General Suggestions from Posts So Far

1. Proof. Proof. Proof!
You will lose points for even minor grammar, structure, and spelling mistakes. Read your post before publishing. Then read it again once it’s posted.

2. Stick to your beat.
For example, if you are writing about the Philly music scene I don’t want to see you posting about the MTV Video Music Awards. Yes, it’s related to music, but not PHILLY music. Make sure your posts are as specifically related to your beat as possible.

3. Give your readers something they can’t get from a simple Google search.
Go deeper than the most basic information. Link to websites, essays, news articles, pictures, and information related to your beat that take some time to find. Give your readers a reason to visit YOUR site.

4. Get personal.
A lot of you are providing a lot of interesting information but you’re holding back on sharing personal anecdotes and observations from the trenches of your beat. Remember, there’s a person behind this blog you’re writing, so use that to your advantage.

5. Proof. Proof. PROOF!

6. I want to see more original reporting/context.
Get quotes. Do an informal survey. Go out into the world!

7. Be more precise with your leads.
Let your readers know (specifically) what this post is going to be about somewhere in the first two paragraphs. For instance, “The other night my friend Melissa and I were bored with the usual dining options at Rowan, so we wandered around Glassboro for nearly two hours looking for something different to eat for dinner. Feeling hopeless we finally just stumbled into Landmark (don’t judge!), and to our surprise we discovered the unique meal we were looking for—a cheeseburger topped with pineapple and bacon! Afterwards, stuffed to the gills with fried pork, beef, cheese and tangy citrus, I started thinking: What other strange and delicious meals might be lurking in the corners of South Jersey? Well, here’s what I found…”

8. Capitalization
Review AP style – In general, avoid capitalization. Use a capital letter only if you can justify it – like proper nouns (specific person, place, or thing), compositions (books, movies, plays, poems, etc), first word in sentence, or formal titles.

9. Numbers and numerals
Review AP style – In general, spell out whole numbers below 10 (ie one to nine), use figures for 10 and above. Check AP manual for money and sports numbers.

10. Ages and hyphens
Example: 20-year-old Jim vs. Jim is 20 years old

11. Word usage (come on people, you should know this by now)

it’s vs. its
their vs. they’re
your vs. you’re
effect vs. affect

12. Punctuation always goes inside quotes.

13. Link. Link. Link. You should aim for at least five hyperlinks per post. And make sure your links work and are formatted properly.

14. Put images at the top of your post. It draws the reader in.

15. Formatting quotes

Example:

Jane felt like the luckiest girl alive when she smiled and with a glimmer in her eye told me, “This is the best day of my life. I think I finally found true love. I feel like a million bucks.”

vs.

“This is the best day of my life,” said Jane. “I think I finally found true love. I feel like a million bucks.”

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About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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4 Responses to General Suggestions from Posts So Far

  1. Pingback: Week 6 | Southern Accents

  2. Pingback: Week 8 | glsjournalism

  3. Pingback: Week 6 | Southern Accents

  4. Pingback: Week 6—Oct. 9 & 11 | Southern Accents

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