Discussion Questions for the Project Post Mortem

Some things to consider as you’re looking at you fellow classmates project sites:

  • For each site:
    • What is working well on this site? What is engaging about it to you in terms of text, image, sound, and graphic and interactive design?
    • How is the group using persuasive media approaches we’ve discussed in class, either in something they created themselves, or by linking to and prominently displaying the work(s) of others?
    • What do you feel called to do now that you have visited this site? What change in you, the site visitor, do you think is likely to happen?
  • For all the sites together:
    • What strikes you as the most persuasive technique you see here? Why is that?
    • Are there techniques that are less effective than others? Why?

In addition, take some time to think back on the course as a whole – the topics, discussions, readings, and assignments we shared – and think about what you will take forward with you beyond this course: 

  • How will you shape your persuasive arguments differently in the future? 
  • Will you be more likely to incorporate image, audio, and interactive design into your persuasive and critical work in the future? Why or why not?
  • What is one specific concept, idea, or technique you will remember most after this course? Why?

Group 1 Rhetorical Project

Front End

Back End-

Our project discusses particular issues within the education system that we believe should be strongly improved. Our claim focuses on enacting policies to increase the quality of education including providing funding for low-income schools in all grade levels, incorporating more realistic content within the classrooms such as financial skills, bettering the nutrition plan, and implementing better teacher pay. We chose to make this argument as a whole because, to some extent, we have either experienced 1 of our 4 arguments or more and/or have strong beliefs of improving the education system because of what we have personally witnessed from either our own perspective or from another. This topic is extremely important because we feel that along with the most essential necessities in the world, education should be a top priority and should be revamped annually or as much as possible to offer the absolute best form of learning for students to be successful. In our project, we wanted to present the truth behind the differences in equity between institutions and showcase research behind what districts are doing for their schools specifically. In the funding aspect of our claim, we have found that it is true across the board that students located in low-income and high-poverty communities are receiving less funding compared to their counterparts and this observation is the most influential piece of evidence that we wanted to emphasize in our project. We also wanted to showcase how impactful our ideas of policies could be on the quality of education. In another aspect of our claim, we have also found that students exposed to more financial education tend to have higher credit scores. We want our audience to understand how significant these differences are and how we can enhance the quality of education with our ideas. More importantly, we wanted to convey the importance of the research we’ve found and present the truth behind what is actually happening within the education system. Each section in our project represents our claims introduced as policies and we want to emphasize how each of these policies can cultivate every single child’s education. We want our audience to feel aware and informed after reading each section of our project and to understand what we are trying to convey. 

One of the sections covered in our project was about funding within the education system. The way I began my part of this project was by researching the statistics and numbers of how much schools between each state are receiving. I wanted to determine the economic disparities between districts and their schools occurring in the U.S. I found that many articles found cases of financial gaps between high-poverty or suburban areas compared to well-funded areas or city areas. I was able to find a variety of sources that could attest to the disparities, however, I struggled with finding dollar amounts in the most recent years. The United States Education Census contained every dollar amount spent categorized in levels of education and whether they were state, local or federal until the year 2017. For the remaining three years, there are no new data for the expenditures in education in the United States. Therefore, I continued my section with the information provided which was a challenge when writing this section of the project. In this process, I was able to find articles with cases that worked to attest to the funding issue within the education system. These articles focused on particular states in which parents filed lawsuits either against the state or school district regarding the economic disparities in their school communities compared to their neighboring communities. One of the links I incorporated in this project is about a specific case that began in San Antonio, Texas. A parent from the Edgewood School District filed a lawsuit against the district concerning funding gaps. I wanted to implement this case specifically because I wanted to showcase the negative outcome when addressing this issue.  In another link I included was about a different case that occurred in New York. Parents located in New York State argued to provide equal funding for students located in urban areas with high poverty rates. This was an additional site I added in order to present that it did have a positive outcome but still had continuing factors that affected the funding dilemma in the urban district. I found that although this issue had been addressed and successful in the process, there were still impactful limitations and issues continuing within the districts. Specific cases highlighted that there has been and continues to be a funding gap between divided areas. More and more evidence showed that low-income and impoverished school districts not only receive less funding but receive a ridiculously low amount of funding. As I gathered the data and support from articles, I wanted to implement the significance of providing more funding and share why I believe this topic is so important. In my process, I also researched the impact more funding could have and the opportunities it could make for students. I found that when schools obtain more spending, students are more likely to succeed academically before and after they graduate. I wanted to emphasize the positive outcomes by offering more aid for students. In the process of finding these positive outcomes, it was undeniably noticeable and unfortunate that funding gaps are common across the United States and there are very few cases that have improved. Another source in my section introduced what could happen if this policy were to be enacted and the impact it would have on students. The most important aspect I wanted to incorporate in my process of completing my section of the front end was to inform the audience as to what is occuring in our education system and how funding, specifically, can have a major impact on students itself. I used these links and images to introduce the act of addressing funding disparities between school districts and communities and to acknowledge the importance of implementing a policy to provide more funding. 

We also chose to talk about the lack of incorporation of essential content specifically the lack of financial literacy in schools. We know how important financial literacy is because we are college students who have probably had to make financial decisions paying for college, etc. I took a financial literacy class in high school and I gained a lot of knowledge that a lot of people are not fortunate enough to gain because financial literacy classes are not required for graduation in a lot of states. One rhetorical device that was used in the front end was Identification.  Identification is used to recognize connections between the audience and certain symbols to find a way to present a perspective so it is sensible. The way Identification was used was to present ways that the audience might need to manage their money for. It was stated in the front end that “everyone makes financial decisions” after naming topics that a financial literacy class touches on like “ the basics of saving, investing, budgeting, debt, etc” makes the audience identify with the topic because it makes them think about how making financial decisions is important in their personal life and will help us to persuade them. 

After utilizing Identification, a quote that shows the importance of the topic was used. The quote was taken from the 2020 Survey of the States which is performed by the Council for Economic Education (CEE) to determine financial education in the 50 states. The quote was used because even though almost “70% provided the option to take at least a one-semester elective”, only less than 17% of high schoolers were required to take at least one semester of personal finance” (2020 Survey of the States). So, the quote was used to make a point that only a very small percentage of high schools made financial literacy courses a requirement even though it is very important and the audience has been made to identify with the topic. Another point made was that it might be assumed that parents are educating students at home about financial literacy however a lot of students do not get financial education at home. This point was supported by the quote from T. Rowe Price’s 2017 Parents, Kids & Money Survey that looked at parents’ behaviors about money and their children’s financial habits. The quote showed that a lot of parents have hesitation to talk about money with their children. The first two quotes show that a lot of students are at a disadvantage because they are not getting financial education from home or from school but are expected to make financial decisions when they become adults. This lack of financial education can make them make poor financial decisions and make them more likely to be in debt. 

Given the information, some solutions on providing financial literacy to high school students were given. The first solution was to make financial literacy classes a requirement for graduation because it is so important and it is very likely to make a difference in the finances of students that take the classes. This point was supported by a quote that showed how much of an advantage personal financial education gives students. Another suggested solution was to give incentivized teacher training in finance courses which was shown to help increase students’ personal finance knowledge. 

Another rhetorical device that was used is Objectivity which involves not being influenced by personal opinion in considering and representing facts. This was done by using quotes that had been taken from research because since the evidence is gotten from research, it is not influenced by personal opinion. 

Another topic we chose to research was in regards to school lunches because we researched many inner city schools where the families struggle to provide for their children’s food. In a case like this they are counting on the school system to provide for their children. With even a base layer of research we were able to find that not only are many schools stingy with their budgets but they are also willing to serve food that is below even the standards of many fast food restaurants. The Food Research and Action Center has found that school lunches when they meet proper nutrition standards, provide numerous benefits to children. This means that these lunches really are important and this is something worth taking a stand on for the sake of our children. 

Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level are eligible for free school meals. Those with incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals, but does this mean that they deserve to be fed so poorly? From low quality meat to continuing to use meat from a plant with confirmed salmonella cases, in our research we found horror stories about school lunches. The benefits to children who do receive meals that meet nutritional standards are both obvious and proven. We cited research that shows the long term health benefits to these children.

Lastly we wanted to shed light on how little a lot of teachers are getting paid. Teacher pay is a very important topic when talking about improving the education system. Teachers are sometimes forced to quit their jobs due to how low their pay is. Low pay also discourages anyone looking to become a teacher, especially if they are in a low-income area. When it comes down to it, teachers are responsible with providing kids an education that is substantial and that will prepare their students in order to have a successful future.

One of the main things we wanted to present was how low some teachers are actually getting paid. It is scary how little these people are getting paid compared to how important they actually are in society as a whole. Showing that some salaries for the teachers is as low as even $35,000-$45,000 a year. Teachers are extremely important and they get underpaid for how important they actually are, and we really wanted to provide information to present this.

As a form of rhetoric, we aim to convince our readers to support increased funding for public schools. Lunches may not be fed in the classroom but they do directly affect performance in the classroom and unlike some school subjects they will always impact life outside of school. We made the argument that lunches are deserving of our attention and will have long reaching impacts on our youth.

Our persuasive media text can be shown to connect to some of the readings that we have done in this course. One of these readings is Scott Rosenberg’s “Three pillars of trust: Links, revisions, and error buttons” where he gives techniques to try to fix the distrust of news organizations. One of these techniques was to add links to articles because “every link tells a reader, “I did my research. And you can double-check me” (p.1). In our project, we employed this technique by adding links that supported our arguments on every page. For example, on our “Essential Classes” page, we hyperlinked the quotes to the websites where the data was gotten from. Another course reading that we can see that connects to our project is Sarah Stein “The 1984 Macintosh Ad”. In this paper, the author was looking at rhetoric in a 1984 Apple Advertisement. Constitutive rhetoric was the main component of the commercial and it involves use of “identification” rather “persuasion” as the key term of the rhetorical process in which “audiences are constituted through a process of identification with a textual position” (p. 173). We briefly used Identification on our “Essential Classes” when we wrote that implementation of financial education classes is important because “everyone makes financial decisions” and when we also listed ways that financial literacy classes help students like teaching them “saving, investing, budgeting, debt” in an effort to give the audience examples of how the use of financial information applies in their life so they can better identify with the argument. 


Rosenberg, S., 2020. Three Pillars Of Trust: Links, Revisions, And Error Buttons — Wordyard. [online] Wordyard.com. Available at: <http://www.wordyard.com/2011/06/24/three-pillars-of-trust-links-revisions-and-error-buttons/> [Accessed 15 May 2020].

Stein, S., 2002. The “1984” Macintosh Ad: Cinematic Icons and Constitutive Rhetoric in the Launch of a New Machine. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88(2), pp.169-192.

How do stories convince us?

The journal article, “How do stories convince us?” by John Rodden discusses the complexities of narrative and rhetoric and how they are often used in conjunction to communicate effectively. He coined the term “a rhetoric of narrative” to explain this relationship, while keeping the following three questions in mind: 

  1. How do stories convince? 
  2. How do stories and “law books” appeal differently?
  3. How do narratives argue?

The rhetoric of narrative wasn’t clearly defined in the article, and was kind of difficult to understand, so I think it may be helpful to break this term down. Narrative is defined as the “systematic recitation of an event or series of events,” or in simpler terms “a story,” while rhetoric is the “art of using language to persuade”. Thus, when narrative rhetoric is used, speakers often use narrative elements to convince, inspire or argue certain points. 

Rodden focuses on the “how” and “why” of narrative throughout the entirety of the article. He uses the rhetoric trivium (grammar, logic) to explain the “how” and suggests that the “why” is persuasion.

He states that grammar is the ground or base, and logic is used as building blocks to rhetoric. To better understand this concept, think of what you learned in elementary school. Children are taught basic, fundamental concepts at an early age,  as their minds are able and ready to absorb new information. Rather than being able to self-express and discover, we just learn the facts/rules so that later on we are able to think for ourselves and formulate our own opinions based on our foundations of knowledge. This is similar to how grammar is used in rhetoric. Logic is the reasoning in rhetoric, and it gives a story significance. Back to the example in school, the logic years would be middle school and junior high, where students begin to make connections based on their prior knowledge. Last in the trivium is rhetoric, or the output, when students are able to apply what they’ve learned. 

Rodden uses the rhetoric of narrative to suggest that stories are often persuasive discourses, especially if they “progress primarily by motifs carrying ideas.” He claims that speakers often discreetly state their message when telling stories so that their audience is persuaded in less forceful manner.

We the Media

Facilitated by Allan Izaguirre

The introduction chapter illuminates the evolution of how information travels. It discusses early news medias and how the internet changed how the game was played. That chapter sets the floor for the question of, what is trustworthy nowadays? Discussed in chapter 9.

Something that we all need to watch out for is the copy and pasting problem when someone quotes something. For example, if I take my Mathematics textbook and only quote a part of my equation like “Area of a circle is equal to pi” without mentioning the rest of that equation, this will end up in a catastrophe of an answer. Some people do this on purpose to stir up some controversy. An example of this in its purest form is this video of Bernie Sanders singing Power by Kanye West.

Of course you should not quote him on this, even though he said all those words, this video has purposefully left out other important things he said.

When you think of primary sourced evidence, one of the first things you might think of is witnessing an event with your own eyes. To an extent we can assume photos and videos also fall under this, primary evidence category. But can we really trust all that we see? Gillmor brings to light the evil that has sourced from the developing technology around us. “…simple cropping can remove someone who was in the original picture or it can highlight an important element in the image.” A new concern has risen due to our advancement in motion editing. With what started as a way to place celebrities’ faces into pornography, has now turned into a way to put words into someone else’s mouth.  Deepfakes analyze people facial gestures and accommodate them for others to create realistic videos. Here’s a quick reality check.

In the same way as someone can be a victim of this. A public figure can do something ridiculous and say, “Oh what, really?? There’s a video of me doing that? That has to be a deepfake.” When in fact it was them.

Gillmor then proceeds to question whether the person behind a publishing is something important to know. For example, if you read an Onion article and you were given no indication that it was published by The Onion, would you feel bamboozled for falling for such thing. But having anonymity has its benefits, people who would normally not mention certain things feel free saying them. And as seen with the deepfakes public figures can slip out of line and say something that they wouldn’t normally say and blame it on a hacker.

Gillmor mentions the pain of trolls bombarding journalistic sites. Some can guide viewers out of context and plainly just waste peoples time. In a similar way to you watching the class videos for Tuesday on YouTube and suddenly you are lured into a convincing title under your recommend list such as, “I was brushing my teeth, YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT”. Then three minute into viewing you realize that they have not mentioned anything about brushing their teeth. Those posters that are there just so that you can lose minutes off your valuable day, or as Gillmor calls them “a time thief”. I recently encountered a commentor on Instagram who’s username was “dontclickhear73″ and my instinct as a flawed human was to click on it, then on their profile their description states ” DON’T READ MY BIO”, the bio instructs you to not click on the panda, the image of the panda has tagged a user who’s name is “dontclickhere37”. There I go clicking away, then that user’s Biography says “DON’T CHECK WHO I FOLLOW” and at the end of this whole journey I just end up on a useless sponsoring page. In this case it was inevitable, I could have just followed instructions. There are cases where a troll will comment on a controversial topic and you as a defender of your beliefs will comment back and create this debate that was just there to get you and others to comment on an article which pays authors for the amount of comments their articles gets. Trolls whole purpose is to “provoke others with the intention of wasting their time and energy.” they are tough to avoid and always waiting for you to give them a shot at wasting your time.

Now comes the things harder to realize, these are the bias spins that individuals place on information to push their personal agendas. Spins can sometimes even be harmless and just something a journalist did without realizing. Others can influence masses. I would like you to check out this website, https://www.allsides.com/unbiased-balanced-news, they separate articles based on political stance upon the same event. When reading from a new source it is important to keep in mind that the authors intentions might go beyond informing you.

Now here are the real heroes of the internet, you and I. Do not trust everything you see and read online. Read other people’s comments. Run a quick fact check on their information. Don’t believe the “Corona virus cure” article, you can look up other sources and verify the validity of their argument. In addition to this there are multiple websites designated to fact checking, here is a link to Michael A. Caulfield book page on these sites, https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/chapter/fact-checking-sites/ . In fact his whole book is worth noting as a guide to fact checking an unchecked source. https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/

Gillmor gives us these rules which have worked for him:

  1. Do not quote/trust anonymous postings.
  2. Select sources you trust information from.
  3.  Use tools like the website I linked to find bias or read new information cautiously.
  4. Fact check their ass.

Rosenberg Facilitation: Three Pillars of Trust

As millions of journalists publish endless stories, it may always be the case that a mistake can be made among their story and/or accuracy of sources. But how many of those journalists are actually taking responsibility for those mistakes? Scott Rosenberg on Three Pillars of Trust: Links, revisions, and error buttons, discusses the impact of uncorrected errors and how journalists and news organizations can change that. Rosenberg highlights, “more than half of stories being published contain mistakes – and only three percent of those errors are ever fixed.” Because of the lack of effort or willingness to alter these errors, news organizations have and are increasingly losing the public’s trust. How do we begin to believe or know journalists are producing reliable facts? Rosenberg addresses three simple yet overlooked steps that news organizations can take into account in order to minimize the number of errors in their stories and establish better rapport among their readers. 

  1. The first step Rosenberg introduces is the ability to “Link generously.”

In other words, he emphasizes the significance in providing sources to help support the credibility of their research. Without these links to the sources that have been utilized, readers are not given the opportunity to assess whether the story is a reliable document. 

  1. The next step is the importance of “Showing your work.”

By showing your work, Rosenberg encourages journalists to attach previous revisions of the same story to show the processes of their improvements. He highlights the idea of practicing transparency and by doing this, he claims “providing a history of every version of the story” can fulfill that practice. 

  1. Rosenbergs’ final step promotes the act of “Helping people report mistakes.” 

He states, “The internet is a powerfully efficient feedback mechanism.” In this last step, he encourages news organizations to implement a type of attachment or button that allows readers to share that they believe the writer has made some sort of mistake. This gives the writer the ability to receive feedback. 

Rosenberg along with many others understand that these “uncorrected errors are beginning to undermine the public’s trust” and in order to build that trust back, he believes these steps are an essential start. Below is a short clip of Jeff Jarvis identifying his take on Journalistic Code of Ethics that I think is relevant to Rosenberg’s three pillars. 

Along with ideas to change the face of accuracy and credibility, Rosenberg also breaks down the reasons these practices are not widely or commonly used. He begins with explaining what the industry has to offer. He explains that systems that consist of tools to immediately correct these mistakes, do not exist. And later states, that even if these correction systems did exist, they are not “bringing in revenue directly” and news organizations are not gaining money from it and are wasting time doing so. Following, Rosenberg switches the reasoning on the writers themselves. He claims, “many editors do not believe the problem is serious” and do not take into account that inaccuracy loses the public’s trust. Next, he believes writers assume that readers with corrections or feedback are just people who don’t support their work, and the writers believe it is their “duty to ignore them.”

An example of a news organization that does a really great job of updating their revisions and linking sources is the Dallas Morning News. Each article contains specific links within the text or below a specific image or statistic in order to allow their readers to access their sources. One particular article on The Dallas Morning News addressing the current pandemic provides almost all key steps that allow the public to trust its content. The beginning of the article contains an update with a specific time and statistic. Throughout the article, there are links within the text, under images, and identified sources within the story. Below is the link to the article. 


As we look into the truth behind every journalists’ intentions when publishing or writing a story, Rosenberg states “we ask them what sets them apart from others that share online as well.” 

If their answer is “We care about accuracy. We correct our mistakes,” Rosenberg emphasizes that they should practice what they preach unless they want to continue losing the public’s trust.