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November 2006 Archives

November 1, 2006

CST: Pre-Game Outline

I drafted my game out on paper and here is the outline. I did the same thing for the Family Guy Game and found it to be very helpful. I also did something similar when playing an interactive fiction game during J-term last year for the MWG: Videogaming class. Visuals help you figure out the logistics before stepping into the realm of the software.

phar Ar Cor1s4n.JPG

November 2, 2006

CST: Progress Report 1...

Project 1 is supposed to teach an aspect of the Catholic Social Teaching, and after a lengthy amount of research and some equally long brainstorming sessions I narrowed down my ideas. I decided to develop an interactive fiction game because right now that is about the only thing I feel I would have enough time to create and actually be proud of my work (not a big fan of doing half-effort work). Time has been my main problem...this is crunch time. Flash has been kicking my butt recently, and I just can't seem to get it. Last night I just stopped working on it {FLASH} and focused on my CST project instead.

CST Screeshot.JPG

As much as I wanted to avoid making this game for children, it looks as though I must. I can't see any way of making a game that is appealing enough to adults and kids that it holds both audiences interests. There is a definitive line between making kids games and making adult games. An even more complicated monkey wrench gets thrown into the mix because of the CST theme incorporation. This whole experience has certainly been a challenge. I guess there is the possibility that I could make this game with a kiddy atmosphere/story and then later jazz it up to make it comical for adults, but I worry so much about overstepping my bounds and offending. I feel like kids game is the safe route when dealing with the CST.

My main focus is storyboarding (so to speak) the rest of my IF game. Right now I have it as being about an owl that attempts to make friends against all odds because he is a loner and he is nocturnal. I am going to have acceptance from his peers be one of the things that I teach as well as sharing and regard for the "poor" (for lack of a better term here) individual. At one point in the game you can find berries and either eat them or save them for later. If you eat them you will lose points, but if you save them and share them with a hungry friend you encounter it will boost your points and make you a friend. This is all very loose and up in the air right now.

Suggestions are welcome, because I feel like I am struggling a bit to bite into this project. I think that I am going to include a Clearing, A River, and a Hut as other areas (rooms) in the game. I don't want it to be too complicated, because I think I can achieve what I want to do with a limited number of rooms, and a heavy amount of object interaction.

November 3, 2006

EL 200: Class Project Action Item...

I originally presented my progress with the web site project on a blog entry (10/30/06) and shared it with the class. I believe this helped to get other people’s wheels turning and narrowed down some of the issues that should be addressed on the web site. I received many comments from my classmates about what they would like to do with the site. In my blog entry, which is listed on this portfolio’s cover page, I mentioned a need to address the AP Style rules for numbers, and capitalization. The third thing that I brought up was the idea of incorporating a variety of leads into the student paper, specifically in the sports section. The links to the resources where we can find this information are also in the blog entry.

Most recently I have narrowed down some ideas that I want to add to my original proposal. It would no doubt be beneficial to have a page that gives tips to writers in the sports section. This year we have had a lot of new writers in the section that seem to be lacking direction and independence. These guides/examples would really help people that are unfamiliar with the format of sports articles. I hope that the writers would look at these boiler plate examples and eventually when they become more confident in their abilities, write using their own style. In this entry I have included several web links that will act as resources for my part of the project. We can pick and choose the most helpful tid-bits of information and feature them on the site.

1. Sports Seminar & RPA - Sports writing's 30 dirty words.
2. Tips on Writing Sports - AP Style sports lingo.
3. SNN Newsroom - Basic information on sports article format.
4. AP Guide to Sports Writing - Book that Setonian may want.

EL 200: Blog Portfolio 3

1. Lab Report
2. Seib Chapter 6
3. Group Project Checkpoint
4. Class Project Action Item

November 4, 2006

Seib Chapter 7 and Afterword...

After reading chapter 7 of Seib's book I felt like my job as a new media journalist was validated. When people ask me about my major in school I usually just tell them journalism, because most people wouldn't know new media journalism's standard definition. This chapter re-affirms that the field of new media journalism is thriving and does need qualified people to work in it. Seib also talks about how access to the internet/computers is becoming a normal thing for most homes to have because the price for computer hardware and internet service providers (ISPs) has gone down considerably. Not to mention the fact that kids today are born with computers in hand. I think back to when I was in grade school and computers were just coming of age.

Oregon Trail and these really lame games made my life, but helped me to learn software. As the years went on I was pretty much self taught. Every trick of the trade I just learned along the way through a process of trial and error and I suppose that is why I am so dependent on computers now. Now that most kids are like this, they are teaching their parents and internet news is cheaper and easier to access. Ok so back to the topic of news. Ending that tangent here. An active internet user is one that is online at least once a month, and in my opinion even that is a stretch. I am online all day long, and I consider that active. It is important to look at global online populations.

chart.JPG

I just took this from the above linked site, and minimized it for the purposes of showing the United States internet use. This chart reinforces Seib's statement that the next generation of children will be computer literate. Seib refers to media mergers as another form of convergence. In recent years Time-Warner and AOL have merged into one corporation. Just this year we saw the merge of Nextel/Sprint into one corporation. Each of these companies deals with a different area of communication, but that further exemplifies the effect that this media movement is having on all areas.

In this chapter Seib also re-visits the idea of new media journalism ethics being a little different than those of print journalism and the importance of defining those differences. The "Drudge Effect" is also brought up again. The idea of interactivity within online news is expressed through the use of Flash Journalism, message boards and chat rooms. There is a certain interactive quality that online news offers and print news cannot.

Horror Movies, Gender Issues and Super Hero Jive...

So here I am on a Saturday afternoon with the goal of doing homework, but instead I am watching Night of the Living Dead. Can I just say that I am really getting back into my zombie and vampire movies at this point in my life (read into that however you want). I mean I really love them and the idea of zombies/vampires in general. Immortality, but of course at a price. George A. Romero is making my life right now! I found it very interesting that when Tony Todd's character Ben comes into the plot he is carrying what apprears to be a steel hay hook as his primary weapon. The reason that this is so cool is because in the movie Candyman, Todd uses the same weapon when he portrays the murdering Daniel Robitaille (Candyman). I am sure this is simply a freaky coincidence due to the fact that the version of The Night of the Living Dead in which Todd appeared was released in 1990, and the Candyman was later released in 1992.

Might try a little horror writing here soon. Right now I am strongly considering writing a screenplay with two of my friends (they don't know yet) and having it center around the idea of sexual vampirism and the lure of the erotic vampire in a serious context. I'm not talking about simply alluding to the common theories surrounding sexual vampirism which are evident in the movie Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood. Though the film does present an interesting modernized yet skewed look at the sexual vampire, I don't think it really does the concept much justice. The film seemed to lump the various theories of sexual vampirism into one concept, which isn't really common considering they are all derived from completely different areas. Rather than only exploring the idea of Lilith, this movie touched on the Succubus, but failed to recognize the male sexual vampire figure in the form of the Incubus.

But who knows where this screenplay/movie idea is really going right now. Just putting that out there as kind of a call for interested parties for a possible crew. Back to Night of the Living Dead for a minute. It was rather neat to watch the film and not that there was a female heroine in the form of Patricia Tallman's character Barbara. I believe that the early 90s was a time when the female lead character/heroine first began to gain popularity with the masses. Today we don't think anything of the idea of strong women in masculine roles, for example Jessica Alba in Dark Angel or Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy the series came out in 1997, Dark Angel in 2002, and if we want to get technical Buffy the movie came out in 1992 (still the 90s though).

Previously in my Art of Film class I analyzed the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The portrayl of Linda Hamilton's character Sarah Conor is something to look into as we try and bring together this theory about female leads emerging in the 90s. Terminator 2: Judgement Day was released in 1991 adding support to the prevoius statement. I kind of wish that I would have at some point picked up a women's studies minor, but then again there are about 4 other areas that I wish I could have dabbled in as well. I think that is about enough on these topics for now considering I have spent the last hour not doing homework and blogging about my thoughts.

November 8, 2006

Flash Progress: Slideshow...

After many long and daunting hours spent in the lab, I have finally gottan results from working on my flash project. Things were just not clicking for me before, and then the other night it was like an explosion of knowledge, and I seemed to be getting it. I decided to make a rather short show, and followed most of the directions given in lesson 10 of our book. There are only a total of five photos, an audio track and right now I am working on the special effects. So far I have all my slides done and I have an mp3 of Rob Zombie's "Living Dead Girl" which I thought was rather fitting. Below I have posted a screenshot of the title slide of my show.

Screenshotzom1.JPG

Right now I am working on scripting buttons that will appear on each slide in case the person viewing the show wants to go back or forward at any time.

November 10, 2006

EL 405 Blog Portfolio III...

This is the third installment of my Blog Portfolio for 2006 Fall Semester: EL 405 New Media Projects. For those of you that did not follow my Blog the prior to now I will give you a brief exposition about me. My name is Leslie Rodriguez and welcome to my weblog sponsored by Movable Type. I am a junior at Seton Hill University and as part of my class and the New Media Journalism program I write and respond with blog entries on various topics.

These entries are then posted for public view on my blog. This entry acts as an introduction to my blog portfolio which includes selected entries that reflect on our in class discussions, published news articles and various texts that Dr.Jerz has assigned. The following topics will be examined and discussed in my blog portfolio:

The Collection
My best blog entries that demonstrate intellectual growth.
Entries are categorized accordingly.

Project 2 & Software Entries

Project 2 Progress Report - An overall look at the progress that I when I swapped projects with Stormy. She fine tuned and added to my IF CST game and I did the same to hers. I listed a few of the major changes that I planned to make as well as those I had already put into action.

Hammer & HalfLife 2 - In this entry I wrote about the in class tutorials we had been doing with HalfLife 2. I also expressed my enjoyment about finally getting to play the game and work on making MODs with zombies, weapons and more importantly and octagon...ohhh!

Beta Test Project 2 - Here I noted what I learned and needed to work on after holding a beta testing session for project 2. The testing involved a classmate as well as a friend of mine outside of class that was unfamiliar with interactive fiction.

Xenoblogging

Comment Grande - A comment left on Puff's blog entry about his HL2 level with the zombie bowling.

Comment Informative - I attempted to leave this comment on Stormy's blog like 6 times today and I am not sure what happened. I keep getting this "DEFINE COMMENT PENDING TEMPLATE" error message, so I will link to the entry here and just past my thoughts on it below. Here is my comment:

"Dude I love you and this was the most awesome entry about being frustrated with interactive fiction. I have also yelled incoherent things at my computer screen while coding. You know I offer you these words no out of sympathy, but empathy. Sometimes interactive fiction is what we in the newspaper business like to call "a bitch!" (little joke). Anyway I can't wait to see what you are doing with my original idea. I know it is going to be great."

Wild Card Entry

Is that a Catholic Social Teaching skill in my dumpster? - In this entry I proposed the idea of creating an interactive fiction game that deals with the idea of dumpster diving and incorporates the Catholic Social Teaching principles.

November 11, 2006

Flash Project Update....Changes

Since my last attempt to work on my Flash show, I have made some signifigant changes to the project. The most recent things that I have edited appear below in two screenshots. The first screenshot is an example of the first scene in my show, and the second is a random middle scene. I have put in the forward buttons on each frame, but still have to import the back/rewind and stop buttons. I have put a button on the last slide that will allow the user to go back to the main screen where the first scene begins and the play button appears. I am having a hard time finding the buttons that match the one I have already used. The library is playing tricks on me I guess. At least I can say that finally I have overcome scripting buttons, and it is only a matter of time until the other ones are added. I chose green buttons b/c that is my fave color.

Pic212212.JPG

I have also changed the layout and color scheme of my show. Another thing I have done is made my pictures display in black and white with a frame around them. I just thought this made it look a little more creepy. I knew that the red background I was using before did not look that great so I changed it to black. Then I felt like there was too much of a contrast between the color photos and the dark atmosphere. The only logical thing to do was make the photos appear in B/W which I think added to the spooky - dead aspect of my zombie pics.

Pic25555.JPG
A concern that I have right now is that the mp3 that I have placed in the show is too long. The show itself is rather short and I would like to make the mp3 match this length. Is there any way that I can edit the content of the mp3 and shorten the song? am not sure what programs I would need to do this. It is a good 30 secs before the actual singing begins and prior to that we hear only a musical intro. The problem is that my show is barely 30 seconds long. I want the line "Living Dead Girl" to play earlier in the show.

Stormy Knight....A True Guitar Hero

A nice pic of Stormy playing the new Guitar Hero at GameStop.
sskgthero.jpg

November 13, 2006

Audacity Mp3 Editing...Flash Show

After a small bit of toying around I learned how to use the software program Audacity rather easily. I agree that it did have a high learning curve, but it was pretty much a trial by error experience. The song that I am using for my Flash slideshow was originally over 3 minutes long, and that wasn't fitting because the show itself was much shorter. I had mentioned before that I only wanted part of the song to play, so I edited it using Audacity and cut it down to 19 seconds, and spliced two parts of the song together. I have to give a shout out to DGJ (Jerz) for making the great reccomendation that I use this program. It was well worth the download.

audio.JPG
I can see myself using this program in the future for other school projects as well as a few personal projects I am working on outside of SHU. It took me a total of 30 minutes to figure out how to splice, split and cut the parts of my song that I didn't need, and that is pretty good in my book. The next thing I plan on doing to finalize my show is possibly changing the title page and making it less boring. Right now I have an annoying white square.

November 15, 2006

Bottoms Up Peter...Professional Advice...

This is the screenshot of an e-mail that I exchanged with Jason Darby, because I was interested in posting my game online. I had planned on expanding the game in the near future on my own time and possibly making it playable for Family Guy fans all over the world. I told Darby that any advice he could offer me would be greatly appreciated. It was nice to see that he offered his time and help to me with this issue.

E-mail Jason.JPG

November 16, 2006

Project II Proposal Revisited...

Originally for Project 2 I was going to either expand on the "Bottoms Up Peter" game that Stormy and I created in TGF2. I had planned to add a few more levels as well as a bonus level that the player could reach if they had obtained a certain amount of points in the game by the last "visible" level. But then the other day Stormy approached me with the idea of expanding eachothers games that we had created seperately for Project I involving the principles of the Catholic Social Teaching. So yeah, I am ok with that too. I mean it would be a pretty great thing to do, and we would still technically be working independently. The ideas that she and I began with are both solid, and it helps that both games are interactive fiction. In the proposal that Stormy posted earlier today you can see where she wants to take my project as far as coding and adding objects as well as endings. I can see making her game less obvious with the CST lessons, as well as making grammatical and description addtions and changes.

In my game right now the things that I can see being a problem were pointed out when Puff played the game in class. I printed out his beta test transcript of the game and noticed a few errors in my coding.

ERRORS
1. Tree = trees : Understand tree as trees
2. Betty needs to accept the berries. Overide the "Betty doesn't seem interested in the berries" prompt. It is a goal in the game to give this COYPU the berries, so I need to make that an option.
3. Make it so Owlie can talk to the other animals and "ASK ABOUT" the bulldozer.
4. Add description for the following objects: home; GIANT ANTEATER; house; campfire.
5. Allude to something about forest fires with the campfire burning unattended.
6. Fix in place: house; home; anteater; campfire.

If you would like to beta test my original game e-mail me and I will send you the file.

Funny Video...If You Don't Laugh...Something Is Wrong...

November 17, 2006

EL 405: Blog Portfolio II...

This is the second installment of my Blog Portfolio for 2006 Fall Semester: EL 405 New Media Projects. For those of you that did not follow my Blog the prior to now I will give you a brief exposition about me. My name is Leslie Rodriguez and welcome to my weblog sponsored by Movable Type. I am a junior at Seton Hill University and as part of my class and the New Media Journalism program I write and respond with blog entries on various topics.

These entries are then posted for public view on my blog. This entry acts as an introduction to my blog portfolio which includes selected entries that reflect on our in class discussions, published news articles and various texts that Dr.Jerz has assigned. The following topics will be examined and discussed in my blog portfolio:

The Collection
My best blog entries that demonstrate intellectual growth.
Entries are categorized accordingly.


Catholic Social Teaching: Project I

Project I Proposal - In this entry I proposed my original idea of making the CST project a children's game and using TGF2. I had wanted graphics at first and express that here.

CST Pre-Research - This is basically an entry that shows the pre-research that I did before working on the game. I decided to post the 7 themes of CST that I found online in hopes that it would benefit my classmates.

CST Pre-game Outline - This entry features a hand drawn map of the game that I decided to create using interactive fiction. I found this to be very useful when designing the game.

CST Progress Report I - A screenshot of my progress after creating the setup for the game. Here I also note my plans to add on to the game in the future with more rooms, that are not displayed in the shot.

Ex 4: Flash Slideshow
Progress Report I - This entry expresses my thoughts on learning flash and how I found it rather difficult at some points. A screenshot here shows the first layout I was going to use when tinkering around with the program.

Progress Report II - At this point in the slideshow production process, I decided that I was going to change my layout, and displayed the new one in two screenshots. I also added buttons and decided to try and edit an MP3.

Mp3/Audio Editing - An entry that chronicals the adventure I had using Audacity to edit the Rob Zombie file that I used in my slideshow. It explains spliting mp3s and emphasizes the usefullness of this program.

Catholic Social Teaching Continued: Project II
Project II Proposal - I decided to change the idea that I had for Project II and in this blog entry I explained my new idea. This entry shows how Stormy and I were going to work together...but independently.

Xenoblogging
The Comment Primo - A suggestion to Stormy about making her slideshow in Flash more interactive by adding motions/transitions between the photos.

The Comment Grande - I commented on Karissa's blog entry that featured her completed CST project. I posted my thoughts about it, as well as suggestions for the future.

The Comment Informative - A series of comments left on my blog about Audacity. I responded to a question Amanda presented about file conversions.

The Link Gracious - In this entry I refered to an entry that Stormy had posted earlier in the day. I also told how this related to the entry I was posting. There is also a link to Puff's blog here.

Wild Card
Guitar Goddess - This is an entry that features a picture of Stormy Knight going wild at GameStop as she played the new Guitar Hero game. Awesome day, awesome comments, enough said.

Bottoms Up Peter...Advice From Darby - A screen capture of the e-mail that Darby and I exchanged that talked about posting a game online and the software needed to do so.

November 20, 2006

EL 200: Exercise 4 - Group Project Work...

This entry will serve to demonstrate the progress I have made since the begining of school year as I have worked on both the new media journalism web site and the high school journalism contest. I would consider this a group project portfolio of sorts because it will include links that refer to blog entries I have previously done. This entry will showcase the work I have done on both projects, which is rather equal, and how I have involved and inspired my classmates as they developed their own contributions.

In the begining...
Portfolio I: Class Project Action Item - The project that I would be most interested in would involve creating a set of online resources to put on the New Media Journalism website. I have spoken with Dr. Jerz briefly about creating a page linking to home pages of local news sources. This would be useful for students that are not from the area like me. Being from out of state it would be a helpful resource. I was also thinking that it might be a good idea to put together a few lists of Setonian guidelines that current and future writers can follow. I know that in my section [Sports] we always ran into an issue with the capitalization of coach’s titles and team names. Finally, in order to remedy the confusion I wrote up a set of guidelines for the Setonian in order to create consistency. They are still hanging up in the office. If any other sections have taken similar actions I think it would be a good idea to make the guidelines available online.

In the middle...
Ex 2: New Media Analysis - A collection of five news related links that I thought would be particularly useful in my position as a student in a journalism class. Here I also provide explainations for why these sites are valuable. Some of the topics covered are types of leads, directions on how to copyedit written works, and an explaination of the inverted pyramid. In the latter part of this entry I expressed that a small group of EL 200 students could work together to boost the student involvement in the paper and make the NMJ web site more useful. As of right now the NMJ site is simply a list of blogs and blog entires. I would like to see the site more informational as it related to the NMJ major at SHU. I know that there is a small part on the SHU Division of Humanities website that deals with NMJ, but it is hardly something I would consider easily accessible.

Portfolio II: Class Project Action Item - For this action item I stepped over to the journalism contest project to contribute my help in that area as well. I listed the high school contact information that I gathered for six local high schools in the area. Please note that I included the private school GCC because Seton Hill University recruits a lot of students from this school. It would be great if we could recruit some NMJ majors from there as well.

Ex 3: Group Project Check Point - In this entry I summed up the work I had been doing on my part of the NMJ website project. I thought it would be beneficial to include information on the site that may be new to many first time writers/journalists. I found that there is the certain assumption that all writers on the Setonian know the rules of AP Style or the various types of leads. This entry really got a lot of people thinking in the class and helped to narrow down other people's ideas. I felt the specific areas Iwe needed to cover were: AP Style number rules, AP Style capitalization rules and various types of story leads.I have gathered a list of resources for each area are listed above.

In the end...

Portfolio III: Class Project Action Item - Here I personalized my contribution to the website a little bit. I narrowed down some ideas that I want to add to my original proposal. It would no doubt be beneficial to have a page that gives tips to writers in the sports section. This year we have had a lot of new writers in the section that seem to be lacking direction and independence. These guides/examples would really help people that are unfamiliar with the format of sports articles. I hope that the writers would look at these boiler plate examples and eventually when they become more confident in their abilities, write using their own style. In this entry I have included several web links that will act as resources for my part of the project. We can pick and choose the most helpful tid-bits of information and feature them on the site.

Observations: First I would like to note that I have given all of my materials from the previous journalism contest to Tiffany Gilbert and Jeremy Barrick. So they should be set as far as guidelines on how to put it together. Continuing with the theme of my last proposed idea in the previous class project action item I have compiled a list of frequent errors being found in my section that I think could be addressed on a tip page for sports writers on the new NMJ website. I am prepared with enough material to make contributions to the website specific to my section, but also general enough to apply to all forms of writing. Right now it is just a matter of taking the information that I have collected and compiled and putting it on a website.

November 23, 2006

The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving...

During the break I decided to paint a picture for a friend of mine as a Christmas present. Here is what I came up with for her gift. I am rather please with the likeness it bares to the actual character of Jack. I used acrylic paint for this one.

Jack2.jpg Jack1.jpg

November 26, 2006

El 200: Peer Review: Ex 4 ...

The peer review I did covered the information that Katie Walker presented in her blog entry about Ex 4, which was on transparency in the media. I believe that this idea was a very good addition to the website that we are working on as a class, and that it will benefit the long term good of the Setonian by informing new writers about the issue of transparency. Katie presented this information in a blog, but I believe she is also converting it into a printable handout that can be downloaded from the NMJ site eventually. I was glad to see that Katie used Wikipedia as one of her sources, because the wiki often links to many other valuable resources that we can use down the road as the project progresses.

Katie's handout was well organized and layed out the information in the following outline: Why We Need Media Transparency; The Difference Between Articles & Stories; Writing Transparently; Narrative Writing and External Links. I noticed that she included permalinks within the blog entry which was helpful in case we simply wanted to link to this entry from the NMJ page rather than post the information in a WORD file or as a PDF handout to be downloaded. One of the most beneficial things about this addition to the NMJ site was that Katie listed links at the bottom of the handout in case the reader had further questions. This part of the websit project will no doubt be something that we can use.

November 27, 2006

Lab Report 4...

Setonian breaks until next semester… (410 words)
By: Leslie A. Rodriguez

The fourth issue this semester of Seton Hill University’s (SHU) student newspaper the Setonian went on stands Nov. 21, 2006. As the fall semester came to a close the staff of the paper was working hard to make the final issue completely polished.

This issue also marked the end of the paper’s center spread contest in which each section editor created a different center spread with a hand picked team of writers and photographers. Leslie Rodriguez, the sports editor of the paper was the team leader for this issues center spread.

“There was a lot of pressure involved with creating a sports center spread because we needed to include clear photos as well as good content. In the past issues the themes of the center spreads have been much easier to come up with, but because the topics in the sports section are so varied it was harder,” said Rodriguez.

According to Rodriguez this issue was actually less stressful than the previous ones that she had worked on because all of her writers turned in their articles by the deadline. Valerie Masciarelli, news editor for the Setonian noted that Rodriguez has been forced to deal with various section related complications all semester and has always emerged on top.

Masciarelli said, “Leslie has taken on a great deal of responsibility in a section that has had a lot of great writers and editors in the past. She knows there is a lot to live up to and that she must work hard."

Along with managing her section, Rodriguez also stepped out of her boundaries slightly and wrote an article for the arts and entertainment section of the paper. The article covered the screening of Michael Arnzen’s short film “Exquisite Corpse” that recently premiered at SHU.

“I was glad that Leslie accepted the assignment because my original writer was forced to decline. She did a wonderful job and I was pleased with her coverage of the event,” said Stormy Knight, arts and entertainment editor.

Rodriguez stated she was glad to broaden her horizons and extend her writing into another section of the paper. She also said that it was nice to be able to cover and event that she was planning on attending either way.

“The most rewarding part about doing this article was that after it came out Dr. Arnzen sent me an e-mail thanking me for writing it. It was a nice gesture and I really appreciated it,” said Rodriguez.

El 200: NMJ Sports Writing Tips...

I used the website "Sportswriting's --30-- Dirty Words" and took the most helpful hints and categorized them into the below sections.

30 Dirty Sports Writing Terms

Sport Specific Terms:

* Corny terminology is the first thing editors will cut out of your copy. Football players are not gridders; basketball players are not cagers. Don't try to be innovative and come up with nifty names for things that aren't considered mainstream.

* Use the word that describes the object. Keep it simple and try not to use slang or cute terms. A football is not a pigskin. "Nothing but net" and "going to the hoop" are cliche and over used sayings.

* Cliches continued: ever compare a sporting event to a war, even in quotes. Never compare a team's failures to a disaster.

* Avoid trite expressions, even when quoted directly. A team won or lost; defeated or was defeated. Avoid verbs such as "whomped, boatraced, pounded, walloped." Same goes for "take 'em one at a time, barnburner, cliffhanger, nailbiter, stomped, clipped and out for blood."

* Understand Jargon. Especially with medical/legal terminology. Look up medical terms such as anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. Put it in lay terms.

* Deity. Sports aren't life or death, heaven and hell. Don't over-glorify your subjects.

Grammar & Construction:

* Misused pronouns. A team is an "it" not a "they." Correct: The varsity basketball team ran its record to 4-4.

* Wordiness. A lead of more than 25 words can be made shorter and snappier. Be concise. Make it easy for the reader to know what's going on.

* Dead constructions. Avoid beginning a sentence, particularly a lede, with "there are," or "there is." Those words say nothing.

* Imitation. Be original and develop your own writing style. Don't copy the style of a Jim Murray or Red Smith. A writing style takes years to develop, even well beyond your college years. Young writers tend to overwrite everything. Keep your writing simple early in your career and expand your style as you mature as a writer and as a person. The copy desk, and other writers, will love you for it.

Common Issues:

* Misreported scores. You would be surprised how often this happens. Do your readers a favor. Look at the scoreboard as the final buzzer sounds and jot it in the corner of the scorebook or notebook. Make a last pass through the story to double-check the score against what you wrote down.

* Stories are often jumped off the front page after only a few paragraphs, and the reader shouldn't have to turn the page to get the final score.

* Overquoting. It makes the writer appear lazy. Three quotes from quality sources is usually good for a simple article. Use short quotes to bring color to a story, not bog it down with cliches.

* When talking about our writing about your high school or college team, don't refer to it as "we" or "our team." You might be covering a game from the school's angle, but you must remain objective.

* Buried quotes. Introduce the human element high in the story. Sports articles need quotes by the third or fourth paragraph. Stories need a human voice to be successful and draw the readers in.

* Poor stat-keeping. Know the basics of scoring baseball, football and basketball. Practice scoring games on TV at home. For prep games, sometimes you are the official scorekeeper. Double-check your stats after the game with the team's statistician.

* Lack of understanding for rules. Have the rulebook of any game you are covering handy. Know the basics, and know to look up rules you don't know. Don't trust coaches to interpret it for you.

* Poor preparation. For prep sports, call each coach before the game. Attend a practice if you can. Gather a few quotes for an advance story. Try to get an understanding for the team's strategy heading into the game (but don't share it with opponents). And be prepared to ask athletes (especially the pros) specific questions on issues or events. They have heard all the cliche, general questions before. Asking them again will turn them off right away.

* Play-by-play. Chronological play-by-play bogs down a story. Just highlight a few key turning points and stats and develop the story. Remember, many of the readers saw the game, but you're the privileged eyes and ears of the locker room.

November 28, 2006

EL 200: Blog Portfolio 4

1. Lab Report

2: Peer Review of Ex 4

3: NMJ Website Action Item

4. Ex 4: Project Progress (All Term)

5. Seib Chapter 7 & Afterforward

About November 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in November 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2006 is the previous archive.

December 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.