Review: Justin’s Essay

This is a review of Justin’s first essay “The New Age of Digital Media” for Pub 101. Justin blogs at 92 ’til Infinity. In this essay, Justin outlines the shift from print to digital literacy, and how this shift has benefited publishers and consumers. This was a very good short and sweet article. Without further ado, allow me to provide my constructive review.

Interpretation of the assignment

This essay leads the discussion through a brief history, providing specific example quotes, while examining the shift as a whole. There is a thoughtful, chronological progression of ideas through the body of the essay.  This essay definitely touches on key points in the shift from print to digital publishing, and has not only paralleled themes from Posiel lectures (such as ebooks and digital magazines), but has expanded on these with original examples.

Strength of the argument

I found that this essay laid out a structured argument that covered an impressive number of topics. Justin was able to tackle the shift, presenting the viewpoints of print and digital media publishers, as well as consumers. The structure of this article creates a good transition for discussing the ‘prosumer’, a blending of the digital publishing shift and consumers.

Though it is a short essay assignment, the text could have benefited from small subheadings that divide the topics of the two sections into concise blocks. It looks like many of our classmates opted for a traditional essay structure. I’m not sure if this is what our professors prefer, but it would be an exciting experience if we were encouraged to apply the lessons from class in order to optimize the readability of a longer, more academic piece¹.

Use of supporting resources

This essay made good use of external articles, which expands the scope of this piece from within the Posiel material. Quotes and statistics can add to any piece of writing, and it was nice to see these outside sources strengthen the examples in this essay. I would have liked to see where some of the guest lectures and other sources used had an influence on this essay by having some sort of indication in the text.

Some small changes to the way these supporting resources are integrated could improve the writing overall, specifically when using quotes and links. The second section begins with a quote, a bold move that is structurally very appealing. However, it is difficult to discern the quote from the rest of the sentence text due to the sentence structure. Rather than blending quotes into sentences, It would be interesting to see these as stand alone quotes, allowing for the use of:

This WordPress quote feature.

I really enjoyed the integrated examples used in the second section, though craved the ability to click a link for further information and elaboration. These links not only assist in citations and add legitimacy to examples, they are an important feature of any text published online.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, this is a well thought out and constructed essay. It has good flow from section to section, and is able to touch on several important features in the shift from print to digital publishing.

Footnote tangents

¹ In my essay I referenced this article in The Atlantic, which discusses the shift from print to digital literacy, and the need to modify the way content is presented online to attract readers to longer pieces. Ironically, though this piece employs links, it is written in the long, multi-page all-text style the article condemns as unsuited for the internet.

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