Thursday, November 27, 2008

Live blog on Thanksgiving

Here is a video of one of my younger cousins counting to 10 in Spanish after being a little shy at first. 

9:13 p.m: Everyone is gone. My family had a talent show. One of my favorites was one of my little cousins who counted to 10 in English, French, and Spanish. I thought it was really funny so I took a video of it and embeded it from YouTube. Overall, it was a good night and I'm going out with my sister, my uncle's au pair, and the girls who helped my mom cook the dinner at midnight to show them around town. Midnight shopping is a new concept for them so I got the go ahead from my parents. 

7:20 p.m: The family has settled in and we just finished dinner and dessert. Picture No. 4 shows the family at one of four tables we had set up. I had a 392 moment tonight because one of my cousins owns a few bars (one of my other cousins works with him). He told me that he needed to learn how Twitter works to promote his bars since that is the new marketing tool. I got them both set up with Twitter and Twitterberry so that they can now update from their phones. 

4:20 p.m: Strike that first phrase from my last post. Mom is starting to panic with 10 minutes before people arrive. My dad is stepping in by cutting the turkey as you will see in picture No. 3. People will be here shortly so I should probably be downstairs getting ready to greet people.  

2:45 p.m: Mom is relatively calm, but has made even more food than I originally thought. In other words, she could probably feed two third-world countries. I have no complaints though. My job for the past hour was to take my dog for a walk so she doesn't flip out when family comes in (see picture No. 2). Thanksgiving officially starts in T-105 minutes. 

1:02 p.m: iWebPhoto didn't work so I'm now switching my album to flickr. I talked to my grandma a little bit and have been watching my mom make food. I wanted to get an action shot, but she felt that she needed to be more dressed up before blogging on her cooking. 

Here is a link to my photo album

10 am Central Standard Time: Good morning everyone! I'm finally up, showered, and about to help my mom get ready for Thanksgiving. This has already been very interesting as my mom is nowhere near as stressed as she has been in the past because she hired help. Her help consists of two attractive girls from Denmark that I've been told are around my age. Aside from feeling a little uncomfortable about that, I'm looking forward to today. The family should be over at around 4:30, but there will be plenty of excitement before then. Check back throughout the day as I will be blogging about the day and will also have a photo album up on iWebPhoto. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Deerfield Review

As Scott pointed out, the Deerfield Review isn't exactly Mass Live when it comes to 21st century journalism. They just recently added a comments section but they also have blogs. None of those have to do with Deerfield, though.

The Sun-Times owns the news group that produces the Review which is why the paper and site are very similar. If there is any crime in Deerfield, it's usually for weed or DUI so the front page generally contains a lot of puff pieces like the one on the front page now about different Thanksgiving recipes. 

There are plenty of videos, but they seemed to be copied from the Sun-Times website. There are barely any ads and if there are any, they are Sun-Times related ads. Another thing I don't like is that there is too much news from other areas on the page and it's very plain looking.

I have to click on the Neighborhood Circle website (which I didn't even notice until Scott pointed it out to me) to get more information on Deerfield but even that is skimpy. They only thing from this site that catches my eye is the event page, but they're all pretty boring so I don't really care.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great criticism of ESPN

Any wanna be sports journalist should read Rick Telander's column about ESPN. It is about how ESPN is allowed to do whatever it wants because it hires so many columnists that nobody can challenge it and the only person who does is the Ombudsman, paid by ESPN. 

It's a great read.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chicago Tribune Photo Gallery

The Chicago Tribune does something every day that I think is a good way of getting the news across quickly and visually. It's called, "Photos in the news." The Tribune takes the top photos of the day that describe everything that happened around the world and put in a short caption with each of them.

I like this picture the best because it sort of resembles what journalists have to do since the woman is holding a video camera and digital camera. This picture is her getting shots of a tree that will be used in a holliday event.

The Big Picture

This picture comes from's "Big Picture" describing the California wild fires. I think using pictures to tell a story is an effective way of describing what happens and I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen more often. It's a good way of doing what you often hear from your English teachers, "show, don't tell."

I think the captions at the bottom do a good job of explaining what happened and for something like this, it could be useful but there aren't any quotes in the stories and I don't think it should replace regular reporting. I still like reading about what happened, but if there isn't much time to go over a news story, this is a good alternative. The pictures themselves are so big and crisp, that it's easy to see every detail in the picture. 

I also like that there are so many pictures to give a full description of what happened. The pictures show how bad the damage was and do a good job of drawing emotion. I chose the picture above because it's clear damage of what the fire is doing to a certain house and I'm sure a lot of people look at that and wonder how they would react if that was their house.

The only thing that I would really change about this is possibly making it so that the reader has to click to get to a new picture because otherwise it can take too long to load and there's too much scrolling. But I think the idea is really cool.

Monday, November 17, 2008


One family with a lot of puppies wanted to find a way to know what their puppies were doing at all times when they were away from home. They decided to put a web cam near the litter of puppies to solve that problem. Recently the Today Show published the family's site and now thousands of visitors watch the puppies as well. Here is the link to look at the puppies if you are interested.

Can Obama fix the BCS?

President-Elect Barack Obama may be leaning towards a new kind of sports reform in congress. No I'm not talking about steroids, but the Bowl Championship Series. Obama is dead-set on having an eight-team play-off in college football, going as far as saying, "I'll throw my weight around."

Deadspin does a good job of outlining Obama's plan for college football. It's actually pretty good and would be very fair for the teams who could be the college basketball version of Roger Mason. The BCS isn't too crazy about this idea at first saying there is no chance of such a change happening. They say that they are willing to talk, but we all know that's code for the president of the BCS saying to the president of the United States, "shut-up and let us govern ourselves."

But they like the enthusiasm. Economy? War in Iraq? Who cares, let's fix the BCS. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Conflict avoided

The Massachusetts men's basketball loss to Southern Illinois just barely saved a whole lot of problems for the Daily Collegian sports staff. If the Minutemen won, they would go on to play Duke at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 20 and most likely Michigan on Nov. 21. 

The way the current set-up is for the season would've made things a little problematic for this game. This semester, the beat writers for basketball are Jeff Larnard (Assistant Sports Editor), Scott Feldman, and me. It gets a little complicated from there. Feldman (graduating) and I (studying abroad) won't be covering the team next semester so our head Sports Editor, Eli Rosenswaike will cover the team with Jeff for the spring semester.

However, Eli still has the right to use his executive privilige and cover any game he wants to because he's Eli and he covered basketball last year. Our Editor in Chief, Michael King, also covered the team last year. Here would've been the pecking order for covering the Duke game: King, Eli, Jeff, Feldman, and then me. See the problem? 

The way it would've probably worked is King and Eli cover the Duke game and Jeff, Feldman, and I cover Michigan but there would've been no way of knowing what would've happened. Two big factors that can explain UMass blowing its lead. 1. Luke Bonner got injured, which caused the Minutemen to lose a solid big man (never thought I'd say that) and 2. Chris Lowe had nine turnovers. Coach Kellogg always likes to say how the team is run through its point guard and tonight that wasn't at all the case. 

Oh well, I'm sure SIU will have fun when Duke beats the crap out of it next Thursday. 

SIDE NOTE: Make sure to check out my final piece on women's soccer in the Collegian today. It's my first column ever on UMass sports. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

First thoughts on covering basketball

I went to my first UMass basketball game as a beat reporter last Tuesday. It was only an exhibition game, but it gave me a chance to see what covering the team was going to be like and so far, it's been great. 

UMass coach Derek Kellogg came over to greet all of us and asked if we got everything we needed the other day. He also thanked us all for covering the team. Kellogg has made it clear from the first time we met him that he is going to take us very seriously and cares a lot about how we cover the team. He has a one-track mind, which is making the Minutemen one of the best teams in the nation, and wants the fan-support that comes with it.

He believes part of getting that fan support is going to be based on how the Daily Collegian covers the team. Since we are the student paper, he feels like he has to make himself accessible to us so that we do a good job of covering UMass basketball and he gets the fan support that he wants. Granted, I'm not expecting him to give out his cell phone number anytime soon or even if he did, the Media Relations person, Jason Yellin isn't going to let him, but for a big-time beat, he is very friendly. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My election night

Unfortunately, I had to work on a journalism project for another class simultaneous to watching the election so I wasn't able to go out, however I do have one distinct moment from my dorm of what happened when Obama won.

Almost my entire floor ran out of their rooms and screamed about how happy they are and everyone made calls to friends and family. Almost right at 11 p.m., I had about three calls, two text messages, and six instant messages. That was an interesting experience of its own.

Election Night

I don't think I've ever seen as many anchors cry over news they are reporting as much as they did after President-elect Barack Obama officially won at 11 p.m. on Tuesday night.

The networks were celebrating (except for Fox, who as John Stewart said is probably sitting shiva at the moment) and all talked about how he was going to change America. The one thing that I actually thought was most interesting was how they used technology.

MSNBC used more 3D graphics than anyone I've ever seen as they had a digital senate showing which ones went blue and which were red. But CNN far outdid anyone, especially with that hologram of Jessica Yellin

The only problem I had with it is that it takes away from some of the atmosphere, although there was a combination of the hologram and live footage of Grant Park, so I had no problem with it. In addition, they used that touch-screen map to show how McCain and Obama were doing.

The interesting part that came out of that was where they went to traditionally conservative parts of any state at random and the deficit that Obama was losing to McCain was always marginally smaller than Kerry to Bush. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Comparison between Instapundit and Daily Kos

I'm sure this isn't some groundbreaking research or anything, but I found Daily Kos to be extremely liberal. Nearly every video praised Barack Obama or talked about how he was winning. They embed a lot of videos and write their own opinions. 

The post that I thought was most interesting was on Nov. 3 where Dixville Notch, NH shows the history of their voting record and how it relates to the possible winner of the election. Obama is the first candidate since at least 1984 to win that town, which has traditionally gone Republican. 

A little further down, Daily Kos shows an unwanted endorsement from President Bush to John McCain saying that he agrees with him on the economy and national security. There are also Obama ads on the site. 

Instapundit on the other hand seems more bias towards McCain. Their blog seems to be more about posting short little comments and linking out to the rest of the full stories. It seems to have more sensationalist news as well. One thing that really got to me was this comment they had, linking to ABC News.

Among the other voters who have shown up to vote at Shoesmith Elementary School this morning, where Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will vote: Louis Farrakhan and William Ayers.


Welcome to the South Side of Chicago.

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's all over

The Massachusetts women's soccer team concluded over the weekend with two losses to extend its losing streak to five games. Aside from a feature on Vanessa Lima, I have one more interview with Coach Rudy, which will help me write a column and David Brinch write a season review on the team. Brinch wrote a piece on all the seniors finishing their careers while I wrote the wrap, which quite frankly, is irrelevant considering how the team was doing lately. What the game was really about was watching Coach Rudy's favorite or at least one of his favorite senior classes play their last game for UMass. 

If I was to talk about my favorite memory at UMass this semester, it would have to be one of the women's soccer games I went to. I can't remember the last time I actually had fun covering a team. Covering a team always carries a significant amount of fun or else I wouldn't be doing journalism, but this was different. 

Part of it definitely had to do with working with Brinch, who is my best friend on the staff, but I always felt like I was welcomed at every game and enjoyed every second that I covered the team.

For the rest of the year, I will be doing men's basketball, which is certainly more glamorous than women's soccer, but I doubt it will be as fun. Media day was today for the basketball team and it basically consisted of me shoving a recorder in front of Coach Kellogg and Chris Lowe's face, hoping that someone else would ask the rest of the questions that I couldn't get with my one or two shots I had at asking anything.

Kellogg seems to care about the student newspaper a lot, but he's no Rudy and the cliches killed me. He couldn't be given how high-profile D1 basketball is. After interviews, I got probably the best meal I've had all semester here with steak as the main course. It was for the basketball players, media, and media relations. The truth is that there was enough food that both basketball teams and both soccer teams could have eaten at this thing and everyone would be full.

I only bring this up because last week Rudy talked to me in an interview about how upset he was that he couldn't treat the team as often as he would like because of the budget restrictions while the basketball team had lobsters. It was nice getting to have such a good meal, but that whole time I kept thinking about Rudy telling us how the budget affected how he approached meals on the road. 

I know that basketball season is going to be a good experience and is the best beat on the Collegian. But in return, I know that I'm not going to laugh as much as I did covering women's soccer. 

Election predictions

With the election finally here, I figured I would give a prediction of how I think the election is going to turn out. Here is my state-by-state prediction along with a numbers total at the end.

McCain states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennesee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

Obama states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine (3-1), Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Final prediction: Obama wins, 300-238

I feel like there is a lot of hype concerning the red states turning blue. That may be true but it's more likely that it's going to come down to some swing states once again. I don't see Obama winning any southern states besides New Mexico and I don't think he wins Pennsylvania as Clinton's ghost comes back to haunt him for only a few hours. What's really going to matter are Ohio and Missouri.

Ohio has the demographic that Obama really wants to appeal to and that is the working class. I think Obama makes a strong push to get more voters to show up and ultimately edges McCain in that area. Missouri seems to be going more blue by the second. I also expect that to be a close race, but the undecided voters are going to go for Obama.

This race should be decided relatively early as there aren't any West Coast states that are going to have a profound impact on the election. I expect Obama to know if he wins by 11 or midnight, but he's not going to say officially until he gets California, which could take awhile.

Side note: The reason why Maine has two numbers next to it is because the state is not winner takes all. I am predicting Obama gets three of the delegates because of the proportion of the win.