We’ll talk a lot during the semester about media coverage or portrayal of topics

We’ll talk a lot during the semester about media coverage or portrayal of topics, ideas or groups – of stories. Some of the most biting criticism of the media results from how news accounts, entertainment programs, talk show hosts and commercials or advertisements portray specific issues or groups. Sometimes the media portrayal is incomplete; sometimes it might rely on or reinforce stereotypes; sometimes it might seem biased; sometimes it may be just flat wrong.
Reporters are often told it is valuable for them to be interviewed as a source for a story done by somebody else. Seeing or hearing your own words come back in edited fashion may enhance your appreciation for the complexities of storytelling and may cause you to have more compassion for the subjects of your next story.
It’s easy to watch mass media coverage of an issue or topic without giving that coverage too much thought – unless that issue or topic is near and dear to you. Then, you might pay special attention or even take issue with how things get presented.
Here’s your chance to evaluate an example of media coverage in your own life, of a topic of importance to you – your story.
Your assignment:
Describe how mass media cover or treat a topic (through news coverage, entertainment programming and/or advertising/public relations) in which you have a personal interest, experience or “stake.”
Here are the items of discussion for your paper (with the point totals assigned for each):
–Start with a description of a topic, issue or theme about which you are passionate. It could be an organization or group, an event, an issue, a hobby – as long as it is something about which you feel strongly.
–Discuss which forms of mass media you have usually used to learn more about the topic or issue in which you have an interest. Where do you find most of your information?
–Discuss how the various forms of mass media cover or portray your topic or group. Do you believe they do a fair and accurate job? Why or why not? What do they leave out that they should include? What do they include that is inaccurate in your opinion? Are there differences between various forms of media, or different outlets within the same form of media?
–Discuss why you believe the media portray your topic or issue as they do. What might account for it? Is there an underlying motive? What roadblocks might they face? What suggestions would you make for improvement?
–What ethical issues do you believe are raised by the coverage of your topic or issue?
–Discuss how your own attitudes and beliefs may affect how you evaluate the quality and fairness of media coverage.
–Conclude by explaining how all of this makes you feel.
Your paper should be no more than two double-spaced word processed pages. Proofread your work for typos or errors before you submit it. Sloppiness will affect your grade.