Read & Respond week 14 – Group Blogs

In this week before Thanksgiving Break, we’ll turn our better-educated eyes toward … each other. For this week, you’re reading your classmates’ group blogs. The assignments, divided by group, are as follows:

You will scan through the existing work and identify the following things in your response:

  1. The overall strengths and weaknesses of the blog
  2. The three strongest posts (and why)
  3. The three weakest posts (and why)
  4. How well the blog integrates the principles of online and interactive journalism

Post your response as a comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, November 13.


16 Responses to Read & Respond week 14 – Group Blogs

  1. Ryan Decker says:

    Business of Morgantown

    Strengths – I like that everyone who writes for this blog uses social media in their articles. It’s a nice quick way to get outside perspectives without taking up a bunch of room on the screen, while also being more visually pleasing than just a regular quote. I also think the headlines are good, and grab your attention while telling you exactly what you’re going to be reading.

    Weaknesses – Only weakness I really see is that some articles have bylines and others don’t. I know the username is attached to each article, but seeing “By __(Whoever)__” at the top of the article would be nice, as well.

    3 strongest Posts – “Mall Staple Builds Community and Forms Bonds” – Well-written and informative. None of the paragraphs go on too long. Good use of social media content.
    “After Midnight Grub” – Good title. Use of social media and the picture work nicely. I like the hyperlinking. Good information.
    “Upscale Fashion in a College Town” – Good title. Good lead. I like the use of social media content. Good person in Mazey to sort of center the article around while keeping the main focus to the shops and clothes.

    3 weakest posts – Really not a lot of weak posts on this site.
    “Election Day food and drink specials in Morgantown” is well-written, but could be considered “weak” just because of the timeliness of it. Written after Election Day instead of before, which would’ve been better so more people to take advantage of the deals.
    The only other think that could be considered “weak” would be that in some of the posts there are really, really, long paragraphs that could use a break up in between sentences in places.

    Integration of online JRL – Tons of social media content. A decent amount of linking to other information to learn more.

  2. michalalynn says:

    WV Sports

    I think that overall the strengths are the use of outside voices and the amount of other media that is integrated in the posts. For weaknesses, I believe that your blog’s theme does you a disservice. It makes it clunky to read and hard to navigate. (Also: a style thing to talk about-some of you are capitalizing every word in the headline and others are only capitalizing the important words)

    Three best posts:
    WV high school playoff picture is set-I loved how you included a map into this post. It allowed a quick look at the content that was going to be shared.
    A Mountaineer Passing-I enjoyed all of the different types of voice that were brought into this post-they really gave a well-rounded look into the kind of person Walker was.
    Lesser Known Teams & Their Input On The Community-I enjoy that this highlights the other teams on campus that aren’t as well known. However, I wish the title was more indicative that this focused on the lacrosse team-this could be a great multi-post series.

    Three weak posts
    Are You Ready For Some Football?: WVU Game Day Rituals-the information shared in this post was interesting but you were telling us what was happening not so much showing.
    The Mohawk Bowl as seen from the stands-I liked the post but I kind of wish it would’ve delved more into the history or the people side of the story
    Tipping the scale for the Tebow Law in WV-This post doesn’t really share much about how the community around it feels about the issue.

    How well it integrates-All in all your blog does a great job at tying in other forms of media that traditional print stories wouldn’t be able to.

  3. kameronduncan says:

    Morgantown Notes

    Strengths – All of the posts for this blog adhere fairly strictly to the theme. When you read this blog it becomes very apparent that you are reading a music blog. However, something else that works for this blog is that is manages to be multi-dimensional. In writing about music, it could very easily turn into album and venue reviews every week but the writers talk about different aspects of music and how music affects the community.

    Weakness – The only weakness I would say is that everyone doesn’t use the subheadings. It doesn’t really affect the content of anyone’s particular post but it would probably be good for the sake of presentation and aesthetics.

    Three strongest posts

    1.”A Band on the Rise” – I thought that this post was a good mix of a traditional interview as well as multimedia. Including links to the band’s music as well as their social media is a great way for readers to stay connected.

    2. “Morgantown Records” – I liked this post because it was informative and introduced me to an aspect of music that I don’t often think about. It was also very well written and contained relevant quotes for the story.

    3. “DIYM, Morgantown” – This post was very similar to the Morgantown Records post and it shines in many of the same ways. The choice to essentially take the reader through a day in the life of this band was, in my opinion, a good one.

    Three weakest posts

    1. “Election/Music Industry” – I don’t think that this was a bad post, nor was it badly written, it’s just that it doesn’t necessarily include the local element like some of the other posts. Had it been for a personal blog that was just about music though, I think it would have been perfectly fine.

    2. “MainStage Morgantown’s performance” – I think that this post was very informative and provided a lot of insight about the venue and some of the acts that perform there. However, it wasn’t as engaging or personal as some of the other posts.

    3. “Show Some Pride” – This is a good post but I don’t think it goes as in depth as some of the other ones about the two bands, for example.

    How it integrates – I think this blog integrates social media and interactive elements very well. They almost always use some sort of link in their posts and they often include things like videos as well.

  4. smarino92 says:

    Morgantown Munchies-
    I like the direction this blog is taking. It’s not just a boring- oh here’s a restaurant kind of blog. I like it’s creative in it’s posts, like asking Body Builders what they eat or what singers eat before a performance. That’s really thinking outside the box.

    I would say, not really a weakness, but try to stray away from writing back chain restaurants. Every town has Burger King or a Chik Fil A.

    Strongest posts?

    Am I really at liberty to say? I guess I like the throwback Thursday post because being from Morgantown it reminded me of some great stuff Morgantown has had in the past. Sad you guys never got to have Ray’s pastries your lives have no meaning now.

    I also enjoyed Battle of the Mobile Apps, there as so many food services floating around in Morgantown I wonder how they all compete. You can virtually get anything delivered now. Unless it’s after 10 on a Sunday then all you can have is pizza- which is like 87% of what you can get anyways.

    I also liked the body building and wrestling stories, I liked the fresh take on talking about what actual communities of people are eating.

    I don’t know if I would call anyone’s posts “weak.”

    I think simply doing a lumped up “international food” article could be executed differently. Who’s to say you couldn’t go into someone’s home and see what kind of food they prepare from their country, and where they buy their foods. Example, there’s an Asian market near the rail trail and they have all kinds of things you would never see at Kroger- and a bunch of Japanese candy that’s awesome.

    Also, I think some of the posts are kind of too short. They could merit some more information like I did like the body building one one there was not a lot of content, or in the secret menu one, I would like to see more secret menus- ex Black Bear burritos has a lot of things that aren’t on the menu now but if you ask for them they will make it. Like the Pizzadilla- literally best thing ever. Gotta try it, Anyways, I also am biased because I’m from Morgantown so I know a lot of stuff just from being here half my miserable life.

    Anyways, this is one of the blogs I read like every week so you guys are doing something right.

  5. smarino92 says:

    ^^^ I forgot the integrating part. Obviously you guys are using all kinds of media, maps, pictures, tweets- which is timely and engaging. So there’s that. Yas.

  6. jayrudolph says:

    1. I think the biggest strength to the blog is the relevance to the title in which every post contains. The layout of the blog is very simple to navigate ans commenting is easy. The biggest weakness I could say is the use of a copy pictured for the heading but that’s about it.
    2. My three favorite posts were the recruiting, death of a mountaineer and high school playoff posts. All three are completely different but all relate to a WVU sport. The recruiting post was my particular favorite because of the great use of images and interactive media. The google map with current recruits was awesome!
    3. The three least favorite were the tebow post, drug post, and the ritual post. In my opinion these were just weaker. The tebow was a topic for more then WV people and was a huge topic to cover for a little blog post, and the drug post was about NCAA sports and drugs they use, another mainly national scale post not really a WV post.
    4. Overall they did a great job. I really liked the blog and I think some of the posts are just incredible. The blog goes beyond just words and a story the blog tells the story through visual images and interactive help. Happy we got choosen for this one.

  7. lmalexander1 says:

    WV Sports

    Strengths: I thing the biggest strength of their blog is the variety and immense use of media they use. Each post has different types of media, and each post does a really great job of deciding which media fits best with their post. The media they use breaks up the text in their posts and make them easier for readers to read. Videos and charts aid in the understanding of the message they are trying to get across and pictures and other media just enhance the post in general.

    Weakness: I don’t really like how you can read the entire post for each post right on the home page. It makes me never want to click on the post, and just read it right from the home page. I think this is a disadvantage of your blog as a whole.

    Strongest Posts:
    – It’s A Process: Recruiting The Next Generation: I really like this post because it gives a lot of information on a topic that i’m sure not a lot of people are familiar with. Before I read this post i had no idea what the recruiting process was like for hig-school/college athletes.
    – WV high school playoff picture is set: The title of this post just makes me want to read it. And aside from that, its a great post in general. I love college football just as much as the next college senior, but i’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss spending every fall Friday night watching my friends play under the lights. This post gives a great deal of information on WV high school playoffs and is helpful to all of those following high school football.
    – A Mountaineer Passing: As sad as the focus of this post is, Alexa did a great job of making the community’s voice heard in this post. My favorite part was the Facebook post that she incorporated. That really got me in the feels and made me realize just how important Walker was to the WV community.

    Weakest Posts:
    I don’t feel as though I am at liberty to say what the three weakest posts are. We’re all learning here, and I would rather not single out individuals by saying “you whole post was on of the weakest.” I wish that the “Tipping the scale for the Tebow Law in WV” post had more information as to how and why the bill was passed. I also wish there a community aspect in this post. For instance, if you could find someone this bill affects directly and talk to them about it. I like the “Lesser Known Teams & Their Input On The Community” because it highlights a WV team that usually put in the shadows. I just didn’t feel like there was anything special or significant about the post. I know that almost all the sports teams, club and varsity, do volunteering and fundraising. I like the community aspect of the post though.

    I think this blog does a great job in integrating the principles of what we are learning in class. Their extensive use of media definitely comes from out classroom lessons, and their posts are relevant, timely and interesting; everything that Professor Britten is teaching us.

  8. carlyperez5 says:

    Morgantown Notes

    Overall Strengths and Weaknesses:

    Strengths- everyone in this blog does a really good job with incorporating media and links into their posts. The majority of the posts are filled with tons of information, creating the perfect length for a blog post. Morgantown Notes makes it known that their blog is about music not only because of the name, but because all of their posts stay on topic and follow the guidelines the about page explains.

    Weaknesses- this blog is so strong; it is hard to find a particular weakness throughout the whole blog. My only complaint would be that some posts drag on and tend to turn into a huge block of strictly text.

    3 Strongest Posts:

    A Band on the Rise- this post is particularly strong because it goes beyond just a profile of who Riviera is. The post contains so much important information that would be almost impossible for people to know without having a one on one conversation with them.

    Does the Music Industry Affect the Election or Does the Election Affect the Music Industry? – I quite enjoyed this post mainly because the topic is very interesting and the title is so to the point, it really makes me want to read it. People in the music industry were a huge part of this election, as crazy as that may sound. Both candidates had multiple musicians supporting them in hopes to curve the opinions of those who idolize the celebs. This article also worked really well because of the timeliness of it.

    Morgantown Records- this post succeeded because of its immense amounts of information and slew of helpful quotes.

    3 Weakest Posts:

    DIYM, Morgantown- this post was by all means not a bad post, I just found the lack of links and graphics to be a bit boring and unappealing.

    Social Media Trailblazers- once again, not a bad post but it was much shorter than the other posts. The post almost seems like a short profile about the band “What’s Missing”.

    Music Industry Degree- this post used a variety of good links, but lacked a connection to any current events. I think it would have been interesting to see a comparison to what is going on at WVU vs. throughout the country.

    Integration of Interactive Journalism:
    The majority of the posts include the perfect amount of media. They also use an array of different social media sites, as well as graphics and video. There are a couple of posts that are just a big block of text, making them slightly boring, but they are limited throughout the blog.

  9. WV Sports

    Strengths- This blog covers a wide variety of topics concerning sports in Morgantown and including high school sports also adds more content to the blog. I also like how most of the posts are not single-sourced which adds more views within the post.
    Weakness- I am not a huge fan of the theme you have chosen for your blog as it is tough to read some of the posts and is kind of overwhelming because there is so much going on.

    Three Best Posts-
    “Who Is WVU’s Rival in Big 12?”- I really enjoyed this post because there was a lot of media content which made the read interesting and I really liked the inclusion of the fan poll which gave the readers interaction with the post. I generally also think the topic is very relevant and something WV fans always wonder.
    “A Mountaineer Passing”- Again, good topic choice and something that was not brought aware to me before I had read this. A lot of different media used and good job of adding the Youtube video, gives the post more meaning about how great a player Fulton Walker was.
    “Drug Usage On the Field”- Informative post with different sources and liked how the poll was added, again for interaction with readers.

    Three Weakest Posts-
    “Tipping the scale for the Tebow Law in WV”- Kind of too short and not enough information or sources.
    “Are You Ready For Some Football?: WVU Game Day Rituals”- Enjoyable read but wish there were more sources for this because one player can’t really be a voice for the whole team when it comes to rituals.
    “WV high school playoff picture is set”- For me this post was kind of confusing because there were a lot of teams and match ups mentioned, but I don’t really understand the high school classifications in general so that didn’t help. Maybe adding more background on some of the schools?

    Integration- Most of the posts add some sort of media or interaction with readers in their blog which is one of the biggest principles in online journalism.

  10. Morgantown Notes

    I enjoy reading Morgantown Notes. I think this is a great blog with a lot of strong posts. This blog is definitely more than “here is a band in Morgantown”. I feel like Morgantown Notes bloggers strive to provide interesting, unique content and incorporate social media outlets to back up their stories.

    It’s hard to pinpoint the weaknesses. I guess I would make some posts a little shorter in order to not overwhelm readers.

    Strong posts:
    1. “A Band on the Rise”: great post that introduces Riviera band to readers. I like how the author of the posts explained how the band is developing and what difficulties it’s facing. The post includes a music video, which is essential for this type of article. I probably wouldn’t read a blog about a band I’ve never heard before if there were no audio or music video I could listen to/watch.
    2. “Does the music industry affect the Election or the Election affect the music industry?” This post was interesting and very timely. I liked the choice of visuals and unbiased approach.
    3. “Mainstage Morgantown’s performance”: I liked the post because it raised awareness of security and being safe at Mainstage Morgantown. This could lead to a larger discussion and follow-up posts.
    Weak posts: I don’t really see bad posts on this blog. Perhaps, some little things to work on.
    1.I really was intrigued by “What a WVU music industry degree will actually get you”, but I felt like I would like to see more info, perhaps interviews from students who are perusing music/art degrees, why they chose this path and what are their expectations for the future? This could be easily fixed with a follow-up blog.
    2. “What Instruments WVU Students are playing as told by Walnut Music and Pawn”: nothing wrong with the post. I was just curious about the pictures. They look like the author took them, but there are no image credits.
    3. “DIYM, Morgantown”: nothing wrong with the post, would incorporate a few visuals though. Maybe pictures or some audio/video.
    Overall, great job on the blog! The use of social media is evident and present in every post.

  11. Mountaineer Munchies

    Three Strongest:
    – WVU Singers and the Food They Eat: Based on the headline I thought there was not going to be much correlation between singing and food. Good sources and reasoning provided solid information. Also a great way to take the ideas from class and utilize them effectively.
    – WVU Dining Halls vs. Campus: This post does a good job getting good sources and using their information in a effective way. The graphs and charts enhance the post and help tell a compelling story.
    -Battle of The Mobile Apps: The use of the map makes the post great. It was the perfect example of a visual doing what words cannot. The post was informative and the quotes helped aid in making an opinion on the two.

    Three Weakest
    – WVU Greek Culture vs. Taziki’s: The post was interesting, it was just a weird comparison to make. It basically said home made food is better than fast food dining plan options. While there were some good quotes, I felt there was not that much new info was given.
    – What exactly is a Fishbowl?: Nothing wrong with this post, but I thought the lead could better reflect what the story is going to be about. It talked a lot about tradition and its roots but, opened up with partying.
    – International Foods Part. 2: This post ties back to the first one. There is good quotes, but the info is not that all compelling. Not a bad read though.

    As far as using the principles of online and interactive journalism this blog does a great job. i liked all the posts and picking weak ones was not easy. They do a good job of using maps, charts, and other visuals that catch your eye. There is a lot of good info that I learned and some new food I want to try.

  12. Alexa Ciattarelli says:

    Alexa Ciattarelli

    Business of Morgantown
    The overall strengths and weaknesses of the blog – I think this blog does a great job with their posts. Each one is informative, and includes links, social media and more. With that being said, each post is very interactive.

    I am torn in regards to this blogs weakness. Part of me feels like the posts don’t relate well. One day, we are talking about current Morgantown businesses and the next, we are talking about the lack thereof. Don’t get me wrong, I do think the blog has a great concept, I just wish it was slightly more focused.

    The three strongest posts – I really liked the post “Upscale Fashion in a College Town”. I think this post does a great job providing readers with information in regards to where to get some great clothes! I also like Brittany’s use of media. I also really enjoyed “Election Day food and drink specials in Morgantown”. I think this post had a lot of media that broke up the text and helped to make the story extremely interesting. Finally, I found “Mall Staple Builds Community and Forms Bonds” to be a very strong post. I like how the author links this post to people of Morgantown. Including people, pictures of people, and quotes from people make this post so relatable and interesting.

    The three weakest posts – While I did find “Election Day food and drink specials in Morgantown” to have some strong points, I think it would have been more beneficial to post the story prior to Election Day, rather than 2 days later. I think “Local & Chain: Advantages and Disadvantages” lacks some content. I don’t find the post to have a defined focus. Finally, “After Midnight Grub” has a lot of potential. Almost every single shop that lines the streets of downtown high street stays open until 4am. I think this post could have had more shops included.

    Integration – This blog does a great job including social media in their posts. While they all are writing about businesses, they are always helping to get the word out and promote Morgantown!

  13. rmsurella says:

    Morgantown Munchies

    I chose to write about this blog because personally I found it to be the most interesting out of our class blogs. I’d say its biggest strengths are finding topics that are unique and offering of practical information for people in the Morgantown area. The strongest areas of this blog are the posts centered on the search for cultural authenticity in the food in Morgantown and the history behind local businesses. The ones that need a bit more work are the ones that lack a bit in length and don’t address a specific reason for sparking conversation.

    Strongest Posts:
    “WVU Greek Culture vs. Tazikis”: This one is a very good read that brings up a unique issue with good interviews and visual aides. Nice job describing traditional Greek foods with photos as well.

    “What exactly is a fishbowl?”: This post included some great history that seems had some real personal investigation put into it. Combined with photos from inside the restaurant, and the extra use of links made this post a winner.

    “WVU Dining halls vs. Campus”: Brought my attention to something I never would have thought to put my finger on. The graphs are used perfectly to show how tastes are changing for student dining at WVU and demonstrates that something is actually happening in relation to the post.

    Weakest Posts:
    “WVU Singers and the Food They Eat”: It may just be my own naiveness but it’s hard for me to think it really matters what singers eat. Many of the most successful singers have done all the things that people in this post say they don’t do.

    “Bodybuilders vs. Morgantown food”: This could have been an article for anyone in Morgantown that likes to take care of themself and not specifically bodybuilders. Too much advice and nothing that hasn’t been heard before really.

    “WVU’s Food Recovery Network”: Kind of seems like just a description of this organization. Pretty short too.

    This blog has great potential and has achieved a lot so far. The contributors seem like they are making a true effort to do the personal side of journalism by getting out there and experiencing the things they are writing about. Their integration of online material, especially a variety of forms of visual aides, has really started to come to fruition as well leading to increased success.

  14. Morgantown munchies

    Overall I think the strengths of this blog are the diversity in posts, integration of various social media and tapping into cultural differences. Weakness wise, I would just say that some posts like the cultural ones struggle to make a personal connection with the subjects. For example, the girl interviewed about Greek culture I thought was underutilized.

    1. Battle of the mobile apps: Great integration of maps and and balance of personal reviews and details. It is off the beaten path of just food while still being really relevant to this area.
    2. International Foods 2 : I thought this was the strongest cultural tie in. There was equal balance of local business, cultural stories and explanations and food topics. The personal weakness I mentioned earlier really improved here.
    3. Throwback Thrusday: I just thought this was so clever, and well done. The balance of why restaurants work and others don’t really made a great case for the complexities of the restaurant world. Also, tapping into a social media trend seemed smart,

    1. Greek culture & Tazikis: I thought this had a lot of potential, but the interview comment could’ve been stronger. I liked where it was going, but could’ve benefited from more in depth coverage.
    2. What wrestlers eat – This post just seemed very similar to the body builders post from an earlier week. It wasn’t as engaging as some of the other posts.
    3. Food Recovery Network: While I really liked the social media integration and I thought the interview was strong, this post read more like a profile to me and I’ve seen a lot of coverage on this particular organization, so I think it could’ve benefitted from a fresh angle.

    I think this blog does well with interactive, internet based integration for the posts. There’s always multimedia, and more often than not a variety of social media, maps, web links and lots more that really brings the stories together.

  15. West Virginia Sports: Morgantown and Beyond

    1. Strongest aspect of this blog is definitely in the variety of content.

    2. Strongest posts: WV High School Playoff Picture is Set because of the interactive media and the attention given to detail on covering the sports and media around Martinsburg. WVU Game Day Rituals because of the personal research done and just asking a football player what they do takes some bravery and covers a personal side of game day that rarely gets covered. Who Is West Virginia’s Rival in the Big 12? Because it dives deeper than just assessing the competition in our conference.

    3. Weakest posts: Drug Usage on the Field because of the lack of research done to support the personal subject, and the subject is too touchy and I have a big personal experience with these things and think this post is not objective. The Mohawk Bowl as Seen From the Stands because it isn’t a big enough topic and is too small of an angle. It’s a Process: Recruiting the Next Generation because this is already covered. We all know who recruits football players and how they do it and who hosts them when they come here. What’s new?

    4. I love how the interactive part of polls and social media play into this blog.

  16. Also, didn’t realize that I was assigned to read Morgantown Notes (not sure what planet I was on) so I covered the wrong group blog. Sorry!

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