- An introduction which clearly states a thesis (and 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.
Here is the rubric you will see attached to your essay when you get it back from your TA. Please note that essays are graded holistically, so 'scores' on individual sections of the rubric do not add up in a strictly mathematical way.
For each essay, each student will write 2 or 3 reviews of classmates' papers. (Thus, each student will also receive 2 or 3 reviews of their essay.) Peer reviews should include both things the author did well and at least one substantive comment about what the author can improve. Which does the student need to work on more, writing style and grammar or argument and evidence? If the paper is light on using course or reading content, do you have suggestions for resources they might draw from?
Note that these peer reviews will not be anonymous, and you will be talking with your peer about their paper in section, so you should take care to offer constructive criticism (the same kind you would like to see someone offer on your paper).
Essay 1: Evaluating reporting
The Teaching Assistants will select several news stories. For each story, they will identify two news outlets that have covered the story, and one or two articles by each outlet.
Your job is to use course concepts and at least two authoritative sources (from your reader, from the further readings, from guest lectures, and/or from outside sources) to evaluate the coverage by the two outlets.
Beware: This assignment is not as simple as it seems. A "news story" is rarely confined to a single news report. This means that there may be other articles by the news outlets that the TAs have not identified. This means that you need to do some further research to get a sense of the full coverage of the story by each outlet. You will need to read all of the articles in order to assess the outlets' coverage of the story. You should bring at least two articles from each outlet into your discussion. Attach copies of these articles to your draft essay, and reference them appropriately in your paper.
Also: pay close attention also to the kinds of news coverage you are reading. Are these breaking news reports or later news summaries? Are they "analysis" articles from a particular point of view, or attempts at "objective" reporting? Are they opinion pieces? Press releases? Coverage purchased from other news organizations (like the Associated Press)?
Your thesis should answer the question: which outlet covered the story better?
To do this, you need to consider a number of questions. These include:
- What is the news story?
- How do the different outlets cover the story? What was different? What was similar?
- Which outlet's coverage was better? (To determine this, you will need to contemplate what defines quality news coverage.)
- Why did the outlets cover the story differently? Why did they cover it similarly? What might this coverage indicate about the goals and constraints facing each outlet?
- How might the coverage of these outlets matter? (This might be good material for your conclusion.)
Throughout your essay, use class concepts--from lectures, guest speakers, and readings--to make your case. There is an expectation that you will use at least 2 non-lecture sources, and properly cite and reference each. These may include readings, further reading, guest lectures, or other sources. They do not include the articles you analyze in the paper.
Essay 2: Analyzing advertising
Essay 3: Our responses to media
- Two specific questions: “What about this experience was fun, and why?” and “What about this experience bothered you, and why?”
- An additional 3 questions prepared before the event. Ask these of your respondents.
- Follow-up questions—at least one for each respondent. Write these down, because you will want to be able to refer to them in your paper and you need to know exactly what you asked.
Recommendations for structuring your essay:
1) Write a solid paragraph of introduction. This should include a brief (one or two sentences) description of the game you observed, and a mention of the people you observed playing, including notable characteristics (such as age, gender, major, gaming experience and any other important personal variables). It should also make a case for the purpose of the essay. And it should conclude with an underlined thesis statement.
2) In several (3-4) paragraphs of evidence supporting the thesis, draw on concepts from at least 2 of the perspectives on mass media effects we have discussed in lecture. Your analysis should provide rich and specific descriptions of the reactions you observed, and logical connections to the class concepts. Where appropriate, you can also connect what you observed to ideas from readings. Readings should be cited using APA style. Lectures can be cited in-text, for example by stating "As described in lecture..."
3) In your conclusion, restate your thesis and show how your evidence has supported it. Then go a little further: show how your essay points to bigger implications of what you have discussed.
4) Include in your paper a one page appendix describing the questions you prepared and at least 3 examples of follow up questions you asked.