describe and analyze a situation or controversy in mass media.

In an essay of at least 500 to 700 words, describe and analyze a situation or controversy in mass media. Use our Five Key Concepts for Thinking About Mass Media as your guide. Demonstrate how several of those concepts have shaped or relate to this controversy.

The key concepts are listed in the assignment sheet below, as are some possible topics drawn from the first few weeks of class. Feel free to use one of them or to select your own — and please feel free to ask me about topic ideas via email, Canvas, or the chat function during my Tuesday/Thursday office hours.

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Any controversy involving mass media that you care about (music, TV, video games, social media) could be a good topic for this paper.

Draw on historical works, contemporary reporting from news sources, and on quality websites. Try to be specific in your examples. Do not just write what you assume; look things up and be accurate.

Offer enough context so that a reader who does not know about the situation or controversy can understand the issues involved and why they matter. Consider the controversy through the frameworks we have been discussing in class and that you have been reading about in your textbook, such as changes in technology, access to mass media channels, the consolidation of mass media ownership.

Try to make clear why your believe your controversy is worth knowing about. You can be opinionated, but in a formal paper sort of way — that means only use first-person (“I believe …”) if you are drawing upon personal knowledge and experience that a reader might find persuasive.

In short, the questions this short essay should answer are:

What is the nature of this controversy?
Why does it matter?
How does it relate to our key course concepts?


Please quote at least one source in your text. You do not need to prepare a works cited page; simply work attribution for quotes and facts into the text itself. For example: “According to the New York Times, MacMillan canceled the press tour over ‘safety concerns.'”

Five Key Concepts for Thinking about Mass Media:
1. Be conscious of the identity of the sender of mass media messages, products, and creative works. What do they hope to gain from sending this? How does their perspective or their goals shape the message?
2. Be aware of the noise that distorts or interferes with the transmission of messages. Why do you perceive messages differently than other people might?

3. The mass media industries are profit-centered businesses … and increasingly, you and your attention are what is being sold.
4. Technological developments continually change the way mass media are delivered and consumed.
5. Mass media both reflect and affect politics, society, and culture.

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