Project by Stephanie McPherson, Ted Rodgers, Lucas Correia and Kevin Koczwara.

Out of Town News and Reader Reaction to Situation Video

Reader Reaction to Boston Globe Crisis

The New York Times Co. hasn’t closed down Boston’s largest daily newspaper, for now. The Boston Globe remains open with a certain feeling of dread. The dread comes from not knowing how long the Times Co. can keep financing a product that loses $20 million a day, and the uncertainty hung over the paper for the month of April and into May.

An open rally for readers and workers to show their support was organized at Faneuil Hall on Friday, April 24, early afternoon. The time frame allowed workers in the area to show their support. Although many would not comment on their feelings on the situation because they were skipping work, some did speak about how the loss of the paper would affect them.

“I think it would be a tremendous loss,” said Jerry Lewis, an Electrician on lunch break. “It’s a nationally recognized institution.”

The Globe’s closure would have been seen as a huge loss to the Boston community. “The Boston Globe is the leading voice of New England and if it were to go silent, we’d lose an institution that has become part of our regional identity,” said Meredith O’Brien, a columnist and author living in the MetroWest area.

“The Globe leads the charge in covering state government and holding the Commonwealth’s leaders accountable,” she said. “And, as a former reporter for the Boston Herald, I’d be tremendously saddened to see the city lose its coveted status as a two-newspaper town. Having journalistic competition keeps reporters on their toes, keeps ‘em sharp and, whatever stories one paper doesn’t have, the other likely does, a yin and yang, particularly when it comes to their editorial leanings.”

Founded in 1872, the Globe has been a staple in newsstands since the turn of the century. “Every day Globe readers wake up and learn about each other, about the places we live, what’s important to us, about the events, the institutions, the forces that affect our lives,” said Brian Mooney, Globe reporter.

Printed seven days a week, the paper has evolved over the years alongside technology. Boston.com was started in 1995, giving users and readers up-to-date information for free. The Web site brings in revenue, however minimal, from ad space. The innovations have saved the company some money as its distribution numbers have slumped over the years.

City Council President Michael Ross added his voice to the Faneuil Hall rally. Even if the paper may not always be on his side, he said, he stands by it. “Newspapers serve as a touchstone for our community, which ultimately makes our country, city and government better,” Ross said.

The rally showed its diversity in voices by bringing in Neiman Fellow and Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Jackson of the Chicago Tribune, a Boston native. He sees the paper as a necessary piece of government.

“Every day Globe reporters comb the corridors of power and the public alleyways, and they shed light. They bring forth vested facts, and they spark the conversation on which our democracy depends,” Jackson said to the crowds.

O’Brien feels the same. “Without the Globe, I shudder to think of the number of stories that would go uncovered and the things with which the folks at the State House would be able to do knowing there aren’t many reporters keeping tabs on them,” she said.

Dan Totten, president of the Boston Newspaper Guild, sees the paper as a landmark for the Boston area. “The Boston Globe is far too important to the life of New England to ever be placed in jeopardy,” says Totten, whose Guild will need to ratify the new contact that has been negotiated between the Guild and The New York Times Co.

The 190 guaranteed jobs and more than $10 million in pay cuts have been agreed upon, now The Boston Newspaper Guild must vote ratify the new terms of their contacts at the June 8 meeting. This must surely be done or the New York Times Co. will have to close shop to one of the nations oldest and largest daily papers, and make Boston a one paper city.

Future of Journalism Video

Where to Go From Here

With the newspaper industry in a desperate search for a business model that pays, many critics have begun to brainstorm what the new face of media will be. As early as March of 1993, Michael Crichton wrote a piece for a fledgling magazine called Wired.

The article, titled “Mediasaurus“, predicted the Web would mean a diversity of one topic news websites, artificial intelligence systems that could find stories he was interested in, and a host of other ideas. He also suggested newspapers, that in the far off year of 2008, would be gone for good.

After the Globe’s month long standoff with the New York Times, the debate over the future of the media has reached a frenzied pitch. As Crichton’s essay prophesied, the Internet is brimming with possibilities, but not certainties.

One of the main reasons for the newspaper industries’ decline has been the drop-off in both advertising and classifieds. Due to the rise of the internet, advertisers have found different venues and classifieds have become free.

While touring the Boston Globe offices, long tine photographer George Rizer pointed to a group of desks covered in old papers and unused equipment. “See those?” he said, “Those desks used to have tons of people taking classifieds, at all times of the day. Now, they’re gone.” Rizer went on to predict that in the next five years, one third of all newspapers will fold.

Veterans of the newspaper industry have their own ideas for how to keep the presses running. Jim Foudy, editor of the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, enjoys his system for keeping the Gazette in print.

“The newspapers shot themselves in the foot by providing free content, and Craigslist has done a number on our wanted ads and classifieds,” he said. To stay afloat, the Gazette requires a subscription to view its web content.

The Gazette model is a rarity in the online newspaper circuit because it requires cash to use. Foudy admits that needing a subscription probably keeps readership from reaching its full potential This roadblock has led other editors take a different approach.

Boston.com, the site on which the Boston Globe posts all of its material, is free for anyone who chooses to use it. Bennie DiNardo, one of the deputy of managers of multimedia content at the Globe, has a different philosophy. “Our business is to deliver the news, no matter what the format,” he said. “To quote Arthur Sulzberger, head of the New York Times, we need to be agnostic about how people get their news.”

While newspapers continue to experiment with possible business models that will allow them to put content on the web while making a profit, other groups in the media are trying different methods.

One development occurring in the media sphere is the rise of citizen journalists. Often unpaid, these men and women report on issues that affect their communities. Opinions on the future of citizen journalists are mixed. Critics of the current media feel that citizen journalists offer news without agendas, a fault that the mass media is often accused of having. Critics of the current media feel that citizen journalists, like Rizer, say that amateur journalists practice an exercise in egomania that will lead to news without
substance.

Some branches of the media are working overtime to fill in the gaps left by the newspapers‘ decline. Cambridge Community Television, a public television station set up in Boston, is starting to use citizen journalists for a project called Neighbor Media, with the eventual goal of putting a journalist in every zip code in Cambridge. Colin Rhinesmith, director of the project said, “to have residents see people they know reporting is inspiring. Seeing them produce stories that effect them is truly media by the people, for the people.”

CCTV may be a good place to start when looking for the new face of the media. It presents itself as a merchant of information newsworthy to those in the local community, users of nonprofessional talent, and is endlessly inventive. A project using the program GoogleMaps, called MediaMap shows how the new media is shaping up. One can zoom into a map of Boston, choose a location, and watch, listen, or read a news story that happened the spot. Rhinesmith says that this is an especially exciting development for those with mobile devices.

MediaMap is interesting for an additional reason. Another attempt at divining the future of the media predicted a hypothetical, hyperlocal media program that used GoogleMaps. Called EPIC, it would become the ultimate answer in media. In an interesting turn, it was predicted that this program would be made only after the almighty New York Times folded.

Jim Foudy said, “the newspaper business is in flux, but the principles of journalism are here to stay.” Some parts of the media are gloating at a bigger role in making the news, other parts are doing scrambling to hold the newspaper above the water. One suspects that when the dust finally clears in the media’s civil war, the winner will be something both very similar -yet very different- from the models already predicted.

“I am very afraid of poetry dying,” said Genevieve Crane, the mind behind the combination of student read poetry combined with Sweets and More called Sweets & Stanzas.

“It [Sweets & Stanzas] is my relay for life,” Crane said after the reading had dispersed and the patrons had started to mingle, drink the provided coffee and munch on cookies and brownies. The 20 or so students had sat quietly, listening, nodding and reading other people’s work for an hour. People stopped in, looked at the crowd in the hall of Bartlett bewildered, but that didn’t phase any of the readers or the listeners.

“I am happy about this turnout,” Crane said. “A reading this size is perfect. It is intimate.” What appeared to be a small gathering was actually a good turnout for the reading series. It has been going on for the past few years, and the turnouts have varied, but always seeming to be small and not well publicized.

The readers read from original works, after a Robert Graves poem read as an ice breaker. Some read from notebooks, leather bound and handwritten, others from scrap paper scribbles and a few from printed copies. Each person showed their own style off not only with words but how they read. Some people’s nerves caused them to stumble, others swayed and trailed to a whisper, giggles were popular-caused by butterflies naturally fluttering out their mouths-and the occasional memorization of a few lines gave the audience an introduction to a reader’s eyes. Each reading had its own flavor, and gave each work its own personality. No one way works better than another when reading poetry.

Crane looked into the hallway through the large glass windows of the entrance way while smoking a cigarette outside. She saw a successful gathering of enthusiastic writers and readers, a community building before her eyes. “This is my favorite part. Seeing people mingle, getting to know one another” she said.

It was an introduction to new acquaintances and a reminiscing of old friends.

UMass students and other people in the Amherst area are invited to read tonight in the lobby of Bartlett Hall at 7:45 p.m. It is an open mic where students can either read poetry or short prose, displaying their original works for spectators. These events always sound fun to me, even though I never participate, I always have wanted too. But tonight I will be taking photos, trying to talk to people, the usual reporter stuff.

I asked the student in charge of the event for an interview, and because she is a student and working time just ran out. But I got this nice e-mail eexplaining the event this morning when I woke up.

“The reading is tomorrow at 7:45, and here are the basics:
The reading is open to anyone who wants to come and share their work. It will be held in Bartlett lobby and it’s an excellent opportunity for fellow poets to encourage and inspire each other. Prose is welcome as well. Sweets and More will be catered at the event, and there will also be coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Sweets and Stanzas is hosted by the Student Advisory Board, a group of students with varying backgrounds in the English major. The reading will hopefully serve as a successful protege for the future — I’d love these readings to gain a stronger support group and this event looks really promising.”
-Genevieve

MassReview.org

MassReview.org

The ninth annual Juniper Literary Festival is happening this weekend, starting tomorrow at 6 p.m. with the Independent Press Fair. The festival will take place in the UMass Fine Arts Center (FAC) lobby and the University Gallery in the basement of the FAC. The festival consists of a few round table events and a series of readings by published poets.

I got to speak with Lisa Olstein, director of “Team Juniper,” about the festival and its prominence in the Amherst Community.

“The MFA program plays a large part in the community (Amherst Literary) community),” said Olstein. “It’s one of the oldest in the country and been home to some well-known and famous writers like James Baldwin, and James Tate­-Tate still being with us. Having this program gives us a longevity presence.”

That presence has been felt here for quite sometime. The Juniper Reading Series has been around for 45 years and has hosted some important poets over the years. Olstein mentioned William Carlos Williams for an example of one famous poet who spoke in the Juniper Reading Series, now hosted in the Jones Library.

“The Long standing presence has allowed us to enhance the tradition that was started many years back, and having the Five Colleges in the area helps,” said Olstein.

The festival started in 2000 as the BigSmallPressFest and their Web Page says this of the festival “the festival is a yearly gathering of poets, writers, editors, publishers, scholars, and readers. Dedicated to celebrating exciting new work and exploring issues vital to the literary arts and independent publishing it hosts two days of readings, addresses, panels, and a book and journal fair.”

Olstein added to this by giving me some feedback about why the festival was exactly started.  “There was a renaissance of new projects starting up. New journals and printing presses were cropping up and a lot of these small printers were printing vibrant and important poetry and fiction.”

The Festival is also coinciding with The Massachusetts Review celebration of their 50 anniversary and the publishing fair is a part of Amherst’s 250 anniversary celebration.

8 p.m. Friday night will mark the beginning of the readings. The Anne Halley Memorial Reading will be conducted by Marilyn Hacker with Shira Erhlichma and Amy Leach.

Saturday the festival will start up again 12:30 p.m. with the press fair re-opening and then an address by Eric Lorberer. It will be followed by an editor’s roundtable at 1:30 p.m. and more readings at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Poets who will be Reading:

–          Christian Hawky

–          Thomas Glaze

–          Missoula Oblongata

–          Yusef Komunyakaa

–          Lucy Corin

–          Le thi diem thuy

Richard Clarke speaks at University of Massachusetts Amherst
By Stephanie McPherson and Kevin Koczwara

The danger of another war looms over head of the United States and it will be fought with the use of the Internet, or so believes Richard Clarke. There will not be any machine guns or bombs, just computers communicating over networks.

Richard Clarke, a government counter-terrorism expert who has been active in Washington for over 30 years, spoke on Thursday, April 2 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Engineering Lab II to a standing room only crowd about Iraq, Afghanistan, and a third war that may be on its way.

“Two of the wars are very well known,” Clarke said. They are ongoing. They are, in fact, the type of war that’s been going on for over 200 years, insurgencies. And the third, where we’re going to get a little bit geeky, is to talk about the next kind of war that could happen. That is the war in cyberspace.”

Starting in Iraq and moving to Afghanistan, Clarke outlined four step plans for each war that would help lead to their ends. Clarke’s build up of plausible war strategies allowed for a transition into the third war, the war in cyberspace.

With his insider knowledge of the military and its potential, Clarke went into an explanation about the Internet becoming the next tool for war.

Relating cyber-warfare to nuclear warfare, Clarke drew up plans for a guideline to safe and fair use of technology. His outline resembled what was done to regulate nuclear war, based on a set of rules that kept the Cold War in check.

The Internet and its near infinite possibilities is so integrated into the American culture that U.S. society has become dependent on its services, according to Clarke. People trade stocks and assets, purchase, sell and conduct personal banking with nothing more than a mouse click. And hackers run amok online stealing identities, money, and controlling other networks and computers through code.

“Here it [the Internet] is a blessed anarchy,” said Clarke of America’s deregulated Internet. He compared the United States Internet to China’s severely restricted network. Clarke believed that while freedom of the Web is good in some cases, certain critical functions should be taken offline.

“What can we do to secure cyberspace?” He asked.

Clarke proposed a system of steps and procedures to help prevent cyber warfare. One important step was to avoid mincing words and get straight to the point.

“Declare that if any nation attacks the United States in cyber space and any American civilian is hurt, or our economy or infrastructure is hurt, we will retaliate,” Clarke said.

At the conclusion of the speech, Clarke continued with a question and answer session. He fielded questions on Israel and Palestine, the Iraq war and the situation in Darfur.

One speech attendee asked why the military is willing to release tactical information to the press and public.

“Because that’s how democracy works,” Clarke said. “For democracy to work correctly there needs to be communication.”

Clarke spoke as part of the Sidney Topol Distinguished Lecturer Series. His speech was originally scheduled for October, but was postponed when Clarke became a part of President Obama’s campaign and transition team.

It’s almost every University of Massachusetts Amherst student’s dream – to wake up to the world wrapped in winter. Roads closed, classes cancelled, dining common trays ready to become sleds. But while students are coasting down Orchard Hill, the UMass Buildings and Grounds services toil away to clear the roads.

When the ice melts and those same students toss around a Frisbee on the freshly thawed library lawn, the Building and Grounds crew smoothes out muddy tire tracks and fills in potholes.

This winter in particular has been tough on the grounds and roadways of UMass. With 29 storms to date, Buildings and Grounds services have to deal with not only cleanup, but pothole maintenance as well.

Pam Monn, assistant director for UMass Buildings and Grounds services credited unpredictable New England weather as the cause of potholes.

“As we have this freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw cycle, the blacktop begins to breakaway, it also begins to heave. If it happens multiply times you have a humongous pothole,” she said. The ice gets under the black top then, as it thaws, it pushes the pavement up and out, leaving a gaping hole just waiting to pop a tire.

The Buildings and Grounds services options for pothole fixes are limited for the months between Thanksgiving and Easter, a time when black top companies are closed.

“We have really at our disposal only temporary patching materials – a product that they call a cold patch,” said Monn. Dirt is not an option, since, with the next snowstorm, it would be turned into mud. Gravel is also not optimal because it gets kicked out of the hole and onto the blacktop. Even the cold patch is not a perfect fix. It is susceptible to the same freeze and thaw cycle problems pavement faces.

“To do a good fix, we need the hot patch. So, we are biding our time through the winter to get us to March or April when the potholes can be fixed with hot patch,” Monn said.

Along with icy winter roads comes the inevitable salt and sand. Or, as UMass students have discovered, the use of a mysterious product akin to soy sauce.

For seven years, UMass has been using this “brown goo” called Ice-Be-Gone. This bi-product of distillation is eco-friendly and less expensive than salt and sand, but yields the same results. The solution is sprayed pre-snowstorm to prevent snow and ice from sticking to the sidewalks and roads.

“We moved to it because it is biodegradable, friendlier to the environment,” said Monn. “It helps us reduce the amount of road salt, which is not good for the environment. And it also helps us reduce the amount of sand that we put out.” The reduced use of sand saves Buildings and Grounds services the purchase cost and lessens the time needed for clean-up come spring.

When the weather finally warms, the grounds crew is also in charge of the landscaping on campus. They mow the grass, rake the leaves, trim trees and shrubs, tend to the flower beds and plant new trees around campus.

“You’ll see a lot of clumps and divots in the ground from the snow plowing,” said Monn. “So we need to clean those up and reseed… We patch, we put new loom down, new fertilizer, and reseed on those areas that were hardest hit.”

Rain, shine or snow, Buildings and Grounds services employees make sure UMass looks its finest during any season.

“For my department, weather doesn’t stop them,” Monn said.

Sorry I haven’t been active here. Working on a multimedia slide-show for a class on the weather and the toll it is taking on the physical plants budget here at UMass. There will be an audio slide-show up in the next 2 weeks.

Next week is vacation and I plan on teaching over that break, somewhere. I am working on a few story ideas, maybe some profiles of stores in the area, the economic crisis they may be feeling and some features on writers in the area.

I’ll keep you posted over break.