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The Globe Ideas Lab: the perfect outing for any journalism nerd

Outside of The Boston Globe

Outside of The Boston Globe

Before going home to stuff my face, I visited The Boston Globe’s Ideas Lab with my classmates from Reinventing the News. An entire lab designated for ideas may sound a bit frivolous, but the lab’s technology and multi-media work was innovative and fascinating.

One of the projects – Project Cascade – which originated at The New York Times, tracks the life of a tweet. The Globe now has the ability to study what tweets are successful and who is re-tweeting their content.

According to the Nieman Journalism Lab, “the tool is framed around the social science-based concept of the “cascade” — in this case, the chain of events that propels a story through and around social networks.” Paul Krugman of the Times re-posted a cascade, which can be found here.

We also heard from a designer and coder for the lab, who is primarily responsible for interactive material on the Globe’s website. As he said, “if I can get someone to spend 10 seconds on [what I’ve created], then I’ve done my job.” He showed us a few of his graphics, my favorite one being the “how much water is in your scallop?” graphic. (SPOILER ALERT: it’s 77 percent).

Our class then visited the Globe’s new radio station, Radio BDC. I geek-ed out a bit because we met Adam 12, who previously DJ-d for my favorite radio station before it went under. Radio BDC is apparently the first online radio station to exist on a news website. They focus on alt rock, playing artists like Modest Mouse and The Shins. Adam 12 said the station regularly hosts concerts, even a few that are right in the Globe’s office. Also the station has benefited the Globe, because they’ve gained new advertisers in the alcohol industry.

So for any journalism nerds who may be visiting the Dorchester area soon, try to schedule a tour. It’s definitely worth your time.

Photo (cc) by Tony Fischer Photography and republished under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.


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