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

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Evaluate the class:
1. How would you improve it?
2. Strongest part?
3. How has the class changed you?

Comment below, or email, by noon toda.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Grading your presentations

Here's the format

2017 Blogging/ Name__________________ 
100 points  Date
Blog reviewed ______________________________________________
5 points--Outline to all including Name and Url
10 points--Visuals, scroll through 
1.     5 points--History of blog
1          2          3          4          5
2.     15 points--Facts about blogger, blog
1          2          3          4          5
3.     5 points--Statistics
1          2          3          4          5
4.     5 points--Uniqueness
1          2          3          4          5
5.     15 points--Strengths and weaknesses
1          2          3          4          5
6.    10 points-- Advice
1          2          3          4          5
7.     10 points--Influence and ideas
1          2          3          4          5

10 points--Overall presentation

Final test questions?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Presentation schedules

March 28--Derrick Miracle, Emily Palmer
March 30--Kaitlyn Haupe, Elisabeth Slay
April 4--Jordan Belew, Taylor Greeson, Chase McMillan
April 6--Moraima Hernandez, Elsa Ruiz, Emily Smith
April 11--TJ Eckert, Michael Houston, Kalen Russell
April 13--Kateleigh Mills, Precious Timmons, Sunny Todd
April 18--Kylie Neel, Yoni Yoo
April 20--Nate Baldwin, Jamie Kisling, Austin Mosely, Jordan Redman

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What have you learned so far?

Blog today about
1.  What have you learned about writing for a blog?
2.  How has your blogged changed during the semester, and why?
3.  How is blogging important to your chosen major/career?
4.  How has blogging in this class affected you?
5.  What have been the most important lessons from the class?

  • Organize your answers, not by numbers but with a catchy headline, and subheads and or visuals to break up the answers and make the post attractive. You will  be graded on the originality of thought and presentation, depth (two or three sentences is not enough), and appearance of your answers.

For example:

I'm a blogging fool

I've got the "write stuff"
Look down, look down that lonesome road
You can't dance if you don't move
Lessons from the laid back
I don't  know but I've been told ("big-legged woman ain't got no soul")

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guidelines for your questions on blog adoption

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?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Blog research

1. Spend 15 minutes researching the blog you want to adopt
2. What are five facts about the blog, and blogger
3. Post on your blog this information, today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

To blog or not to blog

UCO student and now the editor of The Vista, Kateleigh Mills, interviewed me about a year ago, about blogging--why or why not. Here was my advice:

  • Six reasons to blog--
  1. You need a quality digital “footprint” to get a start on a career in the highly competitive communication field. A blog can be part of that—I have former students whose blogs helped get them jobs.
  2. You have a passion and something original you want to say that can be sustained over time.
  3. You can write grammatically correct sentences,  enjoy writing and can organize your thinking.
  4. You are willing to work at it because quality blogging takes a lot of preparation and time.
  5. You enjoy learning and change because blogging is always changing.
  6. You have an eye for effective design and readability.
  • Six reasons not to blog--
  1. You can’t write a grammatically correct sentence punctuated correctly.
  2. You only want to rant, gripe or whine about a specific subject.
  3. You have no passion or nothing to say.
  4. You are just blogging because you think you should.
  5. You’re lazy and don’t want to put in the time.
  6. You don’t really want a career in communication.
Assignment: Comment below--what would you add to this list?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Using quotes--making "eye contact"

Using quotations--have you made "eye contact" with your reader?

Quotes are eye contact. No eye contact, no story
  •  A story without quotes isn’t much of a story, no matter the subject, for it lacks a human angle.
  • Nothing involves a reader more with a person than hearing them talk, reading their words.
  • Readers’ eyes automatically go to quotation marks.
  • Above all you use good quotes, quotes that are not long, but get to the point, that are original, that show passion and character and insight.
  •  Accuracy is the prime rule. Everyone is afraid of being misquoted. You must assure your subject of your accuracy.
  • Find your best quote—use it high in the story.
  • Paraphrase long quotes, ordinary quotes. “Clark said that quotes are important.”
  • Save you second best quote for a possible conclusion, or near the end of the story.
  • Quotes start paragraphs.

Guidelines for blog adoption, contact

Email, something like this:

I'm a senior journalism student at the University of Central Oklahoma who is studying blogging for media.
I have been studying your blog and would like to ask your advice and  a few questions by email for a class presentation. My assignment is to get a  a sense of what makes your blog effective, and to learn from your blogger’s experience.
If possible, I'd like to send you those questions this next week, and will need responses by March 7 if possible.
Please let me know by  Feb. 28 if that is convenient. I look forward to hearing from you.
My professor, Dr. Terry M. Clark, at, can confirm this assignment if you wish.
My blog is XXXXXX.

Thank you,

your name


By Tuesday, Feb. 21--First attempt at adoption contact. Guidelines soon.
By Tuesday, Feb. 28--If no response, to backup
By Thursday, March 2--Blog adoption confirmed, questions submitted by Tuesday, March 7--Contact completed


This assignment is 100 points, 10 percent of your grade.
1. Presentation to be 15 minutes long
2. 1 page outline to every member of class
3. 3-page paper, handed in day of presentation to professor
4. Post your paper on your blog, with screenshot of blog
5. One or two items from each presentation will be discussed for final text questions. Your outline is your study guide.   

“We want a sense of what makes this blog effective, and to learn from the blogger’s experience.”

How to add video

This Link:



Thursday, February 2, 2017

When blogging becomes a "slog"

Read this in the New York Times.

Comment below by 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6

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, January 31, 2017

Gospel of Punctuation

Clark's Gospel of Punctuation
Let’s start with our “problem children,” the ones we have the most trouble with. 
  • The apostrophe--We have an apostrophe catastrophe in this country.
1. Contractions, possessives. It's and its are the most misused in the country. Its is comparable to his and hers (a pronoun). It's is a contraction for it is. There is no its'. I saw a sign once that read "Deliciou's Apple's.
2. With plurals:
  • With regular singular nouns ending in s, "Mark Thomas's job is to lead the  OPA.
  • With regular plural nouns, add only an apostrophe, "The Thomases' children…."
  • With irregular plural nouns, add an apostrophe s,  "The children's
  • Never add to a noun that ends in s if there is no possessive. Wrong: "These word’s…"
  • If it's a compound noun, only the last word gets an apostrophe: The editor-in-chief's job…..
  • Compound possessives, only on the second noun, Lewis and Clark’s journey…
    •    Colons--Avoid. They stop the reader's flow in the sentence. They always come at the end of a complete sentence: He bought five vegetables: cukes, tomatoes, corn, okra and radishes.  Do not use it in the following manner (as in this sentence): He bought the following: cukes, tomatoes, corn. Rewrite both. He bought cukes, corn and radishes.
    •    Exclamation marks--Avoid! Especially more than one at a time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They show you don't know how to write for emphasis, and cheapen your writing like all those ads in the inserts that put exclamation marks after every item: "Hair Dyer”! Two speeds! Black or brown! Wall mount!  Etc. You should use it in a quote only when clearly called for. “Don’t use exclamation marks!” Clark yelled.
    •    Quotation marks--In America, quote marks always, always, always go outside the period and comma. Question marks and exclamation marks depend on context.  This includes single quotes: “I told you he said 'I quit,'" Clark yelled. With question marks, quotes go inside if the quote is a question as in "Are you cold?" he asked. But outside like this, Did Clark say, “Question marks go inside quotes”?
    •    Commas--the most debatable. Best rule--Always use for clarity, and according to AP style on addresses, etc.  Other than that, try omitting or rewriting to avoid as many as possible. 
1. Use with a non-restrictive clause or appositive (one that's not essential). Clark, who grew up in New Mexico, lives in Oklahoma. vs. The man who was bleeding from the wound died in 20 minutes. Try to write around it and cut the words. Clark grew up in New Mexico and lives in Oklahoma. 
2. In a series, omit the comma before the last item: He loves tomatoes, iced tea and jalapenos. Your English teacher and others would insert a comma after iced tea. That's called the "Oxford comma." Oxford is in England. This is America. Journalists don't use it except in rare cases where needed for clarity.
3. Setting off introductory clauses and phrases, In the beginning, God created….  Or Although the city council met for five hours, it took no action. It's usually better for us to rewrite it and get to the point first. After five hours the council accomplished nothing. No comma because it's essential to the meaning, it's shorter, and easier to read. Get to the point.
Always ask yourself if you have a question about punctuation, “Why do I need this?” or “Why am I using this?” Most grammatical problems can be cured with short sentences. 
(Use these . . . . . . . Periods. They're free.)

Today's agenda

1. Blog essay topics?  Need two. Deadline Wednesday Feb. 1, 5 p.m, but 15 minutes today search
2. Fill in the sentence-Deadline Wednesday Feb. 1, 5 pm
"This is an essay about (Subject) and it is interesting because ____________________. My thesis (the main point of the paper that I'm supporting with my sources) is__________________________. "

3. Sources?--possible today?
4. Feb. 2--Discussion and approval
5. How's your writing? --Blogblog comments-today
6. Power words? Blogblog comment?-today
7. Blog adoption beginning

Up for adoption:

For Thursday, Feb. 9

  • Search blogs for professional adoption.
  • List below three possible blogs and urls for adoption
Tuesday, Feb. 14 💗 Discussion; choosing blog adoptee, with backup
  • Complete comment below: "I'm choosing this blogger because _____"
By Tuesday, Feb. 21--First attempt at adoption contact. Guidelines soon.
By Tuesday, Feb. 28--If no response, to backup
By Thursday, March 2--Blog adoption confirmed, questions submitted by Thursday, March 9--Contact completed 

Essay deadlines:

Feb. 19--First paragraph, typed handed in to me
March 9--Posted on your blog, guidelines to come. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

How's your drama?

Going for "the drama," and Do you use "Power Words"?

Go for the drama. What does that mean?
"The three of them stood there, holding three hand made signs, protesting Trump, as a constant stream of all kinds of people flowed by, heading for the rally inside the Oklahoma City convention center yesterday.

Would you keep reading?  

"Two of them are students at Oklahoma City Community College, the other a student at Mid-Del High School. 
I spotted them as I rounded the south side of the building, curious about the types of people and the event. No, I didn't have tickets and intended to hold up my own protest sign, hoping to find others.
"They were the only ones,  there of their own volition. Two were registered Republicans, one wearing a Tea Party shirt. The other was too young to vote."

Would you keep reading?
Check your last blog post. Did you use any of these?Power word list
What makes a "power" word? Comment below by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1.


Do you have the "Write" stuff?

How you can improve your blog writing 

Clark's Advice
  • Know the reader
  • Grab attention--go for the drama
  • Make it interesting
  • Short sentences, paragraphs
  • Organize with reader in mind
  • Write to express, not impress
  • Tell a story
  • Have fun
If I wrote my story without notes, what would it say?
  • Concise structure
  • Goes for drama
  • Specific details
  • Quotes
  • Paints pictures
  • Varies sentence strength
  • Paragraph control
  • Conversational
If the reader took a test, what do I want him to remember?

Every blog post should start with this sentence in your mind: "This is a blog post about_____, and it is interesting because____." If you can't write that in your head, you are not ready to start writing. 

How does your blog writing measure up?
Read Show, Don't Tell, and comment below something you learned that will improve your writing. By 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Blog essay time

Need--two possible topics
What about blogs in the world interests you? (This should be something in relation to your blog.)

By  Feb. 1, Wednesday at 5 pm--select two possible ideas for your midterm blog essay for discussion in class Thursday. Post in comments below.
1. After discussion, you will choose a topic  and you will  the following sentence and commented below.

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

2. Also: list three probable links as sources and be ready to explain them in class  by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Potential organization (outline) :

1. Introductory paragraph, what the subject, problem, focus is. ending with your thesis statement.
(Example: "Blogging has changed the way newspapers have covered the news.")
2. Two or three paragraphs, citing sources to back up your thesis. 
3. A short concluding paragraph
4. List of links for your sources

Note: This essay should be from 250-300 words. Instead of handing it in, you will post it on your blog, probably as a two-part series. It must include visuals, perhaps video
, plus links to sources. These will be viewed by the class. 

Due date March. 9.

Getting "ahead" in blogging

When I started writing a monthly newspaper trade column  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,  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? (That's also why you need to put labels after each post...they help your readers search for your ideas, and increase SEO) 

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?

For bloggers, they're more important than ever. 
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 are one important key to attracting readers to your posts.

So, here’s a brief how-to checklist on writing  headlines, in any media, especially blogs.

  • What’s the key point of the post?
  • 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
What makes a bad headline? A good one? 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 Oklahoma Publisher, the statewide newspaper of the Oklahoma Press Association, under "Clark's critique).

Bookmark this evaluator on your blog or computer to test the heads you write. Spend 10 minutes playing with it.

Head's up!  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Headline evaluator

Type wars

Why type are you?

Are you my type? Reading, and more


Also check"Top 100 Fonts"

2. How does the type measure up on your blog? One good thing, one weakness? Comment below by 5 pm Jan. 23

Read  this:

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


    Only Center Type
on invitations
and titles,
not on body copy


8.                  REVERSE TYPE 
should be at a
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