Help is just a click away

If you haven’t explored the Resources page of this blog lately, you could be missing a bet.

For example, did you know you can download the pdf version of my PowerPoint presentation on broadcast writing? Could be a big help with this week’s broadcast writing assignments. For example, it will remind you that you’re supposed to use ALL CAPS when writing for broadcast.

You’ll find this link, along with a link to style rules for broadcast and a sample broadcast story, listed under “Broadcast” on the Resources page.

If you’re thinking of writing a review for your final magazine/multimedia project for this class, have you noticed that the Resources page includes a section on writing reviews?

You also might want to listen to one of America’s best storytellers, NPR’s Ira Glass, give his take on storytelling. You’ll find a link to that YouTube video listed under “Other Resources” … it’s just below the link to an excellent discussion of interviewing skills.

At the bottom of the Resources page you’ll find links to some interesting blogs. For example, if you check out Daniel Sato’s Photojournalism Blog (BTW, Sato is a JMC photojournalism grad), you’ll see that he’s just written a blog post that explains (and shows!) how to make your first map, using Mapnik or Google Maps.

Wouldn’t that make a fabulous “graphic extra” to accompany your final project for this class?


Help…my blog post didn’t publish!

A couple of you have run into problems getting your assignments to publish on your blog. There is a trick to it. Here’s how Blogger works: The first time you save a blog post, clicking on the “save now” button only saves it as a draft. It does not publish it. To publish a blog post, you have to click the “publish post” button.

However, once a blog post has been published, clicking the “save now” button saves it and republishes it.

Here’s how that works. Say, for example, you publish an assignment, then click on the “view site” link to give it one final review and make sure it really published (a practice I highly recommend, by the way). When you look over your assignment, you notice an AP style error and, of course, you decide to fix it. To do that, go back to blog’s dashboard, click on the manage “posts” link, then click on the “edit” link for that blog post. (Or click on the “back” button in your browser to get back to the post management area of your blog, and click on the “edit” link from there.) Make your edit, then click on “save now” or “publish post.” Your corrected blog post replaces the flawed original. You’re happy, I’m happy. Life is good.

If you run into blog problems, let me know. Another good resource is the help page. Here’s the URL: If you’re using a WordPress blog, the WordPress Lessons page is equally helpful.

How to use this blog/website

I’ve had a couple questions about how to use this blog. So here’s an overview:

  • Under the blog’s title (Journalism 61), you’ll find a row of buttons that serve as links to this blog’s web pages. These pages are where I put information that doesn’t change very often, such as the syllabus and class schedule, etc. Here’s how to navigate these pages:
    • Click on the Assignments button, and it’ll take you to the assignments page which describes the major assignments and provides links to writing exercises and assignments.
    • Click on the Class Schedule button, and it’ll take you to the class schedule, which tells you what to read/review this week and which assignments are due when.
    • The Syllabus button takes you to the syllabus for this class, etc.
    • To go back to the main page of the blog, click on the Home button.
  • The wide center column is the “blog” part of this site. When you’re on the blog’s main or “Home” page, you’ll see a chronological listing of my blog posts in the center column. But if you click on one of the buttons (say, the Syllabus button), that information will appear in the center column. To get back to the main page of the blog, just click on the Home button.
  • The narrow columns on either side of the blog are called sidebars. These stay the same, no matter what’s showing in the center column. Here’s what you’ll find in the sidebars:
    • Categories (in the left sidebar) are organizational/search tools. Whenever I write a post on this blog, I label it with one or more categories. (This one, for example, I’ll categorize as “class info” and “how to’s.”) If you click on a category, such as “Class Info,” it brings up all the blog posts I’ve labeled with that category. That way, even if you don’t exactly remember the title of a blog post or when it was published, you can probably still find it.
    • Recent Posts (left) are just that — a list of the titles of recent blog posts I’ve published on this blog. The titles are active links, so clicking on one takes you to that blog post.
    • Blogroll (right) contains links.
    • Blogs – Section 80 (right) lists links to your class blogs
    • JMC Links will take you to JMC web pages and blogs, and other JMC class blogs.
    • JMC Student Blogs provide links to blogs by some former students of this class.
    • Meta: Lists the links that take me to the WordPress login page so I can manage this blog/site.
    • Subscribe: Click here to subscribe to this blog. Of course, you’ll need a way to track your subscriptions to make this work. I use Google Feed Reader. (More on this a bit later.)

Welcome to Journalism 61

This blog serves as the home page of the online section of Journalism 61.

To get started in the class, you’ll need to email me at cynthia.mccune [at] to confirm that you’ve registered for the class. That will be my cue to add you to my email list for the class. Some assignments will be emailed, so you’ll want to make sure you’re on my list.

Most of your writing assignments will be delivered to me via a blog, so the next thing you’ll need to do is set up your own blog for this class. (As you can see at right, a couple of students have already set up their blogs. Feel free to check them out!) Click here for directions on how to set up a blog. If you run into any problems, email me.

To confirm that you’ve completed the first assignment (setting up your blog), please email me your blog’s URL (web address) by 6 p.m. Saturday (the first Saturday of the semester).

Once you’ve created a blog, you’ll also need to know how to log in and create new “blog posts” to submit your assignments. Click here for directions on how to do that.

By the way, you can also find “how to” information related to this class by clicking on the “How To’s” link under the “Categories” heading at the top left column of this blog.

P.S. While you’re at it, please click on the links at the top of this page to review the Jour 61 syllabus, grading, class schedule, assignments and links to class resources. You’ll need this information to successfully complete the class.

A word of advice: The best way to pass this class is to complete all of the assignments on deadline, and to revise them as needed to correct any errors I note in my comments. Conversely, the easiest way to fail this class is to skip a bunch of the assignments.

More help for broadcast projects

I’ve added some more broadcast links to the Resources page. These resources explain how to use iMovie to record a simple video, upload it to YouTube, and post it on your blog. Here are the links:

Where’s my blog…and how do I post an assignment?

Note: This is for you blogging newbies. I’m basing this on some of the things I remember being confused about when I first started blogging.

So you’ve created a blog…now, how do you find your way back to it…and how do you post your assignments on it?

Before you can post an assignment, or edit a previous blog post/assignment, you’ll need to sign into your blog. There are two ways to do that. Either way, you’ll need the username and password you used to create your blog.

blogger_login.jpgSign in method #1: Open up your web browser (e.g., Firefox, Safari, Explorer). Go to the Blogger start page at In the upper right-hand corner of that page, type in your username and password, then click on the blue “sign in” button. That will take you to your blog’s “dashboard” (administrative area), where you can “write” a new “post” (a.k.a. an assignment) or “manage” (edit or delete) any materials you’ve posted previously.

blogger_sign_in.jpgSign in method #2: If you know (or have bookmarked) the URL of your blog (e.g.,, then open up your web browser and type in the URL of your blog. Once you’re there, you can click on the “sign in” link in the upper right-hand corner of your blog to sign in to your blog’s dashboard. Once there, you can write a new post.

blogger_dashboard1.jpgYour blog’s dashboard should look something like this.

To write a new post, click on the “New Post” link. That will take you to a form that looks a lot like an email form where you can write and format your new “post” or assignment.

Alternatively, instead of typing your assignment directly into the blog post form, you can write it in Microsoft Word (or a text editor), copy it, and then “paste” it into the “new post” form of your blog.

blogger_post_form.jpgOnce you’ve written (or copied and pasted) your assignment or comment into the “new post” form, simply click on the orange “Publish Post” button at the bottom left of the form…and you’re done. Your “post” will now show up as the first item in your blog.

By the way, if you look at your blog and find that your new post hasn’t showed up yet, try clicking your browser’s “refresh” button.

If you click on “Save Now” instead of “Publish Post,” your new item will be saved as a draft. It will not appear on your blog’s main page until you “publish” it.

If you’ve saved something as a draft and need to go back and finish it, click on the “manage posts” in your dashboard (or on the “edit posts” tab while in the “create post” form). That will take you to a list of all your posts (both published posts and drafts). Click on the edit button for a specific post to edit it.

If you have any questions, leave them as a comment on this blog post and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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 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, 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:

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.