January 2010 Archives

Analysis: lead in story about 1998 murder

In the Star Tribune's article about the conviction of two brothers in the murder of their sister, the writer initially used a traditional lead. However, a few days later, this was revised and a less traditional approach was taken.
When the story was breaking news, purely the facts were reported, which were that two brothers were charged Wednesday with the 1998 murder of their sister. The story was later revised, and became a longer article with more details and information on the murder. In both versions of the article though, the time of the murder was emphasized.
Because the murder went unresolved for so long, there was an element of mystery to the story, and the writer focused on this in the revised article. The writer recounts the details of the murder, the long-held suspicion that the brothers were behind the murder, and the victory the solving of this murder represents for law officials.
Thus, the lead is used to set the tone of the story and to draw the reader in by starting at the time of the murder and then working to the present day throughout the story.

United States economy grows quickly in 4th quarter

The United States economy grew at its fastest pace in six years this quarter, but this rate is expected to weaken with consumers still spending little, the New York Times reported.
Gross domestic product expanded at a rate of 5.7 percent at the end of last year, quicker than expected and the fastest pace since 2003.
President Obama used this report to push the administration's proposed tax credit for companies hiring new employees. The proposal means companies would receive a tax credit of $5,000 for each new hire, as well as a credit on Social Security payroll taxes for raising wages.
With high unemployment and little wage growth though, consumers are expected to spend less, causing these rates to slow. The restocking of inventory by companies is also expected to slow rates, the Associated Press said.
With high unemployment rates and little hiring, Obama has shifted his focus on job creation, and urged Congress to support his tax incentives to create new jobs.

13 students killed in Mexico by gunmen

A group of alleged drug hitmen killed 13 teenagers and injured nearly two dozen on Sunday after attacking a party in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the Associated Press reported.
At least 15 attackers arrived in sports utility vehicles and began firing at the students, who were celebrating a local American Football championship.
It was not clear why the gunmen targeted the students, ages 15 to 20. However, the incident is part of a recent string of violent attacks, as drug hitmen have attacked other parties in the search for rivals. An additional two attacks occurred over the weekend.
Reuters reports Ciudad Juarez is the most violent city in the drug war enveloping Mexico and violence has continued to escalate even with the presence of more police force. At least 2,650 people were killed in drug related violence in Ciudad Juarez last year, and murder rates continue to escalate in 2010.

Abortion opponent found guilty in killing of doctor

A Kansas man who admitted to killing prominent abortion doctor George Tiller was convicted of murder on Friday, the New York Times reported.
It took the jury only 37 minutes to find Scott Roeder, an abortion opponent, guilty of first degree murder. Roeder faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Roeder had stated he killed Tiller, one of the few doctors to perform late-term abortions, to help save the lives of unborn children. Tiller was shot while serving as an usher at his Wichita church, an act which prosecutors portrayed as pre-meditated by Roeder.
The Star Tribune reported Roeder had confessed publicly to the murder before the trial, and admitted to shooting Tiller in the head, as well as conceiving other attempts at killing Tiller.
Abortion rights supporters applauded the ruling, saying it sent a strong message against violence aimed at abortion doctors.

Light rail assessments put on hold

Property owners along the proposed Central Corridor light rail line will have to pay for street improvements, the Pioneer Press reported on Wednesday.
However, these improvements will not be paid for until after the light rail is built, currently slated for 2014.
The St. Paul City Council approved Wednesday a $3 million assessment plan for University Avenue property owners. The plan, part of a $22.1 million plan will improve the streetscape, plant trees, improve drainage, and build two stations for the line.
The Star Tribune reported that the decision by the Council was considered a victory for property owners along the light rail line, who had expressed concern over the disruption the construction would cause to their businesses, especially with the difficult economy.
The rates will not be finalized until the light rail begins operating, giving city officials time to find ways to lower rates.

Brothers charged with 1998 killing of sister

Two brothers were charged Wednesday with killing their sister over 11 years ago, the Star Tribune reported.
34-year-old Todd Walter Martin and 37-year-old Troy Frederic Martin were arraigned in Clearwater County District Court on manslaughter charges in the death of Lelsa Renae Martin.
Lelsa Martin was reported missing on October 28, 1998 and her body was found several days later in the woods of Mahnomen County. An autopsy concluded she had died of asphyxiation.
The Associated Press reports the brothers had long been suspects, but the break in the case came after Todd Martin was pulled over for drunk driving on Sunday and confessed to his part in the crime.
Their bail has been set at $250,000 each.

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