Aug 26: In-class Social Media Task 1 — Create a Blog

This task is an in-class assignment for Aug. 26.  The final version of your blog and your blog post are due on Sept. 3.


The first Social Media Task for the semester requires you to create a WordPress blog, which you will maintain throughout the course, and to create your first blog post, which will be a response to the assigned readings for Sept. 3.


Setting up and customizing the blog:

Please complete the following:

  •  Site title:  Give your blog a name.  The blog will be used solely for class assignments and activities, including your observations about social media, journalism, and public relations.  Please do not post anything personal on your blog.
  • Photo or artwork:  Your homepage should include a photo or some kind of artwork that represents you in this class.  (Don’t use the same photo I used on the class blog.)
  • Tagline:  A very brief sentence stating what the blog is.  Use this tagline to explain that it is a blog for COJR 3422 at SHU.
  • Theme:  Select from the free options available.
  •  About Page:  Your About Page should include four to six sentences describing yourself and the nature of the blog (sort of like a longer version of the tagline.)
  • Menu: A link to the About Page needs to appear in your blog’s menu. The menu is typically found near the top of the blog.
  • Widgets: Select and edit widgets. Place widgets you want to add into the page’s sidebar if possible. Your blog needs to have the following four widgets:  Blogs I Follow; Follow this Blog; Archives; and Social Media — Twitter. Please embed your Twitter feed on the side of your blog.
  • Follow the course blog: Make sure that you are following the course blog. Go on the course blog and click the “Follow” button in the right sidebar of the main page.

Requirements for all blog posts:

  • Title:  Give your post an interesting, descriptive title that reflects the content of the post. Please DO NOT call it “Blog post,” “Task 1,” or “Assignment,” etc.
  • The Post: Reflect upon the assigned readings. Please offer your opinions and analysis on the articles. Do not just quote or summarize the readings. Use them to form your own opinion about how social media will impact journalism and/or public relations in the future. What impact will social media have on you as you begin your career?  You may use the discussion questions on the syllabus to help you write the post, but you are not required to answer them. The post should be 400-500 words. Be sure to break it into paragraphs. It should not be all one paragraph.
  • Artwork: Please post some kind of artwork — photo, video, graph, illustration — with every blog post.
  • Writing for SEO: Once we learn how to do this, all your copy must be optimized for search.


The blog post must contain at least three embedded links, which means you must put the links WITHIN the post, not at the end of the post. You may link to the readings themselves, but at least one of the links must be to an outside source.  The page you use to post to your blog enables you to post links. Please use that.

  • Do not put the URL within the body of the blog post.
  • Test your links to make sure they work.
  • Length:  The blog post should be at least 400 words, broken up into 3 to 4 paragraphs.
  • Tags:  Give your blog post at least two tags. When using the WordPress editor to compose your post, the “Tags” area is located in the sidebar to the right of the text editor. A tag is a topic of the blog post. A tag is usually a single word or two words.  If someone were searching for your blog post, what search terms would he or she be likely to use?  Make those your tags.
  • Allow comments:  Make sure your post is set up to allow others to comment.
  • Before you publish:  Preview your post before you publish it.  Proofread it, make sure that it is formatted correctly and make sure that all of the links work properly.
  • Need help?  If you are having trouble navigating WordPress, there are many sites available to help you. Just Google them. WordPress itself offers helpful explanations.

Submitting the assignment before class

After you have set up your blog and have published your first post, send me a link to your blog (e.g., John’ at This email must be sent before class on Sept. 3.


Social Media Task 1, creating your blog, is worth 20 points.

  • Technical part (10 points):  Does the blog contain all of the necessary elements, including an appropriate title, tagline, about page, and widgets?  Does the blog post contain all of the necessary elements, including an appropriate title, at least three links, and at least two tags?

All blog posts are worth 10 points.

  • Blog post content and length (10 points): Is the blog post a thorough and thoughtful discussion of the issues raised in the assigned readings?  Does the post go beyond simply summarizing the readings to offer analysis and insight? Is the post free of misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Is the blog post at least 400-500 words, broken into paragraphs? Does it include artwork?






About this course

Students are introduced to a variety of social media and the ways in which they may be used by journalists, public relations professionals, and citizens for information gathering, reporting, publicity, and engagement.  Students will examine the principles behind social media and gain practical experience in the application of several tools.

Prerequisite:  Writing for the Media

Welcome to the Class!

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter,” — Izaak Walton.

Welcome to “Social Media in Journalism & Public Relations.  I am looking forward to getting to know each of you and working to help you better understand the impact that social media can have on your future careers.  Whether you intend to work in journalism, public relations, or another field, this course will teach you some great tools to help you on your journey.

— Professor Bollinger