Strip District Follow Up (And Assignment Outline)

Dear Travelers: 

I hope you enjoyed our visit to the Strip District

Since we went a little over time, here is some information I would have given you back at our classroom basecamp. 

Assignments (due before our next class meeting):

  1. Set up your travel blog. Use any platform that feels good to you. I recommend WordPress, but if you have another platform you prefer, that’s fine. Try to give your blog a creative and easy-to-remember name. Think about how you might find a Pittsburgh-based niche for your blog, since Pittsburgh is a hot market right now and all of our travels will be based here. 
  • Make your first blog entries. You should post the following four things on your blogs:  a) An introduction to you– your bio note – and a sentence or two about your blog(what it is, what you’ll cover, what readers might expect to find there, etc.); b) Your coverage of our Strip District visit. This post can be a short (around 500 words) bit of journalism/reportage, a personal essay, a creative piece (a series of poems or a short story or some bits of flash fiction/nonfiction). Be sure to infuse your work with research. In other words, check out the history of the Strip, facts about the place(s) you’re writing about, any interesting details you can find, and weave these into your work.  MOON PITTSBURGH is a great resource for this; c)Photos. (Or video, if you shot that.) Visual elements are so important in travel writing, so be sure to illustrate your coverage of the Strip. Also, in your introduction, it’s always nice to include a photo/illustration of yourself so readers can connect with you; d) A separate entry about our assigned reading(See Syllabus for the list of questions).
  • When posting to your blog, be sure to self-edit your workand check for grammar, factual accuracy, etc. It’s helpful to write and edit in Word and then cut and paste into WordPress (though watch for any weird coding that might happen in the transition and delete it). It’s also helpful to have someone read over your work before you make it live. 
  • Once your blog is set up and ready to go, please send me the title and link. Send to: I will post your blog links to our main class site. 

Our next class:

We’ll be visiting the Maxo Vanka murals in Millvale. Do a little pre-trip research on the murals and Vanka’s work. Pre-trip research always makes for a more engaging experience on site. Again, MOON PITTSBURGH is helpful, but go beyond that whenever you can. 

Our tour is scheduled for 12:30, so we will leave just a bit after 11 a.m. Remember to come to class on time. I don’t want to lose anyone or leave anyone behind, though we will have to do that if you’re not here on schedule. 

We should, all things considered, be back in our classroom by 3 p.m., so we’ll have an hour to talk about your blogs and have a short lecture on what makes for good place-based writing. 

  • Note:  Our whole semester’s assignment schedule – including your required writing for your blogs, etc. — will be pretty much exactly this. We’ll travel, write, read, and repeat throughout the term. 

Looking forward to reading your work and seeing you soon! 

Best, lj

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