Read & Respond week 6: Group Blogs Past

September 13, 2018

In preparation for your group blogs (into which you’ll be sorted 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 one of these:

Morgantown Problems (2013) or Morgantown Nightlife (2017). These are two of the most engaged group blogs produced in this class, and I want everyone to have a look (especially Morgantown Problems’ 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)

Conserve the Wild and Wonderful (2017)

Morgantown Diversity (2017)

WVU Women’s Health (2017)

Your response will focus on the blogs (one from the first group 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, September 16.


Read & Respond week 5: Microblogging and Twitter

September 6, 2018

This week is about all things Twitter, so Briggs’ chapter on microblogging fits nicely with a platform where you’re limited to 140 280 characters or less. You’re probably familiar with microblogging but may never have heard the term – many of you have been doing it for years (did you know?).

Twitter’s the most widely known venue for microblogging, so poke around in some of these how-to links:

Getting more into the realm of journalism and mass communication, consider these suggestions and warnings:

Finally – don’t skip this step! – you need to get ON Twitter. You’ve got four things to do:

  • Create an account if you don’t have one (or want to use a different one for class), and make sure it is public (not hidden).
  • Follow at least 10 people and tweet at least five times. Try using some hashtags (#) and tagging (@) some people.
  • Follow me (@thebobthe) so I can follow you back.
  • Tweet something useful to our class to our course hashtag #WVUblogJ

As always, post your response as a comment to this post (and finish your Twitter duties) by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, September 9.


Read & Respond week 4: Links and Crowds

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!


Assignment #3: Find Your People

August 29, 2018

So far, you’ve introduced yourself, determined a focus for your blog, and made your first posts. This week, you’ll identify sources of information that will contribute to your writings.

Part 1: Refine your focus

This week, you created an “About” page with your blog’s mission statement. In class this week, we assessed these focuses. Based on my and your classmates’ feedback, refine your “About” page and add some depth. Remember these points:

  • It’s not about you. Make sure your focus is a larger conversation, not a diary or “expert advice” (you’re not one) or “my crazy life” blog. How can you connect with a larger community?
    • Remember: No advice blogs, no reviews, no profile-only blogs, no whatever else I decide is off-limits (I’ll tell you if you’re doing it)
  • It’s not about everything. Avoid being too broad (e.g., “pop culture”) – if you say you will write about something general like “sports,” you’ll need to spell out what a reader might get out of reading your site compared to the countless other sports sites out there.
    • Think of yourself as the intersection of a Venn diagram with at least two circles
  • It’s not just links. Links are necessary, but a successful blog needs to add something to the information it synthesizes from elsewhere. Linking to a bunch of stories about the Pittsburgh Penguins is not blogging.

Part 2: Identify sources to help you

Blogging isn’t something you have to do on your own. With your focused topic in mind, it’s time to identify some sources to help you on that path. You will identify at least 10 individual blogs to follow. Each of these should be a spiritual cousin to your own – they do something related to what you hope to do. These can NOT be general, non-blog sites (e.g., ESPN.com) although you may link to an individual blogger on such a site as long as you justify why that writer is an excellent source for you. You have to find people and communities that are talking about what you want to talk about!

Part 3: Identify issues to cover

As we’ve discussed this week, you need to get out of the way and cover your community and the current issues that concern it. After reading your bloggers, you must identify five timely subjects or issues they’re talking about that could serve as the focus of one (or more) of your upcoming posts. Each must include at least one link (more is better) to current discussion on the subject and explain what the focus of your post could be.

You’ll need to complete the following steps:

  • Add a blogroll (Links > Add New > Create a “Blogroll” category) and add your 10 blogs to it (5 pts)
  • Write a blog post explaining (in 1-2 sentences each) each of the five issues you’ve identified and how you might cover each in an upcoming post – don’t forget to include relevant links for each item! (5 pts)
  • This post must have a meaningful title, not a label (please don’t just call it “10 blogs” or “5 issues”) and needs writing beyond the list. At the very least, you’ll need an intro and a conclusion explaining why these 10 things go together. Frame this like an actual post rather than a class assignment!
  • Note: This does NOT count as your weekly post! You’ll still need to make your weekly post on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Due: 4p, Tuesday, Sept. 4 (you get an extra day because who’s reading blogs on Labor Day?)

  • To receive credit for this assignment, you must add a link to your post (with a short description) in a comment to this blog post.
  • Your blog post MUST be made between 10a and 4p on Monday!

Read & Respond week 3: Origins of the Internet

August 23, 2018

You might want to read/watch this week’s links before delving into Briggs as they provide some historical context to what he’s talking about. First: A video clip!

History of the Internet

After viewing that, skim one or more of these links (they’re meaty, reference-heavy sources, so just get an overview):

Is the Internet something invented by an individual? What’s a specific surprising event you found in the timelines? Remember, your response (to these links AND to Briggs) is due as a comment to this post no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 26.


Read & Respond week 2: Getting Started

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!

Read & Respond week 16 – Best of US!

April 20, 2017

Here it is: Your final read & respond! This one will be easy. You’ll be assessing your own work, based on the material you provided me. Based on the following examples, you’ll be voting (via this Google Forms ballot) on the following categories:

NOTE: If your name doesn’t have links, you need to provide them to me!

Group Blog Honors

Note: You can’t vote for your own group unless otherwise indicated!

The Groups (group-selected posts are linked):

The Categories

1. Best Post on a Group Blog (can’t vote for your own post, but can vote for a post by your group)

2. Most Improved Group Blog

3. Best Group Blog Overall

Personal Blog Awards

Note: You can’t vote for yourself!

The Personal Blogs (best posts provided by you)

Mateo Alexander Post 1 Post 2
Lindsey Baatz Post 1 Post 2
Rachel Brosky Post 1 Post 2
Ashley Conley Post 1 Post 2
Cara Devenney Post 1 Post 2
Steven Devine Post 1 Post 2
Denali Hedrick Post 1 Post 2
Madalyn Lamastro Post 1 Post 2
Carly Magnotta Post 1 Post 2
Haley Moore Post 1 Post 2
Zaakira Muhammad Post 1 Post 2
Cayla Nolder Post 1 Post 2
Aishina Shaffer Post 1 Post 2
Shannon Stanley Post 1 Post 2
Mia Swanegan Post 1 Post 2
Jackie Thompson Post 1 Post 2
Rebecca Toro Post 1 Post 2
Laura Vázquez-López Post 1 Post 2

The Categories

1. Best Post on an Individual Blog

2. Most Improved Personal Blog

3. Best Personal Blog Overall

Superlatives

Nominate another blogger for a “Most/Best ____” category (e.g., Best use of GIFs, Most Likely to Proofread Everyone’s Work)

Nominate yourself for something at which you think you excel (e.g., Best Interviewer of Homeless Persons) or perhaps are notorious for (e.g., Most Likely to Get Caught Texting)

The usual deadline applies, but you don’t have to respond as a comment. Instead, complete the ballot on Google Forms by 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 24 (note the extended deadline).