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Monday, December 14, 2015

PRO Opportunity: Writing for the Web

Michelle Callaghan
Writing for the Web

This research project investigates writing content for the internet. The project presents the history of content writing jobs and the relevancy of the MA in English for said jobs. It also outlines distinctions between the numerous job titles that encompass similar marketable skills in the content world. Content writing, copywriting, content editing, copyediting, proofreading, and social media management are just a few of many titles used in the industry, and in order to navigate job postings and interviews, knowing the differences between these job titles is an easy way to get a head start on the job search. The presented research also provides a foundation for the content writing candidate to present his or herself as capable of the entire spectrum of skills sought by companies and agencies.

This project also offers alternatives to the corporate advertising world for graduate students seeking employment as content writers who may be wary of corporate culture. These alternatives include academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, small and local businesses, entertainment outlets, and entertainment brands.

Included in the appendix of this project are three interviews with professional writers who all work with internet content in some capacity, all of whom hold one of the several titles explored in the body of the project. Also included are a sample cover letter for a web writing job, a sample resume, and actual job postings from the fall of 2015.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

PRO Opportunity: Copywriting for Graduate Students in English Literature

AJ DeBonis
Copywriting for Graduate Students in English Literature

One of the intended uses of this PRO project is to orient students in English literature to the field of copywriting as a possible profession. Copywriting involves creating content for the purposes of advertising and marketing, and can include writing for a variety of print and online outlets. The first section delineates the basic goals and nature of copywriting, projected employment and salary prospects, and reasons for pursuing or avoiding the field. The second section provides a very, very brief history of copywriting, while the third section discusses copywriting for the internet, including some of the skills and applications that will be useful to budding copywriters. The fourth section examines two of my own areas of interest within the field: marketing psychology and storied branding. The fifth and final section considers what students of English literature have to offer to the profession and provides a few tips on developing a portfolio for the purpose of applying to jobs. The main paper is followed by a bibliography of copywriting resources, two interviews with professionals in the field, and a job posting and cover letter for an introductory position.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

PRO Opportunity: Public Radio

Mary Weatherup
Public Radio

This project provides in-depth information for graduate students of English literature who may be interested in pursuing a career in the field of public radio. It includes a history of public radio, an analysis of its voice and mission, and an overview of the current state of the industry, with particular emphasis on the advent of digital media. The report then goes into detail about job prospects and internship opportunities, both at NPR and member stations, and provides information relevant to candidates applying for these positions. It includes interviews with two professionals in the industry, specifically detailing their perspective on what students of English literature can offer public radio. The report concludes with the assessment that a graduate degree in English literature is excellent preparation for a job in public radio, as these students possess the interest, skills and training necessary to create effective pieces of public

Monday, December 8, 2014

PRO Opportunity: The Past, Present, and Future of Book Editing

Lauren Greaves
The Past, Present, and Future of Book Editing

This Professional Research project details the evolution of book publishing. It looks back at some of the major changes that have already occurred and have affected how books are distributed and read and it also looks ahead to the future of the publishing industry. Finally, this project describes my own experience as an editorial intern for an independent publishing company.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Blogging for Hire: Exploring the Career Potential of Writing on the Web

Villanova's Professional Research Option is an opportunity for graduate students to explore a professional field over the course of a semester and write a report to summarize their findings. This is a great opportunity for students to explore a profession that appeals to them in the process of deciding on a career.

In light of currently expanding digitized media distribution and the growing commercialization of social networking practices, this project sought to explore the career potential of professional blog writing through both self-hosted platforms and contractual blog contributing under established media outlets. After summarizing the historical progression of blogging since it began in the 1990s, this investigation also brings blogging up to speed by reporting on some of its current statistical uses and  trends. It then investigates the relationship between education and blogging, a link that is itself inherently uncertain because of the self-mediated and open-access nature of blogging (i.e. the promise that anyone can publish). The project also offers practicalguidance concerning the various approaches to commercial blogging as well as the projected income and viability of blogging professionally. In recognition of the ways that blogging has challenged journalistic domains and encroached upon traditional publishing hierarchies, the exploration herein also examines the positive and negative aspects of unmediated self-publishing in relation to its predecessor: traditional journalism. Lastly, because of the ubiquity and inevitability of social media use, this investigation looks at some of the professional benefits of maintaining an online presence regardless of one’s particular career trajectory.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today's English Educators

This paper explores the roles and responsibilities of today’s English educator (both the secondary teacher and the university professor). It first provides a general historical overview of how literature has functioned and served society over the last several centuries. By chronicling the various literary movements since the 18th century, we can begin to understand how English situates itself in modern schooling and how the social and political systems and statuses of the world over history have dictated how literature can serve society. The study then explores different facets, duties, and skills of the actual teaching role and position as literary educator. By synthesizing current educational pedagogy and literary theory along with incorporating commentary from several interviews with professionals in the field, we explore the teacher’s moral sensibility, her competence as a “social being,” her improvisational and spiritual performance skills, and the all important ability to model the process and lifestyle of scholarship and inquiry. The final portion of the paper briefly examines several reading theories that are useful to the English educator. We first look at the importance of viewing reading as a craft- a practical and useful life skill. Finally, there is a consideration of reading as emotional education and ethical exercise.

For a copy of the full paper, contact Dr. Hicks at heather.hicks@villanova.edu, or drop by the Graduate Lounge where hard copies of all Professional Research Option projects are archived.

Innovations and Opportunities in the eBook Industry

This Professional Research Option project explores the history of the eBook industry, considers its current state, and offers some projections regarding its future. The project also discusses the best job opportunities in the industry, considering positions at traditional publishers, small presses, and recent entrants to the market like Amazon and Apple, then pinpointing geographic centers for eBook publishing. Finally, this study highlights the advantages of advanced studies in literature when seeking a career in eBooks, and identifies a variety of additional skill sets, such as technology and marketing, that could make a jobseeker more appealing to potential employers. The appendices include a selection of additional reading and resources, a sample cover letter and résumé, sample job listings, and industry statistics from the United States Department of Labor.

For a copy of the full paper, contact Dr. Hicks at heather.hicks@villanova.edu, or drop by the Graduate Lounge, where hard copies of all Professional Research Option projects are archived.