Tag Archives: com

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And you thought grad school was hard enough already…

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

I’ve been through four seasons of Division 1 soccer competition (and thanks to one red-shirt year, I’ve got another coming up next fall); so you’d think I’d be pretty good at managing my time by now, right?

WRONG! (Just kidding, I actually have gotten pretty good at it, but that was more dramatic right?) Honestly, it never gets easier or less stressful.  And this past semester, being in grad school added that extra workload that nearly put me over the edge.

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Me (in grey) and my teammate, Ariana Aston, celebrate after beating Navy in our conference opener this year.

The NCAA designates 20 hours a week of required activities for Division 1 athletes while in season.  This is supposed to give students time to actually be students and maybe even have a social life.  But what they don’t take into account is all the other little things that come along with being a student athlete.  To explain, let me give you a better idea as to what my schedule looks like as a grad student-athlete:

  • Practice every day (except for game day and the one required day off per week)
  • Lift twice a week
  • Team meeting once a week (and the occasionally individual goal-setting meeting with Coach)
  • Extra workouts once a week
  • Games, for which the NCAA automatically designates three hours for competition.  That means that travel time – whether it’s the 10 minute drive to Harvard, the six hour bus ride to Bucknell or the flight down to Navy (both of which are just two of our many overnight trips) – doesn’t really count.
  • Leadership meetings (as a captain)
  • Doctor’s appointments and rehabilitation in the athletic training room (four years of throwing yourself on the ground takes a toll on the body)

Yeah, it’s a lot more than 20 hours.  Yet, somehow I’m supposed to still have time to go to class (which I sometimes have to miss due to travel), do homework (when I’m not at practice or in the training room), and schedule group meetings with my poor classmates who always have to work around my busy schedule.  Work? Friends? Boyfriend? Netflix? SLEEP? Forget it!

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My teammates and I (hidden in the mix) celebrating after winning the Patriot League Championship at Colgate University.

Okay, so I may be a little dramatic, but it really feels like I barely had a second to stop and breathe this semester.  However, I can’t say that I would ever change it.  I love soccer.  I love all the friends and experiences I’ve gained from playing in college.  Plus, I absolutely loathe boredom.  So all in all, I never would have changed a thing.  It’s tough, but it is possible to be in grad school and play a sport and even have time to write for this blog!

 

 

 

 

Story

Why journalists shouldn’t fear numbers: storytelling with data

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

We live in a digital world. No matter what you do or what profession you’re in, this reality permeates everything around us. In the communications field especially, it has never been more critical to embrace digitization to effectively gather, analyze and disseminate information. Aside from a compelling narrative, finding ways to insert data and help people visualize information is vital.

COM Journalism Professor Maggie Mulvihill
COM Journalism Professor Maggie Mulvihill

It’s no coincidence the Fall 2014 issue of COMtalk (BU’s College of Communication publication for alumni, parents and friends) listed data storytelling as one of three major trends affecting journalism today. Within the issue, many of COM’s professors are featured for their keen efforts in providing students with the tools needed to succeed in a changing field; one of those professors is Maggie Mulvihill. This COM Journalism professor is dedicated to getting students on board with using data not only to enhance their story’s credibility, but also arm them with valuable skills eagerly sought out by employers.

Professor Mulvihill, whose background is in watchdog and investigative reporting, has been using data to inform her stories for over 20 years. She ran a Storytelling with Data workshop at BU this summer, and is currently teaching a class this semester—Data Storytelling. The course focuses on learning how to identify and obtain appropriate data, how to download and extract, clean, analyze and finally bring it to life through data visualization. “No matter what occupation, we need to know how to work with digital information,” says Mulvihill. “All records are being digitized. In three to five years, government information will be streaming instead of static. Journalists have to be able to harness and capture information as it’s streamed and tell stories,” she says.

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Data is important, but when coupled with good journalistic skill, it can be powerful. Especially when analyzing, if you’re asking the right questions, your data can serve to elevate your story in a meaningful way. Although most of us aren’t statisticians or research scientists, as social scientists we’re able to ask the right people to fairly and accurately assist us with data interpretation.

Currently, Mulvihill has a student in her class working on a story with the use of government data. After analyzing this data and obtaining a statistical finding, the question of statistical significance comes into play. Mulvihill asks the question, “Is it statistically significant to be news?” In other words, to be newsworthy, data has to provide information that isn’t already out there and doesn’t serve as an outlier. The student looking at government data consulted with a statistics professor who advised them to get more data so they could look at a broader spectrum of information. In the end, these types of consultations will ensure a statistically sound story.

Data

Along with journalistic skill, data is always more effective when presented with a human face. “It can’t just be statistics and government records,” says Mulvihill. “It has to have a strong character driving the story so people who read, watch and care about it can identify.” This is why Mulvihill asks her students to choose a character at the beginning of the story development process to focus on throughout.

Mulvihill is also in the process of developing a computational journalism initiative at BU. She says there is a sense of urgency for journalists to move in the direction of telling stories with data, and more and more people studying journalism are learning and integrating computer science into their careers. “There are so many jobs for journalists now with data storytelling skills,” says Mulvihill. “It’s prominent and it’s not just limited to journalism, it’s every profession,” she says. “I love the ability to do stories other people can’t.”

What are your thoughts on incorporating data with journalism? Let us know in the comment section below.

Interested in BU’s College of Communication graduate programs? Visit our website here and you can find out what it takes to earn your MS in Journalism at BU.

 

 

 

Behind the scenes: Good Morning, BU

By Gina Kim
MS Journalism ’16
BU College of Communication

On Thursday morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn when I knew my 11 a.m. lecture wasn’t for another five hours. But, I had a special assignment for that Thursday morning. I had to rush to get to campus by 8:30 a.m. What on earth would compel me to sacrifice such precious hours of sleep?

Good Morning, BU. Enough said.

Good Morning, BU (GMBU) is Boston University’s own LIVE, weekly morning show. GMBU brings you the latest in news from around BU, Boston, and from around the world.

On that early Thursday morning, I joined GMBU’s student-led team to find out exactly what goes into this weekly butv10 production. Immediately, I knew this was the real deal. Move over, “Good Morning America”, BU is live, awake, and ready to inform…from sports to city news, celebrity gossip, you name it, GMBU has you covered.

Before I go any further, let’s back up to the night before. That’s right… on Wednesday evenings, students meet to put up the set, so they can promptly go live at 10 a.m. the next morning. During this time, the production team floods into the College of Communication’s (COM) labs to clip trending national and local news and create storyboards.

The following morning, everyone is back at COM by 8:30 a.m. Edit labs on the third floor are filled with students practicing lines, drafting scripts and testing studio equipment. It’s a lot of prep work with minimum time before heading into the studio for rehearsal at 9 a.m.

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Alex Hirsch, a first semester Journalism grad student focusing in Sports Broadcast, helps write the script and edit voice-overs for sports’ anchors Andre Khatchaturian and Mariah Kennedy (both third semester Journalism students focusing in Broadcast). Hirsch showed me how to run the teleprompter during GMBU’s sports segment, which to my surprise was a lot more complex than expected. The geek in me was quite impressed with the mechanics.

From 9 to around 9:45 a.m., is rehearsal time. Everyone’s running around, trying to get last minute things done before going live. Everything has to be perfect. No room for excuses. At this point, it’s clear, tensions are running high.

At exactly 10 a.m., Good Morning, BU finally goes on-air. I was very impressed with what I saw. Everything was so professional, so well executed, so well done that I felt as though I was watching a national news production.  Khatchaturian really brought it home with the sports commentary and hosts Ashley Davis (MS, Broadcast Journalism ’15) and Paul Dudley (MS, Broadcast Journalism ’16) were absolutely professional, on point and energetic. Everyone worked together as a great team to deliver the news.

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By 10:30 a.m., it’s all over.

But, before anyone leaves, the production team gets together to do a quick post-production meeting. Usually Professor Cavalieri (butv10 faculty advisor) gives everyone a run-down of how the show went and what changes need to be made for next week’s production.

During set cleanup, I got a chance to quickly speak with Ashley Davis, one of the executive producers and hosts, about her take on the production of GMBU. “Besides three returners, everyone for the most part is new. There are a lot of first timers,” she says. “Production is pretty hectic and can get extreme, but it’s still a very page-one, basis teaching in which we have to show everyone how to do things. But what’s great about this year’s team is that everyone’s a quick learner, so that helps get the show progressing. We’ve definitely improved since we first started!”

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GMBU is just another example of all the amazing opportunities available to students at BU’s College of Communication. It’s a huge commitment with high demands and expectations, but the rewards are absolutely priceless, especially for those interested in a career in broadcast. It’s a learning experience no textbook or lecture can teach, but every journalist should know.

I say it over and over again, but I cannot stress it enough– you have to really want to be here. GMBU is a fine example of students showing their commitment and drive to becoming successful in a highly-competitive industry.

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Check out GMBU’s Facebook and Twitter to see more clips and pictures from their set. Don’t forget to catch Good Morning, BU LIVE every Thursday at 11am. If you’re interested in joining GMBU’s team, email one of the show’s producers:

Ashley Davis – adavis17@bu.edu
Courtney Sonn – csonn@bu.edu 
Hayley Gershon – hgershon@bu.edu 

Want to learn more about the graduate programs at Boston University’s College of Communication? Ask us your questions in the comments section below and visit our site.