WRITING

Among the concepts we hope to instill in students is the outward-facing perspective, that it's not always "all about us." Here's a novel way to practice that approach while allowing students to keep a bit of "me" in play.

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Grammar is great fun all by itself, but add a little competition and you've got yourself a good old time.

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Here's another way to help students experience the realities of online editing: Have them create and maintain blogs on topics they choose.

DOWNLOADS: Blog project guide Blog project PowerPoint

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You tell your students to use words that everyone understands, to write concisely and avoid puffing up their writing. If they don't quite get it, let George Carlin help you make the point.

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This collection of assignments covers the range of copy editing tasks.

DOWNLOADS: Mission statement No. 1 Mission statement No. 2

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Accuracy, Content, Ethics, Teaching, Writing

Here's a question: Should the writer fix the sentence the easy way or the hard way? The easy way is to use brackets, which put the writer's burden onto the reader. And rewriting is soooooo hard. Here's how YOU can help students make the right choice.

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Teaching, Writing

Students often have good ideas, and here's one from a student who hates long leads.

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Teaching, Writing

Interviewing strangers can be hard for students. Interviewing people in their own community can be harder. Getting their "untold story" can be darn near impossible - but here's help.

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Interviewing, Teaching, Writing

Instead of hoping your students are taking notes - and maybe looking at them once in a while - turn those notes into a book project.

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First, assign students to blog once a week about editing. Then, make them edit their own posts. (It's kinda like making them edit their own e-mails, but not as cruel.)

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Accuracy, Online, Teaching, Writing

Matt Sober, a copy editor at the Valley News Dispatch in Pennsylvania, started his column at the suggestion of the paper's features editor, who had to keep "nudging" Sober to agree to the idea. Luckily, the nudging worked: Sober's columns won a Golden Quill from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania in 2006.

DOWNLOADS: It'll make your heart melt Read 'em and weep Sounds like the wrong address Yet another tempting Apple

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Matt Smith, a copy editor at the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, has a regular column on the Sunday op-ed page. Often, it’s a humor column - now that the solar system has been downsized, he had a few thoughts on what else could be cut down to size – while other columns examine local and state issues. Why does he do it? Well, we’ll let him explain.

DOWNLOADS: Dude, where's my solar system? (PDF) Beer vs. the iPod (PDF) How hot is it? (PDF) Computer trouble hotline (PDF) Great Lakes, great time, great waste (PDF) Playing round-robin in Lansing (PDF)

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Mindy McAdams' objectives: "Students who complete this course should be able to plan and execute the reporting necessary for a proposed Web project. Write in styles that are appropriate to online media. Evaluate story packages on the Web and explain why they work well in the medium, or why they do not. Write link text that encourages a good experience for the users. Work with other reporters to produce an engaging story for Web presentation. Conduct research online, determine the reliability of sources found, and use the results appropriately as part of a story."

A full list of McAdams' syllabi is here.

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Online, Teaching, Writing

John Russial's "Cyberjournalism" objectives: "To critically examine issues in web publishing, such as writing, editing and design; to produce an original web site, applying lessons learned in the class; to learn some of the techniques used in web publishing."

The Web site produced by his students is Oregon Lifestyle.

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Doug Fisher of the University of South Carolina and a former AP news editor, says that "anything, from ethics to some aspects of Web design, is fair game" for his blog. He's also a regular reporter on events such as conventions and workshops that would be of interest to copy editors

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Bill Walsh, a copy editor for the Washington Post, launched this site in 1995 as the Crusty Old Slot Man's Copy-Editing Peeve Page. The site has evolved into a broader resource for editors, from career advice to editing tips. You can also buy his book, "Lapsing into a Comma," which has drawn a lot of praise from working editors.

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Language, Writing

Want to see what the Seven Wonders of the World looked like? Did you know that there is another Seven Sisters? And did you know that a completely searchable version of the AP Stylebook is available online? Here's a collection of nuggets about the newsroom bible.

DOWNLOADS: Crime entries at a glance Capitalization at a glance

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Everyone is their own first editor, and it can be the hardest job of all. This exercise will give your students practice editing themselves.

DOWNLOADS: An editing journal

List All Study Tools of the Trade Tagged with: Accuracy, Content, Headlines, Teaching, Writing

They’re a cheap and easy way to encourage students to share ideas, force them to write regularly and give them a measure of control over their education.

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When more is too much, try this approach to writing tighter.

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