Personality Profiles: Prize-Winning Student Journalism Samples

The personality profile is a staple of intro to journalism classes, but newspapers don’t tend to collect all their profiles in one place, so I often have trouble finding models. Entrants in the Hearst Journalism Awards have to supply a profile as part of their application process (which also includes general news and on-the-spot reporting).  While the website doesn’t seem to aggregate the winning profiles on a single page, here…

Constructing Journalism Knowledge in the Classroom

The journalism class that I’m preparing to teach this fall is a writing course, but it’s also very content-heavy — lots of specialized vocabulary, lots of unique professional practices to teach. This fall, I’m not using a big $100 journalism textbook. Instead, I’ll be spending more time with several smaller texts.  In place of assigning chapters for students to read passively (out of a sense of obligation that I need…


Peering into Your Neighbors' Windows

I’m always on the lookout  for interesting stories that one can tell with statistics — and cautionary tales about misusing statistics in order to create news where there isn’t any. Via MetaFilter — this OK Cupid article breaks down responses to user-generated dating profile questions. Green states were more likely to answer “yes” than the national average (yellow), and red states were more likely to answer “no”.  Note that this…


The $5,000 Approach to Teaching Writing

“What if I had a check on my desk for $5,000? And what if I rewarded the writer whose introduction most caught my attention, who most effectively made me want to continue because of a solid and clear thesis, with a check for five grand? Would your introductions improve even more?” Cries of “Absolutely!” filled the room – to which I replied, “Then you always could do it. You just couldn’t…

Fall, 2009

LA100: Basic CompositionEL200: Media Lab and SetonianEL227: News WritingEL237: Writing about LiteratureEL266: American Literature I (1800-1915)


Giving up my iPod for a Walkman

Teen tries out a Walkman for a week. It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette. –Scott Campbell, BBC

Jorn Barger, the NewsPage Network, and the Emergence of the Weblog Community

This is from the online version of a paper being presented at Hypertext09. I already knew the general shape of the history, and I’m not sure that the author is actually providing us with a new take or a new insight (the introduction simply establishes the facts, rather than emphasizing how a new archival discovery, historical or critical approach, or point of view shapes and organizes those facts).  Nevertheless, I…

The 2009 Lyttle Lytton Contest

My favorite “winner” in this year’s Lyttle Lytton Contest, which awards writers who can, in one sentence, imitate the infamous “It was a dark and stormy night” novel opening. Alex turned to Gertrude, in much the same way Martin Landau turned to Barbara Bain in the opening of Space: 1999. — Alex Dering