Archive for February, 2009

Reporting Post

February 15, 2009

I thought that as opposed to writing my first text module about the Masonville Cove project, that I would instead use the Masonville grand opening celebration for my slide show and write my first text module about a green housing development with homes for sale to low income home buyers. This is the first development of its kind in Baltimore. Because the buildings themselves probably would not be enough of a story, I plan to focus on the developers behind the project and the home buyers.

 

I spoke with Clementine Shields who is the only homebuyer so far. She is a single mother of two and a Baltimore city employee who has been waiting for the past year for the homes to be complete. She was more excited to be a first time homebuyer and less concerned with the green features of the houses but still looked at the home being green as an additional benefit.  

Baltimore’s sustainability plan

February 15, 2009

This week I found a blog entitled Bay and Environment. This is The Baltimore Sun’s blog and it focuses on environmental issues in Maryland. The February 4th post, Baltimore’s Green Blueprint on the Move is a brief critique of Baltimore’s sustainability plan that was set to be presented before the city’s planning commission on February 5th.

            The post itself was brief but it provided links to an informative piece in the Urbanite as well as a link to the plan itself. The Urbanite piece highlights some of the major points of the plan including plans to clean area bodies of water, create mandates to increase energy efficiency in homes, and to promote urban farming.

            Some have been critical of the plan, but seem to support the fact that there is even a plan in existence. For various reasons I was surprised to see that Baltimore was ranked one of the top ten most sustainable cities in the United States. I am so used to seeing Baltimore ranked at the top of everything negative that it is interesting to see the city ranked high on a positive list. The list also seems timely in terms of my project because some of the points, such as urban farming, seem like possible avenues for stories.

Reaction-Gawker

February 8, 2009

Gawker.com is a gossip blog. Although on the syllabus it is listed as a celebrity gossip site, after looking over the posts I found it to be less of a celebrity gossip site than sites like perezhilton.com and more of an entertainment news site. There were a number of posts that were not about actual celebrities, but about other people who were in the news for one reason or another such as the post about a comic book convention in New York or the post entitled “Kreepie Kats” which was about a comic strip. There were also a number of posts that dealt with politicians such as the post about a reporter being pushed around by a politician’s body guard. I also noticed that Brian Stelter is mentioned in the post entitled “Twitterin’ in the Rain”.

Most of the posts were interesting because as opposed to simply breaking a gossip story they typically take a funny approach to reporting something that we may already know about. For instance, there were a number of posts about Michael Phelps but they each had their own humorous angle. A few of the posts were not as interesting to me because I wasn’t familiar with the person that the post was about especially when that person wasn’t a celebrity.

Research Post- Masonville Project

February 8, 2009

I contacted Jessica Chiapelli who is the Outreach Coordinator for the Masonville Cove  project. The group that is responsible for this project was having a meeting to plan their grand opening celebration last week and she suggested that I attend to get more information on the project and to see the site. The Cove is a joint venture between the National Aquarium, The Maryland Port Administration, the Living Classrooms foundation, and the communities of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay.

There is a green “zero energy” building on the site which will be the site of programs organized for Baltimore City school children to learn about the environment. There are also plans to have hiking trails and water access.

The building, however, is accessible and the grand opening will just include the education center portion. They plan to have children from the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development School there to showcase picnic tables which they have built for the site. They will also have students from city schools working in the lab and building bird houses and bat boxes. There are also plans for Governor O’Malley to attend. The event seems like it could potentially be a good event to cover for the slideshow. I plan to talk further with Jessica on Tuesday to get more information about the project.

Reading Post-Green Roof Movement

February 8, 2009

This week I read an article entitled Harford County Farmer Sings the Praises of the Green Roof Movement which appeared in the Baltimore Sun. The article is mainly an interview with Ed Snodgrass, a Harford County farmer who supplies the plants that are used to create green roofs. He has supplied the plants for many of the green roofs used for companies in Baltimore, like the National Aquarium.

I was interested to read his views on the need to “re-establish vegetation in Urban areas”. Because I intend to focus on urban greening through my project, his information on why this is important caught my attention. In addition, the article mentioned a few other locations in Baltimore that have installed green roofs such as Morgan State University and the Mikulski Workforce Development Center. I could possibly follow up with some of these places and see whether the green roofs are part of a larger project that could be a possible story idea.

For the most part I found the article interesting. I thought that the fact that the farm had been in existence since the 19th century and thought that part could have been explored a little more. I am curious to know more about why he made the switch from crop farming to growing roof plants. I think if the article focused a little less on the specifics of the green roofs it would make the appeal more universal.

German Bakery Story vs. Slideshow

February 3, 2009

The Baltimore Sun German Bakery slideshow helps to enhance the reader’s understanding by placing him inside of the bakery to get a real feel for what is happening in the article. The two pieces work together to provide a full understanding of the bakery’s history and character.

The written article gives more of an in depth look at the life of the bakery than the slideshow. Through the article, the writer can lay out the history of how the bakery was started. She can tie in the history of Germans in Baltimore and present the various characters in the story, their backgrounds and importance.

The slideshow serves as an enhancement piece to the article. The slideshow is not able to offer much background or history about the bakery, but the slideshow lets the reader experience more of the bakery than the story. Instead of simply reading about the bakery, the reader becomes a participant who is able to hear the sounds of the music, see the bakery’s patrons, and hear the German accents. Although the article could stand alone, the slide show enhances the readers understanding by providing a real look at what the writer is trying to show.

3 Ideas for Multimedia Project

February 3, 2009

My first idea for a multimedia project would be to examine how “Going Green” is being carried out in Baltimore City. The Mayor initiated the “Cleaner, Greener Baltimore” campaign last year. My project would focus on the various groups that are working toward that goal and how “Going Green” is different in urban areas than in other areas. Possible stories could be to focus on the city’s single stream recycling program and whether that has been successful in getting City residents to recycle. Another possible story would be the Masonville Cove project, which is a former shipwrecking site that is being rehabilitated and will be the site of an Urban Nature Educational Center.

 

Another idea would be to focus on Maryland Motorcycle Clubs. Bikers have traditionally had a “tough guy” tattooed image, but there are several different types of bike clubs in Maryland that range from older cruiser riders, young sport bike riders, all female clubs, and more. Many of the clubs hold fundraisers and rides for various causes take place in the Spring. As motorcycle season approaches this seems like it could possibly be a good topic.

 

A last idea would be to feature college students as they figure out what to do after college in a difficult economy. Ideas for stories could include interviewing students to see if their goals have changed, career centers to see how they are dealing with the issues, and maybe graduate schools to see if more students are deciding to continue their education as opposed to entering the job market right now.