Instructions for Your Blog

Task. Produce a blog in which you take a position that connects locally with a debate about free speech. Your blog should be appropriate for publication on a reputable news source’s blog such as The New York Times, or NPR Ed. Use ethos, logos, and/or pathos appeals in a way that you think will be effective with the local, targeted audience you’re addressing and that will persuade your readers to accept new information or insights, change their beliefs or attitudes about this issue, or prompt them to take some kind of action. To help you construct an effective ethos, you’ll need to find and use at least three relevant, credible outside sources. Conduct your own library research to do so. You’ll also want to format your text to look like your intended publication.We will be deciding on some of this as a class.

Audience and purpose.You will be writing this blog for your fellow students at UT. Remember, too, that there’s a difference between readers or viewers who happen upon your text and the particular audience for whom you target your message. You may get some visits from students at other universities, faculty, or the general public. As noted above, your purpose is to persuade your audience—to change their minds or attitudes, to take some action, or to accept new information or insights (RC 24).

Tips. Keep the following tips in mind as you compose your public argument.

  • Consult Rhetorical Choices chapters 7-11 on composing arguments and chapters 12 and 13 on writing for public audiences. Part of your grade will be based on your effective use of rhetorical strategies to accomplish your persuasive purpose.
  • Be sure to establish some common ground with your targeted readers. This is a more informal assignment than our previous papers, so you can use images, videos, hyperlinks, and humor as you see fit to accomplish your purpose.
  • Keep your rhetorical situation in mind. Who is your intended public audience? Why did you choose them? Is this audience capable of changing the situation that you’re concerned about? What does your audience value/consider important?
  • Keep your rhetorical purpose in mind. What do you want your readers to feel, know, believe, or do as a result of reading [or viewing] your public argument?
  • Keep your own ethos in mind. How credible/knowledgeable do you seem when talking about your sources?
    • Have you selected supporting passages and evidence from your sources that will be persuasive to your intended readers?
    • Have you integrated your sources effectively into your argument (including appropriate use of paraphrasing and quotation)?
    • Are you accurate in your use of MLA format for parenthetical citations and your Works Cited page?

A note about citing sources. You are expected to use parenthetical citations and provide a Works Cited page, even though doing so may not be common in the publication type you are using as a model. Include a copy of the outside sources you found through your own research and used in your paper, place these in a folder with your reflective essay.

Requirements. As you compose your public argument, be sure to meet the following requirements:

  • Rough Draft Due: 11/28/16
  • Final Draft Due: 12/8/16
  • Length: 800-1000 words
  • Formatting: Follow the convention of our blog for font type and size, column set-up, line spacing (basically, don’t change the default).
  • For the reflective essay: Identify your intended audience and rhetorical purpose (e.g., “My goal is to persuade [specific audience] to [choose one: feel/know/believe/or do] X.”) at the end of your argument or on a separate sheet.

Reflective Essay Guidelines. In a 2-page addressed memo to me, please respond to the following questions. (Will be graded with check/check plus, etc., like homework grading.)

  • Who is your target audience, and why did you choose them? What do members of this discourse community value?
  • What was your rhetorical purpose?
  • Describe and evaluate your rationale for how you used the rhetorical strategies you chose: how do you think your ethos, logos, and pathos appeals will affect your selected public audience and help you accomplish your persuasive purpose?
  • Through this project, what did you learn about writing [or composing]? How does this new knowledge about writing [or composing] connect to what you previously knew about writing [or composing]? How did this project add to your understanding of genre and audience?
  • What did you struggle with most in this project?
  • What do you want to remember to apply to future assignments and situations?




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