Week 8 – News University

Using the three-pronged approach described in Week 1, describe your reactions to one of the News University Courses you have completed. Remember to include a  hyperlink to the course, too that way your classmates can see which one you are referring to.

Also, give feedback as to the News University Courses in general – have they been helpful, if so how and in what ways. If they haven’t why? Can the assignment be improved upon for future classes?


  One thought on “Week 8 – News University

  1. October 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    So far, I liked the first News University Course the best, http://emuonline.edu/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?courseid=7315913&userid=8032808&sessionid=33641399a8&tabid=/cD8D3luVrMw9wVHgRGcjdVxwz3bJh1ZV2AK4SDrpvtEPLVUCdyU9Xreoe8wXFhc&sessionFirstAuthStore=true&macid=rjX8ixeCMbLhCgz6SF35tsg3Ac8ATjU34uvZM9zcHhwlb26G19MGk0d1kDb9j9ryKNvEfuE8lQSKgnDqkD2sNXfxtgCOSeavUbjsb8Nmub3fSCBhskpspfBY8Q5uWriWH2A9LjUO85pNVaatxb+f5p8ContGzAeG+OTjrJrPXuQsTvcQ3vhePRpQnoH9AorSbeK0KqmU3j22DUjFzSqefGgehIW979Eu4GpMtcIPJIs=
    To me it seemed to be the most useful, it was pretty hands on because it had little quizzes along the way and it had a lot of different and helpful information. It listed a lot about AP style, which is very useful to me because AP style is challenging and that’s where I struggle the most I think. The way they presented the information in this course was very clear and easy to understand, it was a lot of the basics of PR writing which is always necessary to review. I tend to be a hands on learner, I like to see examples and try things for myself in order to be able to retain information. It is difficult for me to listen to a lecture and retain a lot of information from that. I need repetition and hands on practice.
    I didn’t really like the web design course, http://emuonline.edu/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?courseid=7315913&userid=8032808&sessionid=33641399a8&tabid=/cD8D3luVrMw9wVHgRGcjdVxwz3bJh1ZV2AK4SDrpvtEPLVUCdyU9Xreoe8wXFhc&sessionFirstAuthStore=true&macid=rjX8ixeCMbLhCgz6SF35tsg3Ac8ATjU34uvZM9zcHhwlb26G19MGk0d1kDb9j9ryKNvEfuE8lQSKgnDqkD2sNXfxtgCOSeavUbjsb8Nmub3fSCBhskpspfBY8Q5uWriWH2A9LjUO85pNVaatxb+f5p8ContGzAeG+OTjrJrPXuQsTvcQ3vhePRpQnoH9AorSbeK0KqmU3j22DUjFzSqefGgehIW979Eu4GpMtcIPJIs=
    mostly because I am not creating a website and a lot of the information in that course was about how to do things if you already have a website. The quiz or two that were in the course were all questions that you would only be able to answer if you had your own website so I thought it could have been set up in a way that would have been more useful and helpful. Also, sometimes people have websites done for them where they maybe just manage and edit things occasionally but have the initial set up done by someone else. The course was assuming that if you did want a website or have one, that you would do everything yourself, which is not always the case.
    The last course I thought was ok, http://emuonline.edu/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?courseid=7315913&userid=8032808&sessionid=33641399a8&tabid=/cD8D3luVrMw9wVHgRGcjdVxwz3bJh1ZV2AK4SDrpvtEPLVUCdyU9Xreoe8wXFhc&sessionFirstAuthStore=true&macid=rjX8ixeCMbLhCgz6SF35tsg3Ac8ATjU34uvZM9zcHhwlb26G19MGk0d1kDb9j9ryKNvEfuE8lQSKgnDqkD2sNXfxtgCOSeavUbjsb8Nmub3fSCBhskpspfBY8Q5uWriWH2A9LjUO85pNVaatxb+f5p8ContGzAeG+OTjrJrPXuQsTvcQ3vhePRpQnoH9AorSbeK0KqmU3j22DUjFzSqefGgehIW979Eu4GpMtcIPJIs=

    it definitely provided a lot of information and the set up was kind of fun because it was cartoon-like and you could click on things and scroll around the virtual room. It was creative and interactive.
    My opinion of the courses in general is that they are ok, if you take the time to go through everything, I think they can be useful by providing you with a lot of information about the chapters and vital components of PR. I think that the web design course needs improvement by providing other options that just what to do if you already have a website.

    • October 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm


      After reading your response I think I was the complete opposite of you. I really liked the functional web design for today’s news audience, because it was really helpful in an area I was very unfamiliar with. The other courses were more difficult to read because there was not any new information to me. I especially like this course because Gina keeps telling us in class that as public relation professionals we might have to do things that is not in the job title, or thing we have no idea how to do. That’s why I think this course could end up being really helpful. As for the first course I agree with you that the first course had a lot of information, and the quizzes were helpful, but I really disliked the navigation and the set up of the course. It was confusing and just made the course unappealing.

    • October 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      I STRUGGLE WITH AP STYLE TO …. i’m glad i’m not alone. I feel like it’s yet again some writing style that I have to learn, boo on all those high school teachers who forced MLA into my brain because since entering college I have used it only a number of times. Now that that’s been stated I feel like the “Cleaning Your Copy” was a really good leaning tool.

      I won’t say i thought the website NewsU was bad I just think since i’ve never had a website so i thought it was a little weird, i also felt a little bad that it was constantly giving me a zero out of 10 because i just don’t have a website, sorry NewsU.

  2. October 25, 2012 at 1:14 am


    At the beginning of the semester when Gina had us make an account for NewsU I must admit, I was a little apprehensive. I’ve been in many courses before where a professor had students sign up for a comprehensive web tool in an effort to create more class involvement and it always seemed to end up creating more harm than good. For example, in a math class I took students had to sign up with a Webassign account and submit assignments on the website while simultaneously (and not to mention, consistently) check emuonline to find out what assignments needed to be done. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to manage multiple web sharing sites, I’m just making the point that sometimes it can become a little confusing. That being said, I have been pleasantly surprised with NewsU.

    NewsU surprised me because it is more than just a website with gratuitous amounts of information. It seems to be different from other web spheres that I’ve used before. Instead of just providing long lists of bulleted information, NewsU gathers resources focused on one main topic and ties it all together into one comprehensive platform that is interactive and user friendly. This is not something I’ve typically found in other course additives.


    The links above will take you to the NewsU website & Lead Lab course. I chose to focus on the Lead Lab because out of the three courses we have completed thus far, I’ve enjoyed the Lead Lab the most. During this course I can’t say that I learned a great deal of “new” information, but as a PR writer it was a great refresher course. I enjoyed this course because by using flash, it turned learning into a game. It was fun to move around the “lead lab” and find new things to click on. Apart from the super long intro, I can’t say there is much that this course needed to improve on. There were some moments where the player didn’t work as it should and I wasn’t able to respond to the lead forum, but the idea behind the course was nonetheless creative. In the section “Types of Leads” I learned about emblem leads. I had never heard of this kind of lead before so it was interesting to read more about how emblem leads are common and effective. I think of them sort of as an anecdotal lead but rather than create a whole story, they focus on one succinct sentence. I would like to learn more about the most effective types of leads. I know that the lead really depends on the news and story being presented, but I would be interested to know which leads, statistically speaking, tend to generate the most feedback.

    Overall, I think NewsU is a pretty fun tool and a great way to interact outside of the classroom. For future classes, I think it might be interesting to see how students would use this website in the classroom or among a group rather than on his/her own.


    • October 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Fair enough Kristen. I like the feedback. I think NewsU is a different too which is why I integrated it into the course. I like the idea for future classes.

  3. chelseafenwick
    October 25, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I really learned something on this last NewsU Assignment,
    https://www.newsu.org/courses/lead-lab. I liked that I was able to craft better leads and see the common myth that some leads have. But honestly I have to say I don’t find them incredibly helpful in general. I feel they are good refreshers and helpful to be brushed up on but I don’t really feel as if I am learning anything new. But if I had to pick I must say I have learned it from the leads in this last NewsU because in the past I have always had to revise them so it is good to have a lot of practice!
    What I think surprised me is that I thought there was one segment and then there were so many other tasks that I didn’t do. I realized there were little tasks to do throughout one NewsU that if I had not explored the whole thing I would have missed it.
    I would like to know more about understanding media principles and maybe the building blocks of news releases or press releases because I feel that is so relevant to what we are studying right now. I think that the quizzes are helpful but they are things that we should already know or at least be familiar with.
    I think in order to improve maybe there can be new NewsU courses or maybe students can pick the ones that are the most helpful to them. In other words, when one person may be struggling with a topic another may not so maybe they will do a different NewsU. That is what I think could be more helpful but overall I think they are a good idea and it is good to have a refresher. It definitely cannot hurt!

    • October 25, 2012 at 2:19 am

      Chelsea, I definitely agree with you. i think it would a great idea to use a system where maybe students had to do a set number throughout the semester but got to choose the ones that were most beneficial from a set. I think that would allow students to be more personally interested in the topic they are examining in the course. There could be a set of days when students have to bring one in but the topic for that would not be picked. I think this system would also drive students to pay more attention to these instead of brainlessly tabbing through them because they have to be done. Great Idea!

      Also, the one you were talking about with the hidden activities that were needed to complete the course, I thought the same thing. There were a lot of things to do and the site was a little hard to figure out initially but I must say it was the most interactive.

      • October 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        I like those helpful ideas too. There are limited number of free courses so I tried to coordinate with our text.

    • October 25, 2012 at 3:57 am

      I agree with you that there was a lot to learn on the last NewsU Course. I liked that it was very hands on and creative. I also agree with you that the newsu courses aren’t the best learning experience. They tend to give a lot of information so if you study properly, you can learn. They are definitely good as refreshers because there is so much to learn about the PR field and it takes a lot of practice to master all of the concepts. I also missed some things on the last newsu and went back to re-scroll through and realized that I missed a few things. The course was a little confusing in that way. I think you have a good idea with maybe having a course all about press releases and media releases and things we are constantly focusing on in our PR class. I definitely could use more practice with my press releases. You also have a good idea with being able to pick which courses better pertain to you because as I mentioned, I didn’t really like the web design course because I felt it was mostly geared towards people who already have websites and therefore I felt is was kind of irrelevant to me. The course made it seem like they were assuming we had all this experience already without starting from the basics. Also adding more new courses would be beneficial to students because it would help add more variety and maybe focus more on class content like press releases and pitch emails.

    • October 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm


      I think the lead lab was a good course the only reason I was not a big fan of it is because I felt it was all old information. I say this because just this last summer I took the classes that coved this so I felt the course wasn’t giving me anything I didn’t already know. As for your take on allowing students to choose the ones they want, I agree. I think it would be nice to be assigned one a week, and the student gets to choose. I think I would personally like that because after going through the Newsu site there are some courses I would like to take, but like Gina said some you have to pay for and the ones I was looking at that was exactly the case. I do think that Newsu is a wonderful site, I just wish that they offered more content for free.

  4. October 25, 2012 at 2:08 am

    I think that News University is a good program. It offers a lot of information about a wide variety of PR fields from the comfort of home. The courses feel like online chapters to books and they do take some time to complete. I think that the information that is on the courses are for the most part helpful. Sadly, I thought the first course on AP Style was actually kind of fun. It was nice to see what I knew off the top of my head and what I had to look up in the book. The examples and questions were a good mix to help you learn and practice what we had to read. I’ll admit that the second and third NewsU were pretty dry on context and information, but most of the information sticks.

    I think my only gripe with NewsU is the inconsistency between the courses. In the first course there was a lot of good information that was presented in a very simple way with everything divided into a nice section with a quiz at the end. The following two NewsU were just pages of text while the last one we did was an interactive lab. Just the fact that all of the courses are written by different people and they all have different styles is just hard to get used to. You just don’t know what to expect going into the course. However hearing from different people is actually a bonus, it’s just unfortunate that the interaction is completely different with each course.

    • October 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      I completely agree with your post! I’m glad I’m not the only one who found that first one kind of fun. I guess we are just PR nerds. But seriously, with the AP style book just thrown at us, and usually all we get back are press releases with red marks all over, it was nice to actually get some AP practice. I think if more of the courses had practice components I would get more out of them. Also, I agree with you about the inconsistency. I know that it’s because different authors are submitting them, but maybe NewsU could offer a template for quizzing at the end or something. At the same time, I like that they are written by different people because its like we get to learn from dozens of professors.

    • jdotson8
      October 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      I’m not a big fan of the inconsistency either. It would be nice if NewsU stuck to the interactive parts or the challenge-you-on-the-spot like the first course. The information is nice, but it would be more beneficial if it was presented in one way throughout and the presentation didn’t leave you scratching your head. I found the quiz at the end of the first to be very nice, while the other courses lost my interest because they were more reading and less on-the-spot challenging. I was not a big fan of the interactive Lead Lab because I got lost real easy.

      • October 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm

        I completely agree, Ken! the inconsistencies do kind of take away from the whole feel of News U as a learning tool. The fact that some lessons are set up like labs, some as quizzes, and others as pretty reading intensive kind of gives News U a feeling of being quite chaotic. I think there are some who would retain more information if they maybe even took a hybrid style and applied it consistently to all the lessons News U offers. I believe that News U is a great learning tool but there definitely are a few things they could improve on.

    • October 29, 2012 at 12:49 am

      I agree, Ken. I thought the first one was the most useful and interactive. Although it may have been the most annoying one, it did point out tips and rules that are often forgotten or misused. As well this is important for us as soon to be PR professionals. While writing rules are easy to look up online or in the AP style book, it would be a lot easier if we remembered what the right way to do it was.

      I also agree with what you said about each course being different so it is hard to keep up with. This is good and bad. It’s good because then we get to see and learn from different people the aspects that we may have to come across one day. One day we’ll have to be prepared for any situation that may come into our laps. It’s up to us to know which course of action to take.

    • chelseafenwick
      October 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      I agree on the inconsistency Ken, I feel the courses jump back and forth and I don’t really like that. I find some more useful or fun rather than others. I guess it comes down to a matter of opinion because some people really seem to like these NewsU!

  5. October 25, 2012 at 2:10 am

    The NewsU that I will look into with the three pronged approach is the “Cleaning Your Copy” session that we all took in the early portion of the year. I thought that this NewsU in general was very helpful but also very frustrating when you were engaging in it. There is a great wealth of knowledge that I obtained from this lesson. The information regarding the use of numbers and dates in AP style was certainly the most helpful. There are a lot of intricacies involved in this process such as when to spell out a month or when to shorten the name of the month. Also when to use and spell out numbers was included in the lesson. However, the frustrating part of this lesson was also the most educational portion. Punctuation and grammar are the most tedious but also the most important portion of writing. It is always shocking how many rules there are applying to the words and sentences. Finally, the part that I would like to learn more about, is the origin of the AP style and why the AP style chooses to use abbreviations, numbers and pronouns as they do. I think the AP style in regard to journalism and PR is fascinating but very confusing. I am sure there is a reason for the complexity of the system but I would love to know more about it.

    Second, I think that the classes in general thus far have been helpful but I am personally not a fan of online education. I understand the apparent benefits of online education and the positive aspects of self directed learning, however I get the feeling that these are slightly tedious and would be much more successful if they were more interactive. “Cleaning Your Copy” was very interactive and while more frustrating was easier to follow and keep interest in. The following NewsU was not nearly as interactive and lacked the ability to keep my interest. However, as I stated previously, I am not a fan of online education in general. I think these are beneficial just really not intriguing.

    • October 25, 2012 at 4:09 am

      I agree with you about the “cleaning out your copy” newsu. That course was my favorite out of the 3 we have done so far. I felt like it was very helpful and provided a ton of information. The AP style was the most challenging for me because I struggle with AP. It is definitely shocking how many rules there are when It comes to AP style, maybe one day I will be able to master it, there is just so much to know. Online education is definitely a new concept we are all dealing with coming from a generation that didn’t necessarily have computers since day one. I didn’t have a computer in my house until I was about 12 years old. The internet is a great and easily accessible tool but with that comes more hassle at times as well. You have to worry about things freezing, remembering all of your user names and passwords, having login problems, website maintenance problems and sometimes sites just go down for no reason and you could possibly lose all the work you have done and need to start over. I thought the last newsu was interactive and creative, it was just slightly confusing because it was easy to miss parts of the course. I didn’t like the web design course at all and I found the “cleaning your copy” course helpful. I think it would be beneficial to create more different courses such as press release and pitch email tips and practice.

      • jdotson8
        October 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm

        I’d agree with both of you. CYC was the best because it challenged you more than the others and you didn’t feel as bored after reading more than actually doing something. AP style throws me off too, and I think CYC did a good job of teaching you right and wrong in terms of AP.

        The other NewsU courses we’ve taken haven’t left an impression on me, and you both seem to feel the same way. It was nice having the challenge of writing sentences and trying to recall correct things rather than read about leads or the like.

    • October 30, 2012 at 3:13 am

      I agree with you about online education… there seem to be a lot of benefits but I guess it just doesn’t work for me. I do much better in discussion-based education formats rather than “read all this stuff at once and take a test on it”. The NewsU courses definitely have their pros– tons of information, easy to access, free of charge. But you’re right; they’re just really not intriguing at all.

  6. October 25, 2012 at 3:42 am

    So far, I liked the first News University Course the best- Cleaning your copy. To me it seemed to be the most useful, it was pretty hands on because it had little quizzes along the way and it had a lot of different and helpful information. It listed a lot about AP style, which is very useful to me because AP style is challenging and that’s where I struggle the most I think. The way they presented the information in this course was very clear and easy to understand, it was a lot of the basics of PR writing which is always necessary to review. I tend to be a hands on learner, I like to see examples and try things for myself in order to be able to retain information. It is difficult for me to listen to a lecture and retain a lot of information from that. I need repetition and hands on practice.
    I didn’t really like the web design course, mostly because I am not creating a website and a lot of the information in that course was about how to do things if you already have a website. The quiz or two that were in the course were all questions that you would only be able to answer if you had your own website so I thought it could have been set up in a way that would have been more useful and helpful. Also, sometimes people have websites done for them where they maybe just manage and edit things occasionally but have the initial set up done by someone else. The course was assuming that if you did want a website or have one, that you would do everything yourself, which is not always the case.
    The last course I thought was ok- Lead Lab, it definitely provided a lot of information and the set up was kind of fun because it was cartoon-like and you could click on things and scroll around the virtual room. It was creative and interactive.
    My opinion of the courses in general is that they are ok, if you take the time to go through everything, I think they can be useful by providing you with a lot of information about the chapters and vital components of PR. I think that the web design course needs improvement by providing other options that just what to do if you already have a website.

    • October 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm


      I think it’s kind of funny how you and a lot of people in the class did not like the website newsU. It goes to show that people really only care about what’s most relevant to them. Which it explains why I liked it, since I am running the website for my company. I will say I like your point about how most companies don’t have their PR person doing the website. I think this is what makes PR so hard to teach. There are so many avenues, and the profession is so broadly defined, that PR pros end up wearing many hats. As hard as it can be, I try to learn as many different things as I can knowing that it will make me more marketable as a PR professional.


    • October 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      I too like the first News U course we took. The fact that they used quizzes was a little overwhelming at the time but ended up kind of forcing you to kind of pay close attention and helped you retain more because of it. I remember getting soooooo frustrated when I was one correction away from completing my quiz but I did learn quiet a bit from that course.

  7. October 25, 2012 at 5:06 am

    I thought that the Lead Lab, http://www.newsu.org/courses/lead-lab, was one of the more helpful NewsU courses for me as a journalist. I ALWAYS find writing the lead to be the hardest part so it was helpful to finally get some solid pointers. Even though it was information that I’m sure I’ve been taught in class, it was good to see it presented and broken down the way the Lead Lab showed. I was surprised by the myths–maybe because I have learned how to write leads before, I didn’t know that “Never begin a lead with a quote” was something that people are taught. That’s a really good way to hook someone in (and kind of a no-brainer, I think!).

    Over all, I think the Lead Lab was the least boring NewsU course. The Cleaning Your Copy course was SUPER informative but it was just so long and the quiz was finnicky so I just decided I didn’t like it. The website one was so utterly boring that I fell asleep while going through it. I like how interactive the Lead Lab was, even if it was a little cheesy and cartoony. Overall the NewsU courses are really informational but they require quite a bit of self-discipline to get through and sometimes the amount of information can be kind of overwhelming. But they’re a really good resource and I think it’s great that they offer that kind of education, free of charge.

    • October 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      I agree Krystal, I feel like the quiz for Cleaning your copy was a little finicky and it made me like it less, and i also agree it takes self discipline to get though them. In general I think that NewsU is something that can help us in our careers, however sometimes I wonder if i would go out and do this kind of stuff if Gina didn’t make me, but i’m happy i’m doing it now it really does feel like i’m learning a lot.

      It seems like you have a different view point because you are currently a journalist for the echo and you have a lot more journalism style writing experience then i do. I feel that this might make your NewsU lessons have a different impact.

      • October 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm

        I totally agree with what you guys are saying here. I think that sometimes I got frustrated with the length and the quizzes that are so specific with the information we have read several pages of information about. I don’t think this is something I would do without being pressed to by professors, so it is nice to have the chance to do these now, and use them as tools in the future. I also agree with the fact that this a great resource for people to go back to, free of charge!! There are not many sites that do this now, and it is good to know that, if for some reason, in the future if I feel the need to come back and get more practice in or try out other courses it is available for anyone (for now). Also, I suck at writing leads, so having the chance to practice was awesome. I wonder if there are other courses that go over this in the same fashion as the lead lab, just with different stories?

  8. October 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I am responding about the 50 writing tools NewsU http://www.newsu.org/courses/writers-workbench-50-tools-you-can-use
    I felt this NewsU was entirely too long. Each tip was at least a page long adding an extra 50 pages of reading to my homework load. Where most of the courses are interactive, this one felt like a book. I did learn a lot from the course. The author had a lot of good tools to help writers. However I also noticed his style of teaching made it difficult to grasp all of his concepts. For example, he made up phrases for each of his tips that I wouldn’t associate with the content. As I read I kept thinking, “how am I going to remember all these?” They weren’t even numbered. A lot of his content was also contradictory to “the rules” of writing. Now I agree that a skilled writer can break the rules, but for those of us still novices, I don’t know if this was the best thing.
    Overall I have really enjoyed NewsU as a resource for this class. I said so in one of the first blog posts. I would much rather be doing these as assignments than getting more quizzes or papers. It is nice because we get to see other professional’s perspectives. I tend to enjoy the more interactive ones, and I always appreciate it when I feel the course offers training in areas the book or class doesn’t cover. I do not like re-learning the same material over and over again. Out of all of them, I did not like the one I mentioned above, or the photography one (http://www.newsu.org/courses/language-image) mostly because I don’t think it helped with the assignment. Yes it was good for learning how to catch elements to make a good photo, but it didn’t really tie photography back to PR. The rest of the courses I found to be very helpful and I would use them again next semester.

  9. jdotson8
    October 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    The NewsU courses have an interesting purpose – trying to get people to be better writers – but some of the courses we’ve taken so far have left me a little bored. I liked the interactivity of the first course we had (Clean your copy), how it made you practice things. I’m more of an on-the-spot learner and I don’t really care for the interactive stuff like on the Lead Lab. Don’t get me wrong – NewsU is a great tool. But, at least in my own experience with it, some of the other courses we’ve done feel like journalism 101 and it’s not challenging me enough.


  10. October 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    So far I have only completed the three required Newu’s, and so far I haven’t been a big fan of them. If I had to choose the best one out of the three it would be the functional web design for today’s news audiences.


    I think this course gives you some real helpful tools. I really liked how it showed tips on how to analyze a site’s strengths and weaknesses, and How to avoid information overload. I think these can be very helpful for not just public relations professional but for anyone who goes on the web. The course broke it down into really easy to read and follow steps. What surprised me about this course was how short it was compared to the others, not necessarily short in time length but in its content. This is one course that I would have liked to have a little more information.

    As for Newu as a whole, I am not a huge fan of it. Mainly because of the first course we did, I feel bad even posting the link for you guys to see again.


    I know I haven’t completed all of the courses yet, so my opinion could change. Two out of the three I have completed have been more confusing than helpful. I just think that some of the courses try to make it fun and forget about the content. Like I said before though it could get better, I have only completed three of the courses.

    • October 30, 2012 at 3:04 am

      I think it’s interesting that you liked the functional web design course because I HATED IT! I thought it was super boring. But I did notice as well that the content didn’t go as in-depth as it could have (for which I am grateful, but I guess it makes sense for you to be disappointed since it interested you the most). That being said, it sounds like we’re all on the same page…. NewsU is great in theory but preeeettttyyy boring in practice. I hope that the later courses are a bit more exciting, but I guess we’ll just have to see. Hopefully Gina isn’t super depressed that we are all bashing her assignment 🙂

  11. October 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I have had the opportunity to use both the NewsU courses and the Inbound Marketing courses. As you all know NewsU uses readings and interactive quizzes to allow us to expand our writing skills. In my opinion NewsU has some real good stuff, however there have been some courses I have liked better then others.

    First I would like to say that I think the “Cleaning Your Copy” NewsU was much more effective then the website one. I feel I was able to learn more through the interactive format, while the Website NewsU had interactive aspects I feel it was not enough to keep my attention and I often found I was rushing through so it would get done.

    On the comparison of NewsU to its counterpart Inbound Marketing I would have to say I like Inbound Marketing better. Which, if you have ever used inbound marketing, is weird because it is completely not interactive. However I think the people that speak are exciting and always bring up great topics.

    • October 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      I would agree that inbound marketing can be very informative. I actually enjoy the videos and listening to the speeches that the professors or professionals give, and connecting them to the homework assignment after. As I said in my post, I love how relevant these pieces are to what we are learning or what we will be doing in the future. Presenting work for a future client or creating an idea and deciding how to get the news out about it will be things we will be required to do in the future, so it is nice to get some practice in it now! I thought the Cleaning Your Copy course was a great learning experience too, but a lot of it was memorizing what you had read in a short period of time, which is why I enjoyed the Lead Lab course a bit more. It focused on going through the ideas right away, and bringing them up repeatedly to help you understand and retain the information.

  12. October 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Lead lab was my favorite NewsU course so far this semester. https://www.newsu.org/courses/lead-lab I really liked how interactive it was, and own it allowed us to create our own leads after we had been through all the lessons, and compare them to other people’s leads would had also taken the course. I learned a lot about how to write a lead, and how to be a journalist at the same time. Since I am a journalist minor, this was petty familiar to me, but it was nice to have a refresher and use my skills and previous knowledge to complete this assignment. As I went through this course, I was surprised when reading about the myths of leads. I had not heard some of them prior to this assignment, so it was interesting to see what many people see as truths, when in fact that ate simply myths.
    I would love to practice leads more! I do not feel it is a strong skill I possess, and would love to practice it more before I end up at a job position where it is expected of me to know how to write awesome leads.
    I have used NewsU in the past in one of my journalism courses, and I find them to be a great way to incorporate a different aspect to the courses themselves. They have many relevant courses that you can go through, and I love that they are another resource we can go back to in the future if we run across these questions in the future. The only downside to some of these is there is a lot of reading involved in some of them, and those courses can seem like they go on forever. The readings are informative, but sometimes I wish they were not as lengthy.

    • October 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm


      Lead lab was my favorite course too! I think leads are probably one of the hardest things to write as a PR writer. If we don’t catch the reader’s attention in the first few seconds of reading, the rest of the article (no matter how great it may be) is donezo. The myths surprised me too and I really appreciated the amount of thought that went into developing this course. Perhaps NewsU sometimes tries to cram too much into one segment. Sometimes I space out for a bit and realize I’m still on the same page. (haha) I think it could improve by cleaning things up a bit and making the courses a shorter and more succinct.


      • November 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm


        I agree the lead lab was my favorite course too. I also agree leads are annoying to get right. Coming up them is annoying there so many rules when writing leads. But like the course brought out it is important that we catch the reader attention quickly. Which all goes back to knowing the audience we are writing for and what would possibly catch their attention. There can be a lot reading with these newsu sometimes they say the same thing in a different section i guess to show the importance of something. But its annoying. I agree they could be shorter and too the point and still a great lesson.


    • October 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      Ok, I agree Rachel, I feel that the readings get monotonous. After so long I automatically begin skimming for important stuff only, and the thing is that almost all the information is important. Like the myths about leads, that was great information! At first, I felt that they couldn’t be write, but after I thought about it, they were right on for making great “Non-student-like” stories.

      As for leads, I suffer from crazy writer’s block all the time, and it’s usually because I am writing a story and struggling to come up with a lead. So I felt that this NewsU was awesome. I even liked how it broke down the varieties of leads that we can use.

    • November 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm


      I do feel we should practice leads more. after that course i realize how much i had forgotten from intro to journalism. I didn’t realize there was that many types of leads. I agree we need to practice them more in our classes. I feel we do not write as much as we should as journalist sometimes we need to keep going over things. you know they say practice make prefect! I agree the reading get boring and i too being to skim through i think will be important and move on to the next section. sadly i have notice my attention span has gotten even shorter! 😦


  13. October 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I found the first course we did on News U to be my favorite. I didn’t do well by any means but I really like learning about AP style. It’s almost a separate language that PR professionals and journalism professionals speak in. I find myself critiquing many things I read now and while I am far from fluent in it, I really do enjoy learning about it and feel like I get better with it everyday.


    As for News U in general, I really don’t do well with online learning tools. I have learned this through a couple failed attempts at online course while here at EMU. Even with this blog, I need to make it a top priority or it will simply slip by me. That being said, I have made it a challenge to myself not let any News U’s or blogs pass by for the rest of this semester.

    • October 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm


      I love the challenge you gave yourself! I agree, sometimes it is difficult to remember to check various websites and keep up with everything. But think about it this way, as a PR practitioner you will most likely be juggling so many things on a daily basis that you won’t even have a minute to catch your breath. Managing websites and course tools are great ways to slowly help prepare us for the big scary world out there. Do you have an iphone? You can create alerts that go off on the days you need to write a blog or complete a NewsU course…that’s what I do and it helps me stay on task!


  14. October 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    The NewsU courses have so far all been very different, which is good! I like that we are able to look, learn and listen about many aspects that will be applied one day to our jobs. I personally liked the first one the best because I felt it was the most interactive and effective. Punctuation, spelling, style and grammar are important for all PR practitioners to learn. It may be annoying or tedious but it is essential for us to know. The more practice we do with writing will take less time in the future if you are unsure what the proper way the word is spelling or how to use it. From this NewsU I learned a lot actually, a little bit from each section. It all helped as a reminder to because I don’t get quizzed everyday on what I know already without studying for something.

    What surprised me was how bad I did on the initial quiz! I didn’t too terrible but in each section I had missed some that I had to think about, like, why is this wrong? I had been taught it all in the past but over the years without practice it gets lost.

    The AP style book does come in handy, I keep one in my book bag at all times. With AP writing there are so many rules that there’s no way one can learn and know all the rules in such a short period of time. It’s important to have something to fall back on in case you are unsure because you don’t want another professional to read over your work and not take it seriously because there are errors that are obvious to them, but not to the everyday reader. For this particular course I would like to know more about it all so I wouldn’t have to use the AP style book quite as often.


  15. October 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Oh NewsU! At first I was totally bummed when I heard about it. NewsU meant that, on top of the usual “Gina Work Load” for this course, which is generally more than sufficient to keep me busy : ), we were going to be participating in the online courses also.

    After the first lesson however, which was the one about AP style, I realized that these could help. My favorite NewsU thus far was the Lead Lab:


    I enjoyed this lesson far more than the others. Why? Because I suffer from a serious case of writer’s block, all the time. With my releases and stories; if I could just conjure up a good lead I could get it all done in no time. That is why it was cool to learn about the different types of leads, and their respective functions. I liked how the interface was easy to use (even if it was a little cheesy). And the part where you got story notes and then wrote 2 types of leads that were representative of two Lead-Styles we just learned about was pretty cool.

    I think that it does work if it is taken seriously. I did not take the second NewsU seriously and as a result, I cannot remember much from it at all. I do think that it serves a purpose, and I can see that they have been selected for their beneficial nature…they just require something that very few of us college students have all the time-self discipline : ]

    • October 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      I have not done the NewsU lead course yet but I think I will find this one helpful to me as well. Sometimes I just can’t find the words that I want to say that will be the best way to pull the reader in. Sometimes it’s just the practice you need to make your writing better.
      The second NewsU was confusing to me as well, about the website building. At the beginning it asked where I was at with my website. Since I don’t have a website at all I could not find the tips useful. It could be useful to something one day. Or possibly our final project, of the online media center.
      At least each course is different and is about different topics of the media and writing world. It sounds like the class is all on the same page that we weren’t able to find all courses useful or interesting but were able to connect with one of them. This makes sense because we’re not all alike and have different styles of writing.

      • October 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm

        You too Katie? I kept thinking, “I don’t have a website!” But then I just decided to pretend I had one and answer the questions as if that were true & it was much easier. Well I totally agree with your perspective on NewsU, and how it caters differently to different students. That is the key to these I think, you get out of them what you put in. I haven’t looked at the next one, but I am sure I will find something worthwhile in there. For me the key is to schedule a time when I am going to get to it. If I don’t, then I am going to rush and not get as much.

  16. November 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Anytime a teacher as us to sign up for an online program instantly get annoyed. For many reason but one is often there are a lot emails annoyingly feeling my inbox. Plus by this being the third class i am having with Gina i know her work load can be overwhelming at times.

    Thus far i have enjoyed the https://www.newsu.org/courses/lead-lab. I felt it was a refresh course of intro to journalism. Sometimes i forget the manly types of leads there are , how and when they should be used. I must admit i am not good a writing leads that has always been a weakness of mines as a journalist.

    I did not enjoy the web design newsu. I was not sure as to what i was suppose to taking away from this lesson. Was not sure how i was to apply it to current classes i attending. it was very annoying. I get why you would want us to take the course but the course itself was for someone who currently had a website.

    While doing newsu i found it be confusing at with the pretest then the being a test during every section then there a final test. the way it set could been set up clearer for users. i had some issue printing the course report in the beginning.

    I think if we covered each newsu in class as a guide i think its use will be more effective. But all in all i think its an ok program.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: