Tag Archives: WordPress

What I’ve Learned From Journalism 224

Brendan Welch

Brendan Welch

This semester has been on of the most informative and interesting semesters I have had yet at Missouri Western.  With classes coming to an end, and winter break upon us, I have decided to take this time to reflect on what I have learned from this online Journalism class, and how it will help me in the future.

Working With Kompozer:

Image courtesy of Kompozer.net

Image courtesy of Kompozer.net

Coming into this semester, I had no idea how to create, design or manage a website.  So, when we began working with Kompozer, I was excited and eager to learn.

However, I quickly discovered that Kompozer is less than user friendly, and found myself stuck and aggravated quite often.  I was unaware at the time that there are many “template” sites that make website creation easy and produce better looking material.

In the end I was forced to settle with a disgusting 4 page “website” that barely works and doesn’t represent me at all professionally.

The Kompozer Project (Project #2):


What I Plan to do With it in the Future:

Nothing.  I will avoid Kompozer like the plague.

I originally intended on going back to update this project to make it reflect my professional life, but the discoveries I made working on Project #3 (using template sites) convinced me that this was a waste of time, and if I value my future employment I should refuse to show anyone Project #2, forever.

Working With IM Creator:

Image courtesy of Vimeo.com

Image courtesy of Vimeo.com

The discovery of template sites such as IM Creator completely changed my view of website design.  The simplicity of choosing a template, and then being able to change it in an extremely user friendly setting to fit whatever design I needed it to was not only a huge relief, but a second wind.

Essentially, I became excited about website creation all over again, and was able to take Project #3 of Journalism 224 much more seriously, as it seemed much more professionally fitting.

The IM Creator Site (Project #3):


The Professional Process:

Originally, this site was going to be a “looking for work” site for a friend of mine that graduated a year ago with a degree in Music Production, and has never had a single client. However, this friend of mine backed out at the last minute, unwilling to pay for domain space.

Instead, I created this site to advertise a food drive for whoever happens to be the Community Service Chair for my Fraternity next semester.

This works out because I know our budget, I know everything about the way we operate, and I know that I still have plenty of time to have this event organized before I can get my Fraternity brothers to vote in the use of the website.

The creation of this site was simple enough.  I chose a template that allowed plenty of space for images, while still offering enough room for the information that needed to be placed. I changed a few things around and added a moving slideshow that shows some of our past community service events.

After I typed out all of the information that a viewer could possibly need, I spent the rest of my time experimenting with various images until I found the color scheme that I believed looked best.

What I Plan to do With it in the Future:

Everything.  Template sites seem to save a lot of time, and allow plenty of room for creativity and originality.

I hope to start my own site someday soon in which I critique various horror novels, movies and video games, as well as interview people who are lesser known in the horror community.

In fact, I have already had an interview scheduled with the owner of a not-to-be-mentioned year ’round haunted attraction up in Illinois!

Other Things I Have Learned:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org

I am lucky enough to be a judgmental person who spends a lot of time online.  I can tell when a website isn’t as visually appealing as it should be and that has become a very helpful trait when in it comes to designing sites.

However, there were very many things that I didn’t know about before taking this class.

I have learned valuable skills in Photoshop, online writing, and of course, WordPress.

While I was already mostly familiar with Photoshop, there were several sizing techniques that my textbook described which make things somewhat easier.

As an English major with a concentration in Technical Communication who is double minoring in Journalism and Spanish, I would’ve liked to think I already knew how write for the internet.

However, the restriction of paragraphs into 1-3 sentences, and the restriction of sentences into shorter sentences was something I struggled with quite a bit at first.

It wasn’t until I realized my own reading habits while browsing online that I realized that everyone on the internet prefers eye relief in the form of shortened text.

As for the introduction of WordPress into my life:

I absolutely love blogging, and am excited to have time over winter break to do much more of it.

What the Future Holds for Me:

Image courtesy of Mutamorphosis.org

Image courtesy of Mutamorphosis.org

I honestly do not know what I will do for a living after college.  I hope it involves online writing, but it may end up being teaching or technical editing, both of which require a strong knowledge of writing.

Until I discover the perfect job for me (or until one of my novels gets finished, published and made into a million dollar movie) I hope to continue learning things that I can add to my Linked-In profile to help make me more employable.



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“Growing Up Online.” Responses to the Documentary

Image courtesy of Mises.ca

Image courtesy of Mises.ca

 PBS’ documentary “Growing Up Online” investigates how kids raised in the “internet generation” are developing.  The film tells horror stories of cyber bullying, rampant sexuality and internet usage to cheat on high school English papers.  The interviews with terrified parents and teenagers who have made severely poor choices while surfing the web serve as a warning for those parents who would dare let their child log in.

Here is an interview with documentary film maker Rachel Dretzin:

However, as with every issue, there are two sides to the story.  Most of the teenagers interviewed love the internet culture, and have learned to use it to their advantage.  This attitude seems to be typical of people who have either grown up with the internet or have adapted to it.

In the above video, Mr. Juan Decvis, a producer who has worked for PBS, explains that he was somewhat disappointed in the documentary.  He describes that he was “appalled” by the talking-point issues that were discussed, and had hoped that the documentary would be an extensive cover of how the first generation to be born with the internet were using it in their lives.

Mr. Decvis (possible a screen-name), is not alone in his distaste in the way the documentary was presented.  Fellow WordPress blogger  Eddie Ha writes about the documentary, “as it is with everything in real life, I think the amount of experiences I had as an internet user since elementary school makes it easier for me to recognize the so-called “dangerous” marketing online, and I don’t see it as a big problem for ‘digital natives.’ “

There are many people who believe the documentary portrayed the internet accurately. Dr. Amy Tiemann, member of the CNET Blog Network, wrote an article for Cnet.com, calling the documentary “must-see TV for parents.”

Dr. Tiemann states that the documentary has many important points, and writes “If you are a parent, I can just about guarantee that your head will be spinning after watching the program, no matter how much you already know about these issues.”

Evan Skinner, who was interviewed for “Growing Up Online,” claims that she is not anti-technology.  While in the documentary she talks primarily about the dangers of posting unprofessional things online, in the video posted below, she explains that taking a “”vacation” from the internet to spend time with loved ones is important.

The issues that come with the internet can range from simply becoming apathetic about the real world, to physically threatening dangers such as cyber bullying or internet predators.  However, the internet can be very useful professionally and personally.  While the internet doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, additional knowledge about how to stay safe online and how to use the web as a tool is always becoming more available.

Above is a very entertaining and informative video about the pros and cons of the internet

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Googling Future Employees: Is It Even Worth It?


Image Courtesy of Gdsinstitute.edu

We all know that when preparing an application for a job we have to do our best to come off as professional and mature as possible.  We write down all of our past successes and carefully avoid saying anything that would make us sound like a fun loving, alcohol drinking, good-time-having young adult.  At the interview for said job, we dress nice, speak politely and shake hands, letting only our most professional words slip out through the clenched teeth of our most personable smile.

What if, though, after all of these formalities and preparations, our party-time unprofessional selves are leaked to the interviewer in another way?  According to the article “Job Applicant, Beware: You’re Being Googled,” written by by Allan Hoffman of Monster.com ,our secret (but not-so-private) lives may be being searched for by employers online.

According to Hoffman, “It’s not just what you say that can be held against you when you’re looking for a job. It’s also what you post on MySpace, write in your blog and broadcast on YouTube.”  The article explains that up to 77 percent of employers are researching job candidates online, and up to 35 percent of them have found information that made their applicants unworthy of employment.


Image Courtesy of Hufiingtonpost.com

The article also tells us that it may not be beneficial for employers to spend a lot of time researching candidates’ past online, stating “If they do, the thinking goes, they will miss out on top-notch employees, given that just about everyone will have some incriminating information online.

It seems very probable that we have all posted something not-safe-for-work online.  With our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress) being a part of our personal lives, shouldn’t it stand to reason that we have personal posts on them?  Well, no.

incrimminating fb

Image Courtesy of Huffingtonpost.com

Anyone who has been alive in the internet era for longer that 10 years is aware that information that is posted online, no matter where, can end up available to anyone who wants it bad enough.  The internet is still new enough that privacy laws and enforcement for them are weak at best, and nothing online is truly secure.  Most of us are aware of this fact, and when we prepare to enter the professional world, we delete any information that may be considered unprofessional.

This being true, it seems that only those deserving of being overlooked for employment are the one’s who do not follow this rule, and are therefore immature and not ready for the working world.  However, the issue may not always be that someone is posting unprofessional things online who doesn’t realize that employers can see it.  The issue may be a question of what is inappropriate and what isn’t.

In the above video, brought to you by Myfoxorlando.com, we hear the story of Johnny Cook, a bus driver that wrote an angry Facebook post about the school he works for.  Typically, it would seem obvious that writing angry rantings about your place of employment should get you fired.

However, Cook was angry because he believed the school was mistreating students by not allowing them lunch if their lunch-accounts were empty.  Cook then valiantly posted his phone number and offered to pay for any student’s lunch that needed it again, making him an internet hero.


Image Courtesy of Change.com

Cook was fired for his post, and the internet community got angry.  According to the online article, the story spread around Facebook and support grew for Cook.  Even though the Superintendent of the school was quoted as saying “In talking with the middle school principal and the cafeteria manager, that just did not happen,” about students being refused lunch, many believe that Cook did the right thing based on the information he had at the time.

In this grey-area example, it is obvious that Cook was standing up for something he believed in strong enough to risk losing his job.  However, if he wishes to be employed in the future, it is becoming more and more probable that this story will be Googled by employers, and may cost him even more jobs.

We cannot change the way employers research their job applicants. They have every right to discover as much as they can about the people they may be hiring, and there is no law to stop them from using the internet to do so.

Although everyone has their own dirt in their private lives, and everyone puts on a mask in their professional lives, we have no choice but to keep our online selves professional if we want to find employment.

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