S. 80 – lead-writing assignment

Please click on the Assignments tab at the top of this page — that will take you to the list of potential assignments for this class.

For this week’s assignment, which is due by 6 p.m. Saturday, please complete Leads #1 and Leads #2 and post them on your blog. Please post each assignment separately, using the name of the assignment (e.g. Leads#1) as the headline of your blog post so I can easily find it. Reading Chapter 3, Newswriting Basics, in our text will help you with these assignments. In particular, read pages 36-41.

Also, please note that your first “Top News” assignment is due this Saturday as well. Follow the “Top News” link on the Assignments page for a description of this assignment.

I will email you the short AP style exercise tonight (after I finish writing it!), and I’ll try to get next week’s assignments posted over the weekend, so you have more lead time from here on out.


Got what it takes to be a reporter?

Or a PR specialist? Or some other kind of media maven?

Please take the self-test (“Got what it takes to be a reporter?”) on page 29 of our text and write a short (1-2 paragraphs) blog post on your thoughts on it. For example, maybe this self-assessment helps confirm that you’re heading in the right direction, career-wise. Or maybe it leaves you wondering if there’s room in the media for somewhat shy people. Or maybe you just think this self-test is bogus . Whatever, they’re your thoughts, just write ’em.

Please publish this post by 6 p.m. Saturday.

Pedaling as fast as I can…

Yes, I’m running a little behind schedule.

I’m working my way through your emails, adding links to your new blogs to the sidebar of this blog and adding them to my Google Feed Reader so I can more easily track what you’ve posted. I hope to wrap that up tonight…but, FYI, yesterday I added another class (100W, s. 2) to my teaching load, so I’ve got to work on that tonight in preparation for Wednesday’s class…which means I may not be able to get caught up with your emails until Thursday evening.

Please bear with me…I promise I’ll get caught up ASAP.

Your First Assignment

Here’s your first assignment: start your own blog! The easiest way to do that is to sign up for a blog at Blogger.com. Just click on the orange “create your blog now” arrow and fill in the blanks.

(If you’re already an experienced blogger, you might want to set up your blog on WordPress.com, the blog service I use for all my class blogs. It’s a little more complex, but it has more features. The good news is both services are free.)

blogger1.jpgOne of the first things you’ll need to do is pick a name for your blog (e.g., Cynthia’s blog, Kelly’s Jour61 Blog or Media Maven) and select a color and design. Feel free to have some fun with it.

As you set up your blog, carefully consider how “public” you want to be before filling out your “profile.” For example, you can choose not to show your real name or email address on your blog — and that’s probably a good idea. You can use an alias to serve as your “display name” (that’s the name that goes on each blog “post” to show who wrote it — for example, I use “cynmc” as my display name). You can upload a photo or icon…or not. You can provide some personal info … or not (FYI, I mostly don’t).


Once you’ve got your blog set up, click on “posting” tab in the dashboard to write your first comment. You’ll see that it’s a lot like writing an email. You get a slot for a headline, a box to write in, and tools for editing and formatting what you write. You can write right in the form, or write what you want in Word and copy and paste it into the form.

Note: Sometimes text that’s copied and pasted from MS Word brings in unwanted formatting that makes your blog post look funny. If you run into this problem, highlight the messy text and click on the “Remove Formatting” button (circled in red below) in your blog’s format bar.

So … here’s what I’d like to do for your first blog post: introduce yourself. You don’t have to give your full name if you’d prefer to stay somewhat anonymous, but tell a little bit about yourself and briefly say what you’d like to get out of this class … and maybe what aspect of the media you’re most interested in. Just a few short paragraphs will do.

Oh, and make sure to email me the web address (URL) of your blog so I can find it. (For example, the URL for this blog is: https://jour61.wordpress.com.)

If you run into problems, don’t panic. If you’d like some help getting your blog started, just come in during my office hours, or email me, or call me.

Welcome to Journalism 61

This blog will serve as an information hub for Journalism 61, section 4. In addition to blog posts related to readings and assignments, you’ll find several tabbed pages offering basic information on the course:

  • the syllabus tab provides an overview of the class, lists the required texts, and reviews class policies and procedures
  • the grading tab explains how the class is organized and graded
  • the class schedule tab provides…you guessed it…the class schedule, along with links to assignments
  • the resources page offers links to helpful online resources for this class

RSS feedIf you’d like to keep tabs on any new posts to this blog, you can subscribe to it using the RSS button in the sidebar. If you click on that button, you’ll be asked if you want to add a feed from this blog to your favorite feed reader, such as Google Reader or Yahoo. If you don’t yet have a feed reader, we’ll talk about how to set one up in class.

I’m also going to ask each student enrolled in this class to start a blog. Rather than have you hand in hard copies of all your assignments, I’m going to ask you to post some of them on a blog. I’m also going to ask you to put an RSS feed in your blog so I can easily subscribe to them all.

Although I’m using a wordpress.com blog for this class, I’d suggest you go to blogger.com to start your own blog. Blogger blogs are a little easier to use and Blogger makes it fairly easy to add an RSS feed (we’ll do that part in class). To create a Blogger blog, you’ll need a Gmail account — again, we’ll take care of that in class of you don’t have one.

See you in class!