Study Abroad: An Infographic

An infographic is an effective method of presenting data and information that is both clear and aesthetically pleasing. I decided to create an infographic on Boston University’s Study Abroad program. The infographic includes the program’s mission statement, an illustration of where in the world the programs are, statistics, a word grid with more information, and contact & deadline information embedded in a postcard.

The infographic was created using Adobe InDesign. Please excuse any unclear pixelation that derived from exporting the file into a supported version for this web page.

study-abroad-infographic

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The Final Assignment: Boston.com vs. Boston Globe

Throughout this semester’s course, I have had the opportunity to familiarise myself with two different news sources. These are Boston.com and Boston Globe. By choosing specific articles from both sources I was able to learn their unique styles and compare their effectiveness in presentation, clarity, launching features, using different multimedia, and driving traffic/being accessible across different platforms.

The beginning of the semester I focused on Boston.com. Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed. Though there was a good balance of stories with local news, national news, and categories including weather, sports, culture, travel, cars, and real estate. Yet, the website, in general was difficult to navigate and make sense of.

Once you clicked on an article, a McDonalds advert pops up, and the lower third of the screen is an additional pop-up advert nagging you to sign up for Boston Globe’s free newsletter. Naturally, this probes for a delayed start in reading the respective article.

The articles are typically text-heavy with one single image at the top of the screen, which sometimes did not showcase the subject of the article. Granted that it is a regional website that offers an assemblage of Boston news and features, it lacks clarity and ease of navigation. Though there is a lot of potential for being an effective source to gather quick information on the latest news and stories, it would not be my news source of choice.

I shifted my focus to Boston Globe’s online news source. The immediate difference is the level of clarity and the depth and breadth of the articles. It is essentially an electronic version of the newspaper, but it allowed for swift information to be learnt, with links to other articles of interest, and there is a much more thorough platform of sharing the articles, and an active comment section in most articles studied. Additionally, this news source includes more sections such as Metro, Business & Tech, Opinion, and Politics.

Though it covers hard news, my favourite article studied and critiqued was “Theo Epstein for president”. It was published during the period of the U.S. presidential election’s high point, coming close to the final decision. The article, though simply formatted with one single image and the rest text, offered a remarkably refreshing take on politics, by presenting Theo Epstein (president of the World Series champions the Chicago Cubs) as a presidential candidate.

The level of reporting in Boston Globe is much higher than in Boston.com, giving longer articles more specific information, where possible. In the latest newstrack I published, I praised the Globe for providing not only images, but also a video of a Cambridge fire. There is more dedication to presenting the information in an appealing way in the Boston Globe.

Overall, it was a pleasure to get to know both news sources on a deeper level, however if I were to gather my headlines and information from one of them, I’d most definitely choose Boston Globe.

When the fire starts to burn: A Cambridge Catastrophe

“More than 100 people are displaced after Cambridge fire”

Hard news is always appealing. I immediately clicked on the Cambridge fire story and was pleased to be met with a video, which launched straight into the story. The opening natural sound at the top was the fire sirens and the image zoomed into the bright orange fire with the accompanying cloud of smoke growing larger and larger. The image then changed to another angle, further away, which showed the extent of the smoke. A Boston Globe correspondent explained the surroundings on site with voice over. The correspondent then mentioned they had a Facebook Live feature, which is a pertinent feature to drive traffic and reach a wide scope of audience.

The author opens the printed story with the angle of a Bangladeshi family standing behind yellow tape to the side of their burning down house, allowing the reader to picture the poignant scene. The damage of the fire is explained along with the precise information stamps, such as the time and place of the fire, and the number of people who were displaced.

The story includes quotes from authorities such as two Cambridge Deputy Fire Chiefs, neighbours, and other nearby residents, sharing their story.

The article incorporates three photographs in addition to the video, opting for full visual and audio coverage of the story. The media included is successful in allowing the reader to fully engage in the story and feel as though he/she is present at the scene. Therefore, the coverage is saturated with both information and visual features. The correspondent mentioned a Facebook Live video, which increases the availability of the story to the reader. Other social media tools that are available to drive traffic are the options to share the story on Facebook, Twitter, Email, Google Plus, and LinkedIn to increase readership.

One of the photographs is shown below:

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-12-22-16

The comment section has contains 18 comments, some of which share similar stories or just offering condolences.

An example is shown below:

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One comment from @HistoryIsJustThat reads: “Boston really needs to do something about all those old wooden framed buildings. After all these years they are nothing more than kindling. (…) Cambridge is very, very lucky this did not roar out of control.”

Having the comment section for stories such as this one is effective in offering ideas for improvement, especially if suggestions could prevent another tragic incident.