Sports Radio Show

My original plan for the re-mediation assignment was to make a sports blog where “bloggers” would write about LeBron James and the way the media portrayed his decision whether or not to stay in Cleveland.  But after making my storyboard and talking with my blog group, I decided to completely change my re-mediation project (I tend to change my mind a lot in this class).  Now, instead of making a sports blog, I am going to make a sports radio show!

The idea of writing a sports blog did not seem at all exciting to me.  To be perfectly honest, doing so would have been very similar to my repurposed essay–creating a website seemed boring.  With the radio show, however, I get to expore a new way of presenting information.  While I still have to write a script, my argument will have to be presented in a completely new way.  I also get to learn how to properly use garageband, which I have played with in the past but never really knew what I was doing.

I am really excited to see how this project turns out!

Jung

In Jung’s article, she begins by introducing reflective writing as a learning activity for students to “become more aware of their own writing processes.”  She explains that instead of simply taking their teachers’ suggestions, reflective writing allows students to take a look at their writing as a unit, and critically analyze their work.

Jung goes on to discuss common critiques of reflective writing, one of which I find very relevant.  She explains that reflective writing is often looked at as “discursive appeals targeted to external audiences for specific purposes.”  Personally, when I do reflective writing assignments, I often feel that I am doing just that.  When I hand in and am asked to write reflective comments, I often find myself writing questions/comments based on what I feel that my reader wants to hear —  the substance of these comments are completely dependent on my audience.  However, Jung goes on to extend her discussion of the critiques of reflective writing.  The type of reflective writing that Jung refers to is slightly different than the kind that I have done for my own classes.  Rather than simply reflecting on writing by asking questions, Jung describes reflective writing as describing the writing process.  Once she defines reflective writing in her own terms, she goes on to explain the dichotomy between what should happen and what did happen.  Jung explains that persuasive reflective writing is writing that explains that author’s actual, rather than ideological, process.  The author explains what did happen as opposed to what should have happened.

Jung moves on and discussing actual theories behind reflective writing.  Important ideas she discusses include:

1.  Reflection as creating new knowledge — “reflection-in-action”

2.  The importance of describing the process of writing as a precursor to reflective writing

3.  Ideology as influencing writing

4.  How experience affects reflective writing

5.  The need to find new ways to write reflectively and descriptively

Jung concludes by discussing what “process description” should be.  Her argument is best summed up by the following:

“we should regard process descriptions as just that: descriptions of what happens when students write from their very real subject positions as students. Such descriptions would not try to account for students’ “appropriate” writerly development, attitudinal or otherwise. Nor would their purpose be to represent accurately authentic writing experience. Rather, by intentionally disarticulating their descriptive function from their explicit explanatory purpose, descriptions would emerge as sources of data in an ongoing inquiry to probe the mysteries of the phenomenon we call writing (along with those phenomena we don’t yet call writing but perhaps should).”

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Reading the Jung article got me thinking about the nature of my own self-reflective comments.  While I feel that this activity has the potential to be useful, writing reflective comments typically results in me asking questions to myself that I think a teacher would ask when reading my paper.  These comments, therefore, end up being not about my writing process itself, but rather geared towards a specific audience and have little to do with my own original thought.  However, reading Jung’s article got me thinking — maybe the value in self reflective comments in the ability to reflect on the writing process itself instead of asking aesthetic questions about the final product.  With this in mind, I am going to try and incorporate this thinking into my reflective comments for the re-purposed draft!

Re-Mediation Assignment

Now that I have a clear direction of where I am going with my repurposed essay, it’s time to start thinking about the re-mediation assignment.  As I was writing my proposal I knew I wanted to make my paper about LeBron James into a blog post, as doing so will allow me to completely change the tone of my paper while keeping the same overarching idea and audience.  Sports blogs are so common today and as much as I have read these blogs I have never ventured into this world myself.

I know, on the surface, this re-mediation may seem like a really easy task…but, to be honest, I’m kind of nervous about it.  I’ve have been looking at a lot of sports blogs in preparation of this assignment, and have seen a large spectrum of blogs.  While some blogs are eloquently written and thought out, others are simply rants–like the writer had word vomit.  Personally, I would rather my new piece sound more like a rant than an eloquently written article just because this is something I have never done before.  However, I recognize that this is an english class, and I therefore am going to try and craft a blog posts that sounds like a rant, but it still good writing…which I think is easier said than done.

To make this blog, I am going create a website.  I am also going to try and include elements of technology, such as the use of hyperlinks, embedding YouTube clips, enabling a commenting tool, and a twitterfeed of James’ tweets.

 

 

Changing my essay topic…

I finally know where I am going with my repurposed essay. It’s the complete opposite direction of where I started, but I really like it.

Initially, I was going to write about the Family and Medical Leave Act, explaining it to a young adult/child audience. After writing my first draft, I was immediately disappointed. I felt that there was no more research to be done on the topic that was necessary in explaining FMLA to a child, so my assignment was then to simply relay my original argument in terms that children could understand. While I soon learned this was not an easy task, I was just unexcited by the thought of essentially writing the same exact paper over again.

To make a long story short, I am now repurposing an essay I wrote for English 225 about LeBron James. My original essay was a critical engagement essay, where I had to discuss the weaknesses in the author’s argument. I chose an article by Mitch Albom about LeBron James. My paper was largely about Albom not giving James enough credit in his decision to leave Cleveland. Rather than blaming the media for the hoopla surrounding James’ decision, it seemed to me as if Albom was blaming James himself.

http://www.nbamate.com/images/Lebronchalk/lebron1.jpg

Now, for my repurposed essay, my goal is to discuss the media as a perpetuating the stream of hatefulness towards James and his decision to leave Cleveland, and why this is unwarranted. I am writing this as a magazine article that would appear in NY Magazine. I have noticed that most articles in this magazine use short and demanding sentences, and tend to be somewhat sappy. I tend to be very wordy when I write and not sappy at all, so, needless to say, this is definitely a challenge for me. I wrote my first draft on Friday and really like where it is going. I am trying to be more matter-of-fact in my writing style, but I don’t know if my “sappiness” comes through…I guess this will be an area that I focus on while editing my paper.

I am really excited about the possibilities this paper has that my original idea was lacking. In terms of both writing style and flow of ideas, the style of this paper is something that I have always wanted to try but have been too afraid. I am also trying to make my paper lead up to some type of grand epiphany about the role of the media in popular culture, but, to be honest, I don’t know how that will turn out.

So far, what I have found most interesting is that although I do not consider myself a LeBron James fan, I find myself defending him in my writing. I guess this just goes back to my “why I write” essay, and the idea that I don’t really understand something until I write it down!

Blog Group Activity

Looking at my past blogs, I was surprised to notice a common theme of frustration.  While I definitely do not intend to complain and sound frustrated in my blog posts, it is interesting that I come off this way.  Maybe blogging gives me insight into my own thoughts?  Regardless, if you are in my new blog group and have been reading my blogs,know that I am not a frustrated person, I swear!!  Beyond my frustration that is evidently apparent in my blogs, I noticed that my tone often switches from one that is formal to one that is very colloquial depending on the nature of the assignment.  For example, when I blog about a reading or when I am answering a specific question, I tend to have a more formal tone.  However when I use my blog to discuss something writing related on my mind, I tend to have a more informal, sarcastic tone.  Because my tone so often changes, it is hard for me to establish a blog persona.  Maybe that is something that I need to work on as a blogger…establishing a single tone that will allow readers to recognize my voice.

My favorite post was the post that I have written was about website layouts because I was able to look at websites that I visit so often from a new perspective – I was able to think about them in new ways.  I really like blogging because through analyzing text or even just “venting,” taking 10-12 minutes to write my thoughts often allows me to challenge myself and think about things in a new light.  While I really enjoy “venting” because I can analyze my own thoughts, it is these same posts that least like, because after re-reading them I feel that I come off as a bitter person.   While after Tuesday’s class I see how these posts are beneficial (we were all able to discuss common problems with essay #2), when I write these I feel like I am just venting for the sake of producing a blog post – basically, I feel like I am whining and complaining and I really don’t mean to sound like this!

 

Staring at a Blank Page

Like most of my other classmates who have expressed their frustrations on this blog, I am having trouble with the second essay.  Usually, when I have to write an essay I just start writing and see what happens; there is always time for revision.  But, for some reason, I don’t even know where to start this essay!  I have been thinking about it for a week but have not yet come up with an idea that is worthy of being written down.  Granted, this may be due to the stress of my orgo exam this evening.  But still…what am I going to do when the exam is over and I am still staring at a blank page?  I guess we’ll find out tonight at 7:40…

Websites Layouts

Below are pictures and descriptions of my favorite two websites that I would like to emulate for my portfolio (click the images to make them larger)….

1.  Cupcakes and Cashmere

 

(screen shots from cupcakesandcashmere.com)

Cupcakes and Cashmere is a website that discusses everything from fashion to cooking to house design.  When looking at the design of this website, I really liked the use of text and images–the way they are formatted seems to compliment one another.  I also like the use of color.  Personally, I find websites with too much color overwhelming, and I think that this website has the perfect balance of color and white space.  Most of the color seems to come from pictures rather than text, and I think that this makes it easier to focus on the images as separate from the text.  In addition to the use of color, everything is properly aligned and each of the pictures in a given post is the same size; this makes the website pleasing to the eye.  Also, the author of this blog uses regularly uses  hyperlinks (both internal and external), and incorporates them nicely into her text.

2New York Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

(screen shots from nymag.com)

The NYmag website has a lot more going on than cupcakes and cashmere; however, the website still looks clean (which I tend to like).   This website uses color as an accent (it is mainly used in images although some text is colorful).  Again, while color is incorporates in the text and images, it is not overpowering.  Similar to cupcakes and cashmere, there is a clear separation of text and images and an appropriate use of white space.  Also, while this website does have a lot going on, the clean black lines that separate the text and different sections of the magazine make the website easy to follow.  Another aspect of this site that I like is the use of different fonts.  While this style is not suitable for every website, I think the different fonts and sizes work to break up the large amount of text found on this website.

Essay #2…any suggestions?

After reading this week’s assigned reading by Walter Ong, I felt drowned in historical facts that, truthfully, do not interest me.  Therefore, rather than blogging about my reaction to this reading, I am going to share some of my thoughts about our upcoming essay.

For our second essay, I am going to repurpose an argumentative essay I wrote about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  I originally wrote this paper for a public health class, and thus it was geared towards an audience with prior healthcare knowledge.  The thesis of my original essay was “The Family and Medical Leave Act provides initial, necessary regulations for employees to balance work and family, and promotes equal rights amongst men and women in the workplace; however, complete balance of the two is stymied by strict eligibility rules, social inequality, and economic burdens on employers.”

For this essay, I plan to repurposes my argument by writing to a young audience with no prior healthcare or FMLA knowledge.   Although I know the audience to whom I want to write, I have not yet found a specific newspaper or magazine that works for my intended audience…does anyone reading this have any suggestions?  Comment to let me know!!

 

Response to Sullivan’s Article

After reading Sullivan’s article, I find myself grappling with two of his ideas.  First, that idea that “the blogger can get away with less…” and second, Sullivan’s experience with blogging on 9/11.  Here are some of my thoughts on both issues:

1.  I am unsure if I agree with Sullivan’s claim that bloggers “get away with less.”  On one hand, blogs are commonly known as being less formal mediums of writing and, to some extent, diary entries.  Taking this into consideration, many people excuse what they believe to be “provocative” ideas, making it so bloggers, in fact, get away with MORE.  Readers allow bloggers to get away with certain comments or ideas that would not be disregarded in the “academic” world.  At the same time, however, when someone blogs their ideas are instantly published on the internet.  Followers and readers of the blog typically have the option of commenting on these blogs, or even blogging about their responses.  Due to the ability to give instant feedback, I see how bloggers would get away with less, because there are constantly people ready to attack or support the blogger.

2.  I found Sullivan’s experience with blogging on 9/11 fascinating.  I myself tend to disregard blogs, thinking of them as public diary entries.  But maybe that is the point of blogs?  Through blogging people are able to track their feelings and responses to different events and unless people carry a diary with them is hard to do this.  Sullivan’s presentation of a blog as a tool to track past emotions at a particular time is fascinating to me, and shows me one of the true values in blogging.

I know that this blog entry is a mix of ideas, but being that blogging is somewhat “diary-like” I hope that this entry gives you some insight into my own feelings on the Sullivan article.