How Well Do You Know the AP Stylebook?

testblogThe AP Stylebook is every journalist’s Rosetta Stone, but it can be tricky attempting to remember all of its entries — especially with those constant updates. While most of us already have an online subscription or hard copy at the ready, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the book as best you can. To find out if you’re up-to-date with AP Style, grab a pencil and piece of paper, and jot down your answers for the quiz below. (Scroll further down for the answers.)

1. Which one is correct?
A.) Powdered sugar
B.) Confectioners’ sugar
C.) Confectioner’s sugar Continue reading

Featured Contributor: J.C. Lewis

JClew

School: The University of Bristol (UK)
Degree: BSc Politics
Approved Sections: Arts and Crafts, Food and Drink, Travel, Style, Home, Home Decor, Social Science.

michaelscottHold the phone — you have a 2010 DMS contributor of the year award? Do you have a lot of trophies at home?  No, I don’t have any trophies at home, so my DMS award is very lonely. I have a couple of medals from 5Ks I ran in last year, but it wasn’t for winning or anything close to it, they gave them to everyone. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Paula Martinac

Martinac

School: Hawthorn University
Degree: M.S., Health and Nutrition Education
Approved Sections: Nutrition, Science

kaleWhat’s your take on the phenomenon that is Kale? How do you prepare it? Kale truly is a superfood, that’s not hype. It’s packed with nutrients. But it’s not the most super superfood, and no single food will cure anything or make you skinny. My favorite kind of kale is lacinato or dinosaur kale, and I chop it up raw and mix it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes and a little Parmesan or Romano cheese. Let it stand for about 30 minutes and you’ve got an amazing salad. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Karren Doll Tolliver

KTolliverPortrait_bh

School: Mississippi University for Women, Columbus, MS
Degree: English
Approved Sections: Fitness & Well-being; Food & Drink; Garden; Technology; Travel

A day in the life of Karren, summarized in a Tweet:

karendoll

Sounds busy! By the way, I’m digging your name, Karren Doll Tolliver. Did you have a nickname growing up? Well, first of all my middle name, Doll, is actually my maiden name. I really didn’t have a nickname growing up, but my college friends gave me the nickname Double-R because of the two R’s in my first name. There was another Karen in the group; she was Single-R. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Lisa M. Wolfe

lisawolfe

“Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She writes for various magazines such as “Cycle California,” “Rocky Mountain Sports” and “American Fitness.” She is the author of numerous fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College.”

School: Oakland Community College
Degree: Exercise Science and General Studies
Approved Section: Fitness and Well-Being

A day in the life of Lisa, summarized in a Tweet: tweet

Your first-ever article was published in 2001, how did you celebrate? I purchased a green, comfy, porch swing and placed it near the pond in my backyard. Who knew that when my daughter was about five, she’d take her blanket, hold her stuffed bunny and “run away” to that swing for the afternoon! Continue reading

Today’s Storytelling: An Act of Interaction

Photo Credit: BrandingStrategy.com

Photo Credit: BrandingStrategy.com

Technology, heightened communication and non-stop media socializing is changing the way we do most everything. The saying, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound?” made sense at at certain point in time. Today, however, it might be more apropos to ask, “If something — anything — happens and it isn’t promptly Tweeted, Facebooked or Instagrammed, did it like, really actually happen?”

Less philosophical to be sure, but it seems that’s where we’re headed. Even storytellers, who traditionally write from their own pool of creative genius, are now turning to face their audience and ask quite unconventionally: What do you want?

Continue reading

How To: Make an Animated GIF from a YouTube Video

Ever find yourself wishing you could easily make an animated gif from something you saw on YouTube? Well, now you can. Best of all it’s free, relatively painless, and only takes a few short minutes.

After you’ve scoured YouTube for that copyright-free video you want to make into a gif (I chose a Monster Truck fail montage), visit: makeagif.com. Once you’ve opened makeagif.com in a new tab, simply follow the instructions I’ve outlined below.

pro tip: create an account (free) at makeagif.com for quality gifs and no watermarks.
blog01 blog02 blog03

What’s the point of a “clean” URL? It makes sharing the image much easier, since it won’t link to a website, and instead directs users to the image itself. This way you can upload it to Twitter, Facebook, attach in an email, or even post in the Studio’s Forums minus the headache of sending anyone to a website.

Here we have the final product…

Huge success! (for us, not so much the driver of the truck)

Bite-Size Writing Tips via Twitter

Do you Tweet? Have you spent many a fortnight perusing the tweetosphere? If you answered no, maybe it’s about time you head over to Twitter, and sign up for an account. Why you ask? Twitter is an alternative way to access the vast surplus of knowledge circulating through cyberspace. You can find whatever it is you’re looking for using a simple hashtag (at least most of the time). For example #howtofreelance, or #taxes, or for the purpose of today’s blog post: #writingtips.

The beauty of Twitter is that all posts are limited to a mere 140 characters, which equates to bite-size tidbits of information–great for those of us with ADD. Fair warning: you can attach a picture, or even a link, however it chips away at those 140 characters. So choose wisely.

I quickly found the following 8 helpful writing tips using the hashtag #writingtips. Not only did I remind myself of some of the more common writing errors out there, I learned a few valuable tips! Thought I’d share.

Food for Thought

libraryLA

Looking for an interesting statistic to share with your friends? Public libraries in America outnumber one of the nation’s largest fast food conglomerates, McDonald’s.

Talk about food for thought. In an age where you can download 50 Shades of Grey to your Kindle, stream Hi-Def movies on the go, and blast 140 characters (or less) to your followers via Twitter, it’s comforting to know the land of the free and the home of the brave houses more public libraries (17,000 and counting) than it does locations of the golden arches (a paltry 14,000 by comparison).

So what does 17,000 libraries, spread across the U.S., look like? Justin Grimes, a statistician at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, has painstakingly detailed all the locations of libraries that reside in the United States. Just look at that map (below). Looks like a swarm of bees protecting their hive, doesn’t it? Every single blue dot represents a public library of some sort. Even more impressive, libraries reach more than 96% of the U.S. population. Technically you can live in some of the most desolate places within the U.S., and still have access to a library–just not a McDonald’s.

libraries

Perhaps the news doesn’t come as such a surprise for most Americans. After all, according to Libraries for Real Life over 65% of Americans have a library card. Big deal, right? However, those library cards aren’t merely sitting around collecting dust. “Americans check out more than 2 billion items each year from their public libraries,” according to Libraries for Real Life. Most of those people are frequent visitors too, borrowing “more than seven books a year.” Take that Hollywood!

With more books than ever to choose from, libraries are a pivotal source for knowledge. But did you know libraries are constantly evolving, and adapting more and more to the digital age. Imagine for a moment that find yourself in a pinch, and need to access the web for a writing assignment, or to finalize a resume, or you simply want to read about Kim Kardashian’s latest celebrity gossip (why?) The good news is practically every library provides access to a computer. According to ALA.org, “Public libraries are the number one point of access for people without internet connections at home, school, or work.”

We hope you utilize your public library as much as we do ours. In fact, here at Demand Media we have a small library of our own (non-public). It currently has about 200+ books.

 

Serenity Now: Burying the Hatchet

There’s a lot of fighting going on these days and I’m not talking about the legislative and executive branches. I’m talking about the most vital, important, life-changing disagreement our country has ever seen: Kanye vs. Kimmel.

For those of you aren’t up to speed on aforementioned squabble, here’s the deal. About a month ago Kimmel aired a parody of an interview Kanye West gave earlier that month. The parody featured kids reciting Kanye’s answers, which basically highlighted the general silliness of said quotes. This made West really angry and like so many pop stars these days, he took to Twitter.

What ensued was an exhaustive back-and-forth:

Kanye tweeted…

Kimmel tweeted…

Kanye erupted on Twitter…

Kimmel discussed the disagreement in a monologue (or two)…

Kanye tweeted…

You get the idea.

But alas, last Wednesday the two sat down on Kimmel’s show to settle things in person. Like most peace talks, big ideas were shared, dirty laundry was aired and the pains of being a public figure were expressed.

The world is right again.