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February 2008 Archives

February 6, 2008

What Makes Local News Really Local?

Agenda Item: “Local papers realize that all ordinary lives are interesting.”

The article mentions that larger (possibly national) papers do not do these local human interest pieces because they see no news value in ordinary people doing ordinary things. While local papers may find interest in people doing mundane things I personally do not. If you told me that Susie Mae Johnson takes out her trash every night at 4pm for the next days pick up I would find no news value in that type of information.

Now if there was a spin on the story like: Susie Mae Johnson takes out her trash every night at 4pm only for it to disappear before the next mornings pick up; we might have a story. Some kind of trash bandit/dumpster diver or something interesting like that. I am just theorizing here, but normal people doing normal things are not of interest to me. Maybe I have been tainted by my love for reading larger news publications. It is also my opinion that the printing of a story of someone who has turned 100 years old is another example of a waste of print.

At this point I feel like I almost devalue community journalism. This of course makes me a hypocrite because I have been involved with the Setonian over the past 4 years and it is no doubt an example of community journalism. It follows and covers events that affect the community of Seton Hill University. I was shocked to read about the paper that photographs the map and then puts the map photo in the paper. This is just an insult to the career of the photo-journalist. And then there is the precise scientific practice of using a magic marker to note the spots on the map where a yard sale is taking place. Come on people and get with it here. That is why people go to school to become graphic designers.

I understand that Local-Local papers are all about the people, but to me that almost makes them seem amateur in nature. I personally would not want to work for a local paper that is as small as some of the ones mentioned in the article. I am not against local or community journalism by any means, but I would just prefer to go bigger.

Original Article
Assignment Link

Cultivating Online Community Takes Time, Skill

Agenda Item: “Only after evaluating the quirks of an online community can you formulate the right strategy.”

In class I mentioned the Seton Hill University blogging community in regard to online communities and their development. I know that when we first began the blogging at Seton Hill they had to wait to evaluate what type of filters and firewalls that would need to be put into use in order to prevent malicious comments and spammers. Things like comment approval filters for unfamiliar users are good to have in effect. I know there have been more then a few times that I have either deleted or denied comments from spammers and people that just really didn’t have anything nice to say.

Now hijacking and hacking has only been an issue that I have experienced on a small basis. There were two occasions while I was working at E-Magnify Women’s Business Center that we had to deal with hackers. Last summer I was checking my posts to the website and discovered that our homepage was hacked by a group of Turkish Hackers. Why did they choose this site? Who knows? What I do know is that they were so good at what they did that we had a hard time cracking their coding because it was almost identical to our original code.

The second time I identified a hack on the website was this fall when I was clicking on the linked article titles on our homepage. The hacker had accessed our administration site and changed the URLS for the article titles and added a redirect to a site they wanted people to visit. This was simple to fix, but a pain none the less. E-Magnify’s online community does have in place filters similar to those used by Movable Type. In the reading there is mention of user guidelines, which I find to be a great idea. I mean any kind of user agreement is pretty standard these days.

For this article I commented on Daniella Choynowski's blog. I have actually had quite a few spammers write on my blog because they thought something I wrote or blogged about was stupid. In the end it is usually a malicious troll. One of my most popular entries was one on Lara Croft and her role in the feminist collective etc. People loved tearing that one apart.

I also chose to comment on Chris Ulicne's blog. I agree totally about the value of putting the local jokers on television. I had a hard time swallowing the idea of putting people on television and in news papers for the sake of making a local connection.

Original Article
Assignment Link

Community Journalism: Nowhere to Hide

Agenda Item: “The impact journalism can have on a community is a lesson best learned at a community newspaper.”

Impact. Yes, this is definitely a word that I would associate with news and in fact most kinds of writing in general. Now journalism in these confines of a small community can have impact both positively and negatively as the author of this article noted. Thinking in a personal sense I know that the Setonian has run its fair share of controversial stories that have in fact caused action from both staff and students. These articles have not always had favorable responses, but again it was rewarding to know that people were taking notice at least.

I suppose one of the good things about community journalism is that you do often get a quick and honest response from the community. The people that read the paper are more than just a number in a stack of letters to the editor. Most of their voices are heard and recognized. In regard to the author’s situation with the Black History Month article I think he was just exemplifying the best part of the bill of rights, which is freedom of speech. No one has to like everyone else’s opinion, but you have to give them a forum to voice it.

It is evident that even with good intentions sometimes writers are misunderstood with the motivations for their controversial articles. A lot of individuals are in fact threatened by change and are even more scared of the truth, which is the heart of journalism to begin. Journalists should not be afraid to write the truth even though high ranking local officials may not always want to read it. Controversy is what keeps life interesting and I wouldn’t want to live in a world where it didn’t exist.

Original Article
Assignment Link

Revitalizing Community Journalism

Agenda Item: “The Teaching Newspaper…is a program that’s bound to catch on as a model for raising new professionals in the challenged news business.”

Credibility, authority and ability are all things that I think I have, so that was re-assuring to read about employers looking for that in people. Even though this article names The Teaching Newspaper as the only place that used community journalism to teach I disagree. I like to think that at Seton Hill we are offering instruction in the way of community journalism. Granted The Teaching Newspaper is an interesting and no doubt innovative idea of how to learn the practice. I found it intriguing that this method of teaching covers not only traditional print journalism, but also podcasting, and web news.

I do agree that community journalism is far from dead and will persist on whatever technological platform that emerges in the near future. I consider the blogs at Seton Hill to be implementing community journalism. There are things that are news related and not, but they all get around the community rapidly and spread information. Kudos to The Teaching Newspaper for its combination of tuition free learning and a hands on experience.

Original Article
Assignment Link

Di Renzo Informal Reflection...

Everyone has always stressed to me that you can’t get anywhere in life unless you are educated. In the contemporary world this means obtaining a college degree or the equivalent. In his essay Di Renzo wrote about the relation ship of Tiro and his master Cicero. Remarkably this had a lot to do with the two founding principles of education which are reading and writing. Tiro, who was basically a slave to Cicero, had much more value to society than most people because he had the ability to read and write. He edited and wrote on behalf of Cicero and it is safe to say that he was responsible for much of his work.

The importance of knowing how to read and write during this time period was truly significant when the social classes began to shift. The Roman government relied primarily on documents at this time and suddenly people like Tiro who wrote jumped up in social status. Political power was now going to those who were previously regarded as second class citizens. Scribes and librarians were suddenly very noble members of society.

This event really speaks to the value of a good education. In Ong’s reading we learned that writing is often associated with the imperious. Di Renzo’s essay is the perfect example of this statement because the educated prevailed and became those on top of the social ladder. The sentiment of reading and writing leading to superiority still reins true in today’s world. People who are highly versed in these seemingly basic skills are the leaders of nations and those who cannot perform these skills are simply common citizens. I feel like the biggest thing that we can take away from this reading is that literacy is essential to survive in the world.

Rachel Prichard's agenda item was something that I felt inclined to comment about. Iwrote that I thought it is very interesting that she looked at people in power as not having the ability to write well. Most of the time we think of CEOs and leaders as being well versed in many fields of academia. This was a nice change of view point because above I argued that the people with the good educations are those that are superior in society and have more power than the illiterate.

I also took a keen interest in David Cristello’s agenda item.On his blog I wrote that the modern alphabet is something truly remarkable. Imagine having to write in Greek. I was also impressed by Tiro's development of shorthand writing. As the oral culture began to fade we see not only as social shift into the distance, but also a linguistic one as well.

Ong Informal Reflection...

Literacy is no doubt an important part of life today. I mean I can’t imagine people still being illiterate, but there are some kids that make it all the way to high school and cannot read. In my opinion literacy is an asset that leads to people being more privileged than those who are not literate. Also, when I think of literacy I think not only of reading, but to remain literate by reading on a regular basis. Now I am not saying being literate would be a skill that would fade away if you didn’t put it to use, but rather that in order to truly be an accepted member in society one must read often and will in turn remain literate.

I thought a particularly interesting quote in Ong’s essay was: “Sound exists only when it is going out of existence." That concept was very hard for me to fathom. The idea that writing is only an extension of oral culture is certainly food for thought. Certainly we only know words from hearing them and speaking them on a regular basis. Then we learn to read and write the words we hear. The whole process is one long extension of the art of orally expressing ones self.

It is very hard to believe that in this day and age there are still cultures emerged deep within certain regions of the world that know only oral culture. The fact that some groups of people believe that the only language that can be written is the language which they see in books (and not including their spoken language) is mind blowing. The argument that Plato presents against writing and the one people today present against computers is very similar. The sentiment behind each of these arguments is that computers and writing will breed laziness. Both of these arguments also have to do with the development of memory loss as well.

Jeremy Barrick's agenda item made a lot of sense to me. I commented that I liked what he was saying about writing being manipulated and controlled (expanded as well). That in my opinion is the beauty of it as a tool. It can work for you. I also take comfort in our evolution beyond simple structures.

Kayla Saywer's agenda item forced me to consider a different perspective concerning Ong's essay. She compared writing to computers and I can definitely see that correlation. Writing can be a tool, but people must have thought it was a burden as well at some points through out history. The invention of typing was likely to aid those who wrote on a frequent basis.

Havelock (19-62) Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: "One of the difficulties about language is that you have to use language to think about it.” - Havelock, pg 34.

Language is such a complex entity that I find it difficult to express my sentiments about it. I feel that it is a matter of both oral and auditory means that we must use to discuss language. We would not know language unless it had first been spoken and then repeated. Repetition is the key to oral culture and this can somewhat translate over into written culture as well. When you hear something over and over it becomes engrained in your brain very similarly to the way in which we read things multiple times and then remember them.

Assignment Link

Writing Material: Homer Agenda Item...

“and Chryseis herself stepped forth from the sea-going vessel.” - Lattimore, pg 193.

“and out of the deep-sea ship Chryseis stepped too.” - Fagles, pg 193.

These two translations of from poem are not that different because the lines seem to have the same intentional meaning. The particular passages that I chose to discuss are from the last lines of each version. Lattimore’s translation is incredibly close to the original Greek one where as Fagle’s is much less literal. Above we can also see that Fagles translation emphasizes the surroundings by mention Chryseis last rather than first in the line. The way the Lattimore version is translated surprisingly seems much less conversational.

Assignment Link

February 7, 2008

Writing Material: Sundiata Agenda Item...

“The wicked mother allowed free passage to all those inquisitive people who wanted to see the child that still crawled at the age of seven.” - Niane, pg 444.

First of all you notice right away that the construction of each of these versions of the same story is very different. This includes the way in which the words are broken down and laid out on the page. It is easy to see that the Johnson version of the story is much more based on the original oral tale. It is written in almost a poetic form which means that it was likely meant to be read allows or performed. It is very interesting to look at the portrayal of the mother in each version of the oral tale because they are so contrast.

Assignment Link

Havelock (63-97) Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: "The reason for their existence is not inspirational, as it later became, but functional.” - Havelock, pg 79.

Personally whenever I hear the term muse it makes me think of something that inspires one to create something. We often hear phrases like "she was my muse" and this is a referral to the woman that inspired someone to create. It is interesting to look at the muse as a tool to aid in memory because of their passing on of the oral tradition. The idea of the muse as a functional tool is one that I don't find that strange.

Assignment Link

Writing Material: Rheingold Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: “It’s not just how you use the technology that concerns us. We’re also concerned about what kind of person you become when you use it.” - Amish Man, pg 380,381.

I never thought about how technology can consume people and change the ways in which they interact. After reading this article I was seriously re-evaluating some of my own actions. I would personally consider myself a technological junkie, which basically means I love it. I know for a fact that I am lost without my cell phone (even for a day). Even when I cannot get on the internet I feel a certain sense of uneasiness. I am 100% dependent on computers on a daily basis in my life. The way in which the Amish operate is truly fascinating. Their way of life is changing at such a slow pace and yet they are still thriving in their ventures.

Assignment Link

Rheingold Informal Reflection...

I felt that this was by far my favorite reading that we have done for the class so far. There was just something fascinating about the Amish way of life and how they have refused to compromise their core set of values in order to conform to our lives. Although the Amish have compromised in some areas with the addition of a solitary phone to their communities they have still kept the reasons for using the phone to a minimal list. It is comforting to think that in the cases of emergencies they have one. The Amish are also using the telephone to keep in contact with vendors from outside the community that they do business with.

In trying to keep up with the economical demands of the world the Amish have been forced to change their mind about the telephone to an extent. I really did have the perfect image of a young Amish girl in a field on a cell phone when I was reading this essay. But I suppose it is important to understand that the Amish have adopted the use of telephones as a necessity rather than a want like many people outside of Amish communities. I recall getting my first cell phone in the 6th grade and that is pretty much standard practice today. Now I feel as though my cell phone is attached to my hand at every turn. There is this impulse that one develops when they have a cell phone. You can't help but check the phone frequently so as not to have missed a thing.

I remember a time when I had a land line, but that seems like ages ago. Even my parents have been thinking about getting rid of their land line phone because they rely so much on cell phones. But in going back to what the Amish said about the type of person you become when you submit to technology it really makes you wonder about yourself. I began to think ‘am I a bad person because I walk into places talking on my cell phone?’ Cell phone etiquette varies among each individual. I think a lot of people from the older generation find talking on cell phones in public to be very rude. I agree that technology makes us seem more distant from one another, but I am not about to stop depending on it the way that I do. I feel like it should be celebrated rather than shunned.

Daniella Choynowski's agenda item was one that I made a comment on. I said that I also wrote about the examination of they type of person you become when you use technology and specifically cell phones in this case. I admit that the use of these devices does make us more detached from human interaction. There have been times that I have txt friends from school for an entire summer, but never picked up the phone to actually call them. It doesn’t make me a bad person, but it makes me more likely to txt them from now on or send them facebook messages. I suppose it takes the personal touch out of communicating.

Chris Ulicne's agenda item about the use of electricity in Amos' workshop was also one that I commented on. I wrote that there is no doubt a lesson to be learned from the Amish. Their methods are not as archaic as they once seemed. I agreed that they are not completely opposed to technology, but are against the abuse and misuse of it.

Havelock (98-126) Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: "It is a profound mistake to measure Greek "literary" accomplishment in terms of standards assumed for modern literacy." - Havelock, pg 126.

Duh! Of course we cannot use the same standards today to judge something that was in existence so many years ago. We need to use old traditions in order to examine new ones, not the other way around. It would be unfair to compare our literary accomplishments, which we measure using books to those of the Greeks which use oral culture as a primary way of transferring information. Although I find oral culture hard to relate to I do not choose to dismiss it.

Assignment Link

Papa Roach In Setonian Office...

Promptly killed destroyed by Dani Choynowski!


February 9, 2008

Current Event -- Elections...

This is just my general analysis and compare/contrast of the articles which I read concerning Mitt Romney dropping out of the primaries. My examination of the articles within the framework of news reporting will be included in an additional entry.

Romney drops out of GOP presidential race - Kansas City Star

I thought it was particularly interesting that the picture featured in the beginning of this article is of a smiling and triumphant John McCain rather than a Mitt Romney. Considering that the article is titled Romney drops out of the GOP presidential race I would have expected a frowning Romney to be the first image that I would see. I just thought that was a very unconventional pictorial choice to make. The article actually begins with the words ‘Mitt Romney’ and does not even mention McCain until the ninth paragraph.

One of the first things that this article focuses on is the fact that this was a costly campaign for Romney that did not have favorable results. His attempts to woo over conservative voters failed miserably in the end. The article really tends to focus on the things that Romney did wrong through out the primaries.

“Mitt Romney spent millions of his fortune trying to convince Republican conservatives that he was one of them.”

The article then mentions the inconsistency in Romney’s stances on various political issues over the course of his campaign.

“Before and during his stint as governor, he didn’t register as a Republican for a time, sympathized with abortion and gay rights advocates and raised fees and increased tax burden on businesses in the state by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Romney went on to claim that “he had to withdrawal so that Republicans could mount the most effective fall campaign.”

As the article continued the writer revealed the estimated amount of money that Romney spent on the campaign as being in the ball park of $17 million. In the final paragraph of the article the writer discusses Romney’s inconsistency once again by saying that “his strategy seemed to keep shifting with his immediate needs.” The article ends with an example of Romney claiming to be anti-gun in 1994 and just recently announcing that he had bought a lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association.

Overall this article picked apart Romney and barely mentioned McCain. The main focus was on the fact that Romney was inconsistent on many levels through out his campaign. I also felt that the author was trying to make the point that money can’t win you an election.

Romney drops out, $35M later - The Leaf-Chronicle

Several of the things mentioned in this article also appeared in the article entitled Romney drops out, $35M later, but are written differently or have minor discrepancies. This article is significantly shorter than the first one and is written in a much more reader friendly way. The coverage of Romney dropping out of the race in this article also starts out by mentioning the amount of money he spent on his campaign. Though when this article specified the amount of out of pocket spending that Romney made they listed it as being $35 million. This differed greatly from the other articles estimation of $17 million.

This article claims that part of the reason for Romney dropping out of the race was the fact that for some reason “he never caught on with people.”

Surprisingly this article touches on his Mormon faith as a reason for people not supporting Romney whereas the first article did not. Another reason that this article gives for his failure is his inconsistency which was mentioned in the first article. Basically they are saying that he changed his positions depending on where and for whom he was campaigning. This article didn’t include any quotes and was more of a synopsis.

Romney drops out - East Oregonian

Because this article was so much shorter than the other one that I analyzed I decided to examine a third article in order to draw more conclusions. The third article is entitled Romney drops out. This article was most similar to the first article which I read and was titled Romney drops out of the GOP presidential race. Very similarly to the first article this one also made an interesting pictorial choice by starting the article with the words John McCain and showing a picture of Mitt Romney looking defeated. I suppose the Romney picture is more appropriate because the article is about him, but I feel like it shouldn’t being with John McCain’s name leading us into it.

The first thing I noticed in this article was the inclusion of a quote from Mitt Romney that was featured in the first article. “I must now stand aside, for our party and our country.” This was the first quote in this article, but appeared much later in the other one and was also changed around. In the first article the quote read “I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.” There is only a minor changer, but it is a change in the quote none the less.

The quote “If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," is also featured the first, but has some inconsistencies.

In the first version of the quote the sentence “I would forestall the launch of a national campaign” reads as “I’d forestall the launch of a national campaign.” I also noticed in this article that the mention of McCain comes much closer to its beginning. After the second quoted paragraph suddenly the article takes a major turn and focuses on McCain. But this article manages to incorporate a mention of the other Republicans such as Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul by giving their current status in the race.

Another difference between this article and the other two articles was that only this one included quotes from McCain. One consistent piece of information from both the first article and this one is the inclusion of the fact that “Romney suspended his campaign, allowing him to hold onto his delegates.

The issue of campaign dollars pops up once again in this article with an even more astronomical estimate than the other three. This article claimed that Romney contributed “$40 million dollars of his own money in the race.” One thing in particular that I noticed in this article was a quote that expressed that the decision to drop out of the race was not easy.

"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters ... many of you right here in this room ... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming president."

It is interesting that in the first article rather than use a quote to express this sentiment the author simply writes “The decision, he said, wasn’t easy. These are two very different way of giving the same kind of information. Another part of this article that is present in the first is the part about the crowd shouting no when he announced he was stepping down. This was written differently in each context.

There were shouts of astonishment, with some moans and others yelling, “No, No.”
Romney responded, “You guys are great.”

Activists shouted, “No,” and Romney smiled and gently told them: “You guys are great.”

Assignment Link

February 11, 2008

Ex 1: Personal Goals...

I suppose the first thing that I need to point out is that this will be my fourth and final time taking media lab. Although we have done various things each time I have taken the class I still find it hard to establish a list of well thought out and defined goals that will benefit the long term good of the Setonian. Previously when I took this class I was the sports editor for the Setonian and during that time I spent each semester attempting to bring other non-sports writers up to speed by using a block template style of sports writing to teach them. I blogged to my hearts content and laid out terms and various leads for the other writers to use, but I still was unable to muster enough steam in order to establish a key group of writers that I could turn to each issue and count on for a good article. Unfortunately I was unable to ever truly reach my previous goals despite putting in a large amount of hard work. Since this is my last time in media lab and I am no longer the sports editor for the paper my goals have no doubt changed significantly.

Although I was once the sports guru for the paper I will not be focusing my goals around this position. My range of goals at this point will be much more generalized to fit all aspects of journalism rather than once specific type of writing. One of the first things that I know that I have to do in my current position is to help mentor and inform the underclassmen about the multiple duties of the paper. Essentially I have gained a lot of knowledge in news writing, copy editing and the ways of journalism over the last four years and now I have to put it into practice by teaching it to this new crop of writers and editors that we have on the paper’s staff. I hope to bring my experience on the paper into this class, but also the experience I have gained at my E-Magnify internship as well as my professional experience outside of the university.

While working for E-Magnify I learned a lot about implementing my journalist training in a setting that wasn’t a newspaper and really had nothing to do with subject matter that I had previously covered. This also helped me to establish that I would likely not seek employment at a newspaper, but rather in a corporate forum as a publishing or internet communications editor. I have always had an innate interest in the technological side of the new media journalism major and working outside of the newspaper really helped me to develop that interest into a skill. I am hoping that I can help the other students in the class open up their minds to the possibilities that the Setonian online could someday use technological tools like podcasts, streaming media and flash in order to present the news in a different light. I would really just like to see someone take the Setonian online and run with it to a point that it could truly reach the potential which I know it has going for it.

Finally I suppose the last real goal that I would like to present for this class would be to really involve the outside community with the Setonian. I know we have already spoken briefly about the idea of community journalism in class, but I can actually see this working for us. I think that we should scout out several select areas through out downtown Greensburg that we know are heavily visited by students of UPG, SHU and WCCC. This would no doubt bring the Setonian a new kind of audience. I also think another way in which we can establish a new type of readership within the community would be to cover more local events that take place away from Seton Hill. It would be nice to coordinate with some community groups and to acquire calendars of events for them. We can pick and choose the events that we cover, but at least we will be getting away from covering the same old things at SHU that we always do.

Assignment Link

Current Event -- Elections Reader Reactions...

Romney drops out of GOP presidential race - Kansas City Star

Good Comment - "I'm glad he's out, too bad he hurt Huckabee so bad, we had a chance to have a really good president with Huckabee."

Spam Comment - "Romney sucks."

All Reader Reactions

Romney drops out, $35M later - The Leaf-Chronicle

Good Comment - ""ALL" the other candidates for the most part used other peoples money. So to say "It also can't buy you a presidential nomination, at least not when it comes to the GOP in 2008." is just plain wrong regardless if its the GOP or the Dem's. Money does buy. The question is who's money? Poor people don't have that kind of money to buy candidates,"

Spam Comment - "That's too bad,I liked Mitt. I hope John takes it now, he'll make an excellent president. Anyone that's man enough to last through 7 years as a POW in Vietnam is man enough to run my country. He's a true hero in my eyes. Obama is the anti-Christ."

All Reader Reactions

Romney drops out - East Oregonian

All Reader Reactions (none included on the page)

For this assignment I commented on Stormy Knight's blog entry. I totally agree that the word choice in the titles is a big thing to make note of. Shuffling is like "oh hey man lets shuffle them around like cards" and there is this child-like innocent connotation with cards and we are all subconsciously thinking shuffling is non-threatening.

I also made a comment on Chris Ulicne's blog entry as well. The use of Clinton's relationship with her daughter is not doubt a ploy to make her look like an average Middle American mom. We all know she is much more, but it is nice to put her on a level that people can relate to. This also kind of makes her more vulnerable and human.I feel like this shows a little bit of how the media can manipulate a candidate to fit in a mold.

February 9, 2008

EL 336: Missing Comments Finally Posted...

Ok so this is for my own organizational purposes. These are comments that have not appeared in any informal reflections on my blogs for the class EL 336. I have included the reading names as well. Hopefully this will come in handy and completely catch me up for the massive amounts of blogging which I have.

Havelock (19-62)
I commented on Jeremy Barrick's blog entry regarding the pairing of speech and writing in chapter 4. Speech definitely relies on writing to the extreme and this especially true in the political arena. Politicians and world leaders prepare written speeches of all the important things that they need to convey orally. This is probably one of the best examples that I have seen of written and oral language coming together and depending on one another.

Rachel Prichard's blog entry on this topic was interesting and worth comment as well. I wrote that I feel like this is just another example of the privileges that literacy can bring us in society. Early colonists had one great asset over the natives (besides guns and diseases) and that was literacy. Because colonists had the ability to read and write this also gave them the ability to teach and learn on a higher curve than the illiterate. We must also look at the fact that some of the indentured workers that came over to the early colonies may not have been literate either and hence their status in society. Reading was a huge status symbol which we previously discussed in the Di Renzo reading.

WM Homer no comments

WM Sundiata
I commented on Dani Choynowski's blog entry on this reading. Everyone remembers everything differently and that is how we come up with many versions of the same story. Sundiata was a perfect example of how a story can really get changed around. Writing does tend to preserve oral culture, but that is only to an extent. I agree that nothing is truly permanent in this world.

Havelock (63-97) no comments

Havelock (98-126)
I commented on Kayla Sawyer's entry for this reading. Ok so literacy gave the Greeks a sense of self thought and revelation, but did it change anything about them morally? Suddenly because they could write they were better people? I remember reading very early on in the book that some people proposed that along with the evolution of the written word came and ethical evolution as well. In response to what Chris commented writers do spend a lot of time alone and they have to get to know themselves. I wonder if this was the beginning of journaling in Greek society when writing emerged.

I also commented on Chris Ulicne's blog entry as well. Reading replaces hearing to an extent unless one chooses to read out loud. I enjoyed your comments in class today about the child-like nature that is associated with reading out loud. I actually read all of my essays out loud once I am done writing them.

WM Elbow
I commented on David Cristello's blog entry on this reading. I liked this quote that you chose as your agenda item. It is funny because he writes that writing is not to figure out whether we believe certain thoughts. It is kind of ironic in the context of the blogosphere because we are constantly writing about things and trying to figure out our feelings on them. I wonder how Elbow feels about the idea of journaling. Does he de-value this type of writing because it is about contemplation a lot of the time?

I also commented on Jeremy Barrick's blog entry regarding this reading. It is true that free writing is often a mass of jumbled thoughts, but that is the beauty of this method of writing. It is about finding order within an unordered system. Frankly I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as a random thought. Every thing that we think, we think for a reason whether it is subconscious or not.

February 13, 2008

The Maltese Falcon 7 Minute Summary...

A great 7 minute synopsis of the movie The Maltese Falcon. A true asset for anyone in Wendland's HU 365 Books as Films class. This is really the best thing I have found online in a long time and had to share it.

Writing Material: Elbow Agenda Item…

Agenda Item: “Leading theorists tell us that the poor thinking we see in many of our students stems from their not yet having made that great developmental leap from oral language strategies to written or literate language strategies,” - Elbow, pg 136.

This is definitely something worth giving a second thought. I just wonder in what regard he means that students have a poor level of thinking. Is it that they can’t write very well because they think only in the oral context? Is there writing too informal and speech-like because they have this oral mind set? Or does it have to do with them drawing conclusions in all contexts which would include both oral and written expressions? I am curious to know specifically the evidence that the theorists have to back up this conclusion.

Assignment Link

Writing Material: Elbow Informal Reflection...

As far as the readings go this is my second favorite so far besides the Rheingold article about the Amish. Elbow perfectly maps out his ideas and that is a lot of what draws me to make such a statement as the one above. I agree with Elbow that writing is more permanent than speech and that is part of what sometimes pushes people away from it. The idea of someone’s words being engraved forever in print is actually a very scary concept. On blogs we can simply erase or edit the things that we once wrote and may be having second thoughts about. I suppose that is the beauty of technology. Factual or historical books can do similar things, but that usually happens every few years when a new edition is printed.

As Elbow notes there is also this definite need to fee like what is being written is wholeheartedly 100% correct because it is so permanent. I was doing a lot of thinking after reading this piece and one thing that I couldn’t get out of my head was the idea that blogging is so very conversational that it is basically a hybrid of oral and written culture. Sure I am writing down things (or in this case typing), but the informal way in which it is written makes it very much an oral thing. I often read blog entries aloud because it makes more sense to hear the words. I was also quite struck by the idea that we are all in fact pre-literates when we are babies. The way in which we do eventually learn to speak and write is fascinating.

Forum 1: Idea-Fest/Pre-Write…

Oral culture…where do I being with you? First off I guess I should let you all know that I found that the essay on defending oral culture was rather difficult to complete. Actually, I couldn’t even bring myself to write passionately about oral culture. It is not that I am against oral culture, but I just didn’t know what to say that wasn’t already implied about it.

Over the past two days I have been racking my brain trying to figure out ways that oral culture is better than manuscript culture, but the truth is that the two cannot even be compared. It is not a matter of saying which is better, but rather a celebration of their differences.

As I mentioned in class yesterday, I have contemplated presenting on the cell phone as an extension of oral culture, but I have come to the conclusion that a cell phone is similar to a blog in the sense that it is a hybrid of both oral and written culture. We talk, text and e-mail via cell phones so that makes them this magical hybrid device. But remarkably even text messages are routed in oral culture. I then began to think about the regular telephone and its uses. Honestly I never use a regular telephone! Although it was the invention that truly extended the reaches of oral culture because that was its focus…just talking.

Cell phones have too much going to on be named as the true extension of oral culture. It is only through land lines that we can label a phone an extension of oral culture. Land line telephones take away the writing component that cell phones bring to the table and therefore are closer to actual oral culture.

Questions to consider: (please look these over)

1. Are you more prone to use a cell phone to carry on long conversations (over 10 minutes) while at home?

2 .How often do you use a land line telephone to communicate? Do you call friends or use it for business purposes only?

3 .Do you find that cell phones are a tool of convenience that has distanced you from the human interaction of oral culture?

4. How many times a day would you estimate that you use a cell phone? Landline?

5. What was your life like in regard to communication prior to owing a cell phone? Would you describe it as simpler?

February 14, 2008

Forum 1: Memory and Knowledge in the Classical Era

Oral tradition, oral culture and oral lore is a way for a society to transmit history, literature, law and other knowledges across generations without a writing system. - Wikipedia

The Amish and oral culture: All aspects of Amish life are dictated by a list of written or oral rules, known as Ordnung, which outlines the basics of the Amish faith and helps to define what it means to be Amish.

The New Order Amish permit the use of electricity, ownership of automobiles, modern farming machines, and telephones in the home.

The Amish share the utilization of oral traditions via group-specific language in order to integrate new members and children into the group. In many Amish homes they speak German.

In order to survive in modern America, the Amish have transcended the issues which plague the traditional peasant society while still engaging in the rituals, oral tradition, garb, and culture-specific language usage; and thereby have remained a closed society.

Within a predominately oral culture proverbs can be a very effective method of teaching and enforcing community values and beliefs. As seen here, they not only help to teach individuals how to become productive members of society, but in the case of "The secret of life is not to do what one likes, but to try to like what one has to do", we can see that proverbs can help an entire culture remain alive and healthy.

Amish + phones:

At this age Amish youth start having wild parties (organized by cell phones).

Phones removed people from the physical, face-to-face context of communication so important in Amish society.

In the Amish community today, there is some debate as to how much of the new telephone technology will be allowed, and what impact it may have. The fairly common use of pagers, beepers, and even cell phones among the Amish is raising even more questions...not to mention "palm pilots." The technology should not be an intrusion into the home, but rather serve the social purposes and goals of the group.

Marginal Revolution Blog Entry
Rebecca Blood Blog Entry

Rheingold Agenda Item
Rheingold Informal Reflection

February 18, 2008

EL 200: Portfolio 1

Lab Report - A news article that covers my contributions to the production of The Setonian.

Summer Setonian Story Ideas - Three story ideas for the Summer Setonian, spanning at least two different sections.

Group Term Project - The proposal of a group term project that meets an existing need of the Setonian.

Field Trip Report - An informal report of the field trip that the class took into Greensburg in order to promote the paper.

Other Assignments

Revitalizing Community Journalism - This is a link to my response to this article as well as the agenda item that I chose to talk about.

Cultivating Online Community Takes Time, Skill - This is a link to my response to this article as well as the agenda item that I chose to talk about.

What Makes Local News Really Local? - This is a link to my response to this article as well as the agenda item that I chose to talk about.

Community Journalism: Nowhere to HIde - This is a link to my response to this article as well as the agenda item that I chose to talk about.

Ex 1: Personal Goals - These are my personal goals for growth as a student journalist during this semester.

Current Events -- Election - An analysis of two articles concerning the election that are written about the same topic.

Current Events -- Election Reader Reactions - Reader reaction to the election articles.

Field Trip Report...

On Friday February 15, 2008 students from EL: 200 (media lab) met in front of Seton Hill University’s administration building at 1:00pm. The class assembled in order to strategize a plan of action for going into the city of Greensburg in order to make contacts with local business owners and locate spots of distribution for the Setonian within these businesses. I rode with Dr. Jerz and Chris, while Shelly and Evan drove with Stormy. Upon reaching the bottom of Seton Hill Drive we went through the tunnel at the right and then parked in a lot on the left side of the road. Since there were three people in my group it was established that we break up and go to different locations in order to cover more ground. Dr. Jerz and Chris headed towards the Rialto, Red Star and Manhattans while I walked in the opposite direction on West Otterman Street.

The first business that I came to was Embroidery Express/Oh Happy Rays which is a tanning salon and a screen-printing and embroidery shop that gets a lot of traffic from Seton Hill University students. Upon entering the establishment I was greeted by a small dog that was named Pugster (he also happened to be a pug). Promptly after that Ray the owner of the business came out. He was incredibly receptive about placing issues of the paper in his shop and we determined that both Seton Hill students and people in the Greensburg community would probably pick up the paper from his business.

I spent a good 25 minutes talking to Ray and fostering a friendly relationship with him. He showed me a multitude of his original designs and then we talked a little bit about deign software for printmaking and he showed me how his computerized sewing machine worked.

I spent the most time at Embroidery Express/Oh Happy, but it was not the only place that I visited. I also made a stop at the Sunoco and at Pizza Italiano. At this point I was almost at the end of West Otterman Street so I decided it would be best to turn around and start heading back to the parking lot. Once I made my way back to the parking lot I ran into a friend and got a ride back up to school where I met up with my classmates. Overall I would have to say that the businesses which I visited were very receptive to the idea of the Setonian branching off into the community of Greensburg.

In order to promote the next issue I was thinking maybe we could take a look at some of these businesses that we visited and maybe give them a complementary advertisement if possible. This would be an act of good faith. I am not sure of our current budgetary constraints, but if we are making money then we should try and do something like this to foster a relationship with these constituents. I also think it would be a good idea to compare and contrast our methods of marketing at this point in order to determine hot spots where the paper is being picked up in the community. It would be a good idea to re-visit these establishments and get responses from the business owners.

Group Term Project...

Since many of the students in the New Media Journalism major are preparing to graduate the Setonian is about to take a major hit. The existing needs of the paper seem to center on the fact that the staff is rapidly dissipating and replacement staffers seem to be far from our sights. There are plenty of people at Seton Hill University with the abilities to read, write and research but it is just a matter of convincing them to join up with the student newspaper in order to elevate these skills in a professional setting. I am proposing that we as seniors and experienced staffers go out into the Seton Hill student community and begin a recruitment period that will last until the middle or end of the semester.

I would like to propose a recruiting campaign that focuses on the addition of new writers to the newspaper staff as well as someone to help run the online version of the paper (which has taken a significant step backwards) and some individuals willing to learn layout software. As far as I know we will be losing members of the staff in all of the above positions which are all a high level of importance. I have spoken recently with both Kayla Sawyer and Lorin Schumacher about the needs in each of these specific areas. Lorin is planning on leaving the paper in order to focus more on school in the next semester and really the only other people that know layout are Stormy Knight and Chris Ulicne. There needs to be a willing freshman or sophomore ready to take on the task and fill those shoes immediately. In my opinion we should find that person by the end of the semester.

As far as the Setonian Online is concerned I know that Kayla is somewhat frustrated with the way that the progress of the online edition has being going. There are quite a few issues regarding coding and some reminisce of the former online editor’s attempt at a redesign. There is also the immense issue of the writers profile pages no longer being able to load. This is a huge problem because many of our staffers depend heavily on this particular page as an online archived version of all the work they have ever done for the paper. Many students use this page to show potential employers the depth of their work. I feel like it is a top priority that we get these pages up and running again as soon as possible.

At this point I am not exactly sure the abilities of everyone in the class to do the coding and re-coding of the html for the damaged pages of the Setonian Online. This is probably something I am going to have to consult Dr. Jerz about. As of right now I am also not sure of ways in which we can recruit and train a layout person in the time we have before the end of the semester. I would really like to get together with some of my media lab classmates and compile a list (possibly using facebook) of communication, engligh literature/journalism/creative writing majors that are not seniors. We can then work on a way in which we can contact and bring them together for an informative seminar on the newspaper and the benefits of working for it. Hopefully by the next portfolio I will have met up with my classmates and elaborated on the list of potential staffers a little more.

Summer Setonian Ideas..

1. Sports - I am pitching a story for the sports section of the paper that has to do with summer training that many of the athletes do in order to come back in shape by August 15th which is the beginning of most pre-seasons. I know that football does begin much earlier than this and they would probably be the most interesting team to cover because until the 15th they have something close to three practices per day. It would be interesting to look at how individuals train and if they meet up with other teammates over the summer. Do they play in summer leagues? Do they acquire personal trainers from private gyms? I think there is definitely something fascinating here about the amount of dedication it takes to participate in collegiate athletics and this would be a nice nod to the athletes at our school.

2. News - There is a lot to be said about students that do their internships during the summer. I think that a feature news piece about students who have done or are planning on doing summer internships would be of great interest to Setonian. Possible consultants would be Career Works and I have a few people on my list that have done summer work in the past. I think there is definitely a lot to be said about the benefits and constraints that a summer internship can have for a student. Do they find it easier to work in the summer when school is not technically in session? Is it more expensive to take credits for an internship in the summer? There are a lot of issues to be explored here.

3. Arts & Entertainment - I think it would be nice to do a piece about places in Greensburg that are student friendly and within walking distance. One of the things that I have not hesitated to do over the past 4 years is walk down into the city of Greensburg when the weather has permitted. I have walked from one end of the city to the other. In this article we would make a hybrid of a restaurant review and arts and entertainment story. The Palace Theater, DV8 and From the Ground Up are all very student friendly places. I think this article idea will also help with the incorporation of the Greensburg community into the student paper, which is what we are trying to do now.

Lab Report...

Setonian & Rodriguez Back … (435words)
By: Leslie A. Rodriguez

The first issue this semester of Seton Hill University’s (SHU) student newspaper the Setonian is now on stands. With the spring semester well underway it is apparent that the staff of the paper is working hard to make the issues completely polished. This particular edition of the paper was sixteen pages long and also marked the return of Leslie Rodriguez to the Setonian staff.

Rodriguez, who was formally the newspaper’s sports editor returned to make her mark in the Setonian office during this first cycle of production. Though she resigned from her position as sports editor in the fall semester of 2007, Rodriguez hopes to remain active with the newspaper during her final semester at SHU.

“I am taking media lab for the last time this semester and I might as well make the best of it. There is a lot to be done on the paper as far as training and the passing on of jobs is concerned and I am willing to help,” said Rodriguez.

While Rodriguez is taking a step back from writing articles during this semester of media lab she is still deeply involved with the copy editing process. On two separate occasions during production Rodriguez copyedited articles with standard pen mark up. She also made read through the copy edits and made corrections as needed in the Microsoft Word document files on the Macintosh computers.

“Leslie was a constant presence in the Setonian office. She and I both did quite a bit of copy editing and layout corrections,” said Choynowski.

After the printing and production of the newspaper was completed many of the media lab students attended a field trip into Greensburg in order to promote the Setonian within the local community. While Dr. Dennis Jerz and student Chris Ulicne went one way Rodriguez ventured the other in order to spread the word of the Setonian.

According to Chris Ulicne, Rodriguez acted as a well versed ambassador to the Greensburg business owners and an asset to the Setonian.

"Leslie helped our efforts to expand into the local community by distributing copies of the Setonian to businesses in Greensburg. We couldn't have done it without her,” said Ulicne.

Rodriguez is generally pleased with the role she plays as a senior mentor and guide to the younger staff members of the paper. She has indicated that she hopes to be able to recruit several new staff members by the end of the semester in order to replace those that will be graduating.

“This is an undertaking that is going to require effort on behalf of all the current staff members,” said Rodriguez.

February 21, 2008

Writing Material: Eisenstein Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: “Printing allows both errors and truths to circulate.” - Eisenstein, pg 124.

There is definitely a benefit that printing offers us in order to remedy mistakes or errors in any given textual document. If one person made an error it was true that many people would see it, but the same went for corrections. It seems to me that the printing of an error in a text such as the “wicked Bible” would be remedied right away because of the intense fear that ruled how people viewed religion back then. Today if there is a mistake in a certain edition of a book we often have to wait several years for the release of a new edition with the correction in it. Although I do think that making errors in a religious text would be something of great concern and even offense if it was not remedied promptly.

Assignment Link

Writing Material: Birkerts Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: “Many educators say that our students are less and less able to read, or analyze, or write with clarity and purpose.” - Birkerts, pg 63.

This agenda item was something that really stuck out to me in the beginning of the reading because it was a familiar idea. I found a very similar quote in the reading we did for Elbow. For the Elbow reading I used this agenda item below which presents much of the same sentiment as Birkerts above. The blame for poor student performance is being blamed on technology by Birkerts and on not being able to transition from oral language strategies to written by Elbow. Each author cites a different cause for the same problem.

“Leading theorists tell us that the poor thinking we see in many of our students stems from their not yet having made that great developmental leap from oral language strategies to written or literate language strategies,” - Elbow, pg 136.

Assignment Link

February 25, 2008

Pre-Blog Current Event...

Basically I wanted to just blog a list of the articles that I used for sources for this assignment. I will post an additional entry with an analysis soon.

News Story: "An arrest of a St. Peter's College (Jersey City, N.J.) student. The campus went into lockdown mode after a threatening note surfaced."

National News - E-Mail Threats Lead to Arrest of a Woman, The New York Times.com

Local News - E-mail death threat a factor in lockdown , The Jersey Journal.com

Breaking News - Texas teen accused in e-mail threats that closed NJ's St. Peter's, KVIA.com (ABC affiliate)

Assignment Link

Blog Shoes...

5486dd.jpgI am in love with my new pair of DC shoes. I bought them on Sunday at the Westmoreland Mall and couldn't be happier. I am blogging about them for the sheer fact that they are awesome and also reflect the colors that my blog has been over the past 4 years. I love shoes like these! They also represent my personality to the tee. I am in a good mood because of the sweet kicks.


Current Event Article Analysis...

*Please note that since my initial entry I have changed the categorization of one of the articles. I have switched the National and Local stories. The way that they are labeled now is much more accurate.

National News

The national news story appeared in The Jersey Journal. It was written from an angle that focused on recent campus incidents, and on the recent media coverage of the incidents. This probably also could have been an article that I flip flopped with the New York Times local news story. They had many overlapping characteristics for each form. This article really offered the play by play account of the events that occurred on the campus, and it was also posted on the 23rd which would have given the author ample time to get the facts straight.

The article refers to Perez as a “jilted high school student” and the addition of the word jilted to that description adds to how we are going to perceive her. This article also cites the Police Chief and gives some direct quotes from him. It is just kind of unclear to me if he is a member of the Corpus Christi Police or the Jersey City Police. Similar to the other articles this one refers to the possible amount of jail time that Perez could receive.

In my opinion the most important detail in this article is the amount of money it cost to shut down the college for 5 hours and search it for bombs and threats. The article stated that “$250,000” was spent in this effort.

Local News

The local version of the story came from the New York Times. I think it was appropriate to choose this version of the story as the local one because of the location of New York being so close to New Jersey. The labeling of Christy Perez in this article is as a woman, which is indicated in the title and in the article’s lead. The article does in fact focus on the region and its inhabitant like most local articles are supposed to do.

One thing that I am unclear about in this article is the fact that it says that the 19 year old male student was the one receiving the threatening e-mails and not the female roommate. The first article says “the threatening e-mails were sent to the female roommate on Tuesday and Wednesday.” Inconsistency.

The first article states she was charged with terrorist threats and false public alarm and could face up to 5 years in jail for each count. This article goes into greater detail by stating that they are both third degree offenses. This article is much more detailed all around and even quotes the Jersey City Police Department as well as the mayor of Jersey City. This article says that the e-mail messages were sent between “Sunday and Tuesday” where as the first article said “Tuesday and Wednesday.”

One final way that we can tell that this is a local story is by the casual references that the author makes to places on the St. Peter’s College campus. This is a place that is familiar to the people that read this publication and for that reason it is discussed in an implicit manner.

Breaking News

This is the Associated Press (AP) article about the e-mail threat incident at St. Peter’s College. I found this article most frequently used online for a majority of the sources that I looked up on Google News. The particular organization that used the AP article was KVIA.com which is a television station in El Paso, TX. This story is breaking news because it was the earliest posted on the Google News list. Most of the other articles were published on the 23rd and this one came out on the 22nd. The incident occurred on the 21st.

There are certain facts that appear in this article that are either different or not even present in the other articles and I felt they were worth analysis. Firstly it is important to look at the fact that they AP article refers to the culprit as an “18 year old Texas high school student.” The labels that the various articles use to refer to the girl differ in each story and this has a lot to do with the way in which we perceive the criminal. The title of the article also refers to Christy Perez as a Texas teen. The connotation associated with a teenager is much different than that associated with an adult.

This article is also one of the shortest ones that I read through. It gave the basic facts of who, what, where and when. It is understandable that this article is less detailed than the other two because the police and the press still didn’t know much about the case at this point. Another instance that makes this breaking news is because the author refers to the culprit as “accused” which honors the innocent until proven guilty principles of journalism. The only source in this article is the Corpus Christi Police and they are not even technically quoted directly.

Another indicator that this is a breaking news story is the fact that the author named the accused culprit, but failed to name the roommate and the boyfriend because police declined to identify them at this time. One thing that I think the article could have avoided saying was “Police say that there was no romantic relationship between the roommates.”

This doesn’t change the fact that the crime was still committed and seems like it could have been left out completely. The final reason this is a breaking news story is because it fails to mention the note that was found on the campus and referenced the Virginia Tech shootings.

Setonian Role: The Setonian’s role in an emergency situation is not one that I had thought about until now. I suppose in a time of emergency we would really have to utilize the Setonian Online because the print edition of the paper might not be coming out when the story breaks.

Assignment Link

Media Lab Ideas/Discussion Today...

Today in class we talked about a lot of ideas for long term Setonian goals and projects. I just wanted to list some of the notes that I took in class because I will forget them if I don't post them. One of my general goals was to incorporate more new media elements to the Setonian Online.

- Photo slideshows for the Setonian Online.
- More photos then needed for go to moments in print version.
- Photo or video speak out on the Setonian Online.
- Cropped t-shirt photo contest to match with students and take submissions online.

- Recruitment of graphic design majors to do work with the online version of the paper.
- Enable comments in order to get reader feedback on the Setonian Online.
- Implement online polls using surveymonkey.com or other polling services.
- Hold recruiting sessions for new staff members.

February 19, 2008

Writing Material: Baron Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: "I found that I had become so used to composing virtual prose at a keyboard I could no longer draft anything coherent directly onto a piece of paper." - Baron, pg36.

Loved the title of this article first of all, but it was this quote that jumped out to me right away because it could not have described better the intense battle that I have when I have to actually write something down by hand. First of all I hate writing things down period. The entire act of writing is annoying to me because of my dependence on the word processor. Two words: hand cramps. I remember first coming to college and taking my Popular Fiction mid term exam and Dr. Wendland passed out those little blue books for us to write in and he still does it to this day I am pretty sure. In the same token I hated writing out essay’s in class back then and still do.

Assignment Link

Writing Material: Trithemius Agenda Item...

Agenda Item: "He who gives up copying because of the invention of printing is no genuine friend of Holy Scriptures." - Trithemius, pg 475.

It is ironic that Trithemius had this document printed even though he defended hand writing adamantly. Though he acknowledged that printing his work would gain a wider readership and that means he was not entirely opposed to the technology of the printing press. The whole time I was reading this work I kept thinking about the scribe Tiro.

It seems to me that this agenda item is saying that if you are against writing then you are being blasphemous in a sense. Maybe that is just a broad interpretation of it, but I read it in a threatening almost offensive way. Then again I am sure that the fear of God will always work to make people believe things because it is still a tool of persuasion that people use today.

Assignment Link

February 14, 2008

Oral Presentation Slot A: Responses...

Daniella Choynowski's Presentation Blog

I thought that it was very interesting that Dani examined the texture of talk and the way in which we all speak so differently. I know that the accents that certain people have make the way in which they talk very distinctive. She spoke in class about her New Jersey accent, which I believe adds a distinct character to the way in which she communicates. I almost feel like sometimes because of the way a person talks it can affect the interest that we have in the things they are saying. Then in the back of my mind I was thinking that when people are sometimes hard to understand for whatever reason we don’t listen as intently because of the immense effort that it takes to understand them. That is just our lazy American mentality I suppose.

I agreed with Dani’s comment that “much of communication is not what was said, but how it was said.” Inflection and tone also play a large roll in the way in which we interpret the words that come from people’s mouths. Dani's comments on external noise were also of great interest to me. I was once told by a psychology major that noise is any frequency that the brain cannot understand. In my particular case the worst noise in the world that is like nails on a chalk board to me is the noise that comes from a vacuum. All of my family and friends know never to run a vacuum in my presence because it will make me go pretty mental. The noise kills me.

In the same regard when she talks about speaker generated noise I assume she is talking about speech in general. When people speak too fast I tend to get annoyed and tune them out. This also goes for if they are whining or speaking in a tone that resembles whining. I tend to want to surround myself around positive people hahaha.

Chris Ulicne Presentation Blog

I really enjoyed the presentation that Chris did because of the interactive element that he incorporated by having us do an in class group exercise. I do agree that writing allows us to have a certain amount of reflection that speaking does not. It is sometimes hard to remember the things we say, but if we write them down it is much easier to go back and think about it. Unfortunately I was unable to view the video that went along with his presentation because I didn't have Flash on the computer that I was reading his blog on.

Though I was able to read the article The Power of the Adolescent Pen , which Chris had suggested we read prior to his presentation. I thought it was interesting that the simple concept of journaling was used in order to help people (specifically teen girls) deal with their emotions and feelings. Honestly that is the only thing I could see as a purpose for journaling anyway. I don’t know, but for me it seemed like this was such a simple concept to grasp. I mean how many girls never had a diary? I would imagine that is a pretty standard practice among teenage girls across the world. It is a therapeutic method of dealing with issues.

Assignment Link

February 27, 2008

EL 336: Portfolio I - "Keep talking to me, but let me blog it as you go."

This is the first installment of my Blog Portfolio for the 2008 spring semester class EL 336: History and Future of the Book. This particular class examines the book as a technology that has evolved along with the way we communicate with one another. So far we have talked about the evolution from oral to manuscript culture. Overall the class covers oral and manuscript culture, pre-literate society and literate society.

For those of you that did not follow my blog 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 senior 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 for class and for fun. The entries below are used from: Brookfield's Book (Eyewitness), Tribble & Trubeck's, Writing Material, and Havelock's The Muse Learns to Write.

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 class. 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.

Coverage & Timeliness: - All of my agenda item entries include a direct quote from an assigned reading, identify the source of the quote, and link back to the course web page devoted to that reading. I have combined these two categories of coverage and timeliness because they tend overlap. The timeliness entries were ones that I posted on time (such as agenda items posted 24 hours before the class discussion, or reflection papers posted before the class meeting.

Brookfield (1-22) Agenda Item
Writing Material: Plato Agenda Item
Di Renzo Agenda Item
Writing Material: Ong Agenda Item
Havelock (19-62) Agenda Item
Writing Material: Homer Agenda Item
Writing Material: Sundiata Agenda Item
Havelock (63-97) Agenda Item
Writing Material: Rheingold Agenda Item
Writing Material: Elbow Agenda Item
Havelock (98-126) Agenda Item
Writing Material: Baron Agenda Item
Writing Material: Trithemius Agenda Item
Writing Material: Eisenstein Agenda Item
Writing Material: Birkerts Agenda Item

Interaction & Depth: - Several entries that demonstrate my ability to interact with my peers. My entry might link to something a classmate posted, or my entry might have attracted comments from peers. I have combined the categories of interaction and detph here. Depth entries on my blog show my ability to write in depth. All of my informal reflections cover this particular category.

Brookfield (1-22) Informal Reflection
Writing Material: Plato Informal Reflection
Di Renzo Informal Reflection
Writing Material: Ong Informal Reflection
Writing Material: Rheingold Informal Reflection
Writing Material: Elbow Informal Reflection
Oral Presentation Slot A: Responses

Discussion: - Several links to a page on a classmate's blog where I left a significant comment that was part of a fruitful discussion. Below are all the comments that I left on my peers blog entries and agenda items.

Brookfield (1-22) - Commented on Kayla Sawyer's, Daniella Choynowski, and Chris Ulicne.

Writing Material: Plato - Commented on Rachel Prichard, Chris Ulicne and Stormy Knight.

Di Renzo - Commented on Rachel Prichard and David Cristello.

Writing Material: Ong - Commented on Jeremy Barrick and Kayla Saywer.

Havelock (19-62) -Commented on Jeremy Barrick and Rachel Prichard.

Writing Material: Sundiata - Commented on Daniella Choynowski.

Writing Material: Rheingold - Commented on Daniella Choynowski and Chris Ulicne.

Writing Material: Elbow - Commented on David Cristello and Jeremy Barrick.

Havelock (98-126) - Commented on Kayla Sawyer and Chris Ulicne.

Non-Category Entries:
Forum 1: Idea Brainstorm & Pre-Write
Forum 1: Memory and Knowledge in the Classical Era

Assignment Link

February 28, 2008

Forum 2: Pencil technology advances to a point...(get it?)

"From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies" - Dennis Baron, Writing Material pgs 35-53.

Synopsis: An overview of what happens when literacy technologies shift. This article pays specific attention to the history of the pencil. I am intentionally skipping talking about the telephone because of my previous presentation and its emphasis on telecommunications.

Cultural Shifts:
To think that we don't have pencil sharpeners in offices anymore is mind blowing. Today people view computers as the gateway to literacy and “futurologists write books claiming computers will replace books,” (Baron 36).

Benefits of digital text is that is possesses a certain flexibility that written test lacks. Personally I prefer typing to writing any day. In an earlier blog entry I expressed my hate for writing things down.

"I found that I had become so used to composing virtual prose at a keyboard I could no longer draft anything coherent directly onto a piece of paper," (Baron 36).

Writing triggered a cognitive revolution in our development.

I have a strong opposition of pencils that has been going on for years. I even used to do my math homework in pen. The only time that I use a pencil is to sketch a painting out on a canvas before I paint it. But according to Baron pencils aren't all that bad as they are the universal tool for writing.

The pencil was first used to scribe lines. The modern day pencil as we know it emerged in 1560. The word pencil translates as "little tail." Pencils were first tools used by woodworkers and not writers.

The first personal computers cost around $5,000 and were cumbersome. These computers also had very bad and skeptical word processing programs. The rise of digital plagiarism was soon a concern for computer users. Students tend to rely on the World Wide Web today, but things online tend to disappear much more than printed things.

Technology & Authenticity:
Both writing and computers are examples of technology In order to be accepted and catch on any new technology must be accessible, functional and authentic (Baron 37). This makes it understanding why some people still do not trust computers.

The issue of authenticity is one that society deals with in many ways. Using the elections as an example, according to pollster Peter Hart, the number one thing that people were concerned with in a candidate was authenticity. The latest plagiarism accusations against Barrack Obama have led the belief that he is no longer an authentic candidate.

But then again we have to remember that people were once weary of writing to commit fraud the same way they are worried about identity theft today and computer fraud.


1. How have computers changed writing?
2. How many people use pencils to write with on a regular basis?
3. Do you prefer hand writing something or using a computer?
4. When did you learn to write?
5. When was the first time you used a computer?
6. Growing up did your family have a personal computer?

Assignment Link

About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

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