Read & Respond week 9: Group Blogs Past

In preparation for your group blogs (to be announced in Wednesday’s class), you’ll be taking a look into the past. You’re reading Briggs Chapter 10, on the newsgathering conversation, and I want you to combine that with a leisurely read through what has come before. In addition to that, I want you to read TWO of the following:

1. Morgantown Problems (2013): This is one of the best group blogs produced in this class, and I want everyone to have a look (especially the Panera post and its resulting comment thread).

2. At least ONE of the other previous group blogs (see list):

Masticate Morgantown (2010)

Motown Entertainment (2010)

Move-in Morgantown (2010)

MountainEats (2011)

Mountaineer Life (2011)

The Eclectic (2011)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Morgantown (2011)

Graduation Preparation (2012)

A “J” in the Life (2012)

Mountaineers Connect (2012)

#gradschoolproblems (2012)

Almost Heaven Entertainment (2013)

Morgantown Man Cave (2013)

Your response will focus on the two blogs (Morgantown Problems and one other) and what they did. What are they about? Is there a clear focus? What are some of their strongest posts? Weakest? (yes, you have to pick one – be constructive) Finally, and most importantly, what would you have done differently, and how does that influence your own group blog plans?

Don’t forget to incorporate how Briggs’ thoughts and suggestions on conversation factor into the work you read. Do you see a conversation in the group blogs you’ve read, or are they just talking to themselves? Your response is due as a comment to this post by 10a, Wednesday, March 11 (later than usual due to Monday’s class being cancelled).

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16 Responses to Read & Respond week 9: Group Blogs Past

  1. Sara Wells says:

    I started reading the Panera post on the Morgantown Problems blog and thought, ‘Wow, I’ve already read this.’ Bryan is one of my friends on Facebook and although I don’t know him too well, I did see this post two years ago. If you could find his Facebook post, you’d see that it got even more traffic on there. (Briggs says social media IS journalism!) It was phenomenal, because not just students and locals, but people all over the state and country were commenting on it. I specifically liked the comment that said Bryan was “butt-hurt” about the Panera coming downtown and taking small business. I happen to know that Bryan has no personal stake in downtown Morgantown small business, and was just stating his opinion. However, I think the response on wordpress alone is great!

    Briggs showed that you can get story tips from having people comment on your blogs. It can be a good thing rather than a burden you have to deal with. You can develop a community and know who your readers are better than through traditional print, because you can see your “followers” in front of you.

    He also noted the importance of asking people to respond to your stories and address their input. Don’t recruit friends to add their input unless they do on their own. I think Bryan did a great job of that because of the good and bad comments on his post.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve learned and cultivated my presence in journalism over the past couple years when the news has become more interactive, but I don’t like the news lecture. I love the fact that there were good and bad comments on this.

    What I really like about this blog is that its posts are so interesting. While they may be for a specific audience such as Morgantown and are only about the city, that’s a pretty big audience, and their feedback showed. They had a lot of research in each of their posts and a lot of links that I thought really helped build credit with the story. However, I did think some of the posts were a little lengthy and redundant- something I struggle with all the time. I think making our group blog posts shorter would be beneficial.

    The most interesting thing I found was that they continued the blog after the class- that’s really neat to me and shows that they were passionate and serious about what they were writing, and I’d love to incorporate that in ours.

    The other blog I looked at was ‘A J in the Life’. I love the play on words, and I love what this blog does for readers. It’s aimed toward journalism students and is about journalism and those who study/work in it. There’s a very clear focus, but it’s also broad enough that they could still be writing on this blog if they would have wanted to. I think their strongest asset was relating to students and going to others for information. They interviewed people in the real world- something I really like to see, as I’m getting pretty close myself. I also like the editorial the Carvelli wrote about finishing his job as editor at the Daily Athenaeum. Editorials can be sketchy if it’s not some reputable, but in journalism, and at WVU, Carvelli was reputable and he has a fun voice. It’s something students can relate to. I do think that their layout could be a little better- they have almost no pictures or links so things kind of get boring.

    I’d include editorials in my group blog and make sure I had plenty of links and photos to relate and capture the audience.

    In Briggs, when responding to comments and commentary on news websites, Mandy Jenkins of the Huffington Post says to always answer questions, address criticism, publically or privately respond, share good responses, publically correct yourself and always acknowledge news tips.

    I think both of these blogs needed to do that a little more!

  2. sjl0693 says:

    Like Sara’s comment started off above mine, I also read the Panera post when it was originally put up because I am friends with him on Facebook and knew him outside of class here and there. I thought the post was very well written from that point of view and was amazed when I saw the backlash that he received in the comment section. They were basically demonizing Bryan for expressing his opinion on what the Panera would do to downtown Morgantown and the local businesses. I guess any comments are good comments though, because that means people are talking about it and it is stirring up conversation, which lead to the post being one of that blog’s strongest. I thought some of the weaker posts were those that seemed to be filled with just tweets and pictures rather than actual content, such as the slutwalk post and the DA’s list of influential people post. I would have tried to add more content into all of my posts so that when all of those tweets and pictures are there, it doesn’t look like they are just trying to fill empty space.

    That comment thread from the Panera post was a great example of when Briggs talked about conversing through comments online because it kept the conversation going beyond the blog post and even started new conversations. Comment sections, while often full of trolls, can sometimes be places to find great information that adds to the post you already read.

    The other blog I chose was Morgantown Man Cave. The title did its job by catching my eye and making me want to click to find out what it’s all about. I thought one of the strongest posts was the 4 places you can’t miss for Morgantown music. The post did a great job at describing the experience you get at each location while also attaching a video so you could see for yourself. I thought one of the weaker posts was the 6 tips on how to not have a sucky time partying. To me, opening the post with a video from I’m Schmacked wasn’t the best way to promote your school, even if the post is focused on partying. I felt that all the “tips” in this post were just common knowledge ideas that anyone could have come up with. I would have tried to come up with a more prudent topic that, while still falling under the man cave title, could actually give the reader something to gain from reading it.

  3. tmertins says:

    #MorgantownProblems. I will say that this blog really…gets under my skin a little bit. It really makes me want to “join the discussion.” Maybe that’s what makes a good blog. I love that it is very well sourced. Twitter is a great tool and I love that they use quotes from it. It captures the conversation and pulls that conversation over to your blog. But man some of this stuff is very opinionated and biased. And well, I can’t say my opinion lines up.

    The DA puts out their top five most influential people at WVU. They’re all white men. They also happen to be pretty influential. Diversity WVU puts out their list. I haven’t heard of any of those people. They’re probably not nearly as influential. Is the DA trying to be a publication of bigotry and sexism? No! #MorgantownProblems calls it an “issue.” It’s not an issue. If this were Baylor, I’m sure Brittney Griner would have made the top five at the time. Why? Because she was very influential. Okay, I’m done.

    No, I’m not. Bumgardner continues to editorialize. Briggs offers guidelines for journalists from NY Times:

    “Be careful not to write anything on a blog or personal Web page that you could not write in the Times — don’t editorialize , for instance, if you work in the news department.”

    He completely trashes President Gee, who has done a fantastic job so far at WVU, especially connecting with the student body. The writing comes off as snobby and presuming. And what should we build on High St.? Oh I know! Let’s build a chain like Trader Joe’s. We hate that we have a Panera, but Trader Joe’s is hip and sells expensive healthy goods, so that makes it okay. I’m done now.

    I really like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Morgantown’s “challenge” posts. The Theater and Arts Challenge is short but is packed with so much useful information. I would never think that there were eight places you could go in Morgantown for the arts. It’s always seemed like kind of…an uncultured place. And then there’s a call to action on Facebook and Twitter to get readers participating. I do not like the clip art.

    The Relay for Life post has good intentions, but the information about how much money Morgantown raised and how many people were there needs to be at the top. There needs to be some media, whether it be some impactful photos or tweets about what the program means to so many people.

  4. I never knew that Morgantown Problems stemmed from this class. I’ve heard about this blog before being enrolled in this course. That speaks volumes with how well this blog did. I’ve seen it on social media before. I also read the Panera post before too. It’s very well done.

    Morgantown problems, I think excelled because it’s relatable. It’s focus is clear, the posts are crafter very well and obviously conversation has been engaged on it. It’s an interactive blog and it captured people’s attention. I think the Panera post is clearly their strongest, but overall all the posts seem to be great. I don’t think i can say one is a “weak post.”

    The other blog I looked at is “Morgantown Man Cave.” The headline appealed to me.

    I think it’s focus isn’t exactly the clearest. There seems to be some posts that make sense in the blog and then others that don’t. I think one of the strongest posts was “Six Tips on how to not have a sucky party.” It gave useful tips on how to have fun at a party without getting carried away. A weak post could be the “Six things we didn’t know about the PRT.” It’s a good post, but I don’t think it makes sense for the topic/focus of the blog.

    Morgantown Man Cave has interaction to it, but I don’t think it compares to Morgantown problems.

    In regard to Briggs, he mentions how people can get ideas for stories/posts from comments people have. If one four group blogs can get substantial comments, ideas can stem and I think that’s a positive.

    The biggest takeaway I have from these blogs is that posts need to relate to people. If they don’t, the blog will suffer.

  5. chadkriss55 says:

    I see why you noted Morgantown Problems as the best blog on here. Especially since they were the ones who wrote the Panera blog. What grabbed my attention was the fact on how well researched the Panera blog was. The blog didn’t come off as an anti-big business blog, he had stats noting why Panera wasn’t good for Morgantown. I was especially curious how he got the information on apparent bread making third shift. It wasn’t just the blog itself that got me hooked, but the comment section. So many people were angry about the negative things said about the popular establishment! Even if the comments are negative people are reading and discussing the issue! That’s what made this blog succesful.

    I also took a look into Almost Heaven Entertainment since I assumed it would go in the direction I’ve gone with my personal blog. The title is misleading if you start off with the first few blog posts. Exercise isn’t entertaining it’s hell! Once I went down the page and saw “Big name concerts aren’t so big in Morgantown,” then I saw some posts that made sense with their title. Though, I can’t say Almost Heaven Entertainment is anything to Morgantown Problems.

    Briggs says that the comment section is important for any news conversation so commenters can add additional news or intelligent information to the post. The Panera blog was factual and well researched, but one commenter who worked at Panera mentioned how the baker never had a dull day every time she came into work. We also notice the argument on what defines restaurant food and cheap and expensive on multiple posts. Even if many comments come off aggressively, they do add information to the topic at hand.

  6. I have to say that I really enjoyed browsing through some of the posts on the Morgantown Problems page. My favorite thing about it was that it was greatly sourced and it provided rich content with each post. I think this blog succeeds, especially in our area, because it’s relatable and newsworthy. It’s very interactive and captures readers attention. However, I do think that some of the posts are biased and very opinionated. But then again, I think that is what keeps the conversation growing and flowing.

    The Panera post generated a TON of comments and some of these comments turned into new conversations. As Briggs mentioned, reading through the comments section can spark new thoughts and start an even greater conversation. Although a lot of times you will you see mostly negative comments bashing the post, this is not the case every time.

    The biggest problem that I think this blog has is its focus. There seems to be posts that go along with the title of the blog and then some seem out of place. I thought the post on President Gee was weak and very one-sided. It basically trashed our school’s president and failed to mention all of the good things that he has brought to the University. I also thought the slutwalk post lacked good information and needed more links. However, I really like how they continued to post to this blog even after the course came to an end.

    I also took a look at the Morgantown Eats blog. I think this one was probably my favorite, just for the fact that it really interested me and provided good info. However, compared to Morgantown Problems, I did not like the layout of this blog. It didn’t stand out to me and the content was not as well organized. But I think they did a great job in responding to comments and interacting with their readers. I think anyone living in the Morgantown area would find the blog useful when decided where to dine. I love how they incorporated pictures of the restaurants and food into their posts. I even found some places that I have not been too, but now want to check out! I also like how they covered different cuisines, that way it is relatable to everyone.

    Overall, I think both of these blogs have their strengthens and weaknesses. I think they both incorporate too much of their own opinions, instead of just reporting and staying fair and unbiased. I hope to incorporate different idea from both of them into my own blog.

  7. dillondurst says:

    After reading Morgantown Problems, I can clearly see how it was one of the best produced in this class. The blog did a great job of highlighting various problems in Morgantown, such as homelessness, potential extinction of small businesses and parking, as well as national problems, such as rape culture. Without a doubt, I felt this blog’s strongest post was “5 reasons you should hate the new panera on high street.” I feel like this post curated several problems facing Morgantown and wrapped them into one post. Although all the posts were great, I thought the post about Black Friday and the most influential figures at WVU were the weakest. The Black Friday post, to me, was weak because it didn’t really relate all that well to local issues – the blog’s focus (although it showed where to find good deals in Morgantown). I didn’t like the influential figures post simply because it was so long and I don’t feel people would have the patience to read it all.

    The second blog I looked at was Mountain Eats. This blog, although now somewhat dated, examined Morgantown and WVU’s best places to eat through the eyes and budgets of students. I really liked that nearly every post examined a different restaurant from a different student’s opinions and observations. This could be largely beneficial to someone who is new in town and looking to find their bearings.

    I thought one point from Briggs that ties into this is establishing a community through readers comments/responding/sharing them. Mandy Jenkins offered these “rules of engagement” for communicating effectively with your readers: Answer all questions, address criticism, publicly or privately respond and share good responses. Morgantown Problems was so successful in part to its comments from students and the community it created (a place for students to vent about the many ongoing problems in Morgantown).

  8. This week’s Brigg’s chapter centered around conversation and news dissemination. As I was reading, all I could think about was Reddit. Reddit exists entirely to facilitate conversation between people. While plenty of the original posts are far from news, subreddits like r/news and r/worldnews are some of the most frequented pages on the site. Users can upvote and downvote comments in real time to keep the conversation relevant and focused, and while there are moderators to keep off comments that are offensive or go against posting policies, the site does pretty well self monitoring itself. Unlike the “Obama is Hitler and we’re all doomed” posts that you might find on a larger news network’s site, Reddit makes sure that the top comments are thought provoking and add to the conversation.

    While blogs generally don’t garner as many comments as a Reddit post, they do offer a great platform for engaging in super specific topics. The first group blog I looked at was Morgantown Problems. I remember this blog as it was happening in real time. Yes, even the Facebook-shattering Panera post. My favorite part of this blog though was its rich use of tweets, videos, photos and graphics. It’s also one of the most relatable group blogs produced in the class.

    The second group blog I looked at was #gradschoolproblems. This blog spoke to me for obvious reasons, and I actually really related to the posts. Opposite of Morgantown problems, though, this blog often read like a long, academic article. Posts like “A World of Possibilities for International Students” would have really benefitted from photos of the students! It would be nice to be able to put faces with names.

  9. Briggs talks about how to make news participatory and how the original content may be the primary block but the comments from readers are the secondary block that make the digital age what it is. Comments allow readers to chime in on content and can provide feedback that can help continue the conversation as well as fix errors the writer may have made. If content producers did not allow comments they could post in error and could potentially never know they did. Comments are the way that content producers can guarantee they are publishing the truth.

    Comments also allow for readers to interact with one another as well as the publisher. This ongoing conversation can build a deeper and more fulfilling story as more readers join into it. Readers like to be able to interact with those publishing work because it gives them a sense of connection to who is giving them their information.

    The Morgantown Problems blog did this very well. The Panera post created comments from both sides of the argument. Some readers were thankful that the author broke down why they should not eat there and presented local options that they may not have heard of before. Other readers attacked the author’s opinion and created a discussion between both sides. In my opinion the blog’s weakest post was on the Slutwalk. It provided little information into the problem of rape here in Morgantown. It gave one statistic that was nationwide but not specific to here. However the blog did create a conversation in many of its other post which led to its stregth and popularity.

    The other blog I read was The Hitchiker’s Guide to Morgantown. This blog was very conversational and engaging with its readers. What I liked about it was that many of the post, while they may not have necessarily created a conversation, they made a call to action with some of the challenge posts it had. It also applied to students with tips on finals stress relief and finding new clubs and activities to join on campus. My favorite post however was the last one where it thanked its readers and left off with the video of country roads. It brought the blog full circle for those who had followed it for the entire semester. The blog engaged its readers very well and that is why I believe it was successful.

  10. kmshire says:

    It is unbelievable the traffic the Morgantown Problems’s post received. While I am an advocate for Panera and the bread bowls, I really enjoyed the post. I think it was so successful because it started a conversation. Bryan made a lot of points as to why he believed Panera should hated. Scrolling through the comments, I saw people agree and add even more points as to why Panera is “evil.” There were also plenty of post that defended Panera. One of the comments that stood out to me was from a girl who worked out Panera, she defended the chain restaurant and had an interesting perspective as a former employee. That is one of the greatest things about blogging-you can put your opinion out there for all to see and gain new perspectives and knowledge.

    Morgantown Problems was such a successful blog because all of their post were interesting and relatable for their target audience-college students. Most of the post generated conversation, the students posed their opinions and then opened the board for others to join in. One of the weakest post was the one about The Cupcakerie. While informative, the post felt more like an advertisement. I agree that buying locally is important, however, this post didn’t state an opinion on why local is better. It did not lead the way to an interesting conversation.

    In Chapter 10, Briggs stressed that news is a conversation. The news is evolving-more is expected from commenters to give perspective and new news. A lot can be gained from this type of online forum. Yes, there is the occasional troll comments, you know the very eloquent “you’re stupid” or “you suck.” But once you get past those, you can find so much more.

    I also looked at the “Mountaineats” blog. This blog is very appealing to WVU students, but also Morgantown residence. The blog looks at local and chain restaurants, coffee shops, you name it. One of the strongest post was the High Street Battle. This post looked for eateries that filled the criteria of a “college feeding hole.” This criteria included location and price. I think this is one of the strongest posts because it is the most relatable. Every college student is looking for good food for great prices.

    One of the weakest post of the blog was the “I Scream,” which took a look at Cold Stone Creamery. Even though this was posted in 2011, at this point, most people knew what Cold Stone was. I found the most interesting posts to be the ones about the hidden treasures of Morgantown, not the big chains that charge an arm and a leg for ice cream.

    The two blogs completely differed in style. Morgantown Problems was more of a discussion blog, where they welcomed the opinions of their audience. Whereas, Mountaineats was more an informational blog, that was meant only to teach their audience about the different eateries of the city. I think I can take away something from each of these blogs. Generating a conversation is very important, and clearly effective, to a successful blog. Also, finding a way to relate to an audience is extremely important.

  11. Renata Di Gregorio says:

    The blog “Morgantown Problems” is clear in its focus on issues surrounding Morgantown (although they are not all about Morgantown’s problems). The way they separate their points into bullets or numbers makes reading the articles easy and is something I should incorporate into my own blog. Their use of graphs was also good, but the post about PNC in the Mountainlair having a picture of a PNC in a large city did not fit the story.

    I think the post about the Cupcakerie was one of the weakest because of it’s overall lack of pulling the reader in. The title is not interesting and there are no visually appealing dynamics in the post, such as pictures or bullet points. Overall, what I would have done differently was add some creativity to the titles to gain reader interest and have more of a voice that was still quirky but either judgmental or nonjudgmental in a way that could be taken more seriously.

    I also read the blog “The Eclectic” mostly because it was one of the only ones that did not include “Morgantown” in the title and I wanted to see how they worked with that. The problem with their title was that in order to figure out what the blog was about you had to click on the “About” page, which I also think could have explained what it said in a more interesting and shorter way. However, I did like their tabs at the top of the page and their idea of making a blog that covered so much and was therefore more like a newspaper. But it also seems as though the group just couldn’t decide on one subject.

    I think a weak post by them was “Cooper’s Rocks” in which I liked the layout, but did not learn any real information. I did not feel as though the writer did any real research and reading sentence after sentence akin to “Many people enjoy rock climging” seems elementary. However, the post about the Morgantown History Museum included informative pictures and information and some little-known facts.

    Another good post was the Panera one by “Morgantown Problems” because of the conversation it generated in the comments section. Some comments said they made the person rethink his or her own opinion, others liked specific statistics, and other commenters commented on the article’s faults while others were offensive. I think this post generated the most comments because it was opinionated and on a subject other people had an opinion about. Moreover, it was timely about a controversial issue and the internet loves things like that. In chapter 10 Briggs says that comments help journalists cover a beat (281) and that if the comments section gets out of hand on the offensive side, it is not entirely because the commenters are ridiculous, “Part of the blame for comment areas that are cesspools of inanity rest with the publishers of the Web sites”(279).

    Briggs also talks about how to observe and contribute to the conversation without forgoing your credibility as a journalist. I found this section particularly useful because I do much of my reporting for my blog on politics and while I affiliate myself with one side, I must be sure to cover all sides of the conversation and issue. On page 296, Briggs says, “A layer of journalism on top of whatever the public will publish can help filter the information and will help add value to it.” I believe this means that not only should a journalist add journalistic value to a story on a subject, but should also add a new viewpoint to it. For me, sometimes this is the easy part and other times it is the hardest. The way I most often am able to view something I have not seen others mention is by reviewing the legal documents pertaining to an issue. Many people report on what they see others report, but by reading the very document is to go to the source and see the issue at its core without someone else explaining it.

  12. ctomes says:

    When it comes to Morgantown Problems, I have never heard of this blog but its honestly really cool and relatable. First off there headlines really draw you in like if you click on it now you see “Slutwalk in Morgantown” and for me I was confused. Although when you start to read it you really get a good feel for what its about. This topic could be taken differently, its also just a very relatable topic for Morgantown readers.

    This blog also does a great job at getting the information across, it doesn’t sound too professional and lets the reader really get engaged. With a lot of blogs they just talk about what the information is and with this blog it really helps to let you understand it while still wanting to read more. With this blog for me I think I can learn to give the information but also write it in a way in which its like a conversation. I think I can use this and make my blog more like a conversation because I started off just making it about and information and this blog helped me.

    The other blog I chose was almostheavenentertainment, this blog is about entertainment at WVU. They have some great posts like about the swimming pools in Morgantown including the one in E-Moore hall that not many people know about. This blog does a great job talking about entertainment in Morgantown that most people wouldn’t know about. I think a lot of people in Morgantown would love to read this blog because it has something for everyone including a lot on fitness.

    In the end for me, these blogs help me to realize that I need to make my blog a lot more about a conversation that draws readers in. Also I could use more pictures because they can get an idea across that your words cant. I will try and implement these all in my upcoming posts.

  13. Collen Lewis says:

    Making news participatory is probably the hardest aspect of creating a blog. In Briggs the 1-10-100 rule is a great illustration of the ideal way content should work, but even when using all the tips from this chapter I doubt most news sources would make it. It really would be interesting to see the number of failed blogs on a monthly basis.

    Anyway as far as Morgantown Probs and the Hitchiker’s Guide go they actively ask for reader comment, and Probs most definitely got it. They did have the benefit of an amazing subject, and as long as you’re talking about topics that majority of Morgantown can agree matter you’re going to be alright. I really enjoyed the way Hitchhiker challenged readers, even if the turn out wasn’t large.

    Unfortunately for Hitchiker most of the posts didn’t have a broad enough audience to warrant attention. Success lies in relating to the masses and Probs definitely did a good job of that. This clearly relates to the 1-10-100 rule incase I didn’t make that clear enough.

  14. cposey32014 says:

    I read the Morgantown Problems blog and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Morgantown blog. The Morgantown Problems blog was essentially that, all kind of things that are problems of Morgantown. Some went more in depth than other but they are all a problem in some way. The focus of the blog is spot on and it seems to stick with the one theme throughout their writing. I think their strongest post was the Panera post because it was able to generate so much traffic and conversation on it. It was also just really well written with lots of useful links. In my opinion, I think their Off Campus Housing Problems:Who’s to blame was one of their weakest because it seemed there was just a lot of information and not really anything else. All of their other posts seem so conversational and fun to read. I think the only thing I would have done differently is try to diversify the posts a little bit more. There were two stories on the roundabout a few days apart. I think this can really influence my group blog by giving a good example of an all together good blog to go off of.

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Morgantown kind of faltered for me though. I( was unable to really tell the solid focus of the blog because it seemed to be a little all over the place, but I would say it was supposed to be all things Morgantown related. I think their strongest post is 6 Life Changing Words, but I think it just resonates with me because I’ve has family members who have had to deal with cancer. I’m not really sure how it fits in with their focus but it’s a strong post nonetheless. I think their weakest post is Theatre and Art Challenge, because there just isn’t much to it. I don’t know if it was meant to be a real post of just a summary of things. I know they say it is a recap of things covered but it just seems weird to me to make it it’s own post. I would have gotten a more clear focus and I think that would have made it easier to keep on track with all the posts. I think I can take away from this though how to write more conversationally and how to organize a post in a really great way.

  15. Logan Barry says:

    I read the Morgantown Problems blog and the #gradschoolproblems blog. The Morgantown Problems blog was definitely one that grabbed my interest, because having been here for four years, I could really relate to what they were talking about. I think this blog could have a really broad audience, whether it be first-year freshman or fourth-year seniors, or even parents of students who are attending this college and just simply people who live here and do not even attend the university. This is because, in a way, all of these audiences can relate to this topic and gain insight from it. One thing about this blog that I did like was their use of conversation (Twitter posts). I think the use of these types of conversation were essential to this blog because they are talking about a college-town audience, and with that kind of audience, there is going to be a lot of conversation going on outside of the blog that is useful to understanding the purpose and background of each post. I think I could learn from this blog in that aspect. My own personal blog does not contain any outside conversation such as Twitter posts or Facebook posts. I could have probably picked a better topic, because even though I am sure people are talking about it, I feel like it is harder for me to locate; but it would surely help the credibility of my post. This sort of fits in to what Briggs was talking about in chapter 10 when he mentioned “how do journalists participate in the conversation without sacrificing their objectivity or credibility.” I found it difficult to use conversation, and then be able to talk about it in my posts, without sounding like I was trying to be the only one talking about the topic (if that makes any sense). I really liked the post “Slutwalk in Morgantown” because it represents a huge problem on not only WVU’s campus, but most college campuses across the nation. This type of post generated a lot of outside of conversation, making it even more interesting to read, because the writer wasn’t the only one talking about it, I could actually see for myself how deeply people were talking about this.

    The second blog that I chose to read was #gradschoolproblems. I really liked this blog because it was written by not only a graduate student, but someone who was from a different country (China). This gave the blog a sense of diversity that I wasn’t expecting. It grabbed my interest because it’s cool to hear the opinions and struggles from someone from such a different background talk about their experiences at a university in a country so different from theirs. Two things I liked that I noticed in this blog were the writer’s use of pictures (and videos), as well as the organization in the posts. The pictures and videos helped with the creativity of the posts, making them more reader-friendly and more likely for me to be interested in reading them. But the main thing I liked about this blog’s posts was the organization the writer used in them. Most of the posts were organized in a way so that each section of the post had a specific purpose. Her use of subtitles and numbered lists made the posts much easier to read and understand rather than it being a block of text where I would have to depict exactly what they were referring to. Since this blog was also about the university, similar in a way to the Morgantown Problems blog (but obviously a different angle), I thought that it could probably use some more conversation in the posts (Twitter posts, Facebook posts). Because grad school is a new chapter in life, I feel like a lot of people are talking about it, and I think the use of these types of conversation could have helped secure the writer’s credibility and objectivity. Briggs talks about how the growth interactivity in news and social networking represents the importance of using these as tools in blogs, and I think the writer in this blog could have really benefited from that. One other thing that could have also helped benefit this blogger’s posts were their use of grammar. Understandably though, this was a student from a foreign country, and has an obvious excuse for this. Maybe having someone who speaks English as a first language proof read their work could have benefited their posts to help the reader better understand it. Although, this was a minor problem that didn’t cause me too much trouble in understanding what the writer was trying to say.

  16. Mike Marsh says:

    All of these group blogs did a good job collaborating ideas of group members to form a focused blog. Morgantown problems was entertaining and had many good posts. What I got out of the focus was that the bloggers were trying to find creative stories to tell the public about what things are happening in the community with a creative twist and some humor involved. The strongest post was the one about the Hotdog man. Giving some of his background so the reader felt like the got to know him and understand his situation was a good read…then to top it off at the end of the post there is an actual interview with the hotdog man. This helps the readers feel more connected to the story and see the more personal side of the hotdog mans situation. The less constrictive post in this blog was the one about Morgantowns comprehensive plan for students. It looked like a list of new renovations at the time but I don’t see how that info couldn’t have been found online. A better focused post would have been more interesting and unique. That’s the same problem I had with other parts of this blog, even though most was spectacular. Little more of a defined focus would have been beneficial.

    The Hitchhikers guide to Morgantown was another well put together group blog. Essentially posts concerning the “like hacks” of Morgantown and and explanations of different places on campus and how they cab be utilized by the students. I really liked on their theater and art post that they included an interactive map of destinations on campus. I have never seen this incorporated in looks like a great tool is you are trying to explain to someone on campus where different events are, art events in this posts case. The art exhibition post was a little weak. Not too much analyzing or content….just a few pictures with descriptions. The only thing I would change about this blog would be to stay a little from the art theme, Even though that must have been a focus or passion for these bloggers, at some points reading through this blog I felt there were more art related posts than others.

    After reading through these group blogs I wasn’t really aware what this was going to be about. The content seems all community driven which is interesting because as residents of this town we are always aware of new interesting things going on that could then be turned into a group blog. I still am having trouble coming up with a good idea but I’m sure collaborating with classmates will help us kind a great topic for our to collaborate on.

    A common theme is most of Briggs chapters is when blogging you want to be reporting on the conversation about your topic. Whether that would be talking to more people in Morgantown for our group blogs or looking online to see what the buzz is about a certain topic…incorporating pieces of what everyone else is talking about along with adding your own constructive thoughts and ideas make for a great group blog or any sort of collaborative web blogging.

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