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May 4, 2008

Computer Assisted Reporting

"On the Trail of Cindy McKay." Narrative by Justin Fenton. The Baltimore Sun. May 1, 2008.

Cindy McKay who "was convicted in April 2008 of secretly stealing thousands of dollars from her boyfriend and stabbing him to death before his body was found burning along an Anne Arundel County road." A career criminal, McKay stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from employers and family over the course of more than 20 years. Two of McKay's sons were also implicated in the 2006 murder of her boyfriend, according to The Baltimore Times.

The Baltimore Times use computer-assisted to tell a series of stories on Mckay. An example of the papers use of CPR can be found on their website. A map with a combination of pictures and a timeline was used to comment and provide a visual on the life of McKay and her travel throughout the US over time. In addition links to information is provided through each overlay on the map, and sound bites are given.

The map uses a multitude of information and requires a solid understanding of CPR. It is complicated and combines Mckay's biographical, geographical, reported and documented aspects of her life.

Such CPR needs expertise and understanding of overlaying maps, journalistic investigation, and the synthesisizing of materials.

And the Winner Is...?

Minnesota State Lottery officials said Sunday that the sole winning Powerball ticket from Saturday night's drawing was sold somewhere in Rice County of southern Minnesota. Lottery officials said, per their usual practice, that they won't say exactly where it was sold until the winner comes forward, reported the Associated Press in an article ran by both the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press.

The annuity payment plan is worth $180.1 million spread out over 30 years. The cash option would pay $88 million, or $59.6 million after tax withholding, reported the article.

The winning numbers were 2-28-36-42-46, and the Powerball was 40.

Fairbault, Minn. locals are anxious to detrmine is the unknown winner is one of their own.

"I hope it is somebody I know and I hope it is somebody who really needs it," Crystal Anderson, of Fairbault was repoted having said in the article.

The winner has a year to calim the prize reported the Associated Press. However, it seems locals of Midwestern Minnesota towns and suburbs are anxiously hopeful one of their own will soon claim the proze.


21-year-old man dies after struggle with police

A man whom police said was apparently suicidal and on a controlled substance died Sunday morning after fighting with St. Paul police, being sprayed with a chemical irritant and shot with a Taser gun in an attempt to subdue him, reported the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press Sunday.

The man determined to be a 21-year-old St. paul resident by both papers.

His identity and the cause of death will be released pending results of an autopsy, St. Paul police spokesman Peter Panos said to the Pioneer Press.

Responding to a call for police and paramedics, two officers entered the apartment and were confronted by the man, who was partially clothed. As the officers attempted to calm him down so paramedics could evaluate him, he attacked them, Panos told the Pioneer Press.

It's unclear what led the man to become suicidal and what kind of drug he might have ingested, the Star Tribune quoted Panos as saying.

The identy of the man has not been released.

Years to Recover-- imagine that.

The Australian woman and children held captive in a cellar for years by their incestuous father will take years to recover from their disturbing ordeal, doctors warned Wednesday as the family at the center of the case remained in psychiatric care, but were in good condition considering the senerio, reported CNN April 30.

The exact condition, JosefFritzl, kept his daughter Elisabeth was revealed in an article by the Daily Mail, which was highlighted on The Drudge Report today.

Elisabeth Fritzl was forced to help build the dungeon where she was kept by her sadistic father Josef, it emerged yesterday, the article reported.

One of the chambers, she was forced to dug by hand, was used as a punishment area and Fritzl would take his daughter there and rape her.

Elisabeth gave birth to 6 of Joseph children. Kerstin, 19, Stefan, 18, and six-year- old Felix, lived underground with her. Their siblings Lisa, 16, Monika, 14 and 12-year-old Alexander lived a 'normal' life upstairs, the article said.

The article also reports Josef, now 73, could escape justice by pleading insanity. A team of psychiatrists are due to examine him today at St Poelten Prison, after which he is expected to be officially sectioned.

Fritzl is facing charges of rape, incest and kidnap, according to the report.

To see the entire article on Elisabeth captivity click here.

Cyclone Kills Hundreds in Myanmar

A cyclone killed more than 350 in Myanmar and some dissent grouos are afraid the mylitary junta running the country will be reluctant to ask for international help, reported an AP report ran by the New York Times Sunday.

"We believe hundreds of people are dead," said Khin Maung Win with the Democratic Voice of Burma -- a broadcast media group run by opposition expatriates, to CNN. "The entire lower Burma is affected. In some areas, entire villages disappeared."

The cyclone, Nargis, cam at an unfortunate time for the country- A week before the junta referendum of the country's new constitution, AP and CNN reported.

The junta came under sharp criticism from many nations for using force to suppress pro-democracy protests last year, reported CNN.

Should the military dictatorship be seen as failing disaster victims, voters, many of whom already say the government has ruined the economy and suppressed democracy, could be more inclined to oppose the constitution, reported the AP.

To see a recent AP report from May 1, on President Bush freezing of assets of state-owned companies in Myanmar propping up the nation's military junta, click here.


Will Rev. Wright Hurt Obama?

A majority of American voters say that the furor over the relationship between Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor, Reverend Wright, has not affected their opinion of Mr. Obama, but a substantial number say that it could influence voters this fall should he be the Democratic presidential nominee, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, reported the New York Times today.

In an interview with Mike Murray of NBC news, Obama commented on the coorelation between himself and the reverend.
"Well, obviously it's distracted us. I mean, we ended up spending a lot of time talking about Reverend Wright instead of talking about gas prices and food prices and the situation in Iraq," Obama said in the interview. "And so it, it's, it wasn't welcome. But, you know, I think that the American people understand that when I joined Trinity United Church of Christ, I was committing not to Pastor Wright, I was committing to a church and I was committing to Christ."

For the New York Times summary of Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright and the contoversy that suurounds him, click here.

To see a transcript of a interview with the reverend from March 2, 2007 click here.