Friday, September 19, 2014

Class Notes - September 18, 2014

Setting the tone:  Surrender by Cheap Trick.  I'd make up some class significance for the song, but I'm up against a deadline.

Intro! Urban Outfitters

We began with a discussion of the "vintage" blood-stained Kent State sweatshirt that Urban Outfitters put on sale the other week.

UO apparently has a history of immoral/offensive strategic decisions designed to boost publicity (shirts glorifying eating disorders, mental disorders, etc.).  We discussed whether or not all publicity actually is good publicity, specifically when scandals like this are likely to alienate a large portion of the U.S. population.

Prof's take on this for his PR firm's blog:

We decided it was difficult to understand their motivation; hypothetically, actions like these would only shrink their market.  We considered that a defining trait of UO's target demographic (young teens?) could be that they just doesn't care about being sensitive about painful issues.


Prof. Piacente projected some of our leads from last class to review.

We went over some basic rules of comma usage ("Let's eat, Grandma!" "Let's eat Grandma!").

We were then assigned to write leads for one of three stories.  A few of our generation's heroes then volunteered to project their leads on the screen for the class to gently dismember.  Piacente shocked the class by suggesting use of the word "chatty" in a lead.  Apparently, leads can be cute, when appropriate.

Homework!  First guest speaker next week: Taylor Shapiro, with the Washington Post.  The assignment is to read two articles he’s written (he used to do obituaries, now covers VA schools) and to come up with two questions you will ask in class that you can’t find the answer to online, aka something that you need the person to answer the question (writing choices, etc.).  "Stump him."

We were also given two grammar worksheets to complete.

Peace out.

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