Official blog of Clark's Blogging for Journalists class, Mass Communication department

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Class evaluation-5 points

Answer honestly, post below, by 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3.
Good for five points on your final!
Comment below, 
1. What was strongest part of class? Be specific.
2. What was weakest part of class? Be specific?
3. How would you improve the class?
4. What is your advice to future students of the class? 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ben Bradlee and the Washington Post

Assignment: Read these two articles.
Ben Bradlee

Bradlee the Editor 

Comment below, by 5 kpm Monday Oct. 27
1. What is the most interesting thing you've learned about Mr. Bradlee?
2 Do you see any differences in this kind of journalism and today's media?
3. Do you think social media, including blogging, has changed this type of journalism?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Presentation dates

Presentation rules—you must be here for all presentations. In addition to absences, you lose 10 points.

Remember, outline to all--no excuse for not having enough. 21 outlines.
Paper due day of presentation.
We’ll discuss each presentation and draw one potential final question from it.
Dates:
Oct. 23--Samantha, Melissa
Oct. 28--Neka, Shannon
Oct. 30--Danielle 
Nov. 4--Bianca, Rayven
Nov. 6--Class canceled
Nov. 11---Alyssa, Kristen,  Daga
Nov. 13--International festival, no class
Nov. 18--International paper due; Diana, Janie
Nov. 20--Audrey, Danniel, Nicole
Nov. 25--Lauren, Cassidy
Dec. 4--Susan, Casey, Josh

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ethics conference schedule

Schedule

Getting "ahead" in blogging

When I started writing a monthly newspaper trade column almost 20 years ago, the Internet was relatively new, as was email. There were no blogs, no Facebook, no Instagram, no twitter. Digital cameras were high priced.

I remember teaching headline writing in classes and for the Oklahoma Press Association.  At the time, I always said the headline was the most important element on a page, because it accomplished four different chores at once. They grab attention, tell the story, rate the news, and help dress up your pages.

Today, there are still headlines, and all of that is still true.

But while the way we write headlines has changed dramatically with digital type—rather than having to “count” spaces, we just tap a key to reduce or enlarge sizes to fit, they’re more important than ever.

In fact, they accomplish even more. Ever hear of SEO (Search engine optimization)?  Of course you have.

Tell me,  isn’t that what a good headline has always been?

And today, as our attention spans get shorter and shorter thanks to digital media and the explosion of speed delivering news in all media, they’re crucial to attracting impatient, hurried, distracted-by-other-media readers.

I just “read” the New York Times this morning. How? By scanning the headlines on the computer.  Check any other news outlet on line. People scan the headlines and expect to come away with a general sense of what has happened. We’ll go back and read the ones we want more information in later. All the Internet search engines spend lots of money trying to come up with catchy headlines to attract you to their pages, and thus boost ad hits.

Nothing new, is it, except the media and the speed?

 I’ve found I need to teach my blogging students how to write “headlines” on their blog posts. I took it for granted until I found my blog traffic going up depending on the words in the headlines, and that most of my students had no clue.

All those old headline practices and tips that I’ve taught, or written about in the past have changed with the digital world. To me, there are only two rules in headline writing these days: Be accurate. Don’t be boring.
They one important key to attracting readers to your posts.

So, here’s a brief how-to checklist on writing  headlines, and labels, in any media, especially blogs.
  • What’s the key point of the article?
  • What will most appeal to your readers?
  • Make a list of the strongest, most concrete nouns and verbs
  • Have you chosen words that are trending in search engines?
  • Use action verbs when possible
  • Use short words   
  •  Look for anything unusual 
  •   Is there any play on words you can use to heighten interest?
  • Use the shortest words possible 
  • Use the biggest type you can (for print version)
  • Use consistent legible type (no fancy fonts)
  • Get to the point early
  • More label heads are ok—one or two strong words—with or without a verb (Let a subhead add essential details)
  • Edit—ask yourself if you can write it more briefly
Students: check the headlines on your posts and see how they measure up.
Below, comment on one thing you will improve.
(A version of this article appeared in the February, 2014, issue of The Oklahoma Publisher, the statewide newspaper of the Oklahoma Press Association, under "Clark's Critique").

Assignment: Look at the last three headlines on your blog, and the labels. How do they measure up? How can you improve them? Post below today.

Deadlines!

  • 5 p.m. today--on blogblog, two questions for Dr. Hochenauer
  • Due Tuesday, Oct. 7, at start of class--Outline for your blog essay, with thesis statement.
  • Oct. 8-9--Attend Ethics conference session of your choice, write news-style story
  • Blogblog comments--Due Oct. 9, by 5 p.m. What you learned from Dr. Hochenauer
  • Due Tuesday, Oct. 14--
  1.  Blog essay, 500 words, at start of class 
  2.  Ethics conference paper, 500 words, at start of class.

Reminder on essay:
  • Organization:
  1. Intro, thesis statement
  2. What your views are, citing weblinks.
  3. Conclusion

  • To be typed in 12 point, Times New Roman font. double-spaced. One side of the paper.
  • This essay is worth 100 points.
  • Warning--A misspelled word costs you 50 points. If I find one, I quit grading, give you a 50 and an F.
  • Grammar, punctuation, other errors cost five points each.
  • No fancy covers. First page, your name, Title of paper, and start writing. Staple pages together. List links and other sources separately at end of essay.
  • You will also submit the paper as an attachment to tmclark44@gmail.com, so that I can submit it to turnitin.com for plagiarism check, if I think necessary.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blog speaker Oct. 7

Dr. Kurt Hochenauer, UCO English professor, is author of the blog Okie funk, Notes from the Outback, and Blue Oklahoma.

Dr. Hochenaur will speak to our class Tuesday, Oct. 7. He has been blogging regularly for a long time, and has gained national attention for the blog, which is a "left of center" political blog.

Please click on his blog, scan a couple of articles and its format. By 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, post below two questions you would like to ask him.

When he speaks, I expect you to take notes and be prepared to post about the session.

Your blog essay begins

By 5 p.m. Monday Sept. 29, Post below:

This is an essay about (Subject) and it is interesting because ____________________. My thesis (the main point of hte paper that I'm supporting with my sources) is__________________________.

When Blogging Becomes a Slog

Read this article in today's New York Times, on page D1 or on this link: When Blogging Becomes a Slog

Comment below, today

1. What did you learn about blogging from this article?
2. What is the importance of passion and love in blogging?
3. Your suggestions on how could the problem be avoided?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Presentation rules and schedule


Presentation rules—you must be here for all presentations. In addition to absences, you lose 10 points.
Remember, outline to all--no excuse for not having enough.
Paper due day of presentation.
We’ll discuss each presentation and draw one potential final question from it.
Dates:
Oct. 23--Raven, Samantha  Melissa
28==Neka,
30
Nov. 4
6
11
18
20
25
Dec. 4--Josh Wallace

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sources for your paper

List title of paper and sources below

Interview guide

In your email to your blogger,  I suggest some form of the following:

I'm a senior (major) student at the University of Central Oklahoma studying blogging in media.
For my class assignment, want to report on your blog and would appreciate it if you could answer a few questions for me.
I have a few questions I'd like to ask you, and your answers are vital to  my class presentation later this semester. The quesitons I'd like to ask follow. Would it be possible to have your answers by (date)?

Please let me know by (date) if you can do this.

Thank you very much,



list of questions

Blogging Calendar

No class Oct. 9  (Ethics Conference)
Oct. 14--Paper due
No class Oct. 16 (Fall Break)
Oct. 23 Presentations begin
No class Nov. 13 (International Festival)
Nov. 17--Paper due.
No class Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving)

Assignments:
1. You must attend one session of the Mass Comm Ethics Conference either Oct. 8 (recommended) or Oct. 9, and write a 500-word news style report on it to be handed in by Oct. 14, or post about it on your blog, by 5 p.m. Oct. 13.
2. You must attend the UCO International Festival in the University Center, interview one student from another country, and write a 500-word news style report on the festival to be handed in by Nov. 17, or post about it on your blog, by 5 p.m. Nov. 16.

Blog adoption guidelines

Blog adoption guidelines for second half of semester:
“We want a sense of what makes this blog effective, and to learn from the blogger’s experience.”

Presentations will start Oct. 23
  • You must show the blog visually in your presentation, scroll through it and discuss..
  • You must interview the blogger, by email or on the phone. I recommend you contact them now to make sure they know what you're doing. Last minute, "they did not respond" doesn't cut it
  • If you cannot make contact, you will need to choose a different blog.
  • One page outline of main points (example to come) handed to every member of class while discussing it:
  • List the Name and url of the blog.
1.     History of the blog—
a.     How long blogging?
b.     Who is the blogger? (Age, profession, etc.)
c.      Purpose?
d.     Geographic location?
e.     Number of followers?
f.      Does it make money?
g.  Why do they blog?
2.     What makes this blog unique?
3.     What are its strengths?
4.     What are its weaknesses?
5.     What is the advice of the blogger?
6.     What do you like and dislike?, and why
7.     What did you gain that influences you and your blog?
  • You will present a 500-word  maximum paper to me with all the information the day of the presentations.
  • You will post your presentation outline on your blog, with a screenshot of the blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Making money on blogs




Blogging right along


Explore these links. Spend at least 10 minutes on each site. Find something new about blogging that interests you and comment below, by end of class today.
  1. http://newsok.com/blogs 
  2. http://journalrecord.com/category/blog-hub/
  3. http://www.oklahomawomenbloggers.com/
  4. http://www.blogoklahoma.com/home.aspx
(If you're serious about blogging, join blogoklhoma.

Blog essay sources

Post below your blog essay title, or options, and three links for sources for your blog essay. By 5 pm Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Education equals Income

Here's an article in today's New York Times that might interest you:Equation is Simple: Education= Income

Blogging importance--former students' comments

Blogging and your future

I got this Facebook message last week:

Dr Clark, just wanted to pass along some info I think your students might want to know. If you're still doing the blogging class, I found another reason it is important. 
First though, let them know they can start writing for cash right now. Freelancer, oDesk, eLance and such do pay the inexperienced like me. I started at $5 for 500 words, but was up to $15 for 500 in under 6 months. Through my Freelancer job, I got an offer to write for Mojo Motors, $30 an article. Not a bad rate for something that I enjoy and takes a little over an hour. Then, based on my work at that job, last week I got an email from Jalopnik (Gawker Media). They've asked me to work with Volvo on a series of articles promoting new cars. $250 each. I can deal with that. 
I almost didn't get the assignment, because I don't have a blog up of my work, and she couldn't find me online. Please stress to them the importance of getting their presence out there now. And they can write for cash now, if they're willing to work for peanuts at first.
--Andy Jensen
 
 I got this email earlier this year:

Dr. Clark,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the comment you posted on my NewOK story and for tweeting out my success. Being published on the largest local forum meant a great deal to me, and I give much credit to you for helping me achieve it (You don't know how my inner dialogue screams 'Verbs! Verbs!' at me whenever I write!).

So, again, thank you.

I also wanted to share something interesting with you, that maybe you can pass on to to future blogging classes.

Like I'm sure many people wonder while taking a class based around blogging, one of the biggest questions I had was 'How can this skill actually help me make money?'  I got my answer by accident, actually, when I was looking to get my foot in the door at The Oklahoman and stumbled upon the job I now have.

"Content Marketing," the ad read.  I thought I'd give it a shot, hoping to meet the right people that could get me into news.

When I interviewed for the position, I was a little freaked by how much of my online history had been analyzed (a good lesson in how important Facebook and Twitter etiquette can be).  Old blog posts, website contributions and a bunch of other online traces of me were brought up.  The good thing, though, was that because I'd done so much of that (in a clean manner), the interview was more like a recruiting session -- they felt they had to have me more than I needed them.

Now, my job mainly consists of blogging -- blogging for clients, blogging to build lesser-known websites, blogging for myself even. And I'm nowhere near alone in this. The department I work in employs about 10 people like myself, as well as four or five specialty bloggers. To put it lightly: blogging is huge.

So, I wanted to share this with you in case that cliched "When am I going to use this in the real world?" question ever came up. You can tell them 'em that, odds are, they'll use it a lot.

Thanks again -- for everything.

George Darkow

Who's who, and what's what?

Who's who and what's what, bloggers

Assignment for Tuesday. Post below, by 5 pm Monday Sept. 15.
1. Two blog names, and the urls of two bloggers you want to interview and report on.
2. Two possible blog essay topics, about blogging in today's world.

Blog essay grading--500 word essay

Blog essay due Tuesday, Oct. 14
Percentages
  1. Introduction--10
  2. Thesis statement--10
  3. Support-20
  4. Conclusion-10
  5. Original thoughts--10
  6. Paragraphing--10
  7. Links/sources--10
  8. Spelling--50 percent off if misspelled
  9. Grammar--10
  10. Followed submission guidelines--10

10 Ways to Make Your Blog Shine

Read this article on blogging. How does yours measure up? Comment below today.

Blogging is 20 years old

Read this article from The Guardian:

Blogging at 20

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Writing for blogging

Your attention span is about this
short.

So writing for a blog should be too.
Otherwise your readers' eyes will go
elsewhere.
 
So how do you write well for a blog?
Nothing new, just more emphasis.

  • Short words, 
  • short sentences, 
  • short paragraphs.
  • Grab readers' attention with a strong first sentence
  • Get to the point
  • Break up longer blogs of copy with things like bullets, or caps, or bold face type
  • Be specific with details
  • Have fun (did you ever see that point in previous instructions on writing?)
Read these 12 tips from Writers' Digest
Read this in depth analysis from ProBlogger
Read tips from author of Blogging for Dummies about
Today--Post something on your blog, about how you're going to write for your subject, addressing your readers.
Comment below the most important thing you learned from these articles/links:

Why journalism skills are more important than ever

Read and follow this blog:

http://www.mulinblog.com/gannetts-newsroom-of-the-future-calls-for-changes-in-journalism-education/

Inverted pyramid? Why?
Media chart on skills? Where do you fit?

Comment below by 5 pm Wednesday Sept. 10.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Type wars

Typewars 1
Font Fight
Font Fight 2

Are you my type?

Are you my type?

Doesn't matter what you post if people can't read it, or if it's hard to read. Your job is to make it easy.

1. Read: 

http://blog.fonts.com/2012/02/07/10-web-typography-trends-to-watch-in-2012/

Also check http://blog.fonts.com/

2. How does the type measure up on your blog? One good thing, one weakness? Post in comments below, by 5.pm. Monday, Sept. 8.

 


Clark’s Guide to

Readable Typography for Blogs

(Or anything, for that matter)

1.         Serif—Easiest to read
2.         Sans Serif—harder to read the smaller it is or the more of it there is
3.           Most body type should be about 12 point in size

4.           Script is hard to read--invitations only

5.           Italic is hard to read

6.         Only center type
          On Invitations,
            Or Titles, not
            On most  material


7. ALL CAPS IS HARD TO READ

8.                  REVERSE TYPE 
should be at a
Minimum
And bold
And small san serif 
is hard to read
As is colored type
on reverse  
10.             Screens can make type hard to read

Especially over sans serif

Or heavy and colored screens

11.               Weak colors disappear

12.               Colored type isn’t as effective
As black type, or dark type on a light background

13.      Don’t  Mix Lots of Type Faces

14.            Stick with a few
                  that are compatible

Passion anyone?

What is your passion in blogging? Read this article, Don't blog without passion
Comment by 5 pm Monday Sept. 8.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Your blog

Comment below--Your name, blog title, and url

Assignment for Aug. 28

Check the posts for Aug. 4 and 18. (Media Equation, Hoot Suite, and Links on blogosphere. Read them.
1. Comment below, one sentence each reading assignment and link, on what you learned about blogging. Due by 5 pm Wednesday Aug. 27.

Find 10 in 20

For Tuesday, Sept. 2

 Find 10 in 20 and evaluate one

Take 20 minutes. Go to
 blogoklahoma.com and to
technorati
http://www.blogher.com/network
http://www.bloggersblog.com/blogalistlinks/


1. Find ten blogs of interest to you. Copy links to your blog.

2. Choose one of the blogs you discovered today, or another one you prefer.
Write a two paragraph evaluation of the blog, addressing the following ideas:
  1. What are its strengths?
  2. What ideas about blogging and your blog do you get from it?
  3. What are its weaknesses and how could be improved?
Be sure to include the link to the blog, and include at least one visual image, plus labels at the end of your post.

List by end of class. Comment by 5 p.m. Wed. Sept. 3.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blog ideas and tutorial

Ideas and tutorial

Take 10 minutes to scan this link.
Ideas for your blog
Then view this tutorial

Comment below. What is your blog going to be about and its title?  View tutorial by 5 pm Monday, Aug. 25.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What I expect of you


What do you expect ?
Out of professors, this class, this department, this university?

What I expect of you:
·   To write, speak well
·   To think critically
    (To ask questions)
·   To solve problems
·   To be creative
·   To act ethically
(Including respecting others)
·   To work hard
·   To be adept at technology
·   To be passionate
·   To act like this class is a job
(Be here, and on time)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcome bloggers--get to work today

Assignments one:
1. Welcome bloggers. Check and read these links by Thursday.



2. What are two things you learned you didn't know about blogging, posted below by 5 pm Wed. Aug. 19.

3. What have you decided for a title for your blog?

4. Do you have a separate gmail account yet?

5. Once that is set up and you have a blog, have your blog become a follower of this blog, and Coffee with Clark.

In class view:Blogging founder
Did you know

6. Assignment: view this blog, before 5 p.m. Aug. 19 Blog tutorial

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Class evaluation

Comment below, 
1. What was strongest part of class? Be specific.
2. What was weakest part of class? Be specific?
3. How would you improve the class?
4. What is your advice to future students of the class? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today's presentations

Post potential test questions below:
1. Miao Leng
2. Yujiao Tan
3. Andrew Baker

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Final test questions

Final:
There will be a 25-point multiple choice final test. This will include potentially one question from each of the blog presentations. There will be questions about Okie Funk, typography and headlines.
We will briefly discuss each of the blog presentations as clues.

Presentation schedules

  • April 1: Kyle Renfrow; Aaron Santelmann; Austin Litterell
  • April 3: Cha' Sepulveda: Natalie Cartwritght: Alex Hudsonpillar; Ryan Elliott
  • April 8: Sarah Neese; Chase Terry; Meagan Thomas
  • April 10: Michelle Nhin; Vincent Burr; Austin Ratcliff
  • April 15: Cam Perry: Robby Harris; Shaun Hail
  • April 17: Autumn Circle, Chris Howell; Jacob Hudson
  • April 22: Miao Leng: Yujiao Tan; Andrew Baker
  • No class April 24
  • April 29--Clean Up
  • May 1--?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Format for grading your blog presentation


2014 Blogging/ Name__________________
Blog reviewed ______________________________________________
Link _________________________________________
(1--F to 5-A)

10 points--1.     History of blog
How long blogging? Why? Changes? Growth? 


1          2          3          4          5

15 points--2.     Facts of the blog
Who is the blogger? (Age, profession, etc.)Purpose, Does it make money?   Geographic location? 

1          2          3          4          5

10 points--3.     Statistics
Followers, hits. etc.

1          2          3          4          5

10 points--4.     Unique
In what ways?

1          2          3          4          5

10 points--5.     Strengths

1          2          3          4          5

10 points--6.     Weaknesses

1          2          3          4          5

15 points--7.     Advice of blogger (-20 percent if not contacted)
How influence your blogging?
What ideas did you get?
5 points--8. Scroll through screen, illustrate
5 points--9. One page outline, including your name, blog name, url  to class, paper to Clark on time
5 points--10--Post your paper on your blog, under, What I've learned
5 points--11. Overall presentation quality, time

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blog presentation dates

Remember,
Tuesday, March 24…We schedule your blog presentations for the rest of the semester--2 or 3 a day.
Volunteers appreciated to be the first two, starting April 1.

Also--No class on april 24.

Post your blog url

In the comment section below

Thursday, March 6, 2014

N.Y. Times reporter assignment

Next Tuesday, March 11,  you will meet in Constitution Hall in the Nigh University Center. 
Be on time--11 a.m. or before.
Speaker will be Mr. Mark Mazetti, Pulitzer Prize winning  reporter for the New York Times who covers the National Security Administration, the CIA, and and more.
Assignment: 
  • Read the stories he's written in the list below--today.
  • Look him up on Wikipedia--today, and find something about him.
  • Take notes in his speech Tuesday. 
  • Post something about him--100 words or so, on your blog.
  • Deadline: 8 am, March 13.

Mark Mazetti Articles:

“Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows”

“Key Lawmakers Getting Files About Surveillance Program”

“A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood”

“Obama’s Pentagon and C.I.A. Picks Show Shift in How U.S. Fights”

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog adoption guidelines

Blog adoption guidelines for second half of semester:
“We want a sense of what makes this blog effective, and to learn from the blogger’s experience.”

Presentations will start iMarch 31
  • You must show the blog visually in your presentation, scroll through it and discuss..
  • You must interview the blogger, by email or on the phone. I recommend you contact them now to make sure they know what you're doing. Last minute, "they did not respond" doesn't cut it
  • If you cannot make contact, you will need to choose a different blog.
  • One page outline of main points (example to come) handed to every member of class while discussing it:
  • List the Name and url of the blog.
1.     History of the blog—
a.     How long blogging?
b.     Who is the blogger? (Age, profession, etc.)
c.      Purpose?
d.     Geographic location?
e.     Number of followers?
f.      Does it make money?
g.  Why do they blog?
2.     What makes this blog unique?
3.     What are its strengths?
4.     What are its weaknesses?
5.     What is the advice of the blogger?
6.     What do you like and dislike?, and why
7.     What did you gain that influences you and your blog?
  • You will present a 500-word  maximum paper to me with all the information the day of the presentations.
  • You will post your presentation outline on your blog, with a screenshot of the blog.