The NPR Planet Money one-hour story competition: The shopping mall convention


Voting closed last night on the second NPR Planet Money one-hour story competition. Three reporters were sent into a convention (this time, the International Council of Shopping Centers conference) and given one hour to collect tape for a story. Listen to the results, either in the full podcast format or just to the three individual stories.

Each of the stories was interesting in its own way. From Adam Davidson, I learned some mall restaurant jargon. From Chana Joffe-Walt, I learned about the pursuit of the cool kids. And from Alex Blumberg, I learned why a guy dressed in a bright red blazer known only as McGuire is the most popular guy at the convention.

My vote went to Chana's story.

Bonus link: The Six Guys' Blog, the blog of Five Guys. (This will make sense after you listen to Alex's story.)

Comments (2)
  1. Jondr says:

    I was struck by the misunderstandings in the first two pieces. First, the mall folks inability to disambiguate between Greek and Roman culture (okay the Romans did copy a lot of the earlier Greek culture). Second, Chana’s use of the “cool kids” was that she was making an analogy of cool kids with mall anchors. If the mall is to be successful it needs a “cool kid” or popular mall anchor such as Red Robin or Best Buy. People will go to where the cool kid is. The mall folks interpreted it to mean that they needed to attract cool kids (popular adolescents) themselves (as opposed to less desirable mall rats. This slow uptake by these mall folks probably demonstrates why then need to attend the convention.

    [I didn’t get the impression that the mall owner took “cool kids” literally. I thought he understood the metaphor. -Raymond]
  2. nathan_works says:

    It didn’t help that the ATC director ("the stuffy British judge") told listeners that Chana was the judges pick, and then he told everyone to go listen to the podcast and vote themselves.. That’s salting the vote..

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