Read & Respond w2: Getting Started

August 22, 2019

How do I do these?

First, an overview of how these will typically work. I’ll put up a post here every Thursday afternoon with a Readings section and a Personal section.

  • Readings will consist of links on the week’s theme. You are required to post a response to these readings no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday. You’ll post that response as a comment in reply to the week’s Read & Respond blog post (like this one). If there are no readings, this section will say so. There’s no set word count, but they should be long enough to meaningfully address the week’s subject. You don’t need to cite ALL the links, but you do need relevant material from several of them.
  • Personal will explain any requirements (specific content, structure, due dates) for the next week’s personal blog posts. If there are no specific requirements, this section will say so.

Now on with this week’s assignment!

As you work to develop your blog’s focus, consider a suggestion from Mark Briggs’ “Journalism Next“: “It’s not about you” (remember: “Nobody Cares”). What can you write about that gets beyond yourself and meaningfully adds to the ongoing conversation? How can you identify a community with issues that you can participate in and cover? See what examples you can draw from the links below to bolster your ideas.

Now read The Case Against News We Can Choose. This is a classic piece from 2010 by journalist Ted Koppel that gets into those filter bubble and “Daily Me” issues that persist today.

After that, pick a few blogs from this list. Focus on structure, not subject: 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?

  • Coal Tattoo (this WV blog has been dormant since mid-2018, but it’s still one of the best examples of covering a community and its issue, and its author, Ken Ward Jr., is a WVU alum! Check out his Twitter account)
  • The New York Times’ blog directory (pick one or two)
  • Talking Points Memo (politics)
  • Deadspin (sports news without access, favor or discretion – feel free to explore the other Gizmodo blogs linked at the top instead)
  • Footnoted (corporate filings, but don’t automatically skip for that reason – great example of mining a REALLY specific focus)
  • DailyKos (VERY liberal and opinionated but also one of the oldest blogs still thriving today)
  • SCOTUSblog (law blog about the Supreme Court and its decisions – they’re on Twitter too)
  • AP Style Blog (fewer links and more expertise-driven than you’ll be doing in class, but notice how timely its posts are – their Twitter feed is often funny)

I’d like you to identify some techniques from the blogs you’ve read and discuss how they could be applied to your concept and first post. In addition, are there any other blogs you’d suggest? 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 25. A few things to make sure of:

  • You’ll be posting from your WordPress account, so make sure you’re logged in! If your name isn’t clear from your username, please add it in to the post (so you can get credit).
  • Remember that your first comments won’t show up until I approve them, so don’t panic (but feel free to email me if you’re concerned).
  • Specifically address the readings, but don’t just summarize – build on them!

Welcome to #WVUblogJ for Fall 2019

August 21, 2019

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the fall 2019 semester of JRL 430: Social Media 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, and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

Check this blog regularly for the most up-to-date information on our class (those tabs at the top will provide syllabus, schedule, and other information). If you’re not sure when something’s due, come here first! I’ll be posting your first assignment (for next week!) soon, so check back. Your first read and respond will be posted as well (every Thursday; due Monday night). Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, Twitter holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started!


Welcome to #WVUblogJ for Spring 2019

January 8, 2019

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the fall semester of JRL 430: Social Media 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, and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

Let’s kick things off with a subject I’m sure you haven’t heard much about: President Trump. Our president is known for his Twitter use, and he’s got a substantial following, but the news media also amplifies that following by covering every tweet he makes. The question we’ve been asking since his inauguration: Should it?

On the one hand, IT’S THE PRESIDENT. Presidential statements have traditionally been regarded as inherently newsworthy – “A president’s pronouncements will always be news” – just because of who they come from. That’s pretty straightforward, and it’s the stance of many news organizations left, right and center.

On the other hand, Trump has a habit of being … less than accurate. Further, his statements can be somewhat repetitive, which works fine in a rally speech to deliver in multiple cities but some journalists argue doesn’t necessarily merit a spot on the national stage (consider this

This week, Trump will make a televised plea for his border wall from the Oval Office. After some discussion, most networks will cover it. Should they?

Cynical, perhaps, but not unwarranted.

*shrug*

This next exchange sums up the discussion pretty well:

There’s no easy answer here, but as up-and-coming mass communicators, this is the media world you’re inheriting. What will your role be in it?

Back to course details! Check this blog regularly for the most up-to-date information on our class. If you’re not sure when something’s due, come here first! I’ll be posting your first assignment (for next week!) soon, so check back. Your first read and respond will be posted as well (every Friday; due Monday night). Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, Twitter holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started!


Welcome to #WVUblogJ for Fall 2018

August 15, 2018

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the fall semester of JRL 430: Social Media 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, this is the media world you’re inheriting. What will your role be in it?

Check this blog regularly for the most up-to-date information on our class. If you’re not sure when something’s due, come here first! I’ll be posting your first assignment (for next week!) soon, so check back. Your first read and respond will be posted as well (every Thursday; due Sunday night). 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!


How-to: Setting Up Your WordPress Blog

January 18, 2017

Here we go! Today in class, we’ll get our blogs up and running (don’t worry, you won’t be posting anything for real until Sunday). Follow the handy steps below to get started – feel free to stick with me or dash ahead.

  1. We’ll be using WordPress (http://wordpress.com).
  2. Click the “Sign up” link (at top)
  3. Enter the required information (username, password, email)
  4. Give your blog a name
    • The format is YOURNAME.wordpress.com
    • May take a couple tries to find one not taken
  5. Once you’ve got a blog …
    • Post!
      1. Log in & in the top infobar click “New Post”
      2. 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”.
    •  Publish!
      1. Click the big blue “Publish” button in the right menu
      2. 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
      3. Don’t like what you have? Scroll to the bottom of your post and click “edit” and make the changes you want.
  1. Publicity (Publicize > Settings)
    1. You can link your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path accounts
    2. Linked blogs can publish automatically to these
  2. 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)

 

For Week 3 (this isn’t an assignment, it’s what you’ll be doing every week):

  • Make your two posts (you’ve already written one)
  • Weekly posts must go up between Monday and Thursday during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to earn credit
  • Create a descriptive “About” page for your blog – due 11:59 p.m. Sun., Aug. 28

Assignment #2: The About Page

January 17, 2017

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:

For Wednesday, January 18:

You’ll be writing two things: 1) An About page, and 2) a first post (bring both, printed, to Wednesday’s class – these must be printed by the start of class or they will be marked late and will lose a letter grade). Some things you’ll need to include:

  • 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!

For Sunday, January 22:

After revising in our Wednesday class, create an About page on your blog (we’ll create blogs in Wednesday’s class) and 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.

In your dashboard:

  1. Pages > Add New
  2. Title: “About” or “About This Blog”
  3. Write some appropriate “about” content (you can update this as your blog grows)
  4. Publish!

Due: 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 (must post comment TO THIS POST by this time)


Read & Respond week 2: Getting Started

January 12, 2017

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 put up a post here around noon on Thursdays 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.

Why blogs and journalism need each other (note: This is OLD – from 2003! – so consider how its argument has held up over time)

The Case Against News We Can Choose

Why you should blog

How NOT to blog

You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than 11:59 p.m. TUESDAY (later deadline due to MLK holiday), January 17. 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!