Understanding of blogging and knowledge. This assignment offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of blogging—one of the most ubiquitous of the online writing forms—and Computer Assisted Research. Using your social media tools, you will find a topical story, research it (through online articles, email interviews, etc), draft it, craft it, and publish it on your blog. You will then write a critique of your process, analysing the ways online writing theory shaped your final piece.
Both writing and reading onscreen offer different advantages and problems to doing the same in print. As a result, the ways news and magazines are arranging and delivering their content online is changing. Online journalism in particular often involves a lot of desk-based research in which the writer or journalist must work closely with other colleagues and outside sources, often communicating only by email, in order to keep a story up-to-date.
Stories are fragmented, or chunked, in order to make them easier to read and navigate. There’s usually an informative headline, and the text is broken up by subheadings and by images and/or video. Paragraphs are short and concise. The language is easy to comprehend and the meaning is clear. There are links to other, related stories.
More and more, people are ‘reading’, researching and interpreting the world through such links, as well as the comments and analysis left on their various social media accounts, just as much if not more so than traditional news outlets – through the news networks they’ve created. Blogging of a journalistic nature is an extension of this and is often referred to as citizen journalism. Blogging as a form implies that everyone has opinions and it gives you a platform on which to express those.
Your task is to write: a short 800-word topical blog post; a series of social media updates (100 words) promoting your post; and a 700-word critique.
Topical blog post:
Using your social media news feeds, you will find a topical story idea that you have an opinion on – perhaps The US Presidential situation, a sports draft pick, or a new fashion label. You are free to choose the topic, as long as the story is current.
Using the computer-assisted research tools we’ve discussed and learned, your job is to investigate aspects of this story (through archives, other articles, email interviews if possible), in order to craft an 800-word opinion piece that you will then publish as a blog post, on your blog, using blog layout conventions.
The opinion post must: be chunked (sub headings); be scannable; have a headline; contain at least one picture (with caption); an embedded video; have a date and by-line; and link to at least two other websites.
The opinion post must also: have a theme, a focus, an introduction (hook), a body and a conclusion. It must also include background research and must use quotes.
Images will be self-sourced. Either take them yourself, or source them from a commons site (such as “http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page” http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page). You must acknowledge in the caption who owns the image.
Social media promotion (100 words):
You will promote your blog post via your Twitter and Facebook accounts, by experimenting with summarising the article for different readerships. You must include a link to the post in each tweet or status update relating to your post.
Critique (700 words):
Your critique will: address the pros and cons of researching and writing online; outline the research you have undertaken (in terms of sourcing and verifying information); examine how the story developed; outline the blog writing process you have undertaken; explain how you used blogging concepts and ideas to construct and layout your pieces; outline why you have chosen your links and how you found them; and include any other information you consider relevant, such as references to the book of readings.
Understanding of blogging
A satisfactory completion of the assignment requires:
-A coherent, well-researched and journalistic blog post published on your blog with appropriate layout.
-A practical application of the techniques and concepts relating to blogging and computer-assisted research, as discussed in class readings, lectures and workshops.
-At least two social media updates summarising and promoting your post.
-A coherent critique, outlining the processes you have engaged in during computer-assisted research and crafting of your blog post.
-Accurate use of the conventions of language, spelling, punctuation and grammar in the blog post, critique and social media promotion.
-Harvard style referencing: Good references to class readings (in the critique).
Your assignment must include screen shots of: your blog post, your tweets and status updates, and your critique.
Make sure to include links to your blog post, and Twitter and Facebook accounts on the front of your assignment