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March 25, 2007

Misteps found in Pat Tillman Case

A probe found missteps found in the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman and there should be people held accountable for his death. Pat Tillman was a former NFL linebacker who turned down a multi-million dollar contract extension to enter the Army.

This article was covered in the Star Tribune. The article was very well written with a very concise lead. The article covers all of the necessary ground. There is no kind of quotes in the article at all. Quotations would definitely add to the article. Also, a little background information about Tillman would be helpful as well.

This news event was also covered in the San Francisco Chronicle. This story also has a very strong lead, much like the Tribune article. The lead entices the reader to read on. Furthermore, the Chronicle's article is much more thorough. They go much more indepth and this makes for a much better article. They also used quotations to their advantage to add to their credibility.

I think both articles could have benefited on more backgorund information on Pat Tillman. Overall I think the Chronicle article was much more solid. The extra length and in depth reporting made it much more informative than that of the Tribune article.

State Guardsman killed in Iraq

A state guardsmen died in Iraq and three others were hurt. An explosive device hit the vehicle in which he was traveling in.

This article is written by Star Tribune columnist and is located on the website. The articles lead is a little long and contains unnecessary information. What the guardsmen's nickname was is not information that is suited for a lead. The article gives a recent record of his last few years. The article ends with the announcement that funeral arrangements are pending.

This story was also written about in the Winona Daily News. The lead is much more concise and does not contain extra information that could be included later in the article. The article does a better job of quoting sources. The previous article did not contain any quotations.

Overall, both articles do a good job of handling the delicate situation. Structurally I preferred the Winona article as it had more quotes and a better lead.

Japan Earthquake

There was an earthquake in Tokyo that left 150 injured with at least one dead. The quake was a 6.9 on the Richter Scale. It occurred early Sunday morning.

I first read this story covered by the AP in the Star Tribune. The article has a very concise lead that is very to the point. They do a good job of not putting in unnecessary details that are not relevant to the lead. They save those for the later paragraphs. This story is written in pyramid style format. The story also does an excellent job quoting the proper officials to give the story enhanced credibility.

The story was also covered on additional sites. One place I read the story had different details surrounding the event. They had the injured total at 170, rather than 150 that was reported in the first AP story. Furthermore, in this story the lead is too jumbled with information that could very well be saved for later in the story.

Overall both stories did a good job of getting the proper information of this tragedy in a proper manner. They both used quotes from the essential people the story.

Torandoes in New Mexico

Over a dozen tornadoes were spotted in New Mexico and the border of Texas. Property and homes were destroyed and at least 16 people were injured.

I first read this story in the Star Tribune website. It was written by the associated press. The lead of the story is rather lengthy and contains some details that may not be necessary for the lead. The story is written in pyramid style and covers all the essential details to the story. The story also does a good job quoting the proper people. This adds a strong element to the story.

This story was also covered in the Arizona Daily Star. This newspaper is close to the area where the tornadoes took place. The story is written in similar format as the first one. The lead however is more concise and clear. It does not use the same amount of numbers that jumbled the first storys lead. It also does a similar job using different types of quotes to enhance the story.

It can often be difficult writing about a tragedy such as this. I think both outlets did a great job handling it. Both were very good articles that other than the lead in the first one were very structurally sound and enjoyable to read.

Gophers hire Tubby Smith

The Minnesota Gopher Men's basketball team finally hired a coach. After four months with Jim Molinari as the interim head coach, it was announced Thursday that Tubby Smith was hired. Tubby Smith has spent the last ten years as head coach at Kentucky. He had great success there winning a national title as well as making it to 10 straight NCAA tournaments. The Gophers have only been in the NCAA tournament once in the past five years.

The Star Tribune handled this news story with a lengthy article which is appropriate for news as significant as this. The headline reads "Gophers hire instant credibility with Tubby Smith." I think this headline is too opinionated as there are lots of people who would not think that hiring Smith leads to any kind of credibility. overall the article is detailed and covers the many different facets into this hire.

The AP also covered this story. I read it on the South Carolina online newspaper The State. This article came out the day after the official announcement was made. As would be expected, the article from out of state is not nearly in depth as the local one. They however handle it with more objectiveness than the Tribune did. The article covers the basics and gets the details across in proper pyramid style.

This is a good example of how a new story can be handled very differently. The Minnesota sports media did what they usually do in print, not show very much objectiveness. The AP handled it more like a news story and only gave the details without showing the very obvious bias.

March 22, 2007

Story Idea #3

On November 30th Gopher Men's Basketball Coach Dan Monson resigned/(was fired) from his job. It has been over 100 days and AD Joel Maturi has not hired a replacement yet. Possible names have ranged from the obvious local favorites, Flip Saunders, to the absurd, Bobby Knight. With the recent news that University of Michigan fired their head coach and are also seeking a replacement, time is of the essence for the Gophers and Maturi. This story has local prominence because the Gophers mens basketball team is one with a prideful tradition. Furthermore, anytime there is vacancy in one of the large men's sports on campus it is of great public interest, especially when the process has taken this long.

Possible Interviews:
Joel Maturi: U of M Athletic Director 612-624-2100
Dan Barreiro KFAN Radio Host and former Star Tribune Columnist 612-417-3000
Darren Wolfson Producer, Gopher Insider 612-417-3243

Story Idea #2

The start of the Major League Baseball season is rapidly approaching. The Minnesota Twins are coming off a very huge season that saw them capture the Central Division Championship. 2005 also saw much individual success as starting pitcher Johan Santana wont he AL Cy Young Award, first basemen Justin Morneau won the AL MVP award and catcher Joe Mauer became the first catcher in AL history to win a batting title. The Twins are facing great expectations this year to repeat last years success. A season preview of the team would be a great story for the Minnesota public because interest in the team has not been this high in well over a decade. The Twins are on pace to break their attendance record set in 1992 before the season has even started. Furthermore many Minnesota sports analysts believe that the Twins have surpassed the Vikings as the states most popular team.

Possible Interviews:
La Velle E. Neal III-Star Tribune Twins beat writer 612-673-4447
Kelly Theiser MLB.Com reporter Kelly.Theiser@Twinsbaseball.com
Minnesota Twins Media Relations: 612-375-7471
Thomas Mason 17 year season ticket holder 612-963-9388

March 2, 2007

Story Idea #1

As the snow continues throughout the state many citizens are having their cars towed. Many people are not aware or do not fully understand snow emergency laws. A story explaining these laws and regulations would be a benefit to drivers state-wide.

(612) 673-5777 - Minneapolis Impound

(612) 827-3838 - Goodyear of South Minneapolis: Parent's Automotive & Tire
(612) 431-8974 - Jerry Brown former MPLS policemen

March 1, 2007

BlackHawk Helicopter

A US Blackhawk Helicopter made a 'hard landing' in Iraq today injuring the two person crew that was aboard. The helicopter is used mainly for surveillance purposes. The extent of the injuries is unknown at this time.

This story was covered by the AP on the Star Tribune website. This story much like all the others on the internet had the term "hard landing" in the lead and in quotation marks. The lead also explains that there was injuries sustained to the two person crew. In the second paragraph they explain the cause of the crash. The story uses two direct quotations, one from a statement and another from someone associated with the incident.

The AP article that appeared in the Washington Post contains a different type of lead than the previous article. While they do contain the "hard landing" aspect they do not mention that there were injuries involved. They wait until the second paragraph to do so. Furthermore, this article is a great deal shorter than the article that appeared in the Tribune and does not contain nearly as many details.

Overall I felt the article from the Star Tribune was much stronger. I felt that the injuries to our citizens overseas is important enough to be carried in the lead. Also the length of the article being much longer allowed there to be much more detailed version of the events that took place.

Scalding death

A Blaine woman pleaded guilty for her role in the scalding death of a 10 year old child that occurred this summer.

I found one article in the story that appeared in the Star Tribune’s website. The lead for the story is a standard lead that gives the reader the information necessary. The second paragraph is when the names of the people involved come into play. The article continues explaining the graphic testimony. The article is written in pyramid format and concludes by telling the reader to look for more information on this breaking story either later tonight or in tomorrow’s paper.

The story was also covered by the Pioneer Press on their website. The story took a slightly different approach then the Star Tribune. The lead paragraph is considerably longer, almost to a fault. The Pioneer Press story does however get into more details than the Trib and the story is longer. Like the Trib story it is written in pyramid format.

Both stories handled this breaking news rather well. I preferred the lead that was written in the Tribune however overall I feel that the stronger article was that of the Pioneer Press. Their article was handled as if it was the actually news article while the Tribunes was more of a breaking news format alerting readers to stay tuned.