“Mid-Semester” Break

So after 10 weeks of study in a 13-week long semester, I am on a mid-semester break from university.

Crazy, I know. It’s just organised this way to align with the school holidays here.

So anyway, apologies are in order for my missing posting Thursday and Friday last week. I was snowed under with group work that was due on Friday.

Also, as I am on holiday this week, and need to move furniture, I am taking a one week hiatus.

Writing Prompt #8: Misty Morning Waiting

I look at my watch. 3:58. Any minute now.

I blow on my hands to warm them, then rub them together and shove them under my armpits. Moving slightly on the spot, I jiggle my legs to warm up. Although the heavy winter gear keeps me warm, staying idle lets the cold creep in. It also stiffens your face. I don’t think I could frown right now if you paid me.

3:59.

Almost.

Rocking back and forth from my heels to my toes, I stare intently at the house. A thick mist blankets the rustic old building, a chilly cover that traps the cold.

My watch beeps and I immediately press a button on its side to silence it. A few seconds later, I hear the distant beep of an alarm. A light comes on in the house. She is silhouetted against the thin curtains. She stretches, arching her back. I shiver. Not from the cold. Now, my body is warm, hot blood pumping through all my extremities.

She disappears. My eyes shift to the next window. The light comes on. And there she is; thick brown hair falling over her face as she leans against the sink to fill the kettle. The dog barks and I crouch down. It runs around to the front of the house and jumps up to the kitchen window. She pulls up the window and hold out the rind of last night’s steak. The dog takes it gently from her hand and trots off, tail wagging.

Unprotected, she’s open. It’s my time now.

Emotion in journalism

5-ws-and-h1

Essential information for news stories. Photo source.

Who, what, when, where, why, how – the five Ws and a H.

Inverted pyramid – give readers the most necessary information first.

Currency, importance, accuracy – news values.

These are some of the things that my university journalism lecturers have ingrained in me since I took my first journalism class almost three years ago. Although these practices are relevant to online journalism, we do adapt them slightly to match the platform.

But where is the emotion, people?

In a Fairfax video entitled “Shareability” that was provided in my learning materials a few weeks ago, journalists discuss what makes content shareable in the online space.

What makes a story shareable for me is emotion

This is beyond news values, this is beyond writing in a way that gives readers the most important information first. Provoking emotion in your readers is essential to creating a connection, and creating a connection with your readers is essential to them wanting to connect others to your content.

Enter the concept of shareability.

People want to share a story … as a form of social interaction

The Fairfax video explains that one reason people might want to share a story is because it articulates something that they are feeling, so that by sharing it with their friends, they’re talking about themselves.

Shareability is the potential for your content to be shared online, a practice that attracts more readers. Photo source.

Shareability is the potential for your content to be shared online, a practice that attracts more readers. Photo source.

Enter the reader. The reader will never exit.

Aside from truth, the reader is the reason for journalism. Journalists write stories for them to be read, so the reader is a key player in journalism, especially online journalism. How to engage readers and how to increase traffic to your news site are only some of the challenges faced in online journalism.

Having an audience is key to

Increasing traffic is a challenge in online journalism that you can remedy in part by cultivating a social media presence. Photo source.

Emotion is one of the solutions.

A reader must feel something to read something; interest must be piqued and emotion must be tweaked. This is especially true for online content, because readers have such a short attention span when reading online.

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention

Herbert Simon 1977 (source)

So you want your content to be read and shared? Inject some emotion. People want to know about people, so answer their burning questions:

  • Did the family with two small children make it out of the burning building uninjured?
  • Has that missing girl been found dead or alive?
  • What is the husband feeling after finding out his wife committed suicide?

Emotion is a connector, it’s what we as humans all have in common.

Emotion is key to connecting with your readers.

100th Blog Post

So it’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but I’ve been trying to think of something suitable for my 100th blog post.

Perhaps my winning both of my events at the Queensland State Championships for Artistic Roller Skating over the weekend will be a fitting celebration.

states

On the podium for Advanced Solo Dance (left) and Advanced Solo Freedance (right). I have cropped the other girls out of the photo for privacy reasons.

 

I am now the proud 2015 State Champion for Advance Solo Dance and Advanced Solo Freedance, and will be flying down to Adelaide in July to compete in the National Championships.

Monday night was only one night after I skated my freedance and my coach had already changed a footwork section. That’s Nationals for you.

So what else has been happening?

I have been falling more in love with writing and publishing via my Editing and Developing the Manuscript class at uni.

I submitted a short story to Overland’s NUW Fair Australia Prize. Overland is a literary journal, and the Prize is four $5,000 prizes, one prize each for fiction, essays, poetry, and graphics and cartoons.

Although winning one of the $5,000 prizes would be fantastic and would help me with uni, my writing, and skating, submitting work for publication is good practice for a writer trying to break into the publishing industry – I have to start putting my name and my work out there, whether in the form of writing or editing. More on that in my other blog soon.

I have been balancing uni, work, skating, and life quite successfully, especially seeing as though I didn’t have as much assessment as I first thought – more to the point, the assessment that I have hasn’t taken nearly as much time as I first thought.

So I have had a bit more free time than I anticipated, some of which I’ve filled by going to see movies with my partner; our most recent one was the new Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, which we saw in 3D in a Gold Class cinema.

Reflecting on my blog goals

My blog has grown out of the box in which I first saw it. Initially, this blog was going to be purely about my experiences as a high-achieving uni student.

After writing for a while, I realised that that involved so much more than just uni – being a successful student involves every aspect of my life outside of university, because getting good grades doesn’t stop when I leave class.

I hope that my posts have inspired or helped you, and that you have enjoyed reading what I have posted, even if you do just come here for the recipes.

I plan on publishing some more uni-centric posts soon, so don’t fret if you’ve been craving some more of those.

 

Until next time

Introductions

10303795_10152040721923344_2506826386410059972_n

Hi

My name is Amanda. I turned 21 this month (August 2014) and I’m an undergraduate university student at the Queensland University of Technology. I’m studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries, double majoring in creative and professional writing, and journalism. If I continue to study full time I will graduate at the end of 2015.

So far, I have passed each of my units and my GPA to date is 5.667 (7 is the highest). I have always prided myself on achieving as highly as possible in school – and in everything else I do. Don’t get me wrong, I love having fun – you must allow yourself time to relax – I just think education is extremely important.

I want this blog to show people that there are some still out there who take study seriously.

So, what do I do for fun? I have loved reading since I was little, so whenever I find a spare moment I tend to have my nose buried in a book. I’m currently reading Oliver Twist. My boyfriend and I go to the movies regularly, and occasionally go to the drive-in. I’m also a keen baker – I made a salted caramel and chocolate slice, two jumbo chocolate éclairs with cream and strawberries, and a lemon meringue pie for my 21st birthday party.

But my main passion is Artistic Roller Skating. I started when I was six, had a break through most of high school and started again in 2010, when I was 15. I have been competing at a state and national level ever since.

I think that covers most of what you need to know about me for now – I’m sure you’ll uncover particulars about my personality through my writing.

 

Until next time