Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Third Essay Assignment

1. Pick any current (2011) event in the Mideast. Compare and contrast coverage in two American and two non-American sources (from different countries). How did each define the story? Did any show a bias? Did any miss something important? In your essay, try to find some outside documentation of the event in question (e.g., government sources) and learn about the news organizations. Distinguish between coverage that an organization itself produces and wire stories that it merely carries. Remember that coverage may consist of more than one story and may involve more than one day. You may find non-American sources at:

2. Do the same kind of analysis as in question 2, but for an American news event. Here you may find stories at

3. If you are covering the legislative simulation, write an essay on the opportunities and constraints of covering legislation. That is, how did you use the participants, and how did they try to use you? How did the experience compare with the real Congress? (See, esp. readings for the week of February 28).

4. Pick any national interest group or party organization. You are the communications director for that organization. Devise an advocacy ad for or against some aspect of President Obama’s agenda. You may draft a print or Internet ad, write a script for a video or audio spot, or (if you have access to the equipment), actually produce such a spot. Whom are you trying to persuade to do what? Where would you place the ad? How would you try to get “reverb” in the MSM and new media? If the group already runs ads, tell why yours is an improvement, or at least a worthy addition. (The ad will not count against the page limit.) In your analysis, supply appropriate evidence. (Potentially useful resource are and )

  • Essays should be typed (12-point) stapled, double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third page.
  • Put your name on a cover sheet. Do not identify yourself on the text pages.
  • Cite your sources. You may use either endnotes or parenthetical references to a bibliography. In either case, put your documentation in a standard format (e.g., Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style).
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you.
  • Return essays by the start of class on Wednesday, 6 April. Essays will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness and a full grade after that. I will grant no extensions except for illness or emergency.

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