4 to 5 pages
It is no surprise that U.S. news sources differ in terms of media tone, reporting, content, and focus. In order to get a more accurate and comprehensive view of world politics, we must examine multiple news sources. Typically, U.S. news not only comes from the government, but multiple sources as well. This assignment is designed to give you a more comprehensive perspective on how different types of news sources report issues differently in terms of scope, tone, agenda setting, priming, etc. Writing example can be found at the end of the syllabus.
a. Topic: Each student will choose a topic that has sparked the interest of local/state/regional/national news sources (e.g. Michigan water crisis, natural disasters, school violence, #metoo, government shutdown, midterm election, healthcare overhaul, Supreme Court justices/rulings, Colin Kaepernick, etc.). The topics will be awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis; therefore, it would be in your best interest to choose your topic quickly.
b. Sources: You will need to identify fifteen news articles for this paper. The news source breakdown is as follows:
i. Four articles from national U.S. media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal. Do not use news magazines such as Time or Newsweek;
ii. Four articles from MSNBC and/or CNN;
iii. Four articles from Fox News;
iv. The remaining three sources will be from local news sources such as Sun-Sentinel. These sources must demonstrate diversity in terms of geography (i.e. choose articles from three different geographical regions of the United States.
v. You will need to include a complete bibliography of all news sources that reflects a consistent and accurate citation format.
c. Paper format/requirements:
i. Introduction and summary (1 page): The introduction (half page) is the most important part of any well-written paper. It is meant to capture the attention of the reader as well as lay out your arguments. It should not be generic and it should be free from language such as “in this paper I will discuss.” Make it interesting. Be creative. Follow your introduction with a brief summary (half page) of the main points and circumstances involved with the issue. The summary must be succinct, concise and clear. This section will be the most difficult portion of the assignment since you must summarize and synthesize a great deal of information in no more than half of a page. Direct quotes are not allowed.
ii. Reflection (2-4 pages): There are two components to this section.
1. The first component (2-3 pages) includes an assessment of the overall presentation of news. Describe the tone (neutral, informing, accusatory, etc.), presentation (objective, subjective, etc.), persuasiveness, trustworthiness, etc. for each article. Which articles are the most informative, persuasive, value-laden, biased, etc.? Compare and contrast the various presentation styles/approaches adopted by the news sources and speculate why the news sources differ.
2. The second component (1-2 pages) involves your pondering where you think the issue is headed in regards to local/state/national response. Be sure to consider course readings or discussions. How can the readings be used to broaden our understanding, as well as explain the situation?
iii. Overall, I will be looking for creative, insightful and thoughtful responses that balance opinion with the articles.
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