JoMC 711 – Writing for Digital Media

October 29, 2006

Module 10 Assignment

Filed under: Uncategorized — by cinranker @ 11:03 pm

Congregation Asked to Participate in Fair Trade Program

In the past the members of Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church have contributed to many worthy causes.  The congregation is now being asked to participate in Lutheran World Relief’s (LWR) Fair Trade programs.  These programs give the members an opportunity to help individuals, families and the congregation in numerous ways.

What is Lutheran World Relief?

Lutheran World Relief is a non-profit agency supported by both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS).  The agency was formed during WWII to help European countries recover from the devastation of war.  It has since developed into an organization that helps those in need all over the world.

LWR often responds to emergencies like the tsunami in December of 2004.  It also tries to provide long-term solutions to poverty.  The agency developed the fair trade programs to help address those poverty issues.

Fair trade is an international movement

The fair trade movement has been in existence for decades.  It not only ensures that a fair price is paid for products, especially those from developing countries, but also addresses the following:

  • *Reasonable credit programs for farmers and craftspeople
  • *Environmentally sound guidelines for production
  • *Equal rights for women in the workforce

Several different organizations oversee compliance to fair trade standards.  Two are associated with the LWR products:

  • *The Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO), on an international level, sets standards and certifies that producers follow those standards.
  • *TransFair USA, a non-profit organization in the United States, certifies the fair trade product for the consumer.

Kattie Somerfeld, LWR’s Fair Trade Products Coordinator, explained that the Fair Trade Labelling Organization deals with the producers of the product, while TransFair USA deals with the companies and organizations where the products are sold.

On a very basic level, consuming fair trade products helps those in other countries achieve a better life by cutting out the middlemen and providing fair wages for their work.

LWR has three fair trade opportunities

Fair Trade Coffee was the first fair trade program advocated by LWR.  The program began as a result of a discussion concerning what LWR could do to make a bigger impact in the world.  In 1996 LWR partnered with Equal Exchange to provide an easy way for congregations to obtain the fair trade coffee.

LWR receives 20 cents for each pound of coffee sold and uses that money to help improve coffee farming conditions.  In 2003 LWR challenged Lutheran congregations and organizations to purchase 90-tons of coffee that year.  That challenge was met.  In 2005 there were over 3,000 participants in the Fair Trade Coffee program and all 50 states were represented.

In 1999 the Fair Trade Handcraft program was introduced in partnership with SERVV International.  Items can be ordered through a catalog or at a Fair Trade Fair at the congregation.  LWR receives between 7.5 percent and 10 percent of all sales.  Last year sales in The Handcraft program doubled, even though there was very little promotion.

Fair Trade Chocolate was introduced in 2003.  LWR once again partnered with SERVV International to sell Divine Chocolate from the Day Chocolate Company, a company owned by the farmers themselves.  As with the Handcraft program, LWR receives 7.5 percent to 10 percent of chocolate sales.  This fair trade product provides an additional opportunity for churches because the congregation can sell the candy bars as a local fundraiser.

Why should we consider Fair Trade?

Participating in LWR’s Fair Trade programs provides Grateful for Grace three ways to help others by providing:

  • *a fair wage to those in third-world countries
  • *a percentage of sales that LWR reinvests in communities of developing countries
  • *an opportunity for Grateful for Grace to raise funds for the congregation

In addition to these financial advantages, the members will also be able to make a significant difference in the lives of those around the world.  As Kattie Somerfeld commented, the Fair Trade programs are “a concrete way for people – especially people of faith – to take an active role in making a difference in the world.”

What can we do now?

Encouraging the leaders of the church to participate in LWR’s Fair Trade programs is the most important thing for you to do now.  When the programs are established we ask that you would support them financially by buying the fair trade coffee, chocolate and handcrafts.  These are the first important steps to improving the lives of others living in poverty all over the world.


October 15, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — by cinranker @ 11:47 pm

Assignment 8 – Online content for Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church The online content I want to create for Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church is a feature story in the form of a blog.  The congregation is the target audience, although others will be able to access it also.  The objectives are:

  • *To form an online community
  • *To educate the bloggers to the needs of the world
  • *To encourage discussion about those needs
  • *To connect faith and world issues
  • *To promote action

The blog will look at different programs of Lutheran World Relief (LWR). This agency is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and tries to tackle the causes of poverty in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Instead of providing an overview of the agency, this blog will attempt to explore a few individual programs of LWR and provide concrete examples of those programs.

Semiotic analysis helps plan content, Web pages and sites

When we design Web pages and sites we want to communicate something with relative ease and speed. Those who are accessing our sites give us seconds to connect with them. Signs help us to do that more efficiently. Signs, which can be words, pictures, music, sounds, and objects, consist of a signifier and that which is being signified. Yet signs do not have an intrinsic meaning. Humans assign the meaning. Oftentimes these meanings differ between different cultures.

Cultural considerations

One of the first considerations in designing includes knowing your audience. Being familiar with the signs audiences use, and how they are used, is helpful in developing an effective site, especially in a medium where people all over the world are able to access the site.

Colors mean different things in different cultures. Some pictures may be offensive in certain cultures, others are not. Music intended for one audience may be unsuitable for another audience. Saying what you mean through the use of signs is the ultimate goal, but saying what you don’t mean is also possible if you fail to use semiotic analysis. Marketers have used words to describe products in one culture that were inappropriate in another one. Choices need to be made when designing sites and understanding how people interpret signs is essential to making those choices.

Navigation issues

Determining navigation tools for a site is another way semiotic analysis can be used. Icons, indexes and symbols have particular meanings in the digital world. Knowing what those are and using them effectively and consistently help assist the site user in positive ways.

Web site users rely on a concise, accurate and timely exchange of information. Analyzing signs, their meanings, and their use can enhance that process and subsequently enhance the effectiveness of Web pages and sites.

October 8, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — by cinranker @ 7:41 pm

Assignment 7 – Identify an Organization

Grateful for Grace Church, Maryland

The organization for this project is a fictitious congregation made up of various aspects of several congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  The name of this particular congregation is Grateful for Grace Lutheran Church.  It is located in Carroll County, Maryland which is a county on the outskirts of the Baltimore Metropolitan area.  At one time it was strictly a rural area, but is now considered a suburb of Baltimore.  This transition has happened within the past 20 years.

The church is currently celebrating their 140th anniversary.  There are almost 300 members, but only about 45% attend worship on Sundays (this is typical for Lutheran churches).  The average weekly attendance is 125 which makes it a small congregation in the ELCA.  The size has stayed the same for about the past eight years.

The demographics of the primary audience

The primary audience is the congregation which consists of white, middle class individuals and families.  The occupations of the membership vary from farmers to professionals.  Some work in the local small town and others make the 45 minute commute to downtown Baltimore.  Many are lifelong Lutherans who have attended this church all their lives.  About half of the congregation is over 60 years old.

The current pastor is a 50 year old, married, white female who has been at Grateful for Grace for three years.  She lives in a similar neighboring community and is well-liked by those in the congregation.  This is the first church she has served as pastor.

Technologically speaking

As far as technology is concerned, the congregation is more advanced than the description might indicate.  It has a web site that is maintained by volunteers.  There is a handful of members who enjoy using their talents to produce DVDs which highlight the ministry of the church.  Most have access to the internet at home or through work and, of those, about half have high speed connections.  Email is the reason the majority of the congregation accesses the internet.

A secondary audience

 A secondary audience includes the members of the 182 other congregations of the district.  Most Lutheran congregations have members who have similar characteristics and habits as Trinity.  It is hoped that this project will create an online community from those who participate and link this community to the larger church through blogging. I plan to use the Associated Press style guide.

October 1, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — by cinranker @ 9:19 pm

Module 6 Assignment

Rewrite headline for travelogue

Old Headline:

Roots, Realities and Remembrances of the Family Vacation 

New Headline:

Memories, Emotions Abound While Revisiting Family Vacation

Filed under: Uncategorized — by cinranker @ 4:01 pm

Module 6 Assignments
Rewrite Headlines

First headline as it appeared:

Computer Virus Writers Plan Slow Spread

I thought this sounded awkward.  I rewrote it:

Computer Viruses Designed to Spread Slowly

Second headline as it appeared:

Anna Nicole Gets Committed

This was misleading.  After I read the article, I rewrote the headline:

Anna Nicole and Lawyer Make Commitment

Third headline as it appeared:

Immigration Border Security

This headline appeared on the website of the National Association of Social Workers. It is a general headline, but the article was really talking about advocating against current legislation.  I rewrote the headline:

Members Urged to Advocate Against Current Immigration Bills

Article from Internet to Rewrite:

Here is the original article (retrieved from

New WOMBATs and more at

Topping off the best week in Potter news in a long while, a handful of updates have been added to our favorite author’s site. Firstly, the much-anticipated second round of WOMBATs (Wizards’ Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude tests) have arrived. Go to the Room of Requirement (by clicking the eraser on the desk) and you will find the door unlocked. For instructions on beginning the test, click the “Read more” link below – but for fun, try and figure it out yourself first!Now for the other updates. In the news, Jo gives us the latest on the eBay situation and discusses the “honor” of HP topping this year’s list of the most-banned books.Also, JK’s diary has a new entry concerning the process of creating a new word for the books, which she did yesterday.In the rumors section, Rowling slams: Stubby Boardman is Regulus Black,” Book 7 will be called ‘Harry Potter and the Graveyard of Memories’,” and Snape was hiding under the Invisibility Cloak on the night the Potters died.”  Finally, Brazilian site is the latest winner of Jo’s fan site award.

My Version of the Article
New WOMBATs and More at

Topping off the best week in Potter news in a long while, a handful of updates has been added to our favorite author’s site.  First, the much-anticipated second round of WOMBATs (Wizards’ Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude tests) has arrived.  Go to the Room of Requirement (by clicking the eraser on the desk) and you will find the door unlocked.  For instructions to begin the test, click the “Read more” link below – but for fun, try to figure it out yourself first!

Other updates include:

*     The latest word on the eBay situation

*     A discussion about the “honor” of HP
topping this year’s list of the most-banned books

*     An entry concerning the process to create a
new word for the books

*     An announcement of the latest winner of
Jo’s fan site award

JK debunks the following rumors: 

*     Stubby Boardman is Regulus Black

*     Book 7 will be called Harry Potter and the Graveyard of Memories

*     Snape was hiding under the Invisibility Cloak the night the Potters died

Headlines for story lede:

Homeland Security’s Federal Antiterrorism Database
Full of Surprises

Federal Antiterrorism Database Full of Surprises

Surprises on Homeland Security Database No Laughing Matter: List used to allocate antiterrorism grants

Blog at