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Archive for February, 2010

The great outdoors…indoors!

Being at home this weekend, I decided to go reconnect with an old favorite pastime of mine: fishing.

I headed over to the DCU center in Worcester to check out the 2010 Fishing and Outdoor Exposition, sponsored by the American Sportfishing Association.  This event is held once a year and draws throngs of crowds to check out the new gear, try on some outdoor apparel, learn some tips from pros and have a great time!

This expo is not solely dedicated to fishing.  Amongst the poles, lures, hooks, tackle boxes and bait, one can also find vendors for hunting, camping and general outdoor exploration equipment including vehicles, canoes, gps devices, etc. Whether you are young, old, male or female, you can definitely get in touch with your inner outdoors man or woman at a place like this.

Now while it might seem like this is a gathering of people bent on taking from the environment, it is important to note that these are people intent on protecting it as well.  I found and spoke with Environmental Police, animal trainers, game wardens, lots of people who were there not to sell, but to educate people on living with nature and how to enjoy it responsibly.

Click the picture below to get linked to my photos of the events and get a glimpse on what this event was like.

A few interested patrons check out some wares.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Steve Garfield

Steve Garfield, video blogging guru and author of “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business”, recently made a great presentation to our Reinventing the News class on Monday.  In his talk he shared a few of his experiences with us over the years of his video work and also shared some advice on how to become a real video blog master.

Steve can be seen all over the video reporting community.  He has appeared on CNN’s iReportRocketboom (a citizen video reporting site), and even the BBC when he covered the 2009 Massachusetts Senate race, where he filmed not only the race on TV, but their dinner, his wife, everything that was going on in their lives.  BBC loved it and put it on their site.

One of the reason’s that Steve is so successful, he claims, is because he is always aware of what can make for a better story, even if not everything goes exactly to plan.  One great example is in his coverage of the new GM Volt, an electric motor car.

Steve told us that the first thing to do when getting into the video blogging community is to buy your name.  By this he means that you need to go and claim your name on the internet, for instance www.(yourname).com or to claim your name for yourself on Twitter, before someone else does.

Another piece of advice that he gave was to make your stories interesting.  Examples such as the car show lady show us that the most interesting videos come from work that stays original.  Don’t just sit in front of the camera and talk, use your mobility to explore your environment and get the whole picture.  Make sure to get video of the things you talk about in your piece to give viewers something visual to work with. And always be on the lookout for stories something’s always happening, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look for it.

Steve has come a long way since his 3am radio job. He is now a consultant for the likes of T.V. personality Jimmy Fallon and business power man David M. Scott.  Keep up the good work Steve, and thanks for stopping by.

Categories: Uncategorized

Got to have the faith.

If you’re like me, you’re probably not the most avid church go-ers (and I speak in generalities of course, and I’m using “church” to mean “religious service”, no matter the faith).

I mean, I do the occasional holiday attendance, with the family, but I’ve even been seeing myself even missing those sometimes.  And it seems like many of my piers are the same. I feel that our parents always tell stories of how they were forced to go to church every Sunday, never missing a beat, a tradition that many of parents have liberated their children from.

So is it true that people are not going to church anymore, and have they lost the faith? There seems to be some general consensus in thinking that people are not attending services.

Well seeing that Massachusetts is on the lower end of the states for religious service attendance in the U.S., I though this would be a perfect place to look into the matter. So I went over to St. Cecilia’s Church, off of  Belvidere St. in Boston (right by Berklee school of music), to do a little field work and see for myself right nearby.

A few St. Cecilia patrons do believe that things are not the way they used to be. One man, Kevin Finn, a 20 year patron and Brighton resident, believes that he has seen a decline in attendance.  He attributes this phenomena it on a disconnect between the Church hierarchy and the general population, and a sense by people that they aren’t feeling welcome in the community.

However, according to reports made a few years ago by university professors, the outlook isn’t really that bad.  In fact, church attendance has pretty much held strong at, give or take, 40% of Americans.

And the clergy also positive outlooks, such as Father John Unni of St. Cecilia.   While Father Unni admits that there is a consensus that young people are not attending service, he does not see that occur.  In fact, he sees the exact opposite, and says that their 6pm service is packed every Sunday with Northestern students, Berklee kids, people from Wentworth…the list goes on.

“We’ve never been stronger,” says Father Unni.

So it looks like the faith is not in a stranglehold, and people are finding community.  While it is not a majority of people, it is not a distressed minority, either.

And those that are not going to church?  Are they losing their faith? Not necessarily, according to Rebecca Tripp, an employee at the Church of Christ, Scientist on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston.  She says that most people tend to enjoy the comforts of all religions and faiths and try to simply build moral lives.

In fact, the Church of Christ Scientist is the home of the, Christian Science Monitor, a publication that comes in both magazine and print format, and uses their pages not to produce fire and brimstone, but to make people aware of global issues and show you how to live a healthy and stable life.  Heck, this institution even offers online masses, so you can enjoy service from the comfort of your home.

So it looks like faith is here to stay, and if not in the halls of synagogues and chapels, at least on our laptops.

Categories: Uncategorized

Lord Paluzzi visits Northeastern!

Jennifer Lord Paluzzi that is. She is the editor of centralmassnews.com, an online news community that currently services the towns of Grafton, Millbury, Auburn, and a few more Central Massachusetts towns.

Now while Paluzzi isn’t royalty per se, she does have a majestic story, a story that involves fighting the man (and winning!).  She started out as a journalist for a community newspaper that was, like most, owned by corporations.  Then, out of nowhere, she was laid off from her job.

But instead of spending her time collecting welfare checks, she decided to use her new found time to report on her community with a website that reports local activities, free from the pressures of corporate neck-breathers.

Paluzzi really saw the need for this site, however, with the onset of a tragic event.  Kevin Vulter, a former player for the Grafton High School football team, the Indians.  He tragically passed away in an automobile accident at the age of 20.

When Kevin’s uncle, Jack Schofield tried to get the local paper to print a memorial of Kevin and his proposition to put up lights on the football field in his honor.  The paper agreed, but hesitated for months and they never saw the memorial or the proposition printed.

Finally, Jack teamed up with Jennifer and got the ball rollin’.  They posted the memorial on Jennifer’s site, put up the proposition, and now the Indians have the honor of playing under the Friday night lights.

This inspired Jennifer and Jack to finally decide to start their own venture: and independent news website, free from the grip of corporate fists.

It all started with thegraftontimes.com (now thedailygrafton.com), which chose to cover everything (and more!) that’s in the local print edition (and in a timely manner, too!).

But Jennifer didn’t stop her entrepreneurship expedition there.  She continued to host news websites for amny of the surrounding towns in central mass, which expanded to the website you see today (with The Daily Northbourough coming soon!).

What Jennifer has done, in my opinion, anyway, is really shown the public where journalism is going, and the natural shift it is going to take: independent, citizen journalism that meets the demands of the public when they want it.  She gets great advertising on her website, and she also has a great method of reasearch:

We are probably the only business that encourages their employees to spend at elast 30 minutes a day on facebook. – Jennifer Paluzzi

All I can say is keep up the good fight, Jennifer; you are puttingt the news back where it belongs: in the public’s hands.

Picture Time


The Egan walkway at NU

Originally uploaded by FreddyChurchville

A few pictures to test blog photos. Click on the picture to see the slideshow.

Categories: Local Stuff

…it’s Grammy time.

So I don’t usually watch the Grammys, but I try to stay on top of whose winning what.  I can’t say I was surprised, but sometimes I think we need to think about the music that were putting at the top of our charts.

Taylor Swift won the biggest album of the year award.  Makes sense, can’t walk by a bar these days without hearing her voice emanating from it.  That must have been a bummer to Beyonce, she won 6 awards, but we know that everyone remembers who takes away the big one.  Oh well, at least we know who had the best video of all time.

Green Day took away the Best Rock album of the year.  Got to admit, I liked their old stuff better, like when they weren’t winning Grammys.  Maybe I’m just being nostalgic.  Or maybe Billie Joe Armstrong has just come a long way.  Oh yea, and Green Day is going to be on a Broadway show…wait, what?  Although, to be honest, I could always see the album American Idiot as being a saga of sorts.

Let’s see, what else.  Bruce Springsteen got an award for his Working on a Dream album; way to go Bruce.

Stephen Colbert got a Grammy! *As if he needs anymore of an     ego-booster:)*  He got it for best comedy album, but what else would he get it for, best rap album? (Maybe someday, not today).

Judas Priest made an appearance, winning an award for best metal performance.  I wonder if they’re still Breaking the Law these days.

I can’t say there was much else about the Grammys this year that was too much of a shock to me.  Although I did find out that Ziggy Marley has a children’s album.  I guess he would be considered the Raffi of the new generation.   

Categories: music Tags: , , , ,

Curiosity killed the cat, but it might save the news.

February 1, 2010 1 comment

Wednesday afternoon us students in Reinventing the News were given the opportunity to meet Stephanie Miller, the digital media director for CBS Boston Television.

In her time with us she gave a great presentation on a project that she instigated to help social media initiatives for WBZ-TV.  It’s called Declare Your Curiosity, a great program that allows viewers to submit their inquiries and, of course, curiosities, about what’s going on in their neighborhoods, towns, city, anything that they are interested in.  These ‘curiosities’ remain on the blog site  to be viewed and commented on by other users and, potentially, be made into a feature story.  Some users have even gotten TV spots:

But while it might seem that these posts might just be trivial stuff (like which actors have the best Boston accents), there are a lot of important issues being brought up, such as the Times charging for web access and the dangers of texting and driving.  Some of them actually serve to better the communities of curiosity-ers.  In one particular incident that Stephanie brought up in class, a logging truck driver declared a curiosity about drooping power lines in Saugus, one of which pulled his logging seat loose from the truck and put him in danger.  Because of this post, WBZ’s David Wade went and found numerous wires around Massachusetts that failed to be as high as they should be and sparked an awareness of the dangers of these wires.

Is this the way news is going, a community wide news-fest where everyone gets to toss in their 2 cents?  Stephanie thinks so.

She says that as a journalist you now have to make sure that you are appealing to your “brand” of journalism, and her logo appears to be the “do-it-yourself” brand, where her community of patrons are actively engaged in the news.  As she states:

“We’re creating a sense of interest in the community, showing that we care what they are concerned about…ultimately the future of this (news) landscape is going to be on developing this community.”

The thing that struck my interest is the way that the information is handled.  WBZ computer whizzes use a system called COLOSYS (I don’t remember what the acronym was) to manage all the curiosities that arrive at the doorstep, breaking posts down by town, users, even linking similar curiosities to see how many people are interested in a certain topic.

“We want to be with you, we want to be part of your life and we want to be part of your community,” said Stephanie.

WBZ has a pretty good Facebook following too, a decent Twitter following (you can actually find most of the posts on the DYC page on the facebook page as well).  But while it might seem that this type of outlet is catering solely to the plugged in youth, the majority of WBZ’s online tribe are in the 45+ range.  Stephanie actually said herself she would like to see more of the 18-35 age bracket tuning into their service, and is actively finding ways to make this happen.

WBZ Boston is currently the only news station to offer a system such as this, as of now.  But with the rise in similar services such as Current TV, I’m sure that we can look forward to a future where everyone can be their own Ron Burgandy.