Brief analytical/critical paper on electronic media

Brief analytical/critical paper on issues related to electronic media in the United States.


You must select one unit from the class to write the paper.  For that unit, you will not take the quiz.  The paper should connect issues related to the electronic media unit to a particular text, organization, or audience.  (“Text” in this case refers to a program, show, film, etc.)  Strong papers will be grounded in a good theoretical background on the subject matter and will be analytical and critical in their approaches to the subject matter.

This paper is not a “report” on a text, organization, or audience.  Instead, approach it in a way that allows you to have a strong thesis statement that is organized around concepts related to this class.  You are not permitted to recycle a paper from a previous class, so select a fresh topic to broaden your understanding of the electronic media.

This paper should be treated like a research paper.  You will need to utilize sources other than the textbooks and readings.  That said, the texts will likely be significant contributors to many paper topics, so take care to read the assigned chapters (and utilize the index).  Quality sources (like academic journals) generally contribute to the quality of a paper in more significant ways than poorer sources (like many Wikipedia entries or a blog).

A word about Wikipedia in particular:  Wikipedia articles vary in quality greatly, and unless you are an expert in a particular field, you may not have enough background knowledge to separate the grain from the chaff.  My advice to you if you choose to use Wikipedia is to go to the works cited or references section and find the sources the entry relies on, and utilize them as a way to develop your background knowledge and to lead you to better developed and articulated sources.

Papers will most likely run between 4 and 6 pages.  Papers that run longer than this may have issues with focus or precision, and papers that run shorter may have problems with development or conceptual clarity.  I assume you will probably have between 4 and 6 unique, quality sources including the texts.

Below you will find some possible generic topics for a paper.  There are many, many more topics that you could utilize! These topics are starting points, and many of them in one unit could be tweaked to work in another unit.  Note that these are TOPICS and so they don’t have a thesis statement and are vague.  I offer them for the purpose of starting a thesis statement brainstorming session. You will need to hone the topic area and theoretical background down and make sure you have a clear thesis statement that is used to organize the body of the paper. The readings for the units also may have interesting or pertinent topics for you to begin exploring.

I strongly suggest you contact me regarding your paper topic.


The FCC and media ownership

The effects of media ownership consolidation on small markets

Low-power radio transmission

Minority voices in radio

Indecency and radio

Satellite “radio” and its effects on over-the-air broadcasts

Amateur radio

Pirate radio

A specific controversy regarding the self-regulation of various industries

Changes in radio audiences


Changes in minority representations in television history

Advertising and television ratings

Advertisers and television content

The effect of decreasing news budgets on journalism

Science-fiction fandom and its relationship to a text

An examination of regional political ads and their relationship to particular programs/networks

Consequences of advertising to children

Educational programming

Social consequences of watching television

Demographic shifts in television viewing practices


Specific instances of vertical integration with respect to films and their owners

Film ratings controversies and their resolution

Struggles for ownership and creative control in filmmaking

Representations of minorities in modern Hollywood

Changes in the film-going experience

3-D and its consequences for film exhibitors or television owners


Violence and video games

Video games and education

Data mining on Amazon/Gmail/Google/etc

Privacy and piracy

“Ownership” issues in digital music/video

The death of broadcast television

New methods of independent production distribution

Social networking and privacy concerns

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