15 Questions to a Local Business

BUSINESS: HERB CHAMBERS VESPA BOSTON

22 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

Spoke to: Dio Mayen

  1. How many different types of motorcycles to have on sale?
    1. There are six different engine sizes and 11 different models. The engines are: 50cc, 125cc, 150cc, 300cc, 350cc, and 500cc.
  2. What is the most popular motorcycle you sell?
    1. The 50cc is the most popular engine size, and the Piaggio Typhoon with that engine is the fastest seller.
  3. How often do you sell only motorcycle parts?
    1. Often – on a daily basis they’d sell about 10 Vespa parts. They also do service jobs, but this is mostly seasonal.
  4. What is the most popular colour motorcycle you sell?
    1. Red. People want something vibrant and visible. Least popular is black.
  5. On average, how many motorcycles do you sell per month?
    1. 30-40 per month.
  6. How often do you receive used motorcycles to re-sell?
    1. Quite often – about 4 to 5 per month.
  7. How quickly is the turnaround to sell these second-hand motorcycles?
    1. Very quick, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks. They service and check them and then they’re ready to be sold.
  8. Are second-hand motorcycles more or less in demand that new motorcycles? (by how much?)
    1. More in demand, about 10 more than new bikes per month.
  9. How old are your customers typically?
    1. Anywhere between 18 years old and 80.
  10. How much profit do you gain from new motorcycles?
    1. $400 – $500 per motorbike, and profits come mostly in parts and services.
  11. How much profit do you gain from selling second-hand motorcycles?
    1. $500 – $700 depending on the model.
  12. How do you determine the price of a second-hand motorcycle?
    1. They use the Kelly Blue Book – trading values for cars and motorcycles.
  13. Do people tend to purchase motorcycles during a specific time of year?
    1. Mostly in the Spring time.
  14. Do you ever turn away second-hand motorcycles? / Is there criteria to pass?
    1. Yes. This happens when there is no history on the bike and if it’s damaged.
  15. Do you advertise the company / if so, has business increased / by how much?
    1. Yes, through social media, in the newspaper, and on billboards. But the weather is the biggest advertiser… when it’s beautiful and sunny out and people see others driving on a moped, they want one, too. The weather is the biggest advertiser.
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Study Abroad: An Infographic

An infographic is an effective method of presenting data and information that is both clear and aesthetically pleasing. I decided to create an infographic on Boston University’s Study Abroad program. The infographic includes the program’s mission statement, an illustration of where in the world the programs are, statistics, a word grid with more information, and contact & deadline information embedded in a postcard.

The infographic was created using Adobe InDesign. Please excuse any unclear pixelation that derived from exporting the file into a supported version for this web page.

study-abroad-infographic

The Final Assignment: Boston.com vs. Boston Globe

Throughout this semester’s course, I have had the opportunity to familiarise myself with two different news sources. These are Boston.com and Boston Globe. By choosing specific articles from both sources I was able to learn their unique styles and compare their effectiveness in presentation, clarity, launching features, using different multimedia, and driving traffic/being accessible across different platforms.

The beginning of the semester I focused on Boston.com. Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed. Though there was a good balance of stories with local news, national news, and categories including weather, sports, culture, travel, cars, and real estate. Yet, the website, in general was difficult to navigate and make sense of.

Once you clicked on an article, a McDonalds advert pops up, and the lower third of the screen is an additional pop-up advert nagging you to sign up for Boston Globe’s free newsletter. Naturally, this probes for a delayed start in reading the respective article.

The articles are typically text-heavy with one single image at the top of the screen, which sometimes did not showcase the subject of the article. Granted that it is a regional website that offers an assemblage of Boston news and features, it lacks clarity and ease of navigation. Though there is a lot of potential for being an effective source to gather quick information on the latest news and stories, it would not be my news source of choice.

I shifted my focus to Boston Globe’s online news source. The immediate difference is the level of clarity and the depth and breadth of the articles. It is essentially an electronic version of the newspaper, but it allowed for swift information to be learnt, with links to other articles of interest, and there is a much more thorough platform of sharing the articles, and an active comment section in most articles studied. Additionally, this news source includes more sections such as Metro, Business & Tech, Opinion, and Politics.

Though it covers hard news, my favourite article studied and critiqued was “Theo Epstein for president”. It was published during the period of the U.S. presidential election’s high point, coming close to the final decision. The article, though simply formatted with one single image and the rest text, offered a remarkably refreshing take on politics, by presenting Theo Epstein (president of the World Series champions the Chicago Cubs) as a presidential candidate.

The level of reporting in Boston Globe is much higher than in Boston.com, giving longer articles more specific information, where possible. In the latest newstrack I published, I praised the Globe for providing not only images, but also a video of a Cambridge fire. There is more dedication to presenting the information in an appealing way in the Boston Globe.

Overall, it was a pleasure to get to know both news sources on a deeper level, however if I were to gather my headlines and information from one of them, I’d most definitely choose Boston Globe.

When the fire starts to burn: A Cambridge Catastrophe

“More than 100 people are displaced after Cambridge fire”

Hard news is always appealing. I immediately clicked on the Cambridge fire story and was pleased to be met with a video, which launched straight into the story. The opening natural sound at the top was the fire sirens and the image zoomed into the bright orange fire with the accompanying cloud of smoke growing larger and larger. The image then changed to another angle, further away, which showed the extent of the smoke. A Boston Globe correspondent explained the surroundings on site with voice over. The correspondent then mentioned they had a Facebook Live feature, which is a pertinent feature to drive traffic and reach a wide scope of audience.

The author opens the printed story with the angle of a Bangladeshi family standing behind yellow tape to the side of their burning down house, allowing the reader to picture the poignant scene. The damage of the fire is explained along with the precise information stamps, such as the time and place of the fire, and the number of people who were displaced.

The story includes quotes from authorities such as two Cambridge Deputy Fire Chiefs, neighbours, and other nearby residents, sharing their story.

The article incorporates three photographs in addition to the video, opting for full visual and audio coverage of the story. The media included is successful in allowing the reader to fully engage in the story and feel as though he/she is present at the scene. Therefore, the coverage is saturated with both information and visual features. The correspondent mentioned a Facebook Live video, which increases the availability of the story to the reader. Other social media tools that are available to drive traffic are the options to share the story on Facebook, Twitter, Email, Google Plus, and LinkedIn to increase readership.

One of the photographs is shown below:

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The comment section has contains 18 comments, some of which share similar stories or just offering condolences.

An example is shown below:

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One comment from @HistoryIsJustThat reads: “Boston really needs to do something about all those old wooden framed buildings. After all these years they are nothing more than kindling. (…) Cambridge is very, very lucky this did not roar out of control.”

Having the comment section for stories such as this one is effective in offering ideas for improvement, especially if suggestions could prevent another tragic incident.

 

Vegetarian or carnivore households?

“In a mixed vegetarian-carnivore marriage, should the kids get meat at home?”

In today’s society where there is much focus on health and different fad diets, such as the latest “paleo” craze, an article that combines parenting and health is interesting.

This article is different to a headline article normally found on the homepage of Boston Globe; it comprises a question that discusses the challenges of bringing up children in a household that has both a vegetarian and a carnivore, which is followed by responses by two Globe correspondents.

The first response is by David, who discusses the concerns of bringing meat into the house. The second response is by Kara, offering a female perspective. The two accounts are divided nicely in the middle, with a toolbar that offers “The Weekender” email subscriptions. Though it is not relevant to the article, it is relevant to the site.

The article doesn’t integrate multimedia other than a large picture at the top of the site, showing a young girl eating a salad and looking contemplative. This is successful in reflecting the content of the article and grabs the reader’s attention. As mentioned, there is no other feature in the piece. This image is shown below:

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The coverage is interesting and is unique to the Globe in that the question is answered by two correspondents.

To drive traffic, the Globe has a list of hyperlinks on the right-hand-side of the article of the “Top 10 Trending Articles”, to allow readers to browse other articles of relevance and interests. The design of the article is simple and straight forward, allowing for readers to easily understand the content. The aforementioned toolbar splits the two accounts, ensuring more clarity.

Though there is a comment section, there are no comments as of yet, since it was recently published. The bottom of the article explains to the reader the nature of the two correspondents, giving a short blurb of their titles and, additionally, giving their social media handles, which also adds to the traffic/social networking outreach.

NYC in 24 Hours: Audio and Visuals

This weekend I spent 24 hours in the bustling heart of New York City. My friends and I took the bus each way, roamed through the streets, went to “bottomless brunch” at Hell’s Kitchen which included the performance of two Drag Queens, made some friends, and somehow made it back to the bus stop before heading to Boston.

Below is an arrangement of photos and sounds that give an insight to the weekend:

Live Tweeting Assignment

 

HOCR x BUMC

October is an exciting month for rowers around the world, for it’s time for Head of the Charles Regatta. HOCR is the world’s largest regatta, taking place at the Charles River here in Boston. Two long days of races see more than 11,000 athletes race.

Boston University Men’s Crew has its boathouse right by the starting point on the regatta’s course. I made a short video showing how BUMC prepares for this regatta:

#TheoEpsteinForPresident2016

“Theo Epstein for president” – Boston Globe

Amongst the multitude of Clinton Vs Trump headlines we see plastered on every news source in America, this one stood out. Theo Epstein is not quite one of the presidential candidates. However, he is a president, but of the newly appointed World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs.

The Boston Globe article electing Epstein as a presidential candidate is a refreshingly amusing account of his role of president in the current stir-fry of political upheaval. The image of Epstein holding the commissioner’s trophy above his head, coupled with the lede that reads “It’s so obvious that you were wondering why you didn’t think of it sooner: Theo Epstein for president”, the author Alex Beam nails the comedy of the situation. Beam then continues to compare winning the World Series to several other large points of history such as the Louisiana Purchase and the Battle of New Orleans.

Beam succeeds in then offering Epstein as an actual potential U.S. presidential candidate and marks up his pros, including no traceable dodgy emails, a natural hair colour, and the fact that Vladimir Putin “probably has no idea who he is.” The remarkable wit that is engrained throughout this article allows for an intriguing short read, and Beam successfully adds an air of light-hearted comedy to the current events.

The article simply comprises a headline, an image, and the body of the article. Apart from one related story, it does not integrate multimedia and other features designed to attract and engage the audience, but it does not need it. Though the topic of the article is sure to attract readers due to the subject, it is skilfully written in a way that would be distracted by fancy charts or other features. The coverage of this precise topic is original in the way it is presented; exhibiting Epstein as a future presidential candidate.

The layout is shown below:

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The one related story that is integrated in the article has the headline “What are the secrets to Theo Epstein’s success?” which is obviously a story of interest for those reading this article. The link leads to another Boston Globe site, which allows for driving more traffic. The site also translates well to the mobile platform.

The embedded related story is shown below:Screen Shot 2016-11-07 at 06.43.20.png

Overall, this is an exceptionally well-written article, which both touches upon current affairs and alludes to historical occasions, all with the angle of baseball. The simplicity of the article reflects the sharpness and wit of the content.

 

 

*Boston* Fried Chicken

What draws my eye towards a story faster than anything else is undoubtedly a picture of food. There’s no way to deny that. So, naturally, when a piece of fried chicken made its way to the homepage of Boston.com, I clicked on the story.

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Above is the image of the fried chicken, used both on the homepage and on the post.

The post showcases the top 10 venues to order fried chicken from in Boston, with the data deriving from the popular food ordering company ‘GrubHub’. The angle of this post focuses on the increasing desire for comfort food, as the days grow shorter, darker, and colder, and the specific demand for fried chicken.

10 locations are offered, with hyperlinks to the GrubHub menus and online ordering forms, and then a hyperlink to the location on Google Maps. The venues are listed in list form from one to 10.

As mentioned, the image of the fried chicken has the ability to draw in the reader and lure them into clicking on the post. The post offers a well-written introduction to the food craze, however, the post fell short of many features that would have made it a more striking and effective online journalism post.

Other than the one single image, the post had no more visual features to draw in the eye of the reader. There was one hyperlink that lead to another Boston.com post that had relevance by association, which is a feature that increases traffic. Despite also giving the hyperlinks to map locations, an alternative would be to offer one map with each place pinned to it, to give an idea of where in town the venues are. This would be another way to interact multimedia. Other than the hyperlinks, there are no other features. Additionally, there are a low number of tags and only offered ‘food’ and ‘restaurants’. Finally, though there is no comment section, the site transfers well to mobile platforms.

To improve this piece other than introducing a wider scope of a map, pictures of each venue and its food/dishes would be effective and would make the general post improve in appearance.