Impressions During a Visit to the Boston Globe

I’ve never visited the Boston Globe in my entire life. In fact, this visit would make it my second visit to a newspaper headquarter in the past week. Last week I interviewed Bill Burt at the Eagle-Tribune, so it interesting to see what newsrooms were like.

Anyways, as a class we toured the entire Globe facility. It was pretty neat to see the printing press area, and even neater to find out that the Globe not only prints their newspaper, but it prints out the Boston Herald and The New York Times as well.

After touring the printing area, we toured the newsroom and learned about some of the interactive media that the Globe is participating in.

My favorite feature they have in the newsroom involves Twitter. Throughout the newsroom, there are TV monitors set up on the walls and posts. On these TVs are tweets from Globe writers. Each tweet has some comical or interesting news related to their beat. Their tweet stays active on the screen until another writer tweets.

I like that feature, because it’s just interesting to see what’s on a Globe writer’s mind and what’s going with their beat. In fact, Bruins writer Kevin Paul Dupont had a funny tweet about the NHL labor strike, and the disagreement between the player’s association and the league.

Another feature at the Globe I found fascinating was a program they have called SNAP. The Globe has a $25,000 interactive display that shows every Instagram picture taken around Boston. The pictures are used as a source for stories. The pictures at the Globe are also shown on a map of Boston, so if a picture was taken at the Old North Church, than a picture will hover over the location of the church on the map. In a way, SNAP is like an interactive version of lifestyle and culture in Boston. You can bet if people visited a bar or tourist attraction and took a picture, then uploaded to Instagram that the Globe media lab will use it.

I like how people can put captions within their picture, which captures the essence of the photograph. For example, if someone goes to Halftime Pizza, takes a picture and writes a small caption saying how good the pizza is; the Globe technically gets a picture along with a small review.

SNAP is such a neat feature for the Globe.

Although confusing, the cascading of tweets was interesting. The Globe keeps track of all the tweets about its articles. Who is tweeting about what and what tweets are gaining a lot of interest are also focal points of cascading.

I found “open captioning” to be interesting. This is a feature where a media outlet can tap into the Globe’s network so that any speech that’s being presented on their channel will appear as text on the Globe’s “open captioning.” I was confused by this, but my impression of this feature is that if Fox News is having Mitt Romney on to speak, and are tapped into the Globe, the speech text will appear. I might be repeaing myself, but I’m trying to clarify what I was told this program is. It’s confusing, but a unique feature.

Finally, I got to see Adam 12 do his radio show for radio (RadioBDC) and I was intrigued because I’d love to have my own sports radio show here in Boston. I love talking about sports and I’m pretty knowledgeable. If I had a dream job, this would be one of them.

I liked visiting the Globe. I’ve been reading it since I was able to read newspapers, so it was fun to see how things work. I definitely want to work here one day, that’s for sure. For now, I need to concentrate on the rest of this semester and next semester before I walk in that direction.

Picture is from the author of this blog’s personal media library. Some rights reserved.


A Chocolate Lover’s Dream Can Be Found on Beacon Hill

Finding delicious handmade chocolate and truffles in Boston isn’t easy, especially if you’re a tourist or a college student who has a chocolate craving, and is new to the city. So the question is, where can you go to get some?

Luckily for you, there’s a nice little chocolate shop nestled in the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, just minutes from the Boston Common called, fittingly enough, Beacon Hill Chocolates.

Truffles and fine chocolate always have many different mouth-watering flavors, but Beacon Hill Chocolates has a distinct difference from the average chocolate shop.

“Our artisan chocolate is imported from all over the world,” said Ariana Barber, Boston resident and manager at Beacon Hill Chocolates. “We aren’t limited to what we can come up with.”

She said their chocolate currently comes from France, Belgium and all over New England. Inside one of BHC pamphlets, they have a listing of their different chocolates, which says “every chocolate is hand-selected for its excellence in quality, flavor and beauty.”

Customers have a plentiful choice to pick out over 60 different flavored truffles. The hard part is trying to pick out a few, because they all look so delicious.

“Right now our most popular chocolates are the salted caramels,” Barber said. “Each of them comes in either milk or dark chocolate, and is sprinkled with a bit of salt.”

To see how good these chocolates were, I bought a box of six. They were all delicious, but I’ll highlight a few really good ones.

The first one I tried was the salted caramel dipped in milk chocolate. I’m not a fan of mixing salt with chocolate, but this was an exception. The caramel was very chewy and soft, and the chocolate was very sweet. The added salt could be tasted too, and I found it to be perfect and quite satisfying.

As a fan of mint, I really enjoyed their mint pie truffle. It was very minty, and you could taste the small pieces of Oreo cookies that were layered underneath the chocolate. I had to buy a few of these.

Finally, my favorite chocolate was the root beer float. As a huge fan of root beer floats, I’ll try almost anything that tastes like root beer. This chocolate has a milk chocolate shell, with ganache that’s made with real root beer. A truly delicious flavor.

Address: 91 Charles St., Boston, Ma 02114

Telephone: (617)725-1900
Store Hours: Mon. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
E-Mail:                                                               Website:                                                                 Directions: Closest T stop is at Park Street. From there, take a short walk through the Boston Common to Beacon St. Walk along Beacon St., and Charles St. is on the right.

Price Range: Truffles start at $2 ea. Boxed truffle sets range from $14-$60. Keepsake gift boxes are available too, which range from $18-$60 depending on the amount of chocolates.                                                                                                   

Using Twitter Is Quite Fun

Well my plans to cover to the 13th Annual Beer Summit sponsored by my favorite beer Sam Adams were dashed by unforeseen circumstances, which include tickets being sold out.

Oh well.

Like my time in the Army, we learn to improvise and adapt to the situation and the hand we’re dealt, so I took it upon myself to cover the Red Sox and Orioles on Friday night at Fenway Park.

Fenway Park from my seat

Now before I talk about my experience, this is the first year in my entire life that the Red Sox have become a blip on the radar. I have never seen a team so dysfunctional, distracted and detestable since maybe 2001 to an extent. Losing stinks, but when someone or a team chooses to make up excuses for bad play or to blame others such as the media, than they’re quite unlikeable. I could go on about this forever and make some good points as I’m passionate about my teams in Boston, but this isn’t the time nor place to do it for the moment.

Anyways, back to using Twitter to cover this game. The main thing I was hoping while covering this game was getting all the relevant information tweeted. That means tweeting about key moments in the game such as when either team scored a run, or when there was a pitching change. Things like that.

I mean if you’re going to cover a game, than you might as well get down all the relevant information. That was my goal and I accomplished it. I was able to tweet about Jon Lester’s performance easily as well as how runs were scored, such as Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters driving in three runs during the Orioles’ 4-2 win. I even tweeted about interesting people, including Jim Roosevelt, grandson of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who threw out a ceremonial first pitch. That was nice.

It also didn’t hurt to have some of the best seats in the house up in the Pavillion Box above the State Street Pavillion Club on the first base side. That helped a lot when it came to my vantage point.

Here are my tweets:

6:39 p.m.6:41 p.m7:04 p.m.7:11 p.m7:19 p.m.7:32 p.m.7:36 p.m.7:48 p.m.8:09 p.m.8:13 p.m.8:18 p.m.8:47 p.m.8:49 p.m.8:57 p.m.8:59 p.m.9:06 p.m.9:11 p.m.9:23 p.m.9:27 p.m.9:31 p.m.9:43 p.m.9:48 p.m.9:58 p.m.9:59 p.m., 10:01 p.m., 10:04 p.m., 10:12 p.m.

Now here are my positives and negatives about using Twitter to cover an event.

Positives first. I found it fun. I liked it and would like to do it again, especially if it’s sports related event. I don’t know why, but maybe because baseball is slowed paced that I had an easy time tweeting things about the game. Like I mentioned earlier, I was able to tweet about ALL the relevant information from the game, so if someone’s following me, they’ll get all the relevant information about the game and what’s going on at the park. It was also easy to take a picture and post it to Twitter using their mobile app. When you do that, it makes you a link and it gives you a chance to write a relevant tweet to accompany your picture. Pretty neat. I felt like I was reporting, well I was, and getting information out to the masses. All I needed was a computer to type on and I would’ve been a full-fledged sportswriter.

Some of the negatives were it isn’t easy to type on my phone. I don’t like touch screen keyboards at ALL. I made a few mistakes with spelling and had to delete some tweets. I could’ve made links to other websites using my phone, but it’s a process and for some reason I can’t copy and paste with the Twitter app. I usually can copy/paste on my phone, but I couldn’t with Twitter. Another downside was repeated use of my phone drained my battery. By the seventh inning, I was down to about 25 percent power. By then I couldn’t tweet a lot, and if I did; I wouldn’t have had a phone to use until I got home to charge it. That was a bad negative. I also wasn’t paying attention to the game as much when I was tweeting, because I was obviously forming a tweet. I didn’t want to miss anything, so I kept digressing from tweeting to watching the game, but I want my tweets to be relevant so I did my best to get a tweet out. Outside of a drained battery, these negatives are just minor and me nitpicking.

Overall, this was a fun experience. Twitter is an excellent tool for the media and for reporting news and even rumors. It’s also an excellent tool to get out information, by the second, to the world and your followers. The positives outweighed the negatives in my opinion. I’d like to try this with other sports too, especially fast-paced ones to see how that experience goes.

Photo is from author of this blog’s media library. Some rights reserved.