[Note: I’m going to one of the gardens this week to meet one of the senior gardeners, Flo Rice, to see her schedule and how they work. I’ve also been waiting for SUACG Coordinator Meredith Gray to respond to me, but she looks like a dead end. I’m also getting more story info from CACG director, Sari Albornoz] OK. You need characters. How about people who go to the garden? You want to evoke this place and experience through the eyes of the people in your story. How about interviewing someone who has a plot in the garden?
Hidden behind trees adjacent to the popular tourist spot, Deep Eddy Pool, is a 34-year old city community garden. Fruit trees along the edges are starting to grow and a communal plot full of herbs varies from basil to mint. The 400 square foot area has a waiting list of people hoping to some day get access to one of the 34 exclusive plots available for their own gardening.
[Interview with Flo Rice, one of the plot’s gardeners]
The Deep Eddy Community Garden is the oldest of 30 public gardens part of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program (SUACG) in Austin. The program claims to be “producing an estimated 100,000 pounds of fresh local, organic produce for Austin residents every year.”
These city-endorsed gardens are a small fraction of the community gardens in Austin as others can be on church, school, or private property. Some of these gardens include ones designated for senior citizens while others are farms in the city open to the public.
While the SUACG was formed to help citizens “create community gardens and sustainable urban agriculture on city land,” the process of doing so is lengthy and full of paperwork. One of their resources, the Coalition of Austin Community Gardens (CACG) is aiming to “facilitate the creation of more community gardens in the Greater Austin Metro Area.”
The CACG works on a broader scope, providing information on all city community gardens and offering workshops and panels on topics around gardening. Austin’s Sustainable Food Center’s Grow Local Program Director, Sari Albornoz, leads the coalition. Just last September they held a panel titled “Raising Poultry at Community Gardens,” at the Deep Eddy Community Garden where Flo was one the speakers. The event educated gardeners on the benefits having chickens at the gardens with the poultry guests in attendance.
[Interview with Sari and Flo]
The SUACG gardens such as Deep Eddy’s have a higher attendance and maintenance compared to other community gardens (with the urban farms as an exception). This is due to high-maintenance components such as special plants or chickens. Most other community gardens such as the Cherry Creek Community Garden have simple tools and plants such as peach tree or lettuce. The city-sponsored gardens also required a lot of commitment and work beforehand to be placed on city land, meaning members were more long-term minded. Community gardens placed in neighborhoods or churches may have had the excitement behind a novelty idea but slowly lost interest over time.
Sari lists Urban Patchwork as a resource for people that want to start gardens, but do not have the time or knowledge on working out a way to build one in a public or neighborhood area. The group will come out to help “turn unused yard space into farmland that provides, fresh, organically grown produce.”
Austin’s community gardens can be tucked away or out in plain sight, but are spread out all across the city. They serve to bring together communities and neighborhoods, offering a recreational activity or a way to start eating fresh, local, and sustainable food.
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I’m thinking of a story about the community gardens around Austin. They are located all across the city and according to the city’s website the gardens are “producing an estimated 100,000 pounds of fresh local, organic produce… every year.” The history of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program (SUACG) would be detailed, explaining how and why it came to be. There is also a “Coalition of Austin Community Gardens,” that seems to be working on a smaller scale, but it’d be interesting to hear what they’re doing for the community. It’s a story about things going on in and for the community that most people might not be aware about. Overall this story could spread awareness, get people involved, educate them on their own gardens, and encourage them to make their own.
I would be interviewing leaders in these programs and show up on days people gather to work and try to interview anyone. A lot of video and photography could go into this story, showing people working in the gardens and what the gardens look like. Another interactive media element could be an interactive map that shows the gardens across the city. Another could a slideshow of the process on how the gardens are formed, what they grow, and where the produce goes to. It would be interesting to see how people create something together for the community and how it impacts them.
Great idea. Now line up people who are agreeing to be interviewed on camera and list them here. Remember that you are also writing a story with this. I really like the map idea.
1. Direct quote from Mr. Cardenas: “They give you to-go boxes if you ask for them, but we weren’t allowed to do that.”
Indirect quote: “Cardenas says it is strange being on Google’s campus, watching the regular employees drive around on company-supplied bikes and scooters and taking food home.”
2. A possible question asked: “How does this job affect your family life?”
3. In the Moreau house story I would really like to interview a head from Residence Life. Why don’t you do this for HV?
-Could Moreau house continue with an RA that the priests select, or do you require them to go through formal interviews like everyone else?
-What exactly is in the Title IX issues that you brought up for the Moreau house? How about this one: Would it resolve the Title IX issue if St. Ed’s had an all female house with a mission similar to Moreau House?JH
-Aside from an RA and RD, how is the Moreau house different from other residence halls?
-Are there potential things the Moreau house could change that would allow them to continue functioning?
“Chasing the Higgs Boson” is a New York Times article by Dennis Overbye featuring several interactive media elements. The article is a dense, but educationally and entertainingly woven narrative about the Higgs Boson (“god particle”) and how a team of rival scientists raced to discover it. A weakness is how few interactive media elements there are, but the strength is found in their quality. They serve as a great supplement to help readers understand a science heavy story, while also explaining the origins of our universe in a simple way.
The first notable interactive media element is a five-minute video explaining the basics of the project. The video adds context and visuals to help readers understand the significance and size of both the Collider and Higgs particle. The second and third pages have the most unique interactive media elements, with clever and artful gifs of drawings explaining the Higgs. They appear like a child’s picture book that explains our universe’s particles through metaphors of “cosmic molasses” and snowflakes. The second gif shows how the collider is trying to prove Higgs exists through a drawing demonstrating the collision and how to determine its existence through data. For the extremely interested readers there is an interactive timeline with links to other articles and definitions relating to the project. The timeline shows that while this final part of the story is incredible, it is only a fraction of the whole story. The rest of the elements are pictures of the researchers and collider in pop-like colors, making them appear way cooler and hip than an average reader would imagine them to be.
The real meat of what the first video is showing is found in the written article, and I think the video could benefit from including some more of it. Even if it came off as repetitive, the video could include some more of these numbers and data in an interesting way. However, it does serve as a good catalyst for the uninitiated in this topic. The drawing gifs are a great supplement to the information given. While the article decides to plow through heavy information briskly, these gifs take a moment to help the reader understand the more science heavy and abstract ideas that would be too difficult to write an explanation of. So when the reader gets to Dr. Tonelli’s explanation of the universe, they are picturing it through the metaphor of snowflakes rather than particles they’ve never studied or thought of before. The second gif is the most useful and important in my opinion since it shows what the process is trying to accomplish through its drawings of the collision. This could easily be the first element used in the article, but I appreciate that it holds back until enough information and narrative has been given. It’s cute drawings that somehow summarize the enormity and importance of the entire project. The final timeline element is a great separate supplement that satisfies the more interested reader that wants to learn more about the project. I think this is a very dense article that is able to attract the everyday reader and that the timeline provides more for those that fall in love with the story and want to continue it. The images of the researchers add color and pop to the story, making it more accessible to the average reader.
I think that while the article could benefit from a few more interactive media elements, the ones that it does have are extremely helpful and creative sources of information. They help the reader understand dense science subjects so they can better understand the information given throughout the narrative. The article itself is very well written and accessible to any reader, but it is bolstered by these creative and useful media elements overall.
- A possible news story is the Moreau Hall closing. I’ve got a neighbor that’s Houston based FBI agent that does surveillance on human trafficking– his input on the Super Bowl would be interesting.
- There’s a level of human interest and proximity to the Moreau House closing. I think people would like to hear the how and why from Brother Larry and hear the perspectives of the guys that have lived there over the years.
- Brother Larry, any current or past residents, and possibly Residence Life staff members.
- This would be a mostly video and photo based idea. Lots of interviews with the priests and students either telling stories or showing around the house.
- I think that the end of a long running tradition is interesting to the public. Also its been a source of goodness for the community and I think some people have been affected by it so they would like to hear the story.