Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jennifer Hudson

By now everyone has heard about Jennifer Hudson's family tragedy, and if not, here's a recap -- her mother and brother were murdered in her mother's house in south side Chicago, and her nephew was kidnapped and found dead from multiple gunshot wounds in her brother's car, which the murderer had stolen. There was an Amber Alert out for Jennifer's nephew Julian King, whose mother is Julia, Jennifer's sister. Julia's myspace has a message talking about the murder of her son, and the only potential "suspect" is her estranged husband, William Balfour - who has not been formally named a suspect, but is back on jail for a "parole violation."

So, three people murdered, including a 7 year old child in the South Side of Chicago. Is this national, or worldwide news? It is now - if only because of Jennifer Hudson's celebrity status. Jennifer was a contestant of American Idol and really shined in Dreamgirls, winning an Oscar for her performance, and landed roles in Sex and the City and the Secret Life of Bees. However, would this triple homicide be news in Chicago, or be mentioned multiple times in the span of five days, if it did not have a celebrity connection? Unfortunately, the South Side is not known for being a safe neighborhood, quite the opposite. It is rumored that William is also a gang member, and his father is in prison for 30 years for murder, and William has also spent time in prison for attempted murder. So - Would this have been on national news if the family had no celebrity connections?

Photo respectably borrowed from Stuff.co.nz

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Steve Garfield

Steve Garfield, video-blogger extraordinaire, came to our Reinventing the News class on Wednesday. He has this really awesome phone/camera/video that can shoot live through Qik, which streams live online. It was something I had never even heard about before he came to talk to our class.

One of Garfield's recent video blogs was about a Staples promotion for 50 free business cards. However, as he showed in his video, there were a number of things preventing a consumer from just receiving 50 free business cards in Roslindale. You have to buy 50 business cards to get 50 business cards, according to the voucher you must go in to receive. The problem is on the leaflet it does not say anything in the fine print that you have to buy 50 to get 50 free. If Staples execs saw that Garfield was upset about their tactics, he'd probably be able to get 50 free business cards, no exceptions.

The Steve and Carol show I also really enjoyed. It shows that videos can be entertaining and lighthearted even when you're just sitting on the couch and talking together. It reminded me of a lot of things you see on youtube from many amateur people, just trying to get their name out there, but Steve's is done much better and is not in their league.

I also enjoyed when Steve talked about how he became an iReporter for CNN during hurricane kyle, when he explained that he was on the Maine shoreline when the storm was coming in for a wedding. I thought it was great that he could get the video of the storm, which was definitely newsworthy, and then upload it even quicker and send it along to CNN and get more publicity for his website.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Flickr Assignment

Intramural Sports and Referees

At any given point during a night, there are numerous intramural sports games at the Marino Center, the Cabot Gym, and Matthews’ Arena. Sometimes, verbal fights break out not between the two opposing teams, but a team and a referee.

It is not uncommon with competitive sports for players to quarrel with referees, but as players begin taking intramural sports more seriously than before, words are often exchanged between referees and players over making bad calls. With the intramural teams only having their captain to be the one to formally protest a penalty, many teams are held back. The 19-page intramural sports handbook should be updated to allow more players on a team to oppose a call made by a referee.

Caitlin O’Connor is a referee for indoor soccer at Northeastern. “People are very disrespectful; they believe they have the right to yell at you and question any decision you make, when in any other job if they tried to do that they would be offended,” said O’Connor, a senior communications major.

O’Connor has also refereed wiffleball, which she says is easier to referee because it is not a contact sport compared to soccer and people do not get that aggressive. However, she has admitted to knowingly making incorrect calls during games. One time when she believed she made a correct call, a soccer goalie threw his gloves at her and stormed away.

“There are times when the game does not have my full attention and I will make a call when I’m not 100 percent sure,” said O’Connor. She added that when she made those types of calls, she had to be very self-assured, and has noticed after refereeing for two years that more players are getting angry during the game.

A difference here is broomball. Broomball is a contact sport, arguably the intramural sport that has the most hits and falls in a game. With 10 people on the ice at the time, along with 2 referees, fights break out often over bad calls.

"We had a loss at our last game because of a bad call a referee made," said Eric Chen, a junior economics major. Chen added that if the bad call had not been made, the game would have likely been called a tie.

Jon DiBiasio, a junior computer sciences major, is a referee for several different intramural sport, including intramural ice hockey. DiBiasio is also an avid player of intramural sports, playing on flag and arena football teams, broomball, dodgeball, and basketball. Of the four he plays, DiBiasio believes broomball has the most contact.

“During a football game, I caught the ball and collided with a member of the opposing team when I came down with it, and the touchdown did not count because the referee thought it was an illegal motion,” said DiBiasio, a middler computer science major. He added that the football referees will call any penalty they can, compared to broomball referees who will “let players come in contact with one another, which makes the game intense.”

DiBiasio added that although he disagreed with many rules in the intramural sports handbook, such as flag-guarding, he likes the rule that only the captain should be the one to complain to the referee. “If everyone could protest a referee’s call, more fights would break out and it would get annoying,” said DiBiasio. “It’s better to just have one person talk it out.”

For more pictures, please click here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Radio and the Internet

During Wednesday's class, Robin Lubbock of WBUR came to talk about the ways the radio station is using new media to connect with more people. I think it's a great idea that WBUR is doing so much to get involved with using new media but I don't think it's going to be greatly successful. Not many people that I know, personally and professionally, use Twitter. I have an account, but I don't believe I've updated it in a month or two. It reminds me a lot of the "facebook status" updates, just without all of the other functions facebook offers. I like how they're allowing visitors to upload photos and videos, because those are two things you can't see on radio. It brings radio to another level because you're using other senses, rather than just your ears, to experience radio. I like how on the site they also had links to pages that explained what each new media site was about - including facebook, myspace and gather (the latter of which i had never heard of before).

Personally, I rarely listen to the radio at all, even in my own car (I'd rather listen to the music streaming through my ipod through the tape deck, because radio commercials annoy me) and I don't think I've ever listened to a podcast or a radio broadcast over the internet. The only station I really enjoy is Jamn 94.5, and according to their website they don't seem to be doing anything involving new media. Also, I'm ashamed to admit I've never listened to NPR, either on the radio or online. So I can't really talk much about that station.

A website called RAIN (Radio and Internet Newsletter) caught my attention. There are daily newsletters here all about different radio stations and what they're doing involving the internet. It includes news and information about the radio industry and also some commentary. Another website that I found, Live365, is internet radio. People can go onto the web site and find a radio station and stream it live through their computer so they can only listen to music they like. You can also pay for a VIP membership to get more access to the site. It kind of reminds me of Pandora, which I don't use but I've heard about by a lot of my friends, and Pandora is basically free music on the internet that comes up with new artists to listen to based on the artists you already like.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wired Journalists

I've had a Wired Journalists account for a few months now, ever since I created my first blog. Unfortunately, for some reason or another, I've never really explored the website so much. I had uploaded a photo, updated my "about me" section, and only joined the Northeastern University group. On Monday, I had gone to ALDS Game 4, so I uploaded some photos onto Wired Journalists to show people what I saw in the hours before the game. It was slow uploading them - I'd say it took the same amount of time to upload 3 photos on Wired Journalists that it usually takes Facebook to upload 60 photos - so I was pretty disappointed about that. This is a photo I took from five stories up in Fenway Park looking over Yawkee Way. I jiggled the camera a bit while taking it to show more motion than there was when I took the photo. To see the other photos I took from Fenway that I uploaded to Wired Journalists, please click here.

I joined the group, Get Wired, Get Hired on Wired Journalists just to see what kind of opportunities come up. It's a place for people to join and for papers and web developers to print jobs they may have for wired journalists and bloggers. I don't know how often it is updated with new jobs, but there's only a little more than 100 people in the group as of today. Altogether, I don't love Wired Journalists because it just isn't as popular as I'd like it to be. I wish more people could join and it could be developed further, and then I believe I'd use it more often. It's kind of like a (slowly) growing facebook for journalists.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Link Journalism

On who other but America's sweetheart, Sarah Palin. Here's what Boston-area bloggers are saying:

Hub Blog only has a one-liner about Palin and then links to a Huffington Post article. According to Hub Blog (Technorati authority: 30), Palin misused a saying by John Winthrop, founding governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The person behind Anali's First Amendment (Technorati authority: 38) is convinced that Sarah Palin is going to kill her in a nightmare she had.
"Anyway, here is my Palin nightmare. I think I was locked in a basement. It was really dark and I was so scared. All I could see was a gigantic vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting and multi-colored candies on top. I don't remember even seeing Palin, but her presence was looming and ominous. I knew she was there and that I had to get away, because she was going to kill me. I was getting more and more terrified and I couldn't see to get away from her. I was paralyzed with fear and trying to scream."

I can't disagree that I would be terrified if Palin was in my dream. It's not someone I want to see when I'm sleeping, let alone when I'm awake on my television screen.

Steve Garfield isn't writing asmuch as talking about Sarah Palin. In his blog, Off On a Tangent (Technorati authority: 42), Garfield posts a YouTube clip of a song (with subtitles!) called Hey Sarah Palin. It's pretty ridiculous and super funny. Clearly, he knows how to share his thoughts about Palin through his videoblogging.

On the Bay State Liberal blog (Technorati authority: 24), the writer talks about in this post, and writes: "With evidence mounting that Sarah Palin is now becoming a drag on the Republican ticket, the Republican fear and smear machine is kicking it up a notch, trying to plant the seeds of bias and doubt in advance of her debate with Joe Biden." The writer also manages to fit in a few blows to Fox News on how they covered the pre-VP debate, noting that the person who runs Fox is the same man who ran Bush's '88 campaign.

Over at Pundit Review (Technorati authority: 64), a post on Oct 3 mentions that Palin wins by not losing, written by a person named Kevin. I quote from his post:

I think Palin should send a dozen roses to Tina Fey this morning. She clearly benefited by people expecting so little from her.
Palin did just ok in my book. She clearly has a wafer thin understanding of most issues outside taxes and energy. She ignored many questions and just retreated to her warm and comfy areas of expertise.

Kevin discussed more in depth about the debate, mentioning that Palin left lots to be discussed on the table and didn't answer the harder questions, while Biden wasn't his "overbearing self". It's funny, because at the end of his post he shows his distate for Barack Obama. I wonder who Kevin will vote for then..