Flash Map of Boston's Voting Districts

Nov 18, 2009 5:53 PM. All work by

This is a map I created in Adobe Flash using the ActionScript 3 programming language. I started with a basic map of the Boston districts and added a bit of information on what candidates were running in what districts. If I had more time, I would have added in demographic data, campaign finance information and the works.
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CoverItLive Streaming Coverage

5:44 PM. All work by

A replay of the streaming coverage of the 2009 Boston Veteran's Day Parade for Fenway News Online. The package was a team effort put forth by five students from Boston University's College of Communication:

Blog coverage provided by: Keith Colella and Marion Geiger.
Photos by: Caitlin Nordahl and Angela Carlos
Management and commentary by: Ina Chu and Jonathan Kim

This was my first attempt at doing live web coverage, and it worked out extremely well considering we had no satellite internet cards, video cameras or a budget.

View Veteran's Day Parade Map in a larger map
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Boston At-Large City Council Candidates

5:37 PM. All work by

This is a compiled sample of the media packages I built for Fenway News Online as part of our on-going coverage of the city council elections. The final products were six separate slideshows, which are still available on the Fenway News Online website.
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Can Experience or New Programs Beat Boston Crime?

Sep 13, 2009 5:00 PM. All work by

As November nears, one of the important issues of this year’s mayoral election will be public safety. Like any urban environment, Boston is subject to a high volume of crime that each candidate has so far tried to address.

The city of Boston, under Mayor Thomas Menino, has gotten better about cracking down on crime. According to the preliminary data released by the Boston Police Department, crime fell an impressive 15 percent in 2008. But these outstanding numbers came at a high price for Menino.

Last year, about $23.4 million was spent on overtime hours for police officers, firefighters and security guards—a morsel of information that city councilor and mayoral opponent Sam Yoon has capitalized on. The mayor’s ability to justify the excess is hindered by the fact that violent crime has hardly decreased at all.

Yoon cites the overages on his campaign website and couples them with his own crime-fighting plan to contain spending. In a hypocritical move, Yoon announced his plan to increase the sales tax by 0.5 percent to 6.75 percent, bestowing Massachusetts with the sixth-highest sales tax nation-wide. Yoon plans to use the revenue solely on enhancing public safety, namely by increasing community crime-prevention programs—a resource that all candidates have also vowed to bolster in varying capacities.

Candidate Michael Flaherty, also a city councilor, has the most robust community prevention plan of the four candidates. As a former assistant district attorney, Flaherty has real experience with crime and law enforcement and makes councilor Yoon’s anecdotes of his Dorchester home seem unprofessional. Flaherty also backs up his statements of better public safety with a seven-page document that details his plan for “de-centralizing” how Boston polices its neighborhoods. This document, available online, seeks to lure citizens out of their homes and place them on the street as an unarmed police force—a policy that busy professionals and the elderly may not be so apt to follow.

Despite all the shortfalls of the aforementioned candidates, each can rest assured that his public safety plan is not the worst of the bunch. Compared to Menino, Yoon, and Flaherty, Kevin McCrea seems to completely miss the issue of public safety and lacks both experience and a plan. On his campaign website, McCrea not only generalizes criminals as “young people with no resources, distressed families and neighborhoods, and no confidence,” but he thinks the problem will go away when there are more jobs.

His background as a real estate developer really comes out in the “Public Safety” of his platform. Of the five vows to his voters, McCrea only directly addresses crime prevention once. The others are about development and business. “I will focus on more local manufacturing development, rather than on office towers,” the platform reads. How is this suppose to minimize crime?

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Inauguration Invites Online Participation

Jan 22, 2009 2:01 PM. All work by , , ,

BOSTON—Over a million Americans will be able to tell their children exactly where they were when the first black man became President—on Facebook. Just before Barack Obama gave his inaugural address, more than 1.3 million users tuned-in to CNN’s coverage on Facebook.com.

The presence on Facebook was more than half the number of visitors who filled the streets, fields and bars of the capital that day. Although live video broadcasts of a presidential inauguration have been available online since 1997, this year could be the first time the entire world has been asked to do more than just hear it or watch it.

Social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter teamed up with media outlets CNN and Current TV to experiment with this year’s coverage. Both of the social networks allowed online members to comment alongside a streaming broadcast of the inauguration, making each site a digital living room where anyone on the Internet could watch and chat about presidential politics.

“Everyone is usually in their secluded little [space],” said media analyst Steve Garfield, “just consuming, versus leaning forward and participating.” A multimedia journalist himself, Garfield said that he was impressed by the service provided by Facebook and CNN. He predicted that the success of the digital broadcast is only the start of good things to come from the interactive feature.

“I think that with technology like this, you might see more people interested in participating in [politics] when it becomes as easy as Facebook just made it,” Garfield said.

Until recently, online conversations were typically restricted to chat rooms, said Garfield. A less popular method of conversing is through Internet relay chats (IRC), which let multiple people share and discuss content through a web browser. The inaugural coverage, suggested Garfield, was a culmination of these past innovations that made Facebook and Twitter a place where people could watch and listen together.

“It’s not essential,” Garfield said, hesitantly, “but it adds value to certain people who are interested in community.”
According to a statement released by CNN, the online community at CNN.com Live totaled over 18.8 million people between the hours of 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., breaking a record of 5.3 million viewers that was set on Election Day.

Prior to the inauguration, Tobe Berkovitz, a media analyst and professor of communication at Boston University, said he expected fewer people to rely on the web for inaugural coverage.

“I think when you have an event like the inauguration,” Berkovitz began, “the mainstream media becomes more significant.” He argued that this inauguration emphasized new media strategies more than tech innovations, and he predicted that media networks would rely mostly on television as their main outlet.

“People would rather watch [the inauguration] on a flat screen television than on their computer, iPhone or Blackberry,” said Berkovitz.

In an article from NewTeeVee.com, a corporate social network for developers of video hosting sites, writer Stacey Higginbotham recommended “ditching” the online version of the inauguration and simply watching it on television. According to Higginbotham, CNN, ABC and C-SPAN all malfunctioned at least once during their broadcasts. To her, missing even a second of the inauguration was not worth chatting online during the event. Higginbotham’s article attracted several comments from people who experienced interruptions and delays in their own broadcasts. Others wrote that their computer screens were just too small to allow them to fully enjoy the historic moment.

When asked how he watched the event, Garfield admitted that he opted to watch the inauguration on television. “But just before the swearing in, I was watching the CNN.com Live coverage with Facebook,” Garfield said with a laugh.

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