The Experiment Bracket Selection: Writing 220 Edition

The Rhetorical Situation
As a current student and arduous Michigan Athletics fan, I am going to embark on a fully-realized version of my Experiment #2: a sports journalism piece. Specifically, sports reporting to recap the March Madness game against Texas Tech this Thursday.
Disclaimer: if we win, I will likely report on our performance in the Elite Eight versus the highly anticipated Gonzaga Bulldogs. This is to accommodate a more relaxed timeline.
I am writing to an audience with a vested interest in the Michigan game that seeks to read further in depth about what they missed, or simply a different lens on the game that they watched. The end goal is to present a sharp recap of the game, while subtly weaving in opinionated statements to stand out from other reporting articles. If this were to make it in the Michigan Daily, then my base audience will likely consist of Michigan students and grads.
I want to write this for the challenge and the relevance. Although I find sports writing exciting, I also know the level of jargon and in-depth understanding that it demands. While I have been able to keep up in the context of Michigan Athletics on Twitter, article writing is a whole other playing field (pun intended). I am also excited by the relevance of the piece; March Madness is the one time of year when stakes are the highest and audience is the biggest. If I were to ever embark on a sports writing piece, now is arguably the best time of year.

Why I Believe in This Experiment
I
I believe
I believe that
I believe that this experiment is best suited for my interests over the others for several reasons. Firstly, I enjoyed writing the genre analysis more than any others, and will thus find maximized motivation to perfect my fully-realized experiment. But more importantly, I think it is feasible. I have had practice writing articles all semester long for my columnist position in the Daily, and have read sports journalism articles all season long. It will be challenging and will demand several rounds of editing, but when completed, it will feel nothing short of rewarding. This is in part because it can stand alone; by this I mean while a food blog post demands multiple in order to establish a food blog, an article can stand by itself.

The Venue
As aforementioned, I would attempt to publish my piece in the Michigan Daily. It is open to student contributors, has an established sports reporting sector, and has a relatively smooth and quick publishing process!

Until then, Happy March and may the best bracket win. #goblue

Broma Bakery, blog hero

When I think of a food blog, Sarah Fennel’s Broma Bakery is the very first thing that I think of. Her blog has all of the staples of the food blog genre: a lifestyle section, a recipe section, a place for registration of her workshops/classes, and a contact page. She is a female Michigan graduate who turned her creative outlet of photography and baking into a career. Now she is an entrepreneur, professional photographer, baker, blogger, and Instagram influencer.

But Sarah is more than that; she is a pioneer. She often writes of how, during her self-enforced 2-month trial period of blogging full-time, the only advice she could find online to monetize a platform is through ads that pay a few measly bucks a couple of times a month. Once she learned how to partner with businesses and grow a following her own way, she founded what is now coined Foodtography School. She also leads master classes, a popular one being “How I Built a 6-Figure Online Business with Food Photography.” There, she offers an intensive photography training, psychological principles of photography, social media training, restaurant photo-taking training, and things like email templates for initiating and succeeding in lasting business partnerships that pay.

Sarah lends more than just her professional persona on her platform: through her Instagram, I feel as if I’ve known her forever. I know that her fiance is a doctor, that her puppy Tilly is the cutest little friendly brown dog, that she did her own interior design on the home she shares with her fiance, and that she loves yoga. I was even taken on the journey of when she packed her bags and moved from Michigan to Boston. All because I pressed “Follow” on Instagram 2 years ago.

Sarah Fennel is a very transparent person (even sometimes talking about her anxieties and negative comments on her Instagram), but conducting research is something she generally keeps exclusive to her master classes and foodtography school. What she does make known is that free online resources did not help her. They are all catered towards how to leverage clickbait and website ads for a total income stream far lower than the 6 figures that she boasts today. Instead, her knowledge stemmed from her experience being a catering director for a group of restaurants. They applauded her love of photographing food and she then took on social media for all three restaurants. At that point, she knew how to bake and cook, and now how to photograph, and how to market it on the internet.

Sarah publishes on bromabakery.com, as this is the nerve center of her partnerships, baking innovations, classes, recipes, photos, and lifestyle pieces. She also posts her things on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, but they all lead back to bromabakery.com.

When Sarah has an idea, I imagine she pursues it as soon as possible. With her presence on Instagram and Pinterest, I assume she finds inspiration through being active on those pages, as well as the restaurants she often partners with. But one thing she makes known is that she must be very careful about timing. She once taught her followers about mock-Instagram apps (e.g. PLANN, Preview, Unum, Planoly) that allow her to create a mock-up of what she wants her official feed to look like. Through this technique, she can style her photos according to theme and positioning. Thus, she likely has to hold off on work she is excited about for the sake of the Instagram aesthetic and flow of content. With a platform like a blog and Instagram, you also can’t be spewing several posts a day; it must be steady, and sparse enough for your audience to keep coming back for more. But at the end of the day, because Sarah owns her own platform (bromabakery.com), it technically can get “immediately published.” What is different, though, is when she works for restaurants to do their photographing. That process is what is likely the least in her own control. She often initiates the working relationship with preliminary cold emails, but once the work is said and done, it is likely up to the client what they do with the photos.

Since bromabakery is primarily a baking site, but accessorized by lifestyle blog posts, workshops and classes, she only has so many buckets in which she can create and publish content. Her recipes are broken down into bread, breakfast, brownie, cake, cookie, donut, fudge, ice cream, pie, truffles, drinks, and savory. This is a pretty comprehensive list of what falls under “bakery,” but she has taken the liberty to branch out into drinks and savory meals too. I imagine most of her creative thought stays within the realms of baking and lifestyle, but since she owns her own platform and understands what her audience takes a liking to, I presume she can create another category of cooking whenever she wants. She must stay cautious not to lead too astray though, and compromise her brand. For example, if she suddenly discovered an affinity for skiing or sports cars, Broma Bakery would just not be the site to post about it.

If you have an interest in baking or just like scrolling through pictures of food as a pastime (I am guilty as charged), check out bromabakery.com or follow @bromabakery on Instagram for a good time. #GoBlue

Taking to Twitter

Hey guys! My name is Romy Sharma and I’m a business major with a minor in Spanish, and now, Writing. I grew up in Rochester Hills, MI and came to Michigan knowing that I wanted to pursue business. But my interest in writing was something that stayed hidden within for a long time. For years, I often found myself creating opportunities to write without realizing it. I’d edit friends’ essays as a relaxation activity, help my peers write their resumes with the free time I did not have, and do my English 125 homework first freshman year because I weirdly enjoyed it the most.

After taking English 125, 223, 325 and 425 (yes, by English 425 I had come to terms with the fact that I had an explicit interest in writing), I took to the LSA Course Guide to see what was next. And for the first time, I saw: nothing. I had hit a roadblock in my progression of writing in the classroom- until I realized that there was an entire Writing minor I could pursue in order to continue taking classes centered on the betterment of my writing style. So, I applied. And now I am writing this blog post.

So now we have the origin piece. Did you guys find it as intimidating to select as I did?! After days of juggling pros and cons of different essays from English 325 and 425, I settled on a grandeur, eloquent piece that I had written early last year: a tweet.

While it was difficult to select one from the dozens on my feed over the past year, I ultimately settled on a tweet because of the intrinsic excitement I had to transform it from 100 characters into: a sports analysis article fit for the Daily? A food blog for a Superbowl Party recipe? An academic argumentation on politics’ influence on sports? The opportunities are endless, and each one I think of piques my interest more and more. I ultimately decided on a tweet I wrote on Feb. 4th, 2018, taking a stance on Superbowl SBLII.

Being a long-term fan of football, I have curated a news feed that inundates me with daily – no, hourly – content of opinions on players, teams, coaches, and the synergies of entire football programs. Crafting a tweet that says something different from the hundreds churned out hourly is a challenge, but a challenge that I enjoy. The instant feedback gratification via “likes” and “retweets” makes the “writing process” that much more vulnerable, but enjoyable.

The topic of football can take me to many different experiments, and I’m excited to get started.

Until then, follow me @romysharma21.

RT for Multi-modalism