Department of Political Science

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POSC 272 Writing Assignments


Each student is required to prepare a paper that deals with how the media covers world events. The paper is to be composed on a word processor so that rewriting, if necessary, can be undertaken without too much inconvenience. You alone must research and write the paper. Joint research is not permitted and copying someone else’s work is regarded as plagiarism, a major academic offense punishable by a zero on the assignment and no opportunity to re-write.

Papers are to be written in grammatically correct English, approximately 2500 words in length, double spaced. You may use tables and charts if this helps you to present your findings more clearly. I will check for spelling and grammar, so take the trouble to proof read and spell check the paper.

Each student is required to devote a week (5 business days [M-T-W-T-F], not 7) to the news. Choose one non-cable network (i.e. nationwide) television news program and watch it for a week — only NBC, ABC or CBS (not CNN or MTV or other cable networks, and certainly not local Cleveland news). Take lots of notes for later reference. Also you must read the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the New York Times for those same 5 days. Those papers are available for use at the Kent Smith Library in case you feel that the costs are prohibitive. I have no objection if students wish to share newspapers. You may also tape the broadcasts and share them with other students as well. Why not put together a consortium of students in order to make sure that you get all the broadcasts that you need? Focus exclusively on international/global/foreign news coverage in the news, business and editorial sections of each medium. If you sense that you may have problems getting access to any of these materials (TV or newspapers), you are obligated to consult with the Professor in advance of the assignment — far enough in advance that alternate arrangements can be made.

Then write a paper comparing those three sources of news in terms of:
— the volume of news devoted to international relations (in the aggregate and in relation to other
news, i.e., local, national)
— the degree of detail each medium has
— the sources of the news (that is, who supplies them with coverage?)
— the selection of the news items that are included by the media (why
do you think they decide to print or show what they do?)
— the ideological or political biases (if any) displayed by the various media.

Be prepared to arrive at conclusions as to the quality of each medium, the strengths and weaknesses of each. Your analytical and comparative skills will be tested. Don’t be afraid to offer observations and opinions as well. I want to see your skills at making perceptive insights about the media.

Papers are to be turned in on February 18, 2005. Lateness will not be tolerated. You can even get them to me in advance if you think that you may have trouble getting access to a television set or to a computer or printer that works. You have plenty of time to prepare for this assignment. If problems arise, contact the professor as soon as you can. (phone ext. 2646 or e-mail at kwg)

Page last modified: February 2, 2015