Photo of the Week

"We got him."

“We got him.”

“Suspect in custody. Suspect in custody.”

Just heard this on the police scanner on Ustream. Best news I heard all day. Can’t say enough about how impressed I am with today’s events and the many law enforcement agencies involved.

Captured?

Watching CNN live after just returning from a work event to see a reporter receiving news via cell phone and reporting live on air. One suspect may have been captured following the Boston Marathon bombings and possibly a second suspect. This is an interesting way to cover the news. Not sure if CNN is following any sort of process to confirm facts before reporting.

Cartoons for Boston

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Boston

MarathonToday was my first day of work since relocating from Boston to San Francisco last May. It had been a tough journey and I awoke excited and a little nervous to meet my new colleagues and begin this new chapter in my career.

After spending the morning settling in and enjoying lunch with my workmates I received a text from my wife.

“2 bombs exploded at BosMarathon finish line L dozens v hurt.”

My heart dropped. I had just mentioned to a co-worker the excitement that comes every Patriots Day to Boston with the running of “the marathon”. It’s Boston’s happiest day when everyone comes together to cheer on each runner that trots, jogs, or limps along the route. I have never experienced anything so inviting in my entire life.

I clicked online and the story began to unravel quickly via Twitter and the local news stations. The videos were horrific, the photos graphic. My wife and I lived along the marathon route for 7 years in Brookline and Boston’s Back Bay, cheering on those who were strong enough physically and of spirit to push themselves to the finish line. The explosions were blocks from our last home, across the street from the hotel that employed my wife since it opened several years ago.

I texted friends who were sure to be watching the race. They had been heading to the finish line like many others as the crowd always swells after the first few hours when friends and family usually finish. They were safe. A photographer friend luckily turned down the Finish Line assignment.

Even though many of the spectators are strangers, I know those people from these short clips, not personally but I know them. Each year we shared Marathon Monday, ringing cow bells, encouraging runners, and congratulating finishers brandishing their medals later that night.

I know that sidewalk. I bought my running shoes at Marathon Sports and my candy from the shop next door. I checked out my books from the library across the street and waited for my wife after work on that sidewalk.

Like so many Bostonians, I know every square inch of that exploded space and the joy that was erupting up to the moment of those horrific blasts. Every year this day brings out the best in people but it also allowed someone to show their worst.

I know Boston and they will come together like they always do. Bostonians endure; it’s in their history and will be in their future.

All I have to do is watch the clips and see the police, the pedestrians, and the race officials, running towards the explosion to help. One of my wife’s friends sent this telling email, showing how much these few seconds of destruction called for strength and heroism today and in the future when the shock wears off.

“We heard the bombs and people just started running. I ran through all the rooms to get the guests away from the windows and close the drapes. The public came pouring through to escape Boylston Street. We evacuated everyone to Huntington Ave. The street was full of bloody debris and everyone was sobbing. It’s horrific.”

Laid Off Journo Scoops Boston’s Dailies via Twitter

There’s a terrifically amazing story coming out of Boston and of course it has to do with politics. If you guessed that it’s the news that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will not be running for reelection after nearly 20 years in office you would be wrong, but not far off.

Yesterday the news broke that Mayor Menino would not be seeking reelection – the Globe had it, the Herald had it, RTs were spreading across Twitter with the fury of a California wildfire.

But the real story started earlier this month when the city’s alt-weekly Boston Phoenix closed its doors. Among those laid off was longtime political reporter David S. Bernstein. If you’ve lived in Boston then you know Bernstein as an institution when it comes to political news. He fills up your Twitter stream with the latest from Beacon Hill and City Hall, sometimes to the point where you unfollow for a few days just to take a break.

Unfortunately, if you were not following Bernstein yesterday, you missed out on the scoop of all scoops. At 2:27pm @dbernstein posted the following two tweets:

Sure it was unconfirmed but holy hell, what if it was true. If anyone would know it would be Bernstein right? He continued:

 

Then he located the sources:

Then came the buy in from the Dorchester Reporter’s editor:

Throughout this entire stream from @dbernstein there came nothing at first from the dailies. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald were silent. Were they really sitting on an embargo as some are speculating? Were they restricted by the need to confirm sources as one editor suggests?

In an email excerpt from Globe editor Brian McGrory to Boston Business Journal‘s Galen Moore:

David simply wasn’t a factor in what we pursued and published. The Globe has its institutional standards, standards that spread across the organization, with institutional credibility that has been built up in this community for generations. While our reporting led to strong indications early in the day that the mayor wouldn’t be seeking reelection, those indications – sources with indirect knowledge, if you will – didn’t reach our standard for publication until the evening. While history tells me that David is a good political reporter, I would certainly not stake the Globe’s reputation on his Twitter dispatches, or even concede that he was working with more information than we already had. He said on Fox 25 last night, “I don’t have it from directly Menino or his staff,” even repeating, “I have not confirmed that directly from his offices directly.” A freelance journalist, self-publishing, obviously has a far different standard than the Boston Globe.

I think they got scooped by a veteran reporter who lives and breathes his beat regardless of the promise of a paycheck. To lump Bernstein in with unethical bloggers is a poor attempt to steer the conversation away from the simple fact that the dailies got beat plain and simple. So here’s to you Mr. Bernstein, keep doing what you do.

Buried Alive: Social Media Helps Bad News Rise from the Dead

Burying news is a practice widely used by public relations professionals. However issuing news on a Friday at 5PM or while another organization or event is dominating the narrative is no longer a sure fire way to go unnoticed. Sorry folks, there no longer exists a bottomless pit to drop press releases.

So who’s to blame? Responsibility squarely rests on social media and “citizen journalists.” Case in point: Twitter reports are highlighting just how one such attempt to bury bad news is backfiring. Just as Apple presented its much-anticipated keynote to announce the iPad mini, social game provider Zynga reportedly laid off more than 100 employees, providing them with 2 hours to vacate their desks.

The news broke as former Apple, Sony, Mint, and Smulee employee Justin Maxwell posted the following tweet:
Since Maxwell’s post the Twitterverse has been lit up with rumors ranging from layoffs of departments (TheVille and Bingo) to entire office shutdowns (Austin, Boston, and Chicago). At the time of posting this article, Zynga has yet to make a formal statement however it would be a fair bet that the company’s management and communications team had the Apple keynote in mind when deciding when to inform their employees of this news. (UPDATE: Read the statement from Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.)

With the proliferation of social sites, especially those adopted as news sharing platforms, it is time for public relations professionals to rethink when to deliver bad news – if they haven’t already. There is no more hiding and trying to do so may just make matters worse.

Here are some tips for dealing with a brewing crisis.

Fireworks

Ms. Kluender and I huddle by our apartment windows, cheeks pressed against the glass as we watch San Francisco’s July 4th fireworks display. After a particularly large round of explosions we revisit our decision to not join the crowds along the chilly waterfront.

A screen grab of Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge.

We are veterans of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, celebrated by Bostonians with the same vigor and flair as Jim Broadbent’s Harold Zidler. Never had we expected San Francisco or any city for that matter to match its opulence.

Watching from our bedroom window, we now know better. “Next year,” I say. “We will have to go next year.”

Ms. Kluender continues to frown slightly, a rare occasion when she exhibits the famous Hong Kong pout. I can tell that this missed opportunity will leave a mark.

Walking back to the living room after the show, the local CBS affiliate airs the Spectacular from the Charles River. We watch for a few minutes before switching over to Breaking Bad before bed.

In hindsight, at least we don’t live in San Diego:

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