1. If you are taking part in the legislative simulation, write an essay comparing and contrasting your experience with that of your counterparts (reporters, officials, or interest group leaders, as the case may be). In your essay, explain the opportunities and constraints that you encountered. How did you use the participants, and how did they use you? How did coverage affect the behavior of the participants? You should draw upon course materials, including class discussions and the Malecha-Reagan book.
2. Drawing on the Malecha-Reagan book, write a memo to the Republican or Democratic leadership of the House or Senate, laying out a communications strategy to position the chamber's party for the 2016 congressional campaign. In your analysis, take careful account of political circumstances and the party's status as the majority or minority. Also note the different roles of the formal congressional party leadership, the party congressional campaign committees, congressional committees, and individual members.
3. Pick a "niche" issue that is typically not at the top of the news agenda (e.g., California transportation funding, food safety, NASA funding, research on Alzheimer's Disease). Examine coverage both in mainstream media outlets (e.g., The New York Times) and specialized media (e.g., issue blogs, social media). What facets of the issue are showing up in the specialized media but not in the mainstream media? Examine the interaction of the mainstream and specialized media: is one driving coverage in the other?
4. Compare and contrast two of President Obama's press conferences. Why did the president hold these events when he did? What was he trying to accomplish? What kinds of questions did he get? How did the press conferences play in the new media and legacy media? To what extent did he succeed? In your research, you should watch the video of the conferences as well as reading the transcripts: take tone and body language into account. You will also need to do background research on the issues that came up during the press conferences.
- Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than six pages long. I will not read past the sixth page.
- Cite your sources. Use endnotes in Turabian format.
- Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you.
- Return essays to the Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Thursday, April 9. 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.