Economy of words

By Jennifer Mogensen

Is it just me or are other students hopelessly lost in this weird world of blogging?

The initial blog assignment was to limit our blogs to 250 words and a maximum of five paragraphs. We stressed the importance of keeping the reader interested. While relevance was key, the amount of links were supposed to be kept to a minimum.

The topic was journalism, anything related to journalism, or anything relevant to the class.

We spent an hour and 20 minutes discussing adjectives, adverbs and cliches. We focused on how to eliminate them when they proved cumbersome and where to add them in order to bring depth to a story. We spoke in detail about making each word count. The economy of words, a writer’s toolbox. We spoke on staying on task; focus.

I listened.

I felt my last blog was on point covering the topic of bias in journalism.  It is a relevant and hot topic in our chosen field of study.  Yet, the comments I received on my post wanted me to delve deeper into the restaurants that I have worked in.

What was the relevance? My individual restaurant experience was not on topic or even directly related to the blog.

I thought tangents were to be avoided, especially if they added nothing of value to the post.

Does anyone out there have a better grasp on this? It all seems a bit arbitrary to me.

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3 responses to “Economy of words

  1. Jody,
    Just a quick note: this is now my 4th blog. (“Why bother wine-ing”, I think I can, I think I can”, “Conflict” and “Economy of words”. I hope I am not making thinks difficult but i am trying to stay ahead of the game. I am going out of town this weekend and I want to be caught up. Please let me know if this is a problem. My next post will not be due now until 10/12 at midnight (correct?) Thanks! Jennifer

  2. Jennifer,

    Sorry you are confused. I’m going to comment on this post today since it pertains to the class directly, and then grade it along with the others next week.

    By the way, there is a way to set your posts to post at a date/time you want. That way, you could write post today, but set it to post when the assignment is due.

    To do so, you need to change the timestamp. When you are writing your post, look on the right hand side where it says publish. Click on the arrow and then set the date/time you want the post to publish.

    This is nifty, but also dangerous.

    Why? Let’s discuss it in class.

    Back to your blogging frustrations. First of all, I’m not sure why you are so frustrated since I haven’t commented on blog three yet.

    I did refer to your restaurant links in blog two (an accident), saying that links to restaurants you worked at have little value for readers. They don’t lead anywhere new or add to the discussion.

    A link about a blogger you admire and a discussion of why you admire or want to be like that person is different. Likewise, a link to a site discussing bias in news, adds value to the discussion. This doesn’t mean allowing your discussion to move to a tangent. Links allow you a little wiggle, then you get back to what you were saying.

    Brevity matters, absolutely. That’s why I spent over an hour talking about the parts of speech and how to use them wisely. Language is a puzzle. I find it’s easiest for students to put together when they understand how each piece works.

  3. Content: 4 Like the first line. Immediately draws reader in. On topic, good way to express your frustrations (of course, I am frustrated that you are frustrated, but I hope my comments above helped. Please see me if you are still confused.)
    Links: 3 These links are fine, but a tad dull. If this was an advanced class, I would deduct points, but it’s for beginners, so I am going to be kind. Still, you should work to make the links better. The Rhetorica Web site looks and sounds amateurish, but I checked out the writer and he is a journalism prof at Missouri State. Still, there are many more sources for pieces on bias you could link to.
    Grammar: 3

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