1. Could you explain the main question we have to answer for Essay #1 in further detail?
The assignment is asking whether you think U.S. media are biased or people’s perception is biased, with hostile media phenomenon theory as the underlying framework. So it is basically asking whether you think hostile media phenomenon holds as an appropriate explanation (in which case you’d be arguing that U.S. media are NOT biased, or at least are NOT biased to the extent that it is perceived now, and it is the people’s PERCEPTION about the media that is biased) or not (in which case you’d be arguing that U.S. MEDIA are ACTUALLY biased and NOT necessarily people’s PERCEPTION about the media that is biased).
One precaution is that, this assignment is NOT A NEWS ANALYSIS assignment: you’re not doing content analysis of the actual news articles to make a case of whether or not media are biased. You’re evaluating (and using) the interview data and authoritative sources as the major supporting evidence for your argument about the hostile media phenomenon.
2. What if I don’t have any friends with strong liberal or conservative political ideologies?
The interviewees don’t necessarily have to be friends. You can interview relatives, family members, and acquaintances over the phone too (just remember to keep good notes). If you still can’t think of anyone in your larger network, pick the MOST liberal and conservative people you can find. We’re not looking for ‘objectively’ strong liberals or conservatives.
3. Is the first draft part of the final grade for Essay #1?
Yes. Both the first and final drafts of Media Analysis Essays are evaluated, though you won’t receive a letter grade or points for the first draft. Therefore, the first draft should technically be your ‘best’ draft at the time you submit it. The letter grade and points will be given after the final draft has been graded.
4. But how is the first draft taken into consideration in the grading process?
We take a holistic approach, to grade the whole writing process from the first to final draft. While your first draft would be the best draft you’ve written at the time of submission, we look at how much revision or improvement you made for your actual final draft. So even if your first draft turns out great, the final grade could be modest, depending on how much substantial revision you make for your final draft. On the other hand, even if your first draft turns out weaker than had expected, your final grade can be as high as (or even higher than) someone with an excellent first draft, but with almost no revision, if you make substantial revision/improvement for your final draft. But of course, a high-A essay would be one that was both quite strong for first draft and has improved even further for the final one.
5. How do I access the journal articles provided for the essay?
If you are accessing them via computers on the campus, the article links should lead you directly to the sources without problem. But if you’re accessing them from off campus, please refer to this document LibrarySearch_AuthSource_2017F.
We have explored several perspectives on how media impact our experiences and perceptions of the world. In this assignment, you will conduct some interviews in which you apply some of those ideas to observations of media effects.
For this assignment, we want you to interview two people that you know. The idea is that you select the most liberal person that you know and the most conservative person that you know.
Once you have selected these two people, we want you to interview them and ask them questions pertaining the following topics:
- News consumption. What news outlets do they prefer? How regularly do they get news from their preferred sources? Which news outlets do they dislike? Why do they favor some over others? In a slightly different vein, how much news do they get from people in their social networks? Do they find the news forwarded to them by those people to be useful?
- Political ideology. Ask them to explain to you some of their positions on political issues. What political parties or groups do they like and dislike. Why?
- Media bias. Ask them about possible media bias in the United States? If they think the media are indeed biased, in what direction? What evidence can they provide you of this bias they perceive? Remember to bring up the media they mentioned in topic 1: Are these also biased? Why or why not? Do they think media bias is inevitable and necessary, or do they think media neutrality is attainable, desired and materialized in some outlets?
This list of questions is illustrative of the type of questions you can ask, but feel free to go beyond these questions to add your own.
Some rules for the interviews:
- For this assignment you cannot interview other J201 students.
- You will identify your interviewees in the essay and tell us how they are related to you.
- Take careful notes, or record your interviews. Submit your notes or interview transcripts as an appendix to your assignment.
Once you have completed your interviews, we want you to revisit the materials discussed in class regarding the hostile media perception. Go over your class notes readings, then we invite you to do some additional research on possible media bias and the hostile media phenomenon.
Some additional sources that you might find useful include:
1) Pew Research Center http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/
- Pew Research Center http://www.journalism.org/2017/05/10/americans-attitudes-about-the-news-media-deeply-divided-along-partisan-lines/pj_2017-05-10_media-attitudes_a-07/
3) Media bias in presidential elections: a meta-analysis http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2000.tb02866.x/abstract
4) Elite Cues and Media Bias in Presidential Campaigns http://crx.sagepub.com/content/26/2/144.short
5) What Media Bias? http://hij.sagepub.com/content/12/1/17.short
(The statistics in some of these articles are complex, but focus on the findings rather than on the tests).
Now you are ready to start writing your first Media Analysis Essay!
Your job is to use course concepts (hostile media phenomenon, biased public, relative hostile media) and at least two authoritative sources (from the additional readings suggested above, or others your find on your own) to answer the following big question: Are media in the United States politically biased, or is it that the public perceives them as biased?
Start by stating your thesis. Then explain what you mean by political bias and how you’re defining the media, and move on to develop the arguments that support your thesis. Use your interviews, alongside the research material, to support your arguments regarding the public’s perception of media. Finalize with your conclusion on the big question posed and elaborating on the implications for society of your conclusions.
Use the interviews to support arguments you are making about perceptions of media content. Use studies that actually study content to support arguments about actual bias in media.
Media Analysis Essay – General Rules
You will write a1500-word (five-page, double-spaced) papers, tied to the class readings and requiring some outside investigation. This paper should still have the three basic components of an academic essay:
- An introduction, which clearly states a thesis (please underline that thesis).
- A body, which develops the thesis, with one argument per paragraph, and several points of evidence supporting each argument.
- A conclusion which not only restates the thesis, but leaves the reader with something more, such as speculation on the broader implications of the thesis.
Use APA citation style throughout.
The first draft of the essay is due via Turnitin.com by 9:55 a.m., OCTOBER 25. Before this time, you should also email it to the peer reviewers assigned to you by your TA.
You will receive feedback from your TA, provide and receive peer reviews during Week 9, and then submit via Turnitin.com a final version of your paper by 9:55 a.m., NOVEMBER 10.
This short writing assignment is due Week 6 in section (so from Oct 9 to 12 depending on your section). This writing assignment should conform to the class guidelines for short writings: 500 words, posted to turnitin.com (APA style for in-text citations and references is encouraged but not required).
In Week 5, we are focusing on Global Media Systems and comparing some characteristics of different media systems in the world. For this assignment, you will focus on the Chinese media system. You need to conduct a little research about how news media operate in China, in order to then explain the functioning of its news media system. Build on the chapter you read for this week and maybe consider some additional sources such as:
Reporters without borders: https://rsf.org/en/china
Freedom House: https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2017/china
Before writing your essay, consider the following issues:
- Analyze the four dimensions of the Hallin & Mancini typology that were discussed in class and how they might apply to the Chinese news media system.
- Among the three types of media systems proposed by Hallin & Mancini (i.e. the Liberal Model, the Polarized Pluralist Model, and the Democratic Corporatist Model), which type of media systems does China fall into? Or propose a new type if you think China does not fit within their typology.
- Are there signs of convergence towards the liberal model in China?
In this short writing assignment, we want you to (1) state a thesis on how you would classify the news media system of China; (2) provide evidence to support your thesis based on your analyses of the four dimensions proposed by Hallin & Mancini; and (3) finalize your essay by assessing whether the news media system in China is converging towards a liberal model or towards a different one, and if the later which one would that be.