Boston

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UT students Jessie Neuendorff and Michael George will participate in the 23rd annual Austin Marathon on Sunday. George will be running the full marathon and this will be Neuendorff's first marathon. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

For many of the runners participating in the 23rd annual Austin Marathon, the race serves as a qualifier for entering prestigious marathons like the races in Boston and New York City. But for UT students Michael George and Jessie Neuendorff, competing means accomplishing goals. 

Traditionally, training for a marathon is a rigorous process that can begin as much as a year in advance. But George, a biomedical engineering freshman, began training only two months prior to the big race. 

Following a specific schedule, George runs 4 to 5 miles every day, and 13 miles on the weekend. He adds 3 miles to his routine each weekend to increasingly build endurance. 

George said he has to mentally prepare himself for the long runs. Instead of thinking of the miles, he envisions running laps. Since 3 miles is the equivalent of one lap, running nine laps sounds a lot more manageable than 26.2 miles.

George said running is his way of unwinding and letting go of stress. 

“As a college student, I have so many things to deal with, such as church, family, friends, tests, quizzes, homework, IM sports and clubs,” George said. “Running is my escape from all of this. When I run, it’s just me and my thoughts, and I really enjoy that time to myself.” 

Like George, Neuendorff sees running as the perfect stress reliever. Unlike George, she did not grow up enjoying the sport of running. After playing volleyball throughout high school, she began running in college as a way to relax. 

Neuendorff and her friends decided to run the half marathon together and began training in October. 

“It’s more mental than I thought it is,” Neuendorff said. “Even when you’re really tired, and you know you have to go run 11 miles, you prepare yourself mentally at the beginning of the day.” 

Neuendorff said the hardest part of the training process has been finding the time every day and staying committed even through exhaustion and sickness. Neuendorff said her sister, who is a freshman at UT, kept her motivated throughout the process and challenged her to keep going.   

Training and running such long distances have required commitment and motivation from both George and Neuendorff. 

Neuendorff runs with her roommate so they can push each other to keep going. Signing up early and knowing she’d paid for it also helped her to stay committed.

George said hydration and stretching have been key to his running journey. He said maintaining his health has been a priority throughout the process.  

“Running a marathon has always been a lifelong goal of mine,” George said. “I want to accomplish it sooner rather than later.”  

 

This is the third edition in a series previewing the seasons NBA teams with former Texas Longhorn players.  

So far I’ve previewed the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors.  Today I’m looking at the Boston Celtics.

Boston Celtics

Last season: 41-40, Lost in first round to New York Knicks, 4-2

**Note: The Celtics only played 81 games, rather than 82. One of their games was cancelled due to the Boston Marathon bombings in April.

Longhorn player: Avery Bradley, point guard

The Celtics will be one of the most interesting teams to watch this season. Over the summer, they made a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics sent longtime franchise player Paul Pierce, along with streaky guard Jason Terry, forward/center Kevin Garnett and forward DJ White to the Nets. In exchange Boston received swingman Gerald Wallace, forward Kris Humphries, guard/forward Keith Bogans, guard MarShon Brooks, forward Kris Joseph, three future first round draft picks and the option to swap first round picks with the Nets in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

Whoa. That was a mouth full. Still with me? 

With that massive deal, the Celtics are committed to shedding salary and rebuilding with youth. It was brilliant for Boston. They realized that Garnett and Pierce were aging rapidly and winning just 41 games and losing in the first round with those players was no longer economical. So, they are officially in rebuilding mode this year.

If you take a look at their roster now, you’ll see only two players over the age of 30: Bogans and Wallace, two of the guys the Celtics acquired in that deal. You’ll also no longer see Doc Rivers on bench. The Celtics hired Brad Stevens, former head coach at Butler University. This team is an extremely challenging situation for Stevens to step into. But I think he’s up to it — he more than proved himself by leading the Butler Bulldogs to two national title appearances. At 36, Stevens is now the NBA’s youngest coach.

This is still Rajon Rondo’s team. A glut of unproven players and journeymen will surround him this year. Rondo is Boston’s best offensive player by far, followed by Wallace. MarShon Brooks has potential to be an explosive scorer in the future.  

Former Texas Longhorn guard Avery Bradley will be Rondo’s primary backup and figures to get decent minutes behind him. He could even play some two guard.  Last year, he averaged 9.2 points and 2.1 assists in 28.7 minutes per game.

Overall, this year won’t be pretty for the Celtics. Expect a lot of pains offensively — this team will struggle to score. Rondo is not a score r— he’s a creator, and it would not be wise for new coach Brad Stevens to attempt to change his style. Defensively, there is a ton of athleticism on this squad. The Celtics will be a fast and long team. They should force quite a few turnovers and get Rondo out on the break.  

Bottom line: I’ll say Boston wins 28 games. Tough. After giving up its best player for the last decade, the Celtics will need to endure this rebuilding process for another couple of years.  But, by then, Rondo might be long gone. Boston has a lot of decisions to make over that time.

The Longhorns traveled to Boston to compete in the annual Head of the Charles regatta, where they struggled to claim top finishes.

Sunday afternoon, Texas competed in the Championship Women’s Fours facing the top rowing programs in the nation, including US Rowing who finished first, one minute and 42 seconds ahead of Texas.

The Longhorns followed just behind Yale at 19:46.09, placing 15th among a heat of 21 boats. Although Texas’s results did not meet expectation, its challenge to recover will come immediately next weekend at home.

Texas is scheduled to race this coming Saturday at the Head of the Colorado on Lady Bird Lake.

UT System Board of Regents fund campus security enhancements

The UT System Board of Regents voted Thursday afternoon to use up to $1 million of available university funds for campus security enhancements.

In April, a Massachusetts Institution Technology police officer was fatally shot and killed, following the Boston Marathon explosion that happened earlier in the week. In an email, UT system spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo said these campus security enhancements are not a response to the events in Boston, as the board has been working on this proposal prior to the events in Boston.

"Of course, shootings and other security threats in recent years on university campuses, schools and other public places are a major concern and the Board of Regents wants to ensure UT police forces are prepared and equipped for any eventuality," LaCoste-Caputo said. 

LaCoste-Caputo said the money will be used to purchase equipment.

Sports much more than just a game for recovering Boston

“We are Boston. We are strong.”

These words have been echoed through the streets of Boston ever since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon on April 15. Words that have never been more true.

In a city founded by patriots and revolutionists, not much can change the spirit of its people. Boston is a proud city — some could even argue too proud — and that cannot be seen more than in its sports.

Following the tragic events, sports became more than just a game for Boston, my hometown. Sports became a healing process and, even more so, a bonding process.  

“[Sports in Boston] helped bring us altogether, not necessarily to forget, but to bring us Bostonians closer together as a family,” April Feeney, a Boston area native, said. “Our sports are what we live by and by being at these sporting events we show just how much we love our city and how we are not afraid.”

At the first professional sports game in the city after the events, the Boston Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres in a game that would eventually clinch the home team a playoff spot. A pregame ceremony was held that consisted of a tribute video to the marathon victims followed by a tear-jerking national anthem in which the sold out crowd of 17,565 sang America’s song.

Both Feeney and Lieutenant Steven Ford of the Revere, Mass. police department attended that game.

“It showed how much they [victims] are cared for and loved,” Lt. Ford said. “That we are not alone in this and will get through it and be a better country for it.”

At the Red Sox game the Saturday following the capture of the second suspect, another ceremony was held in which first responders were honored. The team stitched out the classic ‘”Red Sox” on the front of their jersey and replaced it with one word — “Boston.”

While Bruins players gave the jerseys right off their backs to first responders and citizens that were part of the events, the Celtics held a ceremony of their own this past Friday during their first home game since the marathon. Doctors, nurses and first responders were recognized as “Heroes among us.”

“Honestly, being a Boston native and growing up in and around Boston I wouldn’t expect anything else from this city and especially from our sports teams,” Feeney said. “Personally it just makes me proud to be a Bostonian.”

President Barack Obama said it best.

“Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people,” Obama said.

A game became much more than just a game for Boston. It became a symbol of the inspiration and devotion surrounding the capital and all of Massachusetts itself. 

Students attend a candlelight vigil held to  honor the people affected by the recent tragedies in Boston and West. The event, hosted by Student Government, Senate and the Graduate Student Assembly, included a moment of silence for the victims of the bombing and explosion. 

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Following a bombing in Boston and an explosion in West last week, UT students held a vigil on West Mall Wednesday in honor of the victims.

“Whenever crisis and devastating events happen, it is important to stand up and show support,” Student Government president Horacio Villarreal said. “This shows the victims that we support and care for them.”

Student Government and the Senate of College Councils sponsored the vigil, in which students held candles in remembrance.

On April 15, a pair of bombs went off during the 117th annual Boston Marathon. The bombing killed three people — including an 8-year-old boy — and injured more than 200 people. About 27,000 runners entered the competition this year. Two brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, have been identified as suspects behind the bombing. Dzhokhar is being held in custody, while Tamerlan was killed in a standoff with the police later during the week of the bombing.

Two nights after the Boston bombing, an unrelated explosion occurred at a fertilizer plant in West, a small town about 20 miles north of Waco. The explosion killed 14 people, injured more than 200 people and demolished several neighboring buildings.

Villarreal said both events hit close to home, as many students know members of the West community, and the terrorist attacks and corresponding shooting occurred near college campuses with many students close in age to UT students. 

“Coming together to remember is a healthy way to respond to tragedy,” vice president for student affairs Gage Paine said. “This is a time for everyone to take a moment to stop and think.”

Paine said that while people were impacted by the tragedy, they plan to continue doing what they love.

“People who run find that their community was hurt, but runners won’t let that stop them,” Paine said.

Undeclared freshman Shaina Flowers, who is from Burleson — about an hour north of West — said she was not directly affected by the events in either city but is aware of friends and family of friends whose lives have been changed forever. 

“It makes me scared that something like that could happen so close, so it’s important to show this kind of support,” Flowers said. “It reminds people how unity and coming together are vital to emotionally healing and being there for others.”  

It’s a common sight at concerts nowadays: Instead of freely embracing the moment, the members of the smartphone-equipped crowd are more concerned with having their phones in the air, ready to document the experience for the social media realm.

But besides providing a new source of distraction, this attachment to our phones can also prove useful. In an emergency situation, an ordinary spectator has the technology to transform into a citizen journalist that documents not just concerts but also highly valuable information.

Chances are that you first heard about the Boston Marathon explosions through social media, whether from a Reddit post, a tweet, a Facebook status or some combination of the three.

While UT students were sitting in class or at work or taking a nap at home, spectators at the Boston Marathon were suffering fatal wounds, rushing fellow runners to receive emergency care and desperately looking for loved ones, while simultaneously producing written and visual updates on the unfolding activity.

Within an hour of the attack, both traditional and alternative news sites began accumulating and organizing information about the bombing provided by those at the site of the tragedy to create a cohesive narrative.

Live coverage of the Boston explosions by both amateur and professional journalists served many purposes. It kept people around the world informed by capturing developments as they occurred, including heartwarming acts of heroism and empathy. It also captured the raw emotion of the atmosphere and provided valuable primary photo resources that the FBI later used to identify the suspects.

UT journalism professor Robert Quigley, the former social media editor at the Austin American-Statesman, believes you cannot overstate the importance of new technology as a platform for journalists.

“You’re out there, you’re scraping, you’re breaking things as they go and you’re using Twitter,” Quigley says. “If you’re not comfortable in that world, this is a difficult profession for you right now.”

However, as journalists increasingly use social media to reach the public, the repercussions of mistakes become more severe. It’s not that there are more errors; it’s that those errors stick. The mass of information shared after the Boston explosions caused mistakes in professional reporting and media coverage which were then carried rapidly across social media, triggering a vicious cycle of regurgitated misinformation. It was overwhelming, frustrating and sobering to see how an injured witness evolved into a Saudi suspect in the news, or how a Brown University student who has been missing since March became a target of suspicion on Reddit, resulting in the online harassment of his already-grieving family. That piece of misinformation was also picked up by major news organizations such as Politico, Buzzfeed and Newsweek, which then spread it across the web.

Scrutiny, however, can be a difficult skill for journalists to maintain when they are wrapped up in the adrenaline of sharing the latest update.

Andy Carvin, the senior product manager for online communications for National Public Radio, gave a talk about social media and the Boston explosions at the International Symposium for Online Journalism in Austin last weekend. 

Carvin highlighted mistakes made by the press in coverage of the April 15 attack under the pressure to keep social media consistently updated.

“It’s never been easier to spread rumors,” Carvin said.

However, instead of criticizing social media for distorting the ethics of journalism, as some journalism professionals do, Carvin urged the media to think progressively about their relationship to the public. Instead of merely informing the public by telling it what the media thinks it should know, Carvin made the distinction that the media should create a more informed public, or “better consumers and producers of information.” 

Instead of merely slapping “breaking news” on the latest tweets, examples of engagement included organizations being more transparent about what they know by actively addressing rumors on social media platforms instead of pretending they don’t exist and talking to the public about where they came from, even if this means a major news organization admitting its own factual error.

“We should help them to understand what it means to confirm something. Confirming is not just sharing something you heard on Facebook from a friend or brother-in-law,” Carvin said. “Reporting is no longer enough.”

The public needs this wake-up call in order to become skeptical, active consumers instead of passive re-tweeters. Just yesterday, I saw not only friends but fellow journalists re-tweet breaking news from the Associated Press that the White House had been bombed and President Barack Obama was injured. The tweet was false; the AP Twitter account had been hacked. They may be forgiven for trusting the AP as the credible source it normally is, but the fact remains that they didn’t hesitate to verify the information, even in light of recent bomb-related misinformation. We must acknowledge the journalistic problems of social media before we can move forward.

My suggestion: Don’t hate the game, train the players. Social media isn’t just one aspect of the news process; it is intrinsically wrapped up within the news cycle and it’s not going away. Surely, the platform will change, but the effects of information dissemination persists. It is a force that cannot be ignored or detested. Instead, its relationship to journalism should be analyzed and better understood.

Manescu is an international relations and global studies sophomore from Ploiesti, Romania.

Runners Amardeep Kahlon and Ron Mora converse in a group on the trail at Lady Bird Lake on Thursday evening, where a vigil run was organized in support of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Photo Credit: Maria Arrellaga | Daily Texan Staff

Austin runners came together in support of the victims of this week’s Boston bombings in a vigil Thursday night.

Gilbert’s Gazelles, an Austin-based running group that was in Boston this week, organized a run on the three-mile Ann and Roy Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake.

Amy Stewman, a runner who ran in the Boston Marathon, said although she is still working through the trauma, she is thankful to be OK.

“I think for my husband and I, I think we’re still processing it,” Stewman said. “I think we’re extremely grateful for the gift of life and not wanting to take it for granted.”

Like Stewman, many participating in the vigil were runners at the Boston Marathon hoping to comfort their running mates and turn the page on their experiences.

“For us it was good, because we haven’t talked to each other since then and we’re running partners, so for us it was good to come together during this time and compare stories and talk and see how we’re doing,” Stewman said.

Students and faculty at UT also reacted to the Boston bombings. 

Barry Brummett, professor and communication studies department chair, whose daughters were at the Boston Marathon but were uninjured in the explosion, said the Boston bombings represent another step in the United States’ fight against terror. 

“The attacks will certainly make the marathon a symbol of our long, ongoing ’war on terror,’ like the Twin Towers were,” Brummett said. “As for long term effects, I think we have to wait and see who the
perpetrators are.”

UT students said they were shocked by the news.

“Like most people, [I was] shocked at first,” said Zachary Reeves, international relations and global studies senior, “and then [I felt] just general despair as the number of the injured kept piling up.”

“I was just shocked and really sad,” psychology sophomore Mason Hunt said.

“I was sad, it was shocking,” said statistics graduate student Hakan Goren. “After that I was thoughtful that it might be another terrorist attack, and all the Muslim people would be blamed for that, because I come
from Turkey.” 

The Question: Early news reports about the deadly explosions in Boston and West, Texas were characterized by misinformation. Did you follow news about the tragedies? If so, how did the dissemination  of conflicting information through news networks and on social media affect the way you read about the tragedies online?

Well, not very much, because I don’t really take online news very seriously. I always kind of take it with a grain of salt and figure it’s better to wait for a couple of days for people to figure things out, because initial reactions are always a little more dramatic. I primarily read news on the Internet, but not necessarily through social media. Usually, even though those are getting cited more and more in The New York Times and stuff, I still kind of like more of a filter on my news.

—Henry Widener
History senior from Austin

I actually heard about them from secondhand sources such as other students, and I’m in a government class, so my professor always does current events during the beginning of our class. People were talking about that — how, especially on Twitter, there was a lot of disconnect between accurate information and, I’m guessing, rumors that were started, or some kind of discrepancy between what was really going on and what people were hearing about. And so for them I know it was creating a lot of anger, especially if there’s things such as racial profiling or jumping to the conclusion that whoever was behind it was from another country, or just having those conclusions as to who did it is bringing up a lot of tensions. 

For me, personally, I’m kind of just wanting to wait to hear until more has come up, because I know with things like this there’s a lot of, you know, discrepancies like we’ve been hearing. So for right now I’m just trying to stay neutral until everyone’s like, “Okay, this is what we found out, we have sufficient evidence to conclude that this was the motive, this was who was behind it, etc.”

—Valeria Silva
English freshman from Edinburgh

Honestly, I heard a lot about this online, like on Facebook. I didn’t really know about it until I saw the [Facebook] news feed. I didn’t even hear it from the news; I heard it from Facebook. I was hearing all of this racist stuff and all this bad talk. I haven’t heard any of that misinformation. I haven’t really been following it exactly, but I feel like people are basing it off of things that they think, and they don’t really have evidence behind it, which is not good. 

I don’t really know a lot about this, but I agree that there’s a lot of misinformation and that they should know exactly what’s going on before blaming someone on the news. I would rather wait and have the right information than blaming this guy who is a victim in it and he’s being blamed all over the news. I’d rather them wait and know for certain, rather than false information quickly.

—Rebecca Ladoe
Undeclared freshman from Spring

I did follow both the explosion in West, Texas and the bombings in Boston, and I primarily used CNN and the BBC news networks. I did notice that there were conflicting reports, and things changed from time to time. And the thing I always just kept in mind was, these things just happened, people are panicking, nobody really knows what’s going on. I just read them with the perspective that a lot of this probably isn’t right, that people are just sort of reacting in the moment, and if you wait a little while, more things are going to come out. I mean, it’s just kind of human nature to jump to conclusions that early. You’re trying to figure out what’s going on, trying to gain footing and orient yourself with events like that, which are shocking, so it happens even more so. You just kind of have to keep up with things, but you shouldn’t take anything the news media writes as gospel anyway.

—Joseph Zukis
Undeclared freshman from The Woodlands

So, the way I got informed of what happened was through Facebook. I just saw that there were some explosions in Boston and West, Texas. People were overexaggerating what happened in Boston. Personally, I think it’s something very serious and should be taken seriously. However, people were just, I guess, overexaggerating what happened, and they thought it had a connection with North Korea, and they started doing those crazy connections. It’s okay to be aware of what’s going on, but I feel like people should just calm down. 

To the regard of what happened, I haven’t come across misinformation, but if there is, I think people are really overexaggerating what’s going on. It is very sad that we’re getting bombed, first of all, or that Boston got bombed, but people should just calm down.

—Alan Medina
Biology freshman from El Paso

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Authorities say a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has died from injuries in a shooting on the campus outside Boston.

Cambridge police and the Middlesex District Attorney's office says the officer was responding to a report of a disturbance when he was shot multiple times. He later died at a hospital. His name was not immediately released.

State police spokesman Dave Procopio says the shooting took place about 10:30 p.m. outside an MIT building.

Procopio says authorities are searching for a suspect or suspects. There are no other victims.

About 11,000 people attend the prestigious school. The campus website said police were sweeping the campus and urged people to stay indoors.