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February 26, 2007

79th Academy Awards


This is an image of best supporting actress nominee Rinko Kikuchi in best picture nominee "Babel." Several newspapers such as the NY Times and the Star Tribune are offering up to the minute coverage of this awards ceremony tonight. One of the top stories this far is Alan Arkin's win for supporting-actor in "Little Miss Sunshine." The Star Tribune ran an article on Arkin's win and the respect that this smaller film has received.

The New York Times is also offering complete coverage on the oscar nominees, red carpet fashion, and the final question of who will win the oscar for best motion picture of the year.

February 25, 2007

Bloody Textbooks in Baghdad

A female suicide bomber armed herself with explosives at a university in Baghdad, Irag this Sunday which killed 40 and left 55 injured. It was deemed the worst day of violence since Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announced a a revised security crackdown.

In the article that ran in the New York Times by Damien Cave and Wisam A Habeed, the bombing was the main kicker of story but more attention was actually focused on the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and his opposition to the new security plan. The journalists

In comparison to this article, CNN.com printed the same story but focused solely on the suicide bombing and the details of the event itself. I can imagine that the journalist struggles on what to include in the lead and whether or not too much detail could weaken the impact of the statement. For instance, the NY Times article emphasizes the devastation of the bombing by adding graphic imagery and language to the lead of the story.

A female suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives and ball bearings blew herself up at a Baghdad university today, killing at least 40 people, and strewing fingers, pens, purses and bloody textbooks all over the ground.

CNN.com offers a fairly drab retelling of the event that lacks style and intrigue. Even the quotes that are incorporated into this story seem redundant and even unnecessary. Specifically, the quote:

"Most of the dead were students," the official said.

this seems unreasonable as a quote, the bombing occurred at a university and most were probably students which emphasizes that this quote doesn't say anything interesting or worthwhile.

February 19, 2007

Stories don't jibe in baby's death

In The Pioneer Press article by Mara H. Gottfried, police find conflicting stories over the death of an infant. According to the parents, 15-month-old Destiny fell from a bed. However, an autopsy has revealed that she was struck in the torso and died from internal injuries. Her father is being charged with second-degree unintentional murder.

This same event was covered in the Star Tribune by Paul Gustafson. An entirely new perspective and viewpoint emerges with this article. The 18-year-old parents provide different stories about her death and the newest dealt with the father, Beauford Jackson, running down the stairs with her when she hit her head on the overhang and fell down the steps.

For some reason, the article in the Star Tribune provides a bit more of a raw look at the conflict in stories and avoids confusion by not indulging in the blurry court cases and past stories of their messy lives. I can undoubtedly see why this event was covered by both newspapers for its intriguing element of crime and suspense that essentially makes any story newsworthy.

mummified body found in front of blaring t.v.

In an article from the Associated Press printed in the Star Tribune, it was stated that a 70-year-old man's body was found partially mummified and sitting in front of a t.v. that was still on. Vicenzo Ricardo is thought to have died from natural causes and died more than one year ago. When the police found his body, his facial features and parts of his hair were preserved from the dry air in the house. Police authorities only found his body because there was a report of a broken water pipe.

This same event was covered by CNN.com and lacks clarity and detail and does not offer added commentary like the other article. However, it makes up for these elements by offering footage of the investigative report which can be seen by following the above link. There is no author attributed to this article but varies slightly from the AP article printed in the Star Tribune. Here is an ironic statement taken from the article:

Neighbors said when they had not seen Ricardo, who was diabetic and had been blind for years, they assumed he was in the hospital or a long-term care facility.

February 14, 2007

Berlinale Filmfest

The Internationale Filmfestspiele in Berlin is taking place this week. There will be more on this later....for now click here

berlin blue.jpg berlinale yellow.jpg

On Saturday, the Associated Press released an article that appeared on several websites titled "Chinese Film Wins Top Award in Berlin" This is the 57th festival and it began on Feb. 8th and will end on Sunday, Feb. 18th. This article takes a fairly non-bias approach its reporting on the collection of films that were recognized at this festival. Robert DeNiro's film,The Good Shepherd, won the award for outstanding artistic

Although I couldn't find this exact coverage of the festival covered by another newspaper, I found an indie film website that focuses on the diversity that international filmmakers are bringing to this festival and also the impact that these films and industries are having on the European marketplace. Overall, this article is longwinded and not very entising. There is no kicker or vibrant lead but it does provide crucial feedback from Universal Studios co-chairman David Linde on the outlook of independent film.

I think the author of this article on the Indie website had to be conscious of his stance when portraying a prominent figure such as David Linde and had to deal with providing the public with a clear idea of where he stands on the future of independent film.

February 12, 2007

Twins catcher gets $33 Million

In an article from the Star Tribune this Sunday, it was reported that Twins catcher Joe Mauer signed a four-year, 33 Million contract. This alone was the second biggest contract deal in franchise history behind the contract offered to Johan Santana in 2005 which guaranteed him 4 years and $40 Million.

Joe Christensen, a journalist for the Star Tribune, is faced with outlining the history of this young Twin's catcher while also comparing his contract and financial future to that of the other players. This article however does not have an entising lead and does not comment on the new ballpark that is scheduled to open in 2010 when Mauer's contract ends.

This event was also covered on the Official Major League Baseball website and offers commentary from the head coach Terry Ryan while also providing a slightly more interesting lead. The future of this young athlete is promising and the positive spin that this article takes represents that idea.

February 11, 2007

Tabloid Superstar Dies

The Associated Press released an article on February 9th concerning the death of a reality show subject, playboy centerfold and weightloss spokeswoman.

Anna Nicole Smith, a former tabloid superstar, died thursday after collapsing in her hotel at the age of 39. She was found unresponsive in her sixth-floor room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino when a private nurse called 911. The cause of death is still under investigation said Edwina Johnson, chief investigator for the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office. However it is likely that her death was drug related as she struggled throughout her life with alcohol and drugs.

Smith was famous for being famous, a pop-culture punch line because of her up-and-down weight, her Marilyn Monroe looks, her exaggerated curves, her little-girl voice, her ditzy-blonde persona and her over-the-top revealing outfits.

In my opinion, the Associated Press uses vibrant language to describe Anna Nicole Smith and portrays her as she was seen by the press: a sleazy tabloid icon that led a tragically messy life.

full article here

In an article printed in the N.Y. Times by James Barron, greater detail about the autopsy and is overall much more concise and adequately structured. These few differences could however be entirely due to strict deadlines and the pressure to release an article as soon as the news breaks. Also, this more lengthy article that the N.Y. Times published was printed the day after her death while the AP article was printed on the same day she was found unconscious.


Spaniards infatuated with Blue Pill

Spain Says Adiós Siesta and Hola Viagra
By: Dan Bilefsky

A few months ago a man walked into a pharmacy in Madrid, pulled out two toy guns and told the attendants to hand over all the Viagra in stock. Two hours later, in what was perhaps a show of gratitude, he returned with two bouquets of roses, before being arrested.

A male impotency drug nicknamed sexo azul by Spaniards has become all the rage with both teenagers and older men. This blue diamond shaped pill sells for $104 for a box of eight and has unleashed a string of men that crave this sexual enhancer for the prowess and confidence that it offers. A portion of society feels as though sexual desire is lost with the use of a pill and this once conservative and religious country has taken a dive for the worse. Here is a segment of the article that I found to be fairly well written and crucial to the idea of the article:

Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, says Spain has moved into the vanguard of a European Viagra trend in part because economic prosperity has transformed the country from a relaxed Mediterranean culture, where the siesta was sacrosanct, into an Anglo-Saxon-style, workaholic nation.

The author of this article, a journalist at the N.Y. Times, begins with an intriguing lead and catches the reader’s attention from the beginning. The language and structure of this article reads like a short story, it provides the reader with background on the drug nicknamed sexo azul and the impact it has had on society in Spain. It using commentary from consumers and the marketers of this product and evenly balances those throughout the story.

A similar article was printed in the International Herald Tribune but merely restates the hard facts and does not offer a more personal view on the issue by adding commentary or attribution of any sort.

February 4, 2007

Taxi Driver Killed

A cab driver died after he suffered from multiple gun shot wounds in his car in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis. The driver, 46, was an employee of Green and White Taxi and was found outside Brook Haven apartments at 3911 65th Ave. N. at 3:45 am.

Randy Furst, a writer for the Star Tribune, reported on this event in much greater detail than the AP article that was printed in the Pioneer Press. Furst established his place of employment, the exact location, and offers substantial quotes and attribution. His lead is well-written in that it highlights the primary issue which in this case is one man's death. Reporting on an event that happend only 12-hours ago can have its struggles. This writer did well with the information that was available and approached the event with a more complete story than the article that was published in the Pioneer Press.

Below are both articles in their entirety:


Soviet Agricultural Success


Above is an image of greenhouses at Agrikombinat Moskovsky which is on the southwestern edge of Moscow.

Since Soviet times, the landscape of Moscow has changed considerably. Nearly 300-acres of greenhouses and 800 markets have been the source of fresh produce in the cold, arctic-climate of this country. The Central Committee of the Communist Party pushed to create these greenhouses nearly 37-years ago which have existed to rebuild the economy and lend its hand to the progression of structurally independent society.

C.J. Chivers, a writer for the New York TImes, establishes ground by laying out the framework of Moscow's modern landscape. His lead is intriguing and keep the reader interested:
In a city starved for winter light, little could seem more out of place than this: On a day dimmed to gray by a canopy of clouds, Russian workers in short sleeves picking green lettuce and fresh herbs, all while illuminated by brilliant light.

His language is descriptive and enticing. At the same time, this article focuses on the ways in which Russia has restructured its own climate in order to become a substantially independent nation with acres of fresh produce even during the brutal cold of winter.

Raise the Wage

Below is a brief follow-up to the article I read last week on plans to increase minimum wage over two years.

Jim Kuhnhenn, a journalist at the Star Tribune, wrote on the symbolic consequences of this bill and the ways in which it could benefit working class citizens. In addition to raising minimum wage to 7.25 an hour, there will be considerable tax cuts for small businesses and restrictions on on corporate pay. One of the most critical reasons for approving this bill can be summed up in a quote by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

"Passing this wage hike represents a small but necessary step to help lift America's working poor out of the ditches of poverty and onto the road toward economic prosperity."

After reading the article in its entirety, I got the impression that the journalist, along with a majority of Democrats in the Senate, views the tax cuts as an unnecessary addition. Although there is a small excerpt that establishes small businesses as the backbone of our economy, the author leaves the reader with the question of whether or not these business incentives are truly worth while.

Here is the link to the full version of this article:

On Friday, the Pioneer Press printed a similar article that took a far more negative spin on the issue. Marilyn Geewax emphasizes the concern over small business tax cuts and which significantly overshadows the newly approved minimum wage increase. Her approach on this issue contrasts that of Jim Kuhnhenn’s and in my opinion focuses more on the relevance of tax breaks for small businesses and what it means with respect to the increase in minimum wage.

Here is the link to the full article: Senate OKs $7.25-an-hour rate for minimum wage