Thursday, November 15, 2007


The Edina School District might have to pay the state of Minnesota a fine if by January 15, 2008, it hasn’t come to an agreement with teachers about a new contract.
Currently, Edina teachers and the school board can’t come to an agreement about terms in the proposed teaching contract. Every two years, the state reworks its budget and its budget for public school funding, so teachers and the Edina School Board re-negotiate contracts. If a new contract can’t be agreed upon before the old contract expires, the teachers have to operate on the out-of-date one. Now, Edina teachers are under the rules and regulations of the contract that started in July 2005 and expired this June.
“It upsets me because it’s not the first time,” said Mr. Alejandro Diaz, a Spanish teacher at Edina High School. He said teachers are negatively affected by not having a current contract because he thinks the contract is essential to good working conditions. Numerous School Board members did not return phone calls.
“[The contract] clarifies your responsibilities as a teacher,” said Mr. Erik Gronberg, another Spanish teacher and secretary of the Edina Division of Education Minnesota Teacher’s Union.
The contracts, or “master agreements” as they are officially called, define terms of salaries, health care benefits, sick days and the length of a workday.
Given the “rise in inflation and health care premiums,” said Mr. Van Anderson, an English teacher at the High School and President of the Education Minnesota’s Edina Branch, the contracts are out of date and unfair for teachers. He said he believes if the current contracts aren’t upgraded it will cause financial turmoil for teachers.
Contract proposals are still quite a way from being completed, Anderson said. If the school board and the teachers can’t come to an agreement by January 15 the district will have to pay the state $25 per student (kindergarten through 12th grade) per day.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I noticed that in the section of Zephyrus called We Love the 90's there were many good aspects of writing and formatting as well as some more negative parts. On the good side, the graphics were creative and well drawn. There are pictures of Pokemon characters and a cd and different names of popular things in the 90’s. The graphics drew my attention in and made me want to read more. I also like the layout of the articles and all the headings. This page was interesting to look at and very intriguing. The article "Say 'Bye Bye Bye' To Boy Bands" by DJ Adams was also interesting because it had a good topic and a catching lede (that may or may not have had a lot to do with the story). The quote was six sentences into the story, which is pretty typical writing style. One negative thing that I noticed about this article, that most people might not have picked up on was the interviews that Adams had. I know for a fact that the three junior girls he interviewed, Tess, Alex and Meredith are good friends with Adams, which is confusing to me as to why he would interview them because it makes his interviews less credible. Also along the lines of the interviews in this story, the "sophomore boy" that he interviewed strikes my curiosity because who knows if that person was made up or not. That unknown source also contributes to this feeling of distrust with the author. For the most part this author does a good job with the facts and the interesting take on the story but his story suffers because of the quotes he had. The next article in the section, titled "Nice Try, 90's" by Tony Quattrini got off to a confusing start. Personally, I had to read the lede a few times before I understood what he meant. Another negative thing about this article was the formatting. The article falls between two pages of the Zephyrus and because there are two pages the article got split into two columns, which didn't make sense to me. It creates confusion in the reader as to where to read after each line. Other than that there were a few weird sentences that didn’t make sense to me and I found all the opinions in his writing a little distracting. The overall piece was amusing and other than formatting mishaps a good story to read. The next article on this page that I chose to analyze was the “Perfect Taste Never Goes Out of Style” by Monica Squires. I found the same thing as I did in Adam’s story, that Squires interviewed a few of her friends and her older sister. That particular interview irked me because I can tell it was merely out of convenience that she had that interview. It ruins the credibility of the source and of the author. On the other hand, she used a quote from a boy who she isn’t very well acquainted so that pleased me. None of these three articles have the news element of timeliness because they all deal with stories from the 90’s and they’re ten years out of date. They all contain proximity however because the audience (being the Edina student body) can all relate to these toys, fashions and bands. We all grew up with those things so we all can feel close to them. The story about boy bands contains the news element of prominence because *NSync and the Backstreet Boys were very famous bands during that time period. These stories contain certain elements of human interest because, in all of them, there is a human twist on each topic. They evoke happiness and good memories in the minds of readers. These stories are not breaking news per say but they all interest and amuse the audience which can also qualify them as good news stories. The audience is interested in reliving those past memories of Furbies and boy bands, which makes these articles interesting to read. All in all these three articles are good because the basic format of writing is well done and they all qualify for at least two elements of the “Who Cares” model.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

News Story #2: Teachers Without Contracts

1) Slug: TWC-10/24/07

2) Section of newspaper story would appear: News

3) What are the most dominant news elements in the story? Explain:

News element #1: Timeliness. Why? The Edina teachers are not operating on a contract now, meaning this is news NOW, which makes it timeliness because it's currently happening.

News element#2: Proximity. Why? This story is close to students because it is happening in our school, to our teachers. It would affect us if the teachers and the School Board couldn't agree on a contract because our teachers might go on strike.

News element#3: Human Interest. Why? I will be featuring one or two teachers who are concerned or have a strong opinion about the contracts, which adds the human effect to the story bringing in human interest. Eric Gromberg, one of the teachers featured is the Secretary of the Teachers Union and so he adds human interest.

4) In a few sentences, describe what the story will be about:
As far as I understand, the teacher's contracts are being reworked, as per usual about every 2 years, and the teachers and school board haven't come to an agreement about certain things so teachers are working without contracts.

5) Specifically, who will you interview or contact? Why those people?

Senior Diaz- spanish teacher. Why? He has a sign in his classroom that says "teaching without a contract" or something of that nature so I know that he understands this situation, can provide his opinion and possibly connect me to other teachers.

Mr. Eric Gromberg- another spanish teacher. Why? He is the Secretary of the Teachers Union so he has been at the Teachers Union meetings and he knows the just of what's going on.

Mr. Van Anderson- the President of the Teacher's Union. Why? He will be the teacher who has the most freedom, or the most knowledge of the details he can give me and he can tell me the issues from the perspective of the teachers.

One of the Board Members- Why? They represent the opposite side of the conflict from the teachers.

Peyton Robb, Chair
4812 Valley View Road, Edina, MN 55424
(Voicemail) 952-848-3912 x7313
H/W: 952-926-9439

Brian Hedberg, Vice Chair
4913 Trillium Lane, Edina, MN 55435
(Voicemail) 952-848-3912 x7311
W: 952-922-8497 Cell: 612-384-8593

Bert Ledder, Clerk
6709 Cheyenne Trail, Edina, MN 55439
(Voicemail) 952-848-3912 x7316
H: 952-941-9083

Randy Meyer, Treasurer
4016 Inglewood Avenue, Edina, MN 55416
(Voicemail) 952-848-3912 x7308
H: 952-920-4373
Cell: 612-720-3711

Jeff Johnson, Assistant Treasurer
7108 Fleetwood Drive, Edina, MN 55439
(Voicemail) 952-848-3912 x7314
H: 952-941-3799 W: 952-807-7470
Fax: 952-449-0785

Idith Almog, Assistant Clerk
9 Merilane, Edina, MN 55436
(Voicemail) 952-848-3912 x7310
H: (952) 920-9423

Colleen Feige, Assistant Clerk
6616 Field Way, Edina, MN 55436
(Voicemail) 952-848-3912 x7312
H: 952-935-5540 W: 612-725-2000 x4553

6) What information do you need to gather before you begin interviews? What goes into the contracts and why the teachers are not happy with the one this year.

7) What questions do you definitely need answered in your interviews? Why? What exactly goes in to the contract? Why there is a stand still on this years contract? Has there ever been a stand still before? Who decides the final contract? When do they get updated? What are the teachers opinion of this years contract? What is the administration/school board's opinion?

8) What photo opportunities are available to go alongside this story (give names, places, times, etc.)? Senior Diaz's classroom on the first floor, in the language hallway is avaliable for pictures all throughout the school day. He has a sign in his room that would be a good picture to take. Teacher's Union meetings are

9) Who should a photographer contact to set up photographs? Contact Senior Diaz. Or contact

10) What concerns or problems do you foresee in getting this story together? I'm not exactly sure what the whole argument or conflict is in this situation so I will have to figure that out before I can move forward with this article.

11) Other information?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

News Story #1 The Parking Lot

1) Slug: 212PL- 10/21/07

2) Section: Features

3) News Element #1: Consequence. Why? This story is important to all Edina Students (and parents) who drive to school everyday. The current traffic situation is a source of much grief for some students because it takes almost half an hour to get out of the parking lot so students will like to hear how it could change and improve in the future.

News Element #2: Proximity. Why? This is happening so close to our school and a lot of students can relate because such a large amount of kids drive or carpool to school.

News Element #3: Timeliness. Why? The ideas for changes in the parking lot are being discussed now. 212 is figuring out this problem now and there’s a brand new plan for the lot that is in the process of being made now.

4) This story is about the new changes that 212 is discussing for the parking lot. Traffic has been an issue in the Edina High School parking lot since it’s creation. The new organization 212 is going to try to solve this major problem for student drivers.

5) Specifically, who will you interview or contact? Why those people?

Matt Schroeder or Mikey Spencer. Why? They are both in 212 and can provide contact information and the perspective of a student and 212 member.

Dr. Locklear. Why? He is the leader of 212 and he would be good to talk to about the changes that are being made.

Traffic Control/Guards. Why? They can give a first hand account of what is happening in the parking lot everyday and tell things that need to be changed.

Student who drive to school. Why? They can also give first hand accounts of the pitfalls of the parking lots.

6) What information do you need to gather before you begin interviews? Their plans right now for the improvement of the parking lot.

7) What questions do you definitely need answered in your interviews? Why? What is the new plan for the parking lot? Why did changes have to be made? Why is this plan the best? What was wrong with the whole system? What did you have to do in order to get the changes made?

8) What photo opportunities are available to go alongside this story (give names, places, times, etc.)? Pictures could be taken at the city and school board presentations and also at the Edina High School parking lot during “rush hour” at 3:10 or 3:15.

9) Who should a photographer contact to set up photographs? My guess is that a photographer would have to talk to Dr. Locklear to figure out when the presentations are going to be. Also a photographer can go to the south parking lot exit between 3:15 and 3:30 to take pictures of the traffic jam.

10) What concerns or problems do you foresee in getting this story together? 212 hasn’t made the presentations to the city or school board and the plans are still undergoing changes so those might not be things that are easy to write about.

11) Other information?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To Be a Successful Reporter...

The characteristic of a good reporter that I chose as most important was quickness. This means that once he (or she) finds an oppourtunity for a story they follow through, make things happen and don't waste anytime. This quality is important in a journalist because when dealing with breaking new, deadlines, stories that the public has to know and other big pieces, a reporter can't dawdle and procrastinate. Fast reporters get the facts right away, aren't afraid to hunt them down and if it's an issue that is significant for the public then it's very helpful if the reporter can finish fast. I like the example that was on the Successful Reporter Website about the sign that hung in the Los Angeles news room. The sign said "get off your ass/knock on doors" and I think this sums up what being a journalist is all about. Finding compelling, truthful stories only happens when the person is willing to get out there and search hard for them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Hometown, Edina

Edina is crawling with interesting topics for me to talk about but the one near and dear to my heart at the moment is Edina athletics. I play soccer for the highschool during the fall and just recently I have realized how stupid our sports system actually is. For example, I don't understand why 8 junior girls would be demoted to the sophmore team or asked to quit. Those girls who were more qualified than some of the younger (and older) girls who got asked to play on the junior varsity. Ego's bruised and morale very low, 4 of the girls agreed to play for the sophmore team and had to hope that next year would be a better season. Even though they have a very slim chance of making varsity next year let alone junior varsity, they still give every game their all. Are spots on jv held for seniors (who don't make varsity) or for girls who have older siblings on higher soccer teams? Is it always talent that chooses those spots?