ENG 311SL: Publishing: Family Abuse Services of Alamance County Newsletter

In the Fall 2011 ENG 311SL Publishing course led by Dr. Pope-Ruark, a group of six students worked on a newsletter for Family Abuse Services of Alamance County (FAS), as well as a template and production guide for the next two issues. Emily Bishop, Maggie Achey, Kevin Thompson, Victoria Doose, Liz Purvis, and Brittany Wheatley had been given a previous version and redesigned it for FAS based on guidance from their partners at the organization. By attending events sponsored by FAS and interviewing program coordinators, students gained an understanding of how the organization supports the community and spent the semester keying in on ways to build awareness about FAS through the new newsletter.

Rhetorical Strategies

Domestic and family violence can be very difficult subjects for many people, so the group worked to ensure the newsletter focused on hope and the importance of survivors having access to the assistance they require. By developing a thorough understanding of FAS through conversations with the executive director Lynn Rousseau and outreach director Pam Shook, student Bishop noted that, “because our group wholeheartedly understood what FAS stood for, and what type of message they would like to get across in the newsletter, we were able to make rhetorical decisions based upon their ideas and beliefs.” The students kept in mind that FAS was striving for a positive tone to convey the theme of “hope” to the newsletter’s readers.

While thinking about the newsletter tone’s, the group also made rhetorical decisions to align layout and design to reflect this optimistic tone, as well as be readable and engaging for the intended audience. As Achey noted, “before this class I had never worked with the medium of design and layout so it was definitely an eye opening experience.  It was fascinating to me that we carefully thought out rhetorically our layout.  From the font to the drop caps, it was all deliberate.” In order for the group to successfully design this document for FAS, attention to every rhetorical detail was necessary.

CUPID Connections

When working on the newsletter, Bishop and Achey note that the group thought carefully about information design and collaboration. When determining how to design this document, they ensured that the information was clear and easy to understand and logically placed in the document. Along with information design, collaboration was key. As Bishop added, “I think publishing requires a group effort, especially because there are so many elements to it.” This project required different people’s strengths to be highlighted and used, as is characteristic of many CUPID projects. The students working in the FAS newsletter learned important strategies to work together to achieve a common goal while working closely with a community partner they came to understand and respect, achieving CUPID’s goals of civic engagement and authentic collaboration.


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