“Beyond the Backlot” and the new “Published” Page

Things have been picking up here on the Island, so here’s a few announcements to catch everyone up to speed: Monica Castillo, a fellow BU classmate, and I have started a blog devoted to the movies called Beyond the Backlot. We’ll be writing for it for the rest of the summer and hopefully into next year about the current cinema, trends in the industry and classics you may have overlooked that are worth the watch. I’ll be updating my contributions in the Beyond the Backlot section of the new “Published Works” page, which will be an online portfolio of my articles. Be sure to check it out.

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“Fatal Distraction” and the Power of a Great Story


In my last post I commented on a journalism piece that in my opinion was poorly done. But it wouldn’t be fair to simply point out when journalists go astray. There are enough blogs and outlets who criticize the “mainstream media,” yet offer no solutions.

So here is an instance when a journalist more than just gets it “right.” This is when we create something truly outstanding. It’s a feature article for the Washington Post written by Gene Weingarten about parents who accidentally kill their children by forgetting them in cars.

I’ve been reading more of the Post lately, and I’ve noticed that their stories have gotten much better, especially their feature stories. But this story is more than just better than the rest. It’s a stunning example of the best our field can produce through strong reporting and solid writing.

Weingarten here shows a mastery of how to tell a story. His piece is gorgeously written and well-paced, never dragging. More than that, Weingarten brings these people to life. We feel their pain and their confusion. We want to rush to condemn them for their mistakes, yet by the end of the piece we are disgusted by our snap to judgement. Weingarten makes the most detestable event, the death of a child, something that not only we can relate to, but even empathize with.

It’s an example of the best journalists can offer. Weingarten’s piece is more than just another feature story. “Fatal Distraction” is a beautifully crafted piece that not only serves the public, but moves them as well.

The Pulitzer comittee thought the same thing. Weingarten won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for this story.

Give it a read.

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Agreement Will Not Be Tolerated?

Watch this clip from Fox News morning show “Fox and Friends.” In it, the hosts of the show invite commentators Glenn Beck and Judge Andrew Napolitano to discuss whether Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad should have been read his Miranda rights.

Notice that both of them agreed that as an American citizen, Shahzad is guaranteed rights. Beck even states that this is a basic Constitutional principle, and while it’s not the popular answer, it’s the right one.

Now watch how the hosts, expecting Beck to give the opposing view, try to coax him into folding.

It starts to get uncomfortable to watch… Here you have professional journalists berating and practically insulting someone because they didn’t provide the segment with conflict. You can hear the same tired lines of “If thing’s start blowing up downtown, how are you going to feel?” What relevence does that have? What, you’re going to guilt him into agreeing with you or your editors?

Beck agreed with the liberal, and it’s clear we can’t have that on this news program.

Obviously, Fox News is not the only news outlet guilty of this. But this is just a recent example of how far journalism has fallen off track on the cable networks. The answers our interviewees give should mold debate and not the other way around. If their answers don’t fit our pre-conceived narrative, then maybe it’s because we were wrong. To try to coerce a subject into parroting what you want them to say isn’t journalism, nor should it be accepted as that. Too often we get away with it, and it needs to stop if we ever as professionals wish to be taken seriously by the public.

I think it’s sad to watch “Fox and Friends” try to twist their so-called “guest” into saying what they want him to say. I may not agree with Glenn Beck or Andrew Napolitano on every issue, but just because we disagree doesn’t mean I must force them to accept my view. I’m the journalist, after all. We should be dealing in truth, not my opinion.

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Boston University to Spend $55 Million on “Green” Renovations

click above to see the slideshow

This summer, Boston University will spend $55 million renovating and making improvements to BU’s Charles River Campus in an attempt to be more environmentally friendly. Coming changes include a revamped Walter Brown Arena, renovations to Towers and Claflin Hall, and WiFi for many dorms on campus.

To see more highlights, click the slideshow above.

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Boston University Costs From 1998 to 2011 (Flash Graphic)

click above to watch

This spring, Boston University announced that tuition for the 2010-11 academic school year would rise by a record low percent. Yet, tuition costs were still rising by almost $2,000.

BU’s costs over the past dozen years have continued to rise, and have even outpaced the rate of inflation, making a BU education more expensive by the year.

Click the picture above to see a flash animation illustrating how BU costs have risen. Hover your mouse over individual bars or points to see the exact costs for that year.

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Interview with a Rhett

Boston University mascot Rhett the Terrier can be found all over campus. He’s a logo, a poster, a trash can, a stuffed animal, and even a statue made out of recycled garbage.  Rhett is also at every BU sporting event, dancing, high-fiving, pumping up the crowd and cheering with the fans.

But who is the (wo)man behind the suit? Angela Latona, a graduating BU senior, talks about her time the mascot and how she feels now that she must leave the suit behind.
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How to Ride the T

Here’s a little something for all you tourists out there. It’s a slideshow I made for one of my classes that teaches you how to ride the subway in Boston.

Enjoy!

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48 Hour Film Project “Meet and Greet at The People’s Republik” Coverage

For one of our BU classes, Scott Zaramba and I will be covering the 2010 Meet and Greet of the 48 Hour Film Project. The project spans over 80 cities across the globe and gives filmmakers 48 hours to go out into the city and make a movie. You can find more information at their website: 48hourfilm.com

48 Hour Film Project Meet and Greet

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Nick Bonino scores his first

Congrats to the former BU Terrier who scored his first NHL goal in last night’s game against the Dallas Stars.

Bonino knocked in a bouncing puck from the slot to score while the Ducks were on the power play 8:11 into the second period. It was the first goal that started off a flurry of three goals in five minutes en route to a 3-1 Ducks win over the Stars. Bonino was named the first star of the game.

Hopefully Bonino keeps up the good work and becomes the latest example of Terriers hockey in the NHL. Here’s a video for your viewing pleasure: http://ducks.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?hlg=20092010,2,1132&event=ANA244&fr=false

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Junior Nick Bonino Leaves BU for the NHL’s Ducks

BU's leading scorer has gone to the NHL

UPDATE: The Anaheim Ducks have announced that they have signed Nick Bonino to a two-year entry-level contract. The terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Boston University’s leading scorer Nick Bonino has appeared on the Anaheim Ducks’ online roster: http://ducks.nhl.com/club/roster.htm

Bonino’s departure is a blow to the Terrier’s offense. With the departure of Colin Wilson, Matt Gilroy and a majority of the top two lines last season, Bonino was tasked with being an offensive leader for the team. Bonino lead the Terriers in scoring in 2009-10 with 38 points (11 Goals, 27 Assists) and was a +18 in 33 games after missing the beginning of the season with a shoulder injury.

Despite an inconsistent performance throughout the year, the Terriers made it to the Hockey East Semifinals. However, they were eliminated from the tournament by Maine, and did not secure a NCAA bid this year. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen are also rumored to be leaving the school for the major leagues, leaving BU’s roster for next year far from certain.

Bonino was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round of the 2007 NHL Draft, at 173rd overall. His rights were traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2008-09 that sent Travis Moen and Kent Huskins to the Sharks.

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