethel man faces murder charges

In the report about the killing of an East Bethel, Minn. woman by her boyfriend, the Pioneer Press used the lead angle from the woman’s son’s perspective. Elizabeth Mohr started off the article by telling of how the 14-year-old boy woke up Saturday morning and found his mother’s body. Then she proceeded to give all the details about the event. In the lead she gives is what happened and who it happened to. She uses this story telling to involve the reader with the event and then give the facts.
In the Star Tribune article the lead is a straightforward hard-news report. In the lead, Courtney Blanchard gives what happened, who it happened to, when it happened and where it happened. She chose this type of lead because she wanted to give the reader the facts about what happened and did not want try and put the reader in the event.