Kolton's ideas, thoughts and opinions

02 Oct

Writing Better Headlines

This week I read the article “5 Easy Tricks to Help You Write Catchy Headlines” on Goins, Writer.  I thought that the article made some good points like use numbers and use interesting adjectives I felt that it missed some very critical aspects of headline writing.

In order to know what the article was missing we need to establish what Jeff Goins’ five tricks were. Goins said we should use numbers, use adjectives, use unique rational, use words like what and why and make an audacious promise. I agree with a lot of what Goins was saying because most of his points are to make your title stand out. If a writer uses numbers or unique adjectives in the headlines that story will stick out on a websites main page or in a search engine. I also think that making an audacious promise is an interesting thought, but I think if a writer makes a promise they better deliver on that promise. Goins made good points, but I felt that he was missing a couple major points. Here are a couple other points that will improve your headline writing.

1. Don’t be afraid to name drop
If you are writing an article that involves an important or famous person don’t be afraid to put their name in your headline. Well known names will draw attention to your article and will make them more likely to appear on search engines like Google or Bing.

2. Don’t overcomplicate your headline
Keep your headlines short and to the point. A headline should tell the reader what is in an article, but it shouldn’t tell the reader everything. Headlines should not exceed 10 words. Make sure that your headline reads easy and doesn’t confuse your reader.



25 Sep


Yesterday I read an article on a New York Knicks blog called Posting and Toasting about the Knicks newest free agent signing. The article was called Some thoughts on Lou Amundson and the Knicks’ full (but not complete) roster and it went in on the recent signing of Lou Amundson and how he fits with the team next season. I liked the article a lot, but I felt like Joe Flynn went a little soft on the Knicks management.

Lou Amundson is known for two things, his scrappiness and his rebounding. Earlier this offseason the Knicks signed Joakim Noah, Willy Hernangomez, Maurice N’dour and others that already provide the Knicks with plenty of rebounding and scrappiness, but the Knicks still signed Amundson.

According to ESPN’s Marc Berman people inside the organization felt that the Knicks were “thin at experience at backup center.” This means that the Knicks brought in Lou Amundson for veteran leadership, but the stats show that in terms of on court experience Amundson does not have that much. Also the Knicks have already used up a roster spot on a player who isn’t going to get a lot of playing time, but provides leadership, his name is Sasha Vujacic. The worst part about the signing is that the Knicks still have at least one glaring hole.

With the Amundson signing that puts the Knicks roster at 15 players or full and that’s a problem. The Knicks have two players at the point guard spot, Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings. Rose is two years removed from a series of serious knee injuries, including two torn ACL’s. Jennings is one year removed from a torn Achilles tendon. Both point guards have major injury concerns, but the Knicks decided to sign their seventh big man instead of a much needed third point guard.


18 Sep

Blog Review


The first blog I chose to review was the Ball Don’t Lie blog on Yahoo Sports. This is a NBA blog that does features on every team across the NBA. I’m really impressed with how much content they are posting at this point of the year. Right now, with the NBA in between Free Agency and the Regular-Season Opener, there is not a whole lot to cover but the writers at Ball Don’t Lie are doing in depth previews certain teams and other news stories across the NBA.

I enjoy the layout of the stories on this blog, but I really do not like how they have placed the ads. The articles give a nice two to three paragraph preview and then you can choose if you want to read the full post, or move on. The ads take up a whole third of the screen on the right and are very intrusive.

Every article has a comment section which allows their readers to get more involved with the writers. Most of the writers also link to their Twitter in the byline.


The second blog I looked at was The Starters Blog on nba.com. I checked out this blog because I have watched The Starters TV show and they have mentioned the blog many times on the show.

I like the amount of video content on this blog, but with all of the video content it is almost impossible to find the written articles. I do not like the layout of this blog site. It is essentially the same layout as NBA.com, which is one of the clunkiest and slowest websites on the web.

My favorite part of this blog is their podcast. During the NBA season they do four 30 minute podcasts and one hour long podcasts a week. They do a good job of being informative and entertaining. I would love to do a podcast like this on my own blog.

The Starters interact with their fanbase by talking to them on Twitter, doing polls and even showing pictures of their fans on The Starters TV show.


The last blog I looked at was the HoopsHype blog from USA Today Sports. For the most part I loved the layout for this blog. There was a trending stories section, an ability to search for stories by each individual team, deep analytics and many more great features for a NBA blog, but as soon as you open the blog there is a giant autoplay video add in the middle of the page. This one ad really takes away from the clean and great layout of this site.

The articles are very well written. The one thing that this blog is missing is just a little video content that would make people get hooked and stay on this page longer. This page has links to all of the writers and a lot of the players social media pages.





12 Oct

Doing the Same With Less, the Story of the Kittatinny Budget

Mayor Gustavus G. Petykiewicz has just proposed his budget for Kittatinny in the 2016 fiscal year. As expected the city’s budget has diminished greatly since the Susquehanna Steel Corporation decommissioned one of their blast furnaces. With this decreased revenue our mayor proposed some controversial budget cuts and an even more controversial tax raise, but much of the budget is still up for debate.

This year Kittatinny had a 10.2 percent taxable property decrease which made it very tough for Mayor Petykiewicz to balance this year’s budget while using last years as an outline. The mayor has proposed a 0.3 mill tax increase, but even with this increase the Kittatinny tax levy has decreased by 3.5 percent. With this decrease in the levy the mayor has proposed some needed but controversial cuts.

During the city council meeting on Oct. 5, 2015 it was very evident that one of the most opposed cuts was that to the police budget. The mayor has proposed that Kittatinny reduces the number of police officers from 10 to eight. The mayor also proposed that KIttatinny police would no longer work the early shift (4 a.m. to noon), but instead all emergencies calls would be handled on a contract basis by the Schuykill County Sherrif’s deputies.

The Kittatinny Police Chief, Roman Hruska, was very distraught after hearing the news about the police budget cuts. In responding to the proposed laying off of two officers Hruska stated that Kittatinny would be losing two good officers and even better citizens, but Hruska was much more upset with the contracting out of the early police shift.

“I will not stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of police protection for a third of the day.” Exclaimed Hruska.

When asked for other suggestions the chief stated that he would take a pay cut if others would agree to it if it could save his officers jobs, but he continued to insist that the police needed a new cruiser for their fleet.

Hruska was not the only person opposed to the police cuts. Bjarne Westhoff, the President of Pennsylvania Police Association, and Denelda Penoyer, City Council President, both agreed that the police fleet was not the places to cut the city budget.

Another proposed budget cut that should concern the citizens of Kittatinny is the change in the garbage pickup policy. This year the mayor has proposed that garbage pickup will be taken off the tax levy. Kittatinny will continue to use the Tioga Sanitation Company, but the charge for this service will now be added to city water bills. This proposed budget change would save the city over $180,000 and met very little resistance at the council meeting, so expect to see this added fee on your water bills next year.

The mayor has also proposed two more layoffs to AFSCME employees. One of those layoffs would take place in the city clerk’s office and the other would take the engineer’s office.

Other increases that should concern the average citizens of Kittatinny are the proposed changes to the prices of parking. The mayor has proposed that the parking meters along Main Street raised their rates from 10 cents to 25 cents.  Mayor Petykiewicz also proposed that the parking permits of the downtown lots be raised from $65 per year to $75 per year.

At the beginning of the city council budget meeting Mayor Petykiewicz acknowledged that the shutting down of the Susquehanna Steel Corporation’s blast furnace has greatly hurt the town. It not only hurt the city budget, but has also hurt the almost 600 people that got laid off in result. With the reduced budget the Kittatinny city council has a lot to discuss before their Dec. 1 deadline. Keep reading the Kittatinny Daily News for any new news regarding the future of our town and our 2016 budget.


30 Sep

Singing for the Love of Singing

A member of two State Solo and Ensemble champion vocal jazz choirs, a member of three state winning duets, six first place solo piece finishes and a National Choral Award, this is a list of choral awards that would be impressive enough for a singers obituary, yet this is just a fraction of the accomplishments of one 18-year-old girl from Belleville, Wisconsin.

Toni Gerner is a freshman attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on a vocal scholarship. Gerner grew up singing and dancing in a town with a population of 2,000 people, fortunately part of that 2,000 is Gerner’s biggest fan, supporter and most importantly her mother. When asked who was the most impactful person on her musical career Gerner replied.

“My mom, even though she’s not musically inclined herself. She pushed me into musicals, sang to me as a kid and encouraged me in every way possible. She’s my number one fan.”

Jody Gerner, Toni’s mom, pushed Toni into doing her first musical audition when she was 13. After the audition Gerner was rewarded with a lead in Let’s Hear it for the Heroe’s and from that moment she developed a love and passion for the musical theatre. Over the next five years Gerner would be in 15 musicals and had a lead in 12 of them.

These leads would allow Gerner to showcase her talent not only to the people of Belleville, but she would also go on to show her singing and acting skills at other local theatres in the area. She not only excelled in the theatre, but also in the Belleville choir and in state singing competitions.

Ever since her freshman year of high school Gerner has dominated the state singing stage. As a freshman she received two-first place solo awards and a first placed duet award at the Wisconsin State Solo and Ensemble. Over the rest of her high school career she would have six more solo pieces receive a first place at state and two more duets take home the first place award.

A childhood obsession with Beyoncé and continued involvement in theatre and choir showed Gerner that singing and entertaining is what she loved and what she really wanted to do with the rest of her life.

When Gerner was asked about her dream job she said “I just want to be singing the rest of my life. I don’t have to be rich, as long as I’m singing.”

This love for her craft has enabled her to have a fail-proof plan. At the moment Gerner is studying music education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on a vocal scholarship, but that does not mean she has given up on the dream of being the next big music star.

Gerner is now trying to be discovered as a singer. To showcase her vocals she has become a member of the University choir at UW-Oshkosh, she records covers of popular songs and uploads them to social media and she is actively trying to get a shot at a TV audition on The Voice or other popular singing shows.

Toni Gerner’s musical talents have been recognized ever since she was 13 years old. Now all she is trying to do is gain more recognition as she gets older. Toni isn’t just a small town girl chasing her dreams; Toni is a girl who has shown she has the talent to achieve those dreams.

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