Updating Journalism Handouts

I’ve spent the afternoon touching up some older journalism handouts, seeing which are still in good shape, which need some work, and which new ones  I’ll need to create from scratch. I realize I’ve never actually written a handout on the inverted pyramid, writing leads, writing headlines, punctuating quotes from sources… of course there are textbook chapters on all those subjects, but when I have the time, I do like…


Personal Essays: 7 Tips for Expressing Ideas in Words

Wondering how to write a personal essay? Is your personal essay due tomorrow morning? If so, here are some quick tips. Good luck! Your instructor is not going to grade you on how much you loved your deceased family member, how wonderfully you played in the big game, or how narrowly you escaped death. Your instructor wants to gauge your ability to focus on one specific incident — even a…


Sports writing: Once a passion, now merely a job

Once, working for an online sports section, it was immediately stressed that the rule of thumb was to churn out six articles over an eight-hour shift for studies showed quantity resulted in more hits than quality. And beyond that, there is even a growing model in some newspaper titles where a league table exists for journalists based on who gets the most clicks and, by extension, they are deemed to…

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Started Making a Journalism Game in Twine

For a long time, I’ve thought about creating a game to teach the fundamentals of journalism. Last weekend during my son’s chess tournament I started roughing out the plot, and today I started using Twine to implement it. Since I already had the plot broken up into text chunks, I got a whole lot done In just 2 hours. I’m trying to create a scenario for the students to explore,…


Ursula K. Le Guin: A Personal Take on Go Set a Watchman

  Before Watchman was published, I was skeptical and unhappy — all the publicity made it sound like nothing but a clever lawyer and a greedy publisher in cahoots to exploit an old woman. Now, having read the book, I glimpse a different tragedy. Lee was a young writer on a roll, with several novels in mind to write after this one. She wrote none of them. Silence, lifelong. I…

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That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket

What kind of boss hires a thwarted actress for a business-to-business software startup? Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s 42-year-old cofounder and CEO, whose estimated double-digit stake in the company could be worth $300 million or more. He’s the proud holder of an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Canada’s University of Victoria and a master’s degree from Cambridge in philosophy and the history of science.“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting…


The Importance of Writing Skills in Tech-Related Fields

Good writing skills are valuable, even in the world of STEM. How is it that students interested in careers in technology don’t understand that writing skills are a crucial part of their future success? What’s more, in my life as a writing coach, I’ve noticed that this aversion sometimes extends well past the undergraduate years and into the master’s and Ph.D. levels. In an effort to underscore the importance of effective…