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Seeking Savings

Wearing purple face paint and a piercing stare, Angela does not look like she lives the simple life. Social media knows her by the alias “Authentic Paint,” and everyone else just knows her as Angela. Aside from her exotic makeup and alias, Angela prefers a minimalistic life—living in an Airstream.

“I prefer the Airstream lifestyle because I prefer to live in something small. I’m the opposite of a hoarder,” she said.

She grew up in the Los Angeles area and moved into the aluminum travel trailer in Fall 2010, after years of living in expensive, crowded apartments in the city. Many years of moving led her to seek a more permanent living situation. She didn’t want to share her walls and floors in a building anymore, and she wanted a home she could buy on a budget. An Airstream fit her criteria.

“It’s so much more affordable. Once you pay off the payments, it’s yours—aside from some maintenance and property costs,” Angela said.

People can buy marked-down airstreams on websites like RVTrader.com for as low as $20,000. Dealerships like Airstream LA also sell budget-friendly trailers. After purchasing a trailer, Airstream owners can choose to buy property in a trailer park or on someone else’s property to park the Airstream. Angela has spent between $400-$800 on property spots in the Greater Los Angeles area.

“Most Airstream users choose to live in the trailer parks, especially in Los Angeles. You get the community feel without having to spend a lot of money on homes in LA neighborhoods,” she said.

She has always preferred to buy property in trailer parks because of the affordability and camaraderie. She prefers parks in more suburban areas like Anaheim and Downey because the properties feel more like campgrounds. Residents gather outside the Airstreams for neighborhood-like get-togethers. Angela enjoys socializing with all of the people in the park and wants to break the stereotype of people who choose this simpler way of life.

“People who live in Airstreams get a very bad rap. Everyone I’ve met is so hardworking and just wants to maintain a budget,” she said.

Since she has lived in an Airstream for five years, Angela is now considered a “full-timer” in the community. She moved to San Diego last year and parked her Airstream on a friend’s property. Angela hopes she’ll be able to continue her simple lifestyle for as long as possible but plans to one day have a family. After meeting many families who have also adopted the Airstream way of life, Angela hopes to have her family do the same.

“The people that impress me are the husband, wife, and kid living in one Airstream. To me, they just get the importance of simplicity.”

Inside the grind: Kian Abedini

What started as a mere liking for espresso shots roasted into a business idea for Los Angeles native, Kian Abedini.

“Not only did the taste of a well-prepared and roasted espresso shot wow me, but the effort put into making sure it was brewed correctly pulled me into the world,” said Abedini.

Almost immediately after writing his thesis at Pepperdine University on the coffee market and identifying a niche for selling high-end coffee, he began attracting business sourcing rare coffees. However, the volume that would make his business successful didn’t come until he focused on the roasting of his coffees.

“Operating a small, successful business is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Abedini.

He currently owns Compelling & Rich, a speciality coffee and tea company based in Los Angeles that supplies coffee all across the U.S. and is also in the process of opening Frequency Coffee in MacArthur Park.

“Frequency is ideally going to be a shop that services the local community with a high-level of hospitality,” said Abedini.

Keeping to this goal, all employees at Frequency will share in the net profits of the shop rather than rely on a tip system in order to produce investment in the shop’s performance. Having worked in the hospitality industry his entire life, he is committed to hiring exclusively from the local community and to giving job training that will aid employees in a future in coffee or hospitality.

When it comes to location, Abedini’s decision in MacArthur Park stems from the rich history in the area.

“The community is at the beginning of a transformative process, and out of all of the neighborhoods we considered putting Frequency in, this was the first choice by any rationale,” explained Abedini.

Frequency Coffee operated as a pop-up shop over the last four months in Downtown L.A.‘s Gelateria Uli. To get Frequency Coffee permanently up and running in MacArthur Park, Abedini has turned to crowd funding.

“This has been a personal effort I’ve been running parallel to Compelling & Rich, but since it will be a community focused shop, I hope the community will help out,” said Abedini.

Abedini’s mission for Frequency Coffee is to serve the local community with respect and humility and have a positive reputation. His desire to give back to the community was inspired by Muhammad Ali’s quote, “service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

Abedini acknowledges that opening Frequency Coffee in MacArthur Park is not going to be easy.

“The challenge is going to be to gain the respect of the local community, while making it a destination business,” said Abedini.

Snapchat Story

I had never used Snapchat before so I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn how the app works. Shortly after signing up for an account, I recorded all my video on my phone and saved it in my photo gallery. My profile is on a water polo player and I interviewed him in different locations. Although I couldn’t get any action shots of him in the pool because this was done after his practice, I shot b-roll of the aquatic center instead.

I didn’t know that all of the video has to be recorded on Snapchat for the footage to be imported into my “Snapchat story.” Additionally, I had no idea what a “Snapchat story” entailed or what stories are comprised of. Although part of the appeal with Snapchat is impermanence, I didn’t realize that each clip had to have a time limit of 10 seconds so that each sound bite should be very concise. When I tried uploading my footage using a third party app, I couldn’t quite edit the exact 10 seconds in a sound bite without cutting the interview in mid-sentence. Moreover, I would have made establishing shots much shorter and my pans much faster.

When I had recorded my footage, I didn’t know that all shots should be planned in order and that I couldn’t go back and edit if I wanted to. This inadvertently led to basic captions and text. I was more concerned with shooting than individually editing my clips as I go which is a huge drawback for me. Another issue I had with using a third party app is importing a lot of video. If I wanted to import more than five clips, then I would have had to pay for an upgrade.

Snapchat is useful for disseminating stories quickly. It could be useful to break a story or post short clips of a live event. This isn’t useful for posting many details or add in-depth text due to the fact you can’t edit any thing after you post. In my opinion, this app wouldn’t be useful for mundane things either because followers only want to see Snapchat stories that are newsworthy in general. Snapchat is entirely different than telling a story through broadcast or print media. I made many mistakes by shooting the story out of order with longer sound bites. I also shot all of the shots horizontally on my phone and this does not work as nicely with Snapchat. If I had seen other Snapchat stories prior to this assignment, then I would have understood the concept better and planned more accordingly.

Olvera Street Snaps

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qrxvpek5j8k9naz/KelbyVera_Snapchat.mov?dl=0

For this project, I went off campus to historic Olvera Street. My goal was to create a portrait of an area that uses the lexicon of the medium. I chose an area that was visually rich and well-populated. I made an effort to balance my coverage between the colorful shops, history and interview snips. I also tried to capture an example of all five senses at Olvera Street, but had limited success with this element.

I was conscious of creating a more ‘conversational’ narrative with Snapchat because media often fails to use social media in the same ways their users do. Keeping this in mind, I made use of Snapchat’s emoji gallery and different text tools. I kept the tone of the collection funny, personable and self-reflexive. I also made an effort not to “editorialize”, keeping with the journalistic motto of “show, don’t tell”. I think I was able to strike a balance between these two realms.

I think Snapchat could be an effective tool to use alongside traditional storytelling. The Charleston, South Carolina collection is a great example of how Snapchat can add color or personal perspective to a story or event. It gave the viewer an intimate and immediate look into the city, but needs to be complimented with a fact and source driven to be called ‘journalism’.

Snapchat is especially limiting for interviews. Editing a standard interview is an art, it is near impossible to get a good soundbite in 10 seconds without edits.

For immediate, on-the-scene coverage Snapchat can offer a glimpse into the energy and action of breaking news. Because of this immediacy, I think that Snapchat is best suited to covering dramatic, visually compelling content. I think it should almost always be complimented with more traditional news content.

In my work, Snapchat could be a great way to capture performances or an audience’s reception to performance or exhibition. I learned that experimenting with new forms of storytelling is both fun and challenging. It was a great way to evaluate how our role as journalists is evolving as we speak.

Whitney’s Water Polo Snapchat Story

WATCH: https://youtu.be/lSt26_zZ41s

For my Snapchat story assignment, I chose to profile a member of the USC’s men’s water polo team. I visited the Uytengsu Aquatics Center and spoke with Murphy Slater, a water polo player and fourth generation Trojan.

Before meeting Slater, I had a hard time nailing down an interviewee. The men’s water polo team had just finished their first practice of the day and most of the men were on their way to lunch. Unfortunately, I was unable to get photos or video of Slater and his teammates actually playing water polo since practice had just ended. Instead, I decided to take more of a first-person approach to this feature. I had Slater narrate what a typical day in the life of a water polo player looks like and followed him during some of these activities.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at how this Snapchat story turned out. Although I have run NBCLA’s Snapchat and various Snapchat campaigns, I typically use Snapchat for my own private use. I enjoy Snapchat for breaking news updates and regular news stories, however my work with the mobile app today showed me that profiles can work too.

Personally, I am more inclined to watch a Snapchat story if it is a dramatic event or a breaking news story. If a Snapchat story is a mundane topic, I will not finish watching it.

I learned that planning is imperative to a successful Snapchat story. As a journalist, you need to plan out the sequences in your head so that you ultimately create a cohesive story. We live in a world of small screens and short attention spans, so I wanted my Snapchat story to be interesting and engaging for the audience. Although I was embarrassed to share this Snap story in front of my friends, I had a few people reply to the Snaps stating that they thought it was interesting. They even asked me questions about the content I was posting — something that media outlets like the New York Times will receive via Snapchat and reply in real time.

Overall, Snapchat is not my go-to app when engaging in mobile storytelling, but this exercise gave me more confidence in my Snapchat skills. I wanted to share Slater’s narrative in the most personal, visual way possible. Although the story is far from perfect, I think it’s good to experiment with new storytelling tools.

What is your take on the music scene these days?

INTRO:

INDIVIDUALS IN THEIR TWENTIES AND THIRTIES SHARE THEIR TAKE ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. PEOPLE SUCH AS COURTNEY CHISHOLM, CHRIS HUGHES AND VID ALWOODS CONSUME MUSIC MORE OR LESS THE SAME WAY THESE DAYS.

 

 

OUTRO:

WHEREAS A DECADE AGO SALES OF PHYSICAL MUSIC DECLINED IN FAVOUR OF DOWNLOADS, RESPONDENTS NOTED THAT THE WAY THEY CONSUME MUSIC THESE DAYS IS MAINLY THROUGH STREAMING, SIGNALLING ANOTHER SHIFT IN MUSIC CONSUMPTION. THEY STILL IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS CONCERTGOERS, ALTHOUGH NOT AS MUCH AS THEY DID A FEW YEARS AGO. THE GENERAL CONSENSUS WAS, HOWEVER, THAT ARTISTS HAVE BETTER PLATFORMS TO GET THEIR MUSIC HEARD AND THAT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WILL STILL FIND WAYS TO MAKE MONEY.

 

Californians Know Best

With a population of nearly 40 million, California is one of the most popular living destinations in the country. Many people there know about the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and maybe some unique restaurants to dine, but how much do residents know about the actual state? We sent Taiye Ojomo to the local streets of Los Angeles to ask people what is the state motto, animal, bird, and capital.

Rise and Shine!

INTRO

Not everyone is a morning person, but these early birds at USC are making the most of their AM’s. Kelby Vera finds out what wakes these Trojans up.

uscstoryspace.com/kvera/KELBYVERAVOXPOP.wav

OUTRO

You just heard from Gloria Gamboa, Igor Papish, Marisa Alfaro, James Chambers, Luijun Cheung, and Gina Finch. So rise and shine everyone, you’ve got some catching up to do.