The Group Blog Project (fall 2018)

October 10, 2018

Beginning in two weeks (Sunday, October 21) and continuing through the end of the term, you’ll create, maintain, and promote a group blog that tackles a local and contemporary trend, topic, or theme in a journalistic way. You’ve already been assigned a team, started brainstorming and written your first post, but now it’s time for greater specifics. You will:

  1. Identify, connect with and engage a community of interest in Morgantown
  2. Provide original content for that community through your own reporting and analysis

This is a team project requiring everyone’s strengths. The result should be a robust and engaging addition to your portfolio that will set you apart in the job market. If everyone does their own thing and there is no cohesive focus to the blog, you will do poorly.

Don’t. Just don’t.

This list gets a little bigger every semester, so read it carefully if you want to earn points for your work.

  • There will be no restaurant, local entertainment, advice, or graduation-themed posts unless specifically approved by Prof. Britten (they won’t be).
  • No “here is a place/thing” or “this event/group exists” posts. All these elements may be involved with a post, but the focus should always be on specific issues.
  • Do not make your blog a list of community calendar events or recommendations for local places to check out.
  • Blogs focused on personality profiles are not recommended.
  • Unsourced lists are frowned upon.
  • Do not use clichés such as “eclectic” or “something for everyone” – define a focus and an audience.
  • Posting recipes will bring swift retribution.

Weekly requirements:

You will be judged on the frequency and quality of your posts, comments, and other demonstrable contributions to your online publication. In addition, if your teammates report you’ve become a significant asset (or weakness), that matters as well.

  • Individual posts: Every person is expected to post at least once per week, and each blog is expected to have a post every weekday.  Your groups must each arrange and follow a posting schedule to ensure regular updates throughout the week (Monday-Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or Monday-Friday if you have five members). If you miss your scheduled deadlines, you will get lowered (or no) credit for that post.
  • Weekly group budget: By 5 p.m. every Sunday (beginning October 21; ending November 25), each group will email me a single budget for the current week and following week. It must include the following:
    • Current week: Which stories are you going to run, when (day, date & time), who will write each, and a brief description of each story, the specific information sources it is using, and why it’s of interest to your community.
    • Following week: Same information as above, but likely with less detail.
    • Longer term: Identify which big or longer-term stories you are pursuing.
    • Promotion: What will your group do this week to publicize your blog and connect to a larger community? (This might involve posting to social media but should also involve HOW you post – experiment with time, wording, etc.)
  • Weekly personal memo: By 9 p.m. every Saturday (beginning October 26; ending November 30), each person will send me a weekly memo assessing your work so far and what’s to come. It must include the following:
    • Post: Provide details and links to your work.
    • Comments: You will make 5 meaningful comments per week(not all on the same day!), divided between your group blog, other class blogs, and some outside blogs of interest (which is good way of attracting like-minded bloggers to your site). Link to these in your weekly memo.
    • Added Value: A plain-text post adds only one level to the conversation. That’s the minimum, so doing only that will earn you the minimum grade. I expect to see you using your skills with links, images, maps, audio, wikis, and more, as well as integrating the site and its promotion into other social media like Facebook and Twitter (provide links).
    • Your Grade: Provide an honest grade for your work in the preceding week as a percentage score (e.g., 82%). Base your grade only on that week, and include an explanation of why you have earned the grade you propose.
    • Group Grade: Provide an honest grade for your group as a percentage score, and explain where the group struggled or excelled in the preceding week.

How You’re Evaluated:

As noted above, each Saturday (beginning October 26) every student will send me an e-mail memo assessing the previous week. You’ll also include short updates on your experience thus far and your blogging plans for the week ahead. I use this to grade your quality of work, so if you’ve done more than just post, tell me about it!

You’ll get a grade for each week’s worth of work, which includes your weekly post, contribution to the group memo, and any extra work you do (note this in your memo). If you like to think in terms of points, imagine that I score in roughly the following way:

  • 40%: Content — Is it interesting? Relevant to your blog’s focus? Fresh?
  • 30%: Connection — Quality and relevance of the link(s) you included in the post
  • 30%: Mechanics — Grammar, spelling, punctuation and appropriate style
  • Bonus points! … for HTML, outside comments, etc.—beyond-the-call stuff. If you’re the editor-in-chief or have other special duties, let me know!

Because you’re each only expected to post once a week (more is allowed), I’ll expect the writing and ideas to be especially sharp – we’re not looking for long reviews. What matters more than the number of posts is the overall quality of the body of work.

First due dates:

  • Initial blog concept proposal (one page of overview, one page of posts from each member, and a tentative schedule) due as a single six-page packet from the group in class Monday, October 1.
  • First post from each member (printed, with links and images/media indicated in brackets) due Monday, October 8 – UPDATE: Wednesday, October 10.
  • revised blog concept packet – based on the packet above and incorporating feedback from me and the group – due in class Wednesday, October 17. 
  • Your group blog’s About page with a focused mission statement must be posted by Friday, October 19. (post the URL as a comment to this post)
  • First budget: Email me this list of topics and dates for your first two weeks of postings (see above for explanation). It’s your first week, so this may change, but it must be thorough and complete – due 5 p.m. Sunday, October 21.
  • Your group’s first post: Must be posted between 10a – 4p, Monday, October 22.

Group Assignments

Available here.

One more thing:

In addition to creating a blog, you’ll need to add all your group’s members as authors (you may all be administrators or just choose one member for this role). Follow these steps:

  • In Dashboard, select “Users” from the left bar
  • Under “Invite New,” enter the new user’s preferred email address
  • Choose the new user’s role (contributor, administrator, editor, or author)
  • Click “Add user”

Group Blog Teams (fall 2018)

September 24, 2018

Sorting for your fall 2018 group blog teams is now complete! 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. Today in class, you will meet in your groups to solidify your concepts and start identifying stories.

Group 1: NAME TK

  • Kenna Richards
  • Alexis Piatkowski
  • Megan Irwin
  • Dan Walsh

Group 2: NAME TK

  • Marshall Kesterson
  • AJ Barnes
  • Brooke Hawthorne
  • Aaron Host
  • Christine Robinson

Group 3: NAME TK

  • Katie Forcade
  • Patrick Kotnik
  • Xavier Leroy
  • Olivia VanHorn

Group 4: NAME TK

  • Erica Young
  • Brie Autry
  • Alex Balog
  • Taylor Brown
  • Te’a DiNapoli

 

Group Blog Planning Assignment #2

In today’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 Monday, Oct. 1, 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 SIX short story pitches. These must be complete sentences. The stories you pitch should be specific, explain why we should care and suggest several potential sources with contact information.
  • 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 Monday’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.


Group Blogs: Pitching Your Ideas

September 17, 2018

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 finalize in class. Use the group blogs you reviewed in this week’s read & respond to identify ideas you think will work (and those you think NEED work).

Post a comment (to this post) with a pitch for a group blog concept by 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 19. 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.
  • A tentative title for this blog concept
  • 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?” Include at least two potential sources for each!

We’ll go through these comments in our next class. By the end of class, you must 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. This will determine who you’ll be working with for the last five weeks of the semester, so make your best case!


The Group Blog Project (spring 2017)

March 15, 2017

Beginning in two weeks (Sunday, March 26) and continuing through the end of the term, you’ll create, maintain, and promote a group blog that tackles a local and contemporary trend, topic, or theme in a journalistic way. You’ve already been assigned a team and started brainstorming, but now it’s time for greater specifics. You will:

  1. Identify, connect with and engage a community of interest in Morgantown
  2. Provide original content for that community through your own reporting and analysis

This is a team project requiring everyone’s strengths. The result should be a robust and engaging addition to your portfolio that will set you apart in the job market. If everyone does their own thing and there is no cohesive focus to the blog, you will do poorly.

Don’t. Just don’t.

Read this carefully if you want to earn points for your work. There will be no restaurant, local entertainment, advice, or graduation-themed blogs unless specifically approved by Prof. Britten (they won’t be). Do not make your blog a list of community calendar events or recommendations for local places to check out. Blogs focused on personality profiles are not recommended. Unsourced lists are frowned upon. Do not use clichés such as “eclectic” or “something for everyone” – define a focus and an audience. Posting recipes will bring swift retribution.

Weekly requirements:

You will be judged on the frequency and quality of your posts, comments, and other demonstrable contributions to your online publication. In addition, if your teammates report you’ve become a significant asset (or weakness), that matters as well.

  • Individual posts: Every person is expected to post at least once per week, and each blog is expected to have a post every weekday.  Your groups must each arrange and follow a posting schedule to ensure regular updates throughout the week (Monday-Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or Monday-Friday if you have five members). If you miss your scheduled deadlines, you will get lowered (or no) credit for that post.
  • Weekly group budget: By 5 p.m. every Sunday (beginning March 26), each group will email me a single budget for the current week and following week. It must include the following:
    • Current week: Which stories are you going to run, when (day, date & time), who will write each, and a brief description of each story, the specific information sources it is using, and why it’s of interest to your community.
    • Following week: Same information as above, but likely with less detail.
    • Longer term: Identify which big or longer-term stories you are pursuing.
    • Promotion: What will your group do this week to publicize your blog and connect to a larger community? (This might involve posting to social media but should also involve HOW you post – experiment with time, wording, etc.)
  • Weekly personal memo: By 9 p.m. every Saturday (beginning April 1), each person will send me a weekly memo assessing your work so far and what’s to come. It must include the following:
    • Post: Provide details and links to your work.
    • Comments: You will make 5 meaningful comments per week (not all on the same day!), divided between your group blog, other class blogs, and some outside blogs of interest (which is good way of attracting like-minded bloggers to your site). Link to these in your weekly memo.
    • Added Value: A plain-text post adds only one level to the conversation. That’s not enough. I expect to see you using your skills with links, images, maps, audio, wikis, and more, as well as integrating the site and its promotion into other social media like Facebook and Twitter.
    • Your Grade: Provide an honest grade for your work in the preceding week as a percentage score (e.g., 82%). Base your grade only on that week, and include an explanation of why you have earned the grade you propose.
    • Group Grade: Provide an honest grade for your group as a percentage score, and explain where the group struggled or shined in the preceding week.

How You’re Evaluated:

As noted above, each Saturday (beginning April 1) every student will send me an e-mail memo assessing the previous week. You’ll also include short updates on your experience thus far and your blogging plans for the week ahead. I use this to grade your quality of work, so if you’ve done more than just post, tell me about it!

You’ll get a grade for each week’s worth of work, which includes your weekly post, contribution to the group memo, and any extra work you do (note this in your memo). If you like to think in terms of points, imagine that I score in roughly the following way:

  • 40%: Content — Is it interesting? Relevant to your blog’s focus? Fresh?
  • 30%: Connection — Quality and relevance of the link(s) you included in the post
  • 30%: Mechanics — Grammar, spelling, punctuation and appropriate style
  • Bonus points! … for HTML, outside comments, etc.—beyond-the-call stuff. If you’re the editor-in-chief or have other special duties, let me know!

Because you’re each only expected to post once a week (more is allowed), I’ll expect the writing and ideas to be especially sharp – we’re not looking for long reviews. What matters more than the number of posts is the overall quality of the body of work.

First due dates:

  • Initial blog concept proposal (one page of overview, one page of posts from each member, and a tentative schedule) due as a single six-page packet from the group in class Wednesday, March 15.
  • First post from each member (printed, with links and images/media indicated in brackets) due Monday, March 20.
  • A revised blog concept packet – based on the packet above and incorporating feedback from me and the group – due in class Wednesday, March 22.
  • Your group blog’s About page with a focused mission statement must be posted by Friday, March 24. (post the URL as a comment to this post)
  • First budget: Email me this list of topics and dates for your first two weeks of postings (see above for explanation). It’s your first week, so this may change, but it must be thorough and complete – due 5 p.m. Sunday, March 26.
  • Your group’s first post: Must be posted between 10a – 4p, Monday, March 27.

Group Assignments

Available here.

One more thing:

In addition to creating a blog, you’ll need to add all your group’s members as authors (you may all be administrators or just choose one member for this role). Follow these steps:

  • In Dashboard, select “Users” from the left bar
  • Under “Invite New,” enter the new user’s preferred email address
  • Choose the new user’s role (contributor, administrator, editor, or author)
  • Click “Add user”

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.


Your Group Blog Project (fall 2016)

October 12, 2016

Beginning in two weeks (Sunday, October 23) and continuing through the end of the term, you’ll create, maintain, and promote a group blog that tackles a local and contemporary trend, topic, or theme in a journalistic way. You’ve already been assigned a team and started brainstorming, but now it’s time for greater specifics. You will:

  1. Provide original content through your own reporting and analysis
  2. Connect with and engage your community of interest

This is a team project requiring everyone’s strengths. The result should be a robust and engaging addition to your portfolio that will set you apart in the job market. If everyone does their own thing and there is no cohesive focus to the blog, you will do poorly.

Don’t. Just don’t.

There will be no restaurant, local entertainment, advice, or graduation-themed blogs unless specifically approved by Prof. Britten. Blogs focused on profiles are not recommended. Unsourced lists are frowned upon. Do not use clichés such as “eclectic” or “something for everyone” – define a focus and an audience. Posting recipes will bring swift retribution.

Weekly requirements:

You will be judged on the frequency and quality of your posts, comments, and other demonstrable contributions to your online publication. In addition, if your teammates report you’ve become a significant asset (or weakness), that matters as well.

  • Individual posts: Every person is expected to post at least once per week, and each blog is expected to have a post every weekday.  Your groups must each arrange and follow a posting schedule to ensure regular updates throughout the week (Monday-Thursday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.). If you miss your deadlines, you will get lowered (or no) credit for that post.
  • Weekly budget: By 5 p.m. every Sunday (beginning October 23), your group will email me a single budget for the current week and following week. It must include the following:
    • Current week: Which stories are you going to run, when (day, date & time), who will write each, and a brief description of each story.
    • Following week: Same information as above.
    • Longer term: Identify which big or longer-term stories you are pursuing.
    • Promotion: What will your group do this week to publicize your blog and connect to a larger community? (This might involve posting to social media but should also involve HOW you post – experiment with time, wording, etc.)
  • Weekly memo: By 9 p.m. every Sunday (beginning October 30), each person will send me a weekly memo assessing your work so far and what’s to come. It must include the following:
    • Post: Provide details and a link to your work.
    • Comments: You will make 5 meaningful comments per week (not all on the same day!), divided between your group blog, other class blogs, and some outside blogs of interest (which is good way of attracting like-minded bloggers to your site). Link to these in your weekly memo.
    • Added Value: A plain-text post adds only one level to the conversation. That’s not enough. I expect to see you using your skills with links, images, maps, audio, wikis, and more, as well as integrating the site and its promotion into other social media like Facebook and Twitter.
    • Your Grade: Provide an honest grade for your work in the preceding week as a percentage score (e.g., 82%). Base your grade only on that week, and include an explanation of why you have earned the grade you propose.
    • Group Grade: Provide an honest grade for your group as a percentage score, and explain where the group struggled or shined in the preceding week.

How You’re Evaluated:

As noted above, each Sunday (beginning October 30) each student will send me an e-mail memo assessing the previous week. You’ll also include short updates on your experience thus far and your blogging plans for the week ahead. I use this to grade your quality of work, so if you’ve done more than just post, tell me about it!

You’ll get a grade for each week’s worth of work, which includes your weekly post, contribution to the group memo, and any extra work you do (note this in your memo). If you like to think in terms of points, imagine that I score in roughly the following way:

  • 40%: Content — Is it interesting? Relevant to your blog’s focus? Fresh?
  • 30%: Connection — Quality and relevance of the link(s) you included in the post
  • 30%: Mechanics — Grammar, spelling, punctuation and appropriate style
  • Bonus points! … for HTML, outside comments, etc.—beyond-the-call stuff. If you’re the editor-in-chief or have other special duties, let me know!

Because you’re each only expected to post once a week (more is allowed), I’ll expect the writing and ideas to be especially sharp – we’re not looking for long reviews. What matters more than the number of posts is the overall quality of the body of work.

First due dates:

  • A revised blog concept statement (your “About” page) and list of five possible ideas for your first posts (one page from each member) – due as a single six-page packet from the group in-class Monday, October 17
  • Your group blog’s URL and About page with a focused mission statement – must be posted (email the URL) by the start of class Wednesday, October 19
  • First budget: Email me this list of topics and dates for your first two weeks of postings (see above for explanation). It’s your first week, so this may change, but it must be thorough and complete – due 5 p.m. Sunday, October 23
  • Your group’s first post: Must be posted between 9a – 4p, Monday, October 24

Group Assignments

Available here.

One more thing:

In addition to creating a blog, you’ll need to add all your group’s members as authors (you may all be administrators or just choose one member for this role). Follow these steps:

  • In Dashboard, select “Users” from the left bar
  • Under “Invite New,” enter the new user’s preferred email address
  • Choose the new user’s role (contributor, administrator, editor, or author)
  • Click “Add user”

Group Blog Teams (fall 2016)

October 3, 2016

Here they are, your group blog teams for fall 2016! 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. Regardless, you’re in this boat together now, so get to know each other!

Group 1

  • Carly
  • Kameron
  • Brittany
  • Sasha

Group 2

  • Carolina
  • Jay
  • Michala
  • Lydia

Group 3

  • Bobby
  • Ryan
  • Jaz
  • Alexa

Group 4

  • Jordan
  • Andrew
  • Clarissa
  • Sarah

In today’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. Next Monday, Oct. 10, 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 Monday’s class (or the group will receive a deduction). NOTE: Don’t create an actual blog on WordPress yet – that comes later.