As promised at the beginning of class, I am offering students the opportunity to complete a research paper designed to make up points that were missed along the way. This paper (a media analysis) will be graded based on the quality of your work, and you will have the opportunity to earn a maximum of 100 points. This assignment is optional, meaning you do not need to complete it if you are happy with your grade and feel good about your prospects for the final. Following are the requirements.
Media Analysis Assignment Guidelines
One of the main objectives of Journalism 210 is to make you think critically about the popular culture we consume. With that in mind, this assignment asks you to carefully analyze a movie, movie franchise or television show (streaming programs like those produced by Netflix and Amazon are fine). For your analysis, you will need to become personally familiar with a show or movie. That means watching the programming closely and conducting a fair amount of library research. As you work, consider the company that produces the programming, the market reach, the target audience and the message the programming conveys to consumers. You will then use your research to identify one particularly interesting component of the programming and interpret what that means to our society. For example, you might look at the portrayal of female characters in the TV drama â€œSupergirl,â€ ultimately deciding whether those portrayals deliver positive, negative or mixed messages to young women. As another example, you could look closely at the political content of the sketch comedy show â€œSaturday Night Live,â€ determining whether the program has a bias toward either conservative or liberal political beliefs. Your research options are virtually unlimited. The key will be familiarizing yourself with the material as thoroughly as possible and looking for patterns and messages that have the potential to shape our world.
WRITING THE PAPER
Your paper should be approximately 1,000 words (longer is fine but you will lose points if you fall below 1,000 words) and it should contain sections designed to tackle each of the following areas. Please label each section in your paper.
- Description: Make sure your paper adequately describes the programming that you are analyzing. What is it about? Who is the target audience? How do viewers access it? How broad is its reach?
- Analysis: This is where you present your personal analysis. Talk about the patterns you see and the area that you are focusing on. For instance, if you are conducting a political analysis of â€œSNL,â€ note what percentage of the programming is conservative, liberal or neutral. Doing this would, of course, require you to provide your definition of â€œconservativeâ€ and â€œliberalâ€ political ideals and explain how you came to your conclusions. You would also want to point to specific examples from the show that support your analysis.
- Interpretation: This is the â€œso what?â€ section. Explain why the topic you chose is important and what it could mean for our society. For instance, if you were to determine that â€œSNLâ€ has a strong liberal bias (and Iâ€™m not saying that is the correct conclusion), you would need to explain what impact (if any) that bias might have on viewers.
- Evaluation: This is where you offer an overall evaluation of the programming. Assuming your interpretation is correct, you should explain whether the societal impact of the movie or show is positive, negative or neutral. Be sure to move beyond simple personal judgments by supporting your opinions. If you believe the programming is having a negative or positive impact, provide evidence to support this conclusion. Think about things you have learned while taking this class to help support your argument.
Along with your paper, you should turn in a bibliography listing at least four sources that you used while conducting research (more sources are allowed and encouraged). If you reference these sources in your paper, you should also credit them appropriately, using a standard citation format like MLA or APA. Since this is a journalism class, I also allow journalism-style attributions.
Due date: I will accept these papers until the end of the day Wednesday, May 8.
Submission: Please submit these papers online. Go to Blackboard Learn, click on the â€œBlogâ€ link and submit the paper under the link labeled â€œExtra Credit Paper.â€
This project is worth up to 100 extra credit points, and you will be graded as follows:
Quality of analysis, interpretation and evaluation: 60 points
Bibliography: 25 points
Spelling, grammar and quality of writing: 15 points