Small and Cozy Beats Commercialized

Seattle’s Coffee Culture Examined

Coffee makes Seattle go - but Seattlelitles like it cozy. ©pc britz

Coffee makes Seattle go - but Seattlelitles like it cozy. ©pc britz

For my latest audio story, I have explored Seattle’s coffee culture.
My goal was initially to tell the story of struggling coffee shops in the economic situation. While I worked on the story the focus shifted. I found it more interesting to focus on the the different kinds of coffee culture (global-commercial v. local-communal) and to show why people prefer “The Local” over Starbucks.

I wanted to use some natural sounds, but I didn’t want them to be the focus of attention like I had done in my story before. I interviewed Gesche, a passionate coffee drinker who has a blog devoted to coffee shops in Seattle and who explains some of the differences between the shops and why she prefers small and local coffee shops. John gives the perspective of a shop owner, shows what creative ideas find room in local establishments and why they create a communal space. Customer Brad provides some of the financial and ethical reasons for chosing local over commercial.

I think I succeeded in telling a story in this audio piece – the story of people who are passionate about coffee in their neighborhood. I also succeeded in making it more about the content than just the sound effects, although I still feel I could integrate the sounds better. The general sound quality has improved significantly as I have learned to eliminate distracting noises.

A challenge for me was again the time frame: I don’t yet know how much material I will need for a good 2-3 minute story. While last time I underestimated the mass of my material, this time I overestimated it. I still have a large amount of material, but I picked very few pieces from that to integrate them into the story.
Another challenge was that a fixed story board is nearly impossible to maintain, because everything depends on people’s responses.

What is incredibly annoying is the incompatibility of formats from the voice recorder to the editing program. I would do much more editing and comments if I didn’t have to convert every little change from .wma to .mp3 before being able to work with it.

You can download (File Size: 2.6 MB / 0:02:49) the audio story or listen to it righ here.  Hope you enjoy it!

Update – Related Stories: Starbucks closes ten stores in Mexico City
For more stories and resources on Mexico check out my collection on the Mexican-American Border

  1. This is an interesting article about Coffee Shops and their changing relation to laptop using customers. Also has a nice part about the history of the coffee shop and its meaning.

  1. January 20th, 2010

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