Website Design

A website design course at the University of Wyoming

Tag: blogging (page 1 of 3)

WordPress Internship Opportunity at Snowy Range Academy

Project Scope:

Successful candidate will work with Snowy Range Academy Operations Manager to update and modernize the school’s website (www.snowyrangeacademy.org) using WordPress.  New web design should include:

  • Responsive layout for computers, tablets, phones (which many new WordPress themes do for you)
  • image slider and promo video link on home page (which many WordPress themes provide for you)
  • general information about the school (history and mission, curriculum, school culture, governance)
  • enrollment info (how to enroll, applications, waiting lists)
  • weekly and monthly school newsletters (as blogs, perhaps?),
  • upcoming events
  • Snowy Range Academy in the news
  • teacher pages
  • donation page
  • forms
  • data analytics page– student achievement, demographics, enrollment, etc.
  • faculty, staff, board members page (meet our team)
  • job vacancies and how to apply

Once the website is launched, intern will manage the website to keep it current, and train Snowy
Range Academy staff for their eventual management of the website.

Estimated time allotted for internship:  9-10 hours/week

Please contact Margarita Rovani, Operations Manager at 745-9930 for more information.

Remembering the Groundwork of Journalistic Writing

Your First Journalistic Web Writing Assignment

We’ve covered a lot of multimedia reporting concepts. Now it’s time we venture into our first writing assignment that is web-focused. You can view the assignment instruction here: blog-post-3-journalistic-web-story

Today will we remember the groundwork — the basics — of journalism. This is adapted from Ch. 5 from your textbook.

All of you have some experience with these basics from COJO 2100 (Newswriting and Reporting). It never hurts to refresh our memories about some key concepts of journalism, writing, and reporting.

Brainstorming for news ideas and finding your story focus can be difficult. But, it is necessary before you jump into a story.

How Can I Think of Story Ideas?

  1. Feature story about interesting people, professors (read faculty bios on various department web pages), or organizations that the community might want to know more about.
  2. Events calendars:—
    WyoCal
    —Albany County Public Library Events
    Albany County, Wyoming Government
    City of Laramie Events (LaramieLive)
  3. What are people talking about on social media websites? Is there a story idea there?
  4. Bulletin boards. Always read them for interesting events, speakers, and meetings.
  5. Problems, controversies, or major issues going on in students’ lives or the community.
  6. Anniversaries and trends
  7. Profile on a business or organization you find in the Yellow Pages.

 

Don’t Suggest a Topic. Suggest an Angle.

What would you rather read about? (1) Student stress during finals week or (2) How a student organization offers massage, pet therapy, comedian performances, and healthy food during finals week to ease stress?

I bet story #2.

Story #2 has a strong angle, where story #1 is a general, vague topic.

I want you to write a story with a strong, specific angle.

 

Where Can I Find Sources?

  1. Expert sources: UW has a vast sea of experts in areas. Check out faculty members’ web pages in various departments.
  2. Journalistic sources: Consulting other media outlets’ past articles and issues can be helpful to locate sources and get ideas.
  3. Institutional sources: Social, cultural, professional, bureaucratic, or political organizations with particular special interests. Examples include political parties, government data, community volunteer groups, student groups, and sports clubs. You can find human sources as well as data from these sources.
  4. Scholarly sources: These are oftentimes highly credible and respected sources, and they are oftentimes undervalued and underused sources as well. Universities, scholarly research from the library, and medical and scientific research centers are examples. Detour –>Let’s learn how to find scholarly peer-reviewed research from the library! 🙂
  5. Informal sources: Observations about your surroundings. Take notes about what you and your subjects see, hear, smell, feel, experience.
  6. Sources to beware of: Wikipedia and other wikis, lesser-known blogs, and convenient sources like friends, neighbors, and family. Why?

 

Brainstorming Session

Below are six beats (i.e., topical areas). Story topics are below beats. You can pick a story topic I suggested or come up with your own. Remember that you need a specific, detailed story angle for your final story. Please be sure to run your story by me first.

Arts & Entertainment

  • Art shows
  • Music performances
  • Ballet and dance studio work or performances
  • Plays and theater
  • Movie openings or screenings

 

Recreation & Sports

  • Hunting
  • Adult sports leagues
  • Youth sports
  • Snowy Range Ski Area
  • Vedauwoo cross-country skiing
  • Ice rink
  • Other winter recreation

 

Health & Wellness

  • Healthy eating and nutrition
  • Stress management options and activities (e.g., yoga)
  • Wintertime activities to stay healthy
  • Counseling and mental-health related issues
  • Schools, childhood obesity, exercise, school lunches

 

Local Businesses

  • Profile of a particular business
  • Downtown Laramie shopping
  • Competing with Wal-Mart and chain stores
  • Using social media and new media for local businesses

 

University-Related

  • Budget and fiscal crisis
  • Profile on a professor
  • Profile on an interesting student
  • Synergy program
  • Outreach program
  • Study abroad programs
  • Alcohol awareness programs
  • Student organizations (e.g., religious student orgs, non-traditional student orgs)

 

Volunteering

  • School and tutoring-related
  • Soup kitchens and poverty-related
  • Elderly and nursing/retirement home related
  • Volunteering overseas
  • Religious-motivated volunteering

 

As I go around the room and visit with each of you personally, I want to hear your story ideas and angles now.

 

 

WordPress Setup and Workshop

First, it’s important to know that there are different types of blogs. Let’s visit these examples to see how people in our field are using blogs. Most major news organizations have journalist-authored blogs. For example, The New York Times has a large directory of journalist-authored blogs. My personal favorite is the LENS blog of photojournalism.  There are also many public relations oriented blogs as well: Cision, Bulldog Reporter, and and Holmes Report are a few top PR blogs.

For your blog, you’ll be posting your class assignments here to showcase your journalistic work, but I strongly encourage you to also post your thoughts, comments, goals, brainstorming ideas, etc. on your blog to practice your online writing skills and showcase your media work.

To be more successful with your media career, you need to create a brand for yourself by working hard at creating solid media stories. Let’s read to some branding principles.

Part of creating a brand, or a good reputation, is to know how to showcase your stellar ideas and high-quality professional work. So, feel free to post other professional material or thoughts to your blog, in addition to your required assignments for class.

In the end, you’re competing with hundreds of other students for those media jobs. Let’s take a look at recent journalism job and PR job postings.

So think of your blog as like a continually updated “live” resume and portfolio. Google yourself right now. What website pops up first? If you post to your blog frequently, then your blog may pop up first (which is what you want). You want employers to find your blog when they Google you. So keep updating it!

And you may want to connect your blog to your greater online presence. Post the blog link to your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other online presence you have.

Blogging Workshop

  • Create a WordPress account
  • Create an “about” page
    • Your name.
    • Some demographic information, such as where you are from and what your family is like.
    • What the purpose of this blog is (e.g., it’s to showcase your storytelling work).
    • Some interests and what you like to do in your spare time.
    • Your career goals.
  • Linking to other web pages
  • Posting photos and inserting other media or files

 

Write Your First Blog Post: See Your Blog 1 Assignment

  • Create a new post
  • Using categories
  • Using tags
  • Saving drafts
  • Publishing the post

 

Guidelines To Follow For Blog Writing

  • Update frequently
  • Write in the first-person (i.e., “I think) and use conversation-style that shows your personality
  • Provide specific headlines
  • Provide links elsewhere to helpful information
  • Allow readers to comment and comment back to readers
  • Are ongoing conversations among members of a community
  • Can be your professional portfolio, journal, or brainstorming session
  • Embed photos, video, audio, and other multimedia features
  • Are relatively short, usually less than 800 words

 

IMPORTANT: To log in to your WordPress blog, you can visit your blog url plus a “/wp-admin” at the end of the url. For example, to edit my blog, I go to “http://uwyojournalism.com/wp-admin”.  Alternatively, you can sign in through WordPress.com.

Last points: If you need any help setting up your blog and I’m not available for question, then try an online tutorial.

HSI, Day 2: Photography Basics & Critical Thinking About Your Online Identity

Multimedia

Blogging Workshop

— Finish Blogging Workshop, if needed —

Document Your HSI Experience with Photography

We will go on three field trips during this class: Vedauwoo, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, and the Snowy Range Mountains. At each field trip, I want you to take as many photos as you can that use the creative devices and strategies that we learn today.

During class, we will edit our photos in Photoshop and you will share your HSI photography and memories on your blog.

You are not allowed to use your phones during HSI unless you are in my class. And, you are only allowed to use your phones for class-related activities. No Snapchating your friends back home!

Let’s get started with how to take better photos using Creative Devices.

How to Take Better Photos Using Creative Devices for Composition

Good photography begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
  2. Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
  3. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  4. Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
  5. Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunrise light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer.
  6. Look Around: Are there any objects protruding from any subjects’ heads? Like a tree or pole in the distance? Are there any potential “photo bombs” around that will draw your attention away from the main subject?

Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as four more suggestions of my own.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Color: Example
  11. Texture: Example
  12. Establishing Size: Example
  13. Contrast: Example
  14. Focus: Example

Let’s take a look at my photos here and you tell me your thoughts on creative devices that I used.

Now that you know how to take better photos, you can avoid cutting people’s heads off and having poles or trees stick out of people’s heads!

It takes 100 photos to get about 5 great photos. The point: TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS!

Video is different. Strive to take 20-30 seconds of video. Don’t walk around or move the camera while taking video. Stay still and pan (move side to side). Always take video in horizontal (landscape) format.

Activity: Photo Practice

Let’s practice our photography skills around campus. Here’s a list of things to photograph this morning. Be sure you can tell me what creative device you used!

Our goal: Take 50 photos in 15 minutes. Work fast!

  1. The inside or outside of the Geological Museum
  2. The enormity of Prexy’s Pasture
  3. An extreme close-up photo of something in Prexy’s Pasture
  4. A flower, tree, or animal
  5. Your HSI friend and/or instructor
  6. Climb on top of an object (preferably, a steady object) and take a photo from up above
  7. Something that has made you happy at HSI
  8. A physical object that can be interpreted as the first letter of your first name
  9. Get on your belly on the ground somewhere and take a photo

Activity: Photo Reflection Blog Post

Let’s discuss your photos. What did you take photos of? What did you learn about photography?

Now, in your blog post, post your five best photos. For each photo, please explain what creative devices are used in the photo.

Write a paragraph about you learned about photography.


 

Media Literacy

Activity: Survey on Social Media Privacy and Expression (see handout)

— Take Survey —

— Discuss Results in Groups of 2 —

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Your Online Identity

Activity: Interactive on How Teens Share Information on Social Media

Our first discussion topic today revolves around your online identity. Check out this visual data about what teens are doing online.

More information about social media and teens in 2015.

Important note: There are no right or wrong answers to the blog post questions and discussion. In fact, more diversity in the class’s opinions is actually helpful. We get to learn more when people share their unique and genuine opinions.

Let’s write a blog post about these questions and discuss them as a class. Please answer:

  • How does your own online behavior compare to the data that we just examined?
  • How many limits do your parents put on your online identity and internet time?
  • How do you think your online identity should look for college? For when you want to get a job?
  • What privacy concerns exist for you and potential college admissions officers and employers?
  • Is it right for a college or employer to reject/fire you based on your online identity?

— My Thoughts —

Be proud of whatever you write on your blog and whatever you share online. You do not want to regret something in the future. Remember, if it’s posted online, it’s there F O R E V E R!

HSI, Day 1: Welcome, Multimedia, Media Literacy, & Blog Setup

The goals for the class include:

  1. Becoming “Media Literate”
  2. Understanding Blogging and WordPress
  3. Expressing Your Thoughts About Media in a Professional, Critical, and Personal Style
  4. Becoming More Open-Minded About Diverse and Different Views and Opinions
  5. Creating a Community of Students Who Support and Encourage, Yet Also Challenge, One Another
  6. Using Creative Devices to Improve Your Photography
  7. Editing Photos in Photoshop
  8. HAVE FUN!

Side note: While you are allowed to challenge each other and question each other, you are NOT ALLOWED to be rude, mean, condescending, superior, and just plain ugly to other people based on their opinions, views, orientations, gender, race, age, capabilities, etc.

Questionnaire Completion (see handout)

— Classroom Introductions —

Discussion of Multimedia and Media Literacy

Define multimedia storytelling. How does it impact you?

Define media literacy. How does it impact you?

Part of understanding how media impacts your life is dependent on how “media literate” you are. Let’s formally define what skills it takes to become “media literate”. (Note: Adapted from Stanley J. Baran’s “Introduction to Mass Communication”, 8th edition).

  1. The ability and willingness to make an effort to understand content, pay attention, and to filter out noise — The quality of our meaning making is related to the effort we give it.
  2. An understanding of and respect for the power of media messages — Break down the third-person effect
  3. The ability to distinguish emotional from reasoned reactions when responding to content and to act accordingly — Ask yourself, “Why does this content make me feel this way?”
  4. Development of heightened expectations of media content — Expect more from your media content
  5. A knowledge of genre conventions and the ability to recognize when they are being mixed — Realize that news, entertainment, and marketing are all mixed now
  6. The ability to think critically about media messages, no matter how credible their sources — Analyze your news source from a balanced and objective point-of-view
  7. A knowledge of the internal language of various media and the ability to understand its effects, no matter how complex — Understand how production values (e.g., lighting, editing, special effects, music, camera angle, location on the page, and size and placement of headline) impact the audience

We will cover most of these 7 skills in our class. My goal is for you to view media–ads, movies, news, TV, Facebook, etc–in a whole new way after this class. Be empowered by media literacy!

Blogging Your HSI Story and Media Literacy Experience: WordPress Blog Setup

For your blog, you’ll be posting your classwork here, but I strongly encourage you to also post other thoughts to your blog, like posting some of your HSI feelings and experiences.

So think of your blog as like a continually updated “live” storytelling portfolio. Google yourself right now. What website pops up first? If you post to your blog frequently, then your blog may pop up first (which is what you want). And in the future, you want employers to find your blog when they Google you. So keep updating it!

And you may want to connect your blog to your greater online presence. Post the blog link to your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other online presence you have.

Once you have your blog set up, you need to post! Good blogs do the following:

  • Update frequently
  • Write in the first-person (i.e., “I think) and use conversation-style that shows your personality
  • Provide specific headlines
  • Provide links elsewhere to helpful information
  • Allow readers to comment and comment back to readers
  • Are ongoing conversations among members of a community
  • Can be your professional portfolio, journal, or brainstorming session
  • Embed photos, video, audio, and other multimedia features
  • Are relatively short, usually less than 800 words

Now that you know more about blogging, let’s go to WordPress.com and get your blog setup.

Example HSI Student Blogs

Let’s look at a few examples of HSI student blogs from years past. Other examples are found on the right-side sidebar links under HSI.

Collin Zoeller
Sarah Conrad
Seth Jones
Molly Moyer
Valerie Barajas

Blogging Workshop

  • Create an “about” page
    • Your name. You do not have to use your real name anywhere on the blog if you want to preserve your privacy. But, you must tell me what your blog name is so I can link to it from our class blog.
    • Some demographic information, such as where you are from and what your family is like.
    • What the purpose of this blog is (e.g., it’s to showcase your storytelling work and/or express your memories and experiences from HSI).
    • Some interests and what you like to do in your spare time.
    • Your career goals.
  • Linking to other web pages
  • Posting photos and inserting other media or files

 Write Your First Blog Post

  • Create a new post
  • Using categories
  • Using tags
  • Saving drafts
  • Changing the visibility
  • Publishing the post

Let’s address these initial topics. Remember the blogging tips. Remember to look for relevant photos and links on the web to include on your post. Let’s write.

  1. Your HSI Experience So Far
    • Explain how you were nominated for HSI. Why did you want to participate in HSI?
    • What do you expect or hope to learn from your HSI classes? From your fellow HSI classmates? What do you expect or hope to learn about yourself?
    • How has your HSI experience been so far? Is it what you expected?
    • Is there anything about HSI that you are NOT looking forward to?
  2. Reading Past HSI Students’ Blogs
    • What information did you find insightful or helpful on past HSI students’ blogs?
    • Was there anything on the past students’ blogs that surprised you?

Updating to HTML5 Markup

Ch. 12, Modern HTML: HTML5 Markup

Monday and Wednesday

Download the correct HTML (right-click, view source, copy and paste code into Notepad, save as “blog.html”) and CSS file (click link, copy and paste code into Notepad, save as “starbuzz.css”) for this assignment

Why change from <divs> to HTML5 markup — pp. 545-547.

Updating the Starbuzz website to HTML5 (conceptual) — pp. 548-558.

Adding a blog to a web page — pp. 559-572.

Adding navigation to your website — pp. 573-577.

Adding video — pp. 578-593.

Embedding video with YouTube

Adding audio — p. 710

See the Starbuzz Blog with an mp4 video that autostarts.

See the Starbuzz Blog with multiple video sources that does not autostart and for an embedded audio file using HTML5.

Friday

Required attendance workday. Submit Assignment 6 – Website with CSS Formatting & Layout by 11:59 p.m.

 

Multimedia and Study Abroad Opportunities

If you are interested in multimedia and would like to study abroad, check out this program. There are opportunities in Ireland, Turkey, Italy, Israel, Spain, and more. Some of these opportunities sound like great experiences!

Be sure you consult with the UW Study Abroad Office if you’re interested in studying abroad.

Thoughts on Your News Diets and About Pages

News Diet Suggestions

  1. Avoid complete news customization: Be careful not to go overboard on news customization (e.g., apps and aggregator websites that let you edit out stuff that you don’t want to see). Part of being a communication major is having a broad knowledge of your world and current events. If everyone in the world only viewed news that they wanted to, and avoided “bad” news or news that they didn’t like, then that creates an environment where it’s hard for people to relate to one another and understand/communicate about their common world around them. Push yourself to expose yourself to different points of view and news that you may be uncomfortable with. You will learn more that way.
  2. Consume news that makes you uncomfortable: News can be depressing. Yes, that’s frustrating and sad. News may even make you feel guilty for living in such wonderful country where we don’t have to worry too much about widespread famine, genocide, mass kidnappings and rapes, and horrid poverty. I get it. I hate watching that news as well. HOWEVER, to be a responsible citizen of our world, and to really, truly appreciate our world, we need to push ourselves to watch the news. My personal belief is that it makes us more understanding, compassionate, and conscientious human beings.
  3. Talk to people about the news: The more you start conversations about current events and the news, the more viewpoints and perspectives you will hear. You should always be eager to learn from people whom you agree AND disagree with. BUT, ensure you use a non-combative and non-aggressive tone and demeanor. No one wants to feel like every political or news discussion is a high-stakes presidential debate.
  4. Share news stories on Facebook and Twitter: Start a conversation (online or offline) with your friends and family about the news. Play “devil’s advocate”, just to exercise your mind in the process of recognizing and understanding others’ viewpoints.

 

 News Sources To Try This Semester

  1. New York Times
  2. PBS NewsHour
  3. Al Jazeera America
  4. BBC News
  5. Laramie Boomerang
  6. Branding Iron
  7. Casper Star-Tribune
  8. Denver Post
  9. Washington Post
  10. Wyoming Public Media

 

Mechanical and Technical Suggestions

  1. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
  2. Add links.
  3. Add images and photos.
  4. Focus on correct usage of commas, colons, and semicolons.

 

About Page Suggestions

  1. Add your resume.
  2. Add a professional photo of yourself.
  3. Link to your LinkedIn account. Don’t have one? Make one. Connect with me. I can endorse you after your (hopeful) success in the course.

 

How *not* to use hashtags!

OK, so I had to share this hilarious hashtag skit from Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. We’ll cover Twitter and social media in a few weeks, but this is a fun preview of what we’ll discuss when we address how *not* to use hashtags.

Don’t Make These Blogging Errors!

Top Errors Made By Students

  1. Failing to Proofread. Silly errors of “it’s” vs. “its” or “there” vs. “their”. Missing words. Misspelled words (e.g., newspaper is one word, not two). If you want an A on an assignment, you will make no proofreading errors. These are EASY errors to avoid.
  2. Failing to Use Commas and Short Sentences. Please avoid run-on sentences that go on and on for 4 or 5 lines of text! Yikes! Who can read that? Use commas and short sentences. Let’s go over a few examples and rules.
  3. Failing to Link and Post Photos. This is the web. We can link to media sources, organizations, or information that we mention in our blog posts. So, let’s get down with the links. And photos, too. Let’s post make our posts prettier with relevant photos.
  4. Failing to Use Paragraphs. Paragraphs are helpful for all readers on all types of media. Online reading is tough as it is, let’s add some structure with paragraphs.
  5. Failing to Follow Instructions. Before you publish your post, make sure you review all of the instructions. Did you answer all of the required questions?
  6. Failing to Use a Dictionary (or Google). Is crisis’s the plural of crisis? Or is crises the plural of crisis? Don’t know? Look it up. Double check things. You’re a communication or journalism student.
  7. Failing to Categorize. Most of your blog posts were filed under “Uncategorized”, which clearly is not helpful for people searching your blog. Use categories. Let’s refresh our memories on how.
  8. Failing to Recognize the Difference Between Media and Medium. Which is singular? Which is plural? Is there such thing as medias?
  9. Failing to Learn From Mistakes. I take at least 10 to 15 minutes to read, grade, and critique each blog post you write. Thus, I spend at least 5 hours grading each assignment. I make suggestions of how to improve your writing because I care about your writing, your future, and our COJO program. I respect students who read my comments and learn from their mistakes. Learning from mistakes is a very important skill in writing and in life in general. Don’t take my criticism personal. It’s business.

 

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