Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | Logo

In July, 2000, I was creating handouts on the sounds of poetry, prototypes, and writing for the web

It seems that an unusually high percentage of links I posted to my website in July 2000 no longer work, but here are a few links that I could find via the Wayback Machine: The guy who invented the “pet rock” won the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest for really bad writing. Humorous courtroom transcripts Q: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to? A: Oral. In…

Stick to facts, but write news your readers will actually want to read.

Students who put a lot of effort into learning the editing guidelines in the AP Stylebook might benefit from the occasional reminder that good news writing requires the creative use of language, a good idea for detail and the ability to make connections between your readers and the news. The sources we interview are real people, and we can’t invent details or speculate about what sources think or how they…

Journalists who are doing their job by reporting fairly on a controversial topic often get attacked from both sides. 

Americans can fairly and legitimately differ on important values. Freedom or security? Peace or justice? Which short-term sacrifices are worth making, for which long-term benefits?

Most readers will nod along with whatever parts of a story affirm their values. A significant number will reject any story — even one that’s carefully sourced and fact-checked — if it challenges their world view. (“So biased!” “Fake news!”)

Whenever even the fairest-minded journalists tackle a high-stakes story involving groups with different levels of access to wealth, education, healthcare and personal security, any honest story they publish is going to make someone upset.

I never have time to create materials like this during the academic year. Brand new handout. Easily 10 hours of work. Hoping to post one a week.

AP Style follows the standard English practice of capitalizing proper nouns. They stayed with Uncle John at Gracious Living Inn on the shore of Grenada Lake while on vacation in the South. Capitalize the names of particular people, places or things. (Proper nouns.)  In the above example, “shore” and “vacation” are common nouns. They stayed with my uncle at a hotel on the south end of a peaceful lake. Lowercase descriptions and general categories. When you send a thank-you note to your mother’s brother,…


Okay yes, this affirmation does matter to me and it will go into my annual review for next year.

Marked 832 AP English essays in a week of online work. Rating is based on how accurately I marked the pre-graded training examples scattered in amongst the flood. A really good professional development tool, that helps me to align my assessment with what my peers feel is high school writing skill that deserves college credit.