On Friday, Emily Sweeney from The Boston Globe came to talk to my Reinventing the News class about mutlimedia journalism. Sweeney is a graduate of Northeastern University and played on the women’s varsity hockey team as an undergrad. It’s great to see graduates of the Northeastern journalism school working at places with such high standards of journalism like The Globe.
Sweeney emphasized many of the things I have been hearing lately about the world of journalism, such as the idea that journalists today cannot just be writers–they have to have a complete set of skills. Sweeney said that having the ability to shoot and edit video, as well as make a radio show are now equally as important as being able to write. I guess it’s a good thing my class is currently working on creating video news segments–even if iMovie ’09 can be quite tempermental.
Sweeney gave some encouraging news to the class, stating that most video editing programs are similar, so learning iMovie ’09 will be a good tool to use in the future, no matter what editing program we may be using later on. Knowing how to edit videos is a “marketable skill,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney showed us a few of her own video segments, including one about Bingo in Boston, another about word pronunciation in Boston and a third about an elderly women’s basketball league. I really enjoyed all three of the segments, however I especially liked the segment about word pronunciation in Boston. Not only was it funny, but the images that went along with it gave a clear representation of what they were talking about. It’s interesting that even though they weren’t using actual video, they were still able to make a video segment by pairing the audio with images. It also shows that a video segment doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s actually happening, but can just be an interesting topic that will keep the audience engaged.
I think the video segments are able to tell a really interesting story because the audience not only gets to hear narration, they get to see the actual story playing out. Instead of just seeing a quote said by a person, the audience can see the actual person and the actions that go along with what they are saying. As Sweeney emphasized, the woman in the Bingo video segment who sprinkled sugar on her cards was able to express herself through her actions, not just through words, which I think really adds to the value of the story.
More video news segments by Emily Sweeney can be found here–I definitely recommend taking a look!
Upon reading the name Greenhorn Connect, many minds shift to the environmentally safe connotation many have come to associate the word “green” with. Yet Greenhorn Connect has nothing to do with being enviromentally safe–unless, of course, it’s featuring a “green” startup business or entrepreneurial venture.
Greenhorn Connect is actually a community website that helps to build connections within the Boston entrepreneur ecosystem. The site connects Boston startups and entrepreneur enthusiasts with the many resources, events and even open jobs available in the Boston area. It’s mission is “to deliver relevant content to entrepreneurs and help channel the energy and enthusiasm of ‘greenhorns,'” which are newcomers–or in other words, entrepreneurs.
I first came across the name of Greenhorn Connect when attending Northeastern Entrepreneurship Expo that I blogged about a few weeks ago. I saw their booth showcasing their business and went over to talk to Pardees Safizadeh. The most interesting thing, it turns out, is that Greenhorn Connect is actually a website for entrepreneurs, made by entrepreneurs. The founding “Team” consists of two Northeastern graduates and Safizadeh, a graduate of Boston College. They created the website in order to serve the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs trying to learn from and connect with the resources, organizations and events available in the city of Boston.
The website contains a journalistic element with its Blog feed that contains relevant articles summarizing event recaps, interviews with startup founders and advice articles. The site also has a “news and announcements” element where site visitors can check up on what events are going on as well as enter various contests to win free tickets and access to events, and prizes that may help with their entrepreneurial endeavors. The site also allows community members to comment on posts and submit their own content, making it a real collaborative product.
In addition to the journalistic elements, Greenhorn Connect includes an event calendar so visitors can easily see what is happening throughout the week, get a brief summary of the event, and go to the event page right from the site to sign up. The site has tons of resources, providing learning guides, how-to articles, and lists organizations and companies that may be places of interest to entrepreneurs, such as 406 Ventures.
For the entrepreneur in us all, the site also has a job board where visitors and members can look for available jobs with startup companies and entrepreneurial ventures, or put up a posting for their own business.
I love the fact that the website is local and specifically for Boston-based entrepreneurs. I also love the combination of the journalistic elements along with learning elements, and that it is a community site, so anyone can contribute.
However, there are some things I would also improve. Members of the site have the opportunity to post feedback, yet from looking at the site, I did not see much feedback. This could be due to the fact that I myself am not a member, so I cannot see the comments. Another thing I thought that the site could improve was its visual appearance–pictures from events would be a great contribution, and having journalists cover all of the events they post would be extremely helpful. Perhaps a rating system of these events for community members to comment on different events would help other site members know if they should attend a weekly meeting from the reviews from the previous week.
Websites that can be compared to Greenhorn are BostInnovation, a website that also features articles about local entrepreneurs and new businesses in the Boston area. However, BostInnovation also features “What’s New in Boston,” so it is not specifically focused on entrepreneurs, making Greenhorn Connect unique.
Every Sunday evening I go to the Curry Student Center and meet with several other female students at Northeastern. There, we discuss what is going on around campus and pitch ideas for stories to one another, trying to figure out what it is that the female population of Northeastern wants, or needs, to know. Once we come up with these ideas for stories and write them up, we can then post them online to the Northeastern branch of Her Campus, a national online magazine for college women.
Her Campus has a national home page, which serves as a hub for information, news and updates relevant to the interests of college women. With content on style, health, love, life and careers, the national site is supplemented by campus-specific content. The site individualizes its content college-by-college by establishing My Campus branches at schools across the country.
Created by three undergraduate Harvard students, Her Campus is the definition of an entrepreneurial venture. The founders, Stephanie Kaplan, Annie Wang and Windsor Hanger collaborated to create Her Campus and their idea was a winner in Harvard College’s business plan competition, the i3 Innovation Challenge, in March 2009. Since Her Campus’s launch in September 2009, the website has proven to be largely successful and now has campus branches
The founders (now graduates, except for Annie Wang, who has taken a leave of absence from Harvard) currently work in their office in Cambridge near Harvard University that was provided to them after winning the i3 Innovation Challenge. They have formed partnerships with Seventeen Magazine and The Huffington Post, and have been featured in The New York Times and The Boston Globe.
100+ college across the country now have Her Campus branches, with new branches popping up every week. Readers of the site can enjoy new articles daily, and monthly giveaways. Kaplan has been featured on Fox25 News to talk about various subjects, including last week when she went to talk about the pros and cons of joining Greek Life. The women have been featured in Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Coolest Young Entrepreneurs, Glamour Magazine’s 20 Amazing Young Women, and The Boston Globe’s 25 Most Stylish Bostonians.
The group of women writing for Northeastern’s Her Campus branch (including myself) are also exhibiting a sense of entrepreneurialism. We meet each week to discuss our ideas and ways to make the website better, without any one authority member telling us what to do. We direct ourselves, without pay, to generate relevant and interesting content for the Northeastern community, and simultaneously create writing clips for ourselves. We strive to make our branch website better each week, gaining more website views inch-by-inch each month. By being a part of this particular venture, we are all adopting the spirit of entrepreneurialism, and learning more about what it takes to create a successful business: A good idea, knowledge of online content and a group of hard working individuals ready to make a difference.
Many Northeastern students and alumni do, and on Wednesday night many of these ideas were showcased throughout the ground floor of the Curry Student Center at the second Northeastern Entrepreneurship Expo (NEXPO).
Held by the Inter-Disciplinary Entrepreneurship Accelerator group at Northeastern (IDEA), NEXPO is a celebration of the entrepreneurial groups, students and organizations in the Northeastern and Boston communities. Student ventures working with IDEA had the opportunity to feature and show their businesses on the expo floor, and the event was a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet and network with one another.
Though I will covering this event to a much further degree in a short video news segment later on in the semester, I wanted to share two entrepreneurial ventures I thought were particularly interesting for the typical college student.
Topplayedgames.com is the idea of Sean A. Castro, who is a founding partner of Rummagers Group, a new web and mobile umbrealla company. The website is an online gaming portal, consisting of classic arcade and developed flash games. Castro said the idea for this particular website came about from always playing games online while in classes, so why not make a business out of it?
Castro also showcased DrinkTV, which is a website in the works that will eventually feature drinking game guidelines for a variety of TV shows.
“Like for Jersey Shore, you would have to drink every time you see an Ed Hardy t-shirt,” Castro said.
Another website I thought was particularly interesting, and have been following for quite some time, is Brewspy.com. Created by Northeastern student Tyler Smith, the website allows individuals to view daily deals at various bars and restaurants around the Boston area. Smith also showed me a website he is working on that will allow individuals (mainly college students) to tell their friends where they plan to go that particular night.
Though the website seems much like FourSquare, Smith made sure to draw a line of distinction between the two, citing that FourSquare allows you to check-in somewhere when you’re there, while his new website will allow people to check-in before they go, allowing the site to connect friends with each other’s plans for the evening. Smith said he hopes the website, which has yet to be named, will be live within the next two months.
Many other entrepreneurial ventures at NEXPO were phenomenal, and I’m very excited to share them with you via my video segment, however, these two ideas are geared mainly to the college student and immediately struck my interest. Perhaps the college student market has many more opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures to be explored!