Visit Me at The Fregetarian Times

9 Oct

It’s official. The Fregetarian Times is up and running! Check it out, and join me as I attempt to give readers thought-provoking viewpoints, tips and much-needed info on how to live like a fregetarian.

The Fregetarian Times

6 Oct

Last week’s assignment required us to identify a publication for which we would create online content. Hmmmm… which publication to choose? Rather than going the expected route, I went a little renegade and made up a publication of my own – The Fregetarian Times.

What exactly is The Fregetarian Times? To give you an overview of The Fregetarian Times, what it is, who it appeals to, who it serves, what it offers and how it’s unique, I’ve made an outline and answered some questions to help explain the idea. Let’s start with my point of view.

What is the FT and what’s its point of view?

The Fregetarian Times is a lifestyle blog and an in-depth look at food consumption in America. Totally dedicated to the vegetarian movement and its steadily growing culture of food-conscience consumers, this blog attempts to explore what it means to eat vegetarian and make the deliberate choice between eating meat or not. And that’s not all. The Fregetarian Times takes vegetarianism to a whole new level by adding a meat-eating caveat – if it’s free, you can eat it.

The blog will offer relevant, timely, valuable, thought-provoking and entertaining information to an audience of food-focused enthusiasts who are dedicated and passionate about living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Who is my audience?
The Fregetarian Times will appeal to a wide audience looking for unique, pertinent and easily understood information about vegetarianism and sustainable food trends. It will appeal to foodies, food and health advocates, social activists, DIY-ers as well as those attracted to content addressing economic, social and environmental reform.

The blog will attempt to attract an audience fitting these user demographics:

  • Occupation – College students (both undergraduate and graduate) and the following industry professionals

> Public health

> Agriculture

> Urban farming

> Environmental sustainability

> Culinary arts, hospitality and food services

> Social sciences

> Health care

> Fine arts

  • Interest – Based on what I found by researching blogs and websites that focus on similar subject matter, The Fregetarian Times will likely appeal to educated individuals with an interest in personal or integrated health, food trends, social and environmental issues
  • Gender – Male and female
  • Geography & Culture– The blog will primarily appeal to Americans and other western cultures, especially those facing similar social norms and eating habits; The Fregetarian Times will largely focus on local and regional subjects or issues
  • News consumers – Primarily, The Fregetarian Times will appeal to tech savvy readers who enjoy consuming online information via blogs, twitter, Facebook and other forms of digital media
  • Age range – 20 to 40
  • Educational background – College degree and higher

Read on to learn more about the blog’s audience and how The Fregetarian Times will attempt to meet their needs.

What kind of website is The Fregetarian Times?

Our textbook, Writing For Digital Media, Brian Carroll (Routledge) encourages us to consider the kind of site for which we’re developing content. With this in mind, I’ve outlined how The Fregetarian Times will engage its audience.

The Fregetarian Times is designed to inform and provide a sensory-rich experience for readers. Through show-and-tell style reporting, the blog will focus on what fuels the decisions we make as a culture when it comes to what we put on our plate, while encourage readers to consider what they consume on a regular basis.

Content will aim to mix informative and thought-provoking writing with multimedia resources through photography, video, graphics, charts, sound bites or whatever multimedia can be gathered to tell a quality story.

Content will balance a lighthearted, playful and entertaining tone with one that seriously considers the economic and social dilemmas we face as meat-consuming Americans.

In addition to exploring food waste, consumption and cost, The Fregetarian Times will feature step-by-step instructional narratives, how-to videos and opinion-based features that attempt to rouse reader curiosity and educate them on what it means to be “fregetarian”.

To provide an informative and engaging experience for users, content will merge relevant websites, blogs, news articles, interviews, multimedia and other important resources through hypertextual information and webbification.

A blogroll of likeminded sites and a list of pertinent, novel and valuable online resources will also be listed for readers to click through as desired.

How will content fitting and quality of information be used to satisfy users?

Information Quality (IQ) categories (see page 4) are used widely in the practice of writing for the variety of digital media. These qualities help evaluate the “fitness” of content users pursue. Our text describes content fitness as, “… how the information you present might fit into the larger puzzle that your audience is trying to fit together over time …”

The Fregetarian Times will seek to provide information that hits on a variety of dimensions found in the Contextual IQ category:

  • Relevancy
  • Value-added
  • Timeliness
  • Completeness
  • Amount

Other dimensions will include:

  • Ease of understanding
  • Believability

Here’s more – the blog’s content will fit a culture of readers eager to learn about living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. The Fregetarian Times will serve as a useful and credible source to an audience looking for relevant info that impacts and affects their own lives by providing easily understood and articulately presented how-to’s, best practices, resource sharing and informative storytelling.

What kind of info is my audience looking for and what exactly will the FT offer?
The typical Fregetarian Times reader is looking for a blog that entertains as well as informs. This blog is designed to hit both marks. The blogs poses to satisfy readers with quick, efficient and pleasing information, and depending on the post, what to do or how to do it. The platform is both advice-driven and investigative. Whether looking for something new to learn or thought-provoking viewpoints that resonate with their own, The Fregetarian Times aims to give readers applicable information on how to live cheaper, better, healthier and smarter.

Below is a list of potential story ideas emphasizing information about fregetarianism:

  • Food consumption
  • Food waste
  • Food cost
  • In general, the benefits of enjoying a fregetarian diet – health, money saved, impact on environment, cost savings
  • Urban farming
  • The controversy and social implications of eating vegetarian
  • Stereotypes of eating vegetarian
  • What it’s like to depart from the classic American/meat-and-potato diet and consume a vegetable-based one
  • Look at economics of food consumption and agriculture in America
  • Explore other cultures that embrace vegetarianism
  • Info about vegetarianism – what it is, definitions, different kinds, history in America and other western cultures
  • Comment on current news coverage relevant to sustainable food trends
  • Vegetarian recipes
  • Vegetarian product reviews – packaged food, cookbooks, recipes, substitutes, etc.
  • Did-you-know food facts related to plant-based diets

How will the audience engage with each other and me, the author?

  • Social media  – Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Digg, Stumble Upon and Reddit
  • User comments
  • Questions posed to readers meant to engage, start and continue conversation

What style formats and conventions will the FT use?

For style formatting and writing consistency, The Fregetarian Times will use the AP Stylebook and on occasion Wired Style: Principals of English Usage in a Digital Age.

The Fregetarian Times will use WordPress.com as its blog hosting software. The blog can be found by visiting www.fregetariantimes.com.

Dear Diary, hello again.

18 Sep

Learning to write right for digital media is all about a little thing our professor, Daren likes to call “webbifying”. While I’m quickly learning what it takes to please an impatient audience looking for a good web read, sometimes I need a little help. So I handed over my Dear Diary blog post to my writing partner, Ashlie to shed some light on how to keep my readers happy. While Ashlie edited, I pondered how to better present my post in a way that entertains the whole way through.

Dear Diary:  Take two…

……………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

This blog post is for the teacher, mother, mentor or doting family member of all the budding young writers out there. Encourage your little loved ones to write. It’s the best gift you can give… that, and a diary with an extra strong lock.

In short: Write for you, only you…and on occasion the bill-paying boss.

I was four years old the first time I wrote my name. I sat cross-legged on the living room floor under the blocky coffee table my father proudly purchased at a garage sale. Red crayon in hand, I methodically mimicked the loops and lines of the letters seen on the preschool chalkboard.

E. Be careful. This one has three railroad tracks.

M. This one looks mean! Mwhaaaahaaaahaaaa!

I. Down. That’s an easy one.

L. Down and over. Easy too!

Y.  It’s a V with a tail.

I still remember the sense of achievement as I stared down at the blue construction paper and realized what I had done. There, scrawled in ragged red crayon strokes was my name, Emily. From then on I wrote on everything – notebooks, magazines, newspapers, walls and on occasion, furniture. I was forever sold. Writing was my unique gift, and one that I opened with joy.

Seven years later, my best friend Rachel gave me a green, hard-backed journal for my eleventh birthday. It was the best gift I got that year. The rest of the presents piled high on the kitchen table faded as I turned one perfectly gold-lined page over the next. I closed the journal, flipping it over for a full inspection. Wide-eyed, I marveled at the equestrian hunting scene screen-printed on its hard front cover. It was awesome. It had a built-in ribbon that would bookmark the pages of my best-kept secrets.

I can barely recall the details of that 11th birthday party my mother so carefully planned, but I do remember this; the moment the cake was eaten and streamers pulled down, I was writing in that diary. Again with red crayon, I branded it mine, “If lost please return to” inscribed on the inside cover. That diary was mine. It was official.

Now, at age 28, I find it daunting to write for just myself. My thoughts, feelings and emotions about the day don’t exactly pay the bills or command notoriety. Instead, I push life’s irrelevant details aside with a half-guilty conscience, wondering occasionally what my 11-year-old self would think. Admittedly, I’m a little ashamed. What’s the point of hanging your shiniest tool on the workshop wall if only to admire it’s sharpness from time to time?

As I grow older, I aspire to write more. “This year I resolve to start writing,” always wins in a match against weight loss. Who would have thought it took a tuition check to finally start?

There is still a part of me that reaches for my diary to record the simple and honest words I once did as little girl. Inevitably, something gets in the way. I wish it wouldn’t. Maybe the best place to start is with this:

Dear Diary,

I’m too busy to write, and I don’t know what to say. My bills are due and my cat just peed on the rug. Check in later.

Emily

Nothing heavy, but at least it’s honest. And that’s better than nothing. These are the cold, hard facts that make our lives worth reliving as we thumb through the old dusty pages of our diary. If I don’t start with this, I fear I’ll completely forget those details in one fell swoop of a busy schedule. I can see it now. I’m an old woman, wizened and gray, my memory misty from the cloud of old age that hangs over my stooped shoulders. The only savior of my fading memory is my beloved diary. For this reason, I must write.

To provoke inspiration in his students, Daren asked our class to reflect on our earliest writings. Dear diary immediately came to mind.

With searchlight turned on, I dug through piles of me memorabilia hoping to uncover my old journal. And there it was, at the bottom of an old cardboard box, next to my R.L. Stine collection. To entertain you all; a passage of my childhood memoir in all its glory.

February 2, 1994

Dear Diary,

Hi! I’m in my bedroom being punished for nothing. My stupid brother and sister were teasing me again and calling me the dumbest name in history!!! Stumbalina! I gotta go!

……………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

April 9, 1994

Dear Diary,

Yesterday my family went to the Ortelle’s and their son Mike and I got in a fight. I’ll tell you EXACTLY what happened:

First, everybody was throwing snowballs at each other, and I hit one in Mike’s face. It hurt him. He pushed me, and then I pushed him back. After, he pushed me again, he tried to punch me two or three times, but I dodged them all. Then my brother started harassing Mike. Then Mike *kissed me. It didn’t even hurt. I was so steaming, so I punched him then kicked him in the shin. Then he kicked me in the knee and it hurt so bad. I fell on the road and hit my knee again. I know I tore something. I just know it.   

Emily

*I think I meant kicked me. I vividly remember the little jerk walloping me in the knee with his rollerblade. To this day, this is the only fight I’ve ever been in.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

While in search of dear diary, I stumbled upon a poetry book I wrote for an English class assignment in the seventh grade. Like my diary, I poured myself into school assignments that challenged my writing. So, for our next round; writings from The Best & Worst Times of Poetry, by Emily Graban, May 10, 1996, Mrs. Middelton’s Class 7A7 (whatever that means). I would like to mention that I got an A+ on this beauty. Shocking considering I called Mrs. Middelton “cray”, 7th grade vernacular for crazy, in my prologue.

Oh Bury Me Not Under A Tree

 Oh bury me not under a tree

These words came high and happily

From the ruby red lips

Of a girl who lay

On her fluffy bed one day.

Oh bury me not under a tree

Where the squirrels run wild with jubilee

In a narrow hole just six by three,

Oh bury me not under a tree.

 

Oh bury me not under a tree

Where the children play over me,

Where the robin sails and the wind blows free,

Oh bury me not under a tree.

 

And they didn’t bury me under a tree

‘Cause I haven’t died yet mournfully.

But the squirrels still run and the children play free.

And I won’t be buried under a tree.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

These samples are my first attempts at writing about a subject of which I know best – the subject of me. My collection of confessions and juvenile poetry prove a past love for something I now take for granted and wish I wouldn’t. So I leave readers with this – I, Emily Graban, red crayon in hand, resolve to write more. Not just about work, not just about school, but about me.

In his classic essay, How to Write with Style, Kurt Vonnegut writes, “It is the genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”

Well-said Vonnegut. I’m still trying to figure our my own unique voice. But that’s where this class comes in. Perhaps my writing style will grow with the clarity I gain from writing for myself. Not for the paycheck, the grade or notoriety, but for the shear hilarity of reading and remembering many years later.

The Best and Worst Times of Poetry

About the Author: The Best & Worst Times of Poetry, Emily Graban

Dear Diary, help this writer write.

5 Sep

This blog post is for the teacher, mother, mentor or doting family member of all the budding young writers out there. Encourage your little loved ones to write. It’s the best gift you can give…That, and a diary with an extra strong lock.

In short: Write for you, only you…and on occasion the bill paying boss. 

I was four years old the first time I wrote my name. I sat crossed legged on the living room floor under the blocky coffee table my father proudly purchased at a garage sale. Red crayon in hand, I methodically mimicked the loops and lines of the letters seen on the preschool chalkboard.

E. Be careful. This one has three railroad tracks.

M. This one looks mean! Mwhaaaahaaaahaaaa!

I. Down. That’s an easy one.

L. Down and over. Easy too!

Y.  It’s a V with a tail.

I still remember that gratifying sense of achievement as I stared down at the blue construction paper and realized what I had done. There, scrawled in ragged red crayon strokes was my name, Emily. From then on I wrote on everything – notebooks, magazines, newspapers, walls and on occasion, furniture. I was sold. Writing was my unique gift, and one that I opened with joy.

Seven years later, my best friend Rachel gave me a green, hard-backed journal for my eleventh birthday. It was the best gift I got that year. The desire for the rest of those perfectly wrapped presents piled high on the kitchen table completely faded as I turned one perfectly gold-lined page over the next. I closed the journal, flipping it over for a full inspection. Wide eyed, I marveled at the equestrian hunting scene screen-printed on its hard front cover. It was awesome. It had a built-in ribbon that would bookmark the pages of my best-kept secrets.

I can barely recall the details of that birthday party my mother so carefully planned, but I do remember this – the moment the cake was eaten and dishes were washed, I was writing in that diary. Once again with red crayon, I branded it mine, “If lost please return to” inscribed on the inside cover. That diary was mine. It was official.

Now, at age 28, I find it daunting to write for just myself. My thoughts, feelings and emotions about the day don’t exactly pay the bills or command notoriety. Instead, I push life’s irrelevant details aside with a half-guilty conscience, wondering occasionally what my 11-year-old self would think. Admittedly, I’m a little ashamed. What’s the point of hanging your shiniest tool on the workshop wall if only to loan it out?

As an adult, I often wish I would write more. “This year I resolve to start writing,” always wins in a match against weight loss. Who would have thought it look a tuition check to finally start?

So when asked to reflect on my earliest writings, dear diary comes to mind. With searchlight turned on, I dug through piles of me memorabilia hoping to uncover my old journal. And there it was, at the bottom of an old cardboard box, next to my R.L. Stein collection. To entertain you all, I post a passage of my childhood memoir in all its glory.

February 2, 1994

Dear Diary,

Hi! I’m in my bedroom being punished for nothing. My stupid brother and sister were teasing me again and calling me the dumbest name in history!!! Stumbalina! I gotta go!

……………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

April 9, 1994

Dear Diary,

Yesterday my family went to the Ortelle’s and their son Mike and I got in a fight. I’ll tell you EXACTLY what happened:

First, everybody was throwing snowballs at each other, and I hit one in Mike’s face. It hurt him. He pushed me, and then I pushed him back. After, he pushed me again, he tried to punch me two or three times, but I dodged them all. Then my brother started harassing Mike. Then Mike *kissed me. It didn’t even hurt. I was so steaming, so I punched him then kicked him in the shin. Then he kicked me in the knee and it hurt so bad. I fell on the road and hit my knee again. I know I tore something. I just know it.   

Emily

*I think I meant kicked me. I vividly remember the little jerk walloping me in the knee with his rollerblade. To this day, this is the only fight I’ve ever been in.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

While in search of dear diary, I stumbled upon a poetry book I wrote for an English class assignment in the seventh grade. For our next round, I present writings from The Best & Worst Times of Poetry, by Emily Graban, May 10, 1996, Mrs. Middelton’s Class 7A7 (whatever that means). I would like to mention that I got an A+ on this beauty. Shocking considering I called Mrs. Middelton “cray” in my prologue.

Oh Bury Me Not Under A Tree

 Oh bury me not under a tree

These words came high and happily

From the ruby red lips

Of a girl who lay

On her fluffy bed one day.

Oh bury me not under a tree

Where the squirrels run wild with jubilee

In a narrow hole just six by three,

Oh bury me not under a tree.

 

Oh bury me not under a tree

Where the children play over me,

Where the robin sails and the wind blows free,

Oh bury me not under a tree.

 

And they didn’t bury me under a tree

‘Cause I haven’t died yet mournfully.

But the squirrels still run and the children play free.

And I won’t be buried under a tree.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

These samples are my first attempts at writing about a subject of which I know best – the subject of me. My collection of confessions and juvenile poetry prove a past love for something I now take for granted. So I leave readers with this – I, Emily Graban, red crayon in hand, resolve to write more. Not just about work, not just about school, but about me.

In his classic essay, How to Write with Style, Kurt Vonnegut writes, “It is the genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”

Well-said Vonnegut. Perhaps my own unique writing style will grow with the clarity I gain from writing for myself. Not for the paycheck, not the notoriety, but for the shear hilarity of reading it 17 years later.

Key words: Writing; Digital Media; Kurt Vonnegut; How to Write with Style; Journal Entry; Diary Entry; Memoir; Memoire; Improve Writing Skills; Young Writers

If the glue sticks…

26 Aug

Emily definition — (em-a-lee) a female given name: from the Latin word meaning industrious. Commonly associated with hardworking, resourceful and striving. Other comparisons include creative and innovative, detail oriented and genial. 

My mom scissored this out of the paper and slipped it in my lunch pail on my first day of school. It stuck with me. I hope the glue still holds. With virtual backpack in hand I head back to school, cyber style.

This blog is my official steno pad of writings dedicated to graduate class 711: Writing for Digital Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the months proceeding, stick with me as I sharpen my writing tools for the onslaught of new media popping up in today’s communication landscape. So here I go. Ready, set, write…

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