Blogging Students: how to pitch an idea and get it accepted

http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/sep/23/blogging-students-how-to-pitch-and-blog

Editor’s blog: Make sure you have something fresh to say that will grab the attention of lots of other students. And pick the best format for getting your point across

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Writing for Blogging Students can be a pretty exciting experience. You get your own contributor page on the Guardian site. You learn how we edit a blog to maximise its impact.

And best of all, you get exposure to potentially huge amounts of traffic – our biggest blog this year has had half a million page views, more than 900 comments, and gone viral on social media. It’s a powerful way to make a name for yourself online.

Thus far, all our blogs have been written. But we’d like to broaden our range to include video or audio blogs (no music, or we run into copyright issues), cartoon strips and photojournalism – so if you’d like to experiment with a different format, please do.

Read other people’s blogs

Don’t just fire off an email to us with a half-formed idea. It’s not going to get you anywhere – we get dozens of suggestions every week and only the best are considered for publication. So begin by reading and analysing the blogs we have already published.

You could start with the chart-topper, What happened when I started a feminist society at school, to see why it was so successful.

It’s topic is feminism, which has been written about endlessly. So how has the writer, Jinan Younis, managed to make it so compelling?

Look at the intro. Specific, personal, to the point. There’s a narrative that draws you straight in – here’s what happened to me. And then, like a horror story unfolding, things begin to turn very ugly.

Younis uses a range of techniques to keep the reader glued to the page – see if you can work out what they are.

Have a look at several more blogs – you’ll soon see that there’s a wide range of styles and strategies that can work to involve and stimulate the reader.

You’ll also notice that these blogs are not like people’s personal blogs. They are each focused on a specific area of student life. Some concern themselves with academic issues – revision, plagiarism – some with health issues – drugs, depression, illness – some with political issues – student unions, tuition fees – some with lifestyle – clubbing, accommodation, music. But each has a case to make and a clear focus for discussion.

Send us a pitch

Once you’ve decided what you’re keen to blog about, pitch your idea to Blogging.Students@theguardian.com.

Try to find a subject that has not been written about over and over again – or have something really fresh and surprising to say about an old theme. The best topics tend to be small and specific rather than huge and wide-ranging. For example, don’t pitch “The state of higher education”, do pitch “Most of my course is being taught by other students”.

It’s not enough simply to have a topic, you need to have a point to make about that topic, so explain what your argument will be. Tell us who you plan to quote in your piece – it’s good to have a variety of voices with different points of view. What news reports, statistics, surveys or blogs are you going to link to to give your piece some context?

If we like your idea – and if no one else has pitched the same thing – then we’ll discuss your pitch with you, make further suggestions as to how you can develop it, and ask you to go ahead and put your piece together.

The shape and size of it

Written blogs should be 500-600 words long, cartoons no more than eight frames done in the shape of a Guardian article (long not wide). As for photojournalism, we’d probably want to discuss that on a case-by-case basis.

Videos should be no longer than two minutes. We accept .avi, .mov, .wmv, .flv and MPEG4 files. And while we’re on video, here are a few more rules: don’t include music (unless you’ve written and performed it yourself and hold all the rights ito the material); don’t include children (under 16s) unless you have permission from their parent; and credit anyone who has helped you make the film.

How to blog for Blogging Students

Most of the following instructions will apply to written blogs, but the principles apply to all formats.

• Adopt a conversational, chatty style. Avoid cliches, jargon, academic language and acronyms.

• Put some serious work into your intro – is it intriguing, engaging and different?

• Always use specific examples, perhaps based on personal experience. Don’t generalise or waffle on about challenges and passion.

• Use common nouns as much as you can: “boots” and “apples” are much more evocative words than “footwear” and “produce”.

• Try to find recent research or media coverage about your topic, and link to it in your blog.

• Check your facts. These pieces are going on the Guardian site so they need to be factually accurate. There’s no point in having a guess at say, the number of students who drop out in first year. You need to have an up-to-date statistic, and a link to show where you found it.

• You can’t break the law. You can’t make unsubstantiated libellous claims against people. You can’t change a quote to make it say what you want it to say. And if someone has said something they may later deny having said, it’s good if you have it on tape, or written down in your notebook word for word. Don’t throw your records away.

• Avoid standing on a soap-box and banging on about something. Quoting a variety of people will help to bring other voices into your piece.

• Read what you’ve written aloud when you’re finished. Is that how you talk?

• The reader should emerge clear about what you’re saying, what other people have said on the subject, and what they are being asked to comment on.

Don’t be taken aback by the fact that the final version of your piece may be quite different from what you submitted. Everything that is written for the news media is edited, sometimes quite heavily, to make the writing punchier, to cut repetition, and to accord with the style and tone of the publication.

If what you produce is suitable for publication, we will ask you for a headshot and a one-sentence bio for your contributor page. This can contain links to your own blog or twitter feed.

Who is eligible to blog for Blogging Students?

• You need to be a member of Guardian Students to be eligible to blog. To become a member, go to this sign up page and fill in the form. We’ll be happy to welcome you into the fold, and your membership will also bring you a weekly newsletter and a free ebook.

• You have to be a current student for us to consider your blog (the series is called Blogging Students, after all). You might be in sixth form, or studying at an FE college, doing an apprenticeship or attending university, either as an undergraduate or as a postgraduate student. There is no age restriction: we want Blogging Students to reflect the full range of student life in the UK and, indeed, much further afield.

We’ve uncovered some brilliant writing talent since we launched this blog in 2012. We’re keen to hear from every kind of student – from science to law, business to art, journalism to medicine – about the issues that affect their lives.

So if you’ve got something to get off your chest, write to: Blogging.Students@theguardian.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

LCC Photography Research Show

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This research hub based at London College of Communication (LCC) brings together practitioners and theorists to explore and promote photography as a mode of imaginary thought and its relation to a collective imaginary.

Specifically, we are interested in the increasingly complex research methodologies that underpin fine art photography as a form of knowledge with its own epistemology. Particular emphasis will be given to photographic works that explicitly engage with contemporary thought; theories that engage with contemporary photography; as well as photographic images and philosophies of the image that contribute to how the imaginary is invested in photographic production and the ‘as if’ condition of the photographic image.

The Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub builds on LCC’s international reputation for conceptual photography and is organized by Dr Wiebke Leister and Paul Tebbs.

Events

The Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub is pleased to announce the second LCC Photography Research Show

Private View: Thursday 27 March 2014, 18.00-20.00 Nursery Gallery, London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle

Jananne Al-Ani . Beverley Carruthers . Robin Silas Christian . Edward Dimsdale . Matthew Hawkins . Claire Hooper . Tom Hunter . Mark Ingham . Melanie King . Wiebke Leister . Dallas Seitz . Sophy Rickett . Tansy Spinks . Monica Takvam . Esther Teichmann . Val Williams .

The Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub builds on LCC’s international reputation for conceptual photography. This event is organized by Beverley Carruthers and Wiebke Leister and supported by UAL Communities of Practice funding.

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David Hammons performing ‘Bliz-aard Ball Sale’ (1983), Cooper Square, New York City
Courtesy Migros Museum, Zurich © David Hammons. Photo: Dawood Bey

From An Interview with David Hammons:

1. I CAN’T STAND ART ACTUALLY. I’VE NEVER, EVER LIKED ART, EVER. I NEVER TOOK IT IN SCHOOL.

2. WHEN I WAS IN CALIFORNIA, ARTISTS WOULD WORK FOR YEARS AND NEVER HAVE A SHOW. SO SHOWING HAS NEVER BEEN THAT IMPORTANT TO ME. WE USED TO CUSS PEOPLE OUT: PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT OUR WORK, DEALERS, ETC., BECAUSE THAT PART OF BEING AN ARTIST WAS ALWAYS A JOKE TO US.

WHEN I CAME TO NEW YORK, I DIDN’T SEE ANY OF THAT. EVERYBODY WAS JUST GROVELING AND TOMMING, ANYTHING TO BE IN THE ROOM WITH SOMEBODY WITH SOME MONEY. THERE WERE NO BAD GUYS HERE; SO I SAID, “LET ME BE A BAD GUY,” OR ATTEMPT TO BE A BAD GUY, OR PLAY WITH THE BAD AREAS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

3. I WAS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY BLACK PEOPLE WERE CALLED SPADES, AS OPPOSED TO CLUBS. BECAUSE I REMEMBER BEING CALLED A SPADE ONCE, AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT MEANT; NIGGER I KNEW BUT SPADE I STILL DON’T. SO I TOOK THE SHAPE, AND STARTED PAINTING IT.

4. I JUST LOVE THE HOUSES IN THE SOUTH, THE WAY THEY BUILT THEM. THAT NEGRITUDE ARCHITECTURE. I REALLY LOVE TO WATCH THE WAY BLACK PEOPLE MAKE THINGS, HOUSES OR MAGAZINE STANDS IN HARLEM, FOR INSTANCE. JUST THE WAY WE USE CARPENTRY. NOTHING FITS, BUT EVERYTHING WORKS. THE DOOR CLOSES, IT KEEPS THINGS FROM COMING THROUGH. BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE THAT NEATNESS ABOUT IT, THE WAY WHITE PEOPLE PUT THINGS TOGETHER; EVERYTHING IS A THIRTY-SECOND OF AN INCH OFF.

5. THAT’S WHY I LIKE DOING STUFF BETTER ON THE STREET, BECAUSE THE ART BECOMES JUST ONE OF THE OBJECTS THAT’S IN THE PATH OF YOUR EVERYDAY EXISTENCE. IT’S WHAT YOU MOVE THROUGH, AND IT DOESN’T HAVE ANY SENIORITY OVER ANYTHING ELSE.

THOSE PIECES WERE ALL ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT THE BLACK VIEWER HAD A REFLECTION OF HIMSELF IN THE WORK. WHITE VIEWERS HAVE TO LOOK AT SOMEONE ELSE’S CULTURE IN THOSE PIECES AND SEE VERY LITTLE OF THEMSELVES IN IT.

6. ANYONE WHO DECIDES TO BE AN ARTIST SHOULD REALIZE THAT IT’S A POVERTY TRIP. TO GO INTO THIS PROFESSION IS LIKE GOING INTO THE MONASTERY OR SOMETHING; IT’S A VOW OF POVERTY I ALWAYS THOUGHT. TO BE AN ARTIST AND NOT EVEN TO DEAL WITH THAT POVERTY THING, THAT’S A WASTE OF TIME; OR TO BE AROUND PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT.

MY KEY IS TO TAKE AS MUCH MONEY HOME AS POSSIBLE. ABANDON ANY ART FORM THAT COSTS TOO MUCH. INSIST THAT IT’S AS CHEAP AS POSSIBLE IS NUMBER ONE AND ALSO THAT IT’S AESTHETICALLY CORRECT. AFTER THAT ANYTHING GOES. AND THAT KEEPS EVERYTHING INTERESTING FOR ME.

7. I DON’T KNOW WHAT MY WORK IS. I HAVE TO WAIT TO HEAR THAT FROM SOMEONE.

I WOULD LIKE TO BURN THE PIECE. I THINK THAT WOULD BE NICE VISUALLY. VIDEOTAPE THE BURNING OF IT. AND SHOOT SOME SLIDES. THE SLIDES WOULD THEN BE A PIECE IN ITSELF. I’M GETTING INTO THAT NOW: THE SLIDES ARE THE ART PIECES AND THE ART PIECES DON’T EXIST.

8. IF YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE THEN IT’S EASY TO MAKE ART. MOST PEOPLE ARE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR IMAGE. ARTISTS HAVE ALLOWED THEMSELVES TO BE BOXED IN BY SAYING “YES” ALL THE TIME BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE SEEN, AND THEY SHOULD BE SAYING “NO.” I DO MY STREET ART MAINLY TO KEEP ROOTED IN THAT “WHO I AM.” BECAUSE THE ONLY THING THAT’S REALLY GOING ON IS IN THE STREET; THAT’S WHERE SOMETHING IS REALLY HAPPENING. IT ISN’T HAPPENING IN THESE GALLERIES.

9. DOING THINGS IN THE STREET IS MORE POWERFUL THAN ART I THINK. BECAUSE ART HAS GOTTEN SO….I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK ART IS ABOUT NOW. IT DOESN’T DO ANYTHING. LIKE MALCOLM X SAID, IT’S LIKE NOVOCAINE. IT USED TO WAKE YOU UP BUT NOW IT PUTS YOU TO SLEEP. I THINK THAT ART NOW IS PUTTING PEOPLE TO SLEEP. THERE’S SO MUCH OF IT AROUND IN THIS TOWN THAT IT DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. THAT’S WHY THE ARTIST HAS TO BE VERY CAREFUL WHAT HE SHOWS AND WHEN HE SHOWS NOW. BECAUSE THE PEOPLE AREN’T REALLY LOOKING AT ART, THEY’RE LOOKING AT EACH OTHER AND EACH OTHER’S CLOTHES AND EACH OTHER’S HAIRCUTS.

10. THE ART AUDIENCE IS THE WORST AUDIENCE IN THE WORLD. IT’S OVERLY EDUCATED, IT’S CONSERVATIVE, IT’S OUT TO CRITICIZE NOT TO UNDERSTAND, AND IT NEVER HAS ANY FUN. WHY SHOULD I SPEND MY TIME PLAYING TO THAT AUDIENCE?

DAVID HAMMONS 1986

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Gentletude International Typography Awards

06Dec

…big news just in for Graphic Design Communication and Chelsea. The Gentletude Design Award is an international award for typhographic design students, both undergraduate and graduates within 4 years of graduation), who study or studied in England, Italy, Switzerland, USA, Singapore, Argentina, or Japan. In November we submitted 18 entries and achieved 10 finalists of 14. We now have the results from the jury in Italy and our students have been awarded first, second and third prizes!

The Award is organised by the NGO Gentletude, a not-for-profit organisation founded by Cristina Milani. The award aims is to encourage a new generation of designers to be creative at an international level and to encourage a broader community of practice.

Our students implemented the the alphabet to create a message elaborating the term ‘gentletude’ and including the words ‘Kindness’ and ‘Attitude’. A key criteria required messages to be shared by smartphone, so it was important to consider technological constraints when creating work. The idea was that the recipient of the message will reflect on kindness as an option for a better life.

Please see:

http://www.facebook.com/gentletude?fref=ts
First prize is 1,000 Euro and second 500 Euro. There will now be extensive home and international press coverage. The first prize winner is Joe Hayes.

Keep an eye on the Graphic Design Communication blog –http://brighterchelsea.com/

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Nov. 23, 1889

San Francisco  Gin Joint Hears the World’s First Jukebox

By Tony Long
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For a nickel apiece a thrilled group tunes in on a screechy jukebox of the 1890s. 
Photo: Bettmann/Corbis

1889: The first jukebox is installed at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It becomes an overnight sensation, and its popularity spreads around the world.

That first jukebox was constructed by the Pacific Phonograph Company. Four stethoscope-like tubes were attached to an Edison Class M electric phonograph fitted inside an oak cabinet. The tubes operated individually, each being activated by the insertion of a coin, meaning that four different listeners could be plugged in to the same song simultaneously.

Towels were supplied to patrons so they could wipe off the end of the tube after each listening.

The success of the jukebox eventually spelled the end of the player piano, then the most common way of pounding out popular music to a line of thirsty barflies.

The machine was originally called the “nickel-in-the-slot player” by Louis Glass, the entrepreneur who installed it at the Palais Royale. (A nickel then had the buying power of $1.08 today.) It came to be known as the jukebox only later, although the origin of the word remains a bit vague. It may derive from “juke house,” a slang reference to bawdy house, where music was not unknown.

(Source: writersalmanac.publicradio.org)

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SPECIAL EVENT

Label
Tate Britain
Saturday 24 November 2012, 13.00 – 17.00

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Tracey Moberly, Mam
Courtesy Tracey Moberly

You are invited to join us on a spirited quest to explore questions of identity and belonging. Amidst pumping bass lines and crowd mayhem, LABEL will explore the one question that has intrigued mankind for centuries: “Who am I?”

LABEL features live acoustic performances with Q+A sessions from Speech Debelle and Shakka, DJs Stööki Sound, plus installations and workshops with Soulful Creative.
Come and work with leading urban creatives on a giant collaborative piece that will transform the façade of Tate Britain, choose how to represent your super-talented self in a portrait taken by our photographer, join a guerrilla mosaics workshop to re-think emblems of Britishness or create a unique label that reflects who you really are with artist Chloe Cooper.

LABEL is curated by Tate Collective as part of the Great British Art Debate. What does Britishness mean to you? Join this audacious retort to stereotypical ideas about Britishness.

Follow The Great British Art Debate on Twitter @GBArtDebate and on Facebook
Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Funded & Great British Art Debate
Tags:
Art and ideas

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