Why doesn't the Globe care about UMass-Boston?

The Concerned Members of the UMass Boston College of Public and Community Service is seeking Globe coverage of some issue. You can read all about it, along with some statistics they covered on how the Globe covers a large college within walking distance of its newsroom as compared to private colleges in the area:

... Between 1/1/06 and 9/10/06 according to a full text Lexis-Nexis search on the names of each of the 4 private colleges for articles of all types appearing in the Boston Globe, we determined the following number of references: Northeastern=384, MIT=558, Harvard=589, and BU was the big winner at a whopping 1010 references.

UMass Boston by contrast was referenced a mere 99 times. ...

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    4 quick off the cuff answers from UMB student

    By on

    1.) Lack of Division 1 sports teams

    2.) Lack of dorms = lack of drunken riots

    3.) Lack of Biolab or simmilar conrtoversy

    4.) Fewer Higher profile alumni/donors. When John Silber or Richard Egan are mentioned, often times BU and NU are mentioned

    I'll admit, I didn't feel like reading the whole article. But I wonder how much the above points raise the other schools LexisNexis hits?

    Either way, UMB deserves more repect.

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    Voting is closed. 6

    Irritated and Disapointed

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    Yes, UMass Boston (a school that I proudly attend) and the CPCS deserve more coverage from The Globe and other local outlets. Yes the political infighting over the CPCS controversy is troubling and newsworthy.

    Hovever, the article's authors' (the Concerned Members of the UMass Boston CPCS Community) point about the LexisNexis search is weak. I searched "Boston University" in LexisNexis for the same date range. I chose 12 articles at random to see how they referenced BU. None of the articles are about BU and mention BU only once ; the articles are about people/events, etc associated with BU. Here are 5 samples from Boston Globe articles: 

    • "Lesley Lehane...said that the grandmother has more grit than many of the college runners she coaches at Boston University." 
    • "Yet, the public schools are being overseen by Boston University and struggle in a city that emerged from receivership in 1995." 
    • "...the local women playing for Northwestern University in the NCAA Division 1 lacrosse championship at Boston University." 
    • "She graduated from Newton High School and attended Boston University and Regis College."  (from an obit)
    • "For [Jeffery] Ross, a New Jersey native who attended Boston University before making a name for himself doing blistering celebrity roasts for Comedy Central"

    Clearly, the 1000 Globe mentions of BU are due in part to the large alumni base, famous alumni, sports, fascilities, etc. BU has been around 100 years longer than UMass Boston. I can only name 2 famous UMB alumni vs several famous BU alumni off the top of my head. UMB has no division 1 sports teams, and no fascilities like Nikerson Field, Aganis Arena, or the Huntington Theater to bring in oustside events, no BU medical center to bring trauma victims (UMass's medical campus is in Worcester), and no biolab.

    Granted, my argument is not due dilligence and is slapped together, but man, my professors would not let me get away such sloppy resarch as presented in the CPCS article. A well thought out analysis with more realistic statistics will make a better case to get UMB media coverage increased. Come on CPCS, you can do better!

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    Voting is closed. 6

    LexisNexis

    Good point, tblade, but I think the UMass student group is onto something here. I used LexisNexis Academic to restrict the articles to those that mentioned the schools in the headline, which screens out most of the passing references to alumni, sports, etc., and instead concentrates on legitimate coverage of college/university-related issues. Here's my quick-=and-dirty rankings, for Boston Globe coverage from 1/1/2006 to 9/10/2006:

    "Boston College" or "BC" in headline - 187

    "Harvard" in headline - 170

    "Boston University" or "BU" in headline - 62

    "Northeastern University" or "NU" or "Northeastern" in headline - 47

    MIT or "Massachusetts Institute of technology" in headline - 47

    "University of Massachusetts at Boston" or "UMass Boston" in headline - 4

    UMass in headline, and "University of Massachusetts at Boston" or "UMass Boston" in the full text, but not Dartmouth or Lowell or Amherst in full text (this allows for the short version of UMass in headline, which copy editors and editors prefer, but the article is about UMass Boston, as opposed to UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, and UMass Dartmouth) - 11

    "Framingham State" in headline - 2

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    Agreed on Lexis/UMB

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    Well Done.

    I support the group's argument, but I was upset at the authors' laziness. As a student, I know that UMB and CPCS are under represented in media; but I fear that if someone acheives the same conclusions as I did, they may dismiss the argument and continue to ignore UMB.

    To take on The Globe, writers need to have their ducks in a row. A more iron-clad analysis, one that doesn't take significant additional time (20 mins by your count), excludes the letter from certain criticisms. You succesfully argued the group's point using more realistic data. I also like how you pushed it a step further and included institutions such as Framingham State and used additional school monikers (Boston College + BC).

    At any rate, this thread and your two posts over at http://harvardextended.blogspot.com/ gave me some food for thought on differnt uses for LexisNexis and how to improve my own search techniques. God bless hte interweb.

    Good luck on the thesis.

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    Voting is closed. 7

    Quick and Dirty Truth

    For the record, we were never out to do an exhaustive study on Globe coverage in the petition. We are aware we only looked at *references* to the schools in question, and stated that clearly. Then we compared mentions in stories specifically written by Globe higher ed reporters--which gave another view of the situation using a finer metric.

    Kudos to Ian for looking at the headlines. That'll come in useful.

    Regarding other comments about our PR, we've done a number of full releases to over 100 media outlets in Massachusetts, and have reached out to all the majors.

    To date the Phoenix hasn't bitten, and while the Globe grungingly mentioned the CPCS situation in the latest Sunday Globe, they specifically reference a "blizzard of emails" coming their way, then proceed to bitch-slap CPCS again with pathetic coverage of the type one would expect for some schoolkid sporting match.

    They just don't learn. But they're clearing getting the message.

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    Take your story to other media

    You have a legitimate complaint if the Globe isn't covering a story right across the street from their office. But the Globe isn't the only game in town. Take your story to the Herald, the Phoenix, the Weekly Dig, one of the Dorchester weeklies, or even Spare Change News. Get one of them to scoop the Globe, thus embarassing the Globe into doing their job.

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    Great point, Ron

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    I think they are taking the first step through Boston Independent Media Center. Focus well designed press releases and other tactics on the Dig, Phoenix, Herald, etc,and they may get results. If they already are, then they need better PR.

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    Yes, but

    the IndyMedia article says that there's a controversy, but doesn't give me a clue what the controversy is about. I need to know more than just "Mr. Awotona is evil and is destroying our department."

    Also, they should get in touch with Dan Kennedy.

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    Voting is closed. 6