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From: Stephanie Strassel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [from Doug Oard:] Re: Ontopic both YES and BRIEF
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 13:08:08 -0400
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This example would *not* have been annotated as a BRIEF story in any of
the previous TDT corpora. As described in the TDT Segmentation Task
Definition circulated to the list in March, teasers for upcoming stories
have generally been treated as non-news and are currently treated as
<st>, teaser sections; neither non-news nor teaser sections are labeled
for topic relevance.
BRIEF stories come in two varieties:
1) Passing mentions of a topic contained in a larger story about
something entirely different. These will be treated as NO in the
2) Some substantive discussion of a topic that comprises less than 10%
of a story. This often happens with stories that discuss multiple
topics. These cases will be treated as YES in the current corpus.
Although the line between these two story types is not entirely
clearcut, our sense is that the majority of BRIEF stories in the TDT2
and TDT3 corpora fall into the first category of passing mentions.
I am attaching to this message two documents from TDT2 that were labeled
as BRIEF to illustrate the two types of BRIEFs tagged in previous
In an effort to avoid any confusion about our topic labeling procedures
for TDT4, including our treatment of formerly-known-as-BRIEF stories in
the current corpus, I will be circulating a TDT4 Topic Annotation Task
Definition (along the lines of the previously-circulated Segmentation
Task Definition) to this list next week.
> ------- Forwarded Message
> Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 11:17:25 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Doug Oard <email@example.com>
> To: Jonathan Fiscus <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> cc: TDT Distrib <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: Ontopic both YES and BRIEF
> In-Reply-To: <3D107242.F97910E9@nist.gov>
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> John - I have not looked at any brief stories recently, but my
> recollection is that they are often things like:
> "And after the break, recent developments in the Chandra Levy
> case..." Trying to find such things seems to me to be reasonable, but
> using them as a basis for tracking in the n=1 case would seem to me to be
> little different than what TREC does (hard to see how you could do much
> more than keyword match in an example like the above). So I would suggest
> not including briefs in the training stories.
Assoc. Director, Annotation * Phone: 215.898.9681
Linguistic Data Consortium * Fax: 215.573.2175
3615 Market Street * firstname.lastname@example.org
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2608 * http://www.ldc.upenn.edu
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii;
EXAMPLE 1: BRIEF as passing mention of topic
TOPIC 20002: Monica Lewinsky Case
Article makes passing reference to the Lewinsky case without giving any substantive information about the topic.
<DOCNO> NYT19980312.0336 </DOCNO>
<DOCTYPE> NEWS STORY </DOCTYPE>
<DATE_TIME> 03/12/1998 19:56:00 </DATE_TIME>
A7441 &Cx1f; tta-z
u a &Cx13; &Cx11; BC-SCI-ASTEROID-FILM-NYT 03-12 0620
<SLUG> BC-SCI-ASTEROID-FILM-NYT </SLUG>
IN HOLLYWOOD, TIMING COULDN'T BE BETTER FOR ASTEROID PREDICTION
(With SCI-ASTEROID, SCI-ASTEROID-SCIENTIST) &QL;
&UR; By BERNARD WEINRAUB &LR; &QC; &QL;
&UR; c.1998 N.Y. Times News Service &LR; &QC; &QL;
LOS ANGELES _ The news that an asteroid is expected to pass
close to earth in 2028 hardly caught Hollywood by surprise. Two
upcoming films, ``Deep Impact'' and ``Armageddon,'' bear a striking
resemblance to real possibilities.
``When I heard the news I went. `Oh my God, this is too real,'''
said Mimi Leder, director of ``Deep Impact,'' which is about an
asteroid hurtling to Earth _ and how the world responds to the
imminent catastrophe. The movie is opening on May 8.
``Armageddon,'' opening on July 1, involves an asteroid known as
a ``global killer'' bearing down _ and efforts to destroy it with a
``We've done an enormous amount of research and the scientists
kept saying, `This could happen, this could happen,''' Jerry
Bruckheimer, producer of ``Armageddon,'' said. ``When I heard the
news it spooked me.''
Real-life events blurring into Hollywood movies is hardly new,
especially lately. Barry Levinson's ``Wag the Dog,'' which was
filmed more than a year ago, involves a president and his media
advisers who try to divert attention from a White House sex scandal
with news of a war.
``Actually, what's happening is our story,'' said Michael
Tolkin, who co-wrote the screenplay for ``Deep Impact,'' with Bruce
Joel Rubin. He added with a laugh, ``You know how much it cost us
to arrange this real event? I'm not at liberty to say.''
Rubin, who won an Academy Award for his 1990 screenplay for
``Ghost,'' said the idea for the movie arose about three years ago
in a meeting with Steven Spielberg, who is the executive producer.
Also producing the film are Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who had
brought the idea to Spielberg in the first place.
``We wanted to make a movie about a bullet from outer space
aiming at the human race in slow motion,'' said Rubin, who spent
months researching the film. ``We wanted to explore what happens to
the collective minds of the human race.''
While astronomers predicted that the real asteroid will come
within 30,000 miles of the earth in 2028, the film involves a comet
that will directly strike the earth in three years. The real-life
asteroid is one mile in diameter, while the one in the film is
about seven miles.
``The reason we wanted to make this movie in the first place,''
Zanuck said, ``was because of the enormous potential of this
``Deep Impact,'' a joint production of Paramount and Dreamworks
SKG, centers on a 14-year-old high school astronomer, played by
Elijah Wood, who discovers a comet on a collision course with
earth. Faced with a looming cataclysm, the plot involves how human
beings face the end of the world. The cast includes Robert Duvall,
Tea Leoni, Vanessa Redgrave and Morgan Freeman as the president of
the United States.
``Armageddon,'' to be released by Walt Disney Co.'s Touchstone
Pictures on July 1, also involves a deadly asteroid the size of
Texas heading toward earth, but with only 18 days to spare.
Directed by Michael Bay, the film's plot involves a deep core oil
driller, played by Bruce Willis, and his roughneck associates, who
are enlisted by the government to quickly become astronauts so that
they can land on the comet and drop a nuclear device into its core
in order to save the world. The cast also includes Billy Bob
Thornton, Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck.
``The key to any good action movie is rooting it in reality,''
said Bruckheimer, a top producer of action films. ``This one is
definitely rooted in reality.''
EXAMPLE 2: BRIEF as substantive mention but less than 10% of overall story content
TOPIC 20004. McVeigh's Navy Dismissal & Fight
Article discusses the McVeigh case in some detail but it still comprises less than 10% of the overall story
<DOCNO> NYT19980406.0474 </DOCNO>
<DOCTYPE> NEWS STORY </DOCTYPE>
<DATE_TIME> 04/06/1998 21:38:00 </DATE_TIME>
A5611 &Cx1f; taf-z
u w &Cx13; &Cx11; BC-MILITARY-GAYS-500&ADD 04-06 1052
<SLUG> BC-MILITARY-GAYS-500&ADD-NYT </SLUG>
MILITARY DISCHARGES OF HOMOSEXUALS SOAR
&UR; By TIM WEINER &LR; &QC; &QL;
&UR; c.1998 N.Y. Times News Service &LR; &QC; &QL;
WASHINGTON _ The military is discharging 67 percent more gay and
lesbian troops today than when the Clinton administration adopted
its ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy, according to a Defense
Department report to be issued later this month.
A total of 997 military personnel were discharged for
homosexuality last year, the report says, compared with 597 in
1994, the first full year that the policy was in effect.
Gay rights advocates see those figures as evidence for their
contention that homosexuals are being outed and ousted in
ever-larger numbers. They say gay and lesbian personnel are still
subject to interrogation and harassment by commanders.
But Pentagon officials say they think the increase in discharges
may be due to voluntary declarations of homosexuality _ which the
policy forbids _ by men and women who want out of the military,
although these officials acknowledge that nearly five years after
the policy's adoption, some commanders still do not seem to
The policy _ more fully, ``don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue''
_ was intended to allow homosexuals to serve in the armed forces,
while protecting not only troops' privacy but also the morale that
the military says would be compromised by avowed homosexuality in
Under it, recruiters are forbidden to ask prospective enlistees
about their sexual orientation, gay and lesbian troops are
forbidden to disclose their homosexuality, and commanders are
forbidden to pursue investigations of suspected homosexual conduct
in the absence of compelling evidence.
Pentagon officials said Monday that the forthcoming report,
prepared by the office of the under secretary of defense for
personnel, would recommend that commanders consult more closely
with military lawyers before undertaking such investigations and
that some senior officers receive retraining in the policy.
But the secretary of defense, William S. Cohen, suggested that
the rise in discharges might be due in part to an increasing number
of voluntary statements to commanders by homosexuals who want to
leave the military, rather than to hostility directed at gay and
``There are some indications,'' Cohen said, ``that there has
been an increase as far as some of the people who have declared
themselves to be homosexual and have opted to get out of the
Elaborating on that remark, Kenneth Bacon, the Pentagon
spokesman, said in an interview: ``We think the rise is almost
exclusively explained by the increase in the numbers of people
stating they are homosexuals. We think they are voluntary
statements. We can only speculate as to why they are doing this.''
Michelle M. Benecke, a former Army captain who is an advocate
for gay and lesbian military personnel, disagreed.
``The discharges result from the fact that military leaders have
not stopped asking and telling and pursuing,'' Ms. Benecke said.
``We are nearly five years into this policy, but military leaders
have not seen fit to tell commanders what this policy is and what
its intent is.''
(STORY CAN END HERE _ OPTIONAL MATERIAL FOLLOWS)
Ms. Benecke, co-director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense
Network, said there was little formal training on the policy and
the rules resulting from it.
``It is well documented that command violations are widespread
in the field and that commanders have not been trained on the
intent of the policy,'' she said. ``Commanders are in the driver's
seat without a road map. Others know the rules and are deliberately
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>BRIEF DISCUSSION OF TOPIC 20004<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Ms. Benecke cited the case of Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy
R. McVeigh, a 17-year sailor with a sterling record. The Navy's
investigation of McVeigh went so far as to pry his e-mail messages
out of his America Online account last year, before the service
moved to discharge him.
``The Navy has gone too far,'' a federal district judge, Stanley
Sporkin, ruled in blocking the discharge in January. ``The Navy
impermissibly embarked on a search and `outing' mission'' against
the sailor, the judge found. The Navy filed a notice of appeal on
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>END BRIEF DISCUSSION<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
The ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy bars military personnel not
only from avowal of homosexuality but also from homosexual acts and
marriages. Discharges for acts and marriages have declined by about
20 percent in the last three years. Statements _ declarations or
acknowledgment of homosexuality _account for the rise in
discharges, Bacon said.
Charles Moskos, a professor of sociology at Northwestern
University who as a Pentagon consultant was widely regarded as the
architect of the ``don't ask'' policy, said, ``The core question
is, Are the statements being generated by asking?''
Cohen commissioned the Pentagon report last year after the
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network documented a surge in what it
described as violations of the policy.
``I think it's working,'' Cohen said of the policy Monday. ``We
intend to continue to emphasize the fact that this policy should
not be abused, that there should be no attempt to hunt or seek out
those who may be homosexual, and that we intend to strictly enforce
the `don't ask, don't tell' policy.''
The report will recommend that commanders ``consult with legal
officials before initiating investigations, in order to make sure
they are carried out with proper respect for the subject's
rights,'' Bacon said.
``It calls for reiterating an earlier guidance about how to deal
with threats against service members accused of being
homosexuals,'' he said. ``And it recommends better training for all
people involved in implementing the policy, to make sure everybody
understands what the policy is.''
Ms. Benecke said that under the policy, ``harassment and witch
hunts were supposed to end.''
``But Pentagon leaders have not sent this message to the
field,'' she said. ``We have asked the Pentagon as a first step to
inform commanders of the intent of this policy to respect people's
privacy. Leaders need to hold their subordinates accountable for
violations. Nearly five years into this policy, that has not
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Last updated Mon Jun 24 18:19:29 2002