Friday, October 24, 2008

Video+blogging= a video blogger

Steve Garfield of
Steve is a videoblogger and journalism professor at Boston University. In January 2004, Garfield took on a new media role: video journalist and blogger united. If you ask him what his job title is, he'll tell you he's an enthusiastic videoblogger. Confused as to what a videoblogger is and does? Well, it's quite simple. His blog is narrated by short videos of stories he's covered. Writing is replaced by compact mini-news packages and editing isn't always necessary. The shots don't have to be perfect and interviews include conversation. As a new media journalist, Garfield writes, edits, films, interviews, produces, and reports all of his stories by himself. In addition to his wide range of journalism skills, his upbeat, friendly personality shines through on camera.

Let's go over what Steve has to offer.

Cup O Politics is a humorous take on the political game. There is an amusing spoof on Hilary Clinton being eliminated from the presidential race to the song "Desperado." The video is clever and the lyrics changed to mock Hilary's failure:

"Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You've been out losing races for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
I know that you've got your reasons
But I wish you would keep them
To yourself and just step down."

His one-person citizen journalism also discusses his take on pop culture and technology. "Off on a Tangent" includes a HILARIOUS dance-off between McCain and Obama. You definitely need to watch this for a good laugh. So funny. He has some reports up on CNN iReport too and they are included in the "Off on a Tangent" section.

Garfield's video blog reports on everything from how to cook schrod, a young cod fish, to an old 1931 rolls royce ( awesome car). Videoblogging is a creative, relaxed combination of blogging and broadcast journalism. Reporters have the freedom to incorporate their personality into their work and add some life to it.

Furthermore, he has the ability to connect to a live feed called Qik. After he spoke to our Reinventing the News class, Garfield demonstrated how easy it is to film a live shot with his tiny Nokia N95 camera phone. Technology has enabled journalists to do amazing things!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Break from Politics: BC defeats Virginia Tech

Welcome to Alumni Stadium: home of the Boston College Eagles. Click here for more pictures.

Chestnut Hill was high in spirit for the Boston College-Viriginia Tech football game Saturday night October 18.

Eagle and
hokie fans alike attended the game in masses. The BC campus was packed with fans of all ages from near and far. By 5:30 p.m. Boston and Virginia fans were pouring out of the T(last stop on the B-line), while drivers patiently waited to park and commence pre-game festivities. Police presence was substantial as extra man power helped direct traffic and assure fan safety.

Students tailgated in their backyards wearing maroon and gold; a symbol of their school pride. According to
Tristin O'Keefe, a Boston College junior, "Football games here are a great chance to come together and show school spirit. It's a fun event for everyone from players to students to professors."

BC beat Virginia Tech 28-23. They secured a lead early in the game and maintained it throughout all four quarters. At half-time BC led 23-17. Although they failed to score in the second half, the eagles still clenched the win. The hokies fought hard, but didn't break through the eagle defense in the fourth quarter.

Boston College students rushed the field after the officials blew the final fourth quarter whistle. Despite increased security measures, students jumped out of the stands without resistance and quickly gathered around their football team. Some were shirtless, bearing dedicated body paint in the 40 degree weather. Others weren't quite as brave, but still contributed to the mass of maroon and gold people.

Boston College is tied for 1st place with Florida State in the
ACC. This Saturday the eagles take on the North Carolina Tar Heels at 12 p.m.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Securing the Airwaves

When I wake-up in the morning and commence my daily routine, I need some kind of entertainment in the background. Usually, I watch/ listen to CMT because I love country music. My taste isn't limited to this one amazing genre, but I listen to it alot and I'm sure my roommates will agree. If I'm not listening to music then I'll turn on the news and watch/listen while I'm getting ready.

Why don't I listen to the radio instead? I'm not sure why I prematurely eliminated radio as a news possibility, but I have like many people my age.

I am a 21 year-old college senior (journalism major) at Northeastern University. How often do i listen to the radio for news? Not often and by that I mean rarely. Yes, I will if I am driving or stuck in traffic. I'll tune into the a.m. to hear some debating on talk radio. But the radio isn't my first, second, or third choice. I depend on three news outlets on a daily basis: t.v., the internet, and newspapers. I think my tendencies reflect the majority of my peers (18-25), although I'm sure some people are familiar with the advancing technology of radio on the web.

Robin Lubbock, director of new media at WBUR is dedicated to drawing more people to radio shows and he's confident radio can be transformed into a new media (if it isn't one already).
Enter the WBUR newsroom and browse hundreds of archives. Not every radio station has a corresponding website with so many different tools and options, but NPR's website follows a similar model. Search news by topic just like if you were navigating or Everything is there for you at the click of a button, set-up in a simple yet sophisticated format.

I think the greatest challenge of radio journalism is persuading listeners to investigate the online version of their favorite program or news show. How can you do that and how can you ensure a listener will continue to tune in? One of Robin Lubbock's solutions is to encourage people to participate with several multimedia sections. I definitely think Robin's projects are ensuring the future of radio at WBUR. EVERYONE uses the internet. By encouraging listeners to become active in the WBUR community, he is solidifying and building his audience. The following is advertised on WBUR:

"Hey there! WBUR is using Twitter.
Twitter is a free service that lets you keep in touch with people using the web,
your phone, or IM. Join today to start receiving WBUR's updates."

Twitter is a program being used to initiate listener interaction and participation. It's a clever idea and convenient way to incorporate the internet into the radio world (similar to the path newspapers and magazines have followed).

I'm glad I heard Robin Lubbock speak about his work at WBUR because it opened my eyes to the evolving importance of radio. I now realize radio isn't out of date and it's a valuable resource for news and communication. "The video didn't kill the radio star", instead forced it to change with the times.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

DNC wants YOU (and your money)

Today I walked around Boston (on a gorgeous, warm fall day) looking for some interesting news photos. I was hoping to run into a really exciting breaking news a riot gone bad. Unfortunately I didn't find that, but I discovered members of the Democratic National Committee scattered up and down Newbury Street. They were promoting Obama and persuading Bostonians to contribute their green. Check out my pictures.

Wired Journalists is Facebook for journalists, but not as creepy. I'm probably the only college student who doesn't have Facebook. I deleted it because I thought it was too much. Yes, I went through slight withdrawal, but I don't miss it very much or the ridiculous amount of time I wasted looking at my friends' profiles.

I joined three groups so far:
1. Get Wired, Get Hired
2. Elections and Politics
3. Northeastern University

Get Wired, Get Hired is a great group to join because you can read advice from fellow journalists, post questions, and search for job postings. The only problem is the group is in need of some serious participation. There have only been five comments since March 25, 2008. At the same time, the positions posted appear legitimate and are located in newsrooms throughout the country. I am graduating in December so Wired Journalists is a tool I will use to its full potential. Is my dream job waiting for me to find it on Wired Journalists?! You never know and at least their is potential for opportunity. I hope by posting a comment I can fuel some conversation among members in the group.

I've spent a little time on Wired Journalists after signing up two days ago. It's a great resource, especially for networking. I will definitely continue using it after I complete my profile, join more groups, and make friends. Uploading pictures was a very simple process. In general, navigating Wired Journalists takes very little effort. A semi-serious commitment is required to build a profile and establish yourself, but the site isn't frustrating to work with.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin's Fall from Grace

Thursday's vice presidential debate.

Biden vs. Sarah Palin.

We all watched it and reached similar conclusions.

Biden prevailed, while Palin stumbled and then stumbled some more.

Northeastern University Professor Dan Kennedy offers a humorous yet insightful analysis of the debate hit for hit (or in many cases hit for miss). His live-blogging of the Palin-Biden debate mocks Palin's weak responses, including the absurd number of times she referred to John McCain as a "maverick." (Technorati Authority: 174)

J.L. Bell is a Massachusetts writer who has a blog called Boston 1775 which discusses "History, analysis, and unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution in Massachusetts." Bell was annoyed by Palin's consistent use of the term "maverick" and posted a detailed clarification of the term and its historical meaning. (Technorati Authority: 33)

What else are Bostonians saying about Biden's and Palin's performance??

Some are irritated because Palin credited the famous phrase "city upon a hill" to Ronald Reagan. John Winthrop is the correct answer. Andrew Bacevich describes the history behind the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and offers context behind the phrase "city upon a hill." Boston. Read the summary at Universal Hub or the full text at the Huffington Post. (Technorati Authority: 296)

Bostonians hate Sarah Palin as much as they hate the idea of state income tax.
(Technorati Authority: 27)

The Blue Mass. Group has a pretty funny chart mapping out Palin's plan of attack on Thursday. (Technorati Authority: 195) As mean as it is, I can't help but laugh at the "Debate Flow Chart". She is seriously getting the third degree. There are several posts discussing the disaster the United States and poor John McCain witnessed this past week. Not only are Boston residents cracking jokes about Palin's less than accurate facts and inability to answer a question, but SNL is also contributing to the ego bruising. Palin is receiving a brutal national mocking, which is a direct reflection of liberal views here in Boston.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hot Zone? What's that?

On Wednesday I briefly presented about Kevin Sites and his project "In the Hot Zone" for my Reinventing the News class. Sites is a veteran war correspondent who reported for NBC, ABC, and CNN. Today he is referred to as a solo journalist or "sojo."

He has dodged many bullets while risking his life to report on the terrors of war. During his time at CNN, he was taken hostage by Saddam's militia. Fortunately, his translator managed to negotiate their release after a day. In 2004, he was an embedded correspondent with U.S. Marines in
Fallujah. Sites fueled a heated controversy over his footage of a U.S. Marine shooting and killing an apparently unarmed Iraqi soldier. Sites endured hate emails and death threats for a year after airing his NBC report. Watch the video to see the incident for yourself.

On November 13, 2004 Sites
blogged about the shooting:

"The carpet of the mosque is stained with blood and covered with fragments of concrete. Tank shells and machine-gun rounds have pitted the inside walls. The rotting, sweet smell of death hangs in the morning air. Gunsmoke-laced sunbeams illuminate the bodies of four Iraqi insurgents. A fifth lies next to a column, his entire body covered by a blanket.

I shudder.
Something very wrong has happened here.

Yesterday I had seen these same five men being treated by American medics for superficial wounds received during an afternoon firefight. Ten other insurgents had been killed, their bodies still scattered around the main hall in the black bags into which the Marines had placed them."

I think Sites' decision to release the footage confirms his character and dedication to journalism, although many people accused him of being anti-American. If you read his letter to 3.1 Marines, it is clear he has the utmost respect for the soldiers he was embedded with.

The Hot Zone is the final product of Sites' year long journey across the globe through every major war and conflict zone. Sites took advantage of internet technology by incorporating many multimedia components into his project. There are powerful photographs, videos, diary entries, and written reports. Each leg of the journey is broken down into chapters with exclusive video footage, pictures, and more than enough text to create a vivid picture of the particular country or war zone. You can search by chapter or scroll down to the bottom where there is a list of covered "hot zones."

I'm fascinated by the idea of a solo journalist traveling with his or her own equipment, discovering the personal struggles and triumphs of individuals caught in the wrath of violent politics. If only I were brave enough to travel to some of the most dangerous places in the world and search for truth.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stand out in the crowd

Want to set yourself apart from other journalists and gain a heavy edge? Well, you can stand out in the crowd by exploring the web as a database journalist. The expertise of a database reporter are in high demand, but few individuals know how to successfully incorporate numbers into their writing.

I didn't know much about database journalism before I heard Boston Globe reporter, Matt
Caroll, speak about his fifteen years working in database journalism. Caroll knows where to find his facts and figures. Better yet, all his story ideas are born from simple numbers and data.

Mass. Facts is filled with public records, databases, and useful information. It's funny. If you find the right website, everything you possibly need or want to know magically appears for you. The hard part is finding reliable sites with information you are confident in and trust enough to use in a story.

54.1% of voters living in Boston are registered
Democrats. Surprise, surprise. And according to registration figures from 2004, a whopping 9% of Bostonians are registered Republicans. I found these numbers under the "Your Town" section of Mass. Facts.

There are also some scary topics addressed: in 2007 there were 65 homicides in Boston. The information is presented on a map with 3 different colored dots representing shootings, stabbings, and vehicular homicide. By studying the map, it's evident that the majority of homicides occurred within a close proximity to one another. Boston crime statistics are good to incorporate into a story about a specific event, but can stand on their own as well. I think people want to know how safe their neighborhood is and where murders are taking place. It's not a fun topic to report about, but it's definitely necessary to inform the public.

I found an excellent pool of information on regarding doctors in Boston called the Board of Registration in Medicine. The list is alphabetical by the doctor's last name and also gives the doctor's area of specialty. You can click on the doctor's name and read his or her profile, too. A business address is provided along with a phone number.

There are 8500 doctors in Boston practicing everything from pediatrics and dermatology to internal medicine. I think this would be an excellent story idea and could build a foundation for further investigation. What are the options for Bostonians who need to have a serious surgery? Who can they turn to for a second opinion? How many doctors are available who are experts in oncology? What are their names and how can they be contacted? Health care is a very important issue for Americans, especially in the upcoming election. Using this information could help me write a health care story with a Boston focus.