February 2012 Archives

Multimedia analysis

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I looked at the multimedia on both the New York Times website and ABC News websites.

From what I saw of the articles I scanned the New York Times had pictures on about half of the articles. Realistically there are topics where it's either unlikely to get a picture or there would be little to take a photo of.

I think having photographs in a news piece is extremely important because they add an element to the story that written words cannot.

The cutlines on the New York Times are very similar to the ones we created in class. Many of them were two sentences and I even saw quotes on a few of them.

On ABC News there were pictures but there were more videos than on the New York Times. I assume that is because ABC is is a television channel so on their website they can have accompanying videos. The videos have a large caption and then a smaller explanation underneath, similar to news articles.

Man caught attempting to steal TV in his pants

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A police officer stopped a man outside of an Egan Wal-Mart who had attempted to hide a television in his pants, the Star Tribune reported.

Eric Lee King, 21, was arrested and charged Friday with a shoplifting misdemeanor and a felony on suspicion of illegally possessing a potent prescription drug, the Star Tribune reports.

According to the charges, the police officer saw King leave the business and drop a box of candy. When the police officer called out to tell him, King did not reply and kept walking through the lot walking "straight-legged, shuffling his feet, and not bending his knees." The officer also noticed that King's pants were falling down and he was trying to hold them up, KSTP news reported.

The officer honked his horn but when King gave no response the officer drove up to him. The officer saw a large, square item wrapped in plastic shoved down the man's pants. The item turned out to be a 19-inch flat screen television.

Police say they also recovered a remote, power cords, and a bottle of brake fluid from his pants, along with two blue pills that were identified as the controlled substance Xanax.

King has been charged with fifth degree controlled substance crime and shoplifting, KSTP news reported.

Celebrities battle over Twitter

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Miranda Lambert and Chris Brown have been battling in a public Twitter feud since the Grammy Awards last Sunday night.

In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty for assaulting former girlfriend Rihanna and is now serving five years of probation. But at the awards Brown's performance and award for best R&B album was followed by applause.

After Brown's performance Lambert tweeted "And Chris Brown Twice? I don't get it. He beat on a girl...Not cool that we act like that didn't happen," ABC News reported.

The two artists then proceeded to fire tweets at each other in response.

WWE wrestler CM Punk also joined the feud, the Huffington Post reported.

On Monday, the professional wrestler, tweeted, "I would like @chrisbrown fight somebody that can defend themselves. Me curb stomping that turd would be a #wrestlemania moment."

JK Rowling to release new book

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Almost five years after publishing the last book in the Harry Potter series J.K. Rowling is writing an adult novel, according to L.A. Times.

The title of the book, which is set to hit the store shelves in U.S. and Britain simultaneously (at an unannounced date), has not been revealed. Little, Brown - the publisher of the the Twilight series - has the rights to the book.

Rowling said the following about the deal in a press release:

"Although I've enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life."

It is possible that the fans from the Harry Potter books will carry over to her new work. Those who were 10 years old when the first Harry Potter book was released in Britain are now turning 25.

Two journalists killed in Syria

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Two Western journalists, including veteran American reporter Marie Colvin, were killed in intense shelling by President Bashar Assad's regime in the central town of Homs on Wednesday, CBS News reported.

Both Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik had been working on the front lines of uprisings in the Arab world for months.

Syrian activists said at least two other Western journalists -- French reporter Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy of the Sunday Times-- were wounded in Wednesday's shelling, which claimed at least 13 lives, the Associated Press reported.

A Homs-based activist, Omar Shaker, told the Associated Press the journalists were killed when several rockets hit a garden of a house used by activists and journalists in the besieged Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr, which has come under weeks of heavy bombardment by forces from Assad's regime.

Delta crew member under investigation

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A Delta crew member is being investigated after a flight scheduled to depart Grand Forks, North Dakota for Minneapolis-St. Paul was canceled Sunday afternoon, Fox 9 reported.

Delta Connection Flight 3743 was scrubbed before boarding of its 30 passengers Pinnacle Airlines representative Joe Williams told the Star Tribune.

Though three crew members were taken off the job Williams said "the flight attendant is the focus of the investigation. The pilot and the copilot were not." He also said the flight attendant has been "relieved of duty pending further investigation" without pay.

"The safety of our passengers and flight crew is our first priority," he said.

Williams added Pinnacle has more strict standards than the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when it comes to how long before a flight that crew members must abstain from drinking alcohol. The FAA requires eight hours without drinking, Pinnacle requires eight hours.

Williams said all passengers were accommodated on later flights.

Spot and follows analysis

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When I first wrote the blog about Whitney Houston's death it was fairly soon after it happened. As the days went on, more and more stories filled the internet and her face dominated the nightly news.

I got my information for the blog primarily from an article by the Wall Street Journal. In the days to follow, the newspaper would publish multiple articles, from information about the singers funeral, to how she was honored at the Grammy Awards.

The day following the article, the newspaper released an article about Houston's movie 'Sparkle,' set to release in August.

The new story focuses more about the film and less about the details of Houston's death because by now, most news outlets had covered most of the details. The next day it was more about finding additional information about the singers life. Following this report, more and more context on Houston's life was released and is still being released today.

'The Simpsons' airs 500th episode

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After over 22 years on television, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode Sunday night.

The episode consisted of exiling the popular TV family to a community of outsiders, the Huffington Post reported.

After 23 seasons, the show is the longest-running prime-time scripted program on US television and is expected to run for an additional two seasons. According to BBC News, once the animated comedy is completed, 559 episodes will have aired over the years.

Creator Matt Groening said there are still stories to tell, mostly involving "characters we've never dealt with".

"We have a character we call Squeaky-Voiced Teen," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I'd like to know a little bit more about that guy."

Minnesota House passes teacher seniority bill

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The Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill that would take seniority out of the equation when it comes to teacher layoffs, the Minnesota Daily reported Thursday.

Traditionally, new teachers are the first to be let go when layoffs are necessary but the new bill would change that.

If Gov. Mark Dayton signs the bill, teacher performance could become the primary focus.

Minnesota is one of 11 states that to use teacher seniority but proponents argue that it hurts student achievement because they lose effective teachers and it forces more teachers to lose their jobs because districts have to let go of their least expensive teachers, the Pioneer Press reported.

"We don't have to be quality blind when we lay people off," House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood told the Pioneer Press. "We need to do better."

New York Times correspondant dies in Syria

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New York Times foreign correspondent, Anthony Shadid, 43, died on Thursday in Syria, USA Today reported.

The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter died of a apparent asthma attack while covering the uprising against the president.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Shadid had long been interested in the Middle East, first because of his Lebanese-American heritage and later because of what he saw there firsthand.

He joined The Times on Dec. 31, 2009, as Baghdad bureau chief, and became the newspaper's bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon, last year.

According to the New York Times, he was known most recently to readers for his coverage of the Arab Spring. He won the 2012 Pulitzer in international reporting for his reporting on the sea change sweeping the region.

Jimmy John's workers fight for paid sick days

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The IWW announced two Jimmy John's franchise owners were brought before the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday morning over allegations that they fired employees last year because of their role in organizing a union.

The controversy arose in March 2011 when six Jimmy John's union workers were fired for distributing posters claiming that eating at Jimmy John's put customers at risk of food-borne illness.

The posters were in response to the union's unmet demands for paid sick days, which "force" employees to come in sick, and employees said this put customers at risk, according to a Minnesota Daily article.

In a letter to the editor of the Minnesota Daily, former employee Erik Forman said "the truth that our posters revealed is certainly an ugly truth, but it is the truth nonetheless, and we have a duty to the public to tell it."

Santorum gains momentum in GOP race

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Opinion polls show Republican candidate Rick Santorum now holds momentum over front-runner Mitt Romney.

According to ABC News, Santorum moved 2 percentage points ahead of Romney in a national poll by the Pew Research Center released on Monday and also came within 2 percentage points of Romney in a national Gallup poll.

A national CBS News/New York Times Poll also shows 30 percent of Republican primary voters support Santorumn over Romney. Ron Paul is now in third, followed by Newt Gingrich. According to the poll, Santorum receives strong backing from conservatives, tea party supporters and white evangelicals.

But with Santorum's new lead, he will now become the focus of other candidates attacks. The Huffington Post reported Tuesday that long-time front-runner for the nomination, Romney has deployed surrogates to attack Santorum's support for earmarks in Congress. Romney has also suggested that Santorum and Gingrich represent the kind of overspending Washington insiders the tea party despise.

Structure analysis

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In the article about Whitney Houston by the Wall Street Journal, the reporter structured the article in an effective way.

The lead says what happened in a very simple way, and then the following paragraph goes on to briefly explain who the singer was to quickly remind people that might not know or who have forgotten.

After that, the story explains who said Houston was dead and goes through the progression of events that happened after the discovery and who said what.

Finally, the article gives a detailed history the performers life and career which is important to understand the significance of the story.

I like how this piece was structured and I think it's effective. The reporter gives you all the details of the death but also keeps the reader informed of the context of the article and why people should care.

Singer Whitney Houston dies

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After a career filled with success and turmoil, music sensation Whitney Houston, 48, died Saturday of unknown causes.

The acclaimed singer and performer throughout the '80s and '90s before slipping into obscurity in her later years. She was known for her hits like "I Will Always Love You," Houston also starred in films like "The Bodyguard" and "The Preacher's Wife."

According to the Associated Press, Houston's publicist Kristen confirmed her death, but the cause and location remain unknown.

Houston has been out of public eye for the past few months, but according to the Wall Street Journal, she hoped to stage a comeback later in 2012.

The singer was reportedly in consideration for a role on Simon Cowell's FOX singing competition show "The X-Factor."

Minnesota will receive No Child Left Behind waiver

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Minnesota is one of 10 states that will be exempt from the No Child Left Behind law.

The executive action by President Barack Obama will give leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students, according to the Associated Press.

The Star Tribune reported Thursday that last year, 1,056 out of 2,255 Minnesota schools were considered failing under the federal law. Of those, 34 were required to restructure, the most serious consequence of the law. More than half of those -- 19 -- are in the Minneapolis district. Six are in the St. Paul district.

"Under 'No Child Left Behind,' teachers have been forced to teach to tests, which do not accurately measure either individual student or school progress," said Gov. Mark Dayton, a former teacher. "Students spend too many hours preparing for, practicing and taking the tests."

In states granted a waiver, students will be tested annually but preformance will be labeled differently.

On Wednesday, the University of Minnesota defended its actions against a former mortuary science student at the Minnesota State Supreme Court.

In December 2009, Amanda Tatro posted controversial statements on her Facebook about her mortuary science course.

"Who knew embalming lab was so cathartic!" she said. "I still want to stab a certain someone in the throat with a trocar though."

TwinCities.com reported Tatro was referring to a former boyfriend.

She received a failing grade for the class and was forced to undergo psychological evaluation the Minnesota Daily reported.

Tatro's attorney, Jordan Kushner, said the school's actions were baseless and violated Tatro's First Amendment rights but the University's General Counsel, Mark Rotenberg, rebutted that Tatro failed to abide by the professional standards set for the students in the program.

The justices' opinion usually takes three to five months to be released after oral arguments.

Tatro said if she has to, she will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Komen official resigned after funding controversy

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According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, a high-ranking official resigned Tuesday from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer charity after controversy over whether the group should give funding to Planned Parenthood.

Karen Handel, the charity's vice president for public policy, told Komen officials that she had supported the move to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood because the organization was under government investigation.

"I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it," Handel said in her letter. "I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen's future and the women we serve."

The breast cancer charity reversed course after its decision created criticism. Members of Congress and Komen affiliates accused the group's national leadership of bending to pressure from anti-abortion activists.

Komen Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker said she accepted Handel's resignation and wished her well, FOX News reported.

Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Diamond Jubilee

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On Monday, Queen Elizabeth celebrated 60 years on the throne - her Diamond Jubilee.

In a statement on the royal website, the queen pledged continued service to her people and extended gratitude for the "wonderful support and encouragement that you have given me and [husband] Prince Philip over these years."

According to the Lost Angeles Times, the the 85-year-old monarch traditionally spends the anniversary in the royal country retreat of Sandringham about 90 miles north of London.

But on Monday the queen made a visit to King's Lynn in eastern England, where she watched schoolchildren perform a play commemorating her 60 years as a monarch and was cheered by flag-waving children as well as citizens and town officials.

At the end of the Queen's tour, students at Dersingham Infants gathered in the school hall for a musical performance where she was the guest of honor.

Head teacher Gayle Platt told BBC News the visit had been "incredible" and she felt "very, very privileged".

"We've made the day a big occasion for the children that will continue now the Queen's gone," she said.

The last British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee was Queen Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, in June 1897.

Attribution analysis

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In the article "Mild, dry winter delights some, depresses others" by USA Today the authors use people as their sources.

Going though the article, I counted a total of 9 people quoted or paraphrased. A lot of that is because the story has a number of personal accounts of how the unusual winter has affected them.

All of the sources are spread throughout the article but it doesn't get to confusing because the authors usually introduce a person for a quick quote or information and then don't bring them up again.
The Weather Channel meteorologist Frank Giannasca was the only individual brought up later after he had initially been introduced.

I think the multiple sources if effective in this case because the article needs a variety of opinions. The point of the story is that the winter is affecting many people in many ways so the authors must then follow up that claim with the evidence.

Komen foundation reverses cut to funding

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After facing a major public and political backlash the Susan G. Komen foundation has decided to continue giving money to Planned Parenthood.

Komen's decision angered many Americans and its apology on Friday may not satisfy the more vocal advocates on either side.

But Planned Parenthood said it was "enormously grateful" that Komen amended its funding rules.

"I really take them at their word that this is behind us," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told the Chicago Tribune. She also emphasized the strong ties between both organizations at the community level where "we work together to provide services and care for women who have nowhere else to turn."

But The Guardian reported Friday that Republican candidate Rick Santorum said he was "very disappointed" by the reversal. "It's unfortunate that public pressure builds to provide money to an organisation that goes out and actively is the No 1 abortion provider in the country. That's not healthcare. That's not healthcare at all."

A Congressional committee is investigating Planned Parenthood to find out whether it's using federal money to pay for abortions.
Komen said it was the investigation, not Planned Parenthood's pro-choice stance, that prompted it to terminate funding.

Out of state college students could soon be prevented from voting if a photo ID proposal passes.

The proposal requires all voters to present a photo ID in order to vote, which presents a problem for college students who aren't originally from Minnesota.

Carolyn Jackson, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, told the Star Tribune an amendment vote would allow the majority of Minnesotans to restrict voting access for a small minority.

"People who are already marginalized lose their right to vote,'' she said.

An overwhelming majority, including University of Minnesota students, came to the state Capitol to testify against the proposed amendment.

Sydney Jordan, an Illinois native and member of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, testified that the amendment would disenfranchise student voters, the Minnesota Daily reported Thursday.

"Such an amendment would deter many students from voting, including myself, as many of us do not possess IDs with our current address," she said.

Record setting winter affects the entire country

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In the month of January alone, 2,892 record-high temperatures were recorded across the United States.

"It's been a very warm winter, and it's in stark contrast to the previous two winters," Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Climatic Data Center told USA Today.

Last year at this time, Chicago was under two feet of snow. This year the city is having its warmest winter in 80 years.

According to Frank Giannasca, a Weather Channel meteorologist, the jet stream has cut off the cold air for much of the winter, shoving it north of the USA.

The abnormal temperatures are affecting animals too. Animals all over the country are switching up their routines this winter as the unusually warm climate brings wildlife from their natural hibernation and interrupts reproduction cycles.

"By mid to late February, black bears will be coming out of their dens," Paul Curtis, a professor of natural resources and wildlife specialist with Cornell University told FOX News.

"They'll most likely go after bird feeders and other human-created food sources," he said.

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