Blogging assignment

Learning Objectives

  • Write. To become better a better writer, you must write and write often.
  • Write in a style appropriate to a blog: concise, thought-provoking, with a distinct voice
  • Master the technical skills of writing and editing a simple post, adding images and links, embedding video, creating polls, and using tags and categories
  • Engage in the interactive nature of the Web by promoting posts via social media, commenting and linking to other sites
  • Experiment with writing to trigger search engines, using SEO-friendly titles/headlines, keywords, captions, repetition of key phrases, outgoing links
  • Broaden your understanding of the industry, news coverage, current events, journalism law and ethics, publishing and technology, business models, career outlooks, and conundrums for writers and editors

The Assignment

Each student will be responsible for posting to our class blog four times during the semester, or about once a month. Both sections of the class will post to the same blog, with two or three new posts a day Monday through Thursday (you get weekends off).

Specifics

Your posts must be related to newspapers, magazines, writing, editing or journalism in some way. You could post something about news coverage, the magazine industry, grammar, law and ethics, multimedia, accuracy, useful sites, social media or career advice, for example. The topic is fairly broad.

Your posts should:

  • Have a point. The main point should be interesting and relevant to our class. The narrower the topic, the better.
  • Be short. You’re blogging, not writing a term paper.
  • Be well written. Online readers want lively writing with a distinctive voice. Or course, your post must be mechanically sound, too – grammar, spelling, AP style, usage and punctuation matter.
  • Have an absolutely clear title/headline. Understandable is better than clever, since most people skim online. If it isn’t clear, they won’t linger.
  • Advance your topic. It’s not enough to regurgitate what others are saying or to assemble a list of links. Explore the topic, and help the reader understand it. Take a stand. Add value for the reader. Nudge the conversation along.
  • Have keywords in mind. Put yourself in the mind of a Google searcher. What words might someone use to find information on your topic? Use those words early and often, and include some of them in your headline.
  • Include a “read more” tag if your post runs longer than a few paragraphs.
  • Include pictures. Remember that the Web is highly visual. Use photos, videos and graphics in your posts.
  • Add tags and categorize your blog. Include your name as a tag so we can search for your posts easily. Also tag your posts “blog1,” “blog2,” and so forth.
  • Include links (but not too many). They must be credible and relevant. Use relevant phrases for links instead of “click here” or “can be found here.”
  • Try to encourage reader comments and discussion. Ask a provocative question, ask for help or solicit opinions.
  • Keep the conversation going by responding to comments and moderating the give-and-take. If the conversation becomes dominated the audience rather than you, you’ve succeeded.
  • Promote your post by using Twitter, Digg, De.li.ci.ous, Facebook or other social media.
  • Make sure your post portrays you as intelligent, thoughtful and competent. A future employer might read it.
  • Turn in a hard-copy printout of your post to me
  • Read your classmates’ posts. Join the conversation. Comment, link, respond, inquire.

VERY IMPORTANT: Post by 6 p.m. on your day.

Each blog post will be worth 25 points, based on specific criteria provided to you, for a total of 100 points. Contributing to the discussions on the class blog is a separate assignment, also worth 100 points.