February 2012 Archives

Analysis: Multimedia

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Slate, which is owned by the Washington Post, displays a number of slide shows daily. Most of them, like this one on cockfighting in Manila follow the model that we used in class, with one sentance of description followed by another sentence expanding on the story. These pictures also have titles which sometimes serve to describe the picture a bit more literally than the cutline.

Slate also features daily videos. They are usually fairly short, taking no longer to watch then it takes to read a small article, and deal with "fluffier" news, with clips that can supplement subject matter discussed elsewhere on the site that day.

The Minnesota Daily boasts a separate multimedia section on their website with daily photo galleries and an increasing number of videos. Slideshows, such as this one exploring the Lakewood Cemetery, have very brief cutlines and do not set out to tell a full story. This is because these slideshows often accompany a longer article. Other galleries, especially those relating to sports, have no cutlines.

The MN Daily multimedia department also has their own blog, entitled Though The Lens, that displays the best photos of the week and features other slideshows not included on the main page.

New Light Rail Lines Named

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metro.jpgThe Metropolitan Council announced Wednesday that Metro Transit rapid bus and light rail lines would be receiving new names and a new logo, according the Minnesota Public Radio.

The existing Hiawatha light rail line will be renamed the Blue Line, the Central Corridor line will be named the Green Line, and new rapid transit bus lines along Cedar Avenue and 35W will be named the red and orange lines, respectively.

The Metropolitan Council also announced that the lines will be known as "Metro" and will use a new logo. A capital "T" in a red circle will replace the originally proposed "M" logo. The latter was much derided by city officials and focus groups alike, prompting the change back.

"Everybody had an idea of what the "M" should look like," Bruce Howard, marketing director for Metro Transit, told the Star Tribune. "We were trying to please everybody and really pleased nobody with the "M."

The new logo will appear on rapid transit buses when the lines open in November, on the Green Line when it opens in 2014, and on existing Blue/Hiawatha Line stops as they receive regular maintenance.

"Community" Returns to NBC

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NBC announced that its cult-favorite sitcom "Community" will be returning from hiatus, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Community" was benched by NBC in November after pulling in low ratings in it's 8 p.m. (eastern) Thursday timeslot. It was replaced at midseason by the delayed premiere of "30 Rock", but the critically acclaimed flagship failed to do any better. Community continued production on its third season, despite having no set return date.

The Huffington Post reports that the show's March 15 return date will see a rearrangement in NBC's Thursday night line-up. The show will reclaim its old timeslot, moving 30 Rock down to 8:30. "Parks and Recreation" will go on a five-week break before claiming "Up All Night"'s plum post-"Office" timeslot when the Will Arnett/Christina Applegate sitcom wraps up its first season.

Although NBC's revival of "Community" was motivated mostly by a lack of options, fans are claiming the announcement as a victory. When the show was benched fans staged a number of events and "Save Community" online petitions to attempt to bring back the Dan Harmon-helmed sitcom.

In his weekly television blog for the Minnesota Daily Tony Wagner called the announcement "great news."

UN/Iran Nuclear Talks Fail

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The International Atomic Energy Agency visit to Iran has fallen through after the UN-mandated inspectors were barred from entering a nuclear research facility on Tuesday, the BBC reports.

A statement from the IAEA said that no headway had been made in clarifying allegations that Iran has been researching nuclear weapons. The inspectors' two-day visit, their second in three weeks, was called off after "intensive efforts" yielded no cooperation from the Iranian government.

A major sticking point in deliberations was access to a nuclear research site in Parchin which has aroused suspicion of weapons research and gained attention and threats of violence from Israel.

The Iranian government has repeatedly denied allegations that it has been developing nuclear weapons, claiming that its nuclear research is focused squarely on energy uses.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran, with a thoughtful, jurisprudent, theoretical approach, believes that owning a nuclear weapon is a big sin," said supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the Washington Post. "It also believes that keeping such a weapon is vain, harmful and dangerous."

Bachmann WIll Run Again in Redrawn District

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Representative Michelle Bachmann announced Tuesday that she would seek reelection in her redrawn district, even though her home suburb has been moved into a different one, reports the Associated Press.

Representative Bachmann returned home to her St. Paul suburb of Stillwater to find it moved to Minnesota's district 4 in the recent redistricting of the state. Bachmann's 6th district covers several northwest Twin Cities suburbs including Woodbury and Anoka, and stretches up to the St. Cloud area.

Despite the fact that Bachmann's home precinct has moved to the 4th district, represented by Democrat Betty McCollum, Bachmann said Tuesday that she would run for reelection in district 6, which is still home to most her base supporters. Although her presidential bid failed, Bachmann said that the national prominence gained during the election will help her in being reelected.

"I embody the voice of the 6th Congressional District," she said. "I faithfully took that voice all across the United States, and amplified that very common sense Minnesota heartland voice of not spending more money than we take in, not increasing anyone's taxes and having the government live within its means."

Bachmann is not the only Minnesota legislator facing tough decisions in the wake of the redistricting. The Star Tribune reports that as many as 46 incumbents facing off, with many being forced to run against fellow party members.

The Minneapolis synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted in opposition of Minnesota's controversial marriage amendment and to elect the first female Bishop over the weekend, according to the Minn Post.

At the ELCA Minneapolis Synod's annual assembly some 700 Lutherans voted to officially oppose Minnesota's proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage. The synod's vote comes on the heels of Minnesota's catholic bishops (representing 1.1 million minnesotans) declaring their support of the controversial amendment.

The assembly heard from at least a dozen speakers before holding an informal vote in which members of the assembly raised red or green cards. The Star Tribune reported that green overwhelmed red.

But not all Lutherans are in favor of the vote.

"This is a really complex political issue, and I think it's important Christians are involved in the political realm on the individual level," said Clifton Hanson, an area pastor. "I think for us to come together as a group and say the church thinks [that the marriage amendment is wrong] is inappropriate."

The synod said they do not plan to give any money to organizations opposing the amendment.

The weekend's assembly saw another groundbreaking move by the synod, which voted to install the Reverend Ann Svennungsen as Minneapolis' first female Lutheran bishop, the Star Tribune reported.

Analysis: Spot/Follow in Vikings Deal

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The Star Tribune's initial report on a tentative deal for a Vikings stadium broke Friday afternoon. This first report discusses a couple of anonymous sources and the basics of the story: the cost breakdown of a new stadium, how much further a deal has to go, and the factors leading to or holding back an agreement (hospitality taxes, etc).

In their report the next morning, the Star Tribune has filled out more details while retaining much of the same information that was reported initially. The lead is virtually identical, with the only anonymity qualifier omitted from the lead and added later on. This is because Olsen and Kaszuba were able to find more substantial sources that could be identified, such asDavid Senjem, whose remark is inserted in place of Lester Bagley's refusal to comment, which has been moved down much further.

This new report also fills in more details of the agreement such as the increased cost to the city, presumably as Olsen and Kaszumba were able to talk to more sources. The second report also goes on to add whole new sections discussing the implications of the plan and what still stands in the way of an agreement.

This increased analysis and new information from substantial, identifiable sources in the update advance the news of the original simpler report.

Apple Previews New OS X Update "Mountain Lion"

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Apple previewed their latest operating system update, OS X 10.8 or "Mountain Lion," to developers and press Thursday, according to the BBC.

OS X 10.8 boasts a number of new features that push along the convergence between Macs and Apples iOS devices, such as a Notification Center, a messaging application that mimic's the app on iOS and replaces iChat, and full integration with Twitter via an omnipresent "share" button.

The Washington Post also notes that Mountain Lion contains a new feature called "Gatekeeper", which promises to protect Mac users from Malware by only allowing the download of applications from developers certified by Apple.

The tech giant has not announced a price for the upgrade but slated it's release to consumers for "Late Summer 2012."

Stadium Talks Reach Tentative Conclusion

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The Pioneer Press is reporting that lawmakers and the Vikings organization are close to an agreement on a new stadium for the NFL franchise.

Multiple anonymous sources close to the project have said that the stadium would be built at or near the current Metrodome site and would cost an estimated $975 million. The state would contribute $398 million, while the Vikings would pay $427 million, and the city would contribute $180 million over the next 30 years.

This deal is not set yet, but multiple sources have told the Star Tribune that a deal along these lines is close at hand. These rumored numbers represent an increase from previous estimates for a stadium at the Metrodome site, costing the city $60 million more than what has been previously discussed.

This agreement, if it is finalized, is only the first step in the process of building the new stadium. The proposal will have to be approved by Minnesota state legislature, the National Football League, and the Minneapolis city counsel.

On Friday, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagly refused to comment on these reports, telling the Star Tribune "there is no agreement. Everything is subject to negotiations. We're working hard on an agreement, but we're not there yet."

Washington State Legalizes Gay Marriage

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Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill Monday legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, Reuters reports.

The legislation makes Washington the seventh state (along with the District of Colombia) to legalize same-sex matrimony and was met with celebration in Seattle and Olympia. Upon signing the bill, Gregoire called the day "a proud moment" for Washington.

The law will not take effect until summer because of a standard enactment period, and opponents of gay marriage are already priming repeal efforts, chiefly an attempt to add a ballot measure to general elections in November.

Marriage is society's way of bringing men and women together so that children can be raised by, and cared for by, their mother and father," Joseph Backholm, head of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, told Reuters.

"It is the most-important, child-focused institution of society, and we will fight to preserve it. Voters will have the opportunity to define marriage in our state."

Nonetheless, the new legislation represents a great victory for same-sex marriage supporters. According to the Seattle Times, the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle erupted into loud cheers, a standing ovation, and song once the law was signed.

"We (the church) believe God's love transcends all human distinctions," The Rev. Brigetta Remole told congregants. "I'd be honored to officiate at your wedding."

Car Bomb Injures Four in India, Israel Blames Iran

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Investigators in India are looking for leads Monday afternoon after a car bomb attached to an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in Delhi injured four, and a similar bomb was defused in the Geogian capital of Tbilisi, according to the Associated Press.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to blame Iran for the bombs, calling the country "the largest terror exporter in the world." Netanyahu also said he suspected the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to be in connection with the attacks and others

The BBC reports that one of those seriously injured in the bombing was Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the wife of wife of a defense ministry official, who was in "critical but stable" condition following the blast, which happened just blocks from the Prime Minister's residence.

Iran, an ally of India and the catalyst for rising international tension, vehemently denied responsibility for the attacks.

This accusation is within the Zionist regime's psychological war against Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told Iranian state media.

The Arab League called on the United Nations Sunday to assist them in sending peacekeeping forces into Syria, the Washington Post reports.

At a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo the Arab league appealed to the UN, asking for increased assistance in Syria, where increased government violence against protestors has threatened to erupt into an all out civil war. Bombings have rocked Homs and Zabadani for weeks, as the Syrian government attempts to quash civilian uprisings.

According to the New York Times, Syrian ambassador to the Arab League Yousef Ahmad was "not interested" in what the League had to say, and blamed their decision on growing "hysteria and confusion" in the other Arab states.

Syria and its allies, China and Russia, quickly rejected the proposition of UN peacekeeping forces entering the country, dividing the UN Security Counsel. It is unlikely that the UN will pursue any operation inside of Syria yet.

"Man In Black" Indicted

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The Minnesota bank robber known as "The Man In Black" pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges that he carried out 13 bank robberies since last march, the Star Tribune reports.

Mark Edward Wetsch of Minneapolis was arrested and handed over to federal agents in January after he allegedly robbed 13 banks in Minnesota, taking $69,000. Investigators dubbed Wetsch the "Man In Black" after back security cameras showed him clad in dark clothing during the robberies, which were carried out with a toy gun.

According to the Pioneer Press, Wetsch pleaded not guilty to four counts of mail fraud in 2005. He set up a fake compony and stole more than $1.3 million from the nursing home where he worked. Wetsch was sentenced to four years in prison and given a $1.6 million fine. He was released early for good behavior.

If convicted Wetsch could face 25 years in prison for each count of robbery.

Ten States Given Waivers for No Child Left Behind

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The New York Times reports that Barack Obama has lifted some crucial sanctions of the No Child Left Behind law from ten states, including Minnesota.

Minnesota, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Oklahoma were all awarded waivers that freed them from the law's requirement that they bring all students to reading and math proficiency by 2014. 28 more states are applying for the next round of waivers. Applications for this second group are due at the end of the month.

The represent a new round of compromise surrounding the controversial Bush-era law, which has been long criticized by state education officials for containing impossibly high goals (such as the reading and math proficiency requirement) and encroaching on the states' rights to regulate education.

The ten states were given waivers in exchange for keeping to the Obama administration's education policies, a condition that holds schools to keeping up consistent improvement nationwide without No Child's overarching provisions.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is pleased with the waiver. As a former teacher he is highly critical of the No Child law.

"Under 'No Child Left Behind,' teachers have been forced to teach to tests, which do not accurately measure either individual student or school progress," he told the Star Tribune. "Students spend too many hours preparing for, practicing and taking the tests."

Santorum Takes Minnesota

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Rick Santorum swept the Minnesota and Missouri caucuses, as well as the Colorado Primary on Tuesday, the Pioneer Press reports.

Santorum easily won with 45% of the vote. He crushed GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, who failed to even break 20% of the vote and was even beaten Ron Paul, who has been teetering on the edge of irrelevance for weeks.

Santorum won by an even larger margin in the Missouri caucus, capturing 55% of the vote twice Romney's second place 25%. Santorum also won the Colorado caucus.

The Minnesota Caucus does not award any delegates, but the win provides some much-needed momentum to the Santorum campaign, and goes a long way towards positioning him as the GOP's more conservative alternative to the more moderate Romney.

But in his victory speech on Tuesday night Santorum didn't entertain that notion and instead named Barack Obama as his chief rival, according to the Star Tribune.

"I don't stand here as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney," Santorum said. "I stand here as the conservative alternative to Barack Obama."

Analysis: Attributions in Powell Tragedy Story

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The New York Times article by Matt Flegenhiemer and Isold Raftery on the tragedy of the Powell family in Graham attributes its information to three different sources: Graham Deputy Fire Chief Gary Franz, Powell's lawyer Jeffrey Bassett, and the Associated Press, who spoke to Bassett and reported on the explosion first.

In the lead the article simply cites the "authorities" as a source, but goes on to specifically name Franz and quote him directly. The article also names Bassett, and clairifies that the information used is from Associated Press, who originally interviewed Bassett.

Franz is paraphrased more than he is directly quoted, and the article is better for it. The only complete sentence attributed fully to Franz is "these are the kinds of things that suggest very clearly this was an intentional act." This is an instance where Franz's credibility is valuble, and allows the Times to point to the conclusions being drawn about the explosion without making any statement about intention themselves.

The attributions are fairly easy to follow. It's especially helpful that when Bassett is attributed to additional information at the end of the article Flegenhiemer and Raftery clairify him as "the lawyer". This makes the information easy to follow with out having to look back up through the article for a name.

The article also always uses the word "said" in attributions. This is helpful because the word is able to "disappear" into the article and the information isn't weighed down by constant qualifiers and flowery language.

[I apologize for this late posting -- internet connection troubles.]

MIA Flips Off America At Super Bowl

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The 2012 Super Bowl halftime show was not without a minor controversy this year as MIA displayed an obscene gesture during her guest spot in Madonna's performance, according to the Associated Press.

During the performance of "Give Me All Your Luvin'", which feature's guest verses by Nicki Minaj and MIA, the camera lingered on the latter performer, who sang the last line of her verse, "I don't give a [expletive]" but stopped short of finishing the sentence, opting to make an obscene hand gesture instead. The broadcast blurred momentarily, but not quickly enough to obscure MIA's middle finger.

Keen to avoid the controversy of 2004's halftime show, in which Janet Jackson's exposed breast saddled CBS with fines from the FCC, NBC issued a quick apology while attempting to deflect blame onto the NFL, reports the New York Times.

"The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," said Christopher McCloskey of NBC. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."

Santorum Talks God In Eden Prairie

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Rick Santorum kicked off his campaign in Minnesota by visiting an Eden Prairie megachurch on Sunday morning, the Pioneer Press reports.

The stop had little political discussion, but focused on Santorum's faith. He told 3,400 congregants at the nondenominational Grace Church he believes that "God has specifically blessed this country," and reenforced his Christian faith.

The stop comes as part of an attempt to win more far-right voters back from Newt Gingrich and, increasingly, Mitt Romney in the upcoming Minnesota Caucus, which will be held Tuesday. Santorum's evangelical attitude and hard stance on social issues won him the Iowa Caucus, and he's hoping to recapture that support with a strong showing of traditional values here.

It seems to be paying off. The Star Tribune reports that Santorum has lead a recent poll, edging out Mitt Romney by two percent.

Romney Wins Big in Nevada Caucus

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Mitt Romney enjoyed a decisive campaign in the Nevada Caucus on Saturday, distancing himself further from other GOP hopefuls and continuing a run that increasingly points to a nomination in the fall, according to the Guardian.

Romney finished in Nevada with 48% of the votes, more than twice runner-up Newt Gingrich got, and even further ahead of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, who trailed at 18.5% and 11% respectively.

This victory represents the latest in a string of strong caucus and primary showings for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney has won three of the last five votes, and took second place in Iowa by a historically slim margin.

Paul's support has been steadily declining, as has Santorum's, who hasn't been able to recapture the surprisingly strong showing in Iowa. Gingrich is attempting to appeal to far-right and evangelical voters, but his record in Washington has been hammered by Romney's super PAC, Support for Our Future, according to the Washington Post.

Gingrich expressed confidence that his campaign would remain competitive following votes from more conservative states on Super Tuesday and Texas' primary in April. In an interview with Meet The Press on Sunday Gingrich continued to position himself as the "true conservative" alternative to Romney.

"The challenge is to say: do you really want to go in to a fall election with a moderate candidate? The last two times we nominated a moderate - 1996 and 2008 - we lost badly. A conservative candidate can offer a much greater contrast with President [Barack] Obama," he said.

General Hossein Salami of Iran's Revolutionary Guard said in a statement Sunday that any country posing a threat to Iran and its nuclear facilities could be subject to an attack, the Associated Press reports.

Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces," he said.

The statement comes as tensions over Iran have been ratcheted up another notch. International Atomic Energy Agency visited Iran last week and reported good talks, but did not actually visit any nuclear enrichment sites.

It has come out that a new enrichment site, built specifically to withstand airstrikes, is attempting to enrich Uranium up to 20%, and unprecedented number for Iran. The Iranian government continues to claim the research is devoted to energy. Weapons-grade Uranium is enriched to about 90%.

Iranian officials also elaborated on their response to increased sanctions from the West on Sunday, threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil route, and attacking Israel. According to the Guardian, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told reporters that "if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this." He also called Israel a "cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut".

Zamboni Driver Accused of Drunk Driving

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An Apple Valley man was arrested Monday night for allegedly driving a Zamboni while intoxicated, the Pioneer Press reports.

Joel Bruss, 34, was clearing off the ice at Hayes arena in Apple Valley when a peewee hockey coach noticed that he was having difficulty controlling the machine. According to Coach Bryan Dornstreich, Bruss had taken more than twice as long to clear the ice than usual and was weaving the zamboni recklessly. He alerted the referee and called 911.

Bruss failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at the scene. He was taken to the Apple Valley police department, where they administered a blood test. Bruss has not been charged yet but, if convicted, this would be Bruss' fourth drunk driving incident, though his first on a zamboni.

It may seem surprising that one can be arrested for operating a zamboni under the influence but according to the Star Tribune, Minnesota law states that operation of any vehicle while intoxicated is grounds for administer a DWI.

One exception, for motorized scooters, was passed down by the Minnesota Court of Appeals last year, when they ruled that the scooters in question are to be considered wheelchairs and not vehicles.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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