Flickr: BostInno & Boston Harbor

The other day, I went to the Boston Harbor area to interview the employees of BostInno. The interviews went well, I’m a big fan of the website. Their current workplace is located down in the Boston Harbor area, and it was a great day outside. I had my camera with me for the interview, so I used the opportunity to shoot some pictures of the water and beautiful building structures.

It’s definitely an area in Boston I recommend running around. There are some very cool buildings to check out, and the area is home to a lot of historical sites, such as the State Street building, the Old State House, and a Boston favorite, the Hood Milk Bottle building.

Just a warning, this is a metropolitan area, so there’s a lot of crosswalks and traffic lights. If you’re looking for an area to run that’s straight through, this isn’t for you. It’s a great area for the stop-and-go runner who has some of the city’s finest scenery.

Photos: BostInno & Boston Harbor

Google Map Location:

Google Maps, BostInno & Boston Harbor

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Storify, “The Boston Marathon 2012: Beforehand”

Put together a Storify, another running feed. It will be updated periodically through the weekend.

The Boston Marathon 2012: Beforehand

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Keeping Copper Canyon Alive

According to the Washington Post, Micah True’s ultra-marathon will be held in 2013, even though founder True passed in late March.

2013 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Copper Canyon ultra-marathon, a race started by True to celebrate and support the Tarahumara people of Mexico.

The ultra-marathon will be organized and funded by the Caballo Blanco Foundation, a foundation named after True’s nickname, Caballo Blanco, a name that translates to “white horse”.

True’s death has pushed many of his fans to look back on his life and reflect just what he stood for, and understand his appreciation for the athletically talented Tarahumara. Many have taken part in memorial runs, such as this one in Boulder, and advocating for donations to the Caballo Blanco Foundation.

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Micah True

On Saturday, Micah True’s body was found in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. He was only 58 years old, a shocking age to die for a man who seemed to be in such good condition.

True was familiar with the area, and a well-known ultra-marathon runner, so it was shocking when he was found dead four days after he went on a standard 12-mile run he’d completed before.

True was a pacer for a member of the Tarahumara tribe, the wilderness tribe from Mexico whom are known to run hundreds of miles at a time, during a Colorado race.

True lived among the tribe for a long tibe, ultimately becoming the subject of the book, Born to Run, later turned into a movie.

He celebrated the tribe’s way of life – their simplicity, their happiness and their athletic skills. He highlighted their running skills, adapting to their running style of using sandals instead of sneakers.

His race, called the Copper Canyon Ultra-Marathon is a 50-mile long race in which many members of the tribe of all ages participate. As quoted by the Associated Press, Nick Coury said a quote that has stuck with me:

‘Coury remembers his first Copper Canyon race.

Sitting in the darkness at the finish line, he waited for others to cross. First came two young boys and then there were two 15-year-old girls wearing their traditional layered dresses — colorful but heavy. On their feet were plastic jelly sandals.

“That’s all they owned. Shoes are hard to come by,” Coury said.

“Every year there’s something that touches me in a new way,” he said.

“They come to the race, some of them hiking in from 30 to 40 miles away, and they still believe they can run. It reignites their culture inside them.”‘

Running fifty miles in general, let alone running fifty miles in these outfits:


I can’t even imagine.


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Nan Wu

Nan Wu spoke about investigative journalism in China. There is a new phenomenon where economic publications have been doing investigative journalism. Wu believed this was due to the increased revenue of economic media, and they have more room to do journalism because “their topics tend to not be able to be censored”.

After a young man was beaten to death in a Detention Center, a whole group of stories were published about the corruption, violence and scandals within the Detention Center. Because people were able to see these issues in public media, they were able to push for the removal of Detention Centers, causing great strides for the media, whose work directly impacted political decisions.

Dr. Jiang, a well-respected doctor, attempted to uncover the truths about the SARS epidemic in China, where they greatly understated the problems related to the epidemic. First he went to Chinese media, particularly television, where they declined to publish his story. He took it to Time magazine.

The online media in China is too large for the government to control anymore. Internet, mobile phones and Twitter are all popular among media users in China.

With Twitter, for example, even when Tweets are firewalled later on, the initial Tweet is already out there for people to see and share.

According to Nan Wu, climate changes and the environment are often forgotten by publications because they have “more important” issues to cover such as unemployment and employment. This allowed her to engage herself in projects like this.

“Black Lung Village” – Shiban

The first presentation Wu shared with us was her Black Lung Village story. She put together a slideshow of interesting pictures of Shiban, interviewing multiple people affected by the conditions of working in mines. She shared that the town is just a glimpse at a bigger picture, that the government often covers up places like this.

While working for the Wall Street Journal in China, Wu was responsible for social media products. Before she came along,WSJ China only had 30,000 followers – now they have upwards of 200,000.

Online discussions between teens in America and China are very different. In China, they do ask a lot more questions – where is the conspiracy? The support? The evidence? They try and find social injustices, where in America, the postings are a lot more superficial. In America, we’re allowed to speak on what we want without fear of being punished, and we don’t necessarily need social media the way the teens in China do to understand social phenomenons and political decisions.

In terms of the Great Firewall, while Wu was studying at Harvard, she tried to learn from members of the IT department why the Great Firewall was so powerful that people couldn’t crack it. What she learned was that those who are hired to create the firewall are given a huge budget to work with, and can afford much better technology to work with. Those trying to hack into it are obviously on a much smaller budget, which really hindrances the project.

Beijing is going to begin censoring micro-blogging, and shutting down anything that goes against what the government deems appropriate.

Although Twitter is banned in China, people have created their own version of Twitter, Weibo. With Weibo, people in China have instantaneous access to news and peer comments – and once it’s published, it’s already out there, and likely people have seen this.

Of course, I don’t agree with China’s banning of Twitter, nor do I agree with censorship, but I commend Nan Wu and China’s Weibo users for their continued sharing of important information.

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Kristen Lombardi

In our previous Reinventing the News class, we were visited by Kristen Lombardi, a former colleague of my teacher at the Boston Phoenix and current Harvard Nieman fellow.

Lombardi worked on many groundbreaking cases, and shared her experience as a journalist and fellow with our class.

She shared two of her pieces with us, both which she worked on while at The Center of Public Integrity. Lombardi particularly enjoyed working here because they were very extensive investigative cases. She was not given a deadline, and was able to approach the story with a lot of information, in-depth coverage and exclusive opportunities to get full access and coverage of all sides of the stories.

The first story she shared was her investigations on the surface impacts of longwall mining near Wind Ridge, Pennsylvania. Lombardi ended up living in the town with the residents, infiltrating their social arena and gaining the trusts of residents and officials alike. She was able to go underground with the miners and see exactly how they went about this technique, something which no one else had access to.

State officials were indifferent to the negative effects of longwall mining, which, although a notoriously cheap form of mining, had a costly effect on the residents living above the destruction, and the area around it. Environmentally, it was also severely damaging.

The second project she worked on was about rape and sexual assault on college campuses. After an initial tip, Lombardi was given 18 months to complete another lengthy story, working with a budget only a non-profit could shell out.

The series focused on how the university officials respond to claims of sexual assault and rape.

The two pieces were really interesting, and I’m a huge fan of long form investigative journalism. It is such a shame to me how much investigative journalism is losing its funding with many major media outlets, as it’s obviously a very important part of journalism. I looked at her pieces after a little bit more closely and she’s extremely talented. Seeing what she’s doing makes me definitely think about going down a similar path than her. I especially thought her coverage of rape and assault on campus was incredibly well done.

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Northeastern Quad, 3/22

These first few days of spring have been absolutely beautiful. I feel like I’m in the first week of June. I’ve been running mostly mornings and evenings, trying to stay away from running during the warmest hours of 11 and 3. I’ve noticed when it’s too hot, I’m way less motivated, get dehydrated much faster and don’t enjoy the run nearly as much as if it was slightly cooler. Plus, it allows me to scamper around campus, taking pictures of students enjoying the midday weather.

Northeastern Campus, March 22nd

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Ras na Heireann

Ras na Heireann was Sunday, March 18th. While all my roommates were lying in bed, hungover and trying to recover before the parade, I was on my way to Somerville, getting warmed up. It was my 2nd 5k, and was so much fun. It was very festive, everybody covered head to toe in green – definitely some ridiculous costumes in sight. About 4,300 people took part, both runners and walkers of all ages and sizes. I ran it with my good friend, Jess Murray, and although we almost didn’t make it to the race in the first place (thanks to crowded T lines) we both finished the race without walking or stopping.

Jess (left) and I post-race with our Guinness, medals and green gear.

I finished the race six seconds behind Jess, my chip time being 25:30. Considering my first 5k was run in 28:10, I’m very happy with how I did. I’ve decided my new goal is going to be to run my next 5k in under 25 minutes.

Capstone Photography took many pictures of the events, organizing pictures by bib number (and designating runners to that bib number), making it easy to see pictures taken of me. The pictures are pretty funny – clearly my initial smile didn’t last the entire race.

Pictures of Kimberly Russell, Bib #3459, Copyright of Capstone Photography.

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How the Internet Has Changed Barefoot Running

How often do you see someone running barefoot?

Probably not often, if ever, unless you’re a barefoot runner yourself.

A very minimal percentage of the population runs barefoot, however, the Internet, social media websites and digital media initiatives are bringing together barefoot runners by uniting them, bringing the sport awareness and advertising events.

I’ve chosen to feature Barefoot Running in Boston as my topic of choice for my final project in Reinventing the News. Our assignment is this:

“Your project must be about a digital media initiative of some sort. I’m willing to be pretty flexible with regard to what that means. It is not a requirement that it be related to your beat, though it would be preferable. And I’d like it to be local if at all possible.”

The final project will consist of a slideshow, a video and a blog post.

It’s clear barefoot runners are few and far between, but the topic seems to continuously creep up on me – ads for the Vibram shoes on my Facebook, “Barefoot Running”-inspired Meetup Group e-mail suggestions, ads for the upcoming first ever Boston Barefoot Running Festival. From someone who had never heard of such a thing before this year, it’s been an activity I see time and time again. Clearly, social media is playing a huge part in the rising number of barefoot runners, and I want to learn why and how.

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Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library, is a pioneer among US libraries. It was the first library to allow citizens to borrow books and materials, the first to establish off-site branches, the first library to designate a “children’s room” and storytelling, and the largest public research library in New England. The library has a wide variety of resources, along with rare historical artifacts, including early editions of William Shakespeare’s early works and original scores of Mozart.

Known to locals as the “BPL”, the library has an unimagineable amount of materials available for use to members of the library and nonmembers. According to its website, it gives patrons access to over 24 million items of all formats, including 6.1 million books.

Library cards are free, and easy to obtain, so long as you can prove you’re a Boston resident. The library recommends bringing either a driver’s license from Massachusetts showing a current Boston residence, or bringing formal letters, along with another form of photo identification.

Yesterday, I went to the library to get information regarding a Supreme Court case I am learning about for my Law of the Press class. I went into the library through its Boylston street side, also known as the newer building. I got a bit lost, seeing as it’s enormous, and there are hidden rooms and side nooks everywhere. Finally, I resorted to going to the front desk to ask for directions. I told the nice man at the desk what I was working on, and he sent me off to the McKim Building.

Built in 1895, the McKim Building was the original “Boston Public Library”, made up of the main room which held the resources, a children’s room, a courtyard and galleries to display exhibits.

Today, the McKim Building is where the BPL houses its research collection.

I went into Bates Hall, an absolutely beautiful reading room. It was shockingly quiet for such a full room – a policeman walked up and down the aisle to ensure the room remained silent, for working purposes. Long wooden tables line the room, illuminated by beautiful green lamps and enormous arched windows.

Upon walking through the building, the librarians sit quietly at the desk, waiting to help anyone who asks. I went up to one of the women, Linda Bain, a Boston resident and long-time librarian at the BPL. Unfortunately, the particular court case I was looking up has apparently no resources available anywhere…but she tried to help me for over an hour. She didn’t just stand next to me, reading over my shoulder. She sat me down with a stack of Supreme Court books and newspapers she found, then disappeared for thirty minutes, handing me a packet saying she “couldn’t find material anywhere”. However, she managed to find information I never would have thought to look for – including the current e-mail address of one of the attorneys on the case (which was from 1973).

700 Boylston Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: 617 536 5400

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Closest T Station: Copley [Right in front of the library]

Days & Hours of Operation, Johnson & McKim Building Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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