Media Issue Discussion Issue

This is a short essay assignment (3-6 pages) that requires students to do a little research, but it emphasizes analysis more than extensive research.

Media Issue Discussion Essay

For this assignment, you will write a 4-6 page essay that expresses your opinion on a controversial issue related to media.  Your essay should present a well-argued case for your own viewpoint while demonstrating an understanding of at least one opposing point of view.  You may choose your own topic,[1] or frame your paper as a reaction to one of these statements:

1) Media literacy campaigns should focus on helping people understand what they can do to gain more control over how media affects them as individuals rather than addressing media activism and questions of how current media structures affect society at large.

2) Advertising is fundamentally manipulative and our society would be better off with much less of it.

3)  Advertiser-supported television is the best system for delivering the kind of TV programming U.S. consumers want.

4) Sticking to the principle of objectivity is the best way for journalists to deliver the kind of news necessary for a democracy.

5) Current trends in television programming show that representations of race are now offering a more hopeful vision of a racially just society than television of the past. (Alternatively, you could react to a similar statement on representations of gender, sexuality, class, or the intersection of these categories.  You might choose to focus on a particular program to assess the way it represents race, gender, class, etc. in light of a history of such representations on television.)

6) Through spending more time with Internet-based media, audiences are becoming active producers of meaning rather than passive receivers.  This shift means that new media promise a more participatory and democratic culture.

7) Congress needs to pass a law guaranteeing net neutrality for internet service in order to preserve the democratic potential of the internet.

You may fully or partially agree or disagree with the statement you pick, but you must frame your reaction as a thesis statement supported by evidence in your paper.

Grading requirements

1) Present a clear thesis statement expressing an opinion regarding your topic.

2) Provide a well-structured argument in support of your opinion that takes contrary points of view into account.   You should provide at least 3 lines of argument in support of your thesis.

3) Fully explain any key terms or concepts in your essay.

4)  Appropriately quote at least 3 sources.  One of these sources should be an academic source (scholarly book or journal article – this may include class material) and at least one should be from a journalism outlet, advocacy group, website or blog.

5) Demonstrate your understanding of at least one opposing viewpoint using a quote from a source that represents that point of view.  You should choose a source that you think represents one of the best arguments opposing your viewpoint and offer a counterargument to that source.

6) Write a cohesive essay with clear language and grammar throughout and a fitting introduction and conclusion.

Additional grading criteria:

  • Essay provides strong evidence and logic in support of its argument
  • Essay offers an insightful and original analysis
  • Essay integrates themes from this class with your own analysis and research.

**** All papers should include properly cited in-text and bibliographic references using MLA, APA or Chicago style format.  For help with MLA or APA, see (go to research and citation on left side bar), or for Chicago style see

Due Dates

First Draft –  Friday, July 23rd 10:10 am

(Turning in a first draft is optional, but choose this option if you would like comments and suggestions from me.  My goal is to return all draft papers by Monday, July 26).

Final Draft – August 4th 10:10 am.

[1] If you want to choose your own topic, please propose the topic to me by July 23rd.  Please do not start working on a topic until you have discussed it with me.

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