Should’ve Listed.


Apps That Make the Most of iOS 7

With the recent release Apples iOS7 operating system for the iPhone, users of the smartphone are determining which Apps run better with the new system.  This New York Times article provides the names of Apps that have greater functionality in the new operating system.

Rather than listing out the Apps, the article includes paragraph after paragraph of text that does not call any attention to the specific Apps (see photos below).


A list in this article would have allowed readers to simply scan text to see which Apps run better in iOS7. The large chunks of texts make it difficult for online readers that are trying to gather as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

The article should have listed each App by name and then provided its description and explanation why it functions better in the new operating system. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether the list is ordered or not.  Just employing a list would help readers to pull the most pertinent information from this article.



Headline: Pastor shot dead mid-sermon by disgruntled ex-deacon, who turned himself into police after the horrific murder

Problem: This headline is too long and uses lots of unnecessary words.  It does not allow the reader to skim to see if it is an article they should read.  Carroll suggests keeping headlines simple, and this headline is too complex.

Solution: Ex-deacon Guns Down Pastor During Sermon

Source: Daily Mail UK

Headline: Column: Lane Kiffin a Boy Wonder No Longer

Problem: This headline attempts to be “cute” as Carroll describes in the text.  This headline gives no indication of what the story is about.  I do not follow sports closely and other readers like myself may have a difficult time determing what the article is about.

Solution: USC Football Coach Kiffin Fired

Source: ABC News

Headline: An Infrared View of Philadelphia Is Trippy and Apocalyptic

Problem: The headline starts with “an.” The headline also uses the word “trippy” which could be considered as slang.

Solution: Apocalyptic Philadelphia Seen in Infrared View



Previous Week 2 Article Title: War Outside My Window

Revised Week 2 Article Title: Coming of Age in a Troubled Charlotte Neighborhood


Hillsborough Street

Hillsborough Street

“Raleigh’s Street”

Hillsborough Street has long been a cultural and social artery running through the heart of Raleigh. Three different colleges sit along this Triangle road that stretches straight to the steps of the State Capitol. With its night life, landmarks and wide array of restaurants, Hillsborough Street is a destination for students, fans and families.

Revised: War Outside My Window

Audience: Readers of the community section of a local newspaper

Abstract: Davien Anderson retells the moments of his childhood that shaped the person he’s become.  He examines detailed moments growing up that gave him a sense of freedom and motivated him to move forward in life contrary to his surroundings.

Fun and Games

Tiny scrapes draped my small frame as I lie at the bottom of the hill and allowed the bright sun to tease my skin. My niece and nephew, who are very close in age, and I brainstormed games like “who can roll down the hill the fastest” or “hide and seek” just to exclaim “I won” before supper time.  This was my safe place. I itched from the grass blades that whipped across my arms and legs. Giggling, I spread my arms wide in the field and stared at the Carolina blue skies.

I attended Hidden Valley Elementary until the 5th grade.

I attended Hidden Valley Elementary until the 5th grade.

“What should we do next?” I yelled to Carmen.  “Let’s ride our bikes,” she replied.

Pulling ourselves up from the earth, the three of us made a quick dash to the back of the house to grab our bikes, again turning the sprint into a mini-marathon. Reaching my bike first, I quickly jumped on the seat and made my way to our normal path. The path outlined our safe haven around the neighborhood.

Outside those lines was a dangerous world. This world was full of drugs, domestic violence, poverty and gang activity. My mom sheltered the three of us from this world and kept us in our own little protected southern area.

Thinking Back


Screenshot of the story that appeared in The Charlotte Observer on Aug. 22, 2013.

Reading the front page of the Charlotte Observer on Friday, August 22 took me back to those days of safety and security in a deviant world.  The headline read “Judge Oks crackdown on the Hidden Valley Kings.”  The above-the-fold story described a life of crime, gang activity and drugs that I didn’t encounter growing up.  As I read further down the page, another headline caught my eye.  This story was one that I had provided a quote for a recent community outreach activity. “Wow” I said to myself.

The Difference

Just a couple streets over from my house, my peers were fighting wars that I didn’t see in my home.  I had classmates that went without food, witnessed domestic violence daily, lived with family members on drugs and didn’t see their parents often.  Ten-year-olds were fighting in the trenches disguised as street corners. The same kids that I went to school with each day were struggling to live and survive.  My life was different.  My support system was strong at home.  My mom never allowed me to go outside the perimeter she drafted.  She always made sure that school came before anything else.

My mom and I in Paris.

My mom and I in Paris.

“Have you finished your homework?” my mom called to me.  I started scribbling on the pages even faster, hoping for a few more moments to run outside and play before the street lights flickered.  My niece and nephew had finished their assignments for the day and I was anxious to get back outside. I wrapped up my last sentence of my report, slammed my book shut and made my way out the door.

“Ring! Ring! Ring!”

I couldn’t wait to take the few dollars I saved and run to the ice cream truck.  This was the same ice cream truck that crept slowly down the street singing it’s same song each day.  My mom taught me the importance of saving.  This was extremely important when I had friends that didn’t understand this.  Rather than saving, they were stealing.

The strawberry ice cream never tasted so good.  I bit into the frozen treat covered in tiny flakes of shortcake and closed my eyes. “Davien, let’s go,” my nephew yelled and we headed to our park. Walking down the street we talked about the happenings at school that day.  We shared tales from the schoolyard and told silly jokes that we’d heard earlier in the day.  Life felt so easy then.

Giving Thanks

Sitting at my desk I reflected on the moments when I felt completely safe and surrounded as a kid. I felt thankful for those moments as a child as I continued to read the words on the page describing the state of the neighborhood in which I matured. I began to feel thankful that I was motivated and encouraged in the same neighborhood where so many felt hopeless. Running back through the memories that I shared with my niece and nephew ignited an emotion of pride in knowing that I developed into the person that I am today.

Myself, my niece Carmen and my nephew Jarrett in 2007.

Myself, my niece Carmen and my nephew Jarrett in 2007.

Each day I played carelessly in my own backyard which pulled me one step closer to the moments of success that I’ve been so lucky to grasp. Just like the many races I won as a child, I felt like throwing up my arms and screaming “Yes!” It felt like I had made it. I felt as if I could do anything.  I thought about how excited I felt about life then and today felt just as excited as I did then.

Critique of Ryan Robinson’s “The Regular Things”



The first thing that captured my attention of Ryan’s pieces was the layout that included a photo.  The photo helps to tell the story and provides a visual aspect to the story.  I had an idea of what the piece was about before I started to read.

The caption also helped to tie the photo in with the story.  Including the photo was a great idea, Ryan.

Audience Description

Ryan’s description of his audience was good.  Growing up in North Carolina, I have an appreciation for “Small-town America” and therefore appreciate Ryan’s story.  In the assignment, Andy mentioned thinking about what type of publication would your piece appear.  I believe that Ryan’s piece could easily be found in a magazine like Rowan Magazine that targets the people of Salisbury.


The tone of Ryan’s piece was very lighthearted.  I feel that it had an emotional element to help draw the reader into the story.  The piece pays homage to Ryan’s grandfather and readers are able to identify with this relationship.


“And what about you ‘shuga?” the raspy-voiced waitress always asked.

I loved the way Ryan used conversation throughout the piece to help create the scene.  The sentence above immediately made me think of a small country diner. I saw the waitress standing there with a pencil and pad chewing gum while she took down your order.  Calling him “shuga” tells the reader that it’s a small, southern town where people have strong accents.

“Hey Fred!”

“Hey Johnny—see you got some help with you this morning!”

“Sure do.”

This exchange here helps to prove the point Ryan made about his grandfather knowing everyone around town. He used the dialogue here to bring a point to life for the reader.  The dialogue helps move the story along and again helps set the scene.

In this sentence here, “Not a day went by where a shirt wasn’t pressed and stiff with starch,” it would have been nice to have a few descriptors here to describe the shirt.  How stiff was the shirt? Were they white blue or stripped?

In enjoyed Ryan’s description of his grandparents’ house.  I have an appreciation of older homes and loved the way Ryan described the home for the reader.  The description of the “creaky wooden staircase” is a great way to help the reader know that the house is very old.

Grammar and Style

Overall, the piece was well written.  From the very beginning of the piece, it is obvious what the story will be about. The lede is clear and the nut graph tells the reader exactly why the story is important.  The piece flowed really nicely and takes the reader through a typical Saturday that Ryan would have with his grandfather.

There were a couple of instances where Ryan used the same phrase twice, for instance, “Richards was the kind of place.”  This is just something to be mindful of.

Below are some edits of grammatical errors.  I too make these same mistakes and it helps to have a second set of eyes to review copy.  After looking at a piece for so long, it’s easy to miss things.

  • The following is just an excerpt from one re-occuring event in my life. [“Re-occuring should be recurring.]
  • Most trips were pretty normal as I became and expert in remembering his post office number and picked it out every time from all of the others (this was a pretty difficult task until about age 8.) [Should be “an” and not “and.”]
  • On one particular morning we saw several dogs that had hijacked the owners car while he was in the post office and had their paws on the wheel. [“Owners” is missing an apostrophe to indicate possession.]
  • I had to be about five at the time, but its a story he still tries to convince me is true. [“Its” is missing an apostrophe.]

There were a few sentences were words were missing.  I’ve included examples below for reference.

  • It was here that we’d spend the rest of the morning before heading back home, sometimes stopping at the local carwash and burger nearby.
  • Some days I would stay at home and play cards or go see movie with my grandmother, “Mimi”.

Active vs. Passive

The sentence below is in passive voice.  I’d switch it to active voice in order to make it easier for the reader.

Papa was always an early-riser, so most Saturdays I was awoken by him trying to quietly enter my room and wake me.

Watch for redundancies

My grandfather owns his own real estate appraisal business, and is the kind of man that will work until his very last day on this earth.


breakfast, grandfather, North Carolina, regular things, Salisbury, saturday mornings

Great use of tags here, Ryan.  I feel like these tags are relevant to the story and would help drive readers to your story.  The tags also give you an idea of where the story is set, what it’s about and who it is about.