Lisa Jahn, Professional Writer
I have been writing for a long time, but writing is a continual process that always grows in style, production, and skill. The New Media course brings this to the forefront. Writing for digital media requires the professional writer to tell a story crafted in deliberate and enticing word choices and combine that with visual enhancements, design features, and hyperlinks. Today’s audience demands an entire package and a conversation.
Media convergence evolved with the exponential growth of technology. It is the blending of media platforms that for the professional writer combines the standards of journalism, the value of narrative, and visual design. Content is text merged with graphic elements. Reading involves comprehension through words and visuals.
Learning new media writing requires as much looking as it does putting pen to paper. Many assignments in this course required that we first peruse the Internet and find material that was similar to what we desired to produce. In a way, it coincides with the old thought process that good writers are great readers.
My first assignment was to produce a work of new media professional writing that offered engaging text and visual appeal. My choice was an informative article for an online newspaper. Attracting the audience for this piece required focus on content and design elements including writing a headline that tells the reader immediately what he will hear, the use of bolding, sub heads, and lists to allow many different entry points for different readers, and visual elements that entertain while information is being absorbed. Balance, content, and unity: the goal.
The second project was creating a blog. I perused blogs that were in the same realm of the one I wanted to create. This allowed me to analyze the effectiveness of the different elements used to engage the audience. I looked for conversational style that was authentic, visual elements including headlines, subheads, lists, graphics, pictures, videos, and links. I also looked at how the author established credibility, and how accessible the author was, along with the frequency of new posts. All these aspects combined make up the hallmarks of a good blog and guided me as I embarked on my own blog creation.
The third project was to critique a website and write my marketing plan for social networking. My blog would be rendered useless if I could not attract the readers to it and social media is one of the most talked about platforms in marketing today. Social media can generate topic leads, highlight trending topics, and enable interaction. The level of interaction will help gain familiarity and popularity for me as the writer so that when I do publish my blog, it will be read and I will have a following.
My free choice project developed from the other projects, which all focused on starting conversations about higher education with individuals with traumatic brain injuries. To further the conversation, I developed a guide that would be accessible online to the TBI community. My hope is to promote forward movement by demonstrating the power of online learning.
The final detail and probably the most important tool that was developed in the New Media course was the strength of collaboration through reading, offering and giving feedback, and revising content. This process enabled us as a class to produce relevant, targeted, versatile, and shareable works that can compete in today’s marketplace. I now have gained a solid foundation in new media writing.