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English Major: Working as student journalist “helped me get the job” of technical writer

I just got this email from a student who graduated in May. I’m the adviser to The Setonian, the student newspaper. I think it’s safe to say that working with the Setonian helped me get the job. Several of the tests I took with the company involved me compiling given information into paragraph format, which was pretty similar to writing news articles! The teamwork and leadership experience with the Setonian was…

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Wanted in College Graduates: Tolerance for Ambiguity

“What answer do you want?” “Just tell me what you want me to write, and I’ll write it for you!” I once had a student in a literature class who almost had a panic attack when she found out, from the mock final exam, that the final exam would contain poems and prose passages that we hadn’t gone over in class, so that there was no way for her to…

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Essay on how much a professor learned about teaching from his mentor

I had a similar experience, with a mentor who very rarely praised my work. But when he read my first full draft of my dissertation, and along with his notes told me to schedule my defense, I knew he wasn’t being polite or friendly or sympathetic — I knew he was treating me like someone who had finally met the expectations he had set for his colleagues. Every single paper…

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Headline Capitalization Generator!

Headline Capitalization Generator! Simple concept. Type your headline in a box. Invisible typing fairies will capitalize your words for you. One of the settings is for AP Style.  You should probably actually learn the rules for capitalizing first, but this is a useful tool for checking.

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Baskerville Typeface Generates Trust

The conscious awareness of Comic Sans promotes — at least among some people — contempt and summary dismissal. But is there a typeface that promotes, engenders a belief that a sentence is true? Or at least nudges us in that direction? And indeed there is. It is Baskerville. Believe it or not, the results of this test even show a disparity between Baskerville and Georgia — two apparently similar serif…

Are Quotes Sacred?

What does a reporter do when a source rambles, misspeaks, or otherwise botches what would have been a good quote? “Generally, I fix quotes for grammar, especially with average, ordinary people,” says Ellyn Ferguson, a regional reporter for Gannett News Service. “I am doing the interview to get information from them, not make them look like idiots.” Source: American Journalism Review

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In an Unpredictable Job Market, How Should People Think About College Majors?

I tell my students that if what they want is specific job skills, they should learn how to lay cable or get a Class-2 rating to drive a P-5000 Power Loader. But the specific job skills I teach a freshman or sophomore may be out of date by graduation day. Rather than teaching students how to use a particular piece of software, I want to teach self-sufficiency and critical thinking; I want to…