Recapping my semester with Politico

Before this semester, I never went on and quite frankly was never into politics. While I’m still lukewarm on politics as a whole, I have grown an admiration for and how they handle everything from the White House to Congress. Overall, I’m satisfied I was assigned Politico because I was able to expand my horizons and learn more political news that will be worthwhile in the long run. Here are some things I liked and disliked about my four months scouring the site.

  1. Content, content, content

One of the first things I noticed about is how much content the site generates on a daily basis. I know there are a lot of things going on in D.C. – especially under this administration – but Politico is always churning out different type of pieces that create an allure to the site.

There are opinion, news, and analysis stories. On top of that Politico touches upon everything politically related such as the President, Congress, Capitol Hill, Elections, etc. Here’s a screen grab from the site today… Look at all that content!!

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2. The visual layout of the site

After complaining about the visuals on Politico during our NewsTrack Roundtable discussion… they must have heard me! Just a week later, Politico completely revamped their site into a much more visually pleasing way. The old site looked like it was from the 90’s while the new look has finally caught up to contemporary times. Here’s a picture of what Politico used to look like compared to now.


3. Breaking News.. Not so much

Unlike a site like CNN, Politico does not do a good job of breaking news. They don’t have the writers or sources to be constantly breaking news but I think it is something they can improve at. Politico wants to be the leading source of political news in Washington D.C. and by breaking more news they can captivate a wider audience. Very often did I see this photo….

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4. Enhance Social Media

Politico has accounts on all the major social outlets, which is pretty much a given in this day and age. However, they don’t really do a good job of engaging their audience on social media. This issue is specifically evident on Twitter. They tweet out all their stories but do not put a creative or even click bait caption to entice the viewer to click on the link. I think Twitter is so important in order to get clicks and Politico can certainly upgrade their presence. Here’s an example of their tweets.

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5. Wrap it Up

I think Politico is heading in the right direction as the site continues to grow. I tend to forget that the site is still relatively new and when you enter the political field and go up against media giants like CNN and Fox it’s going to be tough. But I think Politico thrives in their in-depth coverage. CNN doesn’t cover the D.C. political beat to the extent of Politico. Moving forward though, Politico needs to keep gaining a larger audience and that starts with breaking some news and becoming more prominent on social media.





POLITICO Pro: DataPoint

I’ve complained many times about Politico’s lack of visuals including in the Round Table discussion. However after doing more research, I recently discovered that Politico Pro, a subscription based part of the site, offers a DataPoint section.

Now of course you have to be a member to access the DataPoint section (I filled information out and they said they would call me) but after looking around it seems like an awesome aspect of Politico’s site.

So under the ‘Federal’ tab of Politico Pro, they offer DataPoint as a way to access the information.

Here’s what the DataPoint section looks like:

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Even though I couldn’t access the content, I could tell that this section of Politico does an amazing job of using data. It’s innovative and creative. And looks to be really in depth. It’s a great way to cover news.

I wish the rest of the site offered more opportunities to read articles with data that didn’t require cost and a membership. But the DataPoint looks really cool.

Inside Boston Strong

Last Tuesday, SPJ New England hosted the “Beyond Boston Strong” panel event at Suffolk University. The discussion dove deep into the reporter’s perspective of the marathon bombing. The panel included David Wedge of the Boston Herald, David Abel of the Boston Globe, Susan Zalkind, and Ken Martin.

Throughout the hour long session, they discussed how they covered the tragedy, shared their background stories of the day, and offered insight into how to properly deal with families after a tragedy of that magnitude.

For more coverage of the event, check out my Twitter Moment below for all tweets, quotes, photos, and videos.


The right way to BREAK NEWS

When I think of breaking news, I immediately think of Twitter. I believe Twitter is not only the most popular breaking news platform, but the best platform. Twitter allows journalists from all over the globe to share breaking news in real time with photos, videos, and links. It’s perfect. And it’s one of the benefits social media has had on the field of journalism.

Because of breaking news and social media, online news sites are able to promote their content even more.

My website,, breaks news in real time on Twitter. They do this by sending out a tweet that usually has a link attached. In a recent breaking news event, used a “Breaking News” GIF on Twitter.

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I think this is a great way to promote a breaking news story. On Twitter, it is so important to use visuals and a captivating headline in order to get clicks and views. I also believe that putting BREAKING in all caps helps grab the readers attention. So all in all, this tweet from Politico is a perfect example of how to handle a breaking news story online.

As a beat writer for BU basketball, we’ve had some breaking news over the past week, and I think following Politico’s technique is ideal to share the news in an intriguing and interesting way.





The Facebook Dilemma

After it took six days for Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to speak out about the recent controversy revolving around the companies handling of people’s data, wrote a story Wednesday bashing the duo.

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I really enjoyed this article from Politico because it read to me like a column. The author took a side of the controversy and relayed a poignant message. I think he was 100% correct about the bad look Facebook is getting right now and Zuckerberg and Sandberg deserve to be criticized.

It’s crazy to think that Facebook could be on the decline. This media empire has dominated the social media world for the last decade but issues involving the company and Zuckerberg are starting to become serious. The article later mentioned that advertisers are starting to bow out.

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Not a good look for Facebook. I don’t see Twitter, Google, Amazon, etc. getting into controversies…  Is the media giant unraveling?

Politico’s Visuals

It took me over ten minutes to find a story on that used storytelling in a visual way. 99% of the stories on the site consist of all words and one photo (the cover photo). So it took me some time to navigate the site and come across a news article with visuals that had more than just one photo.

In the Politico Playbook section of the site, which differs from the normal stories, there was an article about Gun control support. The article featured the typical cover photo but also had graphs and polls to help tell the story. It was a different style of storytelling than usual Politico articles and I thought it was effective.

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Here is the article:

With attention spans limiting every day and the internet providing so much content, I think it is important for articles to use visuals to stand out. The media world is evolving and visuals are becoming a more prominent way of storytelling. We are not in the era of black and white printing anymore.

I read the Boston Globe online almost every day and a lot of their stories offer multiple phots and visuals. On, I think they need to do more of that. I blogged about an article earlier in the semester where Politico used an interactive graph. Stories like that stick in my mind way more than a simple story with all words and no visuals.

The graphs and charts on the gun control were an entertaining way to provide information about how people are reacting to gun laws. The article could have written out the facts but the graphs are a nice addition.

This an article about organizers fighting against Obama for Politico magazine.

I was shocked the article only had one picture. It did not make the story as compelling as it would be with more insightful pictures.

In this day and age, visuals make stories better and needs more of them.