A couple of things to start:

From this day forward I only reply to professional emails.

What does that mean?

First you need to understand . ..
What is your audience’s relationship to you—for example, is the reader your teacher? Your boss? A friend? A stranger? How well do you know him/her? How would you talk to him/her in a social situation?
What do you want your audience to think or assume about you? What kind of impression do you want to make?
With that said then make sure:

  1. There is a specific subject line
  2. There is a greeting to the person receiving the email
  3. You get directly to the point. Use no exclamation points, emoticons or slang.
  4. Use proper grammar, spelling and style. Email is not an exception, especially since it might be the first or only was someone gets an impression of you.

5 Use a closing.

For your closing, something brief but friendly, or perhaps just your name, will do for most correspondence:

Thank you,
Best wishes,
See you tomorrow,

For a very formal message, such as a job application, use the kind of closing that you might see in a business letter:

Respectfully yours,

E-mail from Student 1:


i need help on my paper can i come by your office tomorrow


E-mail from Student 2:

Hi Dr. Crowley,

I am in your MCOM 101 class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I have a question about the paper that is due next Tuesday. I’m not sure that I understand what is meant by the following sentence in the prompt:

“Write a 10 page paper arguing for or against requiring MCOM 101 for all SU freshmen and provide adequate support for your point of view.”

I am not sure what you would consider “adequate” support. Would using 3 sources be o.k.?

Can I come by your office tomorrow at 2:00 pm to talk to you about my question? Please let me know if that fits your schedule. If not, I could also come by on Friday after 1:00.

Thank you,

Tim Smith

How to work with media sources to help you become a better communicator.

  1. Figure out how to integrate your sources into your day.
  2. NPR
  3. BBC
  4. The Economist
  5. Twitter
  6. Create a way to track what you encounter (notebook, etc.)
  7. Note the show
  8. Note the topic
  9. Note the date
  10. Make a connection
  11. Make sure you share some of what you encounter with several people during your day (to get other’s perspective)
  13. Spend 25 minutes with your thoughts and puke something out. It might become the basis for something useful: article idea, blog post, make it local, make it yours.
  14. The next day turn the page

Ways to listen to NPR

  • In your car
  • get the app
  • download a podcast

Reading NPR online DOES NOT COUNT

Think of all of the things that listening does for you

  1. Improves you concentration
  2. Improves how you “hear” the words you write
  3. Provides more layering to the story

So to understand creativity you must encounter it everywhere.

For some inspiration:

Check out this website about creativity.

Watch these examples of good final projects from this class.

For Tuesday:

Find a paragraph or two of elegant writing. Something that impresses you when you read it.

  1. It cannot be from something that you read in high school.
  2. It does not have to be fiction.
  3. You do have to explain why it is appealing.
  • What does it inspire?
  • What does it signify or represent?
  • What makes it special?
  1. Dig deep. If you really find this paragraph appealing you should have a lot to say about it.
  2. Be specific; it will make you better.

Here are some examples:

“He went out into the hallway. Behind him, like an eyelid shutting, the soft closing of the door winked out the light. He assayed the stairs, lapsing below him into darkness, and grasping one by one each slender upright to the banister, went down. David never found himself alone on these stairs, but he wished there were no carpet covering them. How could you hear the sound of your own feet in the dark if a carpet muffled every step you took? And if you couldn’t hear the sound of your own feet and couldn’t see anything either, how you be sure you were actually there and not dreaming?”

Check out this article by Michael Wilbon about Chuck Daly.

This site might help you, sports fans.

Have the paragraph and the critique printed out for Tuesday. Also, be prepared to talk about it.


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