Blogging 101

The term “blog” is shorthand for “web blog.” A blog is an informational piece posted on a web site that draws its ideas from news stories, articles, primary documents, and other materials. It shares the document and the author’s perspective about the document in a conversational tone. In this class you will produce one blog entry a week from weeks two through ten of our class. You will focus your blogging on a chosen topic related to our class subject, the past and present of radio and audio distribution in the United States and elsewhere. Each blog post should be no less than 500 words long. All blog posts must be submitted on Friday of the week they are do before 4 PM.

Five general rules for our blogs:

1. Get to the point. It is fine to wander off into some interesting discussion about why you like this or that radio station or music site or sound format. But let your reader know from the outset what you are writing about. Examples of good opening sentences:

“A new report indicates that illegal music file sharing has dropped over the last year . . . ”

“The New York Times says that the Federal Communications Commission wants to revitalize AM radio . . . ”

“Is Pandora online radio in trouble? A research paper says yes.”

2. Give your reader some substance before you express your opinion.

Before you tell your reader what you think about any given subject, summarize the substance of your story. A good blog entry gives your audience the chance to decide for themselves what they think before you share your perspective. What does the article or report say? Give your reader impartial details, then offer your viewpoint.

3. Write competently. Don’t think that because you are not committing your thoughts to a MS Word document, you don’t have to spell check or grammar check your document. Wrong. In fact, because you are writing something that the whole world can read, it more essential that you write as professionally as possible.

4. Be nice. It is easy to be a hothead blogger, but snide, nasty comments, dirty words, and insults turn most readers off. If you disagree with something someone wrote, a simple line like “I disagree with this perspective . . . ” or “Here is another way to think about this issue . . . ” will suffice. Avoid accusing individuals of bad intentions. Respect others and your readers will respect what you write, and you.

5. Promote yourself. After your blog is posted on our site, Facebook it, Tweet it, Google Plus it to your heart’s content. Social networking is now indispensable for distributing blog posts. Without these tools, people won’t read your blog.

Nuts and bolts of writing a post:

Mostly you will be writing blog posts for this class. You can learn how to do this here. Read the instructions and do everything as they say, except don’t hit the “publish” bar. Just save your post as a draft. I will publish it for you after I’ve edited it.

How is how to add a link to external article in your post. First, go into text mode. Second, type something like this:

<a href=”http://radiosurvivor.com”>Radio Survivor is a great blog!</a>

The above will look like this: Radio Survivor is a great blog!

<a means “anchor”
href means “hyperlink reference”
http://radiosurvivor.com&#8221; means the URL location of the web site
</a> means the end of the linking code

Where to find content for your subject:

A list of subjects to explore can be found here. Once you have chosen a subject, there are a variety of ways to keep track of what’s happening in that area.

1. Google news alerts.
2. RSS feeds.
3. Twitter feeds. Many news relevant groups and individuals have Twitter feeds. You can also search for hash tags like “#lpfm” for Low Power FM radio.

Grading

I will grade your blog posts. The hierarchy of grades goes as so: Excellent, Almost Excellent, Very Good, Good, Nearly Good, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory. You’ll see your grade commented at the bottom of your post. Very Good to Excellent posts will be reposted on Radio Survivor or will be mentioned on Radio Survivor.

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