JO 304: Newstrack: Snapchat Stories

Remember those exploding phones? Yeah, they’re making a comeback

If you updated Snapchat in the last year, you may have noticed shift in how featured stories are marketed on the app.

With outlets from sports giant ESPN to British website and tabloid The Daily Mail, Snapchat features everything from listicles to that crazy buzzer-beater last night.

Below is an example of Mashable’s latest story, lead with the headline “The Most Controversial Phone is Back.”

Remember those exploding phones? Yeah, they’re making a comeback

The Samsung Note 7, notorious for their exploding batteries, will be resold in select markets. Notice, there is limited space on the above screen to say that. So, they put it on the next screen.

More details on the reselling of Samsung Note 7 phones

But wait, there is more to the story. Oh darn, an ad for Google.

A phone ad on a story about phones. How convenient

There is a very good reason not to discard every Note 7 in existence, as detailed on the third screen of this story.

Screen 3 of this phone story

We are not done yet. Mashable follows the lead story with a few fun games to keep viewers engaged.

Which do you think it is?

I did not get this right, but I can understand it in retrospect.

Bitmoji takes pictures — of people, places, or things — and makes them into emojis to use on apps like Snapchat

Next up is a crystal ball with a rotation of emojis. This screenshot does not promise anything, just like a “real” fortune teller.

I guess Mashable thinks I’ll find love… eventually

Adding to the “creepy stalking” factor, how did Snapchat know that I recently purchased WWE Network on a free trial?

No, The New Day did not try to sell me Booty O’s

Returning to the stories, Mashable brings us up to speed on the latest technology ban on certain flights.

Travelers will have to stock up on books if they want to stay entertained for those double-digit hour flights to the Middle East

Mashable then alerts users on Google phones to a quietly-announced deal on the Google Play Store, only to show how Google might be in trouble with their advertising on YouTube videos.

A potential money-saver for Google phone users
Well, Google might need that $2.99 after this

The recent terror attack in London is drawing attention to WhatsApp, an app that functions like text messaging.

Lawmakers have sought a “backdoor” into encrypted things since encryption started. Such a move faces opposition from tech makers

Following those stories, Mashable has a few reccomendations for you.

The description makes Word Swag sound like a meme generator, except with more font selections than Impact
While nonprofits get money at the end of this, your shopping history is still being bought and sold to businesses

To end this installment on Snapchat, Mashable includes to text-driven stories you have to swipe up to read. One is about how Instagram will start blurring sensitive content, even if it does not violate their guidelines. The other is about the CIA leaks that allegedly exposed hacking programs from the intelligence agency.

Both stories appeared on Masahble’s website days prior to this Snapchat story.


JO 304: Rivalry in Action

As Boston University and Boston College get set to begin the NCAA Tournament this weekend, it is helpful to remember that they faced off last Saturday at TD Garden.

After a storming comeback from BU late in the final period, BC held on to win with a controversial tactic. The video below is my report from the stands.

Camera: my cell phone

Editing: Adobe Premiere Pro

Voiceover: the booth on the third floor of COM

JO 514: Sin Bin: Maddie Elia on her career

Boston University senior Maddie Elia (Max Wolpoff)

BOSTON – Out of the 39 penalties committed in the first five Hockey East games of the Boston University season, senior Maddie Elia served six of them. The conference was still adjusting to new rules about hooking and holding enforcement.

“We got an e-mail, and there was a video highlighting the new rules, and then a ref actually came and talked to us,” Elia said in an interview Tuesday. “But I don’t think any of us were expecting what actually happened.”

In her four years in a Boston University uniform, Maddie Elia took 101 penalties, accounting for 227 minutes in total. She led the team in penalty minutes each of her four seasons. Out of the senior class, defender Sarah Steele is second in penalty minutes at 66.

Ask her, and – with a laugh – the Lewiston, New York native will say that maybe ten of those penalties were justified.

“I feel like if they did not increase the rules, my penalties would have been way down. I was not that aggressive this year,” Elia said.

Maddie Elia in warmups at Maine (Max Wolpoff)

On top of the penalties, Elia has anchored BU’s second line and first power play unit for most of her four seasons. She ended her career with 112 points, finishing eighth overall in team history.

“I feel like every year, my style kind of adapts into something else,” she said. She went on describe her style at the Nichols School as “trying to be fancy all the time.”

It worked well in her senior year, captaining Nichols to the North American Prep Hockey Association and Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association championships. She began her collegiate career the same way, but the results were not coming.

A conversation with head coach Brian Durocher pushed for a change. “I was more effective when I was working hard and making the simple plays, rather than trying to do too much.” She finished her freshman season fourth on the team with 28 points.

Elia enrolled at BU in 2013, the third of four consecutive years the Terriers won Hockey East. Elia scored in both Championship games against Boston College, with her goal in 2014 serving as the game-winner.

She counts hoisting the Bertagna Trophy twice as her favorite moments from her career.

“I think freshman and sophomore year were a bit more focused, and kind of knew our angle. We had great leaders like Pou [Marie-Philip Poulin], and Tino [Kayla Tutino], and Stoney [Sharon Stoneburgh], and so I think that really helped us out,” she said.

One constant in her last three seasons was junior Rebecca Leslie. Out of her 12 goals this season, Leslie assisted on eight of them. Conversely, on Leslie’s 16 goals, Elia factored in on six.

BU junior Rebecca Leslie (left) and Elia (right) in warmups at Walter Brwon Arena (Max Wolpoff)

“I think every year we become better friends,” Elia said of Leslie. “I do not think I have ever gotten tired of her.”

Following a then career high of 29 points as a junior, the Buffalo Beauts selected Elia with their final pick of the 2016 NWHL draft. The four-team league drafts players who, per their rules, “have completed their junior seasons at a four-year accredited college.”

However, Elia is unsure what she wants to do now that her collegiate career is over.

“I think I was so focused on hockey for so long I did not really think about anything else. Now, I am kind of realizing that I need to think about other things,” she said.


Word Count: 588

JO 304: How I spent My Vacation

In the last week, I spent time in Florida on Spring Break. Unlike many fellow “spring breakers” as we were affectionately called by the locals, I went to baseball games.

The video below is an Instagram story from my day at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida to see the Baltimore Orioles take on the Dominican Republic. The Dominicans were playing a tune-up game before going to Miami for the World Baseball Classic.

JO304 Newstrack: Combating “Fake News”

The buzzphrase in journalism is “fake news”: what is it and how should organizations cope with it?

For its part, Mashable covers what technology giants like Google and Facebook are doing to keep their sites clean of it.

For the upcoming presidential election in France, Google and Facebook and testing a collaborative fact-checking service called CrossCheck. In an election marred by an unpopular sitting president and an upstart, far-right opposition candidate, Facebook users can flag content they believe is fake.

A recent Facebook update altered the algorithym in the News Feed to rank “misleading, sensational or spammy” stories lower than genuine ones.

Part of the reason “fake news” is such a big term in the news rests in an unverified report published on Buzzfeed about Donald Trump. Trump addressed Buzzfeed in his January press conference, and the report has slowly dissapated from the news cycle.

Then came his solo conference last week, giving the Internet more fodder for merchandising, and one Fox News anchor his chance to let Trump have it.

Indonesia is taking drastic measures against false news spreading online by creating a new government agency, the National Cyber Agency, to find and shut down “fake news” sites. 11 websites and 30 social media accounts were shut down by their Communications Ministery earlier the same week.

Google is doing its part, shutting down 1.7 billion bad advertisements, punishing 340 sites suspected of misrepresenting news organizations, and banning almost 200 sites altogether. Mashable’s story on that links to the full report.

The coverage of fake news on Mashable has a heavy slant toward technology companies and how they are handling the spreading of falsehoods and spam on the Internet.

JO 304 Newstrack: Mashable Pictures

Blogs and online-exclusive sites need to grab attention with two things: headlines and pictures. While on this morning’s “front page” of stories, Mashable uses some fine photos. Only one was taken by, or belongs to, the site itself.

Take this story about a photoshoot on top of a skyscraper for example. The photos used are both from the model’s Instagram account, while some text is provided by online commenters.

Or this piece about a suspect in the murder of Kim Jong-nam, brother to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The images of the suspect — which generated great interest in her T-shirt with the phrase “LOL” on it — come from Shutterstock and the Toabao site where the listing came from.

A travel story about visitors to India getting a free SIM card upon arrival uses an AP/Getty Images photo in its feature.

Then there is every toddler’s dream: a photoshoot as their Disney hero. John Rossi, a professional photographer in his own right, allowed his daughter Nelle the full Beauty and the Beast experience. All images used in the post come direct from Rossi’s Instagram account.

Mashable also utilizes photos used on Twitter, like this one about a pot-slinging catapult along the U.S.-Mexico border. The top image is a Getty Images shot, while the tweet from Customs and Border Protection – Arizona is used for context (and a bad pun).

Billboard’s use of iPhone portrait mode for a cover shoot garnered some buzz around the Internet. Mashable took the picture directly from Billboard. However, this is the first story of the day that utilizes a picture taken by a member of the site.

Blogs have to get creative with where their photos come from. Photography equipment is expensive, as is having a staff photographer at every major event the site might cover. It is easier to rip pictures from social media and stock websites.