21W.014: Exploring Visual Media

Andrea Walsh          



Suggested length: 10-12 pg., typed, double-spaced, plus bibliography and cover letter and photo/visual appendix.  Use MLA format for citation and bibliography. 


This assignment is an investigative or research essay, which asks you to explore a topic of interest in media studies, either presenting different perspectives on an issue of “media ethics” (e.g., the influence of violent media) or crafting an argument about the meaning of a particular type of media (e.g., the political meaning of the “faux news” of The Daily Show).

This assignment challenges you as a writer to work with and compare various perspectives and sources. We might think of “different perspectives” as contrasting lenses through which to view an issue. For example, if you research the question of the influence of the Internet on our learning or social interaction, you will find very different points of view.

In your research for this essay, you should consult at least ten secondary academic sources such as books and journal articles. You also have the option of drawing upon other popular media sources (newspapers, magazines, documentary films).

In the revision, you are also asked to include visual aids such as timelines, charts, graphs, photographs, drawings or political cartoons. If you include visual aids within a print text, you should adjust the page length accordingly.


The writing challenges of essay #2 are:

*pre-writing: defining and narrowing your topic; figuring out various angles on the issue;

*pre-writing: working with secondary sources: note-taking and summarizing;

*drafting/revising: establishing a context (social or historical) for understanding the importance of your issue; clearly, fairly and comparatively presenting different points of view, drawing upon secondary sources;

*drafting/revising: establishing an engaging style, maintaining your voice as a writer.

While crafting this essay, remember that your role as a writer can be (a) to educate your readership and deepen their understanding of your topic/issue without taking a stand or  (b) to support a particular perspective or point of view.