Caught in the Web with Katelyn Sweigart #1

Caught in the Web is a new CMM feature created and maintained by Katelyn Sweigart, web editor of The Mustang Daily and a senior journalism student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  It lays out a range of web tools and platforms aimed at helping student journalists up their writing, reporting, and multimedia awesomeness.

By Katelyn Sweigart

One Word

This daily writing exercise is great for those who need to flex their mental muscles before writing. You are given a single word and then 60 seconds to write about it—whatever comes to your mind. It doesn’t require registration, but signing up gives you the ability to archive your writing as well as connect to Facebook and participate in the community. You can join groups within One Word, doing round robin-esque storytelling or just getting support from your fellow writers.

750 Words

It’s an online “journal” that keeps a daily track of your writing. The goal is to write 750 words a day. It gives you points for meeting that goal, as well as doing this consistently. You can “follow” other writers on the site. There are also challenges and other incentives, which scratches that human itch of achievement satisfaction. (Seriously, why do you think Xbox Achievements are so popular? It’s those little rewards that makes you feel accomplished.) There’s a bunch more features open to those who donate to the website. It’s definitely worth looking into. I recently found this site, so I don’t know its ins and outs completely. But what I’ve seen, I like!


This isn’t a site, but a program. It’s full-screen text editor that doesn’t allow you to look at your other windows or minimize it, or even let you use your cursor. You can change almost everything about the appearance: line spacing, font color, font type, first line indent, etc. There’s a word counter, spell checker, and it can give you alarms for sprint writing, or you can set up an alert so you know when you hit a specific word count. It doesn’t do really fancy formatting, but it gets the job done. And it makes typewriter sounds. How cool is that! Unfortunately, I type too quickly and it sounds like my computer is purring. It doesn’t require installation—it’s a self-contained .exe file.  Unfortunately, it’s only for Windows, and the programmer doesn’t plan on making one for Linux or Mac.

Caught in the Web graphic by Steven Simily

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