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First-year writing assignment leads to job offers, global exposure

2013-11-27, 3:11 PM

Less than a decade ago, it would have been nearly impossible for most first-year college students to build a professional portfolio while connecting to readers around the world.

These days, in the St. Lawrence College Advertising and Marketing Communications Management program, it happens regularly to students who participate in an eight-week blogging assignment in their business communications class.

“The assignment is giving students exposure to a global audience, including potential employers, so it’s doing something that I think is unheard of even nowadays: their blogs are actually getting some of them professional industry jobs—in the first semester of their first year of college,” said communications instructor Frank Armstrong, a veteran newspaper journalist and freelance editor, who is the assignment’s creator.

The eight-week blogging assignment has students write weekly blog posts in which they reflect on what they are learning about their industry. The assignment has several goals: to enhance lesson retention through reflection, to build a professional online brand and portfolio, and to learn basic business writing and formatting—all under the critical eye of an experienced editor. 

“The students who really put their noses to the grindstone on this assignment improve immensely as writers, but they are seeing other results as well,” he said. “One of my graduates in the Marketing program, where I’ve also done this assignment, told me he scored his first industry job while still in college as a result of the industry knowledge he displayed with his blog; meanwhile, others are getting readers and followers around the world.”

First-year Advertising and Marketing Communications Management student Jason Manuge is already working as a professional writer and editor as a result of his blog, My blog has served as a portfolio, which has led both to paid writing work and to a paid internship halfway through the first semester of the program,” said Manuge. “The blogging assignment has helped me to develop my skills as a writer and forced me to think critically about the materials that I'm studying in the program.”

Some other students have gone on to blog professionally for clients while they are still in college as a result of learning the basics of business blogging in Armstrong’s class.

While this particular assignment ends after eight weeks, students continue to blog throughout their time in the Advertising and Marketing Communications Management program as other teachers now require students to know how to blog effectively and they provide their own blogging assignments.

The Advertising and Marketing Communications Management program prepares students for careers in marketing communications. They are trained for careers in the creative or media aspects of the advertising business, including print, broadcast and digital media, sales promotion, public relations, and event marketing and planning.


For information:
Laura Tulchinsky, St. Lawrence College
613-544-5400, ext. 1291