New Issue of Xchanges Technical Communication Journal Online

SOCORRO, N.M. February 23, 2015 – Dr. Julianne Newmark and her undergraduate technical editor, Andy Keith, recently unveiled the latest version of Xchanges, an interdisciplinary online journal highlighting the best new research in technical communication (TC), writing/rhetoric, and writing across curriculum from students across the nation.

newmarkjulieDSC 0807

Dr. Julianne Newmark


Newmark and students from the Technical Communication program publish two editions each year. Typically, the fall issue highlights graduate level research and the spring issue features undergraduate students. This edition features a combination of the two. Click here to view the XChanges journal.

“I think the content is incredibly strong in this issue,” Newmark said. “I was impressed with these articles because I learned a lot. It’s indicative of the level or research that students are doing; they’re presenting innovative arguments and we’re proud that Xchanges serves as a forum for such high quality scholarship.”

Three of the published pieces are by graduate students and one is by an undergraduate. Paige Lenssen of Auburn University, the undergrad, wrote a rhetorical analysis of the Enron scandal. The graduate student authors are Mary K. Stewart of the University of California-Davis, Amber McDonnell of Auburn University, and Bay VanWagenen of California State University-Sacramento.

“Two articles concern the teaching of writing, which is useful for instructors in communications and writing,” Newmark said. “One is a web-text, which we hope to do more of in the future – an embedded website within our website. The fourth one is an analysis of photomanipulation and includes compelling images.”

Newmark said the recognition of Xchanges by TC, Writing, and Rhetoric professors across the country continues to grow. As a result, the profile of Tech’s TC program – which is home to the journal – expands.  Newmark has been impressed in the last two years, in particular, that the journal’s reputation as strong forum for the publication of innovative research by undergraduate and graduate-student researchers in writing- and communication-related fields appears to be established, based on the recognition the journal received at national conferences and the correspondence Newmark received from professors nationwide. 

The journal’s blind submission-review process begins with Newmark conducting an initial review of all submissions. Then the bona fide research projects are sent to the review board, which includes 20 professors across the nation.

Newmark credited undergraduate technical editor Andy Keith for his work on content management for the online journal. “Xchanges wouldn’t emerge in its digital form if it weren’t for Andy’s work,” Newmark said. “He’s done it for three semesters and we’ve had a lot of work to do.”

Newmark has brought back her TC 371: Publications Management class this semester. One task for the class is revamping the Xchanges website.

“I have a class  comprised of eager students who are working on upgrades to the journal,” she said. “We are attending to changes to improve the website and strengthen it going forward. We are serving a worldwide readership, but it also serves our students at New Mexico Tech by giving them an opportunity to work on the technical, programming side of a journal.”

The Contributors:

·         Lenssen, who graduated from Auburn University in 2014, analyzed the Enron scandal – in particular the applicability of the “honest services clause.” She focused on her application of Aristotelian “virtue ethics” to the Enron criminal investigation. Her essay, “The Ethics and Legality of Financial Regulation: What Enron Revealed” argues that increased education in corporate ethics and legal regulation should be customary in corporations.

·         Stewart, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Education at UC-Davis, presents her webtext “Digital Invention: A Repository of Online Resources for College Composition Instruction.” This resource hinges on the argument that “introductory composition courses should use online tools to teach invention”; relatedly, instructors of such courses should avail themselves of the wealth of materials currently available online. Stewart's webtext aims to both inform readers about strategies of invention for writers in a digital age and to provide a large array of links and tools for teachers.

·         Amber McDonnell, a master's student in Auburn University's technical and professional communication program, argues in her essay “Ethics of Visual Rhetoric and Photo Manipulation” that "we should use well-considered ethical decision-making to check powerful, persuasive rhetorical claims in our work,” particularly concerning the images in texts. McDonnell's focus is photo manipulation as perpetrated by BP in aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. McDonnell analyzes possible reasons for BP's manipulation and chronicles the public outcry that resulted from the discovery of these manipulations.

·         In the essay "Embracing Digital Literacies: A Study of First-Year Students' Digital Compositions," Bay VanWagenen, who graduated with a master’s in English Composition from CSU-Sacramento in 2013, offers a careful consideration of students' online writing practices and the connections between these practices and more “formal” academic writing expectations and products. Writing teachers would benefit from using “their students' literacies as an important step in making connections between . . . digital knowledge and academic writing.” VanWagenen's study relies on students' own remarks concerning their awareness of audience and their employment of circumstance-specific writing modes in digital domains.

– NMT –

 By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech