August 30, 2018
This week, we’ll be talking about connections: The in-person links that create crowds and the digital ones that create, well, the Internet. Briggs talks specifically about “crowdsourcing;” the term “the wisdom of crowds” was popularized by James Surowiecki, but it’s been around for a while. Some take issue with the idea that crowds actually have any particular wisdom; a crowd, after all is just a thrown rock away from a mob. Here’s a little tune on the subject from Nova:
Moving on to links and linking, consider some ideas from these posts:
Since there’s no class on the Labor Day holiday, you have until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3 to make your responses to this post. Keep it concise, relevant, and don’t forget to integrate Briggs!
August 22, 2018
Your new blog needs a place for readers to find out what it’s about. You could do this as a first post, but over time, this will get hard to find – nobody likes scrolling, after all. Instead, you’re going to create an About page. Have a look at this read from blogtyrant on what makes a terrific “About Us” page – they include examples, too! With those ideas in mind, get started. There are two parts:
Your about page should include the following:
- What’s the blog about? Well DUH. But this means you’ll need to know that yourself, and that means spelling out the specifics of what readers can expect. You might add some links to similar blogs (while explaining what will make yours different)
- Who’s the author? Tell us your background. What are you studying? What are your interests and accomplishments? (note: Readers don’t want to hear about YOU until they’ve heard about your blog!)
- Where can I find you? You’re cultivating an online presence, so let interested readers know where they can hear more from you. You needn’t use an email if you don’t want, but at the very least put up your Twitter handle.
- First post: Make it a real, attention-grabbing post, not an introduction (“Here’s my blog!”). You’re only printing this out for now, so include links and multimedia (photos, video, etc.) in brackets [url=…] so we can see where they go. Don’t forget to write a headline!
But how do I MAKE a new page??
It’s easy! In your dashboard:
- Pages > Add New
- Title: “About” or “About This Blog”
- Write some appropriate “about” content (you can update this as your blog grows)
- Create an About page (Pages > Add New) on your blog
- Add a Calendar widget to your blog (Appearance > Widgets and drag it to a sidebar – it has to be visible!)
- Post the link in a comment to THIS post. Once it’s up, I’ll add your blog to the blogroll on our course blog.
Due: 11:59 p.m. Sunday, January 20 (must post comment TO THIS POST by this time)
August 22, 2018
We set up our WordPress blogs in class, but it’s helpful to have a guide available for troubleshooting, so here you go! Follow the handy steps below to get started – feel free to stick with me or dash ahead.
- We’ll be using WordPress (http://wordpress.com).
- Click the “Sign up” link (at top)
- Enter the required information (username, password, email)
- Give your blog a name
- The format is YOURNAME.wordpress.com
- May take a couple tries to find one not taken
- Once you’ve got a blog …
- Log in & in the top infobar click “New Post”
- Enter a title in the top box, enter your text in the lower box (we’ll delete it later)
- For more detail, go to your dashboard (link in top left of infobar > WP Admin) – in left menu, Posts > Add New
- You may want to compose your posts in a word processing program then paste them into the blog box
- Add value! (in dashboard view only)
- Images: Make sure you know where the image is, then click Add Media > Upload Files > Select Files. Find your image, and decide where you want it in the text (left, right, or center)
- Links: Select the text you want to make into a link. Click the little chain link icon above the text window and enter an address (or cut and paste) – it MUST begin with http://
- Tags and Categories: Tags and categories (in the right menu) help index your posts. Just type a new one and click “add”.
- Click the big blue “Publish” button in the right menu
- If you want to save a post for later, click “Save Draft”
- Log in later and publish manually
- Set a specific time for it to publish automatically
- Don’t like what you have? Scroll to the bottom of your post and click “edit” and make the changes you want.
- Publicity (Publicize > Settings)
- You can link your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path accounts
- Linked blogs can publish automatically to these
- NOTE: Whenever you make an assigned blog post, be sure to check the assignment for where to post the link (typically as a comment to the assignment post but sometimes as an email or tweet)
Regular blogging hours are from 10a-4p, Monday through Thursday. Posts (one required every week) must be made within this time to receive credit! That doesn’t mean you have to write them then – write when you want and save it as a draft to post later – but they MUST be posted then.
August 16, 2018
First, an overview of how these will typically work. Just about every week has an assigned reading from the Mark Briggs textbook, Journalism Next. In addition, I’ll typically put up a post here (usually by Thursday afternoon) with some links to online readings. You are required to post a response to these readings no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. You’ll post your response as a comment in reply to the Read & Respond blog post (like this one).
Your response MUST address the week’s Briggs chapter and should add some elements from the online readings. You don’t need to cite all the links, but you need to connect them (or other examples) to Briggs for full credit. Keep these short and to-the-point (they’re only worth 2.5 points), but do cover your bases.
Now on with this week’s assignment.
As the syllabus says, you’ll be reading Briggs’ introduction. As you work to develop your blog’s focus, Briggs offers some suggestions. Chief among them: “It’s not about you” (remember: “Nobody Cares”). What can you write about that gets beyond yourself and meaningfully adds to the ongoing conversation? See what examples you can draw from the links below to bolster your ideas.
The Case Against News We Can Choose – this is a classic piece by Ted Koppel that gets into those filter bubble and Daily Me issues we discussed
After that, pick a few blogs from this list. The content might not be your interest, but look at the structure: How do they use sources, and what kinds of sources do they use? How do they build their stories? How visible is the author’s opinion and voice? Are they single-authored or group blogs?
For your response, consider the questions above. I’d like you to identify some techniques from the blogs you’ve read and discuss how they could be applied to your first post. Be specific – even though may not have settled on a concept yet, write about some of the options you’re considering and suggest what you could do for a first post.
You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than 11:59 p.m. Sunday, August 19. A few things to make sure of:
- You’ll ordinarily be posting from your WordPress account, but most of you don’t have one yet, so however you choose to post, make sure it’s clear to me who you are (so you can get credit).
- Specifically address the readings, but don’t just summarize – build on them!
August 15, 2018
For your first assignment, you’re going to think about how to cover some aspect of our new media world. We’ll start this one in today’s class, and you’ll bring the finished product on Wednesday.
Your personal blog must focus on mass and social media coverage of some area of interest. More specific is better – politics, entertainment, sports, etc are all good starting points, but stronger blogs will focus more narrowly. For example, instead of “entertainment,” you might consider “coverage of minority issues in theatre.”
The bulk of each post must be focused on the coverage and conversation about your subject, not be a long list of your personal opinions. In fact, there’s a list of off-limits content lovingly compiled over years of teaching this class:
- No reviews
- No diaries
- No advice
- No tips
- No recipes
- No anything else I say is off-limits!
Whew! Despite that list of forbidden subjects, you’ll find a lot worth writing about. In fact, that’s our first assignment. 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 (one post a week, including Thanksgiving break!) – we’ll start this in class!
- Must have a mass media angle
- Must be more specific than “sports” or “fashion”
- 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 TWO COPIES and bring to Monday’s (August 20) class – If it’s not printed at the start of class, it’s late!