For the last assignment, I would like to attempt one of the following:
Host intro: Under normal circumstances, welcoming a new addition to the family is both an exciting and joyful time for the entire family. This is especially true for first-time parents. However, due to a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the state of Georgia and a new executive order by the governor, new parents here, like most other places, are unfortunately having to hold off on the many “firsts” they would typically be able to enjoy with their newborns. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the usual mix of emotions a first-time parent goes through before returning to work. Here is Esther Song with the story.
AMBI1: landscapers mowing the lawn (ideally, it would have been baby cooing or crying, OR natural leasing office sounds. But the baby fell asleep just before the interview, and my friend got swamped with work on Monday so she recorded this at home on her day off on Tuesday.)
TRACK: I am talking with Grace Sharma. Grace is a first-time mom who had her four-and-a-half-month-old daughter, Braelynn, just before the statewide shelter-in-place mandate went into effect on April 2nd. Braelynn, a chubby, brown-haired, hazel-eyed baby is her mom’s mini-me. She has just fallen asleep in her mom’s arms. Grace’s voice is full of pride as she talks about how well her daughter eats and sleeps. Today is Grace’s day off. Other days she works as a leasing consultant at a residential complex nearby. She is really enjoying being a new mom, but she does admit there have been additional challenges and adjustments due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
ACT: It can be kinda isolating experiencing motherhood for the first time as much as you love your little baby. You are, you know, stuck inside a lot, and have a lot of nights where you are up by yourself, umm, and like with this pandemic, it has been more so because I haven’t been able to leave the house really, just been stuck inside a lot… There are so many things I want to do with her that I feel like is not safe for me to do right now so that has definitely been more frustrating.
TRACK: Grace says although she is happy to be back at work, it wasn’t initially easy being away from her daughter all day. She is thankful to have the help of her mom who has been babysitting Braelynn since she returned to work. She does feel anxious at times, but overall, she feels it was a fairly smooth process for her and the baby and is happy to have a change of scenery.
ACT: Getting out of the house was nice just because I was stuck inside the house like nonstop at the very beginning of having her, and then when it would have been about OK to start bringing her out to stores and taking her to public places, that’s when it got really bad with pandemic, and umm, so having the opportunity leave the house for more than like five minutes going to the grocery store that was, like, nice, just being able to get out of the house. But being away from her has been hard, and I wish I could take her to work, honestly, because I am so attached to her now and it’s definitely, it’s not an easy adjustment for anyone.
TRACK: Like any new parent, Grace was looking forward to many of the “firsts” with her daughter, such as her first trip to the park, her first meeting with family and friends, her first professional photo shoot at a studio, and especially, taking her to Target, Grace’s all-time favorite store, for the first time. However, she is holding off on those moments for now until the situation feels safe enough for her and her daughter.
ACT: So I’m definitely most looking forward to just, like, bringing Braelynnn to do, like, simple things, even just going grocery shopping or going to Target which I love to do probably a little too much (laughs), umm, and I think it’d be so fun to, like, look at baby clothes and have like her right there with me. Umm, yeah, and I would also like to do like a baby photo shoot with her since I haven’t been able to do anything like that yet, and umm, doing like normal things in life (because) we’ve been stuck at home so much and it’d be nice to just be able to like go places freely and not question myself so much whether I’m being safe or not so I’m really looking forward to that.
TRACK: Becoming a new parent is never easy. But for first-time mom, Grace Sharma, the additional challenges and adjustments brought on by the pandemic has not taken away the joy and excitement of having a baby. She is still finding ways to enjoy being a new mom during these unusual times. She looks forward to all of this being over soon so she can enjoy it just a little bit more. For Baruch College, this is Esther Song in Atlanta, Georgia.
More than ever before, recent nationwide movements like Black Lives Matter are forcing or bringing to public attention certain societal changes that people feel need to be made concerning racism and stereotyping in the U.S. For instance, protestors have been tearing down Confederate monuments and memorials which also prompted the House to vote for removal of Confederate statues from the Capitol on Wednesday, an NFL team decided to change its mascot after much controversy (Washington Red Skins), states are changing street names that have a connection to slavery, and a slew of retail companies are changing branding with racist roots (i.e. Aunt Jemima).
Three weeks ago, a Change.org petition was started by a high school senior in California urging the national grocery chain Trader Joe’s to remove and rename certain food branding and packaging, including Trader Giotto, Trader Jose and Trader Ming’s, saying the labels are racist and perpetuate harmful cultural stereotypes. The petition was signed by well over 4,000 signatures to date.
So I would like to interview a store manager of a local Trader Joe’s to see how she feels about the on-going petition, whether of not she thinks Trader Joe’s response to the petition was the right thing to do and why, whether shoppers have previously complained or made comments regarding this matter, whether there has been any kind of backlash or positive impact (i.e. have sales gone up or down) since the petition was started, what she thinks of this change in light of the recent events happening around the country, what changes are taking place in the store (changes to signs and/or advertisement, staff training or internal meetings prompted by the petition), etc. Trader Joe’s story is in response to a presently larger story happening in the U.S; I would like to address the broader issues by approaching it from a more local, personal standpoint.
My photo essay pitch is a character-driven human interest story. I would like to tell a story using images the new norm for students learning at home. I am thinking of creating a kind of a photo journal essay of my 11-year old nephew, Jake, who is super active and super social, but due to the circumstances of the pandemic, his life has changed completely. Although I cannot access many students at this time, I feel capturing a very normal middle-school student and how his life has changed upside down would be reflective of other children his age. Some of the moments I would like to capture are: Zooming in for classes on a makeshift desk set up on the deck (for summer classes and other activities that would normally be done in person), his mom cutting his hair in the bathroom, Jake playing basketball by himself (whereas before he used to play with the other children in the neighborhood), fishing by himself at a lake in the neighborhood, baking in the kitchen with his mom (new hobby), he and his father sitting side-by-side watching TV together on a weekday afternoon (one of the silver linings to this pandemic being family time), etc. I’ll try to make it interesting by taking some regular shots, wide-angle shots and some close-ups for personal shots.