Pitch your group blog ideas

September 26, 2016

For the final third of the semester (weeks 11-15), you will be 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 go over next week. You’ll be reading through some group blogs on the sidebar for next week’s read and respond, so you might want to get a head start on those now.

Post a comment (to this post) with a pitch for a group blog concept by 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 28. 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.
  • 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?”

In addition, read through the comments by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. Post at least one comment to a description that you’d be interested in contributing to, and let them creator know what you’d bring to the table.


Your Group Blog Project (2016)

March 7, 2016

Beginning in two weeks (Sunday, March 27) 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. 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-Friday 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 March 27), 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 April 3), 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 April 3) 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 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, March 14
  • 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, March 16
  • 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 27
  • Your group’s first post: Must be posted between 9a – 4p, Monday, March 28

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

February 29, 2016

Here they are, your group blog teams for 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

  • Ashley
  • Sierra
  • Angie
  • Kaitlin D.
  • Audrie

Group 2

  • John Mark
  • Craig
  • Emily E.
  • Kaitlyn P.
  • Patrick

Group 3

  • Jade
  • Preston
  • Corey
  • Caitlin W.
  • Molly

Group 4

  • David
  • Kristen
  • Sarah E.
  • Matt
  • Emily M.

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, March 7, your group will present its concept, along with a list of story pitches (at least two from each member) and a tentative schedule (don’t create an actual blog on WordPress yet – that comes later).


Getting started with your group blogs

February 22, 2016

For the final third of the semester (weeks 11-15), you will be 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 go over next week. You’ll be reading through some group blogs on the sidebar for next week’s read and respond, so you might want to get a head start on those now.

Post a comment (to this post) with a pitch for a group blog concept by 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 24. 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.
  • 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?”

In addition, read through the comments by 11:59 p.m. Friday, February 26. Post at least one comment to a description that you’d be interested in contributing to, and let them creator know what you’d bring to the table.


Your Group Blog Project

March 11, 2015

Beginning in two weeks (Monday, March 30) 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 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. 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 be cause for execution.

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. Your groups must each arrange and follow a posting schedule to ensure regular updates throughout the week (Monday-Friday 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: Every Sunday (beginning March 29), your group will email me a single budget for the current week and following week. It will 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: Each person will send this every Sunday (beginning April 5)
    • 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.

How You’re Evaluated:

Each Sunday (beginning April 5), each student will send me an e-mail memo with links to your posts and comments from the previous week. You’ll also include short updates on your experience from the past week and your blogging plans for the week ahead. I use this to grade your quality of work, so if you’ve done more than 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 blog concept statement and list of five possible ideas for your first posts (from each student) – due as a single six-page packet in-class Monday, March 16
  • 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, March 18
  • 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 Sunday, March 29
  • Your group’s first post: Must be posted between 9a – 4p, Monday, March 30

Group Assignments

  • Group 1: Abdulaziz, Renata, Kristen, Lauren, Collen
  • Group 2: Carley, Sierra, Karly, Mike, Logan
  • Group 3: Chad, Alex, Paige, Sara, Tyler
  • Group 4: Dillon, Joe, Steven, Matt, Ryan

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”

Introducing the group blogs for 2013

October 21, 2013

Here they are: This semester’s group blog projects. Today is the first day of posting, so there’s not yet much content, but I’ve provided links and synopses below. As in the past, they’ll also appear in the right-hand sidebar under “2. Group Blogs.” Have a look at what’s on the way.

AlmostHeaven Entertainment: We’re aiming to bring you information on all things related to arts and entertainment in and around Morgantown.

Morgantown Problems: Our blog is about the issues facing Morgantown and how residents and local officials are working to solve these issues to make Morgantown an even better place to live.

Morgantown Man Cave: Six of Morgantown’s manliest men have joined forces to inform readers about people, places and events in sports, gaming, music and other areas of entertainment in Morgantown.

The Cap, the Gown & The Pursuit of Happiness: A blog designed to educate senior undergraduates and graduate students on the well-known and little-known steps to get to graduation.


Introducing the Group Blog Project!

October 10, 2013

Beginning in two weeks (Monday, October 22) 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 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. It’s up to your group to make sure everyone’s strengths are brought into play. The result should be not just an interesting conversation piece, but a robust and engaging addition to your portfolio that will set you apart in the job market.

This is not a general interest assignment. You will avoid words such as “eclectic” and phrases such as “something for everyone.” Your task is to develop a clear focus on some specific topic of interest to a Morgantown-based community. If everyone does their own thing and there is no cohesive focus to the blog, you will do poorly.

There will be no restaurant reviews. No advice blogs. Unsourced lists are frowned upon.

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.

Weekly requirements:

  • Individual posts: Every person is expected to post at least once per week. Your groups must each arrange and follow a posting schedule to ensure regular updates throughout the week (Monday-Friday 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: Every Sunday (beginning October 20), your group will email me a single budget for the current week and following week (this is part of your group’s grade). It will 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.)
  • Comments: You should be reading your group’s blog every day. 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).
  • 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.

How You’re Evaluated:

Each Sunday (beginning October 27), each student will send me an e-mail memo with links to your posts and comments from the previous week. You’ll also include short updates on your experience from the past week and your blogging plans for the week ahead.

You’ll get a grade for each week’s worth of work (√, √+, √-), which includes your weekly post 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.

Bottom line: Be passionate about blogging. Learn from your mistakes. Just have fun in the process. And you’ll be fine.

First due dates:

  • A blog concept statement and list of five possible ideas for your first posts (from each student) – due in-class Thursday, October 17
  • Your group blog’s URL and 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 Sunday, October 20
  • Your group’s first post: A focused mission statement and About page for the blog must be posted by noon, Monday, October 21 (this is in addition to weekly posts)

Group Assignments

  • Group 1: Eva, Zak, Ian, Rachel, Ilyssa
  • Group 2: Whitney, Emily, Karlea, Maddi, Bryan
  • Group 3: Kevin, Tim, Trent, Ryan F. Mike, Ryan G.
  • Group 4: Samantha, Abigail, Natalie, Charles, Dan

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:

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