The Boston Globe Review: 8-year-old student dies in San Bernardino school shooting + Final Thoughts

Original Story 

The shooting that took place at North Park School Elementary School in San Bernardino, CA, was covered by every major news outlet by the end of Monday night. However, this particular article stood out to me for an unsettling reason.

The story, “8-year-old student dies in San Bernardino school shooting”  by Christopher Weber had a headline that immediately made me emotional and shocked. I had been following the shooting earlier that day on twitter, but this was the first time I had heard that a child had died due to their injuries at the attack. I chose to read this article as opposed to another article because of how instantly upsetting it is to read that an 8-year-old has passed away, and my first instinct was to find out more about the child.

Weber is not a member of the globe staff, he is an outside writer with the Associated Press. I thought that this was smart for the Boston Globe to use an outside reporter. In recent years the Globe has cut down their budget to focus on reporting news in Boston and Massachusetts, and using an outside reporter who is based in LA allows them to get better information published faster.

The article was well written and reported, but my main problem with it was that Weber barely mentioned the 8-year-old boy that had been killed. He used his name once, (Jonathan Martinez) in the nut graph and did not write about him again. Instead, the story repeated details about the attack that I had already heard of throughout the day, as well as some background information on the district.

I understand that at that point it would have been difficult to get a quote from the boy’s family or find any information on him, but the fact that the reporter used such a shocking title and then did not tell us anything more about the 8-year-old student that had died was off-putting to me. It brought up the question of if a reporter should use the most attention grabbing titles for their stories to get people to read them, even if it is slightly misleading. One could definitely make that argument, but during this emotional time, I was upset and felt misinformed.

Final Thoughts on the Boston Globe Review

Looking back, I feel that the most important factors in reporting are staying objective and finding people who will give you great interviews and quotes. Many of the stories that I read were well researched and reported, but because I felt that the journalist was using biased language, I felt like I could not take everything that they were staying at complete truth value. The articles that were written with much more objective and unbiased language stood out to me as seeming more mature and well thought out.

The emotion in reporting should not come from the journalist, but should come from the quotes that a journalist collects. There were some stories that I felt would have been extremely boring or dull if not for the incredible interviews and quotes that the reporters pulled. Using an emotional quote in an article is much more effective than allowing your own emotions to come through in the writing.

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The Boston Globe Review: Woman who lost arm in boat incident says she is ‘a shell of who I was’

Original Story

The article titled “Woman who lost arm in boat incident says she is ‘a shell of who I was’” written by globe correspondent Dylan McGuinness is an interesting case of reporting because it covers the litigation process of a boating incident that happened in 2015.

What struck me about this article was how McGuinness was at a reporting disadvantage. He was not breaking the news that 19-year-old woman who was struck by a boat and lost her arm, which would have been an extremely compelling and shocking story regardless of how it is reported and written. Instead, McGuinness had to write about the legal process of reparations and punishment for the parties involved more than two years after; court cases, with their length and tedious nature, are much less compelling to a reader than an actual story reporting the event in real time.

However, McGuinness was able to tap into the parts of a legal preceding that are emotional and fascinating to an audience.  He smartly puts the most intense quote in the title of his article, when the woman who lost her arm Nicole Berthiaume says that her injury makes her feel like,  “a shell of who [she] was.” The rest of the story integrates tedious details about the legal details of the case, but always goes back to a personal quote from Berthiaume that humanizes the story in a necessary way.

What I took away from this article is that there are no such thing as a boring news story  if you are able to find people affected and share their perspective in an effective way.


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The Boston Globe Review: Robbery, rape suspect is ‘person of interest’ in Lynn murder

Original Story

The metro article titled, “Robbery, rape suspect is ‘person of interest’ in Lynn murder” written by Globe Staffer Laura Grimaldi covers a murder suspect in the shooting of a young Iranian immigrant in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The article begins with an anecdotal lead describing the last interaction that the shooting victim had with his colleague before his death. It starts with, “Mohammadreza Zangiband and Marven Abda on Monday left to make deliveries from the roast beef restaurant in Lynn where they’d worked together for more than a year.They had no idea it was the last time they would see each other alive.A short time later, Abda learned Zangiband, an aspiring commercial pilot and Iranian immigrant, had been shot dead about 5:50 p.m. as he took a shortcut en route to delivering food in Lynn. The man known as Sina was Abda’s best friend, neighbor, colleague, and fellow immigrant.”

I thought that this was a very strong lead that immediately plays to the reader’s emotions by reminding them that the victim was a normal person with a job, aspirations and a home. I thought that taking time to humanize and draw empathy for the victim this was an important part of this story, especially since Zangiband was an Iranian immigrant and might face prejudice and assumptions from readers who just see his immigration status and race.

The suspect in the murder case is 21 year old Brian G. Brito, who in addition to the murder alledgely broke into a convenience store, “sexually assaulted the clerk, emptied the cash register, and stole lottery tickets before fleeing.”

It was an important detail to me that there was so much personal information about the person who was killed by Brito but the store clerk was not even mentioned by name. This shows that even though Grimaldi probably would have been able to collect as much information on the store clerk as she did the murder victim, she chose to leave the victim of sexual assault of anonymous, as many journalist do in cases that involve rape.

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Nut Graphs

Boston Globe

“Public hearing doesn’t solve much for smoky marijuana law”

“Together, the varied testimony Monday at the first hearing of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy reflected the complexities of the legalization measure passed by 1.8 million voters last fall. At the core of questions from lawmakers was how to balance their competing responsibilities: respecting the voice of the voters, while adjusting the cannabis law to best protect public health and maintain order.”

This nut graph was effective because it mentioned who the committee at the hearing was, what is is trying to accomplish, and mentioned the questions that the hearing was trying to solve that made it news worthy.

New York Times

“F.B.I. Is Investigating Trump’s Russia Ties, Comey Confirms”

“The New York Times and other news organizations have reported the existence of the investigation into the Trump campaign and its relationship with Russia, but the White House dismissed those reports as politically motivated and rallied political allies to rebut them. Mr. Comey’s testimony on Monday was the first public acknowledgment of the case. The F.B.I. discloses its investigations only in rare circumstances, when officials believe it is in the public interest.”

This nut graph was effective because it gave sufficient background information on an extremely convoluted and complicated issue. However, it also mentioned a line on the bulk of the story and mentioned that the F.B.I only discloses information like this in rare circumstances, which gives the story news value.


“House Leaders Seeking Health Care Votes Eye New York Republicans”

“The move — one of a number of late changes designed to gain more votes — would affect New York State only. It could save county governments outside of New York City $2.3 billion a year. But it could shift costs to state taxpayers or deny New York that same total in matching federal aid if the state continues to require those counties to contribute to the cost of Medicaid. Upstate New York Republicans, backed by local government officials, pressed for the measure over the angry opposition of New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo.”

I liked this nut graph because it mentioned both the positive and negative affects of the particular bill. The rest of the article goes on to compare the pros and cons of shifting Medicaid costs from New York’s counties to its state government, so this paragraph and the beginning gives the reader a good idea of what is going to come later on.

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SGA Town Hall Sparks Debate on Clean Energy and Gentrification


By Jillian WrigleyIMG_5480.jpg

PHOTO: sophomore finance major Max Wagner presenting referenda questions on behalf of HEAT 

Northeastern students speaking at a campus forum on Wednesday want the school to consider holing referendums on renewable energy plastic water bottles and neighborhood construction projects.

Groups submitted referenda questions at the forum sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) and gathered in the Curry West Mezzanine.

The town hall style forum provided an open platform for students to decide which referenda questions the undergraduate student body will be able to vote on when the spring direct election ballot is released on March 16th.

“Over the years, we’ve seen significant student interest [in the referenda],” said one of the event organizers, fourth-year information science major and SGA president Elliot Horen. “I think referenda are an important mechanism for students to express their concerns and calls of action to the university.”

After presentations by sponsors from Husky Environmental Action Team (HEAT) and Students Against Institutional Discrimination (SAID), the audience was able to decide if each question passed the following criteria: “adherence to university policy, fairness of wording, and feasibility.”

Two of the three submitted referenda questions were proposed by sophomore finance major Max Wagner, a representative of HEAT.

HEAT’s first proposal calls on the administration to add water fountain installations in more locations around campus and review the efficiency of existing renewable energy sources with the goal of carbon neutrality.

Their second referendum question was a call on the university to stop selling plastic water bottles from dining services on campus.

“Look at the universities around us,” said Wagner. “Looking at Harvard, MIT, all of these Massachusetts schools are leading the field in renewable energy while Northeastern has really fallen behind, even though we like to call ourselves leaders in green energy and sustainability.”

The next referenda question was proposed by members from SAID, who advocated for the creation of a new council consisting of community members to give input on university projects

“Look, Northeastern has expressed multiple times that they are, ‘deeply invested in preserving Boston urban life’” said Jaclyn Roache, a fourth year political science major and sponsor from SAID took the microphone and responded. But it’s our job to tell them that this is something the students want and something that should be done.”

Rebecca Raffo, a second year political science major who was in the audience said she enjoyed the debate.

“People were really receptive to what the authors were saying and I think the authors presented their cases very well. I personally think all three referenda proposals are really good ideas, especially if when we vote, they’re backed by student interest. That’s what really matters, what the students want.”


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The Boston Globe Review: MBTA could cut weekend commuter rail service

Original Story

The Boston Globe metro article titled “MBTA could cut weekend commuter rail service” by globe staffer Nicole Dungca covered the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is proposal to eliminate all weekend commuter rail service to close a $42 million budget deficit. Though the topic of the article is not inherently political, I felt that the journalist used surprisingly opinionated and unbiased language.

In the second line, Dungca describes the proposal as being “far more dramatic than many advocates expected” before detailing what the cuts would entail. As a reader, I felt that this input was unnecessary. It was not even followed with any actual quotes or attributions of advocates who felt this way, and it seemed as if the writer’s own personal opinions was coming before the actual reporting.

Dungca continued to add bias language concerning the MBTA budget cuts, like writing “Under Governor Charlie Baker, the MBTA has adopted a number of unpopular changes.” Again, she did not add any data or attributions that would support the claim that the MBTA     has made decisions that a large number of people have disagreed with, and it made the article appear like an opinion piece as opposed to a metro piece.

I think that this article could have been a stronger example of metro reporting if it included more interviews from people off of the streets of Boston and made some sort of data or graph to show its unpopularity instead of just stating it.

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The Boston Globe Review: Residents in Conway stunned by tornado’s wrath

Original Story

Sometimes, journalism is at its strongest when the journalist knows how to use other mediums besides reporting to tell the story.

This is what I was thinking when I read, “Residents in Conway stunned by tornado’s wrath” written by Globe Staffer Andy Rosen. The article was a piece dedicated to the reactions of Massachusetts residents after experiencing a tornado.

I enjoyed the descriptive lead that Rosen chose to use, beginning the piece by telling the personal story of a women and her husband whose roof was ripped off of their house during the storm. The journalist got strong anecdotes about how the tornado affected normal citizens and the devastation of how their homes have been destroyed.

One of the strongest quotes from the article was from the women, Linda McDaniel, who when describing how her friend’s damaged home looked said, “it was like looking into a dollhouse,” referring to the how the entire front wall was gone.

Though Rosen did an excellent job with describing the devastation and damage, it was the multiple photographs from Globe photographer David L. Ryan that gave me the best understanding of the situation.

Instead of including one photographs at the beginning of the article like most globe stories, this article used four or five pictures throughout the story. These images were just as powerful as the quotes and anecdotes that Rosen collected from reporting, if not more.

A picture of a destroyed home or collapsed trees and telephone poles shows the reader what the damage physically looks like instead of forcing them to imagine it. That is why personally, in natural disasters like this one, I believe that photo and visual journalism thrive.

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