Live Tweeting the 2017 Patriots Day Parade

Hello there! 

Monday was Patriots Day here in that state of Massachusetts, and I celebrated by marching with the members of the annual Patriots Day Parade from Boston City Hall to Old North Church in the North End.

Take a look at my tweets to see relive the highlights of the parade!

 

The parade began with a group of officers taking a moment of silence to honor patriots, both deceased (Paul Revere) and living (U.S. soldiers, according to Major Marty Walsh).

 

Throughout the parade, the congregation stopped at various graveyards containing the resting places of famous patriots to to pay their respects.

Pictured below is the grave of patriot Samuel Adams, who, among many other accomplishments, is credited with making the following statement: “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” 

The parade passed through many historic locations, including the site of the Boston Massacre, a major tipping point in regards to colonist sentiment to England and its continued occupation of the colonies, as it made its way from Boston City Hall to Old North Church.

 

The parade made its way to Old North Church, the location where Paul Revere ordered two lanterns to be hung to signal that “the British are coming!” The image below features an actor portraying Mr. Paul Revere himself.

 

Once the parade reached Old North, the Reverend Stephan T. Ayres, Vicar of the Old North Church, said a few words and shared a prayer with the audience.

 

Major Marty Walsh was also in attendance, and had a few words to say himself:

 

After Rev. Ayres and Mayor Walsh spoke, officers left a wreath entwined with an American flag in the courtyard of Old North Church as a way to honor patriots past and present.

 

The festivities seemed to go off without a hitch, leaving revelers, both human and otherwise, in high spirits.

 

After the Paul Revere road and the honors were handed out, the citizens of Boston were left to their own defenses.

 

See you next year!

Extra! Extra! Tweet all about it!

The Guardian (US Edition) uses social media, such as twitter, to alert its readership to developments in breaking news stories as those developments are occurring.

For all the non-tweeters out there, Twitter is a social media site that allows its users to post “updates” that are 140 characters in length. These “updates” can range from “wow, this taco truck is awesome! #vivaletaco!” to “wow, what is up with our government?”

It is much faster to pump out an 140 character tweet than it is to write, layout, and print a front page story that will run in the next morning’s paper. As a result, the Guardian and other news outlets are turning to twitter, one of the quickest means of spreading a story, to get the news out.

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In the case being displayed in the above picture, the publication has taken a traditional newspaper headline and converted to a twitter-friendly format. Here we see that the headline is actually attached to a completed story on the publication’s website; however, various news outlets, when breaking a breaking story, will forge an actual story in favor of simply tweeting the main points of a story in order to keep readers as up to date as possible on the story as it breaks.

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The Guardian US also adds a unique spin to its coverage by including op ed pieces about various breaking news stories, which give the publication’s readership something to mull over and add a more human prospect (as in “this is what an actual human thinks!”) about some of its stories. Here we see an op ed piece about the history of corporations co-opting social movements for profit.

Alternative Storytelling

As my professor told us last week, the key to a successful story is its storytelling, regardless of the story’s medium. Now, this seems like a pretty obvious statement, but I missed a question about it on an exam a few weeks ago, so I thought that it would be worth re-stating.

The Guardian (US Edition) dapples in alternative methods of storytelling, but it prefers to stick to the relatively tired and true approaches to online journalism. These persisting methods call for a heavy reliance on text, pictures and videos to tell stories. Of course, the text, pictures and video can recount the news very effectively. Still, the Guardian has an established social media presence that allows the publication to reach share its stories with audiences it might otherwise not have reached.

Although Facebook is not the most cutting edge of the social media platforms, it is an established platform that has played an important role in spreading news over the course of the last handful of months, particularly during the presidential campaign.

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As you can see, the Guardian‘s Facebook profile makes it clear to readers whose site they are visiting and who is producing the news. The profile posts links to the website that allow visitors to read news stories and watch news videos.

The Guardian‘s Facebook profile also link to one of the publication’s other social median sites: Instagram. By creating connections between its various social media sites, the newspaper is able to build its overall presence on social media, and not just on one social media site in particular.

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Instagram relies heavily on images, which gives photographers at The Guardian an opportunity to display their work. As you can see, the images that are featured on the publication’s Instagram must be visually interesting and able to convey the crux of a story.

Speaking of conveying something in very little space (140 characters to be exact) the Guardian also runs an active twitter account, which mostly just tweets the links to its stories with a quick and catchy tagline.

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In conclusion, the Guardian prefers to use more traditional methods of storytelling, but it also utilizes new methods of doing so to enhance its performance.

Reborn Craft Fair

Hello everyone!

Last semester I was lucky enough to spend a weekend with Kathi George, a doll maker who specializes in making reborn dolls. Reborns are baby dolls that are known for being hyper realistic. They have soft hair, pink cheeks, blue veins and palms that a fortune teller could read.

Kathi was incredibly welcoming to me and we’ve kept in touch over these last few months. I’d like to share this mini documentary featuring Kathi, her sister (as well as doll making partner in crime) Julie and their dolls.

Some of this footage was obtained at a craft fair where Kathi and Julie vended their dolls, some was taken from interviews with Kathi in her studio.

The footage was shot on a DSLR camera and edited in Adobe Premier.

Video takes center stage at The Guardian

The Guardian US Edition uses video, which is often captioned with text, to tell news stories.

If you scroll down to the “video & pictures” section of The Guardian US Edition’s website, you will see a video of called “Jeff Sessions denies contact with Russians during Senate hearing.” The video features an exchange between Senator Al Franken and Attorney General Jeff Sessions wherein Sessions informed Franken that the former had no communication with the Russians during President Trump’s campaign.

News Track for Week 6.pngUnlike some of the other videos on The Guardian, this particular video, which can be viewed here, has no text captions aside from those identify Franken and Sessions. The video is accompanied by a brief write up.

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In addition to the predominantly caption-less clips that speak for themselves, The Guardian US Edition also features captioned clips. The captioned clips are like the inverse of a traditional news story. Traditionally, news stories rely on the text to do the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to conveying the news. Visual and audio components are used to assist the text in telling the story, but the text is the first line of defense, metaphorically speaking.

The Guardian takes a different approach. While the publication still uses the tried and true method of reporting the news predominantly through text, it also uses video as to convey the news, with text as an accompaniment.

In “What we know about Jeff Sessions and Russia,” The Guardian has captioned a compilation of clips and still images with text pertaining to Jeff Sessions’ possible connection to Russia. The text readers like a classic print story, but in an interesting turn of events the video is used to tell the make the story’s main point.

 

 

The Guardian US offers tips and tricks for those who want to be responsible consumers of news

What is fake news? It is something that is false masquerading as the truth, at least that is what is sounds like.

Throughout the course of the 2016 election and President Trump’s first month in office, the term fake news has been gaining traction. In fact, President Trump himself has incorporated the term into his vocabulary and accused various individuals and news outlets of creating and spreading fake news.

The Guardian US edition directly addressed the topic of fake news in December 2016 with an article written by Elle Hunt. Hunt’s article, “What is fake news? How to spot it and how you can stop it,” takes a look at fake news and how it comes to be accepted as truth by the public and public figures.

Hunt defines fake news as, “a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation, be it via the traditional news media or via social media, with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.”

Hunt gives readers tips on how to spot fake news. Look for red flags in the domain name, such as the inclusion of “.com.co” and suspicious information in the About Us section.   See if any other publication covered the story that is being reported on what those publications wrote about it.

Hunt recommends that you assesses the validity of a news source before you share any information it purports to be true.

Of course, there are some news outlets, such as the Onion, that aren’t news outlets at all. It can be difficult to differentiate between news and satire when the news becomes increasingly outrageous. Generally speaking, satire publications such as the Onion and the Bad Reporter are not attempting to trick their readership into thinking that the content they are producing is true and factual. Still, satire has been known to be taken at face value in the past and can give some readers the impression that it is intended to be real news.

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Even young people, the supposed digital natives, have difficulty distinguishing between credible and non-credible online news sources, according to a study done by researchers at Stanford University that was conducted between January 2015 and June 2016. The survey looked at thousands of middle school, high school and university students and their ability to consume digital news responsibly.

“Share responsibly. Much as it might depress you to think in such terms, you are an influencer within your own social network: put in the legwork above, and only post or share stories you know to be true, from sources you know to be responsible,” wrote Hunt.

Check out the story here for more!

A picture is worth a thousand words

A picture is worth a thousand words. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Now, I’ve never looked at a picture and tried to come up with a thousand words to describe it (frankly, I don’t have the patience) but I understand the sentiment behind the saying.

People are visual creatures. In fact, sight is the sense that is most often relied upon. As such, it makes sense (no pun intended) that images play an important role in telling stories.

While browsing The Guardian US edition’s website, I noticed that many of the images that accompanied articles featured people. This doesn’t surprise me considering that people tend to react my strongly towards images of people and animals rather than images of things, but the idea that news stories would be accompanied by images that overwhelming  feature human beings did not cross my mind before I was specifically asked to pay attention to visual journalism.

Additionally, I feel that the stories that I was drawn to while browsing The Guardian were the ones that were accompanied by pictures, which is funny because I didn’t really consider my self to be a particularly “visual” person, although perhaps I was wrong.

Actions shots, if particularly well done, can also be extremely successful at giving the reader  a better insight into the story. Random street scenes, however, do little to convey that Bay Bay residents are displeased with the increase in the cost of public street parking.  Objects can also add a layer of depth to a story, but, from what I’ve seen, they are best employed when the object is of significance, such as in Amy Deneson’s piece about her experience and thoughts on purity rings.

Read Amy’s piece here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/feb/18/purity-ring-virginity-abstinence-sexual-education