Week 8

In Class:

General Suggestions So Far
Interview Tips for Journalists
Writing leads
Intro to simple web analytics
Social media and journalism
Incorporating Photography into your Reporting
Tips for Better Smartphone Photography
In Class Photo Assignment
Tips for writing great leads

-Post 4: Free Post and Post 5 Q&A with Photo due Sunday, March. 13 at 10 p.m.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week 7

In Class:

The internet IS reality: What you do online matters

-Take a look at each other’s blogs and give feedback

Social media and journalism

Examples of Solid Q&A posts

-Tips on conducting good interviews

-Bonus quiz on Ch. 9

-Post 4: Free Post and Post 5 Q&A with Photo due Sunday, March. 13 at 10 p.m.

Buzzfeed (news blog of the week). Make sure you check out their recent video of Pres. Obama. Here’s some background on the site. Buzzfeed set out to be the “first true social news organization – that is, an outfit built on the understanding that readers increasingly get and share their news on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.” Find one post you think is a good example of “combining traditional reporting and experimental methods of social distribution.” Come to class next week to talk about it.
-JournalismNext Chapter 4 – “Going mobile”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week 6

In Class:

-Discuss Terroirist (a daily wine blog)

-Look at some of your blog designs, Intro Posts and Aggregation Posts

-Discuss Writing Leads

-Discuss Social Media and Journalism

-Introduction to Web Analytics



Due Sunday, Feb. 28 by 10 p.m.:

Post 2: Aggregation Post  (25 points)

Post 3: Free Choice (25 points)



-Read JournalismNext Chap 10 – “Managing news as a conversation”


Looking ahead:

Post 4: Q & A with Photo (50 points) and another Free Post (25 points) will be due Sunday, Mar. 13 at 10 p.m.



Writing Leads

After the headline, your lead – a simple, clear statement consisting of the first few sentences of your story – is the most important part of your article.

A lead must:

  • Pull the reader in.
  • Convey the basic information (who, what, where, when, why and how)
  • Include only the most important information
  • Tell the reader what is unusual or unique
  • Focus on people doing things
  • Tell reader why they should care
  • Be accurate

If your lead isn’t compelling, chances are your reader will go elsewhere.

There are many ways to craft a lead. Two of most common leads are 1.) the hard news (or inverted pyramid) lead and 2) the delayed (or anecdotal) lead.

A hard news lead answers the basic information: who, what, where, when and why in the first paragraph. It is usually short, often fewer than 25 words, unless you use two sentences. Take a look at this example from the New York Times.

A delayed lead often sets the stage with some concrete details, incorporates a good quote, or sets a scene before conveying the basic information. Take a look at this example about figure skating in the last Olympics.

But there are also other ways to write a lead; for examples, see How to Write a Lead Like a Professional Blogger.

In-class practice:

What: Bostonians are jumping out of window into giant snow banks and posting videos on social media. The mayor is concerned. He wants it to stop.

Where: Boston, Mass.

When: At press conference yesterday

Who: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

Why: There are 8 foot snow drifts. People are going a little stir-crazy. They may seriously injury themselves or even die.

Quote: “This isn’t Loon Mountain, this is the city of Boston, where we’re trying to remove snow off of the street and it becomes very dangerous. And the last thing we want to do is respond to an emergency call where somebody jumped out of the window because they thought it was a funny thing to do,” Walsh said.


Social Media and Journalism

An overview:

How can journalists use social media? Using Twitter as example: 

You can ask the same question for other platforms…

How can you use social media to report, promote your work and connect with others who are passionate about your blog topic?

That’s for you to figure out.

What you do now is practice and experience for the future. 

For example, this Rowan graduate turned passion and experience in social media into a job.


Intro To Web Analytics

Journalists live in an age of the big board. So they must understand how, when and where people get their news. But understanding how the web works also involves going beyond the common knowledge and practice.

“To build your audience online, you need to analyze what you publish, what your readers like and don’t like, and then do more of what they like. You also need to make sure that your content, especially content your current readers have shown interest in, can be found by new audiences through search and shared through social media.” – JournalismNext

Some basic terminology:

-top posts and pages – most visited posts and sub pages

-page views – total number of pages viewed in a given time period

-visits – number of times everyone accesses a website

-unique visitors – number of computers that access a website

-referrers – where your traffic comes from; links to your site)

-search engine terms or queries – what words people searched to get to website

-subscribers – individuals who subscribe or follow your posts (get information via feeds or email alerts)

-clicks – URLs that readers click to go away from your site

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – understanding how to optimize your web content so it can be found by search engines.

“Google Juice” Top 10 Most Important Google News Ranking Factors

Get to know your WordPress.com stats


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week 5

In Class:
-Discuss Renegade Mothering (news blog of the week)
-Grading rubric or What I’m looking for in a blog post
Tips for writing for the web
Linking like a journalist
Tags and Categories
—So, how should we feel about headlines and clickability?
Writing headlines for web and mobile

Due Sunday, Feb. 28 by 10 p.m.:
Post 2: Aggregation Post  (25 points)
Post 3: Free Choice (25 points)

-Read JournalismNext Chapter 3 – “Crowd-powered collaboration”
-Read JournalismNext Chap 10 – “Managing news as a conversation”

Looking ahead:
Post 4: Q & A with Photo (50 points) and another Free Post (25 points) will be due Sunday, Mar. 13 at 10 p.m.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week 4

In Class:
-Continue setting up your blog in class
-Discuss The Scene (Philly Magazine blog)
Common types of blog posts
–Troubleshooting common setup problems

-Read Uwishunu (news blog of the week)
Blog Set Up and Post 1 due Sunday, Feb. 14 at 10 p.m.

-Read JournalismNext Chapter 3
-Read the Cyberjournalist.net’s Blogger Code of Ethics

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Info on Blog Setup

Each student blog must have the following elements:

  • Specific, focused and accessible beat pitched on time (10 points)
  • Compelling, informative title (2 points)
  • Appropriate theme and complete design (2 points)
  • About Page or text on your sidebar that explains your publication (2 points)
  • Author’s full name – first and last – must be in a permanent location on the blog like an About page or on sidebar (1 point)
  • Blogroll with at least five other online publications or blogs related to beat or topic (5 points)
  • A link to at least one social media account that you plan to use to report and promote your blog (ie Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc). (5 points)
  • Archives widget (1 point)
  • Blog Stats widget (1 point)
  • Time zone set correctly. (Select “New York” in WordPress) (1 point)

-1 for each typo, spelling or grammar error, AP style mistake or incomplete element.

Post 1: Your first post should introduce yourself and your blog topic to your audience. Outline what you hope to accomplish in the coming weeks: What kinds of stories you plan to do? Who do you hope to interview? What kinds of places do you hope to photograph? What events can you attend in the next month? Be as concrete and specific as possible, and give your readers something(s) to look forward to. Check spelling, grammar, and AP style.

Setting Up Your Blog

If you are using the free version of Word Press:

1. Sign Up

Go to http://www.wordpress.com and click on “Get a Free Site.” Follow the sign up instructions.

If you already have a WordPress account log in. Go to Manage my Blogs and Create a New Blog.

Pick a URL that fits with the title or subject of your blog. You can change the Title of your blog later, but not the URL.

Make sure your blog is visible to everyone.

Skip all of the paid upgrades (you can always do that later).

Click on “Create Blog.”

For a video demonstration of this, click here

2. Pick a Theme Continue reading 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week 3

Week 3 – Tues. Feb. 2 & Thurs. Feb. 4

In Class:

-Read HuffingtonPost (news blog of the week)

-Go over blogging basics

Ethics talk: Permission, waivers, plagiarism, copyright, fair use and Creative Commons

– In-class time to design and set up your blog

-Ethics quiz (Thursday)



-Read the Cyberjournalist.net’s Blogger Code of Ethics

-Blog Set Up and Post 1 (Introduction) due by Sun., Feb. 14 at 10 p.m.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment