Live Tweeting Black Friday

For this assignment, I decided to cover Black Friday.  I wanted to do this because I was traveling to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving, and knew how wild Black Friday events were in the past.  Throughout Thanksgiving day and Black Friday, I traveled around the Las Vegas Valley, going about 60 miles round-trip.  I stopped at several shopping centers and malls during the day and talked to several people.  Watching the whole event unfold was certainly interesting.  I talked to one person who essentially skipped out on Thanksgiving just so that they could get some good deals.  As someone who values tradition, it seemed foreign to me that someone would just skip Thanksgiving.  However, times are changing, and so are attitudes.  It’s something that you have to keep an open mind about when you report.  I also got to talk to a woman named Louisa, and her story really opened my eyes.  She lost her job when the economy tanked in Nevada, and now works as a cashier at Target and as a convenience store clerk.  It was eye-opening to get a perspective like that and to hear her story.

As was mentioned earlier, I enjoyed hearing people’s stories.  I think each individual story brings a fresh perspective to the table.  It really makes you think with an open mind.  I had heard of people who skipped out on Thanksgiving just so they could wait in line for deals, but I never actually knew anybody until I interviewed them.  I was also reminded how the economic conditions in Nevada are completely different than those in Wyoming.  They’re still trying to piece together everything, while it never really affected us here.  The one thing I wasn’t crazy about was the amount of traveling I did.  The Las Vegas Valley is pretty extensive, and it was at times frustrating to show up to some shopping center and realize there wasn’t really any action.

I learned that anything newsworthy can be shared in an instant.  With Twitter becoming an increasingly important medium for news-gathering, it’s so amazing to see how fast news travels.  You can tweet important information in less than 30 seconds and have it in your hands.  It gives a new meaning to the term “breaking news.”  I was surprised how many people were eager to share their story.  At the Kmart I went to, I had about five or six people wanting to be interviewed, even for a small class project.  If I could do anything differently, I would go back and get pictures of the people I interviewed.  I’d also want to get pictures of them in action.  It would be awkward for me to do, but they really help tell the story.

For me, social media is going to be an integral part of my future career.  Television journalism is adapting to the changing times.  They use social media as a means to get important information across almost instantly.  As a journalist, I think it will be important to have a Twitter so that I can get information out to the masses as soon as possible.  Not just that, but having a presence on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, is important as well.  Facebook can be a good way to gather collective, in-depth thoughts about the public, at least according to what I’ve seen news outlets do.  All in all, this was a fun project, and I would do it again.

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