Tuesday, February 17, 2015

David Carr assignment

"The ability to do journalism, to reach audiences, has never been better. I like your odds. I do,” David Carr said, while giving the 2014 commencement address at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. Photo by Kevin Hume, New York Times

David Carr, media columnist for the New York Times, died last week...a huge loss.
Here's a posthumous column written about him and his advice to students, plus his syllabus at Boston University, where he was a guest professor.
Read this today.
The Media Equation
Click on his syllabus.
Press Play syllabus
Discuss for Thursday.
1. What about his advice  resonates with you?
2. What is your reaction to his course syllabus? How is it different from what you're used to?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Announcing the "Great Sentence Search"

Your job is to make sentences, sentences people will want to read.
That's why we have the "Great Sentence Search, using the New York Times in Feature Writing.
Your job will be to find one sentence, no matter what the subject, that grabs you, that makes you smile, that makes you know the writer had a good time writing it.
I contend that the best writing comes when the writer almost loses self in the story and has fun. Then the best sentences come. You as a reader can tell when a writer really had fun crafting a sentence. He/she would finish the sentence and, reach up from the keyboard, clinch a victory fist and almost shout, "Yes!".
I find such sentences throughout the paper, business section, arts, news, columns, editorials. I make them find them and we talk about whey they're great sentences.
A recent story on the front page caught my eye: "An Oklahoma farming Town is Tested by a Cruel Drought."
It's by Katharine Q. Seelye, about Boise City, the small county seat of Cimarron county, 367 miles from here (closer to Santa Fe and Denver), at the tip of the Panhandle, bordering Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.
She shows the impact of the drought on the western third of our state, shriveling after 222 days without rain.  Sh visits with towns people and ranchers, survivors of The Dust Bowel 70 years ago, facing the same kind of drought.
Here's the great sentence, describing the drought's affects at a ranch trying to raise cattle:
"On the Sharp Ranch, 15 miles outside town, the cattle were grazing on dirt."
Oh yes, now that's journalism! That's writing!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The great sentence search

I use the NY Times to teach writing, believing that my students must be exposed to good writing to improve, to learn the craft.

We're fortunate to get it every day free to students here on campus at UCO. That makes it easy, except you have to be on the ball ahead of the students every morning, if you use it in the classroom.

One of my techniques is "The great sentence search."

I contend that the best writing comes when the writer almost loses self in the story and has fun. Then the best sentences come. You as a reader can tell when a writer really had fun crafting a sentence. He/she would finish the sentence and, reach up from the keyboard, clinch a victory fist and almost shout, "Yes!".

I find such sentences throughout the paper, business section, arts, news, columns, editorials. I make them find them and we talk about whey they're great sentences.

Yesterday, a story on the front page caught my eye: "An Oklahoma farming Town is Tested by a Cruel Drought."

It's by Katharine Q. Seelye, about Boise City, the small county seat of Cimarron county, 367 miles from here (closer to Santa Fe and Denver), at the tip of the Panhandle, bordering Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

She shows the impact of the drought on the western third of our state, shriveling after 222 days without rain.  Sh visits with towns people and ranchers, survivors of The Dust Bowel 70 years ago, facing the same kind of drought.

Here's the great sentence, describing the drought's affects at a ranch trying to raise cattle:

"On the Sharp Ranch, 15 miles outside town, the cattle were grazing on dirt."

Oh yes, now that's journalism!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WWII journalism--"Letters home"

One of my Dad's clippings of Ernie Pyole
See my post on Coffee with Clark for the story

a 1944 envelope from my unce Mike to my grandmother.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Student bloggers' comments, spring 2011

This post is for their first assignment--writing naturally. It ain't the technology, it's the content.

Sorry Marshall. (for 1 point extra credit, students, who is marshall in this context?)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More geezer music on the playlist

Country Joe McDonald,
Peter Paul and Mary,
Ella Fitzgerald,
Pete Seeger,
Bob Dylan