September 2009 Archives

Problems, problems everywhere

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Problems, problems in your hair.

I'm almost positive no one will read this so I decided to make a little poem (title and first line). Now to the serious stuff: Chapter 12. Why wasn't this presented earlier? Maybe because what Dr. Jerz said in class. We need to try other strategies before we go back and try it this way.

Finding the problem first is in no way new for me, but it wasn't ever something I took into consideration. I brushed over it or barely thought up a problem before trying to nail down a thesis.

The strategies were also interesting because parts one to three could be applied to strategy four. Maybe I'll try this way of writing a paper next time I get stuck, but there are no promises.


Once upon a midnight dreary

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I've read Robert Frost's "Desert Places" before and I'm always a fan of his work. At first, you may think it will be brutally hot, but instead the place he describes is so cold there isn't anything there. Not even an animal. They are "all smothered in their lairs" (370 line 6).

This absence, completly still, stirs up lonliness and even fear. Fear of what? Something lurking? Or just the ever present stillness? Does this remind him of death (like many of Frost's other poems)?


In the eye of the beholder

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Color! That's what made these papers stand out. I was more attracted to (meaning I had a desire to read) the ones that had large pictures full of color. However, The Daily Star didn't interest me because it looked like a tabloid. The link has since changed and so have the front pages.

The bigger the topic, like the recent Tsunami, means more text when a reporter can't get on the scene to take pictures. So the next thing I look for is the headline, big font, catchy idea or new twist. InDaily and The San Francisco Examiner actually had their banner draw my attention because there was color in it and funny font.

Student Opinion

Silence is Power

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So I liked the parallel thought in the academic article "Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell's Trifles" I used for class today. Silence made the women powerless at first, but it was this silence that in the end made them powerful, bond, and solve the mystery.

The author of the article was great at gathering and using a variety of evidence as well as using that evidence in different ways like quotes, paraphrasing, and summary.

The only problem I had with the article was that it was hard to follow. It's not the hardest text I've come across, but it did present challenges. I felt there were so many parts to define within the extended thesis and I lost sight of the thesis sometimes. The title of the paper really reminded me what it was about. Sometimes the author made conclusions that tied into her thesis and other times the conclusions at the end of paragraphs seemed seperate mini-theses.


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So President JoAnne Boyle surprised us in class today with a press conference. Lucklily, Jesse K generated quick questions beside me that I was able to expand on. I had other questions too like "why doesn't the school have cameras?" I'm cool that there aren't many, but sometimes they'd really help catch people. The more people accepted the more theft or other crimes. 

We also had a chance to learn a little more about Dr. Boyle, her personal life/goals, and about the school, but sadly we ran out of time and she couldn't ask the same from us. I stopped by her office later that day though and she was very pleasant.

Little fact I learned: Because we don't have every bed filled/are completly overflowing, we don't have a new residence hall. It makes sense. Why build a new one that would end up mostly empty? All beds aren't filled in every room now, but when we do have more students (Seton Hill plans more expansion) we have a plot of land marked out and ready for a new hall near Farrell and Dechantal.



Failed Already

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So I already failed this chapter. "Too many writers seem to assume the quotation marks, by themselves, can transform a grunt into a great fugure," (65). I didn't assume this, but I just did it in my on-the-spot story. I didn't have time to get good quotes so I picked them up really fast and inserted them like the quote that directly follows the quote I pulled out above.

Many of my quotes, I should paraphrase.


Chapter 6, Not 8

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"The most effective journalistic tone in the '90s would seem to be the plain and unadorned" (58).

What? We're way past the '90s and this was printed in 2000. So does that mean that it's still the best route to go? Or it's the '90s route and it's time for a change?

For chapter six, I agree that Newswriting (for the hardcore news) should be plain and without the personal touch, but I enjoy features that speak to me. Even in television news, they pull the reader in with "you" such as "What should you expect this holiday season? Find out at ten."

These times personal touch and some of these other taboos are appropriate. For things like motives and incident/accidents, personal touch and using tone incorrectly is really inappropriate and can lose readers (and in the long run profit) and then you'll get fired.

I am confused though. I see "polite" words in newspapers all the time about "senior citizens" and some sort of "interaction" or the "disadvantaged." Is this wrong now? Is it no longer politically correct? Or are we supposed to be more blunt?


Simple Ryhmes

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I really enjoyed the simple rhymes of Yeats's work. He combined easy words and a childlike rhyme to really impact the conversation and call forward specific images and ideas of love. The reader feels the crushing power of the love that isn't there in "Adam's Curse". "and that I strove / To love you in the old high way of love; / That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown / As weary-hearted as that hollow moon" (365).

I wonder what stage the moon is in. Is it crescent and so seems hollow? Is it full, but have the feeling that nothing is in it? Or is it a new moon?

I also really liked "Politics" but I'm not sure what it is talking about. A woman is taking his attention away from his work? I feel there is something deeper here that I'm missing.

Yeats is more modernist than Wordsworth. His work is on serious topics of love that isn't there and asks more questions, making comparisons to Zeus's rape and the biblical God/virgin birth.

Student Opinions



Look at that

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So "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" has always been one of my favorite Wordsworth poems because of the striking image of Daffodils against a lake dancing and calling to the poet. I wanted to contemplate though why the words Cloud, Vales, Hills, Daffodils, and Poet were capitalized. I can see that Poet and Daffodils can be used as names for those to characters, but why the rest of it. And does Wordsworth have a deeper meaning to this poem aside from the relaxation, beauty, and images he experienced that day in the countryside.

Wordsworth is clearly a romantic. He follows his heart, capitalizing and emphasizing on what he feels. He expresses his joy and I couldn't find a deeper, questioning meaning that would point to a modernist view.

My headline comment pertains to "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways" because the teacher in my poetry class has said if the first line and title are the same then cut the first line, but Wordsworth does it here and he is a great poet. Why?


Nothing to say

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I had a revelation in class. Whoo! If you don't remember, sucks cause I'm not going to share it on the internet. Discussion about play in class swayed my opinion a little bit, but I still think it is only ok. Not really worthy of literary value more comical and fun like professional fanfiction.


Bigger Picture

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I didn't see how Golden Gate Park article was really on-the-spot. It wasn't any breaking news. It seemed like it could even be an evergreen. The budget had been getting all kinds of cuts over the years and with the recession the layoffs weren't even surprising. I suppose the assignment had different guidlines thought that made it on-the-spot.

Now I just read Dr. Jerz's intro that the events weren't necessarily newsworthy, but they had a bigger scope. What am I supposed to say to this? No?

The article about the environment had interesting facts and deserved to win first place. The reported got amazing quotes and incorporated the wider scope much better (in my opinion) than the tail end of the other article about the park.

Actor versus Character

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I read Romeo and Juliet a long time ago (didn't like it) and saw the Dicaprio movie (understood some of it). As I said before, I'm not much of a Shakespeare fan, I'm not going to pretend to be, so I didn't really get into this play. It was interesting, but the characters didn't strike me because they already weren't my favorite.

The thing I thought was cool happened before the play even started. Page XVI and XV "[Parts] will need to be tailored to suit the hair colour of the two actresss involved."

It then goes on to list several changes that could be applied. This stunned me. Instead of looking for an actress that fit the part, they fit the part to suit the best actor/actress. Wow.

This strikes close to home because my sister just tried out for her high school play and she did wonderfully. She even got a callback, but when the cast list came up her name was not on it. Not an understudy or even secondary character.

The teacher basically admitted it was because my sister is mixed and does not fit the look of any of the parts. I like this play for that reason. It doesn't have that prejudice especially when it doesn't even matter to the substance of the play (like hair color).


Writing About Literature Portfolio One

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So I have to write a portfolio for my Writing About Literature class that demonstrates the skills I have learned in class and out of class so far. This portfolio will also demonstrate the conversations/debtes and close reading I have generated about the texts in depth and in brief. I will be putting up a a couple of blogs for each section that demonstrate these skills: Coverage, Depth, Interaction, Discussions, Timliness, Xenoblogging, and Wildcards.

To see the definition for these sections, see this blog of Dr. Jerz's. This is also where you can see other student's blogs.

Coverage - Recent to old, all the work I've done with exception of wildcards below

Depth - longer work, goes in detail, little comments because of how informative

Interaction - where I commented/disagreed on my own blogs

Discussions - blogs that got many comments, productive discussion

Timeliness - posted early and got comments

Xenoblogging - my comments on other blogs. I did not split it up because I've been working on this blog all day and I'm exhausted. If you're interested, click the links and see which catergory to which it applies.

Wildcard - People mention me in their blog

Carissa Altizer


The Sexy Blotter

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This reminded me of the blotter that I collect for the Setonian. I wonder if we expanded that, would it help get the readers' attention? As I said in another blog, half of our audience would love to read about sex or crime. If we expanded the blotter, made it a column, would students finally read it. I know a lot of kids who pick up the Setonian now and flip to the blotter section because it amuses them.

This article/chapter was also more informative than most of the other things I've read, especially if I were to do what I suggested above. A lot was review, but it finally answered the question for me of "why report crime" aside from "oh, it's newsworthy and it bleeds so it leads."

"Some crimes may fascinate people who obey the laws but who wonder what it might be like to break them." I always thought this might be true, but should we write for these types of people? Aren't we just teaching them to be better criminals?


Double Take

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The headline draws in the readers, not really the lead. Then again, it's supposed to be quick and factual. So its pretty dry. It's always amusing to hear that the bad guy doesn't win in the end and actually gets a little beat. I don't have much to say about this clip though aside that it is effiencent and certainly serves it's purpose.

 You can see how the second one is fleshed out. It updates the facts, what's happeneing so far/what's new, then retells the story and the older facts for people just tuning in. It's a longer article because of all this development and I guess because it isn't really breaking news. I was a little confused by this article though because it didn't go in chronological order and I hadn't heard of the event before. I wasn't sure what happened first, what was alleged, or what the outcomes were.

Student Opinions

Portfolio 1 Newswriting

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So I have to write a portfolio for my Newswriting class that demonstrates the skills I have learned in class and out of class so far. This portfolio will also demonstrate the conversations/debates I have generated about the texts in depth and in brief. I will be putting up a a couple of blogs for each section that demonstrate these skills: Coverage, Depth, Interaction, Discussions, Timliness, Xenoblogging, and Wildcards.

To see the definition for these sections, see this blog of Dr. Jerz's. This is also where you can see other student's blogs.

Coverage - Recent to old, all the work I've done with exception of wildcards below

Depth - Longer work, goes in detail, little comments because of how informative

Interaction - where I commented/disagreed on my own blogs

Discussions - Blogs that got many comments, productive discussion

Timeliness - Posted early and got comments

Xenoblogging - my comments on other blogs. I did not split it up because I've been working on this blog all day and I'm exhausted. If you're interested, click the links and see which catergory it applies to.

Wildcard - Two blogs on topics I have blogged about, updated/revised, that didn't really fit anywhere else, reflective of my blogging skills. (I keep up with it and use/reuse/recycle my resources. I even got new comments.)

These next two are people that linked to me:

Readers Digest

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"There's a tendency to overload sentences and let them swell to unseemly length. But, the longer the sentence, the less readable it's likely to be, and the more exposed to mishaps of syntax" (37).

This is similar to what I blogged about for chapter three and offers a good solution of chopping the sentences up. The cutting up of the sentences does help in some cases, but in others it feels elementary (like it states in the beginning of the chapter).

In political arena, it is good to use because it offers a time/place for readers to reflect/digest what they have just read and apply it to the next sentence, but for features and profiles (simple things) I feel the speed, flow is lost if it gets cut up.

Student Opinion

Hello Lead

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"Hello, tree. There is good news and bad news for you today" (28).

I loved this quote. It may be silly, but it's similar to my writing style and grabbed my attention. I have an idea for the bad news, but what could the good news be?

I have to say though that I also fall under the problem of overstuffing. Like the article said the other day to front load your leads (kind of a super inverted pyramid style), I take that advice sometimes to the next level.

My leads try to cram in as much specific detail as possible to shorten, simplify, and include every point in the article. It easily becomes overcrowded; my sentences dragging on.

Student Opinions

Something New!

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Wow! So I actually learned something new for journalism (instead of review, review, review, keep your audience in mind). Well, the keep your audience in mind is the same, but now it gives us a look at the editors rather than readers. (Editors point of view is similar to the readers though cause that's who they're selling to, but whatev.)

To me "pitch ideas, not topics" is the most important point in this blog. The other things come later, but this is something not many people get. I've heard (even said before) "why don't we do something about dorms?"

That's a topic, not an idea. It needs to get fleshed out, rehashed, used at a certain angle not done before. There are so many things about the dorms, so many times we've written about it, and why? Because its the thing that interests students the most? I don't know.

Write about sex. That'll interest them.

Student's Opinions

Plath is so damn depressing

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Depending on my mood, I somtimes enjoy Plath. Other times she is just so depressing and such a downer. It's just like pick it up girl and go on.

Here's an older blog I wrote about "Daddy" and now to reflect on something else. *eyes closed and points* Metaphors. 237

So I tried to relate this to her downer of not getting pregnant (not something I can relate to yet) and I hard a hard time finding the negativity. You want yeast to rise, you want a fat purse...(Are these all metaphors for pregnancy?) and the only negative tone I found was at the end where she's "boarded the train [and] there's no getting off."

What does everyone else think?

Train Wrecks!

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I lied.

"The bus veered off the road as it tried to take a sharp curve, the Associated Press agency quoted police as saying."

I thought it was interesting that they didn't interview anyone (Because it is a filler/space-waster article) and they actually "quoted" AP who quoted someone else. In this, they don't even seem to have all the facts. Just snippets of information throw together here and there. They don't have a death count either.

"11 missing after a bus skidded off a mountain highway" I thought this second one was more interesting until I realized they went into a river. Duh. That's why they were still missing. This second one had more facts and even quotes. Wonder if it took more time?

Also, you can see the similarities in articles. Tell how many were injured/dead, how/where it happened, follow up information on the people, why it happened, then anything noteworthy like throwing stones.


In the Old Days

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"But in the days before such digital magic, newspaper editors needed a steady supply of filler stories..."

But we aren't in the old days anymore. I've hardly ever seen these stories. The most I ever heard of them were in cartoons that made fun of, or always had, buses falling or bridges collapsing. So I was not surprised to find them to be "humor of journalists."

I read a bit about the cat thing too. That seems just horrible though like cheating or lying. I have too much of a moral code to do that and I might end up chewing out my boss if he chews me out for not lying.

Why are we learning this "minimalist art form" though? Why don't we have more focus on the "digital magic" of today rather than such intense focus on print newspaper.


No lo Comprendo

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Shakespeare and I have never really been on the same page. He works with thou and I work with you. He's got a thousand metaphors and I'm really blunt. Shakespeare is the epitome of poetry for me. I'm taking baby steps with poetry, just beginning to understand, and he's leaps and bounds (whoa cliche) ahead. He's just something I don't understand without sparknotes or simple, spaced explanation.

I get that it has something to do with death and something to do with love and a metaphor of fall or dying leaves, but that's about it.

Help. 'Cause Roberts didn't really.


Captain Jack Sparrow

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"In a good work of fiction, nothing is irrelevant or accidental; everything is related and causative (93)." Except with Captain Jack Sparrow.

The "Formal Categories of Structure" section confuses me because I've seen this title several times with different categories. I lost points on a quiz last year because I remembered the categories I was taught in 6th grade rather than the one the teacher taught.

A last thing: I did not understand that illustration on page 102. Help?


Description and Deception

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Ah hah! Another twist ending! I actually enjoyed this short story except for the lengthy description in the beginning. I understand its purpose and it was very well done, but it was so long. If it were a video clip/visual beginning, it would have been just fine, but I found myself skimming most of it, unable to remember any real facts.

Today's writers get to the action quicker. Perhaps this is because people don't read as much and aren't as open to the slow-paced novel. Editors say to get to the action first and then perhaps fill in all that background information.

As for the first stranger, the man by the chimmney, he was comendable. The descriptions and the song, helped bring up his bravery and forces the reader to like him even though his the most shady character with eyes "peeping in at the door" (337).

My opinion of him was further impacted when his brother says of him "and jammed close to him, so that he could not have got out if he tried, was the executioner who'd come to take his life, singing a song about it and not knowing that it was his victim who was close by, joining in to save apperances. My brother looked a glance of agony at me, and I know he meant, 'Don't reveal what you see; my life depends on it'" (339).


Crazy Confusing Names

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A thing I found interesting on the sheet was the way to do dates. That wasn't something I knew before and I make that mistake a lot. I actually don't think a lot of people know it or know to follow it.

Anything rewritten suggests there was a problem. I assume people know why because we went over most of it in class. If explanation is needed, feel free to comment.

Assistant News Editor Anne O'Nymous read the article. (A TITLE)

"I really appreciate her work ethic and problem-solving ability," said Jameson. (Redundant)

Although Spunky Inkworthy only wrote for The Setonian this year, Obituaries Editor Lazarus O'Mortigan complimented Inkworthy's contributions. (Both above reasons)

Head Librarian Marian Paroo said, "BLANK" about Inkworthy's contributions (if something within the quote doesn't give away what it is about). (unnecessary info)

"Here is a quote", said Bill Jones, a freshman at BLANK. (label)


You, You, You!

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I liked this section because it's good review and has some points on point of view that writers can use to develop their characters. Aside from this though, there was one part that really interested me.

Second-person point of view is "the least common of the points of view and the most difficult for authors to manage" (82).

I liked reading this part of the section because it wasn't something I knew a lot about. You need a first-person to tell a story in second-person so how does that make it second-person. I guess because the first-person/story-teller wasn't developed very well.

I see how this POV can be told, but for an extended period of time? For a whole story? Am I right in saying fairy tales are told in second-person especially in movies with old men recalling a story. Like Balto. Is this second-person?



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A lot of this was review so I don't have much to say. "The language of journalism is front-loaded" (297). This reminds me of the extreme version of the inverted pyramid. Putting more and more important information first. The only thing with this is to look out for mistakes or something that can be interpreted wrong. Make sure it's still understandable. ("Comprehensible" is really a better word and it is really explained in the last point of the section.)

 "Omit needless words!" brings up a good point that should be followed, but remember when writing features, profiles, reviews that it is sometimes better (if you can properly do this) to catch the feel of the place or person even if that means adding extra (like the Dr. Suess article).



Go Gentleman! Go...Conferedate?

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I was torn when I found out he was for the confederate side. Do I root for this man to live and hate the soldiers for their despicable act of hanging him? Or do I hate the man for his postition on slavery?

I am against the death penalty for anyone so that turmoil got settled pretty quickly. It was interesting that they set it up that way though. Making the reader feel pity for him, then realizing he is on the Confed side. I assume this was the case unless this is my take on it and the writer was really on the Confed side presenting him as a hero.

My opinion really didn't matter here anyway because in the end the man dies, though he escapes in his mind. I had a feeling this happened as Bierce describes the "gleam of light" growing distant and then suddenly not so distant and very bright (320). Doesn't this man know? Don't go towards the light!


I Knew It!

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I knew it! Poets don't want to be torn apart! Maybe sometimes, maybe on whim, maybe gently, but not always, not forced.

If you haven't guessed of the poems I read, I liked "Introduction to Poetry" (74) the best because, of course, it is how I feel about analyzing lit. "...torture a confession out of it. / They begin beating it with a hose / to find out what it really means."

The poem wants us to feel its meaning, contemplate it. Maybe it doesn't have one. Does it have to have a deeper meaning? Can't we read over it briefly or "probe" it softly? If we don't find anything, why do we have to continue searching? Sometimes looking for something that isn't there. Just for a grade.


How Clever!

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"..a heavy traffic problem or the congested traffic situation. Besides being stuffy, these nouns are vauge" (9)

Oh, how witty. I suppose this is the kind of writing we aren't supposed to include in our articles though.

"Mark Twain, who also had writing experience (common knowledge for writers), once told a young correspondent, 'When you catch an adjective, kill it.' He softened that a litte: 'No, I don't mean that utterly, but kill most of them-- then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together, they give strength when wide apart" (13).

This is a very important lesson for all writers: creative, ournalistic, whatever. Take this piece of advice to heart. When I was young, I loaded my stories and work with those "ly" words. As I reread the work, they became the enemy. It was horrible, overdone, unnecessary and made my work look bloated. It is possible to describe scenery, people, events without them.

At the same time, don't cut them all out. (The next phase I went through.) There are some places they are useful, even necessary. It's a fine line though. Adjectives can make or break as story/written work.


The News and Them

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Some of the projects my classmates presented were really interesting. I'm glad there also was a variety of media's used to present: Powepoint, videos, essay, poem, cartoon, flyer/short newspaper articles, and blog/verbal. It kept my attention even though some of the information was similar.

A lot of us in the group liked more "popular" or "age appropriate" media/news forms. I put these two phrases in quotes because I want to use them loosely. Not everyone liked the same thing and these phrases are used by the media when explaining why college students/teens don't watch the news on TV or listen to talk radio or read the newspaper.

I also enjoyed our different takes on interactions with the media. Jen had a particularly bad experience because her group was misidentified/quoted while Malcolm wrote a poem about the negative images seen in the news and how it is controlled by advertisers so it doesn't always have the people's best interest.

For other student projects and reflections

The News and I

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How the news and I interact:

If you've noticed a trend, congrats! Most of these things can be found on the internet. Actually, all of the resources that I use for my own entertainment/information come from some sort of internet-based operation (except debates).

Further explanation needed?

Yahoo has a homepage that lists short articles of things that have happened in the world, surverys, research, pop culture, and political. Each page to click on has a picture that sometimes gains my interest. When I click on the link, sometimes I get an article, other times pictures or short films.

The Soup is a TV show that gives me information/makes fun on pop culture, news stations, and anything else that comes on TV. Since I don't have a TV/cable now, I watch clips/excerpts on Hulu.

I write for the Setonian. I don't really read it or the Setonian Online (which I also work with sometimes). Sometimes it irritates me and doesn't have many pictures.

Class debates informs me on further political, educational, popular goings-on in the world, but I am wary of this because it is hearsay that can turn into heresay unless they cite sources.

Kane Show: I used to listen to it on the radio in the mornings on the way to school in MD. I moved to PA for school and now listen to it (sometimes live, sometimes On Demand) on the internet.

I don't really get into the papers or broadcast unless there is something monumental: Michael Jackson's death (in the first few hours, not this shoddy follow up), the Tsunami in the east, 9/11.


Duck Profile?

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This was an interesting article and it really inspiring for organic foods. The vivid detail (although not focusing on cooking) actually made me hungry and want to buy organic foods, but was there any negative?

Are profiles supposed to have a negative? Or just show the good and only slightly bad/relatable sides to people?

The other thing that threw me off was the beginning about the ducks. I started to wonder if the article was really about ducks because I didn't see Walters's name for so long; a whole two paragraphs and three sentences later.



Obit and rip

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The author did handle the fact that there were like four different Mary Byrnes well, but I did not agree with the lingo "rip" on page 70, three paragraphs down: "for the youngster who had a rip at home."

I could guess what this meant, but I had no idea. I feel the author may have not known either and instead of asked one of the people s/he interviewed, s/he just dropped it in there and used it as lingo for the "everyday person." (By the way, what does "obit" mean? Where I just talked about the coment says "for a feautre obit on..."


Use the character that God gave ya!

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"look beyond circumstances, actions, apperances, and attempt to determine what these things show about character" (65).

I thought this was particularly helpful because it reminds the reader to pull out and learn from all aspects surronding the character to determine their traits. So often I get stuck in how the character acts in a situation, I forget to wonder if (applied in another circumstance) they would act the same way always. As a writer, developing character is really important to me (it can make or break a story) so this quote is something I wish to understand further.

I also didn't know that you can close read a character rather than just a scene. Maybe now I'll be more active and postive when I have to write papers.


Got Something To Say?

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This sample profile was much different than the Dr. Suess one. It felt more bland, less intriguing. I suppose because Silbert isn't known as well by the public. The writer here also stuck to objectivity, reciting the facts, and "said" more. After reading the other expo, this was just less sensational.

It was well written, don't get me wrong, but it didn't peak my interest.


Imagine the Internet

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On page 166 of Clark's and Scanlan's book about three paragraphs down, I realized that all this information that Gorney found/reported in the 90s could be found on the internet and today a reader may just think that she lazily googled these answers.


"...have to know five times as much as you're ever going to use in the story," said Gorney on page 167.

This was mentioned elsewhere during class and I just noted in the book how written reports seem to vary so much from newsbroadcasters/anchors who seem to have no clue or just know what they are given.


I also noted on pg 170 (and probably elsewhere) that Gorney doesn't use "said" and instead uses "deadpanned," "calls," and "says"...

She won the ASNE award. So then, can we use these words? Is our work lacking potential because we are bland?


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