Monthly Archives: September 2021

News Comment #5

Greta Thunberg on world leaders’ climate promises: “Blah blah blah”

By AJ Dellinger (Mic)

The article addresses the speech Greta Thunberg gave at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan this Tuesday. The author summarizes her most important statements. Furthermore, he explains why she said certain things by giving some background on climate action and broken promises by politicians in the last years.

I think the topic is very news-worthy, given that the speech is a very recent event and climate change has a major impact on humanity nowadays.
What caught my attention first is that the story doesn’t have a classic lead. I noticed this in another article by Dellinger that I commented on a few weeks ago, as well. Since his articles tend to be pretty short and most readers might take the time to read the entire text, it’s not a major problem, in my opinion. The introduction was still written interestingly and got me to read the rest of the article.
Another thing I noticed is that Dellinger does a good job of picking quotes since Thunberg chose very unique words in them that can’t really be paraphrased accurately (“blah, blah, blah”), or they strongly reflect her main message and her attitude on the topic. I liked that he also explained a quote which’s meaning wasn’t completely clear.
Like Dellinger’s other article, this one contains a lot of subjectivity. He mostly covers one side and even claims the view of critics to be wrong (“Now, some people (who are wrong, but still) might try to make the case that[…]”).
Overall, I enjoyed reading this article.

Cooper Christian’s Unusual First Year of College

Cooper Christian started going to college last fall. Covid-19 has been around for about one and a half years now and has certainly had an impact on his college experience so far.

Cooper Christian is a Sophomore at Morningside University in Sioux City, Iowa. His decision to go there wasn’t really influenced by the virus since he made it in December 2019, a few months before the Corona virus hit the world.

Christian wasn’t really scared of the virus in the first place. “It sounded like a common flu,” he says. After he ended up getting Covid himself and not experiencing any severe symptoms, he didn’t worry about it at all anymore. 

That was before coming to Morningside. Therefore, it didn’t really impact his social life. Whereas other students preferred to stay in their rooms, Christian still wanted to go out and not let Covid hinder his college experience too much.

However, his college experience was affected by it in some ways. Christian is from a small town in Iowa, where people didn’t have to wear masks or do social distancing. When he came to Morningside that changed.

“Last year, it was weird,” Cooper states. “You had to wear masks all the time, wherever you went, which was just weird,” he explains. The university operated on “Level Orange” in Christian’s first year. Classes were cut in half or held online.

Many students, including Christian, seem to find online classes difficult. According to Christian, it was “hard to pay attention during an online class, like, I would just play xbox or something.”

His second year of college tends to be a bit more normal since the number of Covid cases has decreased, and Morningside is now operating on “Level Green.”

News Comment #4

How America’s hottest city is trying to cool downCan trees help save Phoenix from extreme heat?

By Joss Fong (Vox)

In this article, Joss Fong addresses how the city of Phoenix, Arizona, is trying to lower temperatures in the city by planting more trees and, especially, spreading them equally throughout the city. Furthermore, she explains three ways in which trees can help to cool the area around them down. She also elaborates on why Phoenix is trying to lower the temperatures by talking about current heatwaves.

The article’s lead is a little too long, and the sentence structure is very complex. It does summarize the most important information of the article, though. I’d say the topic is newsworthy because it is about recent developments and has a big impact on people living close by. However, there are important news values that the article doesn’t cover, such as human interest and conflict. That is why I can imagine that many people outside of Arizona are not very interested in it. However, it might be very appealing to the majority of readers, including me, because it is very short. The author only mentioned relevant information, mainly “how do trees help?” and “why is help needed?” She should definitely avoid including herself in the story, which she does in the last paragraph. In addition to the article, there is a short video, which provides some additional information on the topic. That is what I like most because having visual material is always refreshing, and the video itself is very well done, in my opinion. I honestly really liked the article, even though I mentioned some aspects that are not ideal.

Talking to Strangers – Scavenger Hunt

An hour ago, I didn’t know that I would have to talk too so many strangers in one morning. A scavenger hunt forced me to do so in order to complete two objectives: #1 a conversation about the weather and #2 a piece of gum that isn’t pink.

Therefore, I started all my conversations with: “hi, do you happen to have gum on you that isn’t pink?” Yeah, that’s weird. But hey, I couldn’t afford to lose time having conversations with 50 people and later finding out that they don’t have gum on them (because believe me, most people don’t).

The first conversation I had was with Matt. He was sitting behind a desk in the Student Government Office. He didn’t have gum, but he’s been here for a while and could tell me something about the weather here. In general, he likes the weather in Iowa, he said. When I asked him when it would begin to snow he said: “It could start snowing in two to three weeks, it could Strat snowing in two months. But once it starts, it’s not going to stop.”

After that, I still had to get a piece of gum. So, I talked to about ten people before I found my lifesaver, sitting there at a table with two other people and having a virtual meeting – Pastor Andy. Technically, I knew him before. But I haven’t talked to him one on one yet, so he basically is a stranger. I imagined him to be a super nice guy, and I was proven right. When I told him I needed a piece of gum, he simply reached for his backpack and said: “how many pieces do you need?”

This is where my scavenger hunt ended. This class was definitely unusual.

News Comment #3

Animals are “shape-shifting,” and scientists think climate change is to blame

By AJ Dellinger (Mic)

The article addresses the physical adaption of about 30 species of animals due to climate change. It further describes how they’re changing by providing some examples and talks about possible reasons and consequences.

The first thing I noticed is that the article doesn’t have a classic lead. Instead, the author starts the story with a comparison, which actually caught my attention. Today’s audience might not like it, though, since it usually prefers to read essential information right in the beginning. On the other hand, the article is very short and easy to read, which most people would probably like. The length could also be the reason the author chose not to include a lead.
I felt like the author didn’t write very objectively. He clearly states his opinion on the issue and is also known for writing about environmentalism and other similar topics.
Another questionable aspect is the topic itself. It is not about humans, it’s not really bizarre, and it doesn’t have any impact on us. It’s rather about raising attention for another, bigger topic – climate change – which has a huge impact on us. I personally thought it was interesting, and reading about something a little different was kind of refreshing. I don’t think it would be for the majority of people, though.

Armed robbery in Central City Store

      Three men robbed a store at 450 Stanley Street last night at 8:30 pm. Two of the men the store wearing ski masks and took about 400$ from the cash register. The third of them waited in a car in front of the store. 

      One of the men pointed the gun at the owner of the store, 43-year-old Barney Joseph, Jr. He could have reached for a gun he kept under the counter, he told police, but chose not to.

      Joseph’s father was killed during a holdup at the same store almost 25 years ago. In contrast to his son, he tried to defend himself. “Yes, Dad resisted, I guess. Anyway, they found him shot to death, his own gun in his hand, and a bullet in the store’s ceiling. I’d rather part with my money than my life,” Joseph said.      

#1 assignment: Socialist Scholz frontrunner in German election due to faltering competition

The upcoming federal elections in Germany on the 26th of September seem to be closer than in past years. Between the Greens, the Social Democratic Party, and the Christian Democratic Union, it’s hard to predict who will come out on top.

The Christian Democratic Union has made the race every time since 2005, but with Angela Merkel stepping back from the chancellery after 16 years, the position is up for grabs. However, socialist candidate Olaf Scholz has been the front-runner in polls over the past weeks, partly as a consequence of struggling competition.

Less than two weeks before the elections, Anna-Lena Baerbock for The Greens, Olaf Scholz for the Social Democratic Party, and Amin Laschet for the Christian Democratic Union are the three candidates battling for the position. In polls, the Social Democrats are currently in the lead with 26% of the votes, followed by the Christian Democrats at 21% and the Greens at 16%.

“Scholz led the Social Democrats into pole position with a pitch to the moderates who had underpinned Merkel’s four successive election victories,” said Philip Oltermann, a German author for the Guardian. The SDP decided to go with Scholz as their candidate from the beginning. They built a well-run campaign around him, completely in harmony with his appearance.

On the other hand, “The CDU only agreed to nominate Laschet as Merkel’s successor in April and its campaign has looked far from tailor-cut around its candidate and has come across as comically incongruous. One CDU poster has the slogan “So that Germany stays strong” next to a picture of Laschet, a politician seen as more of a liberal compromise builder than a forceful protector,” holds Oltermann.

Nevertheless, Laschet was seen as the favorite of the chancellery in April. Another reason the Christian Democrats have lost about 8% since then is that he hasn’t proven to be a worthy successor of Merkel. 

“Laschet […] is trying to make up for mistakes during the campaign”, according to Madeline Chambers and Paul Carrel, Reuters Reporters. “In a damaging gaffe, he was caught on camera laughing during a visit to a town hit by lethal floods in July. He apologized,” they describe.

The Green Party led the polls for a short time in May with about 26% of the votes but have struggles of their own. They appear to not fully stand behind their candidate Anna-Lena Baerbock after she was involved in a scandal regarding plagiarism allegations.

Ultimately, two or three parties will form a coalition to have the majority of seats in the parliament. “German federal elections are proportional, so the share of vote given by polling companies should be read as translating fairly directly into share of seats in the resulting parliament,” Seán Clarke and Antonio Voce explain in an article for the Guardian.

There are multiple options of how a coalition could be formed. Apart from the three parties already mentioned, three other parties could potentially be part of a coalition. That includes the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), the nationalist and right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), and The Left, a democratic socialist party.

Clarke and Voce hold that “most are possible, but the other parties have traditionally said they would not enter a coalition with the AfD, and there has never yet been a federal coalition involving Die Linke.” Consequently, Germany’s political future will remain uncertain until negotiations have been successful – regardless of who wins the elections.

Steel Workers Union and Steel Company Announce Agreement

Steel Workers Union calls strike set for midnight off after coming to agreement with Ambrose Steel Company. 

            Clyde Parris, president of Ambrose Steel Company, and Charles Pointer, president of United Steelworkers Local 923, made a joint announcement after reaching a collective bargaining agreement. As a consequence, they called off the strike that was planned to start at midnight tonight. About 5oo workers would have participated and thus stopped production at Ambrose.

            Parris said the contract includes “substantial wage agreement”. Members of the union will be informed about exact terms of the agreement tonight at a meeting. They will vote on the contract next week. Pointer states the contract is “the best we can get out of the company.”

Hand-held radar guns banned in Sioux City after being linked to development of cancer

The East Dakota Highway patrol ordered a ban of hand-held radar guns in Sioux City yesterday because they could be linked to an increased risk of cancer. 70 radar guns will now be withdrawn from service.

It is unknown whether the long-term exposure to the radiation waves emitted by the guns cause cancer. The ban was ordered as a precaution, while studies are conducted.

As a consequence, 70 radar guns will be withdrawn from service. State troopers will continue to use radar units with transmitters mounted on the outside of their cruisers.

 “The feeling here is to err on the side of caution until more is known about the issue,” Smith said. “The whole situation is under review.”

The move is considered to be the first of its kind by a state police agency. It comes two months after three municipal officers in Central City filed workman’s compensation claims, saying they developed cancer from using the hand–held units.

News Comment #2

Biden officials trumpet how solar can provide nearly half of the nation’s electricity by 2050

By Darryl Fears (The Washington Post)

The article addresses a concept regarding the supply of the USA with solar energy, which was published by the Biden administration on Wednesday, September 8th. The author outlines the content of the blueprint and explains the likelihood of achieving the goals mentioned in it. He also shows how the move is related to current severe weather and Biden’s environmental aims in general.

What I like the most about the article is its length. Compared to other articles on the same topic, it is quite short. It answers the biggest questions I had after reading the title and the lead – “What’s are the key points of the concept?” and “Is it probable that it can be realized?” – and not much more. Since nowadays most readers can’t or don’t want to spend too much time on an article, it fits today’s audience very well. The author also did a good job of writing a lead that is not too complex and summarizes the article briefly. In addition, the topic he chose is very news-worthy because it just happened the day the article was released (currency), it involves the president (prominence), and climate change is a huge issue nowadays (impact). All in all, I think Darryl Fears has written a very good article.