Archive for the ‘Class Assignment’ Category

Last week we were able to gather a deeper understanding for data visualization. I, personally, am a visual learner. So data visualization allows me to see the broader picture of multiple sets of data and really understand it.

The overall idea of it might seem complicated. We are taking multiple sets of data and merging them to find common ground and any sort of correlation that would link the sets of data together. Then we form it into some sort of cool map, chart, graph etc. and are able to display tens, hundreds even thousands of numbers in one graphic.

Here are some examples of types of data visualization I found compelling and informative. I also like types of data visualization that I will find entertaining because it engages my thought process and makes me actually think about the data more.


This first data visualization graphic shows an analysis of the top 50 earners in world football. It has a map of the world and color codes the different countries and nationalities in terms of how much money is earned. I like it because it is appealing to the eye and it has other graphics that show different statistical information based on the data merged.


This second data visualization graphic shows different statistical information regarding money. I like this graphic because of the particularly large numbers used. I guess you can say I’m a journalist because big numbers and I don’t mix. This graphic allows me to actually understand the depth of these large numbers and puts it into a better perspective.


I found this last graphic interesting because of the information provided. The graphic is what has changed in the decade from 1999-2009. I also like this graphic because it lets me see how things have changed from 2009 until now.

As a huge sports fan and an athlete myself, finding a beat for this blog was rather easy. With NCAA reform so magnified in the sports news industry, finding information and relaying it to the public has been more of a fun task than work. So when the final project for the semester was assigned, I wanted to somehow keep it related to my sports beat. In doing so, I thought of a topic that was close to my own heart—life after college athletics.

Any athlete knows that the second that buzzer goes off signaling the end of your final game your senior year, your body floods with emotions. Flashbacks of playing your respective sport as a child come racing through your mind and you are left with the question, “Now what?” For many athletes, this mark the end of their sports careers. But for some, the possibility of playing professionally, whether in the United States or oversees, is a lingering thought. So when is it the right time to stop playing and move on? Is there ever a right time?

For my final project, I would like to focus on the idea that many athletes must face—should I continue playing or should I move on and start a different life?

Photo retrieved from

Deanna Kerkhof #32. Photo retrieved from

Deanna Kerkhof sits as one of the best players in Northeastern University women’s basketball program history. Her senior season marked a ton of broken records and personal accolades. The interesting thing about Deanna is that she is also a a health science major on a pre-medical track with nearly a 4.0. Any athlete understands the difficulties of maintaining a 4.0 in college and adding her difficult major is a feat in itself. In many conversations with Deanna, she has expressed her uncertainties about life after college basketball. She is unsure whether she wants to play professionally oversees or to end her 21 years of life as a basketball player and start a new life as a medical student.

Her coaches all see Deanna continuing her basketball career for many more years. But when is it time to end? A sudden change in extreme exercising is often linked with depression, and many athletes experience this when their careers are over. I would like to focus on Deanna and her decision on whether to continue playing or to go to medical school. With that, I would like to speak with other athletes who have gone through the same thing, how their decisions affected their lives, and the mental issues former athletes go through that are often kept hidden.

In a great city like Boston, you can be sure to find your fair share of burger joints in the area. Filled with pubs and hidden restaurants, Boston is prime time real estate for delicious and creative meals. In an effort to combine the usefulness of mapping in journalism with our hunger for some grub, our class decided to map out some of the best burger joints in Boston.

My choice: The Yardhouse!

The Yardhouse, a California based chain, opened a restaurant last spring right near Fenway Park. The restaurant boasts 150 menu items, seating for 500 and 180 beers on tap. Yes, you read that right. One hundred and eighty beers on tap.

Photo taken by Daniella Iervolino at The Yardhouse, Boston

Photo taken by Daniella Iervolino at The Yardhouse, Boston

Located at 126 Brookline Ave., The Yardhouse has an outdoor patio that poses as the backyard to historic Fenway Park. On warm weather days, the retractable doors at the back of the restaurant completely open up for a great eating experience.

But since this winter seems like it doesn’t want to end, I ate inside. The ambiance was still just as great. The numerous flat screen televisions around the restaurant and bar had every sports game possible playing.

But more importantly, what did I eat? Well deciding on the perfect burger was tough. I had to choose between the Pepper Crusted Gorgonzola Burger, Avocado & Swiss Burger, Classic Cheese Burger, Five Ounce Grilled Burger, BBQ Bacon Burger, Hawaiin Burger, Pepper Jack Burger, Turkey Burger, Five Ounce Turkey Burger, Burnaise Burger, Surf & Turf Burger, Five Ounce Blackened Tuna Burger and then numerous sliders options.

If you’re sitting here thinking they all sound absolutely delicious and the decision seems impossible, you’re in the same boat as me.

After narrowing it down to the Hawaiin Burger, which has pineapple, pepper jack cheese, aloha sauce and garlic aioli, and the Turkey Burger, which has roasted roma tomatoes, mozzarella and garlic aioli, I went with the turkey burger. I was extremely happy with my decision as it was one of the best turkey burgers I’ve eaten.

Luckily, my dinner-mate ended up ordering the Hawaiin Burger which allowed me to sneak a bite in and get a taste for that as well.

“It’s absolutely delicious,” said Victoria Schmidt, math teacher at Marian High School in Framingham, Mass. “The pineapple makes it and these sweet potato fries are honestly the best I’ve ever had, I’m not even kidding.”

When asked about the ease of getting to the restaurant from her apartment in Brighton, Schmidt said, “It was super easy I just hopped on the bus to Kenmore Station and it was about a 5 minute walk after that. It’s not a bad ride at all.”

My waitress was also helpful in my decision making and steered me in the direction of the turkey burger after telling her my preferences. She also let me substitute regular french fries for sweet potato fries which, in my opinion, made the meal. To top it off, I had a “shorty” Sea Dog Bluepaw Wild Blueberry beer with fresh blueberries floating in it. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys trying something new.

Including tip, I paid $22.00. I felt it was a reasonable price for a great burger and beer and well worth the money. The only downfall to the extensive burger menu is the lack of a veggie burger option. Although it is not possible to get a standard veggie burger, customers can get varied seafood burger options, as mentioned above.

To check out the menu for yourself, go to The Yardhouse is open for food daily at 11:00am and closes 12:00am Sun-Thu and 1:00am Fri-Sat. Last call for alcohol is at 12:30am Sun-Thu and 1:20am Fri-Sat.

For reservations, call (617) 236-4083. If you’re not in walking distance, the nearest T stop is Brookline Ave at Yawkey Way and the restaurant is handicapped-accessible.

This week we discussed the uses of mapping in class and how it can be used as a proper journalistic tool. Personally, I think mapping is an extremely interesting topic and is a great way to combine loads of information into one cohesive source. Society construes information through many types of platforms and for visual learners, interactive maps provide a great way to access information.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Because interactive maps don’t have all of the information displayed in an organized article, it may be frustrating at times having to click through different options to find out information you need. On the flip side, interactive maps allow users to focus in on a specific regions, topics or individuals to pinpoint information.

In looking through some maps to find good examples, I came across three different ones from various publications that show the proper use of a map for journalistic purposes:

Obesity in the Ontario, Canada region

Water Pollution in the New York Area

Stimulus Spending by State


Throughout my time in this class I have narrowed my “go-to” blogs down to a few that I know I can count on for the most updated information on sports, specifically NCAA reform and issues within the NCAA forum. The blog I feel I can always go to for great information and awesome linking is Connecticut Sports Law.

Connecticut Sports Law is a blog run by Dan Fitzgerald, an attorney at the law firm of Brody Wilkinson PC, in Southport, Conn. His experience in sports as a player, coach and attorney has allowed him to write interesting and knowledge articles about compliance, eligibility, NCAA scandals and other situations occurring everyday within the organization.

Screenshot of Connecticut Sports Law Blog

Screenshot of Connecticut Sports Law Blog

What I like most about this blog is the organization of posts. When first getting to the website, the main page has a list of featured posts. This initial category shows all of the posts from Connecticut Sports Blog that have been featured in magazines, newspapers or sports television shows.

Aside from the featured posts, there is a drop down menu of “All Posts” that is more along the lines of regular blog postings. Here is where all of the posts are listed in order, starting from the most current. What I really love about this blog is the “Friday Sports Briefs”section. Aside from Fitzgerald’s normal articles he posts frequently, this section pulls together a bunch of links to interesting articles from other noteworthy publications.

Another feature I enjoy about this blog is the different categories I can choose from. The drop down menu on the side allows me to pick one out of many different categories ranging from the NCAA to Youth Sports and everything in between. Once clicking on one of those categories, all of the blog posts written under that category come up in chronological order.

Like many blogs, this one is definitely conducive to social media. You can “like” the Connecticut Sports Law page on Facebook and follow Dan Fitzgerald’s Twitter account directly from the blog.

Although I have yet to use the comment feature, this blog seems like it has the potential to interact with the audience. There is an option to comment on each blog post and there is also a contact option to directly speak with Dan Fitzgerald.

In comparing this blog to others that I follow, I chose to compare it to The ByLaw Blog. This blog is written by John Infante, a former compliance officer at NCAA Division 1 schools. His articles have also been feature on ESPN, Sports Illustrated and USA Today. Although I do like this blog very much, I find it to be less appealing to the eye and harder to navigate than Connecticut Sports Blog. The articles are very informative, but it has less of an interactive feel with the audience.

Another website to compare Connecticut Sports Blog to is the Bleacher Report. This is not a blog, but it is a good website for anything going on in the professional and collegiate world of sports. One thing I do like about this website is it has a drop down menu for different blogs, categorized by sports.

Today in class, we had the pleasure of listening to Mary Knox Merrill as our guest speaker. Merrill has worked her way up in the visual storytelling world of journalism and is a distinguished journalist in the way she portrays events and stories through photographs and video. In a mere 40 minutes I was able to learn a lot about the art of visual storytelling.

Oh, a fun fact: her first name is actually Mary Knox. She said it’s a southern thing.

Merrill went to graduate school at Boston University and always knew she wanted to tell stories and take pictures. After persistently pushing for an internship at the Christian Science Monitor, she finally landed a spot at the organization and jump started her career. She liked the way the Christian Science Monitor approached storytelling.

After graduation, she received an internship in New York, before ultimately returning to the Christian Science Monitor in a full-time editing position, and eventually worked her way up to photographer. Although it continued to be an amazing experience, Merrill knew she wanted a family and felt the travel demands for the job were too intense, so she left the Christian Science Monitor and made her way to Northeastern University where she is the Director of Multimedia within the marketing and communications office.

Merrill told us that video is essential for any type of communication or storytelling moving forward. The “picture” is becoming more powerful and having the ability to tell a story through these visual elements is key. She also explained how networking is huge because you never know who may potentially open a door for you.

In discussing different tips and tools for creating video, Merrill showed us one of her own videos she filmed and edited. It was about Cyclocross racing, an intense cycling sport that combines mountain biking with cycling for a rugged race. She said she specifically chose a race that lasted two days so she would have enough material to shoot. Merrill emphasized that the more material you have to cover, the easier it will be to edit in the long run.

One thing Merrill felt was critical for aspiring journalists is the ability to have more than one specialty. She said that journalists are much more marketable if they can write, speak, produce video and take photographs, rather than being an expert in just one facet.

Merrill ended her discussion with us by giving us tips on photography, video and interviewing. In terms of photography, she said to get a variety of images, change your perspective, take environmental portraits, be comfortable with yours subject, edit on the computer not the camera and most importantly, pay attention to detail.

For video, Merrill said the key to a successful video is to let the action unfold within the frame instead of responding or reacting to the action. Anticipation is the number 1 rule. We must watch and observe what is happening and let it unfold in front of the camera. Lastly, storyboarding is important when making a video because having the idea in your head beforehand will allow you to get better shots.

Finally, the most important tip she gave us for interviewing is to ask open-ended questions. It is better to let your subject speak to you rather than answering the generic “yes” and “no” type questions.

February 11th 2013 marked the 61st annual Beanpot Tournament championship. This year, The Boston College Eagles took on the Northeastern University Huskies in what ultimately ended in the Eagle’s 4th consecutive win. The energy at the Boston Garden was high and the fans were into what was a highly anticipated match between the #4 team in the country, Boston College, and the last place team in Hockey East, Northeastern University. It seemed that almost everyone in the arena was ready for an upset and a change in the name on the banner. Except for Boston College students that is. Click on the photo below to check out a stream of photographs I took at the game.