Category Archives: northeastern university

Dan Gregory and his IDEA

Today in class, Dan Gregory, of Northeastern’s School of Technological Entrepreneurship, stopped by our classroom today to talk about, and encourage us to be our own entrepreneurs. Gregory works with masters students at Northeastern to help them build businesses. He doesn’t teach a traditional classroom and he doesn’t make his students purchase textbooks. He has a more hands-on, real life approach in guiding his students to build their own businesses.

He asked the class to think about our talents, and what skills we could offer a company. As a group of journalists we all agreed that our skills include: writing well, knowing how to gather information, working on deadline, using social media and multimedia, and knowing how to ask the right questions.

This is all great, but in many ways I think making your blog your business is easier said than done. Maybe I’m just being cynical since the job-searching I have done these past few weeks has been disappointing and disheartening, but I just think it takes a whole lot of luck, and the correct timing, to really make journalism your business. There’s no doubt about it that this classroom is full of talented writers and creative thinkers. Even so, I think it is extremely difficult to build your own business from the ground up.

Who said I’m not up for a challenge, though? I must say, I love this blog and I am having a lot of fun maintaining it (OK, OK, I haven’t been great at posting these past few days, but cut me some slack, it’s the last week of school). I plan on continuing this blog even after Reinventing the News is over and done with. Will it ever be a successful business? I don’t know. I cannot predict that. I do know that it will help me keep up with the skills I’ve learned so far.

Gregory told the class in terms of finding a job, we shouldn’t look at ourselves as applicants, but rather as people with a certain set of skills that are adaptable for the company. That’s an awfully optimistic way to look at things, but I like it. I think, as a number of us are getting ready to graduate, it is a great tip on how to keep our chins up.

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Matt Carroll visits NU

A few days ago, Boston Globe reporter Matt Carroll stopped by my Reinventing the News class to talk about using data as a tool for journalism.

Carroll is an investigative journalist and has used numbers and data for big stories including one on the deadly hazards in the Big Dig tunnels. The Boston Globe and Boston.com rely heavily on Carroll’s knowledge of configuring numbers and statistics. Knowing how to play with the data is something all journalists should know, Carroll said. He said that even people who are not good with numbers can learn this stuff. If there’s one thing I can say for certain about myself is that I am definitely not good with numbers. Math was never my thing. Ever.

Even so, I understand where Carroll is coming from in terms of how important what he does is. Knowing how to use statistics to make a graph or sort things can really enhance a news story. Carroll did a short presentation on how to use statistics in Excel. I believe that something like this just needs practice. Excel is a complex program, so one definitely needs to use it often to perfect it and limit the number of mistakes.

A few years back when I was on co-op at City Weekly at the Boston Globe,  I sat right across from Carroll for six months. During my time there, Carroll taught me Excel, or at least the basics of it. I must say, there are many layers to Excel but it’s a very important tool to know. Everything I know about Excel I owe to Matt Carroll; and if I can learn to work with numbers, trust me, anyone can.

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Final Project Proposal

As I have mentioned before,this blog is part of my Reinventing the News class. Many of the blog posts have been assignments (fun and educational. win and win).

For our final project we have to profile someone in the media industry. In my case, who better to profile than the man who runs Bostontweet.com? You see, a few weeks ago, my classmate Rachel Kossman did a presentation on his website and twitter account. Tom O’Keefe is putting citizen journalism in the hands of every Bostonian by allowing them to report the news and events through tweets, pictures and videos.

I have sent out an email in hopes of interviewing him, but I have yet to hear back. In terms of other people to interview, I’m hoping to get in touch with some of these citizen journalists, as well as businesses that may have benefitted from mentions by Boston Tweet. I’ll also try to hunt down other local events bloggers to see what they think about Boston Tweet. One blogger that I think would be interesting to talk to would be the person who runs SecretBoston.com since their missions are somewhat similar. It would probably be a good idea to find a media-expert to interview who could give some insight on the idea of citizen journalism.

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Let’s go huskies!

I’ll admit, I never followed Northeastern Athletics too much. I always get pumped during the Beanpot tournament, and I was pretty upset when the university cut the football team. Besides that, I was pretty clueless when it came to Huskies on the court.

Well, the NU basketball team has been doing great! Tomorrow is going to be a big game (and my first NU basketball game, mind you). I definitely recommend you all checking it out.

The Huskies are taking on Louisiana Tech at 1 p.m. at Matthews Arena. This game is so big, even ESPN2 will be airing it.

If you don’t feel like the hustle and bustle of a basketball game there are other options for you. afterHOURS will be showing the game, as well as providing free pizza. Conor Larkins Grill and Tap will also be airing the game. Since it’s an early one, the Conors staff recommends you come in your PJs.

Here are some interesting Twitter feeds worth following: @wrbbsports, @espnboston, @keithlavon, and of course @HuntNewsNU. As always, make sure to check out gonu.com.

I’ll try to take some photos and hopefully some video to showcase on the blog. See you all at the game. Go huskies!

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Jennifer Lord Paluzzi visits NU

We had another visiter in my Reinventing the News class. This time we were visited by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi, a journalist turned entrepreneur. Her story was an interesting one: She worked as a professional journalist, but when she was laid off  she started her own blog. When she was laid off, she said she was told that her “journalism career was over.” Little did they know. 

While at the MetroWest Daily News, Lord Paluzzi took note of the internet boom. She learned to post things to the paper’s website. She learned everything from film to photoshop to blogs and digital photography.  

“When we started to do video on the website, I volunteered to do all the video and editing. I was looking down the line and thinking that the journalism industry was going away. I needed a plan B.”

Her plan B was a wordpress site called The Greater Grafton Blog. Lord Paluzzi said that she could not rely on the town’s main newspaper for information. One day, she decided to take matters into her own hands and started writing. 

“We have video and we have photos. If a town comes up with something and wants to get it out there, I can get it out there in seconds. For example if a snow day happens, I can have a stream ticker going across the site.”

Her site has expanded and now covers more than six towns. It is so interesting to meet someone who is self-started. Clearly, Jennifer Lord Paluzzi has an extensive journalism background. What is most admirable is that while still at her old job, she recognized an up and coming trend: the Internet. I believe it’s important to be able to look to the fast-approaching future and recognize new trends. Clearly, it worked very well for her. I think what she had to say to the class was an important for all journalism students to know. In a time when most professionals tell us to change our majors, Lord Paluzzi’s story teaches us that with a little willingness, persistence, and hard work we can make it as journalists. 

She also said one of the most hopeful thing I’ve heard in a while: 

“We are the only business in Massachusetts that is hiring reporters.” 

Ah, we can now all take a breath of fresh air.

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Stephanie Miller visits Northeastern

Last week, Stephanie Miller, the director for digital media at WBZ, visited my Reinventing the News class to discuss the importance of social media in the future of journalism.

Miller mainly discussed WBZ’s Declare your Curiosity campaign.  The main idea behind Declare your Curiosity is for WBZ to find out from its audience what concerns them, what their passions and fears are, what makes them happy, and generally whatever questions they have. By gathering ‘curiosities,’ WBZ can approach their reporting in a way that will attract more viewership.

“One of the biggest opportunities that organizations have with tapping into communities is understanding what the community wants. Journalists are good at storytelling and local news needs to be about reflecting the concerns and moods of the community.”

Another extremely interesting point Miller made was about WBZ’s attempt to build community. She gave the example of Apple (she visited class the same day the iPAD was released), and how Steve Jobs has managed to gather a group of loyalists, which define the next generation of Apple products.

WBZ’s blogs and Twitter feed are two ways to use social media to enhance community engagement.  This is a way for WBZ to “build a presence in the audience’s lives,” Miller said.

Miller stressed the importance of creating a conversation with the audience, and making the relationship as interactive as possible. I think this is a very interesting and important way to approach journalism. I personally don’t understand those who criticize interactive tools like Twitter. Having experienced the feedback the Huntington News has received from utilizing Twitter and Facebook, I genuinely believe it’s a tool all news organization should take advantage of.

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Barack Obama on campus – ‘Fire it up’

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 24 hours, you know that President Barack Obama was at Northeastern University to support Martha Coakley’s campaign. I did not even attempt to try to get in the Cabot Center today. I heard people were lining up from 11 p.m. last night. Even so, my friends Anne, Dani, and I  strolled Huntington Avenue today, checking out the scene. Honestly, words and images cannot describe how many people were waiting in line in hope of making it into Cabot. Check out  some photos and a video to try to get a sense of the scene:

The line stretches through Krentzman Quad

The Curry Student Center during President Obama's speech

I also caught up with Matthew Soleyn, a Student Government Association senator. Here’s what he had to say.

Today was just an exciting day for Northeastern University. In many ways, I can’t believe the President of this country was in the same building I swim laps in. I really hope you all got to experience it.

The Huntington News has great coverage of today’s events. Follow them on Twitter at @HuntNewsNU and the Huntington News Beta Blog. Good stuff all around.

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