Melissa Richards Jrn 340

Assignments and other posts

Black Friday at Best Buy: a Collection of Interviews

This is an example of the Black Friday ad that was used this year, for Best Buy.

Black Friday has been a time-honored tradition for many years. This is held the day after Thanksgiving. Stores, such as this Best Buy, open early with many sales for holiday shoppers.

In the past, most stores would open very early on Friday. This was usually no earlier than 4 am. With the changing times, with more demand, stores are forced to open earlier and earlier. Some even open late Thanksgiving day.

This year, Best Buy, in Rochester Hills, Mich., opened their doors for customers at midnight. This was one of the only more popular stores, which technically opened on Friday. Many stores, such as Target and Walmart, now open at 8 pm or 9 pm on Thanksgiving day.

This creates an advantage for Best Buy, over the other stores, because their customers did not have to cut their family time short. Having a store open at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day could cause some people to leave dinner early, to get in line.

In the front of the line, was a group of five men who literally had been tent camping in their spots for the past week. These five people were Nick Samokyszyn, Zackary Davis, Jordan Cartson, Alex Meier, and his brother, Raphael Meier.

Because they got there so early, they did not even know the sales. They camped out for the fun of it. They talked and did activities with each other in their tents. A couple of the people even learned how to knit.

The lines outside of stores on Black Friday tend to be long. Best Buy was no exception. By 11:30 pm, the line was wrapped to the back of the building. Even after the clock struck 12, the line still stayed the same.

There were two security guards at the Best Buy doors. The first waved people through, as he counted to 25. The second let the people in the building until the flow of people stopped. Staggering the number of people helped keep the situation organized. During the in between times, the customers who were finished, would be let out.

Once customers came out, after already being in, they were not allowed back in. To do so, they had to wait in the back of the line. This became a challenge in situations where a person was just running to the car to grab something.

Only one person was allowed back in after leaving. The security guard who allowed this got a slight glare from the other. He replied that it was the dad, whose son was inside. The son was not old enough to purchase what they needed.

Not everyone feels to need to line up, in the cold, hours before the opening. Some people, such as Michael Al-Zokeir, feel 30 to 45 minutes to be sufficient. He did not feel the need to come any earlier. He had no expectation to get one of the television deals. He just wanted to get small gifts, such as movies, for Christmas presents. After he was done shopping, he ended up with a bunch of movies. Among those, was Alien vs. Predator.

When it came to the big deals, such as HDTVs or large computer monitors, tickets were given out to the people who wanted them. These tickets guaranteed the person to buy that item. Only so many of each item was kept in stock. This was one of the reasons people stood in line so early.

Black Friday starting earlier could be a good thing for some people. Instead of getting up at 3 am and shopping all day, people are now able to get their most important shopping done the night before. People do not have to lose as much sleep as they had to before.

Of course, if people choose to shop all night and all day, the more power to them. The early bird gets the sale.

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Exploring Embedded Maps and Other Things



Here was my attempt at embedding a chart about my favorite types of cookies… It didn’t work out so well.

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An Interview with the Vice President of CMU’s Quidditch Team

Last Fall, during a Harry Potter Alliance meeting, students of CMU decided it would be fun to start a Quidditch team. Stephanie Kress became the Vice President of the team.

When they started out, they only had five players. This Spring they became an official, full sized team. In addition to the practice game shown in the video, they also play games against other college Quidditch teams.

Other information about the team can be found at their official Facebook page.

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Letters to a Loved One: Photojournalisms by Ed Kashi

Photojournalisms is an audio slideshow created by Ed Kashi, a traveling photojournalist. The audio is a collection of excerpts from the letters he has written to his wife, about his travels, over the past 20 years.

Kashi started the audio slideshow by quoting random words or sentences from his letters. One of the most powerful things he says as the beginning is, “Constant state of flux, suspended between two worlds.” I believe those two worlds reference his life at home with his family, and his life photographing the rest of the world, for half the days of the year.

During the bulk of the story, Kashi tells his wife about the different places he has been. This includes his struggles, accomplishments, and above all, how he misses home. He realizes how much of his children’s lives he has missed.

He ends with accepting that he must pick himself up and continue on. In reality, he is still traveling away from his family, writing letters. Therefore, the amount of closure to the story would not be complete.

The first two shots are of an airport. This is significant, and works as an opener for the story, because of how much he has to travel.



The last image is of Kashi holding his camera phone to a mirror, which is covered in graffiti. Throughout the slideshow, he occasionally showed a photo of himself or his family. Showing a photo of himself, in the end, keeps consistent with the rest of the story. It was important for him to use photos of himself, because the story is about him.


The photos in Photojournalisms are very real, depicting people from all over the world. There were photos showing blood and even a couple photos with deceased people in them. The photos showed the variety of cultures he explored. When choosing photos to display, Kashi chose a good variety of shots, such as mediums, close ups, and scene setters.

As the photos transitioned from one to another, they faded in and out, panned from side to side, turned slowly, and zoomed in. There was also an effect, where several photos were used quickly in a row to appear in a video fashion. The audio music is also times well with the photos.

The pacing of the audio to photos was nice, because it kept the viewers interest and did not lose them.

Photojournalisms contained three different types of sounds.

As discussed in class, it is usually best to open with natural sound. There was one instance where a natural sound was used. This was at the very beginning, which was the sound of an airplane. The sound went along with the first photos of the slideshow, which were of an airport.

Ed Kashi narrated the entire audio slideshow. There were no other voices used.

Another type of sound his slideshow uses well is music. Music is almost playing at all times. I think the music was edited into the piece well. While Kashi is speaking, the music is at a light level, which lets us fully understand what he is saying. The type of music used honors the sad and unsettled mood that the slideshow has.

Something that could have been different was the use of captions. There were no captions in the slideshow to any of the photos. One thing that was used was a title screen for each photo section, to show what country he was going to talk about.

If this was my slideshow, that is something that I would have changed.

As discussed in class, there are characteristics an audio slideshow should follow. The slideshow was narrative, with the photos and audio working well together, with deliberate editing. The slideshow also opened with a title screen and closed with the credits.

All the parts of Photojournalisms, by Ed Kashi, worked well together. Everything was timed and edited together perfectly. When combining this, with a compelling storyline, you cannot go wrong.


Into the Minds of Photojournalists: Robert Caplin vs Tewfic El-Sawy

For the past week, I have followed two photojournalism blogs. The first blog is by Robert Caplin, which focuses on documentary and event photography. He is based in Manhattan, NY. The other blog I followed is the Travel Photographer. This is a travel and documentary photography blog, published by Tewfic El-Sawy. He is also based in New York City.

According to our book, Journalism Next, by Mark Briggs, there are several qualities a good blog should live by. Both blogs contain many of those qualities.

Caplin has a creative way of wording his headlines. They tend to pull the reader in to the rest of the story. For example, one post is called, “Bad, Icky, Nasty, Creepy Elmo. Parents Beware!” This, as you can tell, is about a creepy Elmo of some sort. It is about a man who used to run a pornography website, who is now dressing up like Elmo for children in Central Park. I know, it’s gross, but it was definitely an interesting story to read.

El-Sawy, on the other hand, does not have the most informative headlines. This is one of his blog’s weaknesses. He tends to post his location, and the day he is there, in his titles. For example, he has a blog post called, “In Hue….Day Two.”

Caplin tends to keep his blog posts at about 350 words. This is a perfect length, because it is short enough to keep interest, and long enough to be informative.

El-Sawy keeps his posts pretty short, at about 200 words. What he says, though, is very interesting. He really paints the story of his day. Something else that I feel makes this length okay, are his photos. They are so beautiful and interesting, that they tell the stories themselves.

Both photojournalist’s blogs link to other blogs and stories. This is great, because it lets the reader further read into a topic or story. Both blogs do this in different ways. Caplin tends to link to other articles or blogs from within his articles. This is good, because it lets the reader research different topics as they come up. El-Sawy does not link within his articles. Instead, he has a panel on the right side, which lists different blogs and websites.

An important part of a successful blog is the comments. When a writer receives critiques or compliments on their blog, it can further progress said blog.

Caplin’s blog allows Facebook comments, while El-Sawy’s does not allow any. While El-Sawy does not allow comments, he does not seem to comment on other blogs either. Caplin, on the other hand, does not reply to comments often. The only time I saw him reply, was to someone who did not agree with the Elmo post.


Both blogs are still active. El-Sawy posts more often than Caplin, at about once a day. Caplin only posts about once a month. What he does post, is very interesting. Something else I have noticed, is that Caplin’s Twitter is updated several times a day, with feature photos.

These are both great blogs. I would love to have something similar one day. The biggest thing I would do differently is the way comments are monitored. I would not only allow comments, but try to reply as often as I could.

Something I would like to leave you with, is a post by El-Sawy. The first photo on that post is stunning to me. If you have a chance, check out some of the photos on his blog. They can take you on an amazing adventure.

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