At Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, undergraduate students studying Communications must complete the course COM 200 – Theory and Practice of Communications. This course primarily focuses on content production and the fundamentals of good writing. In other words, creating original content that engages readers. This is accomplished through the use of Hawk cHill, an online student magazine at Saint Joseph’s University. Each week, groups of students enrolled in COM 200 publish articles on a variety of topics within the categories of Taste, School, People, Self, and Study Break.
Listed below are samples of my work from my time in the course.
1) How I Changed the Way I Break
This article outlines how students can make the most of their holiday break by engaging in productive activities such as exercising, coloring, and keeping a journal.
My contribution to this post centered around developing a cohesive voice. I edited the article to maintain a consistent tone throughout each section, and reworked certain areas to enhance clarity. Note how the introduction sets up the rest of the article by broadly introducing the topic, and then transitioning into each specific section. Each section also includes hyperlinks that direct the reader to additional content outside the article that complements the information found in the post. This allows the reader to get more information if he/she is interested without making the article itself too long. I also set the cover photo for our post, which helps reinforce our topic and supports the visual component of the post. Additionally, I included a subheading to give readers a better idea of what our article is about from the very beginning. Moreover, I created all of the content for the Coloring Books section, which includes the photograph and write-up. The photograph uses Bokeh (blurring of the background) to create depth and direct attention to the subject in the foreground – all of which create a more compelling image. I also supplied the images for the Movies and Road Trip section.
2) Major Horror Stories
This article chronicles students’ most embarrassing stories involving their major. Read about the struggles of a future teacher, biologist, and accountant – among others.
My contribution to this post was more writing intensive. I set up the piece by writing the introduction, which acknowledges the common practice of college students telling one another just how hard their major is, and how easy others must have it. This idea is further explained by a nod to the popular crime drama Law and Order. While this gets readers’ attention, it’s also an effective way to begin the piece. I wrote the accounting horror story based on an interview with a friend who is an accounting major. This involved setting up a time to meet in person, giving him the prompt, and recording his answer so I could get the story just right for the article. I also implemented all of the hyperlinks in the post to direct readers to additional content outside the article. I designed the “Major Horror Stories” graphic that serves as our cover photo, and makes an appearance after the introduction. This is a play on words referring to the title of American Horror Story, and aims to draw in readers by alluding to something they likely recognize. At the end of the article, I wrap things up with a brief conclusion that underscores the message of the post: every major has its challenges, and we all have a story to tell. Finally, similar to my contribution in the previous article, I went through the post and revised certain areas of the post to make things more concise and improve clarity.
3) Ravioli Ravioli, We Have the Formuoli
Ever wanted to try the iconic Krabby Patty? We got the recipe and recorded student reactions as they try the best burger in town.
My contribution to this post is wide-ranging. For this post, I primarily focused on creating supporting content. For example, in order to decide which TV show food our group should make, I conducted a Twitter poll that received over 400 responses. After analyzing our results, it was clear that the Krabby Patty was our winner. With this knowledge, I went out and bought the necessary ingredients to prepare our meal. Keeping true to form, the construction of our burger included “a patty on a bun with lettuce, cheese, onions, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, pickles, and top bun together in that order.” After preparing the Krabby Patty, I took a picture for our cover photo, then shot the content for our group’s “SJU Students Try Krabby Patties” video. This included finding students to participate in the video, arranging proper lighting, and taking video from multiple angles to change perspective and keep things interesting. I also implemented the SpongeBob gif in the middle of our post, which supports the overall the theme of our post. Moving on to text-based content, I wrote the article in a style that leads up to the video. In other words, while text is present, it’s written in such a way that builds to the video and complements the students’ reactions, highlighting key responses. The subheading is a reference to the show’s first episode in which SpongeBob learns how to properly prepare the Krabby Patty. The heading “How’s this for a ‘TV Dinner'” is a play on words since the meal is actually based on that of a TV show. I also formatted certain text in italics and bold to draw the reader’s attention to specific aspects of our post, and added the block quote in red to highlight the reaction of one of our taste testers.