The First Big Step–It’s in Docs! by Debbie Bagnato

Now I want to let you all know, that the actual first big step was trying to re-write an Aristophanes play. Me. Lady who works in Shoprite and went back to college (after having a family) on a dare to get her son to try college himself. So, if that "step" of taking  classic piece isn't intimidating enough, I have now been so brazen with my words (in place of his highly revered ones) and put them into a document. This document says "Lysistrata Revisited" and that is exactly what my version is doing. In truth though, I really love this play, and my adaptation suggests no disservice but a sort of homage to this man, from another time, who held such humor, talent, grace, understanding of humanity and exceptional foresight. So, I don't think he would be angry at having his concept brought to my setting albeit a supermarket is such an unusual place for a play. The transfer from paper and pen to Docs was very scary, as time-consuming (if not moreso) than the original creation. But it has morphed in its transition and will continue to do so. As I would share my writing progress with coworkers--many of whom are in this piece if only through their personalities, their enthusiasm and desire to be included--in any small way--was delightfully encouraging. In truth, I work with lots of men and women, but am in contact (in the office) with mostly the female side of the store. That is how the idea evolved for a play set in Shoprite--the center of everything is the upstairs office which overlooks the entire store. So it is now--in my play--the Acropolis. I did begin my next scene; unfortunately, I have not been able to work on it for a couple of days so now I need to review before I continue. I have noticed that sometimes it is better to step back for a minute--then when I go back to writing, I'll pick up on things I didn't catch before. Sometimes, it will be the way I wrote a section that does not click or seems unnatural. By walking away for a day or two I can be more objective and see where something does not gel. Or if a section is better than I thought I'm able to see it (and be relieved). Many of the things that make this adaptation easy to set in my workplace have been very apparent this entire week--it has been a horrible week filled with men trying to one-up each other and we women being treated like the women in ancient Greece may have been--if they worked for Shoprite. I am exhausted as I have worked 10-12 hour days all week in an effort to get my department on track/ cleaned up, and reported on to all the appropriate parties. Unfortuntely, my efforts seemingly have gone unnoticed, or are considered not good enough (I am a woman) much like the story goes in Lysistrata. Fuel for writing my play, that is what I tell myself while I try to stay awake and coherent as I edit...
On a happier note, I am moving forward and just found several great essays/ articles on the topics Dr. Zamora suggested for my research. I will read as much as I can online and probably print them out--you guys know I like to have the paper in front of me while I work so I can write on it. Next, I need to pick the ones that will help me in my process and then try to organize the works cited. But I think I am getting ahead of myself and that is never productive. So enough on my work to do and now to get to it! Hope everyone is having a successful journey with their thesis and making the progress they need to make...until next time. :-)

Week 3 – 5

I began reading that student paper that I mentioned in the last post, and I instantly regret it. It is very good. I am a bit intimidated, and I have decided to save it for a later date. I am nervous about reading what a peer wrote, and having it influence the direction of my paper too much. Sharing ideas and collaborating is great, but in this instance, it kind of feels like cheating to me, so I will hold off a bit more before giving it a serious read.

It has been slower going than anticipated. I have 11 pages, so I should be on track for my 15 page goal for October 20, but I thought that, by now, I would be in the middle of revisions, not still composing. But all is well as long as I keep moving.

Currently, I am working on "The Effects of 'No'", which is where I prove/disprove my thesis. I have found some evidence of support-- 1 article so far-- but obviously, I am going to look for more. Probably at least 3. In which, I will do a moderate-to-deep-analysis of the material. As of right now, I have 2 written pages about a portion of the material, and hope to write another 2. And then, after I find another 2 sources, I hope for 2 - 3 pages for each of those; totaling roughly 8 - 10 pages for  this section. I feel that is sufficient for the section that pertains the most and most directly to my thesis, although the first 9 pages have been building up to this.

After that, I plan to discuss the modernization of censorship. Internet server bans and the SOPA and PIPA legislations that never went through have recently caught my attention. I think this will be a good connector between the "old" and "new" issues of censorship, and that can segway into the political aspects I pal to discuss (specifically the right to speech and all that good stuff).

I am still on the fence about using APA or MLA. I am inclined to use APA because (1) I have already done a good chunk of the paper in APA because it didn't occur to me that that might not be suitable until recently, (2) my lit review is also in APA, and changing to MLA, I feel, would be like having to do a completely new lit review, and (3) I used it almost exclusively during my undergrad (psych minor), so I am more familiar with it at this point than I am with MLA (ironically). Dr. Zamora has recommended that I use MLA, given the topic of the paper and the tone MLA would set for it, but I am still conflicted over it. I feel obligated as an English major to use MLA, but in practice, I find APA so much easier. Also, given I am doing a research paper using only secondary sources and no research of my own, I feel that APA adds a certain authoritative feel to the work. That probably exists 99% in my own head, but it's where I am so far on the issue.

Finally, the website is coming along. The main issue I'm encountering here is the main menu design. Should I make a series of tabs and drop down menus? Or should I make it a walkthrough type site, where you have to pass through each section to reach the next? It is a non-issue, really. Basically I'm torn between this:

                                                                            or this:

Thesis Progress (10/7)

I apologize for being a little late on this post. My research over the past week focused on pedagogy, trying to determine the best way to teach students about the new brand of journalism that I'm looking into,  The first thing we need to understand is more about the students we are focusing on.  We are focused on the younger audiences, both as creators and consumers of news. A symposium at Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication in 2011 described these people as "convergent" thinkers - interested in news, even if it's only a scrap here or there, looking for visual and audio components as well and not necessarily interested in the longer, in-depth read that their parents and grandparents like. They point out that the audiences are so still emerging and that it's difficult to draw conclusions as of yet, but there are some new attempts at teaching with the idea of the "convergent" audience in mind. One possible approach allows the students to guide learning, instead of the teachers who, frankly, may struggle more to be in front of trends. We can allow students to make discoveries through "self-guided experimentation and innovation with multiplatform storytelling, sharing discoveries with each other on digital platforms." This is interesting but it does little to enforce any hard and fast guidelines,,,, unless we determine that the old guidelines no longer apply. When I looked into current curriculum at some of the top universities, I found that much of it focused on what I considered traditional journalistic lessons - fact-gathering, reporting, interviewing, media analysis, etc, Digital media seemed to be only a sidebar in the classes, and not all of them contained a digital component, This seems to be like it ignores the emerging trends. I found another article that shared this view, in which the author argued that digital literacy should be the foundation of journalistic study, with lessons about writing, reporting and editing wrapped around the digital course. Taking this one step further, I looked into ideas for bringing a deeper understanding of social media into journalism education, A study by Stephanie Bor looks more deeply at this question, laying out suggestions for pedagogy while arguing that current journalism educators have been hesitant to embrace the new technology. My initial investigations seem to bear this out, This study is one I plan to dig into more deeply. To underscore the need to look at social media and its role in how people consume the news, we can see in the latest Pew Study of Journalistic trends that 38% of people say they get their news from digital sources, while another 18% get it from social media. Together, they nearly match the 57% of people that get their news from traditional television. This information can help provide a foundation for my thesis in that it can demonstrate why a deeper study is needed into pedagogies for teachers who want to understand how to reach these social media and digital audiences, particularly when it comes to getting them their news, This is just the start of my look at pedagogies, but already I have found several sources worthy of deeper study as I try to get an idea of how I would like to pursue my own thesis.