Confessions of COMM 200

March 17, 2011

Monday, March 14th

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 12:52 am

To welcome us back from Spring Break, Professor Crowe handed back our midterms during Monday’s class. No one cried, and Professor said we all did especially well on the lede-writing section, so overall I think we can say the exam was a success. If not, then at least we still have seven weeks to get ready for the final!

In class, those who were able to cover a speech over break shared their writing with the class, and we saw how two writers covering the same speech can come up with very different (but equally good!) articles. Those who didn’t cover a speech over break must turn the article in on Thursday.

We then had some practice in covering a speech when we broke into groups to write about Barbara Ehrenreich’s commencement speech from 2009. Ehrenreich told aspiring journalists not to worry about the recession, because true journalists will always have a job as long as there is a story to tell.

See you  on Thursday!

-Meg Kearns


March 13, 2011

The worst article I have ever read

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 4:57 pm

Hii Everyone,

Vanity Fair published a really bad article on Dubai this week. It’s not bad because it trash talks my hometown (tear) but because I think it goes against everything Prof. Crowe has taught us! The journalist wrote critically from one perspective, which is fine considering it’s an editorial but everything from the structure, attribution and constant declaration of exaggerated, illegitimate and fictitious facts. The author was not only racist and rude but also VERY prejudice.


March 3, 2011

Midterm Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 8:15 pm

Professor Crowe’s “evil” exam came and went and happily, everyone survived. Just as she had warned us, the midterm was an intense marathon of everything we learned so far. We first had to answer some AP style questions as well as questions about attribution and other topics covered in the textbook. In addition, we were asked to write a a nut graf, an obituary, a feature story, and what seemed like 300 leads, all in  a mere 75 minutes. At the very least, we can take solace in the fact that there is one less thing standing in the way of our Spring Breaks. Over break, remember to do the speech assignment which is due when we return. Tips for covering a speech are provided at the end of the AP style packet as well as in the textbook on page 106.

Enjoy your breaks!


March 1, 2011

What I would study if I had to take Prof. Crowe’s evil exam…

Filed under: Uncategorized — socatau @ 4:43 pm

I had a dream the other night (not the one about showing up for an exam in a class I forgot to attend all semester, although I am sure some of you can relate!) No, it was the dream that I was pulling together a test that would indicate whether the folks I am yammering at each week (not my children; I know they don’t listen) are learning anything.
It was quite a beautiful exam. It was structured in four parts. One part was about the stylebook A – F. These were tough questions but the people in my dream were whipping through that part like their fingers were on fire. The second part was about what we have been learning. It included things such as the information in chapter 3; the information on attributions in chapter 4; the ghoulish obit writing in chapter 5 and profiles and editorials and short-form writing styles in chapter 6. Again, the students in my dream sped through this like they were snorting something (NOT SOMETHING THEIR PROFESSOR ENCOURAGES). Some of these students even paused to thank me for the opportunity to show me what they had learned.
The third part was about tight writing and attribution. I was testing how much these smart kids had been listening when I was saying things such as “erase the words ‘massive’ and ‘impact’ from your internal spelcheck/dictionary.” My exam takers were positively giggling through this part as they streamlined sentences and remembered what was said about attribution. It was probably a good thing they got through the other parts so quickly.
In the last part they had to write. A lot. They had to write a news story; they had to write the lede through the nut graf of a profile (they were sure to include that sentence that guides the reader from the anecdotal lede to the nut graf) ; they had to write parts of an obit and parts of a persuasive piece and they had to do some breakout boxes. I gotta admit, by this time the students in my dream, while still smiling, were getting a wee bit tired. 
(Of course they were smiling because in preparing for the test, they had actually re-read the chapters, looked over quizzes and homework assignments, and tested themselves with exercizes from the book.)
Just as they were turning in their papers; my bleeping alarm started whining: time to face the day.
It wasn’t until my third cup of coffee, after I had rolled the dream around in my brain for a while, that I realized I didn’t recognise any of the happy folks taking the exam. There was no Kelsey or Kayla; no senator or HJ; the voice of God wasn’t in the corner and of course, Paul was no where to be seen. 
I guess the lesson of the dream is that you don’t prepare adequately for my exam on Thursday, send a substitute.
Study hard. Prof. Crowe

February 22, 2011

My “opinion” on today’s class

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 3:18 am

February 21,2011

Today in class we broke off into groups of two and practiced writing editorials.  We argued either in favor or against an article written in The Eagle titled Dorms to be separated by grade next year.   For more information on writing editorials and columns you can refer to the textbook on pages 134-135.  The assignment for next class is to come up with three ideas for an opinion piece that has something to do with AU or DC.  Another assignment, which is not due until March 14th,  is to attend a speech and then write a review.  Below is a “Fast-Facts Box” of an upcoming speech on campus that you can check out. opinion

Potential Speech to Cover

What: panel discussion by the Community Family Life Services (CFLS)

Topic: homelessness and poverty in DC

When: Thursday, February 24th from 7-8pm

Where: room 115 of the library (just left of the reference desk).

Speakers: CFLS Executive Director Claudia Thorne, a case manager at CFLS

February 21, 2011

Crowe vs Our Profiles II

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 3:48 am

In class today we spent the majority of our time going over our profiles. For a second time.

Not many of us made it half way through presenting our profiles until Professor Crowe had seen enough, and stopped us. We did make impovements from our last effort.

Following our second go at the profiles we went online to find some ledes from various online newspapers.

Our homework is a repeat from the pervious class. Re-Do your profiles! Round Three will be on Monday.

Finally, you will all get to see a political science major butcher the 1st Amendment.

-Joe Macera

February 17, 2011

Valentine’s Day with Comm-200

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 3:55 am

Class: 2/14/11


We began class on Valentine’s Day by sharing the leads and nut grafs of our profiles.  We heard all about “The Nan,” Kelsey’s cane-slinging, swearing and fierce grandma who can’t stand it when people are moving too slowly in front of her.

Professor Crowe encouraged us to pick just one small, little-known aspect of our subject to “hang” our profile on, and not to try to tell too many unrelated details about the person.

After we shared our work, Professor Crowe set the class into teams to write the lede and nut graf of a profile based on snippets of information about made-up subjects (and then handed out candy – thanks Professor!).

We learned about the creepy, childless parenting-book author who kept his house filled with toys, and the Hello Kitty-obsessed literature professor who lost a child.

As a Valentine’s Day gift, Professor Crowe didn’t assign any extra homework, and asked us to edit our profiles for the next class.


– Kayla Haran

February 11, 2011

“The Phone Rings, It’s Evelyn Y. Davis…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 3:35 am


Today, February 10, 2011

We began class today receiving old quizzes and papers. You could sense the excitement and anticipation in everyone who was eager to read their very interesting and detailed obituaries.

Today’s class was fun in a kind of morbid way as we began it by reading our obituaries! Some family members found this subject a little touchy and will probably be calling the school or sending some nasty e-mails. Some of us including Paul, Sarah and I even blamed are horrible deaths on Professor Crowe, so we got her back a little (: Everyone did a great job.

After reading the obituaries we turned them in and got settled in our nice comfy chairs and listened to Professor Crowe read her favorite story of all time from the Washington Post about Evelyn Y. Davis.  This story was very, very long but everyone enjoyed the different detail,  sequence, attribution, and other literary aspects of the enchanting story. The most memorable parts the class found included hot pants, spiked red hair, face lifts as compared to a rabbit, and Evelyn Y. Davis’s absurd personality and demands for recognition.

Before we were let free Professor Crowe gave us a little gift. With Valentines Day or Single Awareness Day for some of us right around the corner ,Professor Crowe decided to take pity on those of us who will be more worried about our sweethearts than COMM quizzes and cancelled the dreaded quiz

Our homework that will be due on Monday is to write a 400 word profile on yourself. You can find more information on writing profiles on page 124 about, “Capturing personalities by painting word pictures.”


February 7, 2011

Guest blogger reveals all…

Filed under: Uncategorized — socatau @ 10:12 pm

In my haste to get the tough little quiz into your clammy little hands, I forgot to harass a would-be blogger and demand a recitation of the First Amendment.

Alas (not a word to use in a news story) I guess I will have to write the blog entry today.

Class started with a quiz that came from the Style Book, the Meet Mr. Comma handout, the textbook and the news. These quizzes should be a reminder to you that I am not handing you reams of paper just so I can kill trees. They are for you to read and study and lovingly admire.

After the quiz, I returned some pretty good homework on the snow that snarled traffic. All managed to get the news in the lede and I didn’t get to make fun of any of them.

Then we handed in homework (two assignments, so I can spend the rest of my life grading) and moved on to read and write obits.

Yes I know, its kind of creepy but it is a good exercise because you have to dig for a good detail and then remember to put in all the other stuff that obits require. By the way, writing obits sets us up for the next thing we’ll be writing: features. As in obits, profiles require that you home in on one aspect of a person and tell the story about them through that angle. For example, an AP reporter many, many years ago was assigned to do a profile on then-vice president Harry Truman. One thing this reporter noticed was that Truman had a cup of pencils on his desk and on every single one, the eraser was used up. In other words, Truman was doing a lot of second-guessing of himself and revising and editing. That need to rework, revise or second-guess became the angle for the story. It is one telling detail just as the obit in the book showed in one example that eating fried eels and telling stories was a key part of one person’s life (Fried eels? Argghh, no wonder he died!)

In class we looked at obits, read about them, then took information from a Funeral Home about a retired schoolteacher (middle name: Loretta – love that!) who died.

We contacted her surviving daughter Emma (who looked and sounded a lot like Paul) who answered all of our questions with one-word answers. While we learned she liked to garden, that daughter was pretty worthless. We called the other (Alex) who gave us great quotes about how the dead lady loved kids and always sacrificed for her family. (I for one was reaching for the tissues, so sad.) Good stuff but we wanted more. For example, the old girl was only 69 so we had to call Rose Hill at the Rose Hill Funeral Home to find out how she croaked. Rose (with a surprisingly deep voice, kinda like Joe’s) said she overdosed on drugs. Well that changed the story a bit. Rose tells us the coroner ruled the death accidental,   apparently Jessica Loretta didn’t read the dosage instructions and took too many pain meds after hip surgery (I hate that when that happens.)
We called the school where she worked and found an amazingly chipper sounding friend of her’s named Sarah (with an “h”) who said she had been at the high school where JL worked for 52 years! Even though Sarah didn’t know her good friend was dead, she seemed to take it in stride. She recalled meeting her in Yoga class and said she was a great teacher (blah, blah, blah – we were playing Angry Bird and didn’t get all the gush about how great she was.) When Sarah handed the phone back to the principal (we didn’t get her name) she said the great JL thought the lunch lady’s food was so bad that she brought in tomatoes from her garden for all her little biology students.

Then I gave you about 10 minutes to sweat the details and write something and then I made fun of what you wrote. A great class.

Your assignment for Thursday is to write your obit. I am sorry to tell you this but you all died at the end of class, except Michelle who was given a one day reprieve so she wouldn’t pull a Tom Jefferson and die on her birthday.  The rest of you, ta-ta. You can come up with a cool death but you must give actual details on the rest of your life and remember, you want an eel-eating thing for us to read so you don’t sound like every other college student who meets an untimely end. (I got to say that being the grim reaper is kind of fun. Those of you who missed class, you’re dead to me too.)  Enjoy yourselves.

See you Thursday.

February 6, 2011

In Class on Thursday 2/3

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 5:59 pm

I tried so hard to come up with a witty title for the blog post. I have failed you Comm 200

To the important stuff:

This past Thursday our class focused on quotes, attribution, and context. All very important for budding journalists, or those of you taking this course for funsies.

We were also assigned to hashtag the campus through twitter to support the latest endeavor of the Social Media Club and spent a little bit of time talking about that in class.

We read through parts of our text book, Inside Reporting, and reviewed all the important things to know about quoting someone, attributing the quote to them, AND the grammatically correct way to place the quote into your story. And we know always to remember to place the quote before the name, unless we’ve already done that and we want to shake things up a bit.

Next we had a small challenge:

Taking the chopped up bits of a story on the healthy eating habits of children and parents, we had to place them in the correct order. This proved to be a little harder than expected…or maybe it was just me…but placing a story in perfect order is an art we will all soon master.


Write a 600 word story on the following information:

  • As you drive through the flood-damaged mid-Hudson region, you see people standing in silt-strewn yards and waterlogged homes. You see road crews scrambling to open once-flooded roads.
  • It’s clear the weekend’s floods have produced tens of millions of dollars of damage .
  • A Call the the American Red Cross reveals to you that Red Cross workers across the region are trying to find motel rooms for scores of people unable to return home.
  • You learn from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has been occupied with a mammoth terrorism drill, that the agency expects backup teams from Texas to reach local flood zones tomorrow.
  • Bruce Kirkpatrick, Ulster County’s deputy director of emergency management, tells you: “Just in public infrastructure alone, we’re looking at millions. …And the human cost…How do you measure the human cost?”
  • You hear on the radio that Gov. George Pataki has officially declared Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties disaster areas, allowing the first stat disaster inspectors to arrive. They are surveying Myers Grove, a one-time summer community of bungalows and trailers in Deerpark, which was among the areas hardest hit. Damage assessments must be done before the governor can ask the president to declare the area a federal disaster area, which would clear the way for federal disaster relief and allow residents to apply for low-interest loans to rebuild homes. Officials hope to get a true measure of the devastation after state and federal disaster assessment teams tour flooded areas in two dozen counties in southern New York and western New Jersey.
  • Officials tell you it will take weeks or even months to repair washed-out roads and bridges.
  • It’s increasingly clear, officials say, that this weekend’s floods will set records. Already, this is what they tell you: (That’s how the paper was written)
  • The Neversink River reached the highest level recorded in Godeffroy since the U.S. Geological Survey began taking measurements there 68 years ago. The river crested just over it’s 100-year flood level-a measurement that federal officials set based on prior high-water years.
  • In Deerpark, at the intersection of the Neversink and Delaware rivers, officials say they expect to condemn 160 homes. the floods caused at least $24 millon in damage to that town alone, and Orange County spokesman tells you.

Review the “Nine Guidelines for Wording and Positioning Attributions” on Page 82 and 83 of your text book. Then, in each of the following sentences, identify and fix any attribution errors you find. If a sentence doesn’t include any errors, simply indicate this in the text box.


  1. “I saw people running. Then a big guy in a yellow hat swerved and smashed into me and I didn’t see anything else,” Szelensky said.
  2. “A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier,” H.L. Mencken, one of the most famous journalists of his time, said.
  3. “Don’t think of him as a Republican,” said Maria Shriver, who is married to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar. “Think of him as the man I love, and if that doesn’t work, think of him as the man who can crush you.”
  4. ” I don’t like ketchup on my eggs one bit,” Dorfman said. “I’m still waiting to her something that you do like,” Holland said.
  5. Michal Smythe, press representative for the company, said the cyclone had wiped our the corporate headquarters.
  6. For instance, former CNN reporter Peter Arnett said: I’m still in shock and awe at being fired.”
  7. “The power fo accurate observation is commonly called cynicism,” said George Bernard Shaw, “by those who have not got it.”
  8. Gilda Radner said, “I base my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.”
  9. “Passion makes the world go round,” Ice T said. “Love just makes it a safer place,” he said.
  10. “Mistakes are part fo being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are; precious life lessons that can only be learned from,” wrote comedian A Franken in “Oh, the Things I Know!”
  11. “For the first time-and these are no longer rumors, or insinuations, these are proven scientific facts-someone has shown me that in 1999, (cyclist Lance) Armstrong had a banned substance celled EPO in his body,” Tour de France directory Jean-Marie Leblanc told the French newspaper L’Equipe. “When I gave those samples, there was noe EPO in those samples. I guarantee that,” Armstrong responded.

Be on the alert for a QUIZ next class!

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