If you are a digital journalism instructor, consider this “writing for the web” assignment in your class – ask students to rewrite a lengthy blog post. Many blog posts are long and written in a print style; they are hard to read on a computer screen and may turn away impatient online readers. A writer is wasting his or her engaging writings if the texts are not optimized for reading online (that is, on a computer screen).
For this assignment, you need to find a long, chunky, difficult-to-read blog post, and rewrite it following the workflow and criteria below:
- Read the article; summarize the main ideas/highlights/conclusions in two or three sentences, this will go to the beginning and serve as an overview of the rewritten article.
- Read the article again, identify at least three sub-topics, and restructure the article into several sections accordingly.
- Work on a subhead for each section; subheads need to be informational (no witty subheads).
- Read each section; summarize the main ideas for that section in two or three sentences, this will go to the beginning of each section and serve as a “section overview.”
- Break long paragraphs into shorter ones; use lists where appropriate.
- Go over the rewriting and write up an article headline that is self-explanatory (reader can get the idea without reading the article; again, no witty headline).
- A written report that documents your thought process for each step during the rewriting- e.g., for each step, what was the initial idea, why and how you changed your mind? Submit a printout of the original blog post with your report. (30 points)
- Article headline is self-explanatory, informational (10 points)
- Article overview tells readers what the article is about (10 points)
- Article has at least three sections (10 points)
- Each section has a self-explanatory, informational subhead (10 points)
- Each section has a section overview that tells what that section is about (20 points)
- No chunky, long paragraphs (10 points)