Swamped with your writing assignments? Take the weight off your shoulder!
Choose a political issue from the 21st or 20th Century and briefly describe it. (Examples might include: The Women’s Suffrage Movement, The Civil Rights Movement, abortion, Second Amendment rights, The New Deal, etc…) This does NOT have to be solely from U.S. History. You’ll briefly describe the issue and the political actors involved – lobbying/interest groups, political figures, governmental agents, public personalities – folks or groups who played a major part in or offered an opinion on the topic. For this activity, you’ll inspect the role of the media in disseminating information about the issue to the public over a period of time. You won’t necessarily be able to demonstrate agenda-setting (unless you have access to old historic newspapers/documents to show what was prioritized), so instead, I’d like you to look for headlines or historic articles written as the issue was evolving – and analyze how the media followed the societal change (if anything changed) through language. Did the media “shape” the story with their words? Did they try to “prime” audiences who already had opinions in any way? Were interest groups or individuals trying to “frame” the issue in the media, and were they successful (and in what ways)? Did a policy agenda emerge in response to media or public demand?
Analyze the angle from all sides – media agenda, public agenda, political agenda – and use resources from the text and class discussion to make your case.
Ground rules for both options:
1) You’ll use evidence from the lectures and texts as appropriate.
2) You’ll properly cite (APA style) any lifted quotes from political communication texts and give citations/context to quotes, headlines, tweets, etc…from media sources.
3) Paper should be typed, roughly 3-4 pages, double-spaced, 1 inch margins in 12-point font. I will not accept handwritten submissions.
4) Papers will be graded on adherence to these guidelines as well as on the strength of your argument and use of evidence from both media content and course materials. I will be looking for thoughtful and creative application of the media content you find/story you decide to cover to the lessons we’ve already learned in class.