Dec 29, 2009

Radio Project

This past semester I took an advanced radio journalism class called "Narrative Radio." While the class was not one of my favorites, I did learn a lot and was able to contribute to the major class project, an hour-long radio program on WBUR 90.9 FM.

The program, the World of Ideas, ran this past Sunday. I got the chance to hear myself on the radio, on a station that is broadcast throughout Greater Boston. I think that's pretty cool. You can here the entire show here. I'm up to bat first.

The research and running around that went into this project was not easy, but I'm glad I got it done. This project was explained to us on the first day of class as a major portions of our grade and I think my work on it is what boosted me over the cusp from one grade to a higher one.

I'm just glad it's over and done with.

Dec 18, 2009

Famous or Comes with the Territory

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you without a few lines to read through...

I'm not a rapper or a poet so I'll stop there even though the line rings true. These past few weeks have been filled with various activities surrounding my completion of grad school and a myriad of other things I do. I promise the major events, like my knighting will make it up here. For now, I wanted to comment on a column in the Boston Herald today.

Howie Carr wrote a column discussing the connection between state jobs and people who supported both Deval Patrick and Barack Obama. The lead graph is about my family. Having read it a few times, I can safely say that I find it more humorous than anything else. My sister, however is having a bit a difficult time with it.

I guess what amuses me is how the the column is set up to highlight certain facts and avoid others. All the numbers are accurate since they are public record so I have no gripe with them. But a closer look at the numbers and the dates reveals that my parents didn't donate to Patrick's campaign until a few days before the election because of my mother's employer at the time. That information can be found easily through a search engine, Howie, why not make mention of it?

Also, the application to become a Justice did not open until April of 2009. How do contributions to a presidential campaign in 2008 secure an eight month interview and vetting process? Or is it just that she was born in Chicago, like Patrick and Obama? I don't know, seems like a flimsy connection.

As for my sister, trying to make a connection between the campaign donation of a college sophomore and a state job three years later is even more of stretch. It also says nothing her background and the work she put in to actually qualify for the job.

Sure, you're presenting an argument and you need facts to back up your idea. I get that, but can't we do better than taking numbers at face value? As journalists aren't we supposed to be methodical in our approach? It just feels like you missed some stuff here. As one of my professors would say, "You've got holes in the story."

At this time I would like to say thank you to that same professors at Boston University who told me that all donations to campaigns are public record and as journalists we may want to think twice about having our name associated with a political party.

Dec 2, 2009

MBTA part 6

At some point I'll have to compile all the stories I've written about what I've seen on the MBTA. They might add up to a good length essay. I've got two more to add to the list, both from today and from the same commute home from West Roxbury.

I take two buses to get home, the #36 from West Roxbury to Forest Hills Station and then the #21 from Forest Hills to a block from my house. You've seen the ride to work, which is hectic because of how many people crowd the buses. On the way home, the rides can take as much as twice as long because the buses don't run as often. It's a pain, but you just get used to it and learn the bus schedule so you do as little waiting as possible.

When I got on the #36 to go to Forest Hills there was one man on the bus, sitting near the operator talking with him as if they were old friends. As I walked by, he reached into a black plastic bag and pulled out a Natty Ice and cracked it open. He finished that on while the bus waited, and killed one more before getting off the bus. Shortly after, I fell asleep.

Usually, the MBTA provides me with one outrageous situation per day, but I guess I had earned the double because I walked into another one as I was boarding the #21 at Forest Hills. While boarding the bus, the driver, a heavier set woman with short, close cropped brown hair, told a teen that he couldn't board the bus. The teen got off and made a fuss about it, calling her a bitch and other names.

It got interesting when they began to trade "yo mama" barbs. As far as I can tell, there was some issue about whether the teen would pay the fare. To that end, the operator, who had a long line of people waiting to board the bus, allowed everyone to ride for free.

As the bus pulled off, the operator made a point to yell out of the door that her shift ended at 5 p.m. and he could find her at Forest Hills. She also informed the teen that she had brothers and that she was "real hood" and that "they could do this." I just had to laugh. I really mean it when I say I love the MBTA.