NewsTrack: October 27

In this article for FiveThirtyEight the interesting title of Can an Astrophysicist Change The Way We Watch Sports? caught my eye. In the article, Oliver Roeder describes a new type of analysis that is being developed for sports.

Created by Matt and Navarre Ginsberg, the new system involves a computer predicting the trajectory of balls during a sports game in real-time. The computer is able to analyze the movement of the ball, whether it be basketball, volleyball, etc. and predict with confidence the outcome of the play.

After receiving a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Oxford, Matt Ginsberg has been working on a patent for this new technology he has been developing. NBA owner Mark Cuban is also one of the names that appears on the patent.

The article does a good job at explaining how the technology works and describes the consequences of it being implemented one day. In sports a player would be able to know with a good amount of confidence the outcome of a play before it even concluded.

Roeder makes use of some effective visual aids to help better explain the technology that is being developed. He includes gifs and videos showing how it works with a series of basketball gifs effectively showing the potential of the system in the real-world. While it is still probably in the distant future, this technology developed by Ginsberg could change the sports world, for both fans and players, forever.

NewsTrack: October 27

Final Story Pitches

Boston’s Underground Music

Main Point: Many students and other Bostonians are talented musicians, many of which who perform at small venues or for friends. These small, independent bands usually survive for a few years before eventually breaking up and moving on in their lives. I want to take a look at what goes into being an independent musician in Boston. Where do they perform/what is it like in Boston/why do they do it?

Why should I care? Local music is one of the defining aspects of a city. It is important to know what Boston is known for in terms of local music and to tell the story of those who fight to do what they love.

Why now? Local music is on the rise around the country thanks in help to the internet/social media. It is much easier to listen and learn about the local bands of Boston. Because of this it is a great time to learn about the rising underground music scene on Boston.


BUQuad article about Boston’s underground music scene

Monthly newspaper devoted to Boston’s underground scene

American Association of Independent Music

Human Sources:

Maggie Ambrose ( News Master for Allston Pudding (a Boston music blog)

The Middle East Concert Venue 617-864-3278

Palm Spring Life- independent band from Allston.

Characters: Talk to local Boston bands. Concert venues that specialize in small bands. Fans that go to these concerts/support the bands. People who write about the music scene in Boston.

Scene/Action: Attend a concert in Boston. Visit a band while they are practicing.

Multimedia plan: Video of a concert/a band practicing. Audio of their music. Perhaps data visualization/a timeline of the growth of Boston’s music scene.

Mild Winter Predicted for Boston due to El Nino

Main point: El Nino in a weather system that only appears every decade or so with 2015 being a particularly strong one. It affects the ocean currents and dramatically affects the weather in many regions of the country. Some areas become colder and drier while other become warmer. This winter is expected to be an El Nino one, which means that Boston would have a warmer winter than usual. This is in contrast to last years record-breaking winter. I want to analyze the weather patterns surrounding Boston and compare last years’ record winter to this year’s predicted milder one.

Why should I care? The city of Boston was hit hard last winter with record snow-fall. The city shut down for multiple days. This year is predicted to be a much milder winter, which is probably a welcome change for

Why now? El Nino only appears every 2-7 years with 2015 being one of those years. This weather pattern is not typical and thus people should be aware of its impact on the region.


Background information on El Nino article that describes the affects of El Nino using maps/charts

Focus on the affects of El Nino on the Northeast.

Human Sources: Anthony Fusco, graduate student studying atmospheric science,

One of the many Boston meteorologists. A list of some are

Characters/Real People: Professors at BU who specialize in the atmosphere and the climate. Ask students about what they know about El Nino(man on street style). Ask Bostonians about if they are looking forward to perhaps a milder winter in comparison to last year. Mass DOT.

Scene Action: Earth Science Department could provide information about El Nino, how it’s formed and its affect on Boston. Visit a weather station.

Multimedia Plan: Graphs/maps showing El Nino and its affect on the weather of New England. Not really sure what the video would be yet.

Final Story Pitches

The Rise of Skateboarding and Longboarding in Boston

In the 1950s skateboarding was born out on the West Coast of California. In the years since, the sport has undergone many spikes and falls in terms of popularity. Skateboarding and its sister sport, longboarding, are both on the rise and this is especially prevalent in Boston as many new shops and parks have begun to open in recent years.

2015 will be marked as a year of big change in Boston for skateboarders. The first public skate parked, the Lynch Family Skatepark, is currently under construction near the Zakim Bridge and POP Allston, a free indoor skate park just recently opened in Allston.

“They’ve put in multiple skate parks around the city over the last ten years,” said Erick Pickard, an employee at the popular Orchard Skate Shop on Newbury St. “It’s getting a lot better. It’s more of a destination these days than it has been in the past.”

While cities like San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Miami are more well-known in their skateability, Boston has never really been associated as a skating city. This has begun to change in recent years as there has been a big effort by Boston’s skating community to improve the situation. Shops and parks have begun to open and the city has seen a rise in skaters.

“Boston is definitely not on the same level as skateboarding as compared to the West Coast, mostly because of the weather since you can’t skate for five or six months due to the cold,” said Ollie Rodgers, a junior in BU’s COM.

Skaters have fought the cold, though, and have begun to travel to Boston, mostly to skate around the streets.

Rodgers, originally from London and Hong Kong, is one who sees the potential in the city’s skating.

“I actually love skating in Boston mostly because there’s a lot of bike lanes,” he described. Boston skating’s just a lot of manualing really fast down bike lanes, going fast next to cars. You do find some street spots once in a while.”

Many people have started to flock, yet their ages range drastically. It is not a particular group that is skating but rather a whole mix of people.

“We get people of all walks of life. Old, young,” Pickard, of Orchard, said. “We have kids from like six years old to dudes pushing sixty because we have a full skateable bowl in the shop.”

Orchard Skate Shop, which recently opened a new location in the North End, also runs the community skate park in POP Allston. The space, which opened in September, features a bike shop, a market, and a yoga studio. It is most known for its multi-level indoor skate park, which is free for anyone to use.

This is especially nice for skaters in the city, as it offers an environment for similar to gather and socialize. It allows for a free, safe place for people to skate and will be especially beneficial once the cold, Boston winter arrives.

“Especially when you’re skating with a crowd of other Boston skaters all your age or some you barely even know,” Rodgers said. “When they land a trick, you just build off of that and it makes you want to try something new or try something more crazy.”

Boston, not originally known as a skate-friendly city, has seen a large spike in the past few years. With the creation of spaces like POP Allston and the Lynch Family Skate Park, it seems like Boston will continue to rise in skating popularity.

[I plan on interviewing someone who is involved with the Lynch Family Skate Park. I plan on contacting S.J. Port, the Charles River Conservancy spokeswoman soon.]

The Rise of Skateboarding and Longboarding in Boston

NewsTrack: The Older the Supreme Court Justice, the More Liberal

In an interesting article on FiveThirtyEight called “Supreme Court Justices Get More Liberal As They Get Older,” the author Oliver Roeder analyzes the changes in the opinions of the justices as they grow in age. He writes that while for most people there is a change from liberal to more conservative as aging occurs, the opposite is true for the justices. Roeder uses a measure called the Martin-Quinn score to illustrate this change in ideology. The score uses the votes of the justices to map them onto a left-right spectrum. A positive number means the person has shifted more to the right while a negative score means a person has grown more liberal.

Roeder provides a plot showing the changes in all of the justices’ ideologies since the 30’s. He also uses a best fit line to map these results in an easy to analyze line. It is clear from the graph he uses that over time both justices nominated by Democrats and by Republicans have grown more liberal as they have aged in recent years. He uses a second, similar graph to further support his case with only the nine current justices being graphed. For nearly every justice, they have grown more liberal as they have gotten older. Reorder uses these two graphs to make a very convincing case for the leftward-drift of ideology of the justices as they have gotten older, a shift that is the opposite of what is typical for most citizens.


NewsTrack: The Older the Supreme Court Justice, the More Liberal