Short Essay #3

Short Essay #3: Hostile Media Phenomenon

DUE: On Thursday, March 22nd by midnight to Turnitin (NOTE: This is a week later than it says on your syllabus. You will be able to turn in the assignment starting March 15th, the original due date, if you want to get it out of the way before the midterm. But everyone has been working so hard on their research papers, take the extra week if you want it!)


In this assignment, you’ll run your own (slightly unscientific) experiment to test the hostile media phenomenon. You will be interviewing two people–someone who is against immigration restriction and someone who is for immigration restriction–after having them read this article:DACA_NewsArticle. It’s formatted so you can send it to your subjects as a Word document with nothing to identify its source and with the British spellings eliminated. Do identify it as a published news article.

If you’d like to see the original article yourself, it’s from the BBC and is here:

The interviewees cannot be other students in 201 and should live in the U.S.


Your essay will be divided into three labeled sections that look like this:

I. Hypothesis  (100-150 words)

Before you conduct interviews, form a hypothesis. That is, based on the hostile media phenomenon, what do you think the pro-immigration restriction person will say? What do you think the anti-immigration person will say? Make sure you define hostile media phenomenon in your answer and cite the readings from Week 6 as necessary.

II. Method  (100-150 words)

For everyone, the general method will be the same:

  1. Choose subjects, having ascertained the views of your subjects on immigration restriction. (If you don’t know anyone who feels strongly about it, you can interview subjects with more moderate opinions, but the stronger they feel, the more likely your results will be interesting.)
  2. Tell them you are conducting an interview on media bias.
  3. Ask your subjects to read the article.
  4. Then ask them how they would rate the article, on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being the article shows great bias against restriction (in other words, pro-Daca); 5 is the article is perfectly neutral on immigration; and 10 shows great bias for restriction (anti-Daca). For example: if someone who is against immigration restriction thinks the article is also pro-Daca, they might rate the article 0 through 4 depending on how biased in their favor they find it; if that person thinks it’s perfectly neutral, they would rate a 5; if that person thinks the article is biased against their own views and towards immigration restriction (anti-Daca), they would pick between 6 and 10.
  5. After that, ask whatever follow-up questions might help you better understand their reasoning. You might choose to discuss hostile media phenomenon, but only after they have finished rating the article.

Because everyone has the same general method, in this Method section, state how you chose your interview subjects, their names, what their relationship is to you, and include any pertinent information on how you conducted your interviews (phone or in-person) and decided on follow-up questions.

You may record your interviews if your subjects give you permission and if you think it will help, but it’s not a requirement of the assignment.

III. Interpretation (300-350 words)

Explain the results of your experiment. Was your hypothesis correct? Include a description of important takeaways from your interviews, paraphrasing those interviews and using quotes sparingly, as you did in short essay #1.

Be creative! You could analyze your results further, suggest an area of possible future research, point out any issues with method, perhaps address your own bias.


  • See Week 6 readings and lecture notes from a review we’ll have Monday, March 12.
  • 500-650 words
  • Those 3 sections just described above, with section headings
  • Times New Roman, 12pt font, double-spaced
  • A title
  • APA style for in-text citations and reference list
  • A heading that is formatted like this at the top-left of your paper and has all the same components:

Annie McStudent
J201 – Section 307
February 22, 2018
Word Count: 539