The Chocolate Man from Middletown

Right in the center of busy Main Street, Middletown, lays the small but mouthwatering store that is Tschudin Chocolates and Confections . Established in 2009, the store is particularly known for its larger than life owner, Roberto Tschudin Lucheme. Tschudin, a  friend of my family, is dressed in his full attire of a white apron and chef hat, complete with a beaming face. No matter who enters the store, Tschudin already knows them by their first name. Even as he waits for his strawberries dipped in chocolate to dry, Tschudin is outside his store, calling out to people passing by to come in.

The left hand wall is filled with framed plagues from the ‘Hartford Courant’ and ‘Connecticut Magazine’ being testimony to the shops’s success. And more recently he starred in the Food Network’s ‘ReWrapped. Life couldn’t be sweeter.

Inside the store, an odor of dried coca conquests your nostrils, the odor of patience and hard work. Two glowing containers beam you, filled with handcrafted chocolates, full of jealously, all fighting to capture your attention.  On the left, rows of heart shaped sweets lay next to the turquoise colored Malsa Beans and the chili filled Mrylion shaped “A Night in Tunisia.” A gallery of shoes dominates the eastern portion of the delicacies. Soft is the big word here. Each show seems to appear the most gentle, the smoothest for consumption for only the most elegant of clients.

The sweetness of it all couldn’t contrast more with the life of the man behind the counter. Having lead a life of jumping into buildings and spending hours in court, Tschudin has known moved to a ‘happier’ profession. That doesn’t mean it eliminates all the crumbs however. “You have to be willing to clean the floors, clean the bathrooms yourself”, explains Tschudin. He is also the only employee to the limited budget. Any Wesleyan student that helps out is an unpaid intern. It’s a testament of its enduring duration  as yogurt shops said adieu.

The shop is particularly well known for its creative creations, some which have been award winning. “The biggest sellers tend to be somewhat seasonal and somewhat steady.” says Tschudin. So we have a chocolate called “A Night in Tunisia”, that’s been a big hit, we’ve gotten some awards for it. And its amusing. It’s red chilis, coriander, cardamom, infused into a dark chocolate grange and that’s all piped into a shell that in a shape of a merlion, with attitude you might say , she’s got a lion’s head, and it’s all hand printed. So it’s pretty to the eyes, and when you eat it, it’s like a pinball for your taste buds. Just when you think you know what it tastes like, it changes

A family friend of mine, Tschudin came late into the culinary industry, coming after careers in broadcasting, law and  firefighting. “I was coming into the point in my life were it was no longer safe for me to go into burning buildings or do ice rescues as I was running out of breath, so I was looking for something else to do to keep occupied. “So I went to a restaurant called Cavey’s in Manchester, Connecticut and I taught my way in.

“So I started calling around local chocolate shops and checking in and most of them looked at me and said ‘Hmm, at his age, he’s gotta be a corporate spy, can’t just be a guy who came out of culinary school.’ But the last person who owned this shop before I took it over, all she wanted to know was how much I wanted to get paid. And I said nothing. She said ‘You can start tomorrow. So now I’m down here for three weeks and everything was going fine, she keeps talking to me into buying the shop.”

Th tough economic conditions of 2009 made accepting a tough choice for Tschudin. “And I keep saying “No, no, no”. And I figured, I never ran a kitchen, I never did retail,what shot do I have? And here it is, nearly eight years later, we almost outlasted all the yogurt shops.”

The shop is particularly well known for its creative creations, some which have been award winning. Tschudin says that “The ideas comes from all sorts of places. But a lot of the time it’s improvisation. For example, the sculpture of hearts in the front of the shop right now. I just kind of improvised as I went along. And said ‘Ok’ this seems like it could fit here and this looks like it might fit there and it looks like it will sit up straight. So we put it up.”

“The biggest sellers tend to be somewhat seasonal and somewhat steady.” says Tschudin. So we have a chocolate called “A Night in Tunisia”, that’s been a big hit, we’ve gotten some awards for it. And its amusing. It’s red chilis, coriander, cardamom, infused into a dark chocolate grange and that’s all piped into a shell that in a shape of a merlion, with attitude you might say , she’s got a lion’s head, and it’s all hand printed. So it’s pretty to the eyes, and when you eat it, it’s like a pinball for your taste buds. Just when you think you know what it tastes like, it changes.”

A constant in Tschudin are the large varieties of chocolate shoes. “Well you could saw its a foot fetish well channeled.” joked Tschudin. “But the truth of the matter is that I saw a model of it in a trade show, and didn’t think much of it, and then I noticed in the New York Times one day that all sorts of women were having their show pimped out and running across the streets in New York , and I said “Hey,  that’s pretty cool.” So I said, Alright I call the guy at the shoe mole and get one. And i started doing the shoes out of chocolate and people started to buy them. And we’ve been doing them ever since. And now we have high heeled shoes, stilettos, we have platform shoes, we even have flip flops, running shoes, and I haven’t decided what my next shoe will be but who knows!”

Tschudin is no stranger to failure, with vivid memories of a failed Valentine’s Day. “(I)ran down to the local restaurant supply and I bought there best chocolate and came back to the kitchen and couldn’t do anything. I was falling flat on my backside. So I had to struggle through Valentine’s Day doing  variations of all my regular pastries. But I had to find out what went wrong.” Luckily, he got an answer . “…About three weeks after I took over the shop, I finally got one of the manufactures reps to sit down with me. And wouldn’t you know, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. What I didn’t know is that chocolate comes in different viscosities. So there is the equivalent of summer weight motor chocolate and winter weight motor chocolate, so some are very thick and perfect for making cakes and pudding. And some of it is very thin and perfect for  doing molding work. So of course I purchased sludge, which is why I got nowhere the first time around, but it goes to show you, just because you failed, you can’t eventually be successful.”

Despite the store’s upbeat feel, Tschudin’s is a testament of hard work. Tschudin questions the status quo that one needs to have their ideal job straight after college. “I would certainly recommend to anyone looking to do this as a career, go apprentice yourself to someone, don’t look for money, just go out for the opportunity to learn.”In his opinion, it takes time before one finally finds their place in society.Of Puerto Rican ancestry, Tschudin is no stranger to hardships. Despite what it takes to keep ‘Confections’ open, Tschudin doesn’t do it for the bucks. It was a dream to one day partake in an industry designed to make people happy.

“Just as Michangelo and Da Vinci dabbled in this and dabbled in that into it finally come together for them , eventually it’ll eventually come together and your gonna make it your own.”

 

 

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Principles

Anonymous Sources and Images are two essentials of the news value of journalism. At a time when journalists are facing constant attacks, these two values have been very prominent.

Recently, President Trump had attacked the use of anonymous sources by the press, saying each source should be identified. Despite the hypocrisy of Trump, with POTUS often not naming his sources, this standard is important for our profession. An anonymous  source, by the name of ‘Deep Throat’ was the one who gave vital information into the investigative reporting in Watergate, perhaps the pinnacle of American journalism. Under AP rules, anonymous sources can only be used under three circumstances. The first is if the material is information and not opinion. Using anonymous sources for opinion could easily make the article biased with the journalist just using an unreliable source that would only fuel speculation on a topic.  The second circumstance would be if the information can only be obtained under the condition of anonymity. Often, when the source has been threatened by others, they will only disclose their info if they remain unnamed, afaid of being attacked due to his disclosure of facts. A journalist would usually need to disclose the motive of who the source wanted anonymity. The last circumstance is that the source must be reliable and in a position to have correct information. A journalist must know if the source has some barrier that could prevent them from being truthful. Journalists also need the approval of their news manager before using a such source. The manger must know the identification of the source and like the reporter, is obligated to keep it confidential. Reporters should ask the source has the direct knowledge that she or he knows. In most news stories, multiple sources (both anonymous and not) are recommended, so an anonymous source when used is often never the sole source of a news story. When a journalist is getting ready for a interview, they assume it will be ‘on the record’- that everything said can be used. If the person being interviewed wants other conditions, like the interview being ‘off record’ when the information given can’t be published, they should negotiate them at the start of the interview. A reporter can not label an anonymous sources as simply a source, they have to be descriptive, as such ‘a top White House aid’. ‘Background’ means that info given can be used but only under certain conditions. Generally the source will give their position but not their name. ‘Deep background’ is when info can be used without attribution. Also any complaints of anonymous sources can be brought to the attention of the news manager.

As the image of the dead Syrian boy on the beach in Tuekey captivated the world, images can be the key to ending inaction. The images can’t be misleading. AP prohibits the alteration or digital munipulation of sources. The only retouching is to eliminate scratches or dust. Minor Photoshop is acceptable in terms of cropping or color adjustments that is needed for accurate representation. An employee should contact a senior photo editor if s/he has doubts on any photo. When AP recives a photo that has been altered, they must caption the photo explaining it. AP doesn’t stage, pose or re-enact events and if something is being staged, posed for or re-enacted, it should be stated somewhere so as to not mislead viewers. For example if a celebrity is posing for the cameras, the caption would say “XXX is posing at the premiere of his new movie.” For video, AP does allow methods to improve its video and or audio. This includes color correcting to white balance, removing long pauses in a video, and eliminating any unimportant  sounds. It is also permissible to obscure faces if the person wants anonymity. Also online videos can contain the logo of the company which shot it. These changes to video must first be shown to the editor or senior manager before being aired or posted.

Craig Silverman

Buzzfeed’s News Media Editor Craig Silverman come to CCSU on February 16th to discuss a presentation concerning  the current phenomenon of ‘fake news’.

Silverman stated that the danger of said news is that it creates confusion and gives oxygen to nonfactual statements. He also stated that the term is becoming meaningless as it’s used by people to show their dislike of an opinion. Silverman read a quote from Steve Bryant that notes  “Whoever has the most people and activates them the most effectively, determines what truth is.”

Silverman defined ‘fake news’ in his own terms as having three components: it has to be completely false, is financially driven and the writer knows it’s false. A notable example sharing all theses components were the stories often written in the New York Sun, a staple of the ‘penny press’ in the 19th century. As the name suggests the papers were extremely cheap as the founder wanted the largest following possible. To grow at all costs, the paper often made up stories like how half human, half bat creatures lived on the moon.

The largest difference now from then, notes Silverman, is social media. Facebook, which has 1.8 million users, is now the top place globally to get info. During the recent US election, the popularity of fake news increased, particularly ones that were pro-Trump. This is because pro-Trump sites tended to be the most successful, surpassing the pro-Clinton or pro-Sanders fake sites. However, Silverman mentioned that liberal fake sites have been on the rise since Trump’s inauguration.

Silverman explained why people are so willing to believe in these fake stories by noting two human behaviors. The first is that humans quickly develop an irrational loyalty to our beliefs. The other is that we’re more likely to believe things in situations of uncertainty, fear or lack of information. Silverman stated that fake political news had eight purposes: to gain attention, to generate emotion, to be seen widespread, to misinform people, to set up a platform or for filtering.

Silvernan disccused how many of the fake news sits were traced to teenagers in Macedonia. Those teens were often from working class families, who in Silverman’s words ‘lived like kings’ by creating fake news sites that generated a lot of money for them.

Silverman ended his presentation by saying that Trump wants to be liked by the media, mentioning how the media was usually nice to him before he got into politics, when he was in the industry of business and entertainment.

One of the questions Silverman received post-presentation was asked about the dossier that Buzzfeed had controversially released that contained several defaming and unverified facts about Trump. Silverman stated that he was not involved in the decision making process on whether to release it and that several respected groups like the Columbia Journalism Review have approved of Buzzfeed’s decision.

Tompkins ch.12

With the recession hitting newsrooms hard, many had workers become OMBs (one man bands) to save costs. These reporters had to shoot and edit their own stories. Reporters in this position need to be self reliant and innovative. Like everything, practice is needed. Janie Porter from WTSP in Tampa gives advice to OMBs such as manage your time, park as close as you can  to avoid security from getting in your way and don’t be afraid to ask for help. For your backpack, Tompkins says you need equipment such as a camera, a microphone, a cord, a tripod, spare batteries, among other things.

Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu

John Updike’s “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”, is considered among sport’s journalism’s greatest works. Updike starts the article by writing about his observances as he enters Fenway Park as fans arrive to see Ted Williams play his last home game for the Boston Red Sox.

Updike focus on the structure and history of Fenway, denoting the green paint and its unusually  deep field. This is an example of Updike “describing not telling.”Instead of simply stating that Fenway’s irregularities have made the ground famous, Updike simply describes those irregularities so the reader can make the conclusion themselves. Upside then contrasts the recent disappointing history of the Red Sock with the outstanding career of their outgoing left fielder, Williams. The relationship between the team and player is described as a “marriage” constisting of “spats, mutual disappointments and, towards the end, a mellowing hoard of shared memories.” That sentence reflects the personality that Updike wants to give the article, one of marriage and not just a ‘summer romance’. Upside wants to give you an article that you’ll remember for your shoe life, not just rave about for the new few days about it, then move on.

Updike describes the troubled relationship of Williams with his team, the fans and reporters, creating the sense of a story of a loner against the world. He is creating Ted to be the protagonist of the story, as readers are more inclined to follow a story the more it inclines to human attachment. Updike quotes Huck Finnegan on how Williams career was a series of failures, in comparison to Babe Ruth’s. This brings a sense of sympathy towards Williams, perhaps bringing a sense of humility in a time where others might just be boasting him up due to his impending retirement.

Updike mentions his first encounter with Williams as a child, bringing insight on why he’s so fixated on him. Updike gives away his bias by telling the audience he’s a fan, but his acknowledgment of this doesn’t prove a buffer to his intended message. He puts Williams in heroic imagery, of how he “was always coming back”, whether it was from war (he had served in the Korean War) or a serious injury. He also writes of a figure who never reached his full potential, of someone who should have, but never claimed his status as “the greatest hitter who ever lived.” Updike laments that the history books will never compensate for how Williams is first when combing both power and batting average.

Updike sites what he himself describes as an ‘anti-climax’. When Williams gets a home -run, he drowns out the applauses from the crowd. However, he refuses to board the bus with his teammates to New York, suggesting to Updike that he does know how to make an exit. William’s finale is supposed to reflect his own career, never reaching the highest echelon but still doing it in a way that makes him great.

Personally, being a big soccer fan myself, the article resonated with me. Like Updike with baseball, I constantly see soccer as an art, and players as arts men. Despite its main use being entertainment, both Updike and I seethe sports as being more than grown men with a ball. The sports tell a story of the triumphs and failures of individuals, whose greatest achievements might just be how quickly they can pick themselves up after a defeat.

Fastrack

As passengers enter the bus, they are welcomed by the warm air that lets them escape Hartford’s cold winds. The driver is still outside, having a smoke before the trip to New Britain. Passengers walk through the green and black rows of seats, some trying to find the one that would give them the most legroom, others the one that would be furthest from the cold doors. The interior of the bus is mostly white, with green and black seats, metal poles, some uncovered, some painted yellow. Yellow cords stretch the windows, waiting for people to pull on them to let the driver know their stop is nearby. A lot of the windows are covered by the logo that reads “CT Fastrack”. The people seated are young and old, some with black coats, some with pink pants, some with backpacks, others with food. People usually stay on the bus for only a couple minutes, at least in the morning, before pulling the cord and departing the bus.

Tompkins

Ch.4

According to Tompkins, a story’s first sentence sets the time for the entire article. Before writing your story, put away your notes as the writing is supposed to come from your head, not notes. According to Syracuse professor Dow Smith, “the best lead lines involves the audience by relating the news to them.”For example, instead of saying the town will increase the city’s taxes, say that the town is increasing YOUR taxes. Try to find what motivates people. Abraham Maslow theory of motivation includes five components, those are: self-actualizacion, esteem, social, safety and physiological, in order from most complex to its basic. The five main reasons why people watch a news story is because of money, family, safety, health and community. In terms of what you shouldn’t do, don’t put statements in the negative form and the passive voice should never be used. Avoid ‘if you’ as you could isolate some viewers. Most of all, avoid cliches.

Ch.5

According to Tompkins, journalists use too many adjectives and not enough verbs. However try to get rid of verns that end in ‘ing’as it makes the writing passive. Also avoid subjective adjectives. Mark Twain once said that ‘very’ should never be used. Instead of saying that something was awful, try to describe it to demonstrate that it was. Try to insert specific individuals into the story. Instead of saying that “The body was found on Oak Street”, say that “Jack found the body on Oak Street.”

Ch.7

Contrary to the motto that ‘seeing is believing’, eyewitness are often unreliable. Criminal reporter Laurie Quinlivan said about half of all eyewitnesses reports are false. This stat only goes up if the perpetrator was of a different race. Viewers often don’t understand visuals, due to the ‘theory of perception’, from Gestalt psychology, which states that different people interpret the same thing differently. As it has been shown before, pictures can be very powerful, to the point of impacting foreign policy. It wasn’t until Westerners saw a particular photo of a dead or dieing child that humitarian crisis like the one in Somalia or Syria gained mainstream attention. According to ABC’s Sam Donaldson, the eye always beats the ear when the two clash.

Ch.18

As journalists, we need to be aggressive in getting a news story, but we should also be ethical and try to minimize harm. Generally private people have a higher right to control themselves than people with powerful positions, however that is changing with the internet. Young people, used to social media, are generally more accepting of people seeing intimate photos of them. While journalists should give crime victims some privacy, you could still try to talk to them and figure out the best way to discuss his situation with the public. When covering uncomfortable or disturbing situations like a school shooting, Bob Steele recommends the follwing: Seek truth and tell it as fully as possible, act independently and minimize harm.

 

Features, Long Stories and Series

In features, individuals move the story . Features are meant to relateable and interesting, making ordinary events fascinating. According to Melvin Melncher, the guidelines include showing people doing things, inserting quotes, underwriting to let the action and dialogue carry the piece, and keeping the piece moving. One needs a insightful eye and an astute ear to see the supposed purpose of the text.

During the turn of the twentieth century, features were commonplace in the ill-reported “yellow journalism”. However, with the start of a World War, followed by a depression, audiences sought more serious sources. However, in the current era of fast news, features, both somber and cheerful, have made a comeback. They are often about daily occurrences that give readers a brief insight in the daily lives of average people. Topics could range from a local arm wrestling competition among teens to a family that was broken apart due to a violinist who plays on subways.

Long Stories should be used for complicated situations that shouldn’t be condensed to a few paragraphs. It’s also extremely time consuming, with one potentially having to do multiple hour-long interviews.  Reporter Jeffery Tannenbaum advises early planning, either before any reporting is done, or right after it begins. Mencher advises four steps: First try to summarize and identify all themes in one or two sentences. Then place each summarized theme on a separate index card. Cut up the cards by themes, and rearrange them in the order you will use them. Finally look through the cards to see which theme will be the main idea of the article.

Series are for stories even too complicated for long stories. These stories are broken into parts,  each with a distinct focus. Perhaps the largest obstacle in this form of writing is keeping an audience’s attention. That’s why it important, reporter Sam Rose says, for the first installment to have a lot of action. A writer can take readers more in-depth  in these stories, such as placing small details, such as including individuals that are far from being considered prominent.

The Writer’s Art

In the words of George Orwell, “Good prose is like a window pane.” The focus should not be the writing style, it should be the content provided. A good journalist should engage its audience to look at events from a human experience.

A good way to learn how to be a good writer, argues best selling horror author Stephen King, is to “Read a lot of books”. Tim Russet of NBC News adds that we should read articles from a diversity of beliefs, as we can easily be sucked into one particular side if we fail to acknowledge other sides. However, unlike novelists or a lot of other writers, a journalist can’t spend hours on end searching for words, they always have a deadline.

Instead of sating that something is ‘terrible’ or ‘brutal’, we can show it by describing the scene in vivid details. If we write how tears were streaming down someone’s face, then the  reader will feel sadness. Or if you want to say that a politician is narcissistic, just write one of their egoistical quotes.

Stories should have a human element for the audience to care and relate more to it. When writing about a store selling “Star Wars” merchandise, instead of talking about just the material being sold, include the customers and excited fans. Or instead of mentioning how students in general are suffering from high tuition, focus on just one individual student to pinpoint the larger problem.

Quotations can also be of utmost importance. Memorable quotes should be high in the story and sometimes, they are the story. Trump often took advantage of soundbites and used it to his full effect. Quotes from “Wrong” to “Little Marco”, easily made Donald the most recognizable name in the US Republican primaries in 2015 and 2016.