Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Khazei concedes saying a new era of 'big citizenship' is here

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I covered the Khazei campaign rally on Election Night for the U.S. Senate Democratic primaries. The Patriot Ledger ran the story. Click here to read.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BU Statehouse Coverage of the Special Election Primaries

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Click here to view the BU Statehouse program's election coverage news feed from the US Senate special election primaries.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

State bets its chips on biotech boom

Sunday, December 6, 2009
The story I wrote with Greg Kwasnik and Jenna Pizzi ran in the Lowell Sun on December 6. Click here for the story.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Could biotech save the state?

Sunday, November 29, 2009
This story was co-written by Greg Kwasnik and Jenna Pizzi. It was published in the MetroWest Daily News and the Milford Daily News.

Renewable Energy: A Salvation for Massachusetts?

This story was co-written by Greg Kwasnik and Jenna Pizzi. It was published in the MetroWest Daily News, the Milford Daily News and the Attleboro Sun Chronicle among other websites.

Ran again on November 30, 2009 in the Cape Cod Day

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lower Firearm License Fees Sought

Friday, November 20, 2009
Here is a link to a story I wrote regarding legislation proposing to lower firearm license fees. It ran in the MetroWest Daily News today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Unknown Senate Story Runs Again

Monday, November 16, 2009
This time in the Cape Cod Times.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't Close the Books on Libraries Rally

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Here is a link to my coverage of a library budget cut rally on the steps of the Statehouse. It was published along with two of my photos in the MetroWest Daily News.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nurses press for patient limits

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Here is a link to a story regarding establishing a nurse-to-patient ratio in Massachusetts hospitals Matt Kaplan and I wrote for MetroWest Daily News.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Casino Debate at the MA Statehouse

Friday, October 30, 2009
Here is a link to my coverage for MetroWest Daily News of the gaming bills debate yesterday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mixed Martial Art Bill Engrossed by the House

Thursday, October 29, 2009
Story I did for the MetroWest Daily News regarding the mixed martial arts bill engrossed by the Massachusetts House on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Committee hears bill on aversive therapy ban

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This story was published in the MetroWest Daily News on 10/28/09. The published story may vary from this version. The story was not published to the MetroWest Daily News website.

BOSTON - For Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, D-Brookline, the struggle to get his nephew’s arms through a long-sleeved shirt provided a graphic demonstration for allowing the 32-year-old mentally disabled man to continue controversial electroshock therapy at a Canton facility.

“An outright ban would essentially kill Brandon. It is a death sentence for Brandon," Sanchez said of his nephew, who once bit off part of his own tongue.

The drama before the Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday focused on a series of bills that would either regulate or ban the use of aversive therapy at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton.

Although the center, which houses 193 patients, more than half of them children, is the only of its kind in the state, its use of "aversive" therapy is an emotional issue.

Over 100 people, many parents and family members of seriously mentally disabled children, signed up to speak at the hearing.

Sanchez said he opposed the bills that would ban or further restrict the use of aversive therapy.

But the sponsor of a bill banning the therapy, Rep. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, a parent of an autistic child, said the therapy was wrong.

Referencing the incident at the center in 2007, where a high functioning autistic resident was shocked 77 times as the result of a prank call, L’Italien said there are many other positive approaches and, “clearly the status quo isn't working."
Sen. Brian Joyce, D-Canton,who sponsored similar Senate bills, said, “This is the single most important bill that I have ever dealt with.”

One of the proposed bills would create restrictions for using aversive therapy.
Michael Flammia, an attorney who represents the center said that aversive treatments are already heavily regulated and treatment plans are approved through probate court.

The aversive treatment, particularly shock, is used as a last resort, often after a year of attempting other positive treatments, said Ernie Corrigan, who represents the center.

But Matthew Engel, an attorney at the Disability Law Center, told the committee he had tried the least powerful electric shock and, “it was an experience from hell.”
Sen. Gale Candaras, D-Wilbraham, co-chair of the committee questioned why shock therapy wasn't considered legal battery.

“What is the difference between taking your hands and smacking these individuals or hitting them with a belt or sticking them with pins? All we are doing is removing ourselves one step, and pushing a button.”

Monday, October 26, 2009

Uknown Senate Hopefuls - Published Version

Monday, October 26, 2009
Here is a link to the published version of my unknown Senate hopefuls profile feature story.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lesser-known U.S. Senate hopefuls still collecting signatures

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This story was written for the MetroWest Daily News and was published on 10/25/09. The printed version may be different from this version I submitted. The story was not published to the paper's website.

Photos by Lindsey Ann Palatino - Photojournalism Graduate Student at Boston University

WORCESTER - Standing in the Friday evening chill of a Shaws supermarket parking lot, clip board in hand, William S. Coleman, dressed in suit and tie, approaches a passing shopper.

As he explains he needs signatures to qualify as a candidate for January's special U.S. Senate election, the elderly woman pushing a cart listens politely. “I know your name," she says. "You run all the time.”

Coleman, 55, ran unsuccessfully for Worcester mayor seven times since 1991.
He laughed it off and said it’s not easy work to get signatures. Coleman said one of the best places to get signatures is at a grocery store but during a 30-minute time period, Coleman asked nearly 25 people to sign his petition and received just eight signatures. Most passersby claimed they were not registered to vote.

Such are the travails of some 50 Massachusetts residents who have picked up official nominating papers from the secretary of state's office to pull papers to run in the special election Edward M. Kennedy seat.

Few of these would-be candidates think they have a chance at filling that seat. Some say they are running to show it can be done. Others have decided since that they can't do it.

“I doubt I will be successful but I want to make an impression,” says Morris Chung, a 38-year-old engineer from Worcester. “I want to set an example to be involved.”
What follows are a look at some other of the independent candidates who are running.


A major hurdle for many, who desire to get their name on the ballot, is the lack of name recognition. Getting enough signatures to qualify is no easy task for lesser known candidates.

Coleman needs 10,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot. He said he hopes to collect at least 20,000; many signatures could be ruled invalid due to illegible handwriting or other issues.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Coleman attended Catholic schools and enjoyed volunteer work from a young age. He loved the tv show Leave It To Beaver, wanting to be Beaver’s, “first black friend,” and he wanted to marry Jackie Kennedy.

Growing up in a diverse neighborhood, Coleman learned seven languages including Greek, Albanian, Arabic and Lithuanian. Detecting the accent of a Greek woman outside of the Shaws, he switched over to her native language. Unfortunately, she was not a registered voter.

Coleman says he served as an aide for his hero, the first African American elected United States Senator, Edward Brooke, in 1976. He later completed a degree from Worcester State College.

Honoring his mentor, Coleman asked shoppers outside of the supermarket to sign a giant homemade birthday card for Sen. Brooke, who will turn 90 on Monday.

Driving an old blue Buick Le Sabre with wires hanging from the inside of the driver’s door, the back seat stuffed with old newspapers and petition papers, he goes from schools, homeless shelters, prison transition units and alternative learning centers to teach courses.

Education is one of the most important issues for Coleman. He works for the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. He said he knew long ago that his, “life was committed to teaching and community service.”

In his infrequent spare time, Coleman paints American flags on chain link fences throughout the country.

Coleman’s favorite book is Dante’s Inferno, which he is re-reading. He said his favorite passage says that, “the most torturous part of hell is reserved for those who remain complacent.”


Morris Chung, 38, of Worcester, is not a seasoned campaigner like Coleman. He is taking his first stab at running for public office by pulling papers to run for U.S. Senate.

Chung said he plans to start collecting signatures around Nov. 1. Independent candidates have until Nov. 24 to submit signatures.

Chung grew up in Brooklyn and Queens. Chung’s hero is his father, a South Korean immigrant, who owned a small grocery store. He was an only child and a “certified geek.”

Instead of, "following his heart,” and attending the Air Force Academy, his family convinced him to stay in New York. He attended Columbia University earning a degree in engineering.

Chung moved to Massachusetts in 1993. He worked in the science industry and earned an MBA from Northeastern.

Seeing himself as an example of what it means to be American, Chung has worked from the bottom of a company all the way “upstairs.” He was laid off from his first job after moving to the state. “I am constantly reinventing myself,” Chung said.


Taped to the door of a small internal medicine practice in Foxboro, near Gillette Stadium, is a simple black and white sign printed on standard computer paper that reads, “John J. Adams, M.D. for U.S. Senate.”

Adams, 54, said he and his wife, Anne, have been collecting signatures outside of stores and the parking lot of the stadium before Patriots games. He has about 4,000 signatures.

A graduate of Boston University Medical School, Adams said, “Health care should be a right, not a privilege.” As a child growing up in Boston public housing Adams suffered from asthma that wasn't properly treated because his family had insufficient health coverage.

At the age of 8, Adams remembers watching buses lined up in the projects ready to go to Washington, D.C. He was too young to go. Since then, “I have had a trip to Washington in my heart,” he said.
Joseph Baldino, 42, and Everett Wells, 63, decided it was not realistic to try after pulling Senate papers.

Baldino attended Worcester Vocational School, worked in the printing industry and then he joined the United States Army, serving stateside from 1986 to 1990. He nearly joined the Army again to serve in Iraq but he said his teenage daughter did not want him to go.

Baldino is an independent and works full time as a maintenance mechanic for a bottle and can recycling company.

“I am a blue collar man,” he said. “What is it about a button, a banner, a commercial, that’s going to make you any better because you have money to do all this than the person that’s out their busting his butt every single day.”

Frustrated that campaigns are so reliant on money, he decided he could not realistically run for office.

“They call Teddy the lion, but I will pounce on you like a cougar,” said Baldino, who said it is a shame he can’t fight for the real people of Massachusetts on Capitol Hill because he doesn’t have the means.

Baldino said it only makes sense that an average, hard-working citizen, like himself, should represent fellow citizens because he understands where they are coming from and what they need.

Everett Wells, a Brockton Republican, was the last to pull Senate papers as of October 8. Wells originally thought he needed signatures from registered voters but discovered he could only collect Republican signatures and saw the task as too daunting given the smaller population of Republicans in Massachusetts. He wrote an email to the GOP after pulling papers but he said it went unanswered.

Wells’ deadline has passed. Democrats and Republicans had to submit their signatures by October 20.

Wells, who is retired from a long career as a painter, plans to register as an independent in the future.

Chung, addressing everyone who pulled U.S. Senate papers, said that he is sorry that Kennedy has passed away but, “that unlocks Massachusetts from a political perspective and it’s a great, great opportunity for people in politics who truly want to serve the public. This is their chance.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Teacher Training in Devices to Help Non-Verbal Students

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Link to the story.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tax Reimbursements for Non-Profit Owned Property

Thursday, October 15, 2009
A story I covered yesterday at the Revenue Committee Hearing at the MA Statehouse.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Area lawmakers weigh in on Obama's Nobel Prize

Saturday, October 10, 2009
This brief was published in the MetroWest Daily News print version on 10/10/09. It was not published to the paper's website.

BOSTON - Two area Democratic lawmakers say the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama is an impressive honor that speaks to the president's potential and the dramatic shift in world opinion of the United States.

“It shows that the president is fully committed to pursuing peace and diplomacy while helping to unite the world in an effort to combat its major problems," said Rep. Alice Peisch, D-Wellesley, when she was contacted by the MetroWest Daily News. "It also speaks to how the president has successfully worked to improve the image of the United States abroad.”

Rep. Pam Richardson, D-Framingham, who was also contacted by the MetroWest Daily News said the greater significance of the award may be that the world has recognized the shift in American foreign policy under the new administration.

“It signifies that the United States is now viewed as a nation in the forefront of international diplomacy and that Obama’s administration is committed to solving complex global problems such as freeing the world of nuclear weapons,” she said.

MetroWest Daily News attempted unsuccessfully to contact nearly a dozen other local legislators including Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, who is running for U.S. Senate, and the assistant minority leader, Rep. George Peterson, R-Grafton.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Election committee considers same-day voter registration

Thursday, October 8, 2009
This story was published in the MetroWest Daily News print version on 10/8/09. It was not published to the paper's website.

BOSTON- After moving a few blocks away from where he had been living, Gavi Wolfe, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, went to vote on Election Day and was told he was at the wrong polling location and could not cast his vote.
Since Wolfe had time, he went to the supposed correct location only to discover he had gone to the correct polling location in the first place and had to return there.
“Had I moved further away and not been able to do that, I would have been out of luck,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe recounted his experience to the Joint Committee on Election Laws on Wednesday as he spoke in favor of legislation that would allow Massachusetts voters to register at polling places on the same day of an election.
Co-sponsor of the bill, Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, in remarks prepared for the session, said that same-day registration would remove, “unnecessary and onerous provisions" that require voters to register weeks before an election.
“It’s an outrage that any qualified citizen is denied their right to vote simply because they have not registered in time – or because their registration was somehow lost or mishandled,” said Eldridge, who was injured in a fall and unable to attend the hearing.
Rep. Stephen Smith, D-Everett, questioned the same-day registration provision, saying that it might “spoon-feed” voters too much.
“Let them be a little more responsible. Give them a date and let them be responsible for signing up for that date. If they don’t, they can sign up on Election Day, and they can vote in the next election,” said Smith.
Committee co-chair Rep. Michael Moran, D-Boston, said he was worried that same-day registration would prevent campaigns and organizations from reaching out to potential voters because they are not on registration lists.
But Avi Green, executive director of Mass VOTE, said there are other ways to deliver messages to potential voters.
The situation “encourages everyone, a little bit, to reach out to everybody," he said. “It creates a cycle of people reaching out further and you get more people voting.”
Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, dismissed concerns that same-day registration could welcome voting fraud and is too cumbersome.
“In the day of laptop computers and electronic connections that is absolutely untrue," he said at a press conference before the hearing. "We can record, instantaneously, the registration that takes place at the polling place and we can immediately call out anyone attempting to abuse the system,” Kaufman said.
The proposed bill, called the Massachusetts Freedom to Vote Act, also allows 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote in high schools.
Sen. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, said this provision is unopposed.
Story said less than 50 percent of 18-year-olds are actually registered to vote.
“It is known that voting is addictive. If you start voting, you keep voting," said.
Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, urged the lawmakers to pass the bill saying it would “bring us into the 21st century.”
“Massachusetts should absolutely be a leader," she said. "We are the cradle of democracy and it’s time to claim that heritage and bring it forward today.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Coverage of the Judiciary Committee Hearing Bills on Drunken Driving

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This story ran in the MetroWest Daily News and the Patriot Ledger.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lawmakers React to the Paul Kirk Appointment

Friday, September 25, 2009
My most recent story in the MetroWest Daily News.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mental health advocates fight for fresh air

Thursday, September 24, 2009
This story was published in the MetroWest Daily News print version on 9/24/09. It was not published to the paper's website.

BOSTON - Mental health advocates urged lawmakers on Wednesday to assure patients certain fundamental rights in hospitals, including regular access of fresh air during hospital stays.

“Prison inmates and even farm animals are granted fresh air under law and I believe this speaks volumes of how our population seems to be seen by society,” Jonathan Dosick, a representative of the Coalition for the Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities, told a packed hearing before the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

Under current law, psychiatric patients have certain guaranteed rights including access to make and receive phone calls in privacy, send and receive sealed and unread mail, and receive visitors in privacy.

Absent from these rights is the right to go outdoors on a regular basis. Dosick claimed that 30 hospitals in Massachusetts, “deny access to the healing power of fresh air.”

Dosick said he had heard many stories of patients not being allowed outdoors for as long as months on end.

“From my own hospital experience, times spent outside were the times when I felt the most hope for the future,” Dosick said.

Monica Briggs, a peer facilitator at McLean Hospital, said patients she speaks with are unanimously surprised to hear that they have specific fundamental rights, but not the right to outdoor access. Briggs said she spent 60 days at a Massachusetts hospital a few years ago without any access to fresh air. When she was transferred to McLean Hospital in Belmont, she had daily access to fresh air.

“My recovery proceeded by leaps and bounds. It was night and day.”

David Matteodo, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems, opposed the bill in its current form, saying it could create safety and cost issues for mental health facilities.

“One of our first obligations is safety,” Matteodo said, “We need to be very careful about adding a fundamental right to all 47 hospitals that people could go outside basically whenever they wanted.”

Advocates also told the committee that the law granting mental patients fundamental rights needed stricter enforcement.

“I am sad to say that rights violations continue to happen and are being reported and there is no effective means to remedy these violations in a timely manner. We are asking for an expedited procedure,” said Susan Fendell, senior attorney with Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee.

Local hospitals, Metro West Medical Center and Milford Regional Medical Center, did not return repeated phone calls for comment regarding their own fresh air access practices.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Area lawmakers divided on interim senate bill

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The following story was published in the MetroWest Daily News in the 9/22/09 print version. This was not published on the paper's website.

BOSTON – Area lawmakers are divided on a bill to give Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint an interim U.S. senator. But with a vote looming in the state Senate, the disagreements are not along party lines.

“We have been putting an emphasis on increasing the integrity of the Legislature,” said Sen. Michael Moore, D-Worcester, who opposes the bill.

“This could be deemed as a slap in the face of some of the integrity efforts that we have been trying to make. This could be deemed as a purely political vote.”

The Massachusetts House last week passed a bill that would give Patrick the power to make an interim appointment to fill the Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat. The appointee would hold the office until a January vote to elect a new senator to fill out Kennedy’s term.

State Democrats have been under pressure from the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats to fill Kennedy’s seat and give the party a 60-vote majority in the Senate – a margin viewed as critical to pass Obama’s health care program in the coming weeks.

But critics say the interim appointment would be hypocritical because Democrats took the appointment power away from then Gov. Mitt Romney in 2004 to prevent him from appointing a Republican if Sen. John Kerry was elected president, leaving his seat vacant.

Moore said he is not alone among fellow Democrats in opposing the bill.

“One positive of this, is you hear a lot of talk about a one-party state and the negative effects of one-party rule. I think by seeing the 42 Democrats that went against the legislation (in the House) and the fact that you will see some Democrats in the Senate voting against it, I think it shows the positiveness of the diversity of the Democratic Party,” he said.

Other Democrats are leaning toward supporting the bill.

Sen. Susan Fargo’s chief of staff, Don Siriani, said that while Fargo, a Middlesex Democrat, had some concerns regarding the bill’s constitutionality, “the constitutional challenges that the senator was applying as a filter have been cleared.”

Siriani said Fargo will make a final decision after listening to the caucus prior to the Senate session tomorrow, which he said, “will be instructive.”

“Her positioning has been consistent throughout: Make sure it’s a well thought out approach, make sure it meets constitutional muster, and then listen to what her constituents have to say. Overwhelmingly, the feedback we are having from our district is in support of the bill.”

Sen. Jamie Eldridge said that it will be a tough but important vote. The senator has been a supporter of the bill from the beginning and believes it is critical to have two senators and two voices in Washington, D.C.

“There is quite an urgency from constituents I represent,” he said. Eldridge said 62 percent of the calls to his office have been in support of an interim appointee.

Republican Sen. Scott Brown, an announced candidate in the special U.S. Senate election in January has already made his position known about an interim appointment. Brown issued a press release last week, criticizing presidential adviser David Axelrod’s plea to state Democrats to pass the Senate appointment bill.

“Someone should tell the White House that this Senate seat belongs to the people of Massachusetts. It’s not a rubber stamp for anyone,” he said. “I find it offensive that we are going to appoint someone to march in lockstep to vote for higher taxes and more government in Washington.”

Sen. Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester, was not available for comment but favors the bill, according to her communications director, Timothy Daley.

The offices of Senators Karen Spilka and Cynthia Stone Creem, both Democrats from Middlesex and Norfolk, did not return calls requesting comment.

The state Senate will likely debate the bill on Tuesday. If passed without differences from the House version, the bill could reach the governor’s desk as early as Wednesday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

First Story!

Friday, September 18, 2009
My Professor said I would never forget writing my first story at the Statehouse. He said he still remembers his.

I covered the House session regarding the interim Senate appointee yesterday. I was there until just before 9 p.m. when they finally voted to send the bill to the Senate. I learned about some interesting things yesterday... for one, you can have multiple legislative days in one REAL day. So before they voted to send the bill to the senate, it was technically Friday, not Thursday. Bizarre. I guess when they voted on the same thing in 2004, they went to a fourth legislative day.

Anyway, here is the link to my first story.

The Statehouse Program

This semester I will be working at the Massachusetts Statehouse and covering news for a local paper. I have been assigned to the MetroWest Daily News. Please follow my work on their website as well as through updates on this blog. Thanks!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fenway Tour

Saturday, July 4, 2009
I went on a Fenway Tour in an effort to actually get to know the city I have lived in for almost a year. Go Sox!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I lived here for three years

Friday, June 12, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Really Great Article!

Monday, June 8, 2009
Congrats to my fellow investigative reporting classmates Sara, Husna and Hannah! Click here to read the fruits of their labor from this past semester's class. They are also the first students from last semester's class to get their story published! Hopefully, my team will get to follow in their footsteps!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NECIR - The Awesome Place Where I Work

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
This summer I am interning with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. They have an office at Boston University in the College of Communication. It is a non-profit center and is a blossoming example of a new model for journalism... since newspapers are in serious trouble. Papers can't afford to pay investigative reporters anymore and as a result many investigative reporters are out of a job and real watch dog journalism is taking up less space in the print world. By establishing centers like the NECIR, investigative reporting has a new place to thrive.

Pro Publica is another great example. They are very successful.

Click here if you are interested in donating to the NECIR or if you have a story idea to submit. Every little bit helps get stories off the ground!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rockport, Massachusetts

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Finally Published!

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Check out my first published story in the Cape Cod Times today. It made the front page of the B Section:

Friday, May 15, 2009

My First Publication

Friday, May 15, 2009
Check out the Cape Cod Times on Sunday! My story about Lauren Forziati is getting published!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

No More Class

Thursday, May 7, 2009
Now that I am finished with my JO 540 multimedia journalism class, I can use this as a normal blog without the chance of my stuff getting displayed on a giant screen in front of 50 students. Check my blog for updates on what I'm doing with my life and currently, how I am recovering from swine flu.

Just kidding. I don't have swine flu. I just have very bad allergies.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lauren Forziati's Blog

Monday, April 27, 2009
The blog I created for Lauren Forziati is updated and full of interesting stuff. Check it out!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boston Marathon at Coolidge Corner

Monday, April 20, 2009
By Jen Judson and Connor Gleason

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lauren Forziati

Monday, April 13, 2009
Connor Gleason and I will be following Lauren Forziati, a first time body building competitor. She will compete on Saturday, April 18th. Check out her blog and website for updates, photos and video footage.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Big Kids Dodgeball

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
By Connor Gleason and Jen Judson

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Recession in Allston

Monday, March 23, 2009
By Connor Gleason and Jen Judson

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Strictly Ballroom at Boston University

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Boston University Campus Bikes

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Review of Frost/Nixon at the Colonial Theatre

Sunday, February 8, 2009

It was a slight disappointment to watch the lights dim and notice that many seats were not filled in the orchestra section of the Colonial Theatre for the Saturday, February 7 matinee of Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon.

Those involved with the national tour of Frost/Nixon donated over 100 free tickets to Boston University Communications students to attend the Saturday afternoon performance, so many of the occupied seats in the theater were taken by those students.

The scattered empty seats, as well as the sound of person snoring mid-performance, were hardly indicative of the performance’s over all magnetism yesterday afternoon.

The play uses an ingeniously sparse and simplistic set, which allowed for standout performances and easy, quick movement between scenes.

In the opening scene, Nixon is seated behind a plain, yet presidential wooden desk. The scene changes are noted by simple changes in chairs. Two rolling chairs become two airplane seats. The airplane seats become a 1970’s era sofa. The real scenery seems to be the bright outlines and dramatic figures of each of the actors on stage. Body language becomes very important and dramatic.

Another brilliant touch to the scenery is a large screen, divided into smaller squares, situated behind the actors above the stage. It performs a multitude of functions.

It is used to indicate travel between various places, showing a 1970’s silver Cadillac whizzing by palm trees while distinctively 70’s music plays.

Photo Courtesy of

During the interviews, the cameras used as props on the stage broadcast the footage to the screen in the background to allow the audience more intimate “TV style” close-ups of Frost and Nixon. Usually stage actors don’t need to rely much on subtle facial expressions but Alan Cox (Frost) and Stacy Keach (Nixon) are faced with the challenge of converting to television acting and must focus deeply on facial expressions. Both do so successfully and help to capture the extreme emotional intensity of the situation.

The Colonial Theater on February 7, 2009
Jen Judson

Because of the screen, one can see, more clearly and deeply, Frost’s desperation to keep Nixon on track and his confident transformation during the final interview. One can also see Nixon fall out of his pompous demeanor and into an exhausted man who is finally forced to admit his guilt.

The lighting in the play is well done and must have been a challenge for the technicians. Scenes often change simply by switching a strategically placed spotlight on an actor and away from another. Actors must stand in the perfect spot on stage at all times, in order to be hit by the spotlights correctly. The only disadvantages to this type of lighting used for scene changes is that it caused some of the actors to stand a bit too rigidly, as if they were trying deliberately to stay in a thin stream of bright light.

Stacy Keach performed the character of Richard Nixon flawlessly. He never fell out of character, whether it was through his body language or voice. Keach improved on this throughout the play as well. There was a sense he was warming up early on in the play.

Alan Cox also delivered a lively performance as David Frost. He and Keach had wonderful stage chemistry. This was apparent in the scene where Nixon “drunk dials” Frost and admits to his personal shortcomings and how he has never felt good enough. They do not look at each other throughout this entire scene but the connection between the two is obvious.

Two actors who could be replaced are Roxanna Hope, who plays Caroline Cushing and Ted Koch, who plays Jack Brennan. Hope had difficulties assuming an almost unidentifiable accent, which was distracting. Her romantic relationship with Frost, portrayed in the play, can be described as slightly awkward. Koch, although his performance overall was good, he pushed a raspy military voice to the point it seemed unnatural at times.

The play had moments that were less than riveting, however, the final interview scene was gripping. Frost no longer sat back in his chair with a leg crossed over the other, he sat on the edge of his seat and stared intensely into Nixon’s face. Nixon’s agitation contributed to the suspense.
Free ticket courtesy of BU COM

The desperation of both men played into the build-up of the final interview.

For a play relying deeply on conversation to keep the pace and form the plot, rather than on action, it was a surprisingly intense ride through one of the most famous television interviews of all time.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Population of Men and Women in Boston and Cambridge With an Income

Monday, February 2, 2009
Just in case you were wondering...

Population of my Home Town

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