Boston Globe NewsTrack in Review

After following the Boston Globe for the past semester, one thing has become abundantly clear, the Globe is struggling to find an online identity.

While the Globe does a great job as a traditional, print-based news outlet it needs to find a way to create a balance on its website that is able to build upon while also separating itself from the newspaper. For two assignments we had to look at visuals from our NewsTrack websites and the Globe stood out for the wrong reasons in both cases. In the first visual report, we had to just report on how our websites used visuals such as pictures to add to their news coverage. In the case of the Globe, their visuals follow the same format that they would in the paper, with a single photo followed by the story. The Globe does have a section dedicated entirely to photos but is actually hidden away from the main page on the website.

The second assignment we had to do involving visuals was better when it came to the Globe’s website but not by much. For this assignment, we had to look up data visualizations from our NewsTrack sites and in doing so, I found that the Globe has an entire subsection dedicated to it in the Metro section of the website. However, these articles fall into the same issue that most of the articles do which is that the reader is just met with a wall of text just like it would be in the paper. And if you want to find the visualization of the data, you have to click away to a separate page.

It is clear from the Globe’s website that they are struggling to find an identity online and tend to just rely on their newspaper and not make the content different online. This is a big issue for a media outlet like the Globe because the paper and the web are two completely different entities that need to be addressed differently. While people are looking to read a wall of text in the newspaper, that is certainly not the case online. Online you need to grab your readers with visuals and other forms of media so that you can keep their attention because if you don’t, the reader can easily find a more captivating article about the same topic on a different site.

Despite this major flaw, the Globe does still stick to its mission. The Globe prides itself on reporting the truth and giving New England the information it needs and they follow through daily with the stories that matter. The only thing the Globe needs to do is to find a way to enhance their newspaper with the different forms of media they can use online, especially video, something almost entirely absent from the website.

For itself and audience, the Globe needs to find a way to bridge the gap between their website and the newspaper.

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Data Visualization and the Boston Globe

When it comes to data journalism, the Boston Globe is a great place to start. Tucked away in the Metro section of the website, there is an entire section dedicated entirely to data visualization. However, much like when I discussed the the visuals that the Boston Globe uses (https://dennyhackett.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/visuals-at-the-boston-globe/), one thing stands out and it is that the Globe still struggles to find a happy medium between visuals and text.

The Globe is still very much in the mindset of writing for the paper first and online second in one article,  http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/north/2014/10/11/zobikes/9wZ4DjuYPOg3DsoSSSuEvK/story.html, instead of being greeted by a visualization of the data the article is based on, the reader is met with a wall of text in typical Globe fashion. In order to actually look at the data, the reader has to click away from the main article to a page that shows the map of bike related accidents and fatalities in Massachusetts from 2010 to 2012. In doing this, the Globe defeats the purpose of trying to reach on online audience by being stuck in their old ways.

Like with their visuals, the Globe is almost stuck in a sort of limbo where it cannot find its identity online and is stuck in the mindset of a newspaper and not using all of the tools that it can at its disposal even though the potential is clearly there for them to do something great.

Where do I get my Breaking News and How Does the Boston Globe Cover it?

As a reporter it is necessary to keep up with breaking news so, as a student reporter it is important to learn the best way to do so.

For me the best way to get breaking news is Twitter. There are dozens of accounts that just tweet out breaking news and nearly every news outlet has an account dedicated to doing so. The top ones that I follow are CNN’s (@cnnbrk) and BBC’s (@BBCBreaking) because CNN is mostly national news while BBC is mostly international news. As reporters it is necessary to pay attention to what is happening across the world in addition to the U.S. itself so following national and international news sites is a must.

One of the most appealing aspects of using Twitter for following breaking news is the fact that the news comes instantly and does not need to be immediately followed up by an article. This is very valuable because in a lot of cases where news is breaking, it is extremely beneficial to say that something is happening and then follow up on it later once more information is available.

Another important source of breaking news everybody can use is the news app that is built in on all smart devices. If you’re on an Apple or Android device if you just swipe over to the left on your home screen you will have news that is curated directly to you. This is a very underutilized tool that all of us as reporters have right at our fingertips and should pay much more attention to.

In following the Boston Globe for my NewsTrack, I have learned that they cover breaking news in a variety of ways. One of the most notable of these is that when a story is breaking, at the top of every article there is a bar at the top of the screen with a red flashing dot and then a headline for the story that is breaking.

The Globe’s Twitter account (@BostonGlobe) will tweet out if news is breaking or a story is developing. In a breaking news situation, they will tweet out a headline and a preliminary article before adding information to that article and supplementary articles throughout the day. However as a news organization, it could be beneficial to send out breaking news emails to its subscribers. But overall, the Globe does a great job of covering breaking news.

Breaking news is a significant part of our lives as reporters and we need to put ourselves in the best position possible to be able to talk about it. Using Twitter is one way to get it but there are numerous other ways to do so. It is also important that larger news outlets stay on top of it and the Boston Globe’s website is a great example of how to cover breaking news.

Facebook under Fire from Users and Investors alike After Data was used by the Trump Campaign Last Year

Mark Zuckerberg apologized to Facebook users today after it was revealed that lax privacy policies on the social media giant gave a political research firm unauthorized access to millions of users’ profiles that it used to help with President Trump’s campaign.

It is believed that the research firm, Cambridge Analytica, was given access to the user data of nearly 50 million Facebook accounts without permission and now Zuckerberg wants a full review of the data that companies are being allowed access to. In the wake of this fiasco, both the United States and United Kingdom have launched investigations into Facebook and some are even calling for Zuckerberg to face Congress and Parliament. In an interview on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said that he was willing to go in front of Congress over this issue.

The breach of this data initially took place in 2015 when Zuckerberg claimed that an academic named Aleksandr Kogan had unauthorized access to the data and then gave it to Cambridge Analytica. Following that breach, Zuckerberg believed that the data had been destroyed but that apparently is not the case as it was used to help Ted Cruz’s campaign as well as President Trump’s.

After two days that saw Facebook stocks fall by nine percent, its stocks rose by 0.7 percent on Wednesday following Zuckerberg’s apology. It is important to note that after reaching a record high on Feb. 1, Facebook’s stock has fallen by 12.7 percent since then, with most of the drop resulting from this most recent controversy.

There is much more to come from this story and it will be interesting to see if Zuckerberg and Facebook will be able to win back the trust of their users following a controversy of this magnitude.

Sources:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/03/21/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-admits-mistakes-outlines-steps-protect-user-data/gtzcZeL4IrnvB5h0hhB71L/story.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/03/21/stocks-wobble-and-end-day-lower-after-fed-raises-interest-rates/KGPxDxRUGwfsJdUddKzd8I/story.html