Opinion & Persuasive Writing (JOUR 4327-001)

A blog for the students in Dr. Broadway's class

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Information for Arts Reviews

March 7th, 2011 · Assignments

You will have to do two reviews: one for what I’m calling “static” media — CDs, DVDs, videogames, movies, television shows and one for a live event review — dance performance, concert, theater performance, art gallery opening. See assignment sheet for required timing on these reviews. The events or release dates must be within two weeks of the assignment due dates (Nov. 3 or Dec. 1). Send me an e-mail by Friday with information on your first review.

For those of you looking for a schedule of new movie releases, the Internet Movie Database has a list of films opening each weekend.

Billboard.com maintains a list of music being released each week and Top Hits Online has a list of upcoming album release dates.

New DVD releases are tracked by videoETA.com. On a side note, don’t pick a DVD release of a full-season of a TV show because you’ll have to watch all the episodes and all the extras before reviewing the DVD.

For those looking for live events, especially free or cheap ones, UTA puts arts events on its calendar.

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EXTRA CREDIT: Mavericks Speaker Series

February 15th, 2011 · Extra Credit

The Mavericks Speaker Series offers you two opportunities this spring to earn extra credit on your in-class grades for attending a lecture. The lectures are free, but you must get tickets in advance. If you plan on going, get the tickets when they become available because previous events in this series have sold out. Click here for ticket link.

To get credit:
Write a paragraph describing the speaker’s main points and then a paragraph that summarizes your reaction to the speech. The summary/response is due a week after the event. You can send it as an attachment inside a Blackboard e-mail.

Series events:

  • Cal Ripken Jr., former baseball player, and a current television sports analyst and author, on Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Texas Hall. Tickets available on Jan. 18 at 8 a.m.
  • Bill Nye, television personality/host know as “The Science Guy,” on March 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Texas Hall. Tickets available on Feb. 18 at 8 a.m.

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Campus Column

February 14th, 2011 · Assignments, Class notes

Campus column is due March 2.  A previous opinion editor offered the advice below about ways to make your column more appealing to The Shorthorn.  What you turn in for the assignment needs to follow my instructions (such as making it 500 to 700 words), but you can modify it before submitting it to The Shorthorn (trimming some copy, for example, to make it fall in The Shorthorn range of 400 to 500 words.) Remember you must submit your column to me BEFORE you submit it to The Shorthorn.

Campus Column Ideas are due to me on the class discussion board by Tuesday, Feb. 22.

A few “tips” to improve your chances of getting your campus column published.

  • Limit the use of first person (“I,” “me,” “my,” “we,” “our”) to personal stories that you include in the column. The rest of the column should be in third person voice.
  • Write articles that are timely — tied to news (emphasis on new) events and ongoing issues.
  • Write articles on unique topics. Review recent editions of The Shorthorn to see what’s been covered recently. Find something different.
  • Use unique angles for column topics that have been “done to death.”
  • Recognize that some issues are “overdone” and will not be picked up as quickly by the paper.
  • Don’t start your column with “I hate ____________ at UTA” and then rant about the issue for 500 words. You need to be thoughtful, build arguments and supply evidence.
  • Usual word count range for Shorthorn columns is 400 to 500 words.

The opinion editor’s address at the Shorthorn is: opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu.

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First blog postings due by Friday at midnight

January 31st, 2011 · Assignments, Class notes, On blogging

You should post your first week’s worth of material to your blog by midnight Friday. Some of you have already done this. Yeah! Some of you have yet to do this. Procrastinators! For your first week, I suggest that you write a post that explains what your blog will be about (assuming you don’t have a separate page already that explains the blog’s purpose).

By Monday before class, you will need to go into a classmate’s blog and comment on one of his or her posts (which is why the main posts have to be up by midnight tonight). I have added links to your classmates’ blogs on the righthand side of the class blog under the heading Spring ‘11. You only have to comment on one blog each week, but you shouldn’t comment on the same person’s blog each week. Look at the variety of blog projects and spread around your comments. Your comments should be substantive and related to the content of the post. (“That’s awesome!” or “Best of luck with that!”  are not substantive comments.) The comments do not have to be positive or supportive, but I expect you to respectfully disagree in cyberspace without flaming or personal attacks.

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Required Reading: This I Believe

January 25th, 2011 · Assignments

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting supports and solicits personal essays about core values and beliefs. Selected essays are played on National Public Radio (NPR). The program is based on the 1950s radio program by famed broadcaster Edward R. Murrow. For this assignment you will write a 350 to 500 word personal essay appropriate for submission to This I Believe. Be sure to review the This I Believe essay writing tips (links to required readings below), listen/read several examples of This I Believe essays (available on the NPR and This I Believe Web sites – the required essays are listed below) and pay attention to the portion of Chp. 11 in Writing Opinion for Impact that discusses tips for broadcast writing. Although transcripts are provided, listen to the essays.

Required Readings & “Listenings”:

Essay writing tips: http://thisibelieve.org/guidelines/

Original Invitation to This I Believe: http://thisibelieve.org/history/invitation/

This I Believe essay: A Reverence for All Life: http://thisibelieve.org/essay/31461/

This I Believe essay: I Am Not My Body: http://thisibelieve.org/essay/7710/

This I Believe essay: The Holy Life of the Intellect: http://thisibelieve.org/essay/31760/

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Some additional help with This I Believe

January 24th, 2011 · Assignments

To help you try and figure out what to write for the first assignment of the semester, here are some links to various This I Believe essays. These are NOT required, but are provided as further help and for your listening pleasure.

Stress Yields a Sweeter Life by Tim Stark (about growing tomatoes)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12092885

Just Like Pastrami by Lee Shulman (about pastrami and teaching)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6696794

We Are Each Other’s Business by Eboo Patel (about religious tolerance)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4989625

The Designated Celebrator by Melinda Shoaf (about family traditions/celebrations)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6741965

Finding the Flexibility to Survive by Brighton Earley (by a college student and student journalist about grocery shopping at a gas station)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91065890

Leaving Work to Watch the Sunset by Laurie Granieri (by a newspaper reporter)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87777150

Returning to What’s Natural by Amelia Baxter-Stoltzfus (about semi-permanent hair dye)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15006650

Teaching a Bad Dog New Tricks by David Buetow (about dogs and dating)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14415923

Sweet Friday by Lena Winkler (about eating cake, friendship and family traditions)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7385006

Peace Begins with One Person (by a Texas diner waitress about connection and yes, world peace)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6405775

Be Cool to the Pizza Dude by Sarah Adams (about a basic life philosophy that’s about well, the pizza dude)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4651531

There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Barbecue by Jason Sheehan (about barbecue)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4827993

Always Go to the Funeral by Deirdre Sullivan (about advice from her father)
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4785079

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Readings for Week 1

January 17th, 2011 · Uncategorized

Since you will be creating and maintaining a blog this semester, I want you to explore a couple of online pieces about blogging.

First up, some description and definitions from our friends at WordPress (the company that developed the software system you’re using to blog at UTA).

The  Innovation in College Media Blog has a post describing what blogging is and maybe what it isn’t. The post also references Joe Gisondi’s On Sports blog, which is one of my favorite sports writing blogs and assigned reading for students in my specialized reporting class. Gisondi is a former sports writer and copy editor and now a journalism professor.

An article from the New York Times about tensions between bloggers and sports writers and professional sports teams. It opens with a few words from everyone’s favorite Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban.

Joe Gisondi, the journalism professor and On Sports blogger, has posted up his evaluation of some college sports blogs. He identifies best and worst practices for game and sports blogging, and pulls in real-life examples of both. This column is a must-read for those of you doing sports-related blogs, and good reading for those of you blogging about other things.

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College blog assessment

September 16th, 2007 · On blogging

Joe Gisondi, the journalism professor and On Sports blogger, has posted up his evaluation of some college sports blogs. He identifies best and worst practices for game and sports blogging, and pulls in real-life examples of both. This column is a must-read for those of you doing sports-related blogs, and good reading for those of you blogging about other things.

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Still wondering about this blog thingy?

September 6th, 2007 · On blogging

For those of you still casting about trying to decide what this blog stuff is all about, alert classmate Daniel Johnson has found a good post from the Innovation in College Media Blog about what blogging is and maybe what it isn’t. The post also references Joe Gisondi’s On Sports blog, which is one of my favorite sports writing blogs and assigned reading for students in my specialized reporting class. Gisondi is a former sports writer and copy editor and now a journalism professor.

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Good advice from the good people at Univ. of Virginia

August 29th, 2007 · On blogging

The PR department at UVA has provide their faculty with Top 10 tips for writing opinion pieces — the advice is sound and much of it will be repeated over and over in Opinion and Persuasive Writing this semester.

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