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).


Read & Respond week 13 – Video

April 6, 2017

This week’s readings are mostly viewings. To start, though, let’s have a moment of silence for Vine. The six-second-video-sharing app is owned by Twitter, which in October announced plans to shut it down. In a nutshell, Vine could be used to create and share a six-second clip of anything … just how useful can that be?

There are several possible reasons. For one, Twitter has been scaling back in the hopes of turning a profit. For another, livestreaming apps have horned in on its territory. Periscope (also owned by Twitter) is popular and defeated competition like Meerkat, and Facebook Live is perhaps even more popular; one mark in Facebook Live’s favor is the use of the social networking giant’s ability to note popularity of specific points in a stream through viewer likes and reactions. This is our current social media world: Ideas live, they die, they live again (but under new management).

So how do you livestream? The Providence Journal has some suggestions, as does HuffPost. Is livestreaming something you’d try? How can we apply this to the practice of journalism, and what are its problems?

Before Wednesday’s class (we’ll be editing podcasts on Monday), give livestreaming a try. Take a few minutes on Facebook Live to broadcast something you’d like to share – it’s a good idea to tell your followers in advance so interested parties can check it out – and see what you think. We’ll discuss!

Post your responses in a comment to this post by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, April 9.


Read & Respond week 12 – Audio

March 30, 2017

When we think blogging, we think writing. Recent weeks have emphasized images and other tools, but things still seem to come back to the written word. Briggs, in this week’s chapter, proposes some ways to emphasize sound over sight. We’ll focus on one: Podcasting. This semester, for the first time, we’ve got a fully functional podcasting studio, and our class will be the ones to break it in (and hopefully not just break it). Read on, and think about what you might have to say.

A podcast is essentially an audio blog. Instead of reading, you can download and listen, which is helpful if you like to do your “reading” while exercising, cooking, or doing something else. The process can be simple or complex, but it boils down to four basic steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Record
  3. Convert/Upload
  4. Promote

This guide from DigitalTrends gets into more detail, but at minimum you need a theme (and usually some guests), a topic, a mic, and a (free) copy of Audacity; anything more can give a cleaner, more polished product but isn’t absolutely necessary.

Audiences listen to podcasts via apps such as Stitcher (free), iTunes, or just listening to them streaming online. Consider these examples of the form:

Your response this week should be enjoyable: Listen to some podcasts, especially if you never have. Pick some from the links above, or find some of your own (Buzzfeed has its own list of the ones you should be listening to). How do these (and Briggs’ other audio subject) inform your work? Have you now decided blogging is dead, and you’re going to become a podcaster instead?

Most importantly, what’s a subject (ideally one relevant to your group blog) you could see running an approximately 10-minute podcast on? Would you have guests, or would it just be you and your groupmates? What are some questions/topics you can set up in advance to avoid the dreaded Dead Air? Post your responses by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 2.


Read & Respond week 11: Images

March 23, 2017

This week is all about visuals. In Briggs’ chapter on visual storytelling, think about his advice and note the example experts he gives. Some of you have been incorporating visuals into your work from the start, and others have yet to do so. Regardless of your use of visuals so far, how might your blogs tell a story that is more visual than textual? Yes, photos are ONE possibility – what are others? Skim around this list and identify some options you might be able to apply to making your blogging more visual.

Photos:

  • Some of you are photographers. Many of you aren’t. Here’s a crash course on using a point-and-shoot camera for your blog (from Mindy McAdams’ excellent Journalists’ Toolkit)
  • Photoblogs: These blog-like formats are focused on image sharing. Sites like Cake Wrecks hit big a few years back, but there are more serious efforts like the Boston Globe’s The Big Picture.
  • Tumblr provides a resource for frictionless sharing of images and simple ways for fans to share and interact. Check out what was hot on Tumblr in 2016 – there’s some funny, weird trend information here, but you need to click around a bit (try the “year in review” link to get started – it’ll take a moment to load up).

Graphics:

GIFs:

Sure, they’re short and silly, but journalists use them too. Is confining an idea to a seconds-long clip any stranger than limiting it to a 140-character tweet, or a six-second Vine?

Remember, your responses are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 6, as a comment to this post.


Read & Respond week 10 – Comment Culture

March 16, 2017

This week we’ll be talking about talking: How to get people talking about your work (promotion) and how to deal with those who are talking about it (commenters). The links you’ll be looking through touch on each of these areas. Lots of material here, so skim to the stuff that serves you.

Promotion

  • How do you promote your blog? Start with this list – we’ve already discussed several (commenting elsewhere; building long-term content). Pay particular attention to the Rule of 100.
  • Learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Jeff Goins offers some tactics for writing SEO heds and posts, but beware – there can be a fine line between SEO and Clickbait.
  • (Then again, maybe it’s all Clickbait…)
  • Are you using Twitter as a tool or still just tweeting about mozzarella sticks with your buddies? If you just can’t adulterate your personal account, consider making a separate one to get your professional name out there.

Comments

Remember to respond to these readings in a comment to this post by  11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 19. More importantly, come prepared to discuss these examples and, ideally, some of your own.


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.


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.