J2150U Blog #11- Write Around

This week’s lecture was given by Rick. At first, my thoughts about him were questionable because of the way he reacted in our classroom to a student’s video project about Adderall abuse. Although I don’t agree with the way he voiced his opinion about my fellow classmate, I did enjoy his lecture and thought he did an excellent job. I am certainly going to use what we learned in lecture when writing the news story for the final project.

I really liked his opening quote he used in his presentation, “I write to discover what it is I didn’t know I knew” (Donald M. Murray). Rick also went into great detail about how writing creates relationships between images and information. I really liked how he describe metaphores as being a tool that transfers something from the familiar to the unfamiliar as a way of sense making. I frequently use metaphors in my writing and think that is a great way to describe why journalists use it.

Rick told us that it is crucial to write a mission well in the beginning because that becomes the root of your story and you can refer back to it to guide your reporting and sourcing decisions along the way. I liked the exercise he had us do which was during class to write a story about a time you got bitten. I wrote about the time my 8 year old camper Owen bit me because I was trying to force him to cooperate during swim lessons. As I was writing my story, I looked around and everyone else was deep in thought. A simple sentence like the one Rick gave us allowed everyone to create a whole story out of it. It was as simple as that for a mission statement. He told us when working as a group, it is important that all mission statements represent all group members’ thinking. I never really thought about it like that before.

When Rick began discussing challenges that arise, he said that groups should brainstorm what we do know and what we don’t know. He said it is best to take inventory and share your personal knowledge bases and blind spots to see what needs to be covered and what is already common and basic knowledge. I believe these organization tools can help my group and I in organizing our final project and for me to bring with me to other group projects in the future.

Rick’s third point was the question list. Why does it matter or why should we care? He said the best way to answer these questions is to freewrite about the subject impact for you and then about the impact in the wider world. This was helpful for me to think about because usually I don’t know how to answer this question other than, “It’s a project that you assigned.”

I also found his closing idea to be very interesting:

The stakes are higher because you’re doing this as a public service, to help the public understand what matters in the world and why they should care and engage. 

I really liked Rick’s presentation and will certainly refer to his powerpoint in the future even beyond this semester’s final project.

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