Welcome to JRL 430 (and Assignment #1)

Here we are: Another exciting semester of blogging and interactive journalism. In this class, you will learn to use social media (a term under which I include blogging for its often-interactive nature) as a tool rather than a toy. You will create and curate a personal, media-focused blog (this is the College of Media, after all), pursue and create stories using various social media, and design a focused group blog on a topic of significance.

Some things to know:

  • You’ll be creating your personal blog next week (Monday, Jan. 18) using WordPress. If you have an existing blog, you may use it as long as it meets the course requirements.
  • This blog is a kind of living syllabus. It’ll be the home for assignments, reading responses, student work, and more. If you have questions about what you’re working on, check here first.
  • You’ll need a Twitter account if you don’t already have one – sorry, holdouts. If you’d prefer to keep this separate from an existing personal account, feel free to create a new one for this this class. Our course hashtag is #WVUblogJ. I’ll use it to share course material, and you should be using it too.

Assignment #1: Getting started

Part 1: Pick a topic

Write up the focus of your blog (about a paragraph) and post it as a comment to this post by 10a Wednesday, Jan. 14. Your blog must have a clear MEDIA focus that goes beyond your own opinions – it can’t just be a diary or your movie reviews. To that end, some restrictions:

  • No diaries
  • No cat/dog/cute animal pictures
  • No recipes (yes, I’ve gotten this)
  • No sports, entertainment, fashion/health tips, and so on. You CAN use these subjects if your focus is clearly on their media angle – for example, if you covered issues in sports journalism – but your opinions on the Dallas Cowboys are not relevant here.
  • No pink dragons

Also: Don’t forget to give it a title!

Part 2: Write your first post

Write up a good first post for your first blog, print it out, and bring it to class on Wednesday. You might describe the different arguments being made about a subject relevant to your topic, linking to each. Don’t just list, though. Provide evidence and synthesize something new: What are the bigger themes going one in these posts?

Some more requirements:

  • At least one high-quality link is required in every post for full credit. This means links to CONTENT, not links to Wikipedia, Facebook, or the CNN homepage (yes, I’ve gotten all of these).
  • The key here is to report on the conversation. What’s being said? Can you get at the discussion and tell us something new about it? Use links and evidence strategically – it doesn’t need to be long.
  • Mark links with the URL in brackets, e.g., “Miranda July’s newest novel is getting some good reviews [http://www.avclub.com/review/miranda-julys-first-bad-man-first-great-novel-2015-213144].”
  • Don’t forget a headline – try to make it something that would catch YOUR interest.

BOTH are due by 10a Wednesday, Jan. 14.


27 Responses to Welcome to JRL 430 (and Assignment #1)

  1. tmertins says:

    My blog is called Patch Notes. It’s a gaming based blog that follows newly released games or newly released DLC. What are people saying about them? Are there serious problems that shouldn’t be associated with a complete game? What are the major gripes the gaming community has about a game? How do the game developers react? If a community thinks a game is so poor, WHY ARE THEY STILL PLAYING SO MUCH? These are some of the questions I hope to answer in this blog.

  2. My blog post will focus on how the media covers sporting events and sports news through social media. I will focus on how different sports reporters and fans differ in the way they post leading up to, during, and after games, after a breaking news story occurs and how people react to athletes post on social media sites. I would like to explore the differences between how outlets such as ESPN, Fox Sports, and other outlets report the news. I also would like to see how the fans post about big plays during games.

  3. Chad Kriss says:

    The rise of internet entertainment.

    My blog is on the internet entertainment industry and how it effects our daily lives. It’ll cover everything from web comics, online shows, and artists who branched their way out of the computer and into the spotlight because of social media. It’ll look into how entertainment websites are evolving to fit the consumers demands and keep everyone updated on the newest trending internet entertainment and explain how it’s changing the norm.

  4. Carley Posey says:

    I would like to do a food blog specifically targeted toward new research coming out about foods, and new trends being introduced in the “foodie” world. New Year’s resolutions are being made and people are trying to stick to them, and I have been doing a lot of research on myths about certain foods as I am dieting myself. The blog would be research heavy and not opinion or advice. The central focus of the blog would be to relay new research and investigations into new food trends and patterns to the public. I find that the food world is something that is constantly evolving and it is something that I am passionate about. I would title my blog “Food for the Future”.

  5. Chad Kriss says:

    Entertainment and the Internet

    This blog will look into the effect of social media and technology on the entertainment industry. It will look into movies, comics, books, music, etc is evolving into the social media friendly medium. The blog will also look into how social media taints the entertainment industry.

  6. paigeczyzewski says:

    My name is Paige Czyzewski, and I am in the spring 2015 JRL 430 course, section 001. In class, we were instructed to pick a topic, but not set ourselves on an idea; so after really thinking about it, I want to sort of write out these ideas here a bit. I’ve been thinking about the things that interest me since we have to write a lot about one topic, and I really want to stay interested so the writing stays interesting too.

    Here are my two ideas:
    1. I’m thinking about a blog that would discuss bias in media. I would discuss how capitalism (big money/conservative contributors) affects stories and coverage in the media (fox vs jezebel). They inherently have targeted audiences with specific stories not being covered and headlines changing (bias). Censorship can also fall under this.
    2. I’ve also been seeing a lot of articles being reposted by friends of mine on Facebook mostly centering on feminism. Another idea of mine was to blog about how feminism, and coinciding topics, as a movement, and its various campaigns. I’d mention how they are perceived and discussed in the media.

    I’m not exactly sure which idea I’m leaning towards and would like to maybe hear what you think in response. I’m hoping to come up with a great title once I choose one.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Both topics sound quite interesting, but your first idea seems better developed as of this post. The second could work as well, and you’ve got a strong slate of blogs (Jezebel, Bustle, etc.) to draw on for influence.

  7. Sara Wells says:

    I love the world of sports. However, I’m almost even more interested in the way that women are portrayed in sports media. Not only female athletes, but women who report and anchor in sports media and how they are treated and viewed differently than male reporters and anchors. In this blog, I will highlight women athletes and reporters, what they’re assigned to report and the limitations that they face in the male-dominated sports industry. I’ll use current and past examples to highlight these issues.

  8. With Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, television is constantly changing and evolving. How we receive our news has drastically changed within a matter of years. One of the things that has fascinated me the most with these new innovations is that it has opened a greater space for journalists to communicate with the public. It also allows the public to develop a greater sense of trust with reporters.

    Citizen journalism is all around us today and it has forever changed the life of journalism. In this blog, I plan to explore how social media has been the driving force behind getting average people involved in sharing their stories, opinions, and becoming apart of the news gathering process. I plan to show examples of media organizations who are succeeding at this, as well as some who are failing. Also, I plan to explore this issue of trust and authenticity when it comes to citizen journalism. Please feel free to share your opinion with me and I hope you join me along the ride!

  9. Kristen Basham says:

    Communicating Science in Appalachia

    This blog will be based on communicating science in West Virginia and the surrounding area. I’ll talk about why science communication is important, who’s doing it professionally and what they’re saying, how schools are dealing with STEM education and what opportunities there are for public outreach. I’ll pay special attention to the intersection of politics and science and what role the media is playing.

  10. kmshire says:

    Social Media’s Affect on the Film Industry
    As social media expands, gaining thousands of users everyday, industries have seen several different affects, both positive and negative. The film industry is no exception. Social media can be used to promote movies as well as actors. However, it can also create problems of piracy and illegal downloading. Kickstarter campaigns, Twitter and Facebook pages for movies, and hacking have all affected the industry in one way or another. This blog will look deeper into how social media has influenced the film industry over the past few years.

  11. redigrego says:

    Social Media on Social Issues: Brace for Impact. I want to center my blog around the affects social media has had on our history as a new technological generation that would have never previously been possible. Not only are there general and obvious ways that social media has connected different cultures of the world and increased globalization, but it has been the basis for many social, political, and economic movements. Social media has enabled the organization of people such as oppositionists in Egypt, feminist movements, and general fundraising/awareness issues in new ways that represent and outline the future of organizing historical movements.

  12. Collen Lewis says:

    The Orator

    This blog will focus on the way political events are portrayed by different medias. Contrasts will mainly be drawn between generally conservative and generally liberal news sources. My main goal will be to present blog posts in an unbiased manner to let the reader make the choice as best they can. I will endeavor to find all relevant material and look through all viewpoints in coverage of each event.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Interesting. I’d be careful about trying for “unbiased” – I get what you mean, but that’ll make readers all the more likely to try and label you as one or the other. What you’re talking about is framing, and looking at how the same event gets covered by different outlets has a lot of potential. Take a look at my friend Fred’s blog: http://headsuptheblog.blogspot.com/

  13. sjl0693 says:

    Focus of my blog:

    The focus of my blog for the semester will be how athletes/coaches interact with the media in the sporting world. This idea is becoming bigger each year as more athletes and coaches are beginning to give the members of the media a hard time when answering questions. This concept is multi-faceted because it deals with how the media and players/coaches interact while also showing how the fans feel about the media when they ask questions to someone that doesn’t want to answer them.

  14. Christopher Tomes says:

    Social Medias impact on professional athletes and the fans.

    Social media is used in so many ways and its used so much in the realm of sports. With all these social media outlets its not just the fans that use it, the athletes are just into social media outlets as anywhere else. Social media is used when players have arguments or debates over who’s better and it gets very serious on these social media outlets between players. With athletes being into social media it lets fans try and get in touch with their favorite players, it also lets fans tell the players how they truly feel. With social media today fans and athletes can get involved with each other whether its good or bad.

  15. Mike Marsh says:

    For my blog I am going to be writing about and analyzing the social media trends for specific demographics. I will also be looking at how usage of social media platforms varies amongst groups of people. Depending ones age group, ethnicity, occupation, or other demographics it is likely that they have their own personal reasons for using a social media platform with niche specific goals in mind. I will also examine reasons why different demographics are choosing to use social media to network and how these mind sets for each demographic differs. The title for my blog is going to be “The Evolution of Social Media Demographics”.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      This seems like it might be too broad. Right now it’s just social media in general – can you narrow things down? Look at a specific demographic(s)? College student use, for example, might be a place to start that’s personally relevant. You want a concept broad enough to have potential but specific enough to suggest particular posts (and audiences) so you’re not tearing your hair out.

  16. Abdulaziz Alfadhli says:

    My blog will focus on the media coverage of the situation in Syria. Most of the information related to the Syrian revolution comes from non-traditional media. This is because it is unsafe for traditional journalists to report from the ground. In my blog, I will discuss how media agencies use social media to get their information and how do they use it to influence the public opinion.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      It’s a good idea, but focusing only on Syria may be too limited. You might broaden this by expanding to the Middle East as a whole, or looking at social media use in conflict, or something along those lines. Syria can (and should!) be a regular focus, but you want to give yourself some more possibilities.

  17. Dillon Durst says:

    My blog will focus on how college football coaches use social media when they recruit high school prospects. In a world where almost every 17- and 18-year-old kid has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., having a social media presence as a coach has become to crucial to be able to connect with the athletes. College coaches such as WVU’s Dana Holgorsen, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Oregon’s Mark Helfrich all have verified Twitter accounts, while new Michigan head coach, Jim Harbaugh, recently created one after being hired a few weeks ago. My blog will focus on coaches’ interaction with prospects on social media, the things they post, etc.

  18. rppetrovich says:

    My blog will focus on the differences of sports coverage from a national level, local level, female and male perspective, race perspective, blogs along with any other difference I can fine.

  19. lbarry2 says:

    My blog will focus on legal marketing, and how law firms across the country use social media to raise awareness of their firms, how they can use it for crisis management, event planning, advertising, public relations, and other interesting facts that many people might be unaware of.

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