Week Eight – Technical Activity: Quiz Response

I just completed the quiz for week eight. It took me two attempts to get 100% right, as I scored 80% on my first attempt.

The first question I got wrong was about the fight near Jack’s Hotel. I disagree with the first suggestion in the feedback as I don’t think ‘next to’ is more accurate than ‘near’. I feel like it might be a more ‘descriptive’ way of wording it, but I don’t think it is necessarily more correct. I do however understand that the word ‘brawl’ is an exaggeration of fight, so that does make sense to me and would indeed, make option A more correct.

The second question I got wrong relates to the question about the women from Japan, where the ‘of’ was considered redundant. I just personally prefer using that extra word in that instance as it sounds better to me that way.

In some ways I can’t help but feel a little frustrated by these quizzes. It seems so nitty-gritty all the time, when it really is a matter of style. I guess that some people would argue that the details are what matters, but in I do find it tiresome in some cases.

I imagine I am not alone in my thoughts.

Reference

Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists, Routledge, London, England.

Week Eight – Technical Activity: Quiz Response

Week Eight – Inquiry Activity: Playfire “First-Look” Review

Playfire says that it is “the ultimate gaming community” and from a first glance they aren’t kidding. Playfire is a comprehensive social media platform that offers users the chance to connect with other gamers in an online community.

As a gamer, when you first hit the website, you instantly feel like you are where you want to be. The homepage look and feel is one that tells you that these people know how to work graphics and games – bringing together imagery from iconic platform games such as Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto.

The website boasts three central features – Play. Track. Chat. – to connect gamers to the games they want to play and the people they want to play with. The track feature, a selling point of the social media platform, allows users to track achievements across consoles and online gaming websites, including the well-known Steam community hub. By linking their Steam account, Playfire users are able to earn Green Man Gaming store credit, and with that credit buy the games they love at discounted prices. One of the major highlights, and one of the features I love most about the website, is that it rewards users for simply doing what they love – playing games.

Playfire also offers expert insight into newly released software and hardware, along with comprehensive game reviews. As an avid gamer, I love reading about what is coming up – and Playfire certainly delivers, with its snappy reviews on a wide range of gaming titles. Their Twitter and Facebook page also go a long way in tying together all of these elements to present an appealing social media platform package.

While there is certainly seem to be a lot to rave about on the Playfire site, only time will tell to see if it is as truly as good as it says it is. Stay tuned!

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Task Reflection

Not unlike media writing, experts suggest that successful reviews focus on highlighting important information (Fallon 2015). In the case of reviews, this often revolves around the central elements or features of the thing being reviews. Additionally, review writing guides suggest that it is important to write only what you know and have experienced yourself (Henry 2012). I am fairly unfamiliar with Playfire as a website, and was hesitant to review the site in any great depth. My solution to this was to take a “first-look” approach to reviewing the website. Stylistically, it is advocated that writers also take time to not only research the thing being reviewed, but incorporate elements of that community within the review piece (Metal 2011). Language in this way plays an important part in catering towards reader needs, while also giving credibility as a writer of a review.

References

Fallon, N 2015, ‘Writing a good performance review: Honesty and guidance are key,’ Business News Daily, viewed 31 August, http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5760-write-good-performance-review.html

Henry, A 2012, ‘How to write genuinely useful reviews online,’ Lifehacker, viewed 31 August 2015, http://lifehacker.com/5885607/how-to-write-interesting-and-effective-reviews-online-that-people-will-actually-read

Peterson, E 2001, ‘You got game, but can you write?’ IGN, viewed 31 August 2015, http://au.ign.com/articles/2001/03/22/you-got-game-but-can-you-write

Metal, S 2011, ‘How to write a kick-ass review,’ Mens With Pens: World Class Websites and Copywriting, viewed 31 August 2015, http://menwithpens.ca/how-to-write-a-review/

Week Eight – Inquiry Activity: Playfire “First-Look” Review

Week Eight – Practical Activity: Playfire

For this week’s practical activity we were to identify a social media networking site that aligns with our personal interest. As time goes on and social media continues to dominate the internet, it seems that there are increasing developments which support the notion that there are “different networks for different types of people” (Biscke 2014). In my down-time I really enjoy playing video games, and as such, chose Playfire as my social media platform.

After researching Playfire a bit more I think it could be used for personal networking in some really great ways (Playfire 2015). For instance Playfire, through an integrative desktop client, allows gamers to automatically track in-game achievements and gameplay settings. Additionally Playfire facilitates the social aspect of gaming by connecting users with their friends. Playfire works across a range of gaming devices including PC, PlayStation and Xbox to offering a comprehensive platform for a diverse gaming experience.

I really struggled to think about how Playfire could be applied professionally. I could definitely see the benefit of Playfire if you were a part of the gaming industry. Playfire, in addition to acting as a social media website, offers extensive reviews of new products, including gaming, software and hardware. Playfire as a community hub advertises upcoming events and tournaments within the gaming world allowing users to say informed – which would be great from a professional perspective.

Reference

Biscke, J 2014, The rise of the “Social Professional” networks, Techcrunch, viewed 23 Septemeber 2015, http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/28/the-rise-of-the-social-professional-networks/

Playfire 2015, Playfire – About us, Playfire, viewed 31 August 2015, https://www.playfire.com/a/about

Week Eight – Practical Activity: Playfire

Week Seven – Technical Activity: Quiz Response

I have just completed both quizzes for week seven.

One of the questions I got wrong this week, was in spelling minuscule. As soon as I saw the right answer, it just hit me. I think it comes from a strategy that I was taught in primary school, which was to sound words out. But as I am sure everyone knows that doesn’t always work. But oh, well! Hopefully I have learned my lesson! I did think it was interesting that the feedback suggested that more people are using the spelling I chose. I really like how language evolves over time and with use!

The second question I got wrong on my first attempt was the one relating to the use of principal. It just goes to show how important context is with the use of some words. It’s easy to trip up and not consider context when you are quickly reading over a sentence. This again reminds me that I really need to slow down when completing these quizzes, and take the time to consider all the elements individually.


In the second quiz I got 100% on my first attempt! I was really excited, especially because I really found the chapter on style interesting. I find the technical details of writing so tedious, so to read about style and the use of style in effective writing was a great change. I really enjoyed the details about style, and responded to the four key elements of suitability, simplicity, precision and poise (Hicks 2013). From this course I know that I will take away a better understanding and greater appreciation for the technical aspects of writing – but I also think I will become a more stylistically sound writer.

Reference

Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists, London Routledge, New York

Week Seven – Technical Activity: Quiz Response

Week Seven – Inquiry Activity: Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter

In this week’s inquiry activity, we were asked to review a newsletter by the Crocodile Specialist Group (Volume 23, No. 3: July – September 2004).

What kinds of stories are in the newsletter?

There are many different types of stories within the newsletter. Many of the stories focus on the current issues facing crocodile species across the world, as well as significant findings throughout the community. For instance, in this issue, there are multiple stories which talk about the population problems many crocodile species are facing around the world, as well as mentions of significant findings and crocodile sightings around the world. These stories quote both statistics and further research to support their argument, discussing their wider significance and implications.

How do these target the organisation’s audience?

The stories target the audience by providing information driven insight into the current issues and news stories surrounding the crocodile population (CSG 2004). The stories themselves are demonstrate key characteristics that outline them as examples of classic news stories. Informative, while engaging, the stories present to the audience all the newsworthy information over the last 4 months.

If you were a science journalist, is there anything you may be interested in following up as a story, and why?

As a science journalist, I would definitely be interested in following up one of the stories in the newsletter relating to the discovery of crocodiles on Mannar Island in Sri Lanka (CSG 2004). Where crocodiles have been poorly studied in this region, the story outlines a “spotting” of two crocodiles at a local waterhole known as Kora Kulam. The observers and the writers of this article, could not confirm what species the crocodiles belonged two (CSG 2004). They were unable to take a photograph of animals before they disappeared into the waterhole. The article also suggests that the only comprehensive study of crocodiles in this area was in 1888 by W.J.S Boake (CSG 2004). In 2001, a survey of the area was published which failed to mention crocodiles. The article suggests that it is likely thought that crocodiles were either absent or extinct in this area, until this recent sighting (Santiapillai & de Silva 2001).

What do you think is effective or otherwise about this newsletter?

Shackelford and Griffis (2006) suggests that successful newsletter should both engage readers through great content and great presentation.

I think one of the major strengths of this newsletter is its content. It is obvious that the writers and contributors to this newsletter are knowledgable in this area, and consistently use referencing of sources to back-up claims and support their content. The news stories themselves are informative, critically analysing the issues within the community and in the crocodile populations.

While the newsletter is filled with great content, a major weakness of the publication is its presentation. Shackelford and Griffis (2006) argue that presentation, especially in writing publications such as newsletters, is almost as important as the content itself. Where visual-appeal can entice and encourage readers to keep on reading, the CSG newsletter fails to deliver an equally visually interesting publication, to match the equally interesting news stories (Sunila 2011).

References

Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG), 2004, Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter, viewed 31 August 2015, http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/CSG%20-2c44bdd5.pdf

Santiapillai, C & de Silva, M, 2001, ‘Status, distribution and conservation of crocodiles in Sri Lanka’, Biological Conservation, vol. 97, p. 305-318.

Shackelford, R & Griffis, K 2006, ‘Creating an Effective Newsletter’, Tech Directions, vol. 65, no. 6, p. 15.

Sunila, J 2011, ‘Pain-Free Newsletter Writing’, Plastic Surgery Practice, vol. 21, no. 7, pp. 20-21.

Week Seven – Inquiry Activity: Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter

Week Seven – Practical Activity: Assignment Reflection

The practical activity for this week’s blog entry is reflect on our first assessment and make adjustments to it as required.

I have just spent some time going over my assessment in fine detail, paying special attention to spelling, style and punctuation. Having read on the forums, that there is a huge marking emphasis on technical detail, I wanted to ensure that I presented the most grammatically accurate news report and media release possible.

I also spent time going through the attached Marking Key Checklist (Ames 2015).

Marking Key Checklist

Quotations are correctly punctuated – Check. I know that this is where students in previous offerings fell down, so I tried to pay extra attention to this detail.

Use only says or said when attributing a source – Check. Similarly, I know this is where some students have gone wrong in the past, and I have made a really solid attempt to ensure I only use these terms.

A source is introduced using an indirect quote followed by a direct quote, and speech is not ‘mixed’ – Check. Avoided this completely within my news report/media report.

Numbers under 10 are spelled out, and numbers over 10 are figures – Check. Double and triple checked this.

Source attribution is consistent with news writing style – Check.

No semi-colons are used – Check.

Only proper nouns are capitalised – Check.

“I” is capitalised – Check.

Writing is active and succinct – Check.

There is no repetition in a story – Check. The only repetition in my assignment is in the talking points of the media release. Repetition is expected in this context.

Publication titles are in italics – Check.

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Assignment Reflection

I found this assignment both straight forward and really complex. Where there was a clear direction in what we were required to write about and include, the devil was all in the detail in regards to technical and grammatical application.

I did not catch all of my issues on my first proof read, instead I went sentence by sentence for about a week; constantly refining my work. I didn’t find that there were that many initial mistakes, but it was more that I wanted to check with the textbook that I was using appropriate media writing style.

It was definitely helpful having a check list, and I think it will definitely make a difference to my result. On top of that, I think the check list reminds you not to overlook the simple things which can happen when you stare at the same assignment for so long.

Reference

Ames, K 2015, Week 7 – Marking Key Checklist, COMM11007: Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/

Week Seven – Practical Activity: Assignment Reflection

Week Six – Inquiry Activity: “O” (A Cirque Du Soleil Production)

“O”: The Timeless Aquatic Production by Cirque Du Soleil Only At Bellagio

This week’s Inquiry activity asked us to select and review a Cirque de Soleil Media Kit. From this review we were to identify key elements of the Press Kit, and reflect on how they might be incorporated into a story.

Opening Quote from Writer/Director – I believe this would be a strong element to incorporate into the story, at is the only quote available from the press kit, and is one from an important source.

Lead Sentence – I think this lead sentence could be used to inspire a strong story lead. The emotive and descriptive language attempts to illustrate the atmospheric nature of the production, which would be important to convey in a story about the performance. It would be useful to incorporate into a story to entice readers and target audiences, much the same way the Press Kit does.

Overview of the Production – Great information that would almost certainly be included in any story piece written on the production. Section outlines insightful information into the show’s title, as well as performance elements and the shows setting.

Details of Awards Won – Great information again that would add to any story written about the production. The information has the potential to give the reader insight into the play from alternative perspectives. Where most readers want to know “Is the performance any good?” – This information gives factual information on the accolades the performance as achieved.

Further Facts – Additional facts, including its opening, how many spectators and number of performances, all of which could be used meaningfully to build a strong story about the production.

Creators & Additional Creative Contributors – I am on the fence about this one, in whether or not it would be useful in writing a story. It would depend on the type of story being written and further information about the individuals listed to ascertain if their inclusion would add value to the story. From a “review” point of view of the production, it is unlikely that this information would be useful.

Show Schedule – I feel this would definitely be useful to include within a story, given that it is likely that those reading are likely to be interested in such performances. It would however, most likely be included towards the end of the piece, as an addition piece of information.

Information to Reserve Tickets – It is unlikely that this information would be useful, unless added as further information at the end of a story.

Ticket Prices & Group Enquiry Contact Information – I think it is unlikely to be useful in writing a story. It may be added though as additional information, depending on the context/target audience of the story.

Information on Cirque Du Soleil – I think this information could definitely be worked into a story about the production. The information gives a broader scope to the performance as part of a wider range of high calibre performance artistry.

Media Contact Information – While it may not be directly incorporated into the story, the contact information available might be a great way to seek further insight.

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Task Reflection

I really enjoy this activity. I couldn’t decide for the longest time which production/press kit I was going to review because they all sounded so good – which I think is the main aim of press kit and media releases in this context. As promotional material for any kind of performance, press kits are inherently designed and written to engage with readers to make them want to see the production.

Lewis (2008) suggests that press kits and media releases are an essential component of properly and effectively advertising events and productions. News/media releases and press/promotional releases are not so different. They both aim to highlight the most important information about the event. The difference lies therein the fact that press releases obviously strive to promote and advertise, where media releases aim to present clear and concise information (Dutch 2012).

The press kit for “O” demonstrates a press release that outlines the newsworthy elements of the production, while creating reader interest. Schwartz (2015) suggests that the use of the above elements is consistent with, and ultimately crucial, to successful press kits.

References

Dutch, A 2012, ‘The Art of a Press Release: How to Write one’, Inventors’ Digest, vol. 28, no. 9, p. 23.

Lewis, J 2008, ‘Writing a successful press release Part One’, Hudson Valley Business Journal, vol. 19, no. 50, p. 9.

Schwartz, M 2015, ‘Include these elements in your media releases’, CoSIDA Digest, p. 41.

Week Six – Inquiry Activity: “O” (A Cirque Du Soleil Production)