6-7-2017 Lesson Plan

Studio time on second campaign piece (30-45 min)

Some questions to consider:
How is this piece reaching your audience in different way compared to your first piece? Or is it not very different? Why?

Are you reaching the same audience?

What is a real, concrete context you can imagine your piece being read? Why would your piece be the “right” piece for that place and time?

How will the piece be delivered?

How do these two pieces (the one you already submitted and the one you will submit on 6/10) belong to the same campaign? How? Why?


Workshop: rhetorical insights for handing out printed materials (30-45 min)
I wanted to spend some time thinking about what rhetorical choices you have to consider when you are handing a print copy to someone, either on the street or in a location where they may be interested in receiving it. Read this pamphlet and consider those two possibilities. How might this piece interact with someone that did not ask for it (e.g., on the street, in a mandatory pediatrician orientation)? How about a context where someone might seek it out (e.g., a stack laid out in a waiting room at a doctor’s office)? What choices did this writer make that you think would respond well to someone who is either interested or “less” interested in reading? What might be done differently? What is there to think about in revision?


Break (15 min)


Reflections, writing to theory (15-30 min)

Wanted to pick a moment from one of your reflections that gestured toward a problem in public writing, and hopefully to spur you to move from the locale of what you literally did to attempt to generalize what you think about approaching writing for a public, and what public writing is or does. The below comes from the brochure we looked at in our workshop.

“There are a couple of things that I struggled with along the way of creating a brochure. First, there is a huge tradeoff between incorporating a vast amount of information and the risk of overcrowding. As I was doing my research, I felt I needed to use much of the information and data I found. However, when I started constructing the actual brochure, I quickly ran out of room for it all. This led me to have to leave some information out.”

How do you move from the “what”, into the “how” and the “why” when you reflect? Is there a claim here about writing a brochure that is supported by evidence? What connects the claim and the evidence (i.e., the warrant) in this instance? How can we broaden out? What does this moment of reflection possibly say about public writing, about writing for a public, with the public interest in mind?


Collaborative writing (45-60 min)

So, so, so much professional writing has many authors, so getting a handle on strategies for tackling this kind of work can make the best of an (at times) uncomfortable experience of writing with many hands and eyes.
a. Plan together first
b. Assign roles (e.g., drafter, reviewer, editor) or parts (e.g., introduction, middle portion, discussion, results). Another way to do it is to horizontally take things on by making sure each person has cycled through each role or part—as in: each person would have been a drafter, reviewer, and editor at some point or each person would have written or reviewed each section at some point. Be clear about who is doing what and how, so there are fewer mix-ups later.
c. Use technology when it makes things more efficient and practical. Google Docs is a great example. You can all see what you are up to in real time.


d. Save and label versions constantly. Make sure that each person is working off of the most recent version.
e. More tips found here: https://www.una.edu/writingcenter/docs/Writing-Resources/Collaborative%20Writing%20Strategies.pdf


Activity: In a group of three, collaboratively write a letter to future students of Writing for the Public about what you have come (so far) to believe about public writing: what is it? What are important approaches to consider? You should be tapping into reflection. Go back to earlier lessons on the website, into your notes, or even do a little private writing to think through what you find important to know about writing for a public. Have something approaching 500 words. Finally, you should try as best you can to practice what you preach 🙂

Group 1:


Group 2:


Group 3:



Admin (5-15 min)

Make sure you have the draft of your second campaign piece and your reflection of it submitted by 11:59pm on Saturday. If you are working on something that has a website component, invite me as an administrator so I can view it (that way you do not have to publish it to the world if you are not yet comfortable doing that).

On 6/12, we will be talking all things quantification in relation to writing for publics. There is a contemporary reading from January after the election. I don’t really think it is a piece that bashes recent right-based populist movements, but I’m sure some can read it that way. For our purposes, this piece makes some interesting points of the rhetorical effectiveness of using statistics in public discourse. For our blog post, I am giving two options for the prompt because I just couldn’t decide which one might be more interesting to think about. So, choose one:

A) Davies writes that, “We need to try and see [statistics] for what they are: neither unquestionable truths nor elite conspiracies, but rather as tools designed to simplify the job of government, for better or worse.” What does that look like? What from Davies’ article supports how such a strategy can be used in the typical statistic in, say, a campaign piece you are writing for this course? If you were to use statistics in your own campaign, how would you approach such a task with Davies’ argument in mind? Do you have to “hide” expertise in certain contexts, and how is that possible when using quantitative appeals? What do you do when you assume your statistics will be mistrusted? Or, do you not buy his line of thinking? Does quantitative evidence hold as much sway as it always has, no matter the form it is expressed in?  If room in your post, feel free to show an example of how to deal with that when presenting a statistic about your issue for your campaign.

B) How do you avoid resentment when choosing a statistic to present? For example, Davies writes, “so long as politicians continue to deflect criticism by pointing to the unemployment rate, the experiences of those struggling to get enough work or to live on their wages go unrepresented in public debate. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if these same people became suspicious of policy experts and the use of statistics in political debate, given the mismatch between what politicians say about the labour market and the lived reality.” How do you avoid potentially alienating an audience by a possible reductionism implicit in how you can communicate a given statistic? How do you pair lived realities at the local level with the power of what aggregation can tell us?


NOTE: the last portion of the article is about privatized data analysis which is super interesting, but not necessarily relevant to what we are doing, so don’t feel a need to get too much into that (though you are certainly welcome to do so if it makes sense to you).