Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Jim Shahin, Associate Professor
Robert Lloyd, Professor of Practice
Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Film and Media Studies
I decided to write a longform, magazine style article about yard sale culture in America, especially as affected by the Great Recession. I wanted to humanize the devastation wrought by the economic downturn through my in-depth examination of the emotion and meaning involved in—and inherently a part of—yard sales. My story explores an important social issue through the personal lens of the (sometimes agonizing) choices we make as we decide what to keep and what to let go when a life transition spurs us to host a yard sale. It also reflects on the catharsis that can come from seeing a fragment of one’s life become part of someone else’s and demonstrates how yard sales connect people in various ways.
Along with researching, reporting, and writing this story, I also created a designed spread of what the piece would look like if it were actually published in a magazine. Finally, I created a web component for the project that utilizes a trendy web design technique called parallax scrolling. My spread can be viewed in printed PDF form and my website can be viewed at www.jillianiles.com/finalcapstone.html.
I found that the Great Recession affected yard sale culture in several ways. It increased the number of sales, bred more professional resellers, and brought an extra poignancy to the process of letting go.
D'Onfro, Jillian Iles, "The Front Yard Economy" (2013). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 6.
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