Author Archives: dgriffith

Is the press biased (and how do we know)?

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Welcome to English 211: News Writing and Investigative Reporting

I’m looking forward to this class because it falls during the 2012 Presidential election.  The election will give us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study journalistic practice, ethics, and the ways in which journalism is changing due to technology.

Today we will review the syllabus and begin discussing the ways journalism impacts your life.


Storify Used Successfully by College Journalists

[View the story “Schoolify – A look at some of 2011-2012’s best college journalism on Storify” on Storify]

Must-Read: A column from the Swarthmore student paper

A former student of mine who is a student at Swarthmore, has been sharing this column from the Swarthmore student paper on Facebook.  It’s written under a pseudonym–read it and you’ll see why–and it is a great example of column writing that strikes a balance between being personal and vulnerable and being informative.

Also, it is a great example of the kind of subject matter that does not get discussed enough or featured enough in the mainstream press.

I’ll be interested to see what you all think.


Voice in Feature Writing

Some pointers on how to develop your voice and revise your work with voice in mind.

Voice in Feature Writing

Some pointers on how to develop your voice and revise your work with voice in mind.

Column Writing

This is a test of the new Storify plug-in for WordPress. We will be using it in English 311 to gather sources, information, and as an outlining tool for our articles. Below you will find links about columns and column writing.

View the story “Revising Investigative Articles” on Storify]

Testing out the new live blogging plug-in

It’s alive!  The SBC Journalistas blog now has live blogging capability!

This will have a lot of applications for student journalists covering campus news.

If you leave a comment, it will update in “real time”

Okay, I better stop or I’m going to spend my whole day messing with this.

Article #3 and blogging your Investigative article

Article #3 guidelines

For article #3, you will write a news story about an issue surrounding a controversial event, law or policy.  As with the previous article, you need to make sure that there is a local angle.

Possible subjects:

  • occupy wall street
  • Sweet Briar’s honor code
  • Obama’s decision to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by the new year
  • or, the issue you will be writing your investigative article about

Blogging your investigative articles

For next Tuesday, you will begin blogging on your personal blog about the process of researching and writing your investigative articles.  You are free to use WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogger.


  1. The blog must have a title
  2. It must be connected to twitter and one other social media platform (facebook, delicious, tumblr, flickr, picasa, stumbleupon, youtube, etc.) that will allow readers to watch you gather sources, images, audio, or video.
  3. Your first post (due next Tues.) will give an overview of your article topic, describe difficulties or obstacles you have encountered so far, if any, and provide hyperlinks to the sources you have gathered so far.
Each week, from now until December 1st you will write two posts that update your progress.  These need not be lengthy–200 words will suffice, but they should be visually and informationally dynamic, linking us to articles, video you have shot, audio you have recorded, infographics you have made, even drafts of parts of your article in progress.
Keeping up with this regimen will ensure that you are on deadline with the draft of the investigative article and will give you practice developing a readership.