This challenge is due by noon Monday, Jan. 28.

Description

The first weekly challenge requires you to create a WordPress blog, which you will maintain throughout the semester, and to create your first blog post, which will be a response to the assigned reading for Jan. 28.

Explanation

Setting up and customizing the blog

You will create a WordPress blog in class on Jan. 14, but you need to make further modifications to it for this assignment. To edit your blog, go to wordpress.com and and enter the user name and password you created in class. Each of the following needs to be completed:

  • Site title: Give your blog a name. The site title is editable within the WordPress Dashboard under Settings > General Settings. The blog will be used solely for class assignments and activities, including your observations about social media, journalism, and public relations. You will NOT be using it as a personal diary, and you will not be posting about your personal interests, hobbies, etc. Keep that in mind when coming up with a title.
  • Tagline: A very brief sentence stating what the blog is. You might use the tagline to explain that it is a blog for COJR 3002 at Seton Hall.
  • Theme: Select from the various free options available. (Some themes are designated Premium and cost money. Stay away from them.) When selecting a theme, keep in mind that something simple but effective is often a better choice than something loud and flashy. Many of the themes offer customization options (Appearance > Theme options).
  • About page: Click on Pages in the Dashboard and you should find an About page. Edit and update the About page to include about two to four sentences describing yourself and the nature of the blog (sort of like a longer version of the tagline). Keep in mind that whatever you post is public. You do not need to include your full name, but you may do so if you choose.
  • Menu: A link to the About page needs to appear in your blog’s menu. The menu typically is found near the top of the blog. To edit the menu, go to Appearance > Menus. If the theme you have selected does not allow you to have or edit a menu, you will need to choose a different theme.
  • Widgets: Select and edit widgets by going to Appearance > Widgets. You may drag widgets you want to add from the left side of the page into the sidebar. Your blog needs to have the following three widgets: Blogs I Follow, Follow Blog, and Archives. If you want to add one or two more that you think are relevant, that’s fine. But don’t overdo it. Widgets should appear in the Sidebar, not in the Footer. If the theme you have selected doesn’t let you put widgets in the Sidebar, you need to select a different theme.

Your first blog post

To create your first blog post, go to Posts > Add new. Some requirements for the post:

  • Title: Give your post an interesting, descriptive title that reflects the content of the post. DON’T call it “Blog post,” “Challenge 1,” “Assignment,” etc.
  • The post: Reflect upon the assigned readings for Jan. 28. Four of the readings (the Shirky reading on Blackboard, the Solis and Breakenridge chapters, the Briggs introduction, and the Economist article) present a mostly enthusiastic, optimistic view of the future of journalism and/or public relations and the role of social media. The other two readings (Ashley and Kristof) are more cautious in tone and offer some reasons for concern. Identify some of the reasons for optimism and caution identified by the various authors (you don’t need to list all of them) and then offer your opinion and analysis of the authors’ arguments. You may find it helpful to cite a specific example or personal observation to support your argument. You must specifically reference at least three of the readings in your post. Do not simply quote or summarize the readings. Build upon them. Use them as a starting point for your argument.
  • Links: The blog post must contain at least three embedded links. Put the links WITHIN the post, not at the end of the post. You may link to the readings themselves, but at least one of the links must be to an outside source. Links should be worked into the body of the post and should not call attention to themselves.
  • Length: The blog post must be 400 to 600 words. As you type your post in WordPress, you will see a word count at the bottom. If the word count doesn’t update automatically, it should update when you hit return.
  • Allow comments: Make sure your post is set up to allow others to comment. There is an “Allow comments” option available in the “Quick edit” settings for the post.
  • Need help? If you are having troubles navigating WordPress, check out the “Social Media Tutorials” link here on the course blog (in the Help widget on the right sidebar). There are links to WordPress help sites. If you’re still having troubles, email me.

Submitting the assignment

After you have set up your blog and have made your first post, send me a link to your blog (e.g., myblog.wordpress.com) at COJR3002@gmail.com. This email must be sent by noon Monday, Jan. 28.

Grading

The assignment is worth 20 points, broken down as follows:

  • Blog post (14 points): Is the blog post a thorough and thoughtful discussion of the issues raised in the assigned readings? Does the post go beyond simply summarizing the readings to offer analysis and insight? Is the post free of misspellings and grammatical mistakes?
  • Technical stuff (6 points): Does the blog contain all of the necessary elements? Are links handled properly within the blog post?
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