Boston Globe Career Trek
Have you ever thought about a career in journalism but never knew whether or not it is for you? During Wintersession, a group of Harvard students had the chance to decide for themselves on a career trek to The Boston Globe.
Students got a special tour of the office by Emily Sweeney, a staff reporter who specializes in suburban news. “It’s never a dull moment here,” she said. “I cover everything from clown conventions to local fires.” She is one of 100 staff reporters that write regularly for the Globe.
Perhaps the visit to the newsroom wasn’t as chaotic as it is in the movies – no phones ringing off the hook, and no papers tossed in the air – but the office did boast some surprises, including some Boston memorabilia like a World Series ring and a samurai sword that the office had collected along the way.
The tour highlighted the office’s media lab, which experiments with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and works to keep the office on the pulse of changing technology and social media. With a large open space with large windows and lots of desk space, the lab has a startup vibe with the motto: “you can’t predict the future, but you can show up for the present.”
The lab has a large display of an Instagram feed that instantaneously populates photos with a #Boston hashtag; since the lab is centrally located within the building and has such large windows, every employee walks past and notices the lab at least once a day. One of the employees who works in the lab, Chris Marstall, explained that there are ways social media are making newspaper irrelevant because people are directly reporting their own news via social media. The Instagram display in the media lab is a reminder of the evolving form of news.
Students on the trek also got to enjoy an extensive conversation with regional editor David Dahl about the future of the newspaper. David also touched on the shift in the way the Globe has begun publishing news – for instance, they publish news 24 hours a day on their websites, Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com. These two digital forms of their website are variants of each other: Boston.com is non-subscription based and more entertainment-driven, where BostonGlobe.com is subscription based and offers more traditional news.
“We are trying to continue to grow readership and engagement with audience,” David explained. “We have been preoccupied with making ourselves digital on multiple platforms.” This means interacting with readers on Facebook and Twitter, and getting story ideas from social media platforms. Social media is a lot of work, but by attempting at face-to-face and hand-to-hand interaction, The Boston Globe is working to get user content and engage on a new level with readers – and students got to witness the revolutionary endeavors of this historic publication firsthand.
Julia Eger, ’14