Assignment #1: Developing a Concept

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the winter semester of JRL 430: Blogging and Interactive Journalism. This blog serves as the mothership for your work in this class: It will link to your personal and group blogs, detail your assignments, provide your online readings (you still need to buy the Briggs textbook though!), and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

To set the stage, here’s a John Oliver piece on our current journalism situation. It should be noted that this piece came BEFORE the 2016 presidential election, so things are even more up-in-the-air now. As up-and-coming mass communicators, what do you think of the media world you’re inheriting?

For your first assignment, you’re going to think about how to cover some aspect of that strange new media world. We’ll start this one in Monday’s class, and you’ll bring the finished product on Wednesday (remember that we’ll have a guest speaker, Thomas McBee, editorial director for growth at Quartz). Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Come up with TEN blog concepts (write these as a bulleted list) that are interesting enough to cover for fifteen weeks (two posts a week)
    • Must have a mass media angle
    • Must be more specific than “sports” or “fashion”
    • NO reviews, diaries, advice, tips, recipes or anything else I say is off-limits (trust me, I’ve taught this class many times, and the list is always getting longer)
  • Choose your TWO best concepts
    • Do they follow the rules?
    • Can they be linked to timely and newsworthy events?
    • Can you find an active online community to connect with?
  • Write FIVE one-sentence story pitches for each (that’s ten total) – Again, bulleted lists are fine, but they must be complete sentences explaining why the pitches are relevant and timely.
  • PRINT and bring to Wednesday’s (January 11) class
    • If it’s not printed at the start of class, it’s late!

So that’s it – well, that and the read & respond (I post those on Thursday; they’re usually due Sunday night, but you have until Tuesday night this week due to MLK Day). Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started!

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