COMM11007 Media Writing - Week 12 - Blog Activities - Reflections

Week 12 – Blog Activities - Reflection

Reflection On My Learning Journey

I have learned from this term to write in a shortened, succinct manner for media. It is a completely different mindset, and will be really useful if I ever have to work/self-employ with this method of writing. You are not born knowing how to do this, so, you have to learn it. The text-books and moodle instructions and notes were clear and easy to follow; with so many extra resources and links to investigate, Ames (2017).

The online, face-to-face zoom sessions were a real help to me, being so far away from any campus. Having that human, real-time connection, made me feel like I was learning at university. Also, asking questions, and receiving instructions in real-time is helpful and time-saving.

Doing the assessments helped me learn this new way of writing, and going out into the public to ask questions and gather information, was a daunting and empowering experience. Giving and receiving peer reviews is confidence building, and I picked-up mistakes I had made by reviewing other students work. The self-assessment was helpful and encouraging, as the Lecturer’s review was usually the same, or better.

Using the technology was a challenge, and I have surprised myself, and my Lecturer, on how I have managed to use it. Also, having a purpose/reason to use the technology helps to learn how it works; it's a good incentive. But, I think it could have been made a bit easier for the technologically challenged. A set of instructions, or recommended you-tube guides with clearly set out guidelines to follow, that show you how set up a Blog and Twitter account – and how to use them – would have been invaluable.

This would have saved me countless hours of wasted time and frustration. I was lucky I had the extra time to put in to learn enough to use this technology to do the course, I don’t know how I would have managed without this extra time.

I have learnt so much from doing the Media Writing Unit. This course has given me a sneak-peak into how the media works in the areas covered - and I found it interesting and enjoyable.

This course has definitely changed the way I think about and practice media writing. Whenever I listen, read or watch the media now, I am aware of how it has been put together, and why it is done that way.

For example, the use of shorter sentences that create a greater effect. One sentence paragraphs seemed like an oxymoron to me at first, but after doing some writing; like interviews, news stories, media releases etc., I now understand how this format works and why.

 Making sure the 5 W’s and H are covered by the headline and introductory paragraph needs you to have all the facts at your finger-tips. Then arranging them in an understandable, effective way to grab the attention of readers, and engage them in reading the rest of the story.

There is so much information that people are being bombarded with these days – especially from the electronic media and social media; that keeping writing short and simple is the only way to get people’s attention. But, it has taken me to change my mindset on writing to work this way. So, now it makes more sense to me, and I can use media writing when and where it will be needed in the future. It is a valuable skill, that I appreciated having learnt.

Media writing is for public consumption, it is to inform – so, it must be accurate; details and sources need to be checked. It needs to be brief, as people’s attention spans are shorter these days. It has to be clear, so the reader can ‘get the message’ straight away, without having to re-read the piece, as described in Whitaker, Ramsey & Smith (2012, p.26).

Reflections on Grammar/Punctuation Quizes

I think overall, I am a better writer technically than I was at the beginning of the course. The weekly quiz challenges were an excellent way to learn/re-learn grammar/punctuation.

It was interesting to see small changes in the way English is written since I learnt it a few decades ago, as explained in Hicks (2013 chps 9-10). For example: shorter sentences, paragraphs and words for greater effect (particularly in media writing); some spelling changes – cacti, fungi to cactuses and funguses; how hyphenated words fuse into single words, such as; e-mail to email, wicket-keeper to wicketkeeper. The restricted use of the screamer or exclamation mark – it is no longer acceptable to use the exclamation mark to make comments, signal jokes or mark rhetorical questions; which I don’t really agree with, as I am very fond of the expressive !

Guidelines in Hicks (2013, pp. 74-76) on modern punctuation usage are very helpful. The use of the comma has always been perplexing and difficult to get right. I must remember to keep in mind the parenthetical use of commas, and to put a comma before ‘and’, and to put them in the right position in quotes; punctuation marks go outside the quotation marks in a partial quote. I am starting to get use to using the colon in preference to the comma, to introduce full-sentence quotes.
I really enjoyed this part of the course. Doing the quizzes helped re-enforce what was in the chapters of Hicks (2013). It is a resource I will be using into the future.

Reference:
Ames, K 2017, COMM11007 Media Writing,  Moodle Instructions,  CQUniversity, Rockhampton. https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/913774/mod_resource/content/8/COMM11007%20Week%2010%20Lesson.pdf

Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists, Chapter 6, Punctuation, pp. 73-93, 4th edn, Routledge London and New York.

Whitaker, WR, Ramsey, JE, & Smith RD 2012, Media Writing print, broadcast, and public relations, 4th edn, Routledge, New York and London.








Assessment 3 – Reviewing Blog Weeks 1-6

Week 1
Hi Kate,
Have decided to do as you described in Week 11 - Reviewing your work - and use the solid red ruler, red pen and highlighter. Print out copies of the blog; then read each word deliberately and aloud, high-lighting mistakes to be corrected.

So, for the review of this week’s blog, I have added a link to text theory and fixed some punctuation/grammar mistakes.

Also, I did as you suggested in the week 4 blog, as per tidying up the ‘look’ of the blog. So, by cutting the text, pasting it into Word, formatting in Word, and then pasting back into Blogger, has done the trick (mostly, sometimes it doesn’t work), and the ‘look’ has improved, and is easier to read. Thanks for that advise, hopefully the blog will look much better now.

Week 2
In reviewing this week’s blog post, I explained why I chose my Twitter handle.
Also, I put more detail in the quiz reflection.
I tidied up the ‘look’ of the post, and corrected some punctuation/grammar mistakes.
Added the reference for Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists.

Week 3
Added more detail to quiz reflection.
Corrected some punctuation/grammar mistakes.
Tidied the ‘look’ of the blog post.
Added the reference for Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists.

Week 4
Re-wrote both interviews to improve the style by using more direct quotes, and broke the writing into single sentences.
Corrected some punctuation/grammar mistakes.
Tidied the ‘look’ of the blog post.
Added the reference for Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists.

Week 5
Corrected some punctuation/grammar mistakes.
Added the reference for Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists.
Tried tidying the ‘look’ for this post, as suggested in your comments – it worked for the previous posts, but, for some reason, it didn’t work for this post. I tidied it up as best as I could. I have been having so much trouble using Blogger – I don’t know if it is me, or if Blogger is hard to use. But, if I continue blogging, then I will probably use a different blog site.

Week 6
I have re-written the story on Storify, adding more direct quotes, which gives the story a better style, and some pizzazz. I have also broken the story into shorter sentences.
Have corrected punctuation/grammar mistakes.
Added the reference for Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists.

Conclusion
The cutting and pasting didn’t always work for the ‘look’ of the blog, so the blog formatting is still a bit haphazard.

I found the red ruler, red pen and highlighter a good way of proof-reading, and picked up many small mistakes that way.

Reviewing my blog posts from week 1-6, has been a very helpful exercise, and has re-enforced what we have been taught in the Media Writing Unit this term
.
I have really enjoyed this unit, and learnt so much about the different way of writing, that is media writing, even though it has been frustrating at times. Learning this new skill set has been eye-opening, and a valuable resource to my future writing efforts – this course has been extremely beneficial to me. Thank you.

Comments

  1. Karen, of all the students I have had, you are the one who stands out to me as the person who has embraced their fears the most, challenged themselves, and made the greatest improvement. The difference here between a C and D grade is probably in the presentation of the blog. Your writing is excellent generally and your reflections interesting. I have enjoyed our interactions, and yes, I have been very pleasantly surprised. Keep in touch. Kate :).

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