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Media Analysis

Media Analysis

Instructions:

Your objective is to research a criminal murder case concerning an infamous crime committed in the past 50 years. You are expected to use proper research protocol in every way, including avoiding plagiarism and integrating accurately documented sources.  This project asks you to write a 6-8 page essay tracing the narrative of a true crime case through four levels of media coverage:

 

  • a local newspaper or television report
  • a newspaper with national circulation (for example, The New York Times, The

     Washington Post, The Los-Angeles Times)

3) a printed or online magazine with national circulation, online blog, or true-crime

novel

  • a national television news broadcast (for example, The CBS Evening News, 360 with

     Anderson Cooper, CNN), documentary program (such as Dateline:

     NBC, ABC‘s Primetime, CBS‘ 48 Hours Mystery, A&E‘s American Justice), or made-for-

TV docudrama.

 

One of each of the above will count as 4 of your required 6 sources for this paper. The remaining two sources will be left to you to decide—they can be more primary sources (newspapers, magazines, audio/video recordings, etc.) or secondary sources (academic journal articles, biographies, etc.). Just be sure to have 4 primary sources plus 2 “student choice” sources, for a total of 6.

 

Prompt:

Retrace the presentation of your chosen case through the four media outlets listed above. Concentrate your analysis on how specific evidence is found, discussed, analyzed, and displayed in the media as the case shifts representational venues (shifting from local to national, newspaper to docudrama, etc.). This means instead of simply summarizing the details of the crime, you should analyze the way the crime was portrayed to the public. Did the media seem to have an agenda with its coverage of this case? Did the media try to construct a particular narrative to achieve a particular response from the public? Did that narrative change over time as the case progressed through the stages of a prosecution and against the backdrop of the court of public opinion? In short, your main goal is to answer this question: How did media coverage, in its various local and national forms, influence the murder trial and public perception of the crime?

 

To approach this assignment, consider questions of race, gender, sexuality, morality, patriotism, and/or implicit bias in general when trying to explain how the media influences public perceptions of crime.

Checklist:

To successfully complete this essay, you will need to include the following parts:

  • An introduction that “funnels” your reader by establishing a general context before leading into a specific thesis that clearly makes a claim about public media’s role in your chosen case
  • ICE body paragraphs that analyze relevant details/evidence of the case and how those details are presented by the media to construe a particular “narrative” that is then consumed by the public and can in turn influence the case itself
    • All textual evidence (summary, quotation, and paraphrase) needs to be correctly identified as outside material and cited properly (see “MLA” PowerPoint found in Week 2).
    • A Works Cited page (including at least 6 sources) is required for this essay, though it does not count toward your minimum page requirement.
  • A conclusion that summarizes main points and answers the “So What” question