Portfolio One ~ Learning the Basics
This portfolio includes work from the first few weeks of our EL227 Newswriting class at Seton Hill University. In this class, we are learning the basics about newswriting as well as attempting some small exercises that simulates having to write for a newspaper. The blogs I have listed below are my opinions and thoughts on some of the topics we have been discussing as well as reactions to some activities and exercises.
While I was creating this portfolio, I could see through each blog where I was learning something new and beginning to apply it. I personally have never had any experience with studying or practicing newswriting. In high school, I was always irritated with the poorly written articles our school newspaper had because most of the editors let their best friends' last minute articles slide so they could get a decen grade. I wanted to write for the paper, but it never fit into my schedule, so I kept my complaints and buisness to myself.
When I realized I had to take a Newswriting class for my major, I was kind of excited. Journalism was something I had always had somewhat of an interest in, but as I mentioned above, I never had a chance to try. Even though our world has turned into a digital one, I still like the newspaper and physically having it to read. Also, I was always interested in what all you could do with newswriting. I saw it as a tool that reported the good and the bad, as well as caused change. I always loved the news stories that managed to stir up some hidden dirt about topics that huge companies, politicians, etc, tried to keep hidden from the public. Although I don't believe in digging in people's personal buisness, I think if it's something that is harming a community for just a small group's benefit, then something needs to be pointed out and brought up. But then again, I need to know the reality of newswriting, that it's not always that blockbuster journalism that's so interesting but it also includes the obituaries, bus plunge stories, old news, and wrongly informed news.
I think this portfolio really shows the foundation we as a class are laying for our experiences at attempting to write some articles for a newspaper. We're starting with the basic building blocks by learning the "do" and "do nots" and some possible "what if"s. Overall, although I do feel that there has been some repetition on some simple issues, I feel that I am beginning to understand some concepts of journalism more clearly. Take a look at my blogs and let me know what you think!
~ Coverage ~
This is mainly to get you started with my portfolio. It's sort of an example of how our blogging works for this class.
-- Reflecting More Than Just the One Who Passed Away - An obituary can reveal not only information about the one who passes away, but it also shows the personality of those who were related to or friends with the person.
-- Cappon Chopping and Condensing Crazy Sentences - Cappon has a field day editing long sentences.
~ Depth ~
These blogs are ones I put more time than usual into because I was really interested in the topic.
-- News, Roger and I: An Old, But Not Forgotten Friendship - I had some run ins with the news throughout highschool, but this particular experience left a lasting negative impression. By the way, check out the headline that is on the actual webpage, it's a little obvious that I made a mistake.
-- Their Writing Makes Reading Effortless - The better the writing is, the more you can concentrate on the content rather than the style and grammar. Especially if you're an English major.
-- Ending Statements - I compared two bus plunge stories togehter and took a closer look not only at their overall content, but especially at the ending lines.
-- Pitch One, Hit Another - When it comes to pitching news story ideas, the key is to keep trying and working your idea. For me, I find (at least with my paper topics) that sometimes when I pursue one idea, it leads me to another one that is much more interesting.
~ Interaction ~
This is the category where I need the most improvement. Unfortunately with blogging, I tend to have the bad habit of "Out of sight, out of mind". In other words, once I finish a blog, I usually forget to check back later for possible discussions that might be taking place because of what I wrote. For the next portfolio, my goal is to improve in this category to see if I can get some stronger discussions taking place. Also included in this category are comments I have left on others' blogs.
--Bright Points and Nut Graphs - Every story, no matter how depressing the news might be, has to have a bright point in order to give the readers some sort of relief. By the way, what's a nut graph?
~ Discussions ~
Below are examples of when discussion did take place on some of my blogs. Although I do have more for this category, I still would like to improve it more by becoming more a part of the discussion rather than just allowing others to discuss what I wrote without my additional input as well.
-- Applying the Rules - Our class was given a handout about some of the AP styles and rules that we were to learn and to a few sample sentences on our course website. Take a look and see if you agree with the changes I have made.
-- Somewhat Vague - The more information you can put into citing sources, especially for statistics, the better.
-- Tune In For Breaking Guesstiments - Even though i t is an exaggerated video, it helps to show how the need for speed when it comes to developing news stories sometimes overshadows the need for factual information.
-- What About the Person Getting Profiled - I can understand if the person is unavaible to be interviewed (deceased), but if they are still living shouldn't they be interviewed for their own profile?
-- A Serious Topic Just for Wasted Space - Even though it seems funny (at least to those with a dark humor) to fill up empty space in a newspaper with bus plunge stories, it's also important to remember that they are serious as well.
~ Timeliness ~
For the most part my blogs were on time. After a few semesters of blogging, I have come to realize that the earlier I can post a blog on the course website, the more people will tend to look at it and comment on it.
---- Bringing Personality to Writing (But Not Your Own) - As a reporter, you can't put your own opinions or anything that reveals your personality in your writing.
-- Personality Through the Writing - Even though as a reporter you can't put your own personality in your writing, you can bring out the personality of who you are writing about.
-- I Like the Difference- Newswriting is a nice break from the usual essay writing.
~ Xenoblogging ~
With a fair amount of our information being online (such as additional websites instead of handouts in class), I found myself linking to a lot of different sources as well as to other classmates' blogs. I like this aspect of blogging because when I go back to look at what I have written, most of the sources I referred to at the time are all linked to my blog and ready to be accessed.
-- Presentation Reviews- We all had to talk about our relationship to the news. Here is my group discussed. Check out their blogs for their projects!
-- WTAE News...More News Than What I Thought - When I looked back on this blog, especially after our class discussion, I realized even though I thought there had been a decent amount of information on the TV news that night, there really wasn't.
-- A Famous Person Has Died...I Think My Life Will Go On The Same - I think I manage to continue on with my life pretty well even when a celebrity passes away.
-- A Little Sarcastic- We had an article to read that was written about the news gathering process by someone who had been on the inside for years. Although there were several good points of information, his sarcasm kind of created a fine line between what was fact and what was opinion.
~ Wildcard ~
For my wildcard, I chose to make an extra blog about a quick, yet interesting conversation I had last week at work. Check out what someone else had to say about the news in "I Must Be Getting Old".
I hope you found some interesting topics in the blogs I have created and that you joined in somewhere in the conversations. As we continue to learn more about newswriting, hopefully even more will be added in for the next portfolio. Thanks again for taking the time to read some of my writing!