This challenge is due by noon Monday, Jan. 27.


The first 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. 27.


Setting up and customizing the blog

You created a WordPress blog in class on Jan. 13, but you need to make further modifications to it for this assignment. 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. 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 or posting about your personal interests and hobbies. 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 free options available. (The Premium themes cost money.) A simple theme that is easy to view and read 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. 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 must appear in the Sidebar, not in the Footer. If the theme you have selected doesn’t let you put widgets in the Sidebar, select a different theme.
  • Follow the course blog: Make sure that you are following the course blog. Click the “Follow” button in the left sidebar of the main page for the course blog (

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. 27. Three of the readings (the Scott 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 mentioned by the authors (you don’t need to list all of them) and 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. To create a link, highlight the text you want to turn into a link and then click the “Insert/edit link” button in the toolbar. When entering the URL, make sure the full address is entered correctly, including the http://.  Do not put the URL within the body of the blog post. Here are some good and bad examples of linking.
  • Length: The blog post must be 400 to 500 words. As you type your post in the WordPress editor, you will see a word count at the bottom. If the word count doesn’t update automatically, it should update when you hit return.
  • Tags: Give your blog post at least two tags. When using the WordPress editor to compose your post, the “Tags” area is located in the sidebar to the right of the text editor. A tag is a topic or person or thing that is a main focus of the blog post. A tag is usually a single word or two words. Think of the tags as search terms. If someone were to search for your blog post, what search terms would they be likely to use? Make those your tags.
  • 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.
  • Before you publish: Preview your post before you publish it. Proofread it, make sure that it is formatted correctly and make sure that all of the links work properly.
  • Need help? If you are having troubles navigating WordPress, check out the Tutorials link in the menu of the course blog. There are links to WordPress help sites.

Submitting the assignment

After you have set up your blog and have published your first post, send me a link to your blog (e.g., at This email must be sent by noon Monday, Jan. 27.


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

  • Blog post content (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, including an appropriate title, tagline, About page, and widgets? Does the blog post contain all of the necessary elements, including an appropriate title, at least three embedded links, and at least two tags? Are links handled properly within the blog post?

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