March 25, 2007

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.

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 1, 2007

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.

February 22, 2007

Wolves collapse vs Bobcats

The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up a 17 point second quarter lead to the Charlotte Bobcats and lost 100-95. Charlotte rookie Adam Morrison scored 26 second-half points including 15 in the fourth quarter, outscoring the entire Wolves team who only managed 14 points in said quarter.

Star Tribune beat writer Steve Aschburner did a great job encapsulating the team’s woes into his column after the game. Not just focusing on the loss of the game but the team’s struggles to gel at this late stage of the season. He uses a delayed lead that is very effective and timely by talking about today’s 2pm trade deadline. This encourages the reader to continue reading because as any NBA player knows the trade deadline is a very crucial part of any season. Another thing Steve does well is uses the quotes from the coaches effectively, I will get to more of this later on in the blog.

This story was also covered by the AP. I read this article on ESPN.Com. This article obviously takes a look at both teams and does not focus solely on the Timberwolves. Since this is a national piece the writer obviously focuses on the biggest story, that being of Adam Morrison. Adam Morrison was the national college player of the year last year and has thus far struggled in his rookie campaign. However scoring 26 points in a half to single-handedly beat a team will silence any naysayer.

Both sources included quotes from head coach Randy Wittman and Adam Morrison. I was also at this game, covering it for the station in which I intern. I was there during both interviews in which quotes are used. Steve Aschburner did a much better job of getting the quotes accurate than the AP did.
-"I'm tired of guys pouting on the floor during games because of whatever, not enough minutes, not enough touches, not enough shots. You cannot do that and win games." ,

-"Our frame of mind is more focused on me rather than we," Wittman said. "We were up 17 and really kind of had control of the game, and got caught up in 'Am I getting enough shots? Is the ball touching my hands enough?' We quit playing.?

Those last two quotes are from Aschburner’s Strib column and are completely accurate. There are other times in which Asch may not have gotten a complete quote and just uses words in quotes like “pout?

The AP however uses this quote, "I'm tired of guys pouting on the floor, during the game," said Wittman, whose team had just two assists in the second half after piling up 19 before halftime. "You cannot do that during games. Give me guys that have no talent, and you're going to lose the game but go down fighting. We didn't go down fighting tonight."

Here the writer uses this as an exact quote, but this was not the exact way he said it. The writer took it upon himself to correct the grammar of the coach as well as take pieces out. While he did not change the overall theme of the what the coach was saying, this is definitely not an exact quote as I remember it.

February 12, 2007

St Paul Fire

A 29 year old man was killed after a grease fire got out of control in his kitchen trapping him inside.

An article was written about this story in the Star Tribune on Feb 11 and was rather brief, only 7 paragraphs long. The lead starts out by saying 'authorities believe' and so do the paragraphs that follow. Never once is it state who exactly these authorities are. The story does have a good quote from a St Paul Fire Chief where he explains grease fires to the reader.

The Pioneer Press also covered this story and it came out today (monday) so the information is much more detailed. The lead contains much of the same information however it is more specific and has no attribution in it whatsoever. Furthermore since the article was written later the victims name was released as were many other specific details into the story and how the fire started.

For a 'breaking news' type story the Trib did a good job with obviously not a lot of information to work with. The Pioneer Press did a great indepth follow-up piece that gets into more details and has a lot more information.

Mauer Gets Paid

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins catcher, avoided salary arbitration with the Twins when he signed a 4-year 33 million dollar contract extension. The deal will ensure that he is on the Twins when the new stadium opens in 2010. The contract is weighted as such that he will receive 3.75 million next year and earn 12.75 million the final year of the contract.

A local article that wrote about this news was in the StarTribune and was written by Joe Christenson. The writer has a very long awkward lead, delaying the news. It is not until the fourth paragraph that he actually announces what took place. The reader does not care that Joe was planning on playing golf with fellow Twin JD Durbin, they care that their star catcher just signed a long-term contract. The article did do a great job fully explaining the situation as well as getting into the details of the contract. Furthermore the addition of quotes from Twins GM Terry Ryan was very beneficial to the story.

I also read an AP article about this on ESPN.Com. The lead was much more direct and to the point than the Tribunes. They announce the contract in the lead and then later get to less newsworthy items such as he plans on celebrating with teammates over the weekend. The article has quotes from Mauer that were attributed from other articles, Mauer himself did not comment specifically on that story as it states midway through the article. The AP story does a surprisingly good job of going through the local MInnesota side of the story as well.

Overall I liked the Tribune article more as a reader. Although the delayed lead was rather unnecessary in my opinion it got into much more detail and into the nitty gritty aspects of baseball contracts.

February 2, 2007

Minnesota wrestling suspended

Due to a herpes break out the Minnesota State High School league has suspended high school wrestling for 8 days. The break out has infected as many as 24 wrestlers. This may be putting the State Tournament in jeopardy.

The writer for the Star Tribune story did a good job identifying the issue in his lead without being too wordy and giving away too many details. He did use the word unprecedented in his lead which may have been a bit over the top perhaps. He used good quotations from sources that were cited well and added to the story.

The associated press also covered this story and I found the article on ESPN.Com. The AP article has a similar type of lead that does not get too detailed. However the AP article did not use the word unprecedented which I thought may have been a bit much. The local article clearly gets into more details about the infection as well as uses more quotations from local officials, which is to be expected from a local article.

I think the Star Tribune columnist did a great job handling a rather important Minnesota issue. I have always been a fan of this particular Trib writer for his prep sports writing and now that I am learning more about the intricacies of news writing I am starting to appreciate him even more.

January 25, 2007

U's basketball woes continue

The U of M men's basketball team continued to struggle on Wednesday night falling to Michigan State 70-46. The team struggled on both ends of the floor and continue its sluggish play without center Spencer Tollackson who has been sidelined with a wrist injury.

I thought the column written by Jeff Shelman of the Star Tribune had a well written lead. It was short, concise and did not contain many of the cliches that are common in sports writing. The columnist also did a good job prodding into the many problems that have plagued the Gopher basketball team this year, instead of just focusing on the obvious set of problems.

The same game was written by The Pioneer Press and I was much more impressed by the coverage of the Star Tribune. The lead in the Press story is references to what was going on with the team a year ago. This years team is radically different then last years team since the graduation of players as well as the dismissal of head coach. Comparing the two seems very apples and oranges in my opinion. Furthermore the lead was rather confusing and worded awkwardly. Both papers are similar in the fact that they the team is struggling and now answers seem in sight.

In my opinion I prefered the article written about the game in the Star Tribune. The lead was better, it was easier to follow and the article did a better digging deeper into the problems the team has faced in their current five game losing streak.