Sunday, November 23, 2008


For Wednesday's class, one of the editors over at NewsTrust, Mike LaBonte, came to speak to our class and we all participated in reviewing a news story in groups. We had all signed up during Monday's class so we were prepared to read stories and then judge them. This was probably one of my favorite classes all semester because I really enjoy the website. My newest short-term and long-term ambition is to become a featured reviewer or have a story I submitted be a feature story on the "front page" of the web site.

NewsTrust is also organized really well. There are a number of tabs on the top where you can look for stories you specifically want to review that you may have an interest in, such as world news or United States news. You can also look by more specific categories, and submit stories for a NewsHunt of the week - this week was the global economy, and at the end of this entry you can see the stories that I submitted and rated on the topic of the global economy. Also, besides rating stories, you can also rate other users' reviews on stories. The reviewing process is practically neverending on this web site.

NewsTrust is definitely a valuable tool. At the very least, you can see how others view the credibility of your favorite newspapers, since that is one of the options that people can rate. I like how you can rate basically ANYTHING about the article, from the way it was written to the number of sources that were (or weren't) quoted. The site is very user friendly and I wouldn't consider changing much. It helps that you can look at all the articles that were published online that very day, so you can read what others users believe to be credible news, but I still think I'd go to BBC and CNN, and maybe Yahoo news (for their AP reports) to read the top stories over there before going to NewsTrust.

Stories I submitted and rated over the weekend:
1. Bush spurs economic action, but Obama sets agenda
2. James Watkins: Labour would profit by embracing Islamic finance
3. Recessions grip forces U.S. to flood world with more dollars

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Espresso Royale Cafe Review

I have to admit, although I live right down the street from Espresso Royale Cafe, I've never been inside to get a cup of... anything. So when our Reinventing the News class was offered a list of coffee places to go to and review, I jumped at the chance of finally going to Espresso Royale. There are a number of tables where students and professionals alike were sitting and doing work on laptops. I put two and two together and realized that Wi-Fi must be available at Espresso Royale. Clearly this is a place where you could get together with a friend or two, or do work, or both at the same time.

A cup of medium coffee costs $1.85, but I opted for the hot chocolate, because I consider myself a hot chocolate connoisseur. It was okay, nothing special to write home about. It was actually really bitter - a stark contrast from the hot chocolate that Dunkin Donuts serves. Espresso Royale hot chocolate could be labeled as bitter and watery. This would be a place I'd love to sit and do my homework in - it's very cozy - and perhaps enjoy a different drink and maybe a baked good that they offer, but with the whirring of the machines and the number of people talking loudly, I don't think I'd be able to concentrate all that well. Maybe if I went to Espresso Royale an hour or two before closing, I'd find a quieter environment.

For the Google map our class made of coffee shops around Northeastern's campus, please click here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mapping the Parkersburg Tornado

On the Des Moines Register's webpage, they have a special interactive feature about the Parkersburg Tornado. After doing a little bit of research, I learned that this tornado was an EF-5 tornado: The strongest tornado category, with winds over 200 MPH. This tornado was over a mile wide, and had a 43-mile trek through Iowa on Sunday, May 25 2008.

The map is quite interesting. It definitely shows how far along the town is in rebuilding - the map is created in sections that you can click on for each lot. For nearly each lot, you can see before and after pictures, and sometimes even "latest pictures". For some of the properties, you can see absolutely nothing except plywood and debris instead of the house. It really is remarkable. For some of the properties, there is a story from the people who live/lived in the home talking about the ordeal of rebuilding, and how they survived the tornado. There are also video clips interviewing people who live in Parkersburg telling their stories. The after images, which should be noted, are pictures taken of each property 3 days after the tornado hit. It is definitely worth taking a look at - which I've been doing for the past 20 minutes. I'm pretty amazed that residents were able to survive this tornado in their basement, and watched as their house was lifted off its foundation above their heads. Unfortunately, it's also sad to note that a number of people did not survive this tornado - 7 people lost their life.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Emily Sweeney

Emily Sweeney, a Boston Globe staff reporter for the past 7 years, came to our Reinventing the News class today to talk about how she uses new media. She said she was one of few Boston Globe reporters to begin using video to accompany her stories online. On her website, she lists some of her most recent work. It's funny, because I actually remember reading this story when it was on and thought it was really interesting. It is about schools that are offering more "hip" and "new" things for physical education in high school, instead of the normal basketball and tag. Another story that I really liked was this story about school lunches in several schools.

Another thing that's very interesting is that Emily is featured in a documentary called Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie, and The Departed, that is included on the 2-disc dvd set of the Departed, talking about Whitey Bulger with several other Globe reporters. It's really interesting to see how Emily can take her print journalism career so much farther than other writers may have done.

In class, Emily talked about the types of work she has done at the Globe and how she's outlasted the numerous layoffs that have happened in the Globe recently. She also discussed how she doesn't use iMovie like our class does to edit her videos. She is also really involved with a number of groups, such as NEPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. I've recently been on edge about continuing my print journalism dreams (I'm leaning more towards sports PR, thanks to the red sox gig) so it was interesting to have her come in and see all that she's doing with print journalism and show that the door to print newspapers isn't closed yet. The website that she mentions that she runs for the Society of Professional Journalist also lists a number of jobs that seems to be updated daily for journalism gigs in the Northeast area and New York City, and also has links to jobs recently posted on craigslist.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Polling Place Photo Project

The pictures that I took for the Polling Place Photo Project can be found here. Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

First Video

Here is my first video I made for my Reinventing the News class. I was hoping to have this uploaded last week, unfortunately circumstances (aka putting the clips together to form a video) kept me from putting this video up quicker. I did this video based around college students' thoughts about Halloween costumes. Enjoy!