My journey with Kentucky Sports Radio (KSR) started innocently enough- by reading the site and thinking to myself that I would eventually like to write for them someday. It seemed a little cruel that after I moved to Chicago, KSR started advertising for student interns that lived within two hours of Central Kentucky. I applied anyway, despite not meeting those standards, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The internship I received was a blogger position for KSR College, a sister site of the main page that covers University of Kentucky athletics news from a college student’s perspective. Throughout the first five months of my internship, I acted as columnist editor and coordinated posts of those on the columnist “beat” (other beats included men’s basketball, women’s basketball, football, baseball, and miscellaneous). I learned the importance of writing the news quickly yet in “the most ridiculous manner possible” as the KSR main site prides itself on doing.
In my time interning with KSR, I’ve filled many different roles. As a blogger, I have to write the news quickly and accurately. As a columnist editor, I had to coordinate those in my group to ensure we had posts every day. And now, as editor of the KSR College site, I will have to coordinate all of the interns to post regularly during the summer (off-season). Once football and basketball start, I will work with the other group leaders to ensure that posts are up before and after each game in a timely manner. I will also communicate more directly with the founder of the KSR main site (Matt Jones) to discuss what is and isn’t working for the site and what we should be doing to increase readership and post efficiently.
I’ve discovered the up and coming power of social media. When we joined the site as interns, Matt Jones (KSR Founder) encouraged us to make Twitter accounts with “KSR” in our names, and promote ourselves through tweets. Tweeting about UK sports has earned me more followers and thus more people who read my posts on the site. Twitter allows KSR writers to interact with our readers and gauge their feelings about what topics we are covering.
This social media usage directly affects the amount of feedback we get from readers in a cyclical manner. First, a KSR intern will write a post, publish it, and then Tweet or Facebook a link to the post. Ideally, the description of the link will include an engaging question that will intrigue the potential audience and encourage them to read the post and respond. Then, people read the post and leave comments on the site. KSR interns (not just the one who wrote the post) then comment back and create a dialogue. This accomplishes two purposes. First, the interns are able to interact with the readers and build a relationship that encourages the readers to keep checking the site for new content. Second, having more comments on a post gives the appearance of having more readers. Even if it’s just a couple of people commenting back and forth five or six times, a casual skimmer of the blog will see that higher number next to “Comments” and assume that we have a larger readership, thus making us appear more popular and prestigious in their eyes. I’ve come to refer to this as the feedback cycle, and it’s important for our interns to keep it in motion.
As I pursue my MA degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse (with a possible Professional Writing concentration), I’ve noticed how blogging connects with my classes at DePaul. First, and most obviously, blogging is a genre of rhetoric that uses a specific type of discourse. Members of this discourse know how to write posts that can be read quickly and include pictures or videos to further capture a readers attention. Social media can also be seen as a genre with a very specific type of writing required to be included in that genre- for example, Twitter only allows its users to use 140 characters to express their point of view.
My blogging also connects to my technical writing class that I’m currently in. In this class, we’ve learned how to create documents that are appealing in design and functional for users. Similarly, my blog posts have to catch the reader’s attention or else no one will read them. I’ve also done a project for this class in which I created a set of instructions for our new interns on how to post for KSR College that they will use once they start posting in the next couple weeks. My technical writing class has given me a greater level of expertise and allowed me to be a more professional blogger.
My internship with KSR College will continue for the next year or so, and I will be taking over as editor of the site in June. In that new position, I will be coordinating all the other interns to post regularly on the site and help determine what news is fit for KSR College to cover. I hope to succeed at this position and eventually be hired by the KSR main site or the KSTV television show to work after finishing my Master’s degree. My time with KSR College has been invaluable in learning about writing for the Internet, which is an area I need to be well-versed in for my future profession. I look forward to the rest of my internship and continuing to make connections between my practical experience and my classes at DePaul.