Responding to Literature at the College Level

A new handout, based on the opening lecture I give in every literature class. I’m trying to uncouple this chunk of content, which never changes, from the “intro to the course” lecture, which is topic-specific. Your high school teachers probably praised you for summarizing what you read and perhaps relating it to your own life in an engaging way. But your college professors will probably ask you to do a…

Motivation Amid Crisis (Autotrophic Bat)

As part of an independent study project, a graduating Seton Hill student wrote a blog about self-publishing her original collection of fairy-tale adaptations. She’s a double-major in creative writing and graphic design, and she freely adapted each story and illustrated each one in a different style. (She’ll be self-publishing her anthology soon, and I’ll certainly post about it.) Here is a reflection she wrote on staying motivated during the pandemic:…

Final grades are due tomorrow. My Fall 2020 is almost over. I survived.

Final grades are due tomorrow. My only unmarked assignments are just a handful of final projects with some components I couldn’t evaluate, mostly for some technical reason. It’s been a pretty rough semester, but I’m glad I started prepping for it in July, rethinking and reorganizing and rebuilding lesson plans and assignment sequences with a Covid-necessitated hybrid classroom in mind. Spending a lot of time rethinking the mechanics of my…

Stunning writing in this WaPost reflection on the Trump campaign’s journey from a gold escalator to a landscaping parking lot

I’m stunned by the writing. Here’s just a sample: Outside the Clark County Election Center in Las Vegas, a news conference was interrupted by a hysterical man in a sleeveless tank that read “BEER BBQ FREEDOM.” “The Biden crime family is stealing this election!” he screamed over and over again, as if repetition would make it true. In Philadelphia, a demilitarized zone formed early Friday afternoon at Arch and 12th…

It started with a ride down an escalator and ended with a press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

Earlier today Trump tweeted that his campaign would hold a “Lawyers Press Conference at Four Seasons, Philadelphia.” He later specified that he didn’t mean the prestigious Four Seasons hotel, but rather an unrelated business “Four Seasons Landscaping,” which happens to be located next to an adult bookstore and near a cremation company. One imagines that a staff member hastily booked the wrong venue, but it’s not likely we’ll get a…

When is the phrase “when asked about…” part of good news writing? Rarely.

A new graphic for an existing handout, which I touched up a bit. When is the phrase “when asked about…” part of good news writing? Rarely. A journalist who uses the phrase “when asked about” (or a similar phrase) is carefully telling the reader, “I’m bending over backwards to make sure you don’t think I’m giving you the wrong idea about this quote, which could be misinterpreted.” Students who are…

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

In October, 2000, I was blogging about bobbed hair, Woolf, a CFP for interactive fiction scholarship, the hyphen in e-mail, and a book with glow-in-the-dark pages

In October 2000, I was blogging about The F. Scott Fitzgerald Short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” (background; full text) A biography of Virginia Woolf The precarious status of English as a global language A call for papers for a special issue of Text Technology devoted to interactive fiction (I have a copy on my shelf now) Wired News picks “e-mail” over “email.” (AP Style is currently email.) A book with…

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Remember Me (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 5) Dr. Crusher vs The Universe

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. When people start disappearing from the Enterprise without a trace, only Dr. Crusher remembers them. Some cringeworthy lines (e.g. “If there’s nothing wrong with me, maybe there’s something wrong with the universe”) still earn a facepalm, but I really enjoyed Gates McFadden as she Shatners her way through increasingly larger-than-life speeches, filling the screen as the big ship empties out. Apart from a dimension-vortex…

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Suddenly Human (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 4) Picard Bonds with Human Teen Raised by Aliens

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break The Federation faces war with the Talarians over a culture-shocked teenager who sees Picard as a father figure. The Enterprise detects faint life signs on a damaged Talarian ship. Of course they can’t just beam the injured directly to sickbay; they must first send an away team to wave props at blinking set pieces. One of the survivors is a human teenager wearing a…

A shooting, the president snatched away – this episode of ‘The Trump Show’ was surreal even for veteran White House reporters

Good news writing, and praise for Trump’s cool demeanor during a crisis, from : The Independent The large man in the grey suit interrupted Donald Trump. No one interrupts Donald Trump – especially at the White House. At his White House. Then the man turned his back to the television cameras showing the utterly surreal scene live around the world. Two things told the tale: His oversized suit jacket – large enough to drape…