Application of Sociological Concepts to Media Assignment

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Step 1: Select a news story of a current event recently covered in news media, such as a local or national

newspaper. Print [or copy & paste] the article.

● Sit down with a pen/pencil/highlighter and spend some time reading through the article (you can

do this electronically, also). Mark those passages that stand out or seem interesting to you.

● Sketch out a rough conceptual map in which you identify ideas or concepts from your reading,

lecture, and discussion throughout the semester.

● Write: Discuss your sociological thinking based on this first layer of analysis.

Step 2: Consider the news story in terms of its institutional context – the mass media.

● Working through the article again, think through the following: What is the tone of voice? What

kind of language is being used? How is the story being framed? Are there any possible biases?

● Write: Following the analysis, discuss how the story is being communicated.

● Write: Do you feel that this way of communicating the story is appropriate? Why/why not? Why do you think that how a story is communicated is important?

● Write: How might this news story be projecting and/or reinforcing cultural beliefs, values,

norms, and ideas about morality? Alternatively, how might it be challenging our cultural beliefs,

values, and norms? (See Newman Chapter 2, page 21)

Step 3: Consider the social context of the story.

● Who is the target audience of the newspaper? And, are they a local, regional, national, or

international audience?

● Write: What is the local versus global importance of the story? Is this reflected in media coverage?

● Explore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and select one ‘goal’ that is most relevant to your news story.

● Write: Briefly explain the development goal and the global problem it addresses, and then discuss how it speaks to the news story.

Step 4: Think critically about the news story you read and analyzed.

● Review the concepts of cohort effects and period effects from Chapter 13.

● Write: How would you explain these concepts to someone who is not studying sociology and has never heard of these terms?

● Write: Apply the concepts of cohort effects and/or period effects to your analysis of the news story. How can you make sociological sense of the news story using these concepts? [Think in terms of local/global, as well.]

OUTLINE:

-Part 1:

Title of the news story:

Publishing newspaper:

Annotations and concept map: *attached*

[3-4 sentences] Sociological framework:

-Part 2-

[3-4 sentences] How is the story being communicated?

[1-2 sentences] Is it appropriate? Why/why not?

[1-2 sentences] Reflect on why how a story communicated is important?

[3-4 sentences] How might this news story be projecting and reinforcing [or challenging] cultural beliefs, values, norms, and ideas about morality?

-Part 3-

Target audience:

Geographic location:

[2-3 sentences] What is the local versus global importance of the story?

[2-3 sentences] Is this reflected in media coverage?

UN Global Sustainable Development Goal:

[1-2 sentences] Briefly explain the development goal and the global problem it addresses.

[2-3 sentences] Explain how it connects to the news story.

-Part 4-

Cohort Effect:

Period Effect:

[3-4 sentences] Application of concepts:

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