15 Annoying Grammatical Mistakes That People Always Make via Business Insider


As you know I’m always talking about writing, writing, WRITING!  Everything in journalism is based on good writing.

Well, Business Insider has an excellent article on “15 Annoying Grammatical Mistakes That People Always Make” by Christina Sterbenz. 

Are you’re confused by “their,” “they’re” and “there,” or “it’s” and “its?” Do you use the word, “irregardless?” Do you use commas at will?  Then this is the article for you.

And if you pair it with my previous posts:  “Keys to Better Writing,” and “Active Writing is Strong Writing,” you’ll be a better writer in no time.  Check ’em out.

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Welcome to Journalism Tools – Spring 2014

From day to day, week to week, semester to semester, the business of journalism continues to evolve at an accelerated pace.  So if you’re a journalism student, the challenges can seem overwhelming.

This semester in Journalism Tools, we’ll face those challenges head on.  We’ll do that while also utilizing sound journalistic principles with an eye toward new and innovative ways to inform the public.

I’m very much looking forward to working with each of you and I can’t wait to get started.


Posted in Class Notes

Tips for Job Hunting Student Journalists


To follow up on today’s class about job hunting and salary negotiation, here’s an excellent article in today’s New York Times about LinkedIn and the best ways to use it.  Read it and learn.

And to summarize today’s class, here are some tips to remember.

Getting the Job:

  • When you go in for an interview, dress well and be prepared to talk about the company knowledgeably.  You should have Googled the company and the person you’re interviewing with so that you can show them you’ve done your homework.
  • Don’t think that just because you have a limited amount of experience, your experience isn’t valuable.
  • Don’t do two internships in similar departments or companies.  If you’re going to do a 2nd internship, make sure it will teach you something you didn’t learn at the first one. Of course, if it’s paid, that’s even better.
  • Once you’re on the job, don’t be a shrinking violet.  Work hard, show up on time, and do your job well.  And make sure everyone knows who you are.
  • Once you’re on the job, a good rule of thumb is if you’re not getting gaining something valuable after 1 1/2 – 2 years, it’s time to move on.  If there’s another job in that company you’d like, work toward getting it.  If there’s no other job in that company you’d like, it’s time to move on.

Getting Paid:

  • Try not to talk about salary until you’re offered the job.
  • If you have to give a salary range when you apply, say on an online application, do your homework on salaries for that job and in that area and put yourself within that range.
  • Learn the tricks of salary negotiation and practice them.

In 1-3 years, it’s probable the software, hardware, cameras and recorders you’re learning now will have changed radically. That’s why knowing how to learn new tech and software quickly will help you stay ahead of the pack as you compete for employment.

Understanding how the business side of journalism works will also help you as you try to make a living in a highly competitive field.

Good luck!

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Twitter Essentials for Student Journalists

Twitter Grab

Twitter has quickly become an essential tool for experienced journalists, but it’s also an important tool for student journalists. And when it comes to journalists-in-training, it’s never too early to learn how to tweet.

Some excellent tweeting tips for student journalists can be found in two posts by Dan Reimold at College Media Matters.

The posts, “Must Follow Twitter Feeds for Journalism Students” and “Top 10 Essential Twitter Tips for Student Journalists will have the next generation of newsies tweeting with power and purpose.

Be sure to check ’em out.

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Live-blog Sample of JRNL 10 10-11 am -9/24/13

Live-blogging can be an effective tool for journalists especially during breaking news or live events.  With a live-blog, your first entry will be at the bottom of your post and your last entry will be at the top.  Here’s a sample:

10:22:  Professor Roberts just said something incredibly important.

10:15:  This professor is going on and on.

10:00: This is my first entry.

A variation on this technique is live Tweeting.  So keep an eye out for live-blogging opportunities and getting that story out to the public.

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When it comes to writing, be strong

To beef up your writing and give it more impact just really, really try to avoid the following very, very weak words:

  • really
  • very
  • all
  • important
  • never
  • feel
  • seem
  • think
  • often
  • almost
  • big
  • small
  • just

And after you edit out these words, read your work out loud and listen for unnecessary phrases you can edit, edit, edit!

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WordPress Tips: Posts vs Pages

The difference between posts and pages can be confusing if you’re new to WordPress so let me break it down:

  • Posts are individual entries listed on your blog’s home page in reverse chronological order.  
  • Pages are static entries.  They aren’t listed by date and are usually accessed by a link on your home page.  The best example is an About page.  On this blog, all the menus at the top of this home page, “About the Professor,” “Class Schedule,” “Final Project,” and “Handouts” lead to pages.

For more info, read the WordPress definition in their help section.

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