My Profile

For my profile, I interviewed my friend Katie. She currently writes for The Review as a Senior Reporter. She hopes to hone her writing skills in this position and apply them beyond UD in her journalism career. My goal for this interview is to probe Katie about some topics we’ve been churning about, plus her writing and where she wants to go with it. I picked Katie to interview because she’s an open person and has experience with different types of writing. I find her tone in her pieces to be exciting enough to keep people interested, but not explosive enough to turn people off.

First things first, I ask her to tell me about the pieces she’s written so far. I wanted to see if they were mostly in one genre, and I found quite the opposite.

“So far it’s been pretty diverse. I have a column, I recently wrote a satire piece for them. I’ve covered a few events, and I’m going to localize a global story for my next piece. I just got published in Delaware Today. It was a sports piece, which is pretty new for me.”

When Katie talks about being on the job as a reporter, her face lights up. I think that is a testament to someone who has found their calling; she is able to adapt in her chosen profession to produce a variety of pieces.

Next I wanted to tackle something we’ve been discussing in class. Being cog in the wheel of journalism, she has a unique perspective on the field and where it’s going. I was looking to see if she’s more Carrful or Boydish by nature.

How do you feel about physical newspapers vs. online publishing? Do you think the internet is destroying the authenticity of reporting or is it a tool for better circulation?

            “I always love seeing my work in the physical newspaper when it comes out-” I can imagine there is an added element excitement to see your words printed in such a form utilized so much powerful writers who came before us. “it makes it feel a lot more real to me. Would it be weird to say I like the smell of them?” I appeased her on this query, but I’m more a book sniffer myself. “That said, I think it would be naïve to say that the internet is singularly destroying or helping newspapers…[it’s] more of a grey area. I think that with the public’s ability to post anything they want, people are wary of the media nowadays and trust the real newspapers much less. But I also think that the internet allows people who may not otherwise read a physical newspaper to get their hands on good journalism. The model is definitely [undergoing] a transition, so I’m excited to see where it will go.”

            We’ve talked a lot about the impression society has of the journalist in our Journalism class. Because of recent events in the news, it is hard for the average person to feel like their news source is as unbiased as possible. Like Katie said, it is hard for the public to trust the media especially newspapers. She touched on something here that we haven’t a lot in class, which is the influx of new readers that have come on the scene because of its availability online. She gives us a good example of this…

            “Students using their UD emails can get a huge discount on The New York Times online. Being a broke college student that I am, I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t shell out the money of a full physical description.” Good to know.

Finally, I asked her about her ultimate goal for her time at The Review. I was looking to see where she wants to go UD and beyond.

“I definitely want to continue to sharpen my skills and begin to write more long form stories, and I also think editing or taking some sort of leadership role would be cool. Long term my dream job would be to have someone pay me to travel and write about it. I’m not sure that job actually exists, but in a perfect world that’s what I would do.”

            To wrap up, I asked her if she had any advice for writing online pieces.

“Try to make it so that every paragraph you’re writing either says something interesting or alludes to something interesting you are going to say later. Each sentence a reader reads should make them want to read more. This keeps your reader on your article. Doing this without being click baity or gimmicky is difficult and requires you to be conscious of each sentence you’re writing, it’s relevance, and how it fits and flows with the piece. Also: don’t use interactive tools. Unless they’re adding something to the story, they can be straight up annoying.”

 

 

Class, Wed, 4/26

Questions/Thoughts: Profiles and Remediations

Conferences

The Revision Process 

  • Fastwrite: Describe an experience in which receiving feedback to a piece really helped you develop it in satisfying ways. Or, describe a moment in which you feel that, as a reader or editor, you were really able to help another writer successfully develop a piece, Whichever tack you take, what practical lessons can you draw from this experience about how you might create a social network to support your work as a writer and editor? In what ways does your experience align (or not) with the advice offered by Fenton and Lee?

To Do

  1. Thurs, 4/27, 10:00 am: Post your profile of a digital writer to this site.
  2. Fri, 4/28: No class.
  3. Fri, 4/28, and Mon, 5/01: Conferences with Joe.
  4. Mon, 5/01, class: Scan the profiles posted to this site. Pick at least two that you feel differ in interesting ways from each other, and be ready to talk about what those differences suggest to you.
  5. Thurs, 5/04, 10:00 am: Post your remediated piece to this site.

Conferences, Fri, 4/28, and Mon, 5/01

My plan is to cancel class on Fri, 4/28, to free up time to talk with each of you individually about your work for this course. Here’s my current schedule of conferences:

Conferences E397
E397 Conferences, Fri, 4.28, and Mon, 5/01

We will have 15 minutes to talk with each other. Here’s what I’ll do to prep for our meeting: (a) I’ll read your profile of a digital writer and have some thoughts to offer you about it; (b) I’ll quickly reread your previous posts for this course and be ready to talk about what I see as our strengths as a writer and also issues you may want to work more on; and (c) I’ll be happy to talk with you about the remediation assignment.

That’s a lot to talk about. So I will count on you to steer our conversation to the work and issues that matter most to you. Indeed, I can pretty much assure you that I will begin our meeting by first saying, Let me offer some thoughts about your profile, and then by asking, What do you want to talk about?  So please be ready to respond to that question. I look forward to talking with you!

Writer to Writer, Friend to Friend

The person I chose to profile and interview is both somebody who I consider good friend of mine, as well as someone who I deeply admire as a writer. Katherine [Katie] Nails is a Senior Reporter for UD’s newspaper, The Review, as well as a freelance contributor to DelawareToday Magazine.

Katie is not only an immensely talented writer, but she is informative and fun to read as well. As a journalist, Katie is charged with the daunting task of keeping her text concise; providing sufficient material while keeping the reader interested and engaged. While I am personally not very adept at getting points across succinctly, the way that Katie writes makes it appear effortless. Moreover, Katie’s terse style does not detract from personal voice or style to the point of banality. Something she does exceptionally well is add flare and creativity to journalistic pieces. One of my favorite lines that she has written comes from a recently published column in The Review about her journey to her birthplace of Chicago following the Cubs 2016 World Series victory. It is the very last line of the piece.

This line epitomizes what it means to be an effective writer: It incorporates voice and creativity without drowning the reader in a sea of words. When reading this quote, I can immediately visualize the atmosphere following a World Series victory, an over joyous crowd of millions forgoing their differences in the name of love for a baseball team and a city. That being said, as a reader I don’t have to bend over backwards to understand the meaning behind the text, and it feels as though I could be having a normal conversation with Katie.

I recently sat down with the author herself for a brief interview regarding her work and the trials and tribulations of being a writer. I started our conversation asking about what appeals to her about writing, and more particularly journalism: “The job itself is like a scavenger hunt for me”, she said.  “It’s like a puzzle that has to be put together. And then the actual writing part is kind of like…I’ve always enjoyed I guess [sic] the creativity of being able to express myself. I’ve always just liked words, but then journalism kind of allows me to use them to make a difference.” Katie enjoys both the hunt for clues and answers that comes with being a reporter, as well as the creative outlet and ability to evoke ideas and change that comes from being a writer in general.

I then proceeded to inquire about who her intended audience is when she writes: “…For the Review, it’s obviously the Review’s readers, who are mostly college students and professor but then I also do…I’m also a columnist, so with my columns…they’re pretty personal to me, but I also try to sort of widen them to get anybody who reads, you know anybody who happens to get their hands on it to see something in another way.” Katie writes to inform her community, which, seeing as she is a college student, happens to be comprised mostly of fellow college students. However, she writes her columns not so much for a specific audience, but for anyone who might enjoy reading a creative piece of writing.

I decided to transition to asking about how she incorporates voice and her own unique style into her writing: “…Well you know me pretty well, I’m fairly sarcastic, I…I don’t know I kind of have like short little quips I guess. And you can definitely see that in my writing…like I said journalism is pretty hard you’re not really allowed to insert your own voice, but…you apply your style through the structure of the story.” I believe we both happened to be a bit confused about terminology here. Personally, I can clearly hear Katie’s voice in her writing, and I definitely can spot where she likes to insert witticisms. However, I think that when she discusses an inability to insert voice in a journalistic piece, that this actually refers to tone. She definitely seeks to be objective in her reporting, but I can still get sense her style, which I think is synonymous with voice, in all of her pieces. Her tone, on the other hand, must not sway one way or another in order to remain unbiased.

Finally, I asked her one last question regarding what she felt to be the most difficult part of her job as a writer: “I mean the most difficult part I think would be…as a journalist your job is to be pushy and make people uncomfortable, but make them still want to talk to you. It’s kind of like finding that line and toeing it but not jumping over it. It’s like a very fine line that we’re constantly walking…” Although I have little journalism experience, I understand this concept: you want to divulge as much valuable information from someone as possible, but you don’t want to turn them off from talking to you. It’s as if you are walking a tightrope.

This interview was very casual, yet informative, and I am happy to have been able to gain new insights into journalism and Katie’s work.

The Fit Equestrian

Lauren Mahr is currently a University of Delaware sophomore student, NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer, a member of the University of Delaware Equestrian Team, and the founder of The Fit Equestrian. The Fit Equestrian consists of workout programs and meal suggestions for horseback riders and workout lovers alike. The fitness programs range from beginner to advanced, and are available online for purchase. Lauren runs The Fit Equestrian Instagram account, website, and newsletter. The Instagram account consists of workout examples and videos, recipes, and general health tips. She currently has over 3,000 followers on Instagram, so, as one of them, I wanted to hear from her to see how she manages to connect with them and keep them coming back for more.

What inspired you to the start The Fit Equestrian?

I was inspired to start The Fit Equestrian because it combines both of my passions, riding and exercise. I knew that fitness was something that was definitely missing in the equestrian world and I want to fix that! We always talk about how riding is just as much of a sport as any other, but we don’t really treat ourselves like athletes.

What factors went into creating your online presence?

I knew that social media would be the best way to try to grow my business. For my target audience, I knew that Instagram would be most effective because I think it is more popular than Facebook or Twitter right now. Growing my following on Instagram will help draw people to my website through the link in my bio.

Do you prefer communicating with your followers/clients more through Instagram or your newsletter?

I just started my newsletter, so I haven’t had much experience with that, but I do like communicating with my followers and clients through Instagram. I anticipate that my newsletter won’t be as interactive as Instagram is. So far I have only sent one email to the people subscribed to my newsletter, thanking them for subscribing, and have not had any responses, but I did not expect to receive any responses.

How is it different when writing your workout programs from writing the general content for your website and Instagram?

When I write my workout programs it is pretty similar to the workout posts that I do on my Instagram but pretty different than most of my other posts on my Instagram. I definitely put more effort and thought into my website and workout programs than I do with my Instagram.

lauren.png

To check out Lauren’s website click here. To check out her Instagram page click here.

Class, Mon, 4/24

Profile of a Digital Writer

  • Fastwrite: Who do you plan to profile? What do you hope to learn from this person?
  • Interviewing Tips: Fenton and Lee
  • An Example: Kate Harris

Writing: Remediating

To Do

  1. Wed, 4/26, class: Read Fenton and Lee, chapter 11, on “The Revision Process” (pp. 147–55.)
  2. Thurs, 4/27, 10:00 am: Post your profile to this site.
  3. Fri, 4/28: No class.
  4. Fri, 4/28, and Mon, 5/01: Conferences with Joe.
  5. Thurs, 5/04, 10:00 am: Post your remediated piece to this site.

Social Action Without Response

When encountering this assignment, for a long time I was unsure what to post. There was no social action I could think of that would make a difference or be successful, and the social media accounts I have don’t necessarily have a lot of followers. I decided because of this, the best thing to do was post on twitter using a hashtag since that is an easy way for people who don’t even follow me to see certain key terms. A social issue that really interested me stems around gender equality, but the more subtle things that go on, often unnoticed, as opposed to the issues we hear about every day such as equal pay. I focused on women in the work force and used two key terms: the glass ceiling and the motherhood penalty. The glass ceiling refers to the invisible barrier women often face when it comes to receiving a promotion in a job; studies have been done that proves this to be true whether we realize it or not. The motherhood penalty revolves around the idea that mothers have a more difficult time trying to find jobs because they are considered to be less incapable or committed to their job since they have children, studies were done on this where fake resumes were sent out and the number of mothers that got called back were extremely lower than non-mothers and fathers. I posted a picture with words written on it and highlighted then I used the hashtags: gender equality, glass ceiling, motherhood penalty, and I threw in gender pay gap too since this plays a role and is a more popular issue. Unfortunately, I received no responses but I hope that eventually someone can see it and become informed on something that they never realized because I never would have either. Here is a link to my tweet.