Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Newspaper Critique

Pros of Newspaper this year:

Articles are good, and stories are unique, they represent Akins well, and they're interesting. There are a lot of infographics, which makes the paper a lot more lively and tempting to read. It also presents information in a fun way that readers like to read. There's more hand-drawn cartoons and less "google" pictures, which also makes the paper look good. The "5 things to know", briefs, and etc. catches a lot of people's attention, and makes them want to read on further. The fact that we're doing a lot more investigative-type articles is good for the readers and lets people know that we're serious and not scared to do write about risky stuff. The fact that the entire thing is in color also makes people want to read it.

Cons of Newspaper:

Story ideas are good, but as I read the paper, I noticed that there are way too many grammatical errors and sentence problems. Even though that's only a small thing, it really makes us lose credibility, and readers may not take us that seriously. I think that the opinions pieces could be less cliche. Quotations for some articles could also be less cliche. For me, it seems like some articles seem like they were just copy and pasted from google, like the health article; this article could be more interesting and use more contemporary language.

What I hear students/teachers saying:

I've never heard anyone say anything bad about the paper this year. If anything, most people in my classes want to read it when it gets delivered to the classroom. I think students are most attracted to the Photo Essay section and least attracted to the News section. Most people complain that the FML's aren't that funny, but that's probably the only negative feedback that I've heard.

What we can do to improve:

Get someone good at english and proofreading to read over the article carefully, so that these errors can be reduced, and we'll look more professional. There's a lot of bs going on at this school, and I think more investigative and honest-account type stories should be written about them, even if it takes 2 to 3 people. We should conduct more surveys; readers like them, and it makes an interesting infographic. It also makes us look more professional. More interesting takes on opinions pieces; most of the time, I feel like they're just repeating what everyone already knows.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Infographic Ideas

It's important to use infographics in newspaper because there are a lot of subjects and articles that are better explained to the reader visually than writing a long article about it. Infographics help the issue at hand come alive and relevant, and it's a funner way to communicate information. It's a lot easier to see patterns and connections, its easier to make sense of, and it focuses on the information that's really important.

Infographics are also important because there are a lot of people out there who don't like reading the newspaper, but most people like reading infographics because it's a graphic. Because of infographics, more people would be interested in grabbing the paper rather than if it was a newspaper with just a lot of articles and no pictures.

Friday, September 10, 2010



Ms. Simmons/Project Paradigm Article

  1. Where'd you go to college? What's your degree?
  2. What were you before being the CCC Counselor?
  3. What is your favorite part of the job so far?
  4. What's your biggest goal this year?
  5. What do you think students most need help with?
  6. Is it difficult doing this for the first time?
  7. What is, in your opinion, the best part about college?
  8. How do you like being a cheer coach?
  9. Biggest goals for cheer?
  10. Any interesting facts about you? (Hobbies, free time)
  11. What exactly is the situation with project paradigm struggling to get senior advisories to the CCC?
  12. Anything else you want Akins to know about you?
  1. Why is it getting so difficult to get senior advisories to the CCC?
  2. How would it benefit seniors?
  3. Steps being done to fix this problem?
  4. What do you think will make this whole process easier?
  5. Anything else on this issue that you'd like Akins to know?
  1. What and how many times have you gone to Ms. Simmons for college help this year?
  2. What do you like about Ms. Simmons?
  3. How do you think the CCC is different this year than last year?
Vegan/Snack Line

  1. What inspired you to start this whole process?
  2. How do you think Akins will benefit from this, and do you think most people will actually eat it or continue to eat meat options?
  3. I heard that you talked to Mr. Girard about this issue; what did he tell you?
  4. What has been the most challenging part of the whole process?
  5. Do you think that this will actually carry out?
  6. Who else has been actively involved with you in the process?
  7. What is the recent update on this issue?
  8. Anything else you'd like Akins to know?
  1. If there were to be a vegan line, would you eat from it?
  2. How important do you think it is for there to be a vegan line?
  3. Do you have friends/teachers who are vegan/vegetarian?
  1. Do you feel that it's difficult for you to pack your own food being vegan?
  2. How would a vegan line change your life?
  3. How challenging is it for you to find vegan food?
  4. Do you think most people are still oblivious to the needs of vegans?

Do the write thing!!!

Slide 2
Story Idea: Ms. Simmons the person.
Possible Theme: Freshness and new excitement in the College and Career Center; CCC has a new face.
Interesting way we could write the story for the first issue: I'm going to try to open up with some interesting and unique facts about Ms. Simmons and, throughout the article, put quotes and info about Ms. Simmons that students could really relate to and find interesting. I might also compare her next to Mrs. Oliver, such as differences in both of their personality and counseling focus, as well as comparing students' opinions about both counselors.

Slide 20
This slide suggests that a bad way to write articles is to rely on cliches and statements of the obvious. I can avoid doing this by not thinking about what the person who I'm writing the story about would want to have said about him/her, but what the readers really want to know. I can also try to choose diverse and interesting viewpoint of the story, which will automatically eliminate the problem of writing the story in a cliche and obvious way.

Slide 21-27
The first story picks a very cliche story - football coach used to be smoker; he had a heart attack, he was inspired to quit smoking; he's now cigarette free. The quotes used in the story are also very cliche and unoriginal - absolutely any coach who used to smoke could have said those quotes. The story isn't interesting at all - I wouldn't want to keep on reading this story after a while. On the other hand, the second story isn't cliche at all - it's very rare that a football coach has been coaching at the same school for 63 years, and it isn't something you hear about everyday. It's also interesting to know that he's only missed one day, and that too because he was about to be a father his senior year. His quotes are very original and really show his personality - I can tell what type of person he is and his style of talking just by reading the quotes. It was an interesting article that made me keep on reading. Because of these reasons, the second story is much better than the first one.

Slide 37
A good story is one that doesn't write about something very common and cliche - it should give a fresh viewpoint and style to the issue. A good story should show the personality and ways of thinking of the people being interviewed in the article, of the issue being written about and, if it's an opinions/review article, of the writer himself. It should also explain what something means instead of just leaving the reader confused. I could incorporate this into my writing by writing about a story from a different viewpoint/focus, interviewing a diverse amount of people, and try to leave out as much cliche statements as possible. I'll also get readings from other people, because if the common reader doesn't understand something, that means that I should change some stuff in the article.

Slide 44
To be a good article, it must be written truthfully and accurately, have smooth quote transitions and paragraph transitions, be understandable/not confusing, not have any unnecessary words, & not digress from the story. ACCURATE - I'm going to focus and this and include it in my work by getting better at taking precise notes and quotes from my interviews with people, as well as clarifying something that I don't understand about the story that I'm writing about.

Improving our publication


"Newspapers should mirror the racial, cultural, religious, economic, lifestyle and ethnic diversity of their communities . . . Newspapers need to give all residents a public voice. What's more, newspaper staffs should mirror the diversity of their communities."

We can improve this year on this area by interviewing a broad range of students and faculty for our articles instead of just interviewing our friends or our teachers. Instead of a senior staff reporter just interviewing his/her senior friends and teachers, he/she should interview freshmen, sophomores, juniors, & seniors that they may not know, as well as teachers that they've never had. In the entertainment section, instead of just writing about one genre of music/movies that only appeals to a certain group of people, it should reflect a wide range of music/movie choices. Same thing goes for all sections of the paper: we should try to not write about something that only interests the staff, but something that interests everyone in the school. We could also interview students who come from really interesting backgrounds, religions, cultures, or special circumstances. These things will help represent the diversity of Akins.



"Newspapers need to establish consistent, two-way communication with readers and the community at large. This includes involving residents in the reporting of information and the dissemination of information using new and emerging technology. Two-way communication between residents and readers can break down the image of the arrogant newspaper and help to establish newspapers as a 'member of the family' in their communities."

To make the readers interact with the paper, we should really advocate the fact that readers can write letters to the editor, and at the end of each article, we can maybe put the writer's professional email address or put a small note encouraging them to write a letter to the paper, reminding them that they can stay anonymous. We can also put small contests/competitions somewhere in the paper for the readers. We can really advocate our facebook group for the entire school, and post breaking headlines/important info for everyone, which will also foster interaction.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Final Exam Project Part 2

Section 2

  1. 'Billy started skipping classes in middle school. He recalls sharing a joint with friends as he strolled around Fulmore Middle School. By seventh grade, he'd miss school for weeks at a time. When he missed enough school, he'd get suspended. By the time he returned, he'd fallen further behind, making him feel lost, leading to more absences.' These words have an effect on me as a reader because it shows me Billy's past and the things that he did. It tells that even at a young age, he was getting in trouble, doing drugs, skipping school, etc. It makes me realize that he's been making some bad decisions and acting on them in the past from a young age, and it's going to take some work to get him back up on the right track. It also shows me that one bad thing that he's done keeps on leading to another and another, and his situation starts to seem impossible. The writer achieved this effect by writing it in a way in which one thing leads to another, and it shows it in a kind of cause and effect way. He also says that Billy is recalling all of this, which shows that the writer isn't exagerating/making any of this up, but paraphrasing it from Billy's own words, which gives it more meaning and a personal touch. He also doesn't say that Billy's falling behind in school, but gives the reasons as to why he is.

  2. 'She tries to interest Chip in school — but since September, she estimates he's attended only two months' worth of classes.' This delayed lead has an effect on me as a reader by showing me the mom's desperation to get her son interested in going to school, but her son doesn't care. It shows me both the mom's and her son's attitude about going to school. It made me feel a little sorry for both the mom and the son: the mom's trying to get her child intersted in going to school but he won't, and sorry/pity for the son b/c he's really making a bad choice by not going to school and it's going to hurt him a lot in the future. It made me think that if Chip doesn't start going to school regularly, then he might end up in the same situation that Billy's in.

  3. 'She's dressed up for her son's homecoming: a long-sleeve black shirt instead of her usual baggy T-shirt, light green slacks and dark lipstick. Her black hair, normally worn loose, is styled sleek and smooth against her head.' Then- Explain why you think the writer included that language. What effect was he trying to have on the reader? This is an example of imagery. The writer included this strong imagery to vividly describe what the mom is looking/dressed up like for her son's homecoming. I could really picture the mom dressed up like this, and the way that the writer describes the mom when she is casual and wearing everyday clothes, and the way she's dressed now implies that Billy coming home is really special for her and a special occasion, and I could understand what she might have been feeling at the moment, which is the effect that the writer was trying to have on the reader.

Section 3 - Headlines

Struggling on parole
Adjusting to life at home and as an adult, Billy tries to fulfill the items on an ambitious to-do list.

  1. Main Verb: Struggling (Primary Headline)

  2. Grammatical Subject: Parole (Primary Headline)

  3. I chose this headline as a good examples because a) it has both a primary & secondary healine. b) it has a subject and a verb in both headlines. c) the primary headline grabs your attention and the secondary headline gives information about the story and leads the reader into the story. d) there aren't any unnecessary words and gets the point across. e) verbs/nouns aren't passive/weak but active & strong.

Section 4 - Photojournalism

Billy Byers takes an automotive class while serving time at the Texas Youth Commission's Crockett State School in June.

Who: Billy Byers

What: Billy takes an automotive class

When: June

Where: Texas Youth Commission's Crockett State School.

Why: n/a

How: n/a

This photo meets the requirements of good photojournalism because it's candid. The photo frame is filled with interesting visual elements, such as a close-up of Billy himself and him holding a cloth in his hands making sort of a praying thing with his hands. You can also see his tatoo and his facial expression, and all of these elements show what Billy's personality is like. The photo is at a peak of emotion & you can tell that by Billy's facial expression, how he's kind of bowing down and the position of his hands. The photo also tells a story about what Billy's going through & how he's kind of struggling and he looks a bit overwhelmed/overworked. The photo has a good caption and informs the reader well about what's going on in the picture, including most of the 5 W's.

The photo adds a lot to the story, such as showing Billy's true personality and hard-working character, and you can also see that he looks a little overwhelmed/overworked. It can also show that he's going through a tough time and looking like he's a little desperate since he has his hands together. It makes my understanding of the story better becuase it shows Billy's true self and you can really sense his personality in this picture. It makes my understanding of the story better becuase now I really know who I'm reading about in the story, Billy, and I think I can understand more where he's coming from and know what his personality is and I think it relates to the story and the photo itself tells a story.

Section 5 - Design

I think that there are pros and cons to both the web version and the printed version. Web Version: On the web version of Billy's World, you can see more pictures, videos, slideshows, and get more information about the idea behing the story. There are galleries that you can see really good photos in, and a comments section where you can see what other people had to think about the story. What I don't like about the web version of Billy's World is that you have to read off of the computer and it's not really in a specific layout, they just typed it all in there. Printed Version: On the printed version, the layout is more specific and better planned out, and it's more convenient to just read the newspaper in your hands than to squint at the computer & read. What I don't like about the printed version is that there aren't as many pictures/galleries or slideshows & videos as in the web version. For me, the printed version layout is easier to read.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Final Exam Project Part 1

  1. a) Diagnosed with attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in elementary school and placed on Ritalin, according to his mother, Billy more recently was identified as having bipolar disorder,a condition characterized by wide mood swings. b) She eventually left Billy's father. She met Marvin at their storefront church a few blocks away. Ruth moved from hersubsidized Oak Creek Village apartment to his Heights apartment. They were married two years ago this month.

  2. a) Billy's mother says he began stealing at an age when many kids are learning to read. ODDITY: This is really odd for me because I find it hard to imagine 5-6 year olds stealing and usually I think of an innocent kid with a baby face, and it's wierd to imagine them stealing up to the extent that Billy did. When I read this, I was trying to imagine why Billy would be stealing at such a young age and thought it was really odd. b) "It's not the high; it's the thoughts that come to me when I'm high," Billy says. "My skill just intensifies, knowwhaimsayin'? You know how they say you don't use the left side of your brain? I do when I'm high. Things I never thought before come to me." CONFLICT: The writer shows conflict of person vs. idea. The conflict is Billy (person) and his thoughts (idea) that come to him when he's high. This is a conflict because the thoughts that come to Billy when he's high aren't good & are often usually violent thoughts and stuff that will get him in trouble. It made me interested that he says that none of these thought occur to him when he's normal but when he's high, these thought come to him and he feels the willpower to do them. I was thinking that he probably shoudn't get high then when he knows that he's going to thing/do bad things when he's high. c) Four years ago, bored senseless in one of his seventh-grade classes, Ric started cutting his pencil erasers into smaller pieces. Those pieces eventually became shapes. The shapes turned into buildings. As he became more skilled, the buildings became detailed, then ornate.
    They formed cities, which inspired epic tales of civic growth and decay. Ric chronicles them in a journal. "The slums got worse and expanded to the north with many immigrants coming in from Shangridoom," he wrote. "Uptown, with its newer beautiful buildings, was very dangerous."
    The stories contain a whiff of reality. "This neighborhood always had nice houses," Ric says on a sunny day driving around his neighborhood near Johnston High. Old Chevrolet vans selling ice cream glide up and down the streets. "But the people inside ..."
    HUMAN INTEREST: The author made this part interesting because he wrote about something that I had never heard of before and thought was really interesting: sculptures made out of erasers. He also made it interesting because he elaborated the sculptures and wrote a lot about how they look like and the idea/meaning behind these eraser sculptures. This part is also interesting because the person who created these sculptures was getting into a lot of trouble at school, and these sculptures kind of saved him and brought him to use his talent to be successful.

  3. Liz says: "I want him to live up to his potential. I want him to stop hanging around here. Just get out. There's a whole world out there beyond these apartment complexes. These apartments have a way of owning you." and explain why the question is so good. This quote is so good because it's not a yes or no answer and it does a good job of really expressing her feelings and offers a solution to Billy's problem. It's insightful and I like how she personifies the apartment of 'owning' you. A question that might have led to this quote could have been 'What are your hopes & dreams for Billy in the future & how do you think he can achieve those things?' This question is good because it's not a yes or no question and can have many, many answers. It's asking something that a lot of people want to know about and is a question that kind of sums everything up, and it's kind of like an emotional question that you might have to think about, which shows that it's a good question.