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social action writing: creating internet content

​​​course dates: july 20 to august 2, 2021


Whether via creative or expository writing, internet content can change the world. As internet influencers have taken the spotlight, it's become clear that i​nternet activism is anything but routine and ineffective. If you have a message--or even if you don't yet--it is important to know how to get it out there. This course focuses on the short essay, including creative writing, opinion/editorial, and expository writing. You'll work with professional freelance writers who make a living creating internet content. In this course, you'll write essays, learn to "pitch" your work, and actually make a submission for publication during our course (yes!). You'll also turn essay content into a compelling online video or meme. 

  • Organize ideas and concepts into essay themes that have a specific audience and intended effect.
  • Understand the differences between various short essay forms, including personal essay, expository essay, opinion/editorial, etc., and when to best employ each for a specific topic and audience.
  • Write short essays in at least two formats and edit them for potential publication.
  • Understand how to research the market and pitch a short essay to online publications (some of which pay writers, others don't). 
  • Use your writing skills to create internet content in pictorial or video format, as memes or short videos.
  • Learn to manage an online presence focused on the issues that mean the most to you.
By the end of the course, students will have pitched their own work to at least three online markets for potential publication. (In past Summer Arts courses, some students have even seen their work published before the course is over!)



Undergraduate: ENGL 421, 3 units
Graduate/post-baccalaureate: ENGL 621, 3 units




Anyone interested in online journalism, anyone with a message to share, anyone who wants to learn how to write for an audience and have an impact! Undergrads, grads, and community activists are welcome!


  1. Prepare a statement of interest and a writing sample of up to 1000 words (yes, word count matters!). Any writing style or form is acceptable.
  2. Submit/upload the materials listed in step one when you apply online by June 7​, 2021​.


Kimberly Dark​
(619) 708-8115

Guest Artists

Melissa Fabello

As a digital creator, Melissa develops online content – in the form of articles, graphics, videos, and more – to challenge others to unpack oppressive ideology around food, bodies, and beauty. Known for being both no-nonsense and witty on Twitter and Instagram, she warmly, but firmly invites followers into hard conversations around wellness.

Melissa’s work rose to prominence during her five years as Managing Editor of Everyday Feminism. She received her PhD in Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University, and is author of the groundbreaking ebook, Appetite: Sex, Touch and Desire in Women with Anorexia. With work recently named “smart” by Bon Appétit and “the future of health media” by Healthline, Melissa brings a fresh perspective to discussions on body politics.

Raquel Reichard

Raquel Reichard is an award-winning journalist and editor whose work focuses on Latinx culture, politics, music and identity. As a writer, she centers oft-overlooked communities and stories, while as a speaker, she helps young and emerging writers and creatives of color break into the media industry and succeed in their professional lives. Raquel holds a master's degree in Latinx news media and a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science.

Raquel has written for: MTV, New York Times, Vibe, Bustle, Teen Vogue, Latina, Remezcla, The Fader, Mitu and more.... Her work has been featured on the BBC, Huffington Post, Slate, Upworthy, Everyday Feminism and the TODAY show. ​

Jeffrey Marsh

Jeffrey Marsh is one of the world's foremost commentators on nonbinary identity and activism in America, with a message of positivity and inclusion and a deep knowledge of queer issues and history. Marsh’s spiritual and inclusive messages have received over 400 million views on social media. They are the first openly nonbinary public figure to be interviewed on national television, for Unfiltered. Jeffrey was also the first nonbinary author to be offered a book deal with any "Big 5" publisher, at Penguin Random House. Their bestselling Buddhist self-esteem guide How To Be You, is an innovative, category-non-conforming work that combines memoir, workbook, and spiritual advice. How To Be You topped Oprah's Gratitude Meter and was named Excellent Book of the Year by TED-Ed.  In 2019, How To Be You was re-issued as a Barnes & Noble Proprietary Edition. Jeffrey has been a student and teacher of Zen for over twenty years. They have​ reported on LGBTQ topics for TIME, Variety, Dutch National News channel RTL-TV, NewsmaxTV and the BBC. Jeffrey was also a Cultural Consultant on Nonbinary Identity for the Elizabeth Warren campaign, New York University, the office of Chirlaine McCray (New York City's First Lady), GLAAD, MTV, Condé Nast's ‘Them’ and ‘Teen Vogue.’ As an author, Jeffrey was the first prominent public figure to use, and advocate the use of, they/them pronouns for trans and gender non-conforming people. Jeffrey has also offered comment in The New York Times, Buzzfeed News, Reuters, Huffington Post, and Bustle and has delivered keynote talks and participated on panels at university campuses worldwide, including NYU Florence, University of Texas Arlington, and Penn State. Currently, Jeffrey is developing several TV shows centered around issues of LGBTQ identity and stories. Follow Jeffrey on Instagram @thejeffreymarsh​ too and start watching those short videos.


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