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A Rather Humbling Experience

Newsroom 101Words of warning…don’t take writing advice from me!

The other day I came across the Newsroom 101 website.  It’s a site that will put your grammatical and writing skills to the test.  They have thousands of free exercises, tutorials and general helpful information for anyone looking to make a living as a writer, especially journalistic writing.  There are grammar, usage and punctuation exercises, AP Stylebook quizzes, Newsroom exercises and more.

Just for grins I decided to take a few of the Newsroom tests.  I never took journalism in school and never had a desire to work in a newsroom but I thought it would be a hoot to see how much I’ve learned over the years.

Time to Get Back to LearningBack to School

After taking a couple of the tests, I’m fully amazed that I earn as much as I do writing online.  I’m still licking my wounds from the assault I took in trying to get through a few of the exams.  I’m not a quitter, but I think I need to do a little more studying, reading and learning before I go back for round two.

The site is a great resource and I recommend it to everyone looking to earn money online.  As a matter of fact, I think one or two of our favorite CEs from a site that I won’t mention might learn a few things from Newsroom 101 as well.

To end this post as I began it…don’t take writing advice from me!

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Julie-Inspired to Write September 6, 2010, 12:23 pm

    Thanks Felicia for another great resource!!

  • Deanna September 6, 2010, 2:23 pm

    As long as you aren’t writing sentences like “Ain’t got none”, “Don’t knows it” or “I ain’t got nothin”, then I wouldn’t worry about a thing. I am always impressed at how precisely you write (as compared to me who rambles on…). I’ll take writing advice from you anytime. 🙂

    • Felicia September 6, 2010, 3:49 pm

      LOL. I’ll try to keep “aint” to a minimum. 🙂

  • Christina Crowe ( @CashCampfire ) September 6, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Wow, this is fantastic! I’m always interesting in learning how I can improve my writing and hone my skills. This is bound to help me.

    I’ve purchased dozens of books on grammar and writing. Though I’m not even close to being able to call myself a writing expert, I’m still learning along the way and building up my credibility.

    Thanks for the valuable resource! I’ll try taking a few quizzes myself to see how it goes. 🙂

  • Tashana September 6, 2010, 9:17 pm

    Thanks for turning me on to the site Felicia. I especially like the information about “Focus Worksheet”. http://www.longleaf.net/ggrow/funnelfocus.html.

    I think this is one of my major problems. I am a global thinker and breaking things down to the bare bones is so challenging for me, and this formula will help a lot.

    Thanks again.

  • Niche Momma September 6, 2010, 7:37 pm

    Oh wow. That IS humbling.

    and 60%

    Good Lord. I need to work on my grammar! Although I, personally, don’t feel too bad missing any of the AP specific questions. I hate the AP style.

    I’m good with word meanings/spelling but need to work on verbs and dangling modifiers.

    Hey, at least I’m identifying my weaknesses.


  • Niche Momma September 6, 2010, 7:55 pm

    Okay, I got a 90% on a later test. Finally.


  • Kidgas September 6, 2010, 10:30 pm

    Curses, Felicia. I took a few of those quizzes as well and hate that website now. Arrggh!!!

  • Mo September 7, 2010, 12:14 am

    I passed the first two and got a 35% on the third. I felt humbled indeed…

  • Kim McLendon September 7, 2010, 12:48 am

    Thanks so much for this!!! I finally understand commas. I’ve always found them very confusing. Some people say it’s easy, “just use a comma when you pause in a sentence.” Then I have to explain “I’m from the south. I have a southern… drawl. I Pause… every three words… at least.” Anyway I finally understand the rules after years of asking, and reading dull grammar books. Those books always over explain what seems to be common knowledge but they never explain what you want to know. Once I read the tutorials I made hundreds on all of them. I made 50’s though when I just jumped in and took the tests, so it’s essential to do the tutorials first. The whole essential and non essential clause discussion really was great!

  • Laura September 7, 2010, 12:33 pm

    After reading your post and a few of the comments, I’m both scared and excited!

    I learn by doing. Which usually means that I learn by failing, so this site can actually be a good thing for me. Not long ago, my husband did a massive English review to prep for an exam he needed to take (he even rented a few English DVDs from the library). English has never been his strong suit and he kept asking me questions and trying to engage me in conversation about the many rules he was discovering that he didn’t know. I found myself insanely irritated with these discussions, just as I’d been in elementary school when they’d first been introduced to me. I write fairly well, but I have no idea how I do so. In other words, don’t ask me to explain the rules of grammar and spelling to you! LOL

    I’ve always been a “learn by doing” person and my strongest English lessons have come by being corrected either by a teacher or an editor. Weird, I know, but that’s how I’m wired. All that said, I’m kinda looking forward to using this site and thanks for sharing it.

  • Lashon September 8, 2010, 4:49 am

    Hello Felicia,

    How are you? Where can I find a sample internet freelance writer’s resume?



    • Felicia September 8, 2010, 6:19 am

      Lashon, I usually find resume samples by doing a Google search. Try inserting “sample freelance writer resume.”

  • LilyRose September 8, 2010, 11:01 pm

    First time taking quizzes:

    Comma 93%

    Punctuation 93%

    Hyphen 52% (gulp!)

    Humbling indeed …

  • HealthyOpal September 9, 2010, 5:43 am

    Hi Felicia,
    I’m smiling here in Maryland. I’ve taken a few tests like that before, and you’re right it can be a humbling experience! That happened a few years ago, and I remember I went out and bought several books to help me improve my skills. I’ll definitely be checking out the site.

    By the way…
    Last week I mentioned your site in one of my posts. A few of my readers contacted me, or left a comment telling me they’d download your eBook, and check out some of the freelance writing sites you’ve mentioned. One of them, who graduated from college last year, decided to apply at Demand Studios last week. He was accepted and is now writing for them. The week before, he’d been let go from his job. He does have another job lined up. I think it starts next week, but I know it’s nice to have more than one way to make money. I tweeted with him a few days ago, it seems he’s writing his fingers off at DS. 🙂

    I applied at Demand Studios on Tuesday. I thought I had worked for them before, but when I went through the application process, I realized I hadn’t. I received my acceptance letter yesterday. I’ve decided to read up on the formats; some of them I’m familiar with, before I write for them.

    • Felicia September 9, 2010, 7:43 am

      Thanks for the shout out on your blog, HealthyOpal.

      It really makes me feel good to hear when folks are able to benefit from the information here. While there are many complaints about Demand Studios (and I have done my share of complaining), there is nothing like it for making a quick buck and filling in a financial gap.

      Congrats on your acceptance to Demand Studios. You’re in for an interesting ride! 🙂

  • HealthyOpal September 9, 2010, 9:05 am


    It should be interesting. I’ve read your post about Demand Studios. 🙂 I think I’ll mainly write for Livestrong; I was accepted there too. I noticed their rate is slightly higher, starting at $25 per article. Yesterday, while looking through the articles, there were hundreds of articles I’m knowledgeable about, and although I could write them off the top of my head, I won’t.

    What was helpful was reading through your posts and the comments about Demand Studios. I Googled to see what others had to say about the application process too. Regarding the application process, I read up on what they were looking for and made sure my writing stye followed their guidelines. The personal site I sent to them too that features my health articles, followed the AP format. I just created that site, so was able to go back and redo a few articles to follow the style they require. I’m sure that was helpful too. I do think, at times, some people might think just because they are applying for a online writing job then they can relax and write off the top of their head. I’d disagree, with the places I’ve written when it came to the application, I put in just as much effort as I would for a print publication. The only difference being, online I didn’t have to jump through as many hoops.

    I’m interested in checking out Suite 101, I think you mentioned you’d be assigned one editor? I really like that a lot. I used to write at a technology site focused on Apple technology. I was assigned an editor. I established a great relationship with them, and I learned a lot on how to write for technology websites. 🙂 I look at these opportunities as learning experiences, and an added bonus is I get paid while doing it.

    • Felicia September 10, 2010, 6:56 am

      Suite editors are assigned by category. Recently they made a few changes to the editorial process so I’m not quite sure how many topics editors are responsible for.

      In my years writing for Suite, I’ve only come across one editor that was problematic. I quickly learned there was more than one way of skinning a cat over there. Once I figured it out, I had no more problems with that editor.

      You’ll do well there.

  • Kristi September 9, 2010, 6:34 pm

    Hey Felicia-

    Although I have a BA in English and a JD I’d probably flunk those grammar test so I “aint gonna take em noway”. After all, why should I stress myself out? Plus, I know plenty of internet marketers who can’t spell a lick and you know what, they make a whole lot of moola so I am not going to let it worry me – at all. Wink!

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