Our Academic Partnership at Work

Our summer fellow, Ali Hashmi, joined us in June and immediately began working with our "Your Town" editors to think about some new ways to help the hyper-local news being aggregated on Boston.com. After a meeting with some area bloggers, it became apparent that what the bloggers really wanted was an easy way to discern what was happening around them. While Boston.com provides a large "Events" page, they communicated their frustration with finding small gatherings: a high school football game, or a Strawberry Festival in the next town over.

So Ali began looking at the ways in which these organizations publicize their events, and landed on Facebook's Pages feature. There, he found a rich data set from which to pull relevant content. Over the next two months, he was able to collect a comprehensive list of Massachusetts-based organizations broken down by town. Further, he was able to pull photos and posts from these pages in order to paint a vivid picture of the local landscape as seen on social.

The result was a relatively thorough tool for local bloggers to potentially use to find news and events.