Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Boston Globe Covers My Audio Reports From Roche Bros.

Ric Kahn writes in today's Boston Globe, Capturing a market. With its golden rules, Roche Bros. fosters faithful food shoppers:
At 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, the world as he knew it turned upside down.

Steve Garfield captured the momentous occasion with his iPhone, reporting in real time from the scene of the tumult: aisle 7 of the Roche Bros. supermarket in West Roxbury, where Garfield found himself in utter confusion while trying to make a routine shopping run.

As Garfield, an ace citizen journalist, spread his firsthand findings from the store to shoppers everywhere, he wondered: What in the name of Orville Redenbacher was the popcorn doing next to the pet food?

"Everything's changed!" he audiostreamed on one of his websites, "They moved the chips! They moved the juice! Everything's crazy! . . . I know the economy's bad. You've got a lot of issues that are bigger than figuring out where this stuff is in the supermarket. But why, when we're all concerned about if our banks are failing, do we have to go and relearn the whole format of the supermarket?"
Nice job capturing and reporting on that moment.

As a citizen journalist I like to experiment with lots of different technologies for reporting news. I also teach these new media tools at Boston University.

You can learn more at

The technology behind recording and reporting with a cell phone is Utterli. It allows you to call into a phone number, record your message, and have that message posted both to Utterli and to your blog if you have one. If you email a photo in to Utterli, that photo gets associated with your audio post.

Here's the audio report Ric Kahn wrote about in the Globe article:

Here's another audio post about the nice looking fruit at Roche Bros.

Finally here's one more report from Roche Bros about the Olive Bar:


  1. Anonymous3:03 PM

    hey Steve !

    You're confused, the olive guy is obviously confused, and I for one am not surprised.

    Haven't you heard? It's a well-known marketing tactic to make the shopping experience so confusing that most customers will wander around and around and eventually buy more than if everything is logically organized to make it easy to buy. It's "shopping" vs. "buying."

    Popcorn next to the cat food? You-betcha.

    This morning we went to L.L. Beans in Freeport (Maine, it's just down the road for us) to buy winter boots. Beans is now so big with several buildings, connecting corridors, multi-level, this & that, all mixed up from the last time we were there, big signs that say "LL Bean Home" and "Warm Hearth" instead of "Men's Boots, this way-->", jumbled & tumbled, ricked & wracked. We nearly needed one of those famous Maine Wilderness Guides just to get the heck outta there after we paid for our boots.

    When we got back to our place and sat down by the fire

    my wife said, "I know I'm getting older, but going to Freeport and Beans left me with a bad feeling, like I've been "mall"ed to death."

    This was a brief outing, just a couple of hours, the snow's coming down, showing picturesquely on the pine tree lined drive up Route 1, all nice, seems fun starting out, but the shopping experience leaves a bad feeling--like they're desperate to grab more of our dollars than we have to give them. This is not good for Beans to give us this feeling. My dad mail-ordered Beans moccasins when he was a kid growing up a log cabin in the Rocky Mountains in the 1920s, and mail-ordered moccasins for all us kids when we were growing up in a farm house out on the prairie lands of Nebraska in the 1950s. I'm their good customer, so why do they have to spoil it with overly-aggressive merchandising?

    I think the retailers are so frightened about the economy that they are going crazy-frantic, cranking up the "merchandizing" so tight that it's going to backfire on them.

    Storm Cunningham writes in his book "The Restoration Economy" that the industrial revolution is not going to simply peter-out, the expressed strategy is to accelerate grinding up the earth, financial resources, and human resources at such a frantic pace that there will be extensive collateral damage. Sound familiar?

    John (keepin' warm by the fireplace, plenty of dry wood stacked up right outside) Leeke

  2. Steve, do you ever watch "Greater Boston" on PBS? Last week (I think) they basically said that "citizen journalists" weren't journalist. They also said people out reporting about the terror attack in India shouldn't be called journalists. I believe Ms Rooney said that any citizen with a camera reporting on the news shouldn't be called a journalist by sites like CNN (their iReport section). I suppose the comments could be found on the PBS site, but that would be too investigative of this citizen...

  3. Hi Rebe,

    Thanks for that citizen journalism report.


    I'm on the case, tracking down the facts...

    Sad to hear they are allegedly still having this argument on tv.

  4. Found the WGBH Greater Boston Beat the Press report:

    I can not believe what I am watching.

    Emily Rooney is so condescending.

  5. Anonymous4:47 PM

    I think "journalism" and "news media" has really dropped the ball and let us all down the past few years. So, it's time for us to pick up the ball and help ourselves, as citizen journalists.

    I have never heard of Emily Rooney before, but her defensive attitude here makes me think she is a part of the big guns news media that let us down. She will not get any more of my attention.

    John Leeke