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WNC #14

December 10th, 2010 by Gustav

Some of you who are reading this might recall that I posted a “news comment” on three funny stories a few weeks ago. I thought to round up the semester, Why not do it again? So, here you go…

A 96-year-old woman returned a book that her late husband checked out about 74 years ago. The woman found the book while cleaning up the garage for a sale. The late fees amounted to about $2,700, but the library did not charge. However, they accepted a small donation of the lady who returned the book. This is absolutely out of this world. First of all, a 95-year-old having a garage sale?? That woman must barely be able to walk, let alone dig through garage crap, and then make a trip to the library to return a book after more than seven decades. Wow!

A hired Santa Claus who worked at Macy’s was dismissed after telling an “adult joke”. I found this particularly amusing because firstly I recognized the joke from one of my papers I had to write for a class about investigating humor. George Carlin used to tell this joke. And secondly, the naughty Santa now has a job where he can tell jokes, eat and drink all he wants. Awesome!

A shop owner sold himself winning lottery ticket that was worth about $1.8 Million, plus an extra ten grant for selling it to himself (for some odd reason I don’t understand). I think this is just super-ironic. Someone sells himself a winning ticket. Stories like these are just unbelievable unjust! But another funny thing… He wants to use the money to further retirement plans with his wife, who is about 30 years younger than he. Hallelujah – or shall we say.. Jackpot!?

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | 1 Comments

WNC #13

December 2nd, 2010 by Gustav

The article is about student protesting at Louisiana State University a few weeks ago. There were about 300 students who protested against the intended state budget cuts on higher education, when the last cuts already led to reduction of staffs and faculty, cuts of programs, bigger class rooms, and raised tuition. Governor Jindal and his staff are condemned to execute the cuts due to designated revenue spending. Jindal supposedly is going on out-of-state trips to raise more money for Louisiana. So the students chanted, “Where is Jindal?” during their protest.

This seems to come from sort of an informal website where people can write their own news stories based on other posts or sources. To me, it is the right mixture between trivia and “professionalism”. I liked the bulletins halfway into the stories. I think it is very important for students to engage actively when their rights and privileges are under debate. Writing about it also helps to raise some broader awareness. Public opinion needs to be expressed and heard. The issue of federal and state budgets will be interesting to follow when congress comes up with the final budget proposal for next year.

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | 3 Comments

WNC #12

November 19th, 2010 by Gustav

As you might have noticed, i like to write about opinion pieces. This week i chose another story from the N.Y. Times. I want to keep it short. This article is about the pertaining situation of the economy. The author says it may be over, but it’s not going away. There are references made to children living with their grandparents thus causing a rather imbalanced social network system. Built on that, a lot of people take their benefits early, which hurts the economy in the long run.

This article sums it up for me. Anyone who claims we’re out of recession doesn’t fully understand the situation. You can only get out of a recession if you’re in a recovery. Right now, the nation is even struggling to maintain everyone’s benefits, and the upcoming decision about tax cuts (of the Bush admin) will stir the pot even further. I chose to look for something on the recession because i knew i would find some article like this one. That just goes to show you that we can euphemize all we want, but on paper, there no lies!

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | 1 Comments

WNC #11

November 11th, 2010 by Gustav

So this time, again to mix it up a little bit, i thought i share some hilarious but also kind of sensitive stories to “entertain”.

The first story is about a 56-year-old woman who didn’t pay her bar tab and then was found down the street lieing drunk in the grass. The funny part of this story?! The women led the policemen to her home, ostensibly to “pay” her tab, but then attacked the officers with a “rigid feminine pleasure device”.

The second story i found presents a guy who bought a sandwich and later ate it quietly at home. Why funny? Because as he was buying his sandwich he was shot two times. He decided to dig into his food before seeking medical care.

And last but not least, something out of the biology department: A cricket with an incredible body weight – testical – ratio. The Bushcricket testicals make up 14 percent of its bodyweight. That is a world record (in this particular relation). Funny comparison: A 200 lbs man would carry around 28 lbs of testicals if that ratio applied to male humans. Check out the story

These stories relate to our discussion about newsworthiness and readers’ attraction. The examples above definitely rely on bizarre concepts. To speak for myself, but probably for many others, this post was the funnest one because i enjoyed reading those stories more than the other ones you can find in my blog. Absolutely hilarious. Wouldn’t we all want more of this…?!

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WNC #10

November 4th, 2010 by Gustav

This is a very insightful article about the newly popularized alcoholic energy drinks, particularly the brand 4 Loko’s. i found the article through an editorial letter. In the main story, the drink is criticized for its severe combination of caffeine and alcohol. The author tried to prove that this might be something lawmakers have to look into. The drink supposedly has been causing many emergencies (among adolescents as well as adults) and is aimed mainly at under-age drinkers. The editorial letter adds how the drink may cause severe brain damage, even on a long-term foundation.

I chose this pairing because it fits into my own life. Just recently, when i was eating lunch with my roommates, a journal reporter came up to us and asked us about the 4 Loko drink. Who hasn’t tried it was our response to him. And indeed, it is a very popular but dangerous drink. I am glad that the nation is raising awareness of such things. The drink itself might be legit, but the question is whether inexperienced aka under-aged drinkers can handle it. Surely they aren’t supposed to, but they definitely like the idea of a cheap “boomer” as i heard it be called since it can get you intoxicated for long times. I believe this drink is not a good idea. The suggestion for half the alc. percentage seems very reasonable to me. I like the way the author of the story tried to stay neutral but lead towards the issue. The editorial definitely sums up the concerns. Alcohol education is indeed something spelled in CAPS in the US of A… what a pity!

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | 1 Comments

WNC #9

October 28th, 2010 by Gustav

This story is on the glorious loss of the Miami Heat to the boston Celtics in the NBA season opener on Tuesday. The website I found this on looks like a blog. Consequently, this is a piece of opinion. Tha author states that LeBron & entourage had the worst game they will have altogether this year. So this loss is in no respect a negative one. Rather, he suggests now the league fears the Heat will be even better, as they still didn’t lose the game by a large margin, considering their more than poor performance. The author also references the strength of the Boston Celtics, and how they are a team of veterans.

i think this is interesting, as it cuts to the heart of blogging. I am a Celtics fan, and that’s not just since they’ve become a major power in the Eastern Conference. Still, i appreciate what this blogger thinks he needs to say. And i mostly agree with his points. The Heat will bounce back, and certainly won’t have many of these “mediocre” games. What I specifically liked about this post was the way the author set it up. He tried to lead into his short story. A joke served for the introduction, then he quickly maneuvered to get his point across. I also enjoyed reading some quotes, which gave the post the feel of a news story. Yes, a feel… but nothing more. The quotes could be from anywhere, or how would anyone know where this blogger got his information from. But that’s not a problem. I believe this blog was written adequately to its context. That means, it doesn’t try to arue a particular hostile point either against Celtic or Heat fans.

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | 1 Comments

WNC #8

October 20th, 2010 by Gustav

C.I.A. Was Warned About Man Who Bombed Afghan Base, Inquiry Finds, by Mark Mazetti

This article from the N.Y. Times talks about a possible source for intelligence services to get a foreign spy on their side. Sadly, as it turned out, the spy was a double agent and detonated a vest bomb while speaking to the C.I.A. officials. Seven people were killed. A crucial loss for the C.I.A.

I don’t have much to say about this. The article itself is logically structured. The most important facts or implications are suggested in the lead, respectively the following grafs. I love how the NY-Times just basically “mocks” the C.I.A. for being so careless. Some people might not be able to read between the lines, but this is one example or how the media can and will expose federal agencies. “Resisting punishing people for mistakes?” WHAT THE HELL!!! SEVEN people died!! Get the loser who caused this trouble out of there. Clearly, in a world of emerging technological experts, it shouldn’t be tough to replace a guy or find the mistake and take care of it.

I have my own agenda on secret agencies. I can’t stand the idea of them not being punished because all their crap is “underground”. Screw that!!

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | 2 Comments

WNC #7

October 15th, 2010 by Gustav

School Three ‘Commit Suicide’, by John Coles

This tabloid article from The Sun (British magazine) tries to make a story out of a couple suicidal incidents at the same school in Trowbridge, UK. The victims are 13, 15, and lastly 19 years old. The question is whether the three cases somehow relate to one another. At least, that is what the lead suggests.

I chose the first best article I could find on a tabloid’s website. I came in with the typical notion that those magazines are, by no means, newsworthy publishers. This story might be fun and interesting to investigate. But it mainly talks about close family and friends and how they utter their condolences, compassion, and memories of the victims. There is no structure in the story. The lead does not relate to the content. Quotes are randomly put in. I had trouble making sense of most the information, as it wasn’t an easy, enjoyable read. Maybe, that is partly due to the single sentences that are presented, instead of comprehensive grafs. I know, what could I have expected from this? But seriously! Starting out a story of dead girls with the word “attractive”, or captioning pictures with “loss” or “devastating”… that shows few respect, and doesn’t really create something newsworthy and compelling to the reader. But maybe that’s exactly what the readers of The Sun want.

I love the little note on the bottom that provides a hotline for Samaritans, in case of “needy readers”.

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | Comments Off on WNC #7

WNC #6

October 7th, 2010 by Gustav

The Terminator vs. Big Oil, by Thomas L. Friedman

In this PO (piece of opinion), Thomas Friedman zooms in on the environmental issues in California. Two big time oil companies want to repeal the global warming preservation program (A.B.32), their argument being it doesn’t create as many job opportunities as it ought to. Employment is very appealing to Californians, so the key right now is to convince the people that big oil companies don’t care about public interest.

I thought it would be a good change up to look at a piece of writing that is written by an experienced blogger. So I looked in the green zone of the N.Y. Times.

I generally like how bloggers make their first statement. Here, Friedman talks straight to the reader. That draws attention. He then goes on to present the facts of the debate or discussion he is raising. Quotes follow, until he gets to the bigger picture, which in this case is a national concern (possibly international). The style here might be an upside-down cocktail glass. It starts with a kicker, and then presents some basics. Finally, the issues are discussed through citation. The reference to Mother Nature, and possibly climate implications, and interest conflicts, are the tip of the cup. Almost like the last straw.

Posted in Weekly News Comment | | | 1 Comments

WNC #5

October 7th, 2010 by Gustav

Calif calls off execution after court setbacks, AP

About 30 years ago, a man raped and killed a teenage girl. He was sentenced to life with option to parole. He was supposed to receive lethal injection early this week, but due to some newly adopted procedures, a federal judge halted the process. On Friday, the lethal medicine expires, leaving the murderer another year to “enjoy” prison life, because back-orders cannot me made until 2011.

When I first read this article, the story was put on Breaking News Alert. Today I found out it actually received an up-date. Yesterday, there was a lot of mixture in the story, different focuses and no real structure and point to get to. Now, things have changed. The lead is informative, not really appealing, but considering the topic of this story that seems all right. However, the point made about the expiration of the drug doesn’t have as much weight in the story and is never mentioned again. Towards the end of the story, the focus shifts to other examples of execution setbacks. So, I guess the story does los its focus at some time. Nevertheless, the author(s) draw several sources into their story, among them Schwarzenegger and a statement of the murdered girl’s sister on the justice of the whole case.

All in all a good coverage. I liked the picture of the condemned to somewhat manipulate the feelings towards sadness and compassion of the reader.

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