Confessions of COMM 200

April 25, 2011

Exam Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 10:52 pm

Comm 200 Review

*= must know

What’s not on the exam:

      1. questions from ch 1 about “when did yellow journalism start?”
      2. no historical questions
      3. no AP style questions
      4. no grammar questions
      5. obituaries

News stories and news leads

      1. collect facts for the news leads first
      2. organize list of 5 w’s and the how, then prioritize them
      3. most important info in the first sentence and first paragraph
      4. no more than 25 words
      5. capture the reader by using the active voice (subject is acting on the object)

        – ie: he threw the ball

      1. never bury the leads
      2. don’t use the main person’s name in the lead unless they’re famous (delayed identification)

        – when the name of the person isn’t as important as the identifier

      1. inverted pyramid style
      2. NO OPINION
      3. format:

        – news lead first

        – most important to least important

      1. Use present and active tense (he says)
      2. Only use “said” or “says” because other words slow down the reader
      3. if you can make them in the present tense, do so.

News Leads

      1. Summary leads– cover the most important of the 5 w’s and the H**
      2. delayed identification– withholds the name/identification/location of a person that is involved because few people know him/her. Forces you to read into the second paragraph.
      3. Anecdotal leads– little stories that are relevant to the whole story. Best example of what the story is about. ***
      4. Narrative lead (imediares)- begins the story in the middle of the action. (ie: the two noblemen rushed over to the crypt only to find dead Juliet. )
      5. Scene setter– describes the surroundings. (it was a sunday morning, clear and sunny…)

        – use for long features that unfolds the lead

      1. direct address– second person and uses you. Only for features and advice stories

        – if you’ve been waiting for your chance to collect every episode of The Simpsons, you’re in luck. ***

      1. Blind leads– teases the reader with a little bit of info before revealing the story
      2. startling statements leads– grabs the reader’s attention forcefully.

        – 1 in 4 americans will be affected with a STD at some point in their life.

      1. Round up leads (list leads)– describing a list of things people see
      2. word play leads– only use them if you’re feeling clever.

        – For germans trying to lose weight, the worst is yet to come.

Nut graf and feature stories

      1. condenses the story idea
      2. why it’s important right NOW
      3. nut graf is only used in feature stories
      4. important because impatient readers will lose interest in the story


      1. find a “peg” or the subject to hang the profile on
      2. clear anecdotal lead
      3. nut graf telling us why we care****
      4. paint a portrait, recreate scenes, use dialogue
      5. anecdotal lead, go into the nut graf then use a quote or two


      1. citing who you’re talking about. The source of your info
      2. always use it unless something is common knowledge or if you personally saw it **
      3. first time you’re directly citing someone you need to use their full name, but thereafter only use their last name.
      4. Only use “said” or “says”
      5. use the subject first
      6. Start the quote and then directly cite
      7. comma, close quote, said…
      8. if it’s more than 2 sentences, cite first
      9. don’t need to attribute the same person more than once if there’s a long quote

Opinion piece

      1. tight focus, not a rant
      2. pick a side
      3. strong lead and a solid finish
      4. use at least 3 examples***
      5. use persuasive language
      6. take a stance that people would not expect


      1. Clever lead
      2. show your opinion
      3. use graphic sidebars that sum up what you’re talking about
      4. balance reporting facts with your opinion
      5. plan out the review and be aware of your biases
      6. use simple language
      7. don’t add simple phrases like “in my opinion”, they obviously know it’s an opinion piece
      8. no vague adjectives like “massive”, professor hates that word *
      9. don’t waiver on your opinion
      10. use detail
      11. watch for extra words
      12. begin and end by telling exactly how you feel

Online reporting

      1. headlines should have key words of your story that help SEO (search engine optimization)***
      2. think of the words you would search on google
      3. shouldn’t write with inverted pyramid if it’s a short story
      4. include multimedia
      5. headline and blurbs

Multimedia and bullets for online

      1. photos, audio, video and graphics
      2. makes the story more interesting
      3. visually appealing
      4. use hyperlinks to allow your audience to navigate
      5. used a lot for tagging and categorizing your stories
      6. polls, surveys and quizzes, discussion forums and comments ***
      7. short term alternatives- bio box, fast facts box, step by step guides, timelines and diagrams, lists of top ten, factual index, glossaries, checklists, etc. ****

Writing sports stories

      1. 3 types:

        a.) game stories- talks about the game that happened.

        – Final score the team names, quotes, stats, injuries, etc.

        – try to extract something from the game that the viewer didn’t see

        – never want to overuse stats

        – think plot, not play by play

        – ie: game pivoted on a couple of key fouls

b.) feature stories- things before the game

-. key quotes

c.) columns- opinion pieces

How writing for radio is different

      1. less formal than writing for newspaper
      2. descriptive details is really important
      3. you don’t have to write sentences
      4. writing for the ear, write as if you were speaking
      5. for big names, write a pronouncer

Writing for broadcast

      1. writing for the ear not the eye
      2. short simple, easy to follow
      3. less and fewer sentences
      4. okay to start with “and” and conjunctions
      5. make sure every story has a solid ending
      6. use present tense
      7. attribute first
      8. preferable to paraphrase because people can’t hear quotation marks****
      9. avoid abbreviations
      10. write out dollars instead of $ and percent instead of %

Writing for PR

      1. Writing for the client and stress the benefits of what you’re writing about
      2. start with headlines
      3. 2 blurbs with facts, explanations and details
      4. name, contact info, who it’s going to

April 18, 2011

Public Relations Pros

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 3:28 pm

Monday April 18, 2011 (TWO classes left until the Final!)

Class began with the presentation of group projects as each product PR team showed us their stuff.

We’re all excited to get our hands on cream cheese sunblock, mayonnaise hair conditioner, chocolate penicillin, and lemon lattes. Maybe we should all go out and get some on FRIDAY.

Professor Crowe pointed out to us that each of our PSAs mentioned our product which turned the radio spot into more of a commercial rather than a PSA. So we’ve been granted a chance to try and mend our ways for next class and write a PSA that pertains to the month and cause we were assigned with our product.

We also have a group evaluation to turn in, the evaluation should include:

  • How many times you and your group met
  • What percentage of the work each of you did
  • Who was in your group and what your product was
  • What you learned

We began the presentations of our individual radio projects and a few brave souls took the first hit.

Haely’s story about a docudrama clocked in at 46 seconds.

Adam’s nose plugs plug made it in at 44 seconds.

Paul’s terrible accent and Sunset Sarsaparilla came in at 44 seconds.

John and the Georgetown Douchebags brought Professor Crowe to tears and lasted 41 seconds.

And Meg and her fight against cancer with the aid of lemon lattes wrapped things up with 37 seconds.

Don’t forget that we have TWO classes left and our Final exam is scheduled for Thursday the 28th bright and early at 8:30 AM



April 9, 2011

The Crowe has left the nest…

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 3:58 am

Unfortunately we have press kits to figure out and we still haven’t hatched.


Professor Crowe started class off by passing back our graded articles and assignments.  We thought our grades would be the worst of the morning…until we remembered our PSA’s were actually being timed.


We went around the class reading our PSAs while the stopwatch ticked.  We heard warnings against tanning and long distance relationships, an announcement about how to recognize if someone has caught “Hipsteritas”, as well as an encouragement to give blood.  Good job to those who hit the 45 second mark!


We then wrote a press release for A&W’s new Blueberry Soda.  The aim was to focus on providing a healthy product that was also scrumptious.

Key points:

try to create a picture of the product that will attract readers’ attention and act as a magnet

add spin to make people want the product

there are always 2 angles for every product, pick which will work best


Homework: write a press release for each of the following products. Refer to page 194 in the text book for help.  Include the headline, deck work, lede paragraph, contact information, and a picture.


Develop a PR strategy which will include the following:

1.      A Press Release: Write the press release and detail who you will send it to.

2.      A Press Conference: Who will speak? What elements will be there?


The Spy Museum

The Spy Museum is struggling.  Because of the bad economy, many school districts around the country have halted out-of-town field trips.  That means there are fewer busloads of students coming to tour the sights in Washington.  It is estimated that 100,000 fewer people will visit the museum this year.  The director of the museum thinks that it might be able to get more local kids into the museum this summer when they’re out of school.  You have been hired to create a campaign to increase attendance to the museum by 15%.


The KFC Boutique

People just aren’t eating fried chicken like they used to.  All the Healthy Easting campaigns have resulted in plunging sales for KFC.  So the company has decided to branch out.  They’ve hooked up with a clothing designed named Koko Fitch, owner of Koko Fitch Clothing (also KFC) and plan to open up boutiques in all of its chicken stores called Kentucky Fine Clothing.  Now, they need a PR campaign to shift the image of KFC from a chicken place to a chicken and clothing place.  The goal is to increase sales at the combined stores by 10%.


IBM Shred-It Events

IBM has decided to launch a community service campaign to help prevent identity theft.  It will host monthly events where people can bring up to 5 boxes of personal papers to its parking lot, and staffers will shred the papers for free, using IBM machines, of course.  Two Shred-It events have already been held, and turnout was overwhelming.  But to continue, IBM needs volunteers from within its company.  In fact, 15 volunteers are needed every month.  But the events are held on Saturdays, and no one wants to volunteer.  You have been asked to encourage volunteerism within IBM.  (Your “news conference” will be at a company-wide meeting where the announcement will be held).


Homework is due Monday, April 18th.


The Crowe has flown. Which means Monday and Thursday we do not have class.  But remember to meet with your groups about your press kits.


Both our press kits and our individual radio spots (which need to be 45 seconds on anything) are due on Monday, April 18th.  You will get extra credit if you video tape your PSA for your press kit.


Lastly, if you are missing grades on Blackboard, print out the assignments and turn them in again!

April 7, 2011

Funny PSA Idea

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 2:17 am

Just a funny PSA parody I found a couple years ago that I thought I’d share with you guys. Maybe it’ll strike you with inspiration.

-Hoai-Tran Bui.

April 5, 2011

It’s Monday, Monday. Gotta get down on Monday.

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 3:57 am

Today in class we tried our best to improve upon the Rebecca Black Masterpiece “Friday”. The class was given a section of the song to be rewritten to sound better, and give the class practice at writing the spoken  word. While seemingly an impossible task, many of our classmates made substantial progress to achieving such an end.

Gotta have my bowl

Our homework tonight is a continuation of our work on the spoken word. Professor Crowe instructed us to write a timed 45 second radio PSA that we will perform next class. In addition the professor wants us to read Chapter 10 in our text book.

Bonus: Friday Lyrics Analyzed with Rebecca Black

April 4, 2011

Thursday, March 31

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 2:21 am

On Thursday, we learned the ins and outs of writing reviews. We took a few notes on what a review is and the types of reviews you could write (They range from movie reviews to CD’s, shows and sports).

  • A review makes the decision on whether you want to buy a product or go to an event

Movie reviews

  • Whether you agree with the opinion (after)
  • To find out about the movie (before)
  • Whether you like it or not


  • Catch more (what you may have missed)
  • Different perspective
  • Add information

How to write a review

  1. Synopsis (context)
  2. Positives and negatives

We then listened to the harmonious melodies of Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” and wrote a review on it. Professor Crowe encouraged us to be as vitriolic as we wanted to be, and poor Rebecca Black was verbally bashed again and again.

Homework assignment

Write a review on anything you want, whether it be movie, CD, theater performance or concert. Just make sure that it’s something remotely well known so that Professor Crowe can know what the hell you’re talking about. Good luck!

Hoai-Tran Bui.

March 28, 2011

Monday, March 28

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 7:55 pm

Today we spent a stressful day in the newsroom creating an evening broadcast for EAC News. The broadcast had news, weather and sports segments. The stories, both local and national, featured a missing Cobra, the Blue Man Group, the Cherry Blossom Festival and March Madness.  Kelsey, Trey and Tala did great jobs as editors! Everyone else showed their ability to write stories on the spot. The activity demonstrated that working for a broadcast studio requires quick writing, and maybe some improvisation, as well as clear organization and specialization of tasks. Great work everyone!

We also learned the different between that and which. That signifies essential information, while which signifies optional information. A helpful reminder:

Go to the third house that has red shutters.

Go to the third house which has red shutters.

The homework assignment for Thursday, March 31:

The directions are listed on pg. 188 of the textbook under #3 – Turn this newspaper story into a radio brief. On pg. 49 of the textbook there is a story about a campus dog controversy. Turn this newspaper article into a 45 second radio brief for the American University Campus Radio (WAMU). Include one or two cuts to a different speaker and in your script, include the complete wording and timing of the cuts. Pgs. 178 and 179 have helpful information on how to write for radio.

Sarah Floyd


March 27, 2011

March 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 5:28 pm

Professor Crowe stated that Chardonnay helps grading and it reflected when we received our headlines back.  More Chardonnay during finals week!!  We played a fun game that Semi-colon-oscopy dominated.  Homework, Blue-dye #6, headline, blurb, sidebar, multimedia, story.

Important dates:

11 April – no class but groups should meet to work on the group project

14 April – Individual Project Due, Substitute (Behave!)

18 April – Group Project Due

21 April – Last day of class


Group Project – Press kit

Individual Project – 45-second radio spot, more info to follow.


Group 1. Tala, Alex, Kayla, Allie (Chocolate penicillin)

Group 2. Nicole, Haely, Trey, Joe (Cream-cheese sunblock)

Group 3. Sara, Kelsey, Paul (Tomato mouthwash)

Group 4. HT, Danielle, Michelle, Meg (Starbucks lemon latte)

Group 5. Ari, John, Adam (Mayonnaise infused conditioner)


March 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 5:28 pm

We started class by turning in our headlines.  Professor Crowe gave us an awesome quiz that had nothing to do with the readings. Surprise, surprise.  We continued with headlines.  So of the best ones: ‘Sheen finds Shiva’ and ‘God help Charlie Sheen’.

Professor Crowe returned our speeches only to let us know that, “Some were awful.”  Luckily, we received further practice using my deployments to Iraq as the meat of the information.


March 20, 2011

Thursday, March 17

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 11:35 pm

As a St. Patrick’s Day treat to the class, Professor Crowe cancelled the quiz that was originally planned. She then explained to us that the only way to make sure that the class would actually read the text in chapter 8 is if she told us we were to be quizzed on the material. Her plan worked.

Minutes later, we reviewed the material covered in chapter 8 through a powerpoint  entitled “Reading and Writing for the Web”  by Amy Ersman. The powerpoint entailed the ways in which the layout of newspapers differs from that of news on the web. The “F” shape way readers scan text is among one of the many things explained in the powerpoint. Other things we discussed include the need for news on the web to be short, concise and bold. By following such rules, the journalist makes reading easier for the audience. Aside from the importance of short text, the powerpoint also explained the significance of links and pictures as well.

Once the powerpoint was over, Professor Crowe made us work individually on our journalism skills by practicing headlines. Our topic of the day was to write headlines involving the dangers of eating and driving, according to Geico.

Our homework assignment is to cut out three stories from a newspaper so that we can write three headlines per story (each no longer than five words) and then write one small blurb (3 sentences), per story.

Also, there will be a quiz tomorrow on Ch 8 and current events.

Hope you all had a great weekend!


-Danielle Ortiz-Geis

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