Remediation Project

So my first model for my remediation project is a documentary surrounding the stigma within Ross and specifically the recruiting process within Ross. I plan on making the documentary around 3 minutes in order to maintain attention from my targeted audience, which is business students across the country, their educators, and their future employers. I think for this to be received by that audience it has to be extremely high-quality, professional, and relatively short. I would interview the same students from my article plus a few more, including educators and diverse students, with questions regarding their view on gender biases and other biases within Ross and their personal experiences within recruiting. The setting for the interviews would be a mix of in-class setting and interview-style setting.

However, my second model is something a bit less professional that caters to the social media world. It would be a 90 second snap story-style intended for business students primarily but in the hope that it would be shared enough that it would reach a broader audience. I would probably interview only students for this video and have the questions asked in a more student life/fun setting, if that makes sense.

For a long time my friends and I have joked about a video interviewing Ross students asking “What does business casual mean to you?” so I think a title along those lines would help draw in people on a less serious level to deliver a serious message.

I think I am leaning toward the first model because it aligns with my repurposed article in the Wall Street Journal and caters to this audience more directly. However, I’d love to hear thoughts on both models from my peers.

#ThatsNotLove

Seeing October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I felt this form of digital rhetoric fitting. Domestic violence is not a foreign concept to college campuses; Women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence.
This video, produced by the One Love Foundation, explains that not all abusive relationships are easy to identify. Often relationships have a gray area between love and control, and these situations are heightened by alcohol use. In fact, alcohol is one of the top 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Women, men, straight, gay – this video shows that domestic violence and abusive relationships can happen to anyone. The rhetoric in this video is powerful. It identifies with a younger audience because most young people like to go out and drink, or use texting often with their partner, or deal with issues of jealousy. The settings behind the different speakers display similar settings of a college campus, too: a fraternity with people drinking and relaxing on a lawn, a chemistry lab, a library, a swimming pool. This helps the intended audience of young people resonate with the video.
The cuts in the video are executed so that the shift from happy go-lucky relationships to dark, abusive ones is abrupt; No one expects these normal, mildly attractive young people to undergo these emotionally abusive activities. This was purposely done because most people think that these situations could never happen to them – but this video illustrates that relationships and situations can change in seconds, and happen to the most “normal” people – even you.
I hope that this video sparks a change in the disturbing statistics surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault on college campuses. If anything, it spreads awareness that not all abusive relationships are easy to identify, and that drinking can significantly affect people’s behavior in an extremely negative way.
As you watch, think about your typical Friday night. You get ready, you text your friends, you’re thinking about your significant other or your hopeful-significant other, and you never expect anything go to wrong. You never see the shift coming. But it can, and it has happened to countless young individuals who feel the same way you do now.

Texting Sucks

When you think about it, texting has become an extremely common form of written communication. Consequently, it has become a form of writing, whether we like it or not. Most of the time, I love texting. It helps me stay connected with my family while I’m away, I can stay updated on what my housemates are doing, and my day can get a little brighter with funny texts or gifs my friends send me. However, there is a time and place for texting. Quite frankly, we are unaware of the context in which texting does not suit communication. And it can end up really, really awkward.

A few days ago, I texted my friend (keep in mind, he is a new friend that I met over the summer) about him setting me up with one of his friends for an event later this week. However, because most of the time texts include “haha” or “lol” in order to keep the conversation light, I tried to keep my request funny and light by explaining that I’m probably too old (no longer an underclassmen) to get set up. However, things took a wrong turn when he mistakenly thought I was asking him to be my date. This misunderstanding caused our remaining texts in the conversation to be awkward and strained.

I don’t think this miscommunication via texting is uncommon. Plain and simple, written communication must be interpreted without body language or facial expression, and therefore can be misinterpreted a lot easier. So then why do we insist on texting about every little thing in our lives? Doesn’t that just cause more time wasted and strain on relationships? Of course, I am definitely a culprit of this problem. I text about things that should probably be communicated verbally rather than through writing.

In my business communications class, we talk about how most of the time, there is a standard format to deliver news to people. However, this format changes when you must deliver bad news. So as communicators, why do we still insist on sharing bad news over a light-hearted text rather than giving the other person what they deserve: a meaningful, face-to-face conversation?

Like I said, I by no means am an exception to this travesty of millennial communication. But I think it’s something to keep in mind. Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, texting is a form of writing that could and should be crafted carefully. Otherwise, you could end up in a very uncomfortable conversation that can be hard to transfer from writing  through texting to verbal communication.

awk texting

Shifting to Investigative Journalism

Because I decided to shift my form from opinion-editorial style genre (original form) to investigative journalism it has been difficult to completely rid the piece of my opinion, especially because it is a topic I am very invested in. I have been trying to implement a more intellectual structure in that I provide statistics or quotations from interviews and then thread together patterns from that data without allowing bias from my own opinion.

That being said, I think my new go-to sentence structure would be point-evidence-point, where I make a point, provide a statistic or quote, and then bookend that with an argument. I also ask a lot of rhetorical questions throughout the piece. For example: “But just how important is culture to job seeking millenials?” or the ending sentence, “So, will this the Ross Class of 2015 that redefines what it means to recruit #LikeAMillenial?”

I need to research my ideal publication sources more to fully understand the ins and outs of the investigative journalism genre, specifically how to implement data and appropriately ask rhetorical questions.

I think it will be challenging yet rewarding to continue revising this investigative journalism style. I do not have much experience with reporting without a persuasive or instructive edge. In fact, I noticed as I was concluding my draft that I had a tendency to either try to persuade or instruct the audience based on my argument. I will have to constantly keep this objective perspective in mind in order to deliver my results and analysis without opinion.

Research: Different Types of Credibility

Because my topic is so culturally relevant, most of my research is found within “popular” forms of research, such as websites, blogs, TV shows, etc. However, previously published op-ed pieces and articles via The New York Times, Forbes for Women, or The Huffington Post have proven to be useful as well. I have identified that my research comes down to two categories that each have their own form of credibility.

The first category is articles or op-ed pieces that give non-fiction facts, perspectives, and opinions on sexism in the professional workplace today. I find these articles fascinating because they resonate so much with my personal experience as an intern within a start-up tech company. It excites me to find other writers who have as much passion for this topic as I do. I find these pieces usually have strict credibility regarding statistics or facts that can be physically sourced. I am most interested in the scandals that have occurred regarding sexism in the workplace – for example, a prominent female CEO being fired under uncertain circumstances. I am also really interested in articles that pertain to the interest of the employer. Because my audience includes women, men, and employers of companies, I need to have information that engages the latter of the three target audiences – employers. This is probably my toughest audience to reach, especially if they are male employers, and so having data to back up my claims is imperative in my argument.

The second category is personal anecdotes and stories that simply have innate personal credibility. These will include online blogposts or memoirs as well as interviews and surveys I conduct that account men and women’s personal accounts of how sexism has affected their lives. This category of research is especially important to hooking in and engaging the audience. Personal stories speak to any audience no matter their motivation to read the article because it resonates with the human need to connect with others. I am really excited to hear how my peers, professors, or other online sources have been affected by sexism and how this article could potentially make a difference in their lives.

As far as difficulties in my research, I do except some push-back from men that I talk to or people who dismiss sexism in general. I also think it will be tricky to find non-biased evidence of sexism because it is such a personal topic. Regardless, I am very excited to dig into this topic and will accept any challenges along the way.

The Story of a Girl in the Professional World

My project’s topic consists of how young professional women today continue to face adversity in the work place, different yet too familiar of the discrimination faced in the Mad Men era. My original writing was an op-ed piece about my own personal experience interning at a technology firm juxtaposed with the issues presented on AMC’s show Mad Men. I plan to re-purpose this into a creative story that conveys the view point of a young professional woman today to the viewpoint of Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway from Mad Men.

In my search for writing in various genres on this topic, I came across many different rhetorical situations, ranging from op-ed to “how-to” and an article that speaks directly to the employers of tech companies.

First up: The Mad Men Woman of Today: The Next Chapter

Published in the Forbes Woman section of Forbes, this article reaches out to a narrow audience of women who work in the business world. The piece’s exigence surrounds the season finale of Mad Men and how women today should see the end of the show as an opportunity to pay homage to the primary female characters, Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway. It eloquently combined statistics of the Mad Men era with statistics of today, illustrating how much women have succeeded but how much more room there is for improvement.

I think my only critique of this piece was how limited its goals were. Why not publish this for men and women to see? After all, men and women both watch the show. Furthermore, the piece talks about women leaving traditional men-centered cultural businesses for entrepreneurial ventures. Why don’t we encourage women to spark a change within the organization they already work for? There is room for entrepreneurship of thought and culture within an already established company.

Second: Oink Oink: When you Work with Sexist Pigs

I have to say, I do appreciate this title. It perfectly describes some of the men I worked with at my internship over the summer. This post included a user’s story of sexism in their workplace, and how to best deal with that situation. Long story short, this woman had to deal with actual pigs. Here’s an excerpt:

“Most of the men (five out of six) started discussing which women in the sales department they’d like to sleep with, joking about planting webcams in the women’s bathroom, responding to advice I suggested about a software problem with “Oh, but you’re a woman, so you don’t know anything about computers, am I right?””

ARE YOU SERIOUS? At least, that was my initial reaction. This blatantly misogynistic behavior is completely unacceptable. But… is it? Many readers suggested to A) Get away, B) Grin and Bear it, or C) Leave the company. I don’t know about you, but I would select option D) None of the above! Why should you satisfy these men by doing any of these options, especially leaving the company? In my perspective, they are in the wrong here, not you. If anything, they should be reprimanded while you are admired for working to create an open-minded, ethical and diverse culture.

Last but not least: Fixing the Leaky Bucket: What Tech Companies Must Do to Retain Their Best Female Talent

This article, published in The Huffington Post, speaks directly to employers and recruiters at tech companies. It speaks to the need for more diversity, specifically more women, in the tech industry. One excerpt that really resonated with me was:

“Women are leaving the tech industry because they feel unfulfilled and unsupported. (And Silicon Valley’s reputation as a boys network endures, as underscored by the recent news of a “Twitter Frat House” party held while the company was contending with a gender-discrimination lawsuit.) No amount of energy dedicated to hiring more women makes a difference in company cultures when current female employees slip through the cracks.”

This passage could not be more true regarding my personal experience in the tech industry. Believe it or not, when sitting in on an interview as an intern, fellow colleagues described the company’s culture as a “Frat House.” So don’t be too quick to judge that Twitter is the only company with these gender discrimination issues. If a company’s culture truly resembles that of a frat house, it does not matter how hard recruiters work to hire women. Those women will come, and then they will leave. As soon as possible. The article really drives this point home in the last paragraph:

“But without a culture that supports women and responds to their legitimate needs – one that encourages them to not only remain but fosters their growth as employees – these efforts are essentially pointless. Rather than putting all of our water into the recruitment bucket, those cultural problems first need fixing if we are to prevent the further loss of key talent at any company. “

This article echoed all of the issues I encountered as a female intern at a tech start-up. Before hiring women, the root of a company’s problem is its diversity and culture. I think this article will help me understand the key audience I am trying to address in my project as well as the points to drive home in terms of various demographics. For example, it needs to be apparent to males in the tech industry that women are vital to success, and success is vital to them receiving a high paycheck – which according to this article, is the 3rd most important reason that they stay at a company. On the other hand, women valued satisfaction in their current role and honest communication. Understanding these key statistics will help me cater my creative story to reach audiences personally and professionally.

Peace. Love. Peggy Olson.

peggy olson

 

The Quintessential Blog

Before taking Writing 220, I was overwhelmingly unaware of the vast blogging world. I knew a couple students from my high school who began blogs, but usually was uninterested considering they didn’t provide much substance (one girl posts every day describing what she makes for breakfast or how she “feels” on her way to class – like, who cares?) Anyway, as you can tell, prior to this course I was cynical about blogging. However, after some research and discovery, I’ve realized that blogging can be an outlet for emotion and provide a plethora of advice ranging from fashion to food to how to relax.

The quintessential blog that I have found is called In The Frow. I found this blogger – Victoria – while scrolling through my Instagram feed, particularly noticing her most recent post from a TopShop fashion show during London Fashion Week. After traveling to London and Paris this past summer, I’ve become really interested in European culture and fashion. However, after browsing Victoria’s blog, I realized she provided so much more, ranging from fashion, beauty, life, food, travel, news, and shop. Under the “Life” tab, for example, Victoria has a section entitled “advice” where she has posts about how to relax as well as “reflections” where she gets personal about her own struggles and endeavors.

Don’t get me wrong, I love beauty and fashion. I subscribe to Birchbox and receive beauty samples each month, and may or may not have a slight addiction to online shopping. Victoria’s beauty tricks and tips as well as photos and posts about London Fashion Week are what drew me into her blogging world. She appeals to an audience of women who value their self-care and presentation. But, what keeps me around is her deeper connection with readers on topics such as life – advice and reflections – as well as travel and food. This widens her audience appeal to women who don’t necessarily jump at the chance for new beauty products but are curious about the world and traveling it. Additionally, the ease with which the site can be navigated makes it appealing to readers who have never blogged before but are willing to try it. By providing insights in all these categories in an easy-to-navigate fashion, Victoria or “In the Frow” formulates the quintessential blog, even for a new reader like myself.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAvictorialondon fashion week

Writing is a Portal

Whether writing is a novel, song lyrics, a to-do list, or a New York Times article, it is a portal to another place in time. It is a mode of transportation to your favorite character’s inner thoughts, the tasks you must complete, or the song that speaks to your emotional vulnerabilities. Writing cannot be narrowly defined because that would limit its capabilities. Yes, writing is communication. It delivers an intended message. It is entertainment. It is information. However, the thoughts and messages conveyed through writing act as a bridge to another place in time.

Essentially, everyone has a different definition of writing because most definitions in themselves are relative to a person’s field of experience. Some of my peers in class were dismayed by my submission of a calendar as writing. To me, my calendar communicates my daily ups and downs and ups. Without my calendar, I would be lost. Surely something that guides me through the written word can be defined as writing. Others in class proclaimed that anything with a message can be defined as writing. But does that mean the Mona Lisa is equivalent to a text message? Surely it cannot, right? But that’s the thing. In the age of relativity, comparing a piece of art history and a menial digital set of words is not unheard of. Because if we are going to define writing as a portal, as something that transports you to another place in time or another thought – then your best friend’s emoji-filled text message that lifts your spirits is writing. And so is a painting that causes your mind to wander to thoughts you could never imagine prior to that experience.

So if text messages, song lyrics, calendars, and paintings can all be defined as something that transports you to another train of thought, then they can all be considered writing. Don’t let this seemingly broad definition discourage you. We are taught to have concrete, core definitions in order to act in unison and harmony as a society. However, limiting or narrowing the definition of writing only keeps people from delivering and receiving messages, understanding their deepest feelings, and traveling to other places in their mind.