It's clear that the writer Jason McDowell has a passion for Milwaukee, especially its historical architecture. The article was focused on sites around the city that have unfortunately been reduced to surface parking lots.
There was a number of these examples, all ending in the same fate. McDowell explains the range of effects this has on the community, and the landscape of the city. I thought most concisely, he describes,
“Truly, Milwaukee has a parking perception problem. There are plenty of places to park, but people want FREE parking, especially when it’s right outside their door. But parking costs the city more than just revenue in taxes; surface lots form the black holes of a city’s soul.”
The idea of parking lots being holes within the soul of a city was a statement I originally found a little dramatic, but on second thought is not far from the truth, parking lots are ‘non-places’ areas that are stripped of any sense of identity or community. Very rarely is there any emotional or historical significance to a surface parking lot. The same can not be said for the structures that were replaced.
Despite the contents of the article being a fairly depressing subject, the author keeps the reader engaged and interested throughout the piece. The information on each site is short and digestible, while also explaining the effects that the new parking has.
In the articles written by Todd Mrozinski, it is very clear that the writing is coming from the perspective of an artist. The way that his descriptions include hints to the techniques used to generate the images is telling that he has experience in making his own.
“Haneman uses acrylics and begins by painting the entire composition in white over the background color. By doing this, when applying vibrant hues in transparent layers, the white intensifies the color by acting as a reflector under the transparent, stained-glass like paint.”
This is just one example of many where Mrozinski highlights the craft involved in the work, giving a more captivating description of the artworks to the reader. I found the moments in the writing where he makes inferences about the production of the work to be very interesting. When he is describing the work by M. Winston, titled “Saudi Arabia” he states,
“Looking at the way Winston used the watercolors, I notice very little water was used to create glazes or transitions. Rather, a brush with a small amount of paint was used to make scratchy semi-transparent passages which dance, skip and glide on the surface of the paper.”
His artistic voice in the writing allows the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the works, and an appreciation that extends past just the included images. Reading his insightful commentary reminds me of the tour guides in art museums, that would explain the subject and context of the work.
The site is laid out with a collection of modules- this lets there be photos with each displayed article, and have the website maintain a sense of order and structure. There is a larger hero article, where they highlight the latest post. The website works on an infinite scroll, always displaying more modules of articles. The guides section functions the same way. While this does supply the user with an endless stream of content, it does sacrifice the footer section of the website, and thus the social links, about us, and contact links have to move to the top of the page, and falling back in importance. The social links appear in the individual articles as well, so they aren't hidden.
I chose to look at the article- “Guide to local music at Summerfest, week 1 by Molly Snyder. I chose this because I have never attended Summerfest, and have a big interest in music, as well as discovering local/new artists. This article seems to function more as an itinerary- simply listing the artists and their time slot on the stage they are preforming. While I was expecting to read up on some acts performing, this article would still be useful if I was attending the event and wanted to make sure I didn't miss the performances I wanted to see.
The structure of this sight is similar, with some variance. The static hero image is replaced with an image carousel rotating through 5 featured articles, all from different categories. The articles are no longer contained in modules, and just feature images with headlines and a deck underneath. Something I immediately noticed when attempting to navigate the site is that the images don't act as links to the articles, only clicking the headline will bring you to the article. On the homepage, the articles are organized into sections, (news, lifestyle, music, etc.) and while the page isn't an infinite scroll, each section has a “View More” button that can be continually clicked to show previous articles.
I selected the “This week in Milwaukee: Aug.26-Sep.1, 2021” By Blaine Schulz. This was a brief article, featuring events through til the 28th. It includes images as well as embedded videos as promotion for the live music, festivals and events.
This website made me disable my ad blocker before gaining access to the site, so it loses some points there. This website has the least organized structure so far, just being a long list of horizontal segments. The website lacks any intentional styling and feels pretty bare bones.
I selected the article “When Will We Get Reform of Police?” as this is a subject I am strongly passionate about, and was curious of the opinion. This was also the first OP ED I had seen displayed. The piece was considerably longer than any I had read previous, But I found this reading to be the easiest to complete. Angela Lang wrote the piece in an honest and vulnerable way, explaining the struggles of being a black community leader working for change.
While the website does have some weird display issues when I was viewing it, the site is easy to navigate and understand. There are quite a few typefaces being used, and while I think they could be reduced, the number of mismatching types feels reminiscent of older physical newsprint.
I chose the article, “Tom Barrett Watch: Here’s What You Suddenly Need to Know About Luxembourg” By Chris Drosner I found out that Milwaukee's mayor of 17 years is on the verge of being elected as the US ambassador for Luxembourg. The article explained some characteristics of the country, and compared them to the same statistics about Milwaukee, and despite being an independent country, the GDP, population, and hobby of drinking were all comparable to our home city.
This site was the most designed I'd seen so far, having a stylized header, and interesting layout choices while keeping a consistent style. It features a mix of full width horizontal images, sections broken into thirds, symmetric and asymmetric layouts. The homepage scrolls and has a footer with the subscription information and a CTA to sign up.
The article I selected was “Eric Clapton, Guitarist for Baby Boomers, Releases Protest Song for Anti-Vaxxers”, by Dana Libelson I chose this article just because I thought it was a joke when I saw the headline, but it was real, and they even linked the music video right in the article, so I could hear the track for myself. A lot of the contents of the article seemed to poke fun at the political take happening here, and it seems that's generally how the song was received.