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Blog 1 – Introduction

Cynthia M. Plemmons

Dr. Richard Gaspar

Writing – Mass Communications (MMC-2100C- 29062)

25 August 2019

Blog 1 – Introduction

Hello fellow classmates!  I appreciate the opportunity to share something about myself and look forward to learning more about each of you. 

After 30 years as an IT project manager, I am returning to college to prepare for a second career in public relations.  I would like to work on initiatives that improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and on resiliency projects to address the impacts of climate change.  

Currently, I’m serving on the steering committee to rebuild a community pool, the Angus R. Goss Memorial Pool in Seminole Heights.  For this effort, I have brought together the Tampa City Council and the Florida Center for Community Design and Research from USF’s College of Architecture.  The planning for the pool should start next month.  If you would like to learn more, here is a link to the ABC Action News story in which I was interviewed:  https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-hillsborough/community-pool-in-tampa-that-honors-u-s-marine-sits-abandoned-filled-with-dirt 

I anticipate that I will be blogging and writing stories about the progress of our committee and resiliency projects unless given a class specific topic.  It’s been my experience that when I can apply course concepts and techniques to real life events, I have a greater understanding, enjoy the class a lot more, and feel better prepared for the profession I’m pursuing.

Blog 4 – Interview Preparation

I was denied my initial interview request from Hillsborough Community College (HCC) staff because 1) the person I was speaking with did not want to be recorded and 2) didn’t feel they were the best person to speak with.  They actually referred me back to the person who originally referred me to them.  After that, I decided to try a different HCC department.  

Next, I visited the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD), Student Services, to request an interview.  They were enthusiastic about an article that described how their office helps students.  They also thought they might like to use it as a student handout.  They told me they always took a team approach in helping students and the interview should be no different.  So Sharon Collins, Ed.S., Advising Generalist for Students with Disabilities, and Jeanette Starks, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities, collectively granted me the interview.  

Blog 3 – Interview Lead, Hook, Thesis Statement and Questions

The wind beneath your wings:  help for Hawks of all abilities. 

Now that you’ve started the Fall semester, here’s how the Students with Disabilities team can support you to ensure you fly high throughout the term.

Let’s explore how the team at Ybor’s Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Students with Disabilities department works together, and through a multitude of community resources, to ensure that students with special needs are successful in accomplishing their academic goals.

The questions I used in my interview were: 

  1. Tell me why you chose to work with students with special needs?
  2. What training or education did you have that prepared you for this work?
  3. How do you make the students comfortable in reaching out to you whenever they need help or are feeling overwhelmed with their studies?
  4. Do you only work with students who are classified as disabled by Social Security?
  5. What is the best way for students to reach you for help?
  6. What services to you offer?
  7. How do you determine which services might best fit the student’s needs?
  8. Do you follow up with students during the semester to determine if their needs are met? 
  9. Do you meet with instructors or professors to advocate for the students?
  10. What would you like all students to know about the Students with Disabilities team? 

Blog 2 – Who I Would Like to Interview

I listen to NPR’s “Fresh Air,” an interview-based show hosted by Terry Gross out of Philadelphia, almost every day. There has always been something about Terry’s voice, with its serene yet joyfully curious quality, that draws you in and keeps you mesmerized to the end of her interviews. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat in my car, having arrived at my destination, just to hear Terry finish talking with her guests. It would be interesting and fun to learn how she started her career and how she has perfected her craft over the years.
When did you realize that you wanted to interview people on your own radio show?
What other careers would you have chosen if you hadn’t gotten your own radio show?
What were some of your first jobs and how do you think they prepared you for the work you do now?
I was surprised to learn that you conduct your interviews over the phone as it sounds like you are talking with your guests face to face. How do you stay connected with people without being able to make eye contact or seeing their body language?
How do you select the guests you want to interview?
What’s a typical work day like for you?
What do you do to prepare for your interviews?
You always sound so calm. Who was your most nerve-wracking guest?
If someone becomes upset and refuses to answer one of your questions, what are some of the ways you’ve handled that?
Do you have any advice on how to conduct a great interview?

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

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