Group Blog Teams (spring 2017) – UPDATED with full groups

February 27, 2017

UPDATE (3/1/17): Full groups have been finalized and are listed below. Blogvengers Assemble!

Sorting for your spring 2017 group blog teams is now in progress! I went through your existing blogs and the comments you left on last week’s assignment to sort you by complementary interests, styles, and so on. The more detail you provided, the better a fit I was likely to find.

Below are the seeds for our four teams. Each team currently has TWO assigned editors and up to three open spots. If you were in class, you conducted interviews with these assigned editors; if not, you need to get in touch with THREE of them by noon on Tuesday, Feb. 28, with a proposal for a post at their blog (the concepts are pretty broad right now, so you can find something you think might fit). The two assigned editors (make sure you’ve gotten in touch in advance if one of you missed class) must then submit to me a ranked list of their top five choices by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Group 1: Morgantown of Color / Diverse lifestyle and experiences

  • Laura
  • Mateo
  • Denali
  • Jackie

Group 2: Nightlife and Business Issues

  • Zaakira
  • Rebecca
  • Carly
  • Haley

Group 3: WV Health

  • Madalyn
  • Aishina
  • Rachel
  • Cara
  • Mia

Group 4: Adventure and Entertainment

  • Cayla
  • Ashley
  • Lindsey
  • Steven
  • Shannon

 

Group Blog Planning Assignment #2

In Wednesday’s class, you’ll be meeting to work out the initial details of whatever it is you’ll be doing for the final five weeks of the semester. On Wednesday, March 15 (the Wednesday following Spring Break), your group will present its concept to the class along with several specific story pitches. As a group, you will print and submit the following as a (stapled) six-page packet:

  • Page 1: The title of your blog and a detailed description
  • Pages 2-5: One page from each member with ten one-sentence story pitches. These must be complete sentences that underline why we should care and suggest potential sources.
  • Page 6: A tentative posting schedule (Monday-Thursday) for the final five weeks of the semester.

All this material can be changed, but you must have it in hand at the START of Wednesday’s class (or the group will receive a deduction). I recommend collaborating together in Google Docs so you don’t all have to be together at the same time. NOTE: Don’t create an actual blog on WordPress yet – that comes later.


Read & Respond week 8: Group blogs past

February 23, 2017

In preparation for your group blogs (to be announced this week), you’ll be taking a look into the past. There’s no Briggs chapter for this week; instead, you’ll take a leisurely read through what has come before. Read the following:

First, read this:

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

Then, skim at least TWO other previous group blogs from this list:

Move-in Morgantown (2010)

MountainEats (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)

Morgantown Man Cave (2013)

Meet Me in the Mountain State (2015)

A Gentleman’s Guide to Morgantown (2015)

Wild But Not So Wonderful (2015)

Humans of Morgantown (2016 spring)

Morgantown Matters (2016 spring)

Morgantown Underground (2016 spring)

The New Motown (2016 spring)

Business of Morgantown (2016 fall)

Morgantown Notes (2016 fall)

Mountaineer Munchies (2016 fall)

West Virginia Sports (2016 fall)

Your response will focus on the blogs (Morgantown Problems and two others) 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? Your response is due as a comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 26.


Pitching Your Group Blog Ideas

February 20, 2017

For the final third of the semester (weeks 11-15), you will be creating, promoting and maintaining focused group blogs. In preparation, and to identify similar interests, each of you will propose a group blog concept and a list of potential stories. I’ll use these to determine group assignments, which we’ll go over next week. You’ll be reading through some group blogs on the sidebar for next week’s read and respond, so you might want to get a head start on those now.

Post a comment (to this post) with a pitch for a group blog concept by 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 22. This must contain the following:

  • A one-paragraph description of a group blog concept focused on some aspect of Morgantown life (no activities calendar blogs!). Other regions (e.g., West Virginia; other cities) can also be your focus as long as you’re able to cover them.
  • At least FIVE story ideas. Use complete sentences and address why this story matters. For example: “A few years back, downtown Morgantown saw an explosion of eCigarette shops, but today many of these have closed. Is vaping on its way out?”

In addition, read through the comments by 11:59 p.m. Friday, February 24. Post comments to TWO concepts that you’d be interested in contributing to (more than two is fine), and let the creator know what you’d bring to the table.


Assignment #7: Blog-a-Day Week!

February 17, 2017

After blogging for several weeks, you should have a feel for what works, what doesn’t, and how to plan your attack. So far you’ve been doing sprints, but this week will be a 5K. Beginning on Monday, Feb. 20, you will post something EVERY day to your personal blog for a week (yes, this includes Saturday & Sunday) between regular blogging hours of 10-4. This will not be easy, but you can do it, and at the end you’ll have a newfound respect for those who do this every week.

Some rules and tips:

  • The first rule of Blog-a-Day Week is: We do NOT talk about Blog-a-Day Week! This means no posting about how hard it is to post every day, or other such metacommentary.
  • Likewise, no posting about how you don’t know what to post. Use the skills from previous challenges, ideas from your blogroll, synthesis posts, comments from other students … ANYTHING that leads to a substantive post!
  • As always, good posts will have rich content (links, videos, images, maps, etc.) and be connective. Now might be the time to check out that “Add Poll” button up at the top of your New Post window.
  • Scoring (10 pts total): Your Monday (Feb. 20) and Thursday (Feb. 23) posts count for your required weekly posts (5 pts each) and are NOT part of the assignment. The remaining five posts are worth 2 pts each. Same-day posts receive NO credit, so make sure they’re up on time!

DUE: Every day from Monday, February 20 – Sunday, February 26 (seven posts in all)

So that’s it. Daunting, but I promise you’ll survive and learn some new skills. THIS is what a full-time blogger does. I strongly recommend writing a few posts in advance to keep from going insane. You might also want to check out the National Blog Posting Month website for advice and support – you can even sign up to win prizes.


Read & Respond week 7: Data

February 16, 2017

This week we delve into data. You’re surrounded by it, but do you know how to use it as a blogger? As a journalist? As we discussed in our Mobility week, we’re increasingly devoted to technologies that track our movements, habits, and preferences, and these trackers produce a wealth of data.

Consider Wikileaks, arguably the game-changer in data journalism. Approached with a massive wealth of data, The Guardian compiled phenomenally complex accounts of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a collection of cables (communication dispatches) from the U.S. Embassy. Not only this, they made the data itself available to readers to make their own stories out of it. Most recently, they’ve leaked data about the Democratic National Committee and its candidate, Hillary Clinton. Some have described this as a test of transparency; others have accused them of pursuing vendettas. Outside the realm of partisan politics, they’ve been criticized for their unwillingness to obscure private information such as email addresses and credit card numbers. Even fellow leaker Edward Snowden took some issue with this:

What can you do with data in your own writing? What, if anything, have you done already? Here are a few more supplements to give you some ideas:

Be sure to post your response to Briggs and the readings as a comment to this post by 1159p Sunday, February 19.


Assignment #6: Storify

February 13, 2017

In last week’s scavenger hunt, we used Twitter to report. Today, we’ll use another app, Storify, to condense that content into something that can accompany a news story or serve as a stand-alone narrative.

The Assignment

Storify your scavenger hunt with the following:

  • An introduction
  • Informative text throughout (so it’s not just 10 tweets with no connective tissue)
  • All your team’s Tweets
  • Your top three favorite Tweets from classmates
  • Don’t just add all this content and think you’re done! You must also include a narrative (text) about the experience. Make it interesting, and make it worth reading.

Due: 10a Wednesday, February 15. To receive full credit, you must publicize with the #WVUblogJ tag and post a link to your storify in a comment to this assignment post.

The How-To

Getting Started

  1. Go to Storify.com and log in with your Twitter handle
  2. Browse through the stories there to get a feel for what’s possible
  3. Click the “Create Story” button at the top right of the screen and create a Storify page (choose Public Story) of your team’s scavenger hunt – each member creates one.
  4. This must be curated – not just a list of tweets – so include explanatory written detail, links, maps, and other information that fleshes things out

Adding content

  1. In the left panel, add a title and description for your story in the blanks, then write some intro text in the main frame.
  2. In the right “Media” panel, click the Twitter icon (the little blue bird) and type in “#WVUblogJ”
    • You can search users and keywords too, but start with this for now)
  3. Drag tweets and images from the right panel to where you want them in the left panel
    • You can click “Images” to just display images to use, “Timeline” for tweets a single user sees, and “User” for tweets from that user
  4. You can also include elements from Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram & Google by clicking the relevant tab on the right panel
  5. You can embed links to specific sites as well – just click the little chainlink icon, enter the URL, and drag it to your story (OR highlight the text to link, click the chainlink icon, and paste in the URL)
  6. Add text by mousing over blank areas before or after your content links. A yellow bar will appear. Click on any of these to enter text

Publishing your story

  1. At the top right of the left-hand window is a big, friendly blue “Publish” button – click it
  2. You’ll get a window with a Publicity message that lets you send this to Twitter or Facebook and also inform people you quoted
    • You can change these from their defaults to something better
    • You can skip this and send it later by clicking “Notify” at the top of your story panel
      • This is a great way to publicize what you’re doing to the people who helped you do it!
  3. If your Storify is associated with an actual news story (e.g., something in the DA or WVU News), and you’re embedding the Storify at the end, switch the default link to that of your story
    • NOTE: You can’t embed this code in a WordPress-hosted blog, but you can post to there by clicking “Export” (at the top)
    • To embed: Click “embed” (below the headline of your story) and copy/paste the resultant text to your story (or blog post).

Read & Respond week 6: Mobility

February 9, 2017

Here’s a vivid thought from @GeorgeBray on that everpresent device in your hand.

The concept of Mobile First is informing considerable mass media practice. One of the up-and-coming areas in mobility is wearable technology, and some newsrooms are looking for ways to incorporate it. Its poster child was once Google’s Glass, whose “failure” we’ve discussed in class.

Do you find this fascinating, or do you want to slap the guy? The company pulled the plug on Glass in early 2015, but it was one of the heralds of today’s Internet of Things, that network of stuff that tracks and communicates the details of our lives. Including things like FitBit and Amazon Echo, the IoT is steadily invading daily life (and it’s always listening). Take a look at this Motley Fool prediction piece for 2017 – it’s techy, so skim, but note the overall message: Businesses like IoT, so you’re only going to see more of it.

Naturally, there are naysayers to any new technology…

So how do you see wearable tech influencing the future of mobility? Be sure to post your response to Briggs and the readings as a comment to this post by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 12.