Commentary

Watching The Super Bowl Online: A Review

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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Dec. 7, 2012

According to the Associated Press, Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched television show in U.S. history, with an estimated 111.3 million viewers. But for geeks, the big excitement was outside the TV. For the first time, NBC live-streamed the entire game online. Along with the sports, NBC promised social media and the chance to watch the famous commercials.
 
So, how did it go? The response on Twitter lined up with what this reporter experienced at a Super Bowl party in Somerville, Mass. that had all the traditional fixings: chili, six-packs, giant flat-screen and squabbling cats ... just no television.

In short, the streaming video quality was remarkably high; however, the juiced-up online peripherals didn't live up to the hype. Sure, you could watch all the commercials — but only after they aired. Between drives, web watchers were subjected instead to a short roll call of ads that played over and over again. (Hey, did you know the Navy SEALs show features real Navy SEALs?)

The Twitter connection was restricted to two pre-selected NBC stars' accounts. Dear Jimmy Fallon:  If you know NBC will be displaying your Twitter feed to its web viewers for the entire game, you might want to tweet more than once an hour.

And most painfully — as we followed along on the non-restricted Twitter — we knew exactly how great a show we were missing when Madonna took the stage on the television ... but not online.


madonna show like kim il sung birthday party tweet


At least there was one consolation left: At the depressing end of the game, we had the fun of watching the halftime show. On YouTube.

Note: We asked NBC for traffic stats and an explanation for the different commercials and the lack of the Madonna performance. No response yet.

On The Zander Ouster

By Jordan Weinstein   |   Friday, January 13, 2012
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Jan. 13, 2012

 
BOSTON — Benjamin Zander, director of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, was fired after it was learned he hired a convicted sex offender to videotape student performances. The move sent shockwaves throughout the local and national classical music communities. We talked about the impact of Zander’s ousting with Brian McCreath, host and producer at Classical New England

Underdog Again: Brown Faces Tough '12 Contest

By Will Roseliep   |   Wednesday, January 4, 2012
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Jan. 4, 2012

scott brown

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., speaks with reporters at Mul's Diner in Boston on Dec. 28, 2011. (Josh Reynolds/AP)


BOSTON — Sen. Scott Brown is branding himself the "underdog" in his fight for re-election. The junior senator faces stiff opposition from Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren.
 
Kelly Bates, the executive director of Access Strategies Fund, a left-leaning philanthropic foundation, agrees with Brown. She says that this time around, in new circumstances, there may not be a surprise victory for the man in the pickup truck.
 
"Scott Brown won in a special election. We're talking a four-, five-month campaign. No one even saw him coming," Bates says. "This is 2012, this is a presidential election, Barack Obama is going to be on the ticket when Elizabeth Warren is going to be on the ticket."
 
And to top it all off, Democratic voters are still smarting at the defeat of Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2010.
 
Bates thinks the race will be close but predicts that Warren can succeed where Coakley fell short.

Poverty: 'No One's Proud To Get Government Cheese'

By WGBH News & Wires   |   Sunday, December 18, 2011
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Dec. 19, 2011

food pantry

In November 2011, veterans line up at a Greater Boston Food Bank mobile food pantry. (Cristina Quinn/WGBH)


BOSTON — New data from the 2010 Census suggest that one in every two Americans has fallen into poverty, or earns wages considered to be low-income.

Making matters worse: Howard Manly, executive editor of The Bay State Banner, said on "The Callie Crossley Show" that the people now considered poor are the ones least likely to seek assistance.

"No one's really proud to get $200 a month in free government cheese," he said. "They want to go out and get jobs — and they in fact have jobs; it's just that it's very difficult to make ends meet."

The new data raised the question, Manly said, of whether the government should do more during tough economic times, especially for middle- and working-class families who are technically "impoverished" but don't qualify for assistance. 

The low-income threshold is roughly $45,000 for a family of four. Children were most likely to be poor or low-income — about 57 percent — followed by seniors over 65. However, some news outlets have raised questions about the data.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Frank Not 'The Gay Congressman'

By WGBH News   |   Friday, December 2, 2011
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Dec. 2, 2011

barney frank

Barney Frank at his Nov. 28 press conference. (Stephan Savoia/AP)


BOSTON — Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank's announcement that he will not seek reelection has led many to reflect on his political legacy.
 
Sue O'Connell, publisher of the New England LGBT newspaper “Bay Windows,” lauded Frank’s work for the LGBT community. In particular, she thought he set an example because he was open about his sexual orientation but it wasn't his defining feature.
 
“He’s emblematic to a lot of folks, even the younger — and I mean younger, sort of newbie, elected officials who are gay or lesbian — that you can fight for gay rights and not be labeled as ‘the gay Congressman.’ That's the second or third or fourth thing about him,” she said on "The Callie Crossley Show" on Dec. 2.
 
O’Connell thought Frank would be best remembered instead for his strong defense of the fishing industry and his efforts to repeal the US military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy.
 
In 1987, Frank became the first Congressman to voluntarily come out of the closet. On Nov. 28, he told WGBH News “I do not think it would have been possible to have gotten elected to Congress… If I’d come out too much earlier.”

Baseball Insiders <3 New Sox Manager

Thursday, December 1, 2011
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Dec. 1, 2011

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, second from right, joins hands with team management during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday Dec. 1, 2011. From left to right are Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, General Manager Ben Cherington, Valentine, and majority owner John Henry. (AP)  

BOSTON — Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine has been named the new manager of the Boston Red Sox, taking over from Terry Francona — and Red Sox Nation now has to get to know a leader very different from what they’ve been used to.
 
No one can predict how the team will perform under new management, but baseball insiders agree on one fact: Mr. Personality has come to town.
 
David Lennon covered Valentine as the New York Mets beat writer for Newsday.

Listen to WGBH News' complete conversation with David Lennon.

Valentine, Lennon told WGBH News’ Jordan Weinstein, is “entertaining. There’s never a dull moment with him in the manager’s office…. That said, as any strong personality does, he can cause friction in some areas.”

“He talks a lot,” sports analyst Bob Lobel said on “The Emily Rooney Show” on Dec. 1. “He can’t edit himself. He doesn’t stop.”
 
That’s unlike the quiet and reserved Francona.
 
“It’s not unusual, certainly, for teams to choose a different manager, a different type of personality manager to follow another,” Lennon said.
 
“He’s the first star manager the team has ever hired,” Lobel said. “He’s a brilliant baseball guy but as a human being he’s going to take some time to get to know.”
 
What about his skills in the clubhouse?
 
Lennon praised them, saying that Valentine’s managerial ability was so strong that he got the Mets to the World Series in 2000 even though the team was relatively weak.
 
Valentine has never won a division — the Mets got to that Series as a wild card. But Lennon said that didn’t matter.
 
“If there’s one reason to knock Bobby Valentine… having not won a division title I think is probably not the spot to go after,” Lennon said. “He’s managed teams that have won 90-plus games.” Anyway, Valentine’s Mets were up against the then-dynastic Atlanta Braves.
 
When it comes to the head-to-head battle for the 2012 AL East, “I certainly think he can match wits and match tactics with any other manager in that division,” Lennon said.
 
And maybe it doesn’t really even matter. “I think picking a manager is way overrated,” Lobel said. “They got him. That’s fine. Now it’s time to move on.”
 
Lobel added, “It’s going to be fun.”

About the Authors
Danielle Dreilinger Danielle Dreilinger
Danielle Dreilinger is an author and news producer for WGBH.org.


Jordan Weinstein Jordan Weinstein
Jordan Weinstein is a news anchor for NPR's All Things Considered on WGBH, 89.7 FM in Boston.
WGBH News
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 

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