Principles of Newspaper Writing: Digging Down Digitally

The PRINCIPLES OF NEWSPAPER WRITING course at the University of Mary Washington was designed to marry old-school in-depth reporting and new-school digital technology. In other words, journalistic tradition in modern form. The instructor, Michael McCarthy, assigned three teams of students a “beat” — or a specific area of news coverage — and asked them to use their own research, creativity and initiative to develop Web-based special reports. With four to five students on each team, they had all semester to report on their topics, conduct interviews, and gather data and design their pages.

To portray with some depth the university’s chase for reaccreditation, what students do with their free time, and what happens to students after graduation, the class worked on three beats and completed these reports.

Audio Presentations Showcase Students’ Work

Dr. Scanlon’s course Women and Modernism requires students to give a presentation during the semester, however, there’s a twist.  These presentations are recorded and put up on the course website for all to hear.

After listening to a presentation on Women’s Fashion and Cross-Dressing in the Modernist Era, I have to say I’m glad that this is a course requirement.  Not only does this help students in the course figure out how to use new technology for educational purposes, it also allows those who are thinking about taking the course get a sneak peek at the topics studied throughout the semester.


I highly enjoyed these presentations and I hope this becomes a new trend for professors to follow.



UMW Student’s Pen Spinning Blog Goes Viral!

Apparently the internet loves two things: cats and how-to videos on pen spinning. isn’t just a blog about your everyday basic pen spinning techniques, however.  This student is truly a master of the art of pen spinning, and his videos are very helpful on the subject.  You too could easily become a spinning guru thanks to this blog! gave the most traffic it’s received to date, boasting 10,000+ visitors in a single day.  This is partially thanks to Professor Whalen’s Writing Through Media course, which encourages students to post on reddit to gain karma, which in turn, boosts their grade.  Here’s the reddit post featuring with 200+ “upvotes” (sort of an equivalent to the “like” button on Facebook).

So forgo those old pencils and go on and get your pen spin on.