You may have noticed a few changes on the Boston.com homepage today.
For longtime Boston.com users, the most notable development is our new Boston.com logo – a more modern and compact design than the logo we’ve used since 1995. We’ve tested versions of this logo with our users and the end result was a bigger version of the same font, without the wave effect. We’re confident this graphic will translate more effectively across all our platforms – desktop, mobile, print and, eventually, on our newspaper delivery trucks.
At the same time, we’ve moved a few elements around and added a few new featured positions in the left and middle columns of the homepage. You’ll notice you can share content straight from our homepage more easily now. You can also easily follow Boston.com on Twitter and Facebook.
Our producers and product teams continually monitor a host of metrics on how our content is performing, including what is being shared and tweeted. So it was important to us to feature content going viral and promote easy sharing. For that reason, you will regularly see a “trending on social” content feature that highlights our most shared content.
These are just a few of the changes you’ll see on Boston.com in 2013, as we continue to expand our content, video offerings and social media connections. We simply want to provide you, our reader, with the best possible experience, across all your screens.
General Manager, Boston.com
Vice President, Digital Products, The Boston Globe
By Joanna S. Kao, January 2013 GlobeLab intern
Today is the last day of my month-long internship at GlobeLab. Coming in at the beginning of the month, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I spent last summer interning at WaPo Labs, a similar group at the Washington Post, but I was pretty sure that apart from the name, things would be pretty different.
For my internship, I worked on redesigning and refactoring parts of SNAP, a database and visualization of Instagram photos around Boston, and created a spin-off project using it. I named the spin-off app “FoodPic.kr” — the app takes a location as an input and then displays a panoply of Instagrammed food images taken around that area (I got hungry pretty often this month in the lab). The idea is that people can use the app to find a place to eat based on how the food looks and the type of people who frequent it.
Interning at GlobeLab didn’t mean that I just sat (or stood) at my Steelcase adjustable standing desk being a code monkey — we also had great ideation sessions on our wall, newly painted with ideapaint. I probably shouldn’t give away all of our ideas, but if you check back on GlobeLab once in awhile, I think you’ll be rather delighted with the projects in progress.
It’s been a fun month, and I’m going to miss getting to brainstorm about new innovative apps with incredibly creative people every day. Fortunately, I’ll be back again as an intern at the Boston Globe (although not at Globe Lab) this summer as a data visualization/news developer intern!
Joanna S. Kao is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in writing at MIT. She interned at Globe Lab for the month of January. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter for more information.
By Joel Abrams, Senior Product Manager
I’m a contrarian, so instead of the usual top list, I decided to put together a bottom list.
Note: All of these are actual search terms that users typed into the search box on boston.com in 2012, but they aren’t the true bottom. Our analytics system only let me get the top 100,000 search terms, and many are actually quite prosaic. These are my selection of the most obscure, random, and unlikely to yield useful results.
- mass. witches assembling to end tim tebow’s season, keep tom brady’s alive
- Video of unknown male murder feburary 19 2012
- bhjgffghyfgfrfdfffffffffffffffffffffffjhghuehwyhbhhduddddddddiyhygugy yugy
- Sex in Kenya
- and rabbi akiva said it was 200 plagues as we got closer to the sea
- What are the two qualities looked for in choosing sled dogs?
- what do it look like when the sun tern to a blak hole
- why globe is placed on the table in every office?
- internet explorer and its helpful features
- Would you wait in line 8 hours for a beer?
Today, Mozilla announced the 2013 class of Knight-Mozilla Open News Fellows. The program, funded by the Knight Foundation, embeds smart developers in some of the world’s best newsrooms for 10 months — among them ours. The 2012 fellows are also working at the BBC, The Guardian, Zeit Online and Al Jazeera. In 2013, three other leading news organizations will be participating, including The New York Times.
Our fellow this year has been Dan Schultz, who has been working in our development team and will continue on for 5 more months. Dan has created a tremendous connection into the MIT media lab and has been experimenting with the data mining of closed captions and working on a project to rebuild Boston.com’s quiz tool (among other cool things).
In 2013, we will be joined by Sonya Song, who has degrees in Computer Science from Tsinghua University in Beijing, the country’s leading university, and a Master of Philosophy in Journalism from The University of Hong Kong.
We are excited to have Sonya be joining us early next year. Here’s more on the program from the Nieman Journalism Lab.
Sonya isn’t the only new face who’ll be helping us innovate. Through a separate program with the Knight Foundation, we have received a grant to hire two full time staffers to create a connection to the MIT Media Lab and other Boston area universities. We’ve posted the two new positions, a Creative Technologist and a New Media Catalyst, who will be working in the Globe Lab and finding ways to grow our audience, tell stories, and connect us more deeply to Boston’s top universities to explore new ideas. We will also offer fellowships during winter and summer breaks for students to join us to work on interesting projects.
Chris Marstall has some more details on the positions, as well as a celebrity photo from the Lab.
VP, Digital Products, The Boston Globe
General Manager, Boston.com
Music, art, games, and context – who would’ve thought of the all the different apps that could be created around the presidential debates?
Inspiration and creativity were the bywords of the weekend, as Hacks/Hackers Boston held a “Hack the Presidential Debate” hackathon this past weekend. At least 40 people participated between Friday night and Saturday. The idea was to create apps that could be used for the third and final presidential debate Monday night (Oct. 22.). The event was sponsored by Hacks/Hackers, The Boston Globe, and the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, which hosted the event.
Two winners were picked. Debatify claimed first place. The app wraps music around spoken clips from the earlier debates. Debatify was a crowd-pleasing hit, inspiring waves of laughter from the crowd and judges. It was created by Joanna Kao, Jennifer Hollett, Dan Siegel, Max Rothman, Ying Tan, and Leon Lin.
The second place winner was Potato, which placed contextual art and links to stories alongside a live transcript of the debate. Team members were Alvin Chang, Jin Dai, and Matt Carroll. The app was created using software written by Dan Schultz. (Hopefully, a link will be up by the time of the debate Monday night.)
Other entries: Xin Xin and Gabriel Florit worked on an app that created artistic data visualizations, which might help show the emotional state of the candidates or how often they referred to different topics.
Andrew Inglis and Chris Amico worked on a game that would be played by two people, who could score points by guessing which words would be used by the candidates. The idea of the game was to help unite people of opposing political beliefs in an interesting, fun way.
Schultz also showed off an app that scrambled the transcripts, making it seem as if the candidates had been drinking.
The event was judged by Brian Mooney, a veteran political reporter for the Boston Globe, with more than 40 years of experience, Michael Workman, digital design director at the Globe, and Michael Morisy, founder of the freedom of information site, Muckrock.com, and now the editor and curator for The Hive, a blog on innovation and startups on Boston.com.
“The Boston Globe sees the new domain extensions as a great opportunity to organize and promote Web sites for our innovative city, and is pleased to have the endorsement of the city of Boston for this application,” said Christopher Mayer, publisher of the Globe.
Mayer said that in the coming months, the Globe and the city will be revealing plans to manage the .boston domain “for the benefit of our city, its businesses, organizations and residents.”
Note that the application specifies that you will be unable to apply for tokyo.boston and other counter-intuitive geographic domains, but most of the rest of the rules have yet to be determined.