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.


JO 304 Newstrack: Mashable and the Super Bowl

Mashable’s focus on technology gave it a heavy slant toward advertising during Super Bowl 51, but that did not stop certain parts of the game from getting highlighted by the site’s writers.

Apps For Enhanced Viewing

This story from a few days before the big game spotlights apps that would enhance the viewing experience. Fox Sports Go allowed cable subscribers to stream the game for free on a mobile phone, Flipp allows shoppers to find coupons for all the things they need to buy for the party, Football Squares Plus takes the “Squares” game and puts it online (no need to handle paper this year), and PairWise reccomends what beer might go best with your food.

Cannot Escape the Politics

With Vice President Mike Pence in attendance and former President and First Lady George and Barbara Bush (longtime Houston residents) doing the coin toss, the big game had its share of political celebrities.

Then came the advertisments. Coca-Cola ran an old ad  right before kickoff that used a multi-lingual version of “America the Beautiful,” generating extreme reactions. Budweiser, famous for well-done ads this time of year, used the story of co-founder Aldophus Busch’s immigration to the U.S. The commercial was designed in October, 2016, well before the latest drama in the immigration debate.

AirBNB’s “We Accept” ad DID have an intentionally pro-immigration stance, but it was a re-edited version of an ad used in the wake of discrimination allegations.

Not My Game

Some companies like Frito-Lay and Heinz otped to skip advertising during the game entirely. With prices for 30 seconds being estimated at over $5 billion, companies are looking for more cost-effective ways to get their message out.

This left spots for rookies in sports advertising to jump in. Newcomers included Tiffany & Co., Yellow Tail wines, and 84 Lumber.

The ads they Could Not Show

Speaking of 84 Lumber, their initial ad was deemed too controversial for television, so they simply directed viewers to go online and watch the original ending, including a depiction of a border wall.

The large amount of traffic crashed their website momentarily.

For the last few years, porn websites have been using their web traffic — or lackthereof — to promote their content, without showing anything. PornHub’s traffic report showed a massive drop in site traffic from Massachusetts and Georgia during the game, with a slight uptick during halftime.

Traffic in Massachusetts reached its lowest level in the fourth quarter, as the Patriots scored 19 points to tie the game at 28. Following the game’s conclusion, Massachusetts traffic spiked to 30 percent above normal Sunday level while Georgia leveled off at 18 percent above normal.

Also of note, searches for football-related terms — Super Bowl (2,451%), halftime (2,434%), football (394%), and cheerleader (52%) — all saw huge jumps.

The Game Itself

What seemed like a runaway victory for the Atlanta Falcons turned out to be the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, featuring the first ever overtime in the game’s 51 years.

A Julio Jones catch resembling Micahel Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” was only topped by Julian Edelman’s catch mere centimeters from the ground. The 19-point comeback was history in the making for millions of viewers, not including President Trump.

As fans rained boos on Commissioner Roger Goodell during the trophy ceremony (a pretty common sight in American professional sports), a local ad for Shields MRI featured Tom Brady — who totally knew the Patriots would win.

From the drama around Brady’s “stolen” jersey to Martellus Bennett’s daughter telling the world about her dog Wendy, the Patriots celebrated their fifth Super Bowl title. One Falcons fan took it upon himself to capture the moment, by burying the jersey he wore during the game.

The Parade

Rain could not stop Patriots fans from packing the streets from Copley Square all the way to City Hall in downtown Boston. This Rolling Rally with the Duck Boats became the 15th parade in the city since 2001. If you needed confirmation, just see this 15-year-old’s sign from the parade.


Mashable did not cover “the Super Bowl,” but rather featured events and moments surrounding the game. Of the stories in this Newstrack, just two were about plays that happened on the field. Even those posts were more about the buzz they created on social media and not their significance to the game.

JO 304: Yet Another “Simpsons” Prediction

High above, NRG Stadium, Lady Gaga thought she had the crowd in the palm of her hand. Only she knew that her jump was part of a coordinated act en route to an, at least in the immediate, entertaining halftime show at Super Bowl 51.

Then again, she was not the only one who knew. The Simpsons had a 2012 episode (“Lisa Goes Gaga”) that used many of the same elements from her 2017 show, including flying on wires, a light show that made a design (the episode had a cowboy hat, the show made the American flag), and a costume change.

Mashable utilized tweets from viewers, containing side-by-side pictures of the show and the episode, to further draw the comparison. The post can be found here:

JO 514: A Legacy of Greatness

474 Words

BOSTON — It is the time of year every show becomes “super.”

Store-fronts are decorated with team colors, athletes from other sports pick sides, and comedy shows have Super Bowl themed sketches. Saturday Night Live impersonated various celebrity Patriots and Flacons fans on “Celebrity Family Feud.” Jimmy Fallon’s annual Puppy Bowl had shelter dogs pick the winner.

But for the game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, it is about more than the scoreline for one Tom Brady.

Brady, a Patriots sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Michigan in 2000, has started 235 games for the Patriots in his 17-year career. The 12-time Pro Bowler has won the league’s Most Valuable Player title twice, finishing second in voting to Matt Ryan of the Falcons this season.

The win would “secure him as the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] for sure,” said Joe of Concord, Massachusetts.

All-time, Brady sits fourth in touchdown passes with 456. Drew Brees, at 465 TD passes, is the only active quarterback ahead of Brady. The other two, Brett Favre (508) and Peyton Manning (539) are recently retired, with Favre going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

In six appearances in the Super Bowl, Brady is 4-2, with both losses coming against Eli Manning and the New York Giants. A fifth championship would give him the most wins by a quaterback in the title game, passing Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.

“It is the greatest accomplishment any one player can have in this sport” said Kyle Floyd of Philadelphia. “It would make the on-paper argument a lot stronger,” he continued. Floyd thinks the Patriots will ultimately win against the Falcons.

This season’s Patriots had to play the opening four games of the season without their starting quarterback. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Brady four games for his role in the Deflategate controversy that loomed over the 2014 Super Bowl win against the Seattle Seahawks.

Initially, the suspension was for the first four games of the 2015 season. A lengthy court fight secured Brady the chance to play all of that season, but the 2nd U.S  Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the suspension in April of 2016. Brady opted not to appeal further, accepting the suspension.

Gavin of Abbington, Masscachusetts thinks his legacy is already cemented. “It would probably be about the same at this point, since they won one of their first Super Bowls.” New England’s first title came in the 2001-02 season with a 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams. The Rams were 14-point favorites in that game.

Backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garrapolo and Jacoby Brisset combined to go 3-1 in the games without Brady, only losing to the Buffalo Bills in week four.

Vibhav of Dover, New Hampshire thinks Montana — a four-time Super Bowl winner with the San Francisco 49ers — is better at this point in time, but a fifth title would give Brady the edge.


JO 304 NEWSTRACK: Mashable

Pardon the pun, but Mashable is a mis-mash of news coverage, boasting  a global audience and five different international versions — France, India, United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia.

The service, founded in 2005 by Pete Cashmore, claims 28 million social media followers across all platforms. 8.26 million of those followers are on Twitter, this writer included.

“Watercooler,” based on that place in the office where conversation is stimulated, is the most frequent category put on the homescreen. Headlines from today include “Jason Momoa’s two ‘bodyguards’ are giving Twitter a good LOL right now,” “Donald Trump is absolutely terrible at handshakes,” and “Denis Leary knows he looks like Kellyanne Conway and he’s not ruling out a biopic.”

Each tweet from today has a similar or identical headline to the one on the website, each story often posted a few times.

Mashable bills itself in its “About Us” page as “go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for its dedicated and influential audience around the globe.” At 7.5 million shares a month and 45 million unique page views, the global reach is not understated.

Though there is no section devoted to politics, Mashable’s site provides news on how politics affects various subsections of life, such as business ( and technology (

The goal of this Newstrack is to see how various news events are portrayed on the website and across their social media. On top of events that are covered by more traditional outlets, Mashable finds other stories that they think will generate a buzz.

JO 514: A Breif Intro to Max

Max Wolpoff

389 words

It started entirely by accident.

Max Wolpoff walked out of his journalism exam and checked his phone. Normally, there are anywhere from 10 to 20 notifications after four hours of being on silent. That day, he estimates about 100 different alerts, most of them about him.

Two days earlier, he provided play-by-play for Boston University’s 6-5 overtime win against Minnesota in Women’s hockey. He put his call of the overtime winner online that night and thought nothing of it.

“Suddenly, I’m famous,” Wolpoff said. “This was not supposed to happen at 20.”

If not for sports, Wolpoff would be an actor. He once dreamed of the bright lights of Broadway and the flashbulbs of Hollywood as he slept at home in Maryland. His first searches for universities were based on conservatory versus open theater schools. That was were Boston University ended up on his radar.

“I needed more than just the smiling pictures online to convince me,” Wolpoff said. This philosophy guided his decision to apply for the Boston University Summer Theater Institute — a live-in summer program for prospective theater students.

Right away, Wolpoff knew something was not right. He was the lone visible sports fan of the group. His roommate understood none of his idioms or references when he spoke. “The transition sucked,” he said.

Then 16-year-old Wolpoff toughed it out for the five-week program, often not buying into the program’s teachings. “As much as I enjoyed the theatrical aspect, that was all it was to me: theater. I never thought like an actor when I was off-stage,” he said.

He continued to act in high school when he returned home, but “nothing felt right anymore,” as he put it. “I did everything I used to do leading up to a show, but I did not get the same excitement I used to get.”

Four years ago, he did not envision broadcasting a hockey game at Madison Square Garden in his freshman year. Three years ago, right before graduation, there was no indication he would go viral while calling a Women’s hockey game in his sophomore year. “I was just worried about doing something in sports,” he said.

Wolpoff settled on broadcasting because it joined his stage presence from eight years of theater with his passion for sports. “I had no experience when I came to BU. All I had was a dream.”