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Project 3 - Media Watch I (National News)

Page history last edited by Xenia Fisher 11 years, 8 months ago

 

Project #3: Media Watch I: National Events  

 

Sept. 17 (Wednesday): story selected and posted to the local news wiki

Monday, Sept. 22 (Monday): at least four news summaries posted to the wiki

Oct 1 (Wednesday): all news summaries revised (on the wiki); AND the best or most important summary saved to the k:drive (Project 3 folder)

Oct. 3 (Friday): news narrative due in the your k:drive project 3 folder by the beginning of class

Oct. 6 (Monday): Draft of paper due in the k:drive by the beginning of class

Oct 8 (Wednesday): Revised introduction (and conclusion if you can) due in the k:drive by the beginning of class

Oct. 13 (Monday): Revising outline due in the k:drive by the beginning of class

 

The assignment

 

For this paper you will follow a story of your choice for two weeks and then write a paper about it. As with the first paper, you will first write a narrative and then revise that narrative into an argument. This time there are also a few differences. First, you need to get to know your topic, which you will do by writing daily summaries. Second, instead of weaving together aspects of your own life into a narrative as you did in paper #1, in this paper you will be creating a narrative of the issue you have been following, building the narrative from your summaries rather than your memories. The third difference will surprise you. Because you have already written a paper that uses the same skills and structure, you will find this one a lot easier than you think!

 

Part 1: Story summary

 

So, the first step is to select a story. To do that you will need to read the newspaper for several days to see what is going on and what interests you. The New York Times is a good space to start, but you can read any newspaper published daily in the United States. For this project I want you to focus on the US (Project 7 is a repeat of this assignment but using global media). You may consider national news, such as the Wall Street crisis, the flooding in Texas, or the rebuilding (or not) of New Orleans; or you can consider local events to your town or state as long as there is consistent coverage in a local newspaper (not including the Acorn). You may consider sport news as long as the story is ongoing rather than just a summary of who won and who lost.  Once you select a few possible stories, follow them for a few days to see which is the most interesting. You will find this topic more fun if you feel some attachment to the story you select. Perhaps it provokes an emotional response such as astonishment, anger, frustration, or joy; perhaps the story covers issues that will have an impact on your life in some way and about which you feel you need to know more; or perhaps the story is totally new to you and piques your interest because it exposes you to a totally new issue. 

 

Once you have selected a story, you will need to post summaries of the story as it unfolds. To do this, go to the National News wiki and follow the link for your story (or create one). Then copy and paste your summaries onto the page exactly the same way as you did for the clubs and organizations.

 

So how do you write a summary? Your task is to explain what happened to people who have not read the article. How do you do that? Well, obviously you do not want to tell it in as much detail as the newspaper; Instead, you want to select the main ideas and details. One thing that can help you as you summarize a newspaper article is to ask the five questions journalists ask as they investigate a story: who? what? when? where? why/how? You can use the answers to those questions to structure your summary. [To learn more about summary writing, visit the Writer's Resources page.]

 

At least four news summaries posted to the wiki by Monday, Sept. 22

Due Wednesday, Oct 1: all news summaries revised (on the wiki); AND the best/most important summary (in the your k:drive project 3 folder by the beginning of class)

 

Part 2: Story narrative

 

For this stage of the paper you write another narrative, and like the first one (the literacy narrative) you can organize it chronologically or thematically. This part of the assignment is primarily about organization, in fact. You have a collection of summaries. Now you need to combine them to tell the story of what happened. Imagine someone has been out of the country for two weeks and needs to catch up on what has happened. Your task is to tell them, but to also tell them where the information comes from. If you are lucky you can simply copy and paste each summary into a document so that each one is a paragraph. But few of us are that lucky! When you read them over, you'll see that if you really summarized each article, many of your summaries repeat information that we can also find in other summaries. Most provide a little background for example. Many also summarize different responses other have made to the events in question. So now what? You will need to pull information from several summaries for each paragraph. For example, a paragraph telling us about the background to the event will use sentences from most of your summaries. On the other hand, a paragraph about one possible solution or response might only draw from one summary. The challenge for you is to decide that best way to organize all of your information without accidentally failing to cite something.

 

Here's how to do that: color code. Highlight one of your summaries and the citation for it and make the font one color. Make the next summary-citation a different color, and so on. Once you have colored all of the summaries you can copy and paste sentences from them without forgetting where the information come from. Once they are all in the most informative place you can add transition and citations (we'll talk about this in class).

 

So how might you organize your information? Below are a couple of examples:

 

 

TOPIC: California train wreck

1. Details of the Accident and the fact that the engineer was texting

            information from your summaries of whichever articles discuss this

2. Ways to prevent accidents like this – cell are phones are banned

            information from your summaries of whichever articles discuss this

3. Ways to prevent accidents like this – Security system the railroad should have included

            information from your summaries of whichever articles discuss this

4. Ways to prevent accidents like this – Government laws about engineers

            information from your summaries of whichever articles discuss this

 

TOPIC: the environment

1.     Describe the problem 

extracts from summaries that identify the problem

2.     describe one of the solutions: science 

extracts from summaries that identify scientific solutions

3.     describe one of the solutions: government/politics 

extracts from summaries that identify political solutions

4.     describe an example of a local solution in action:  California

extracts from summaries that discuss California’s solutions   

 

Due Friday, October 3 (in the your k:drive project 3 folder by the beginning of class)

 

Part 3: Contexts and implications: Creating an argument from your narrative

 

Now it is time to revise your literacy narrative into an academic, thesis-driven essay. This is the moment where you get to say something about the news story you have been following, just as you did with paper #1. What do you think about the story you have followed? What larger conclusions do you draw from what you have read? You are now something of an expert on this topic, so you are qualified to say something about it. Some of you might even argue that as a college-educated person it is your responsibility to say something (that was paper #2 . . .).   To do this, read over your narrative and think about what you are saying in it. Although you did not intend to do so, you are making an argument, or at least you have provided information that could be used to support an argument. To revise your narrative into an argumentative paper spend some time thinking about what you wrote--and what you didn't write. What argument could your essay be used to support? How?

 

The first thing to do is review your narrative and see what kinds of arguments the information you have will support. This paper is not your opinion about what you have read; it is your interpretation and conclusion supported by the information you read.  This difference is fundamental. Three students will draw different conclusions from one set of information, and as long as each can support his or her claims that is fine. Here's the distinction:

 

CLAIM:  train engineers should not text while driving a train.  

 

This is an opinion 

CLAIM: when an engineer is texting instead of focusing on driving the train he or she puts the passengers at risk, as we saw in California 

 

This is a basic claim supported by evidence 

CLAIM: if the California Railroad had put safety measures into place the irresponsibility of one railway engineer would not have had such a fatal outcome

......................................................................................................................................... 

This is a sophisticated claim supported by evidence and interpretation.................................. 

 

Here's an example of how to use a narrative outline to support an argument, using the second outline above:

     

ARGUMENT: the scientific, political, and local solutions to our environmental problems are a good start, but they do not go far enough

5.    1.  Explain the problem and why we need to do all that we can

    use extracts from summaries that identify the problem to explain what it is

6.   2.  Describe the scientific solutions and explain why they do not go far enough 

   use extracts from summaries that identify scientific solutions to show how they work, and why they are insufficient

7.   3 Describe the political solutions and explain why they do not go far enough 

    use extracts from summaries that identify political solutions to show how they work, and why they are insufficient

8.   4  Describe what California has done and explain why it does not go far enough

    use extracts from summaries that describe what California has done to show why even this is insufficient (or to show

    that it is actually a very important model)

 

Once you finish drafting an outline like this you might realize that your argument has become more sophisticated. Perhaps you realize that the California plan is an effort to combine scientific, political, and local solutions. You still might not think the California plan goes far enough, but you might decide that it is a good model of the kinds of strategies we should adopt on a national or even global scale. If so, you would revise your outline like this:

 

 

ARGUMENT:  If we simply take a scientific, political, or local approach to solving environmental problems we will fail.  Instead, we need a comprehensive plan that combines these things. California has adopted a local version of this solution, and it is a good start, but it does not go far enough.  We need to respond to the problem on a local and a national level.

5.   1.  Explain the problem and why we need to do all that we can  

      use extracts from summaries that identify the problem to explain what it is

6.   2.  Describe the scientific solutions and explain why they do not go far enough

     use extracts from summaries that identify scientific solutions to show how they work, and why they are insufficient

7.   3 Describe the political solutions and explain why they do not go far enough 

      use extracts from summaries that identify political solutions to show how they work, and why they are insufficient

8.   4.   Describe what California has done and explain why this is a good example of a local response

      use extracts from summaries that describe what California has done to show why this is an important model 

4 .  5.  Explain why what California has done does not go far enough and discuss a national response

     use extracts from summaries that describe what California has done to show why even this is insufficient 

 

Draft due Monday, October 6 (in the your k:drive project 3 folder by the beginning of class) 


 

Revising your argument once you have a draft

 

Thesis:

Check your argument. That is the thesis that your paper supports. Look at the difference between the claims above and the two outlines. Can you make your thesis more sophisticated? 

 

Introduction:

The role of your introduction will be to help readers make the connection between your claim (your thesis) and your evidence (your story narrative). You should organize this in whatever order makes the most sense to you, the introduction should state your thesis and explain how your the events you summarized support it. Introduce us to your topic and to the things you will say about it (imagine yourself a lawyer telling the jury how you will defend your client--i.e.: support a claim that she is innocent).

 

Using the Summary Narrative to support your argument

Look over the story narrative and edit it as necessary. This time, you *do* not need to totally rewrite it to fit the introduction. You may need to do a little work reorganizing the first draft or removing repetition or irrelevant information, but most of the work should be the thinking and the introduction and conclusion. (You'll have one more shot at revising this essay for the mid-term portfolio if you want to do so.)

 

Introducing and citing sources

If you used the colored summary method your paper should actually be well cited already, although you may need to work on transitions. Check your handbook to make sure you are citing the sources correctly. The handbook also has some strategies for smooth transitions. We will discuss this in class as well.

 

Conclusion:

Here is where you ensure that we have made the connections you want us to make between your thesis and the evidence. Don't just restate the introduction. Instead, remember that you are speaking to people who have already read your paper. The conclusion reminds us of what you have said and reviews connections (this time, imagine yourself a lawyer making the closing argument to the jury by bringing all the evidence together and reviewing ket details that you want them to consider as they make their decision). 

 

Friday, Oct. 17: Final draft of paper may be one of the two papers in your mid-term portfolio

 

 


Writing Skills developed in this assignment

Like the first essay, this one asks you to first gather information (about yourself in assignment #1 and about Drew in assignment #2), then to reflect on that information in a larger context (literacy in assignment #1, and the role of education in #2).   We will practice the following skills:

  • summary writing
  • narrative writing 
  • explanation 
  • seeing things in context
  • thesis development
  • introduction and conclusions
  • using evidence to support a claim
  • incorporating source material
  • citing source material
  • building a paper
  • revising a paper for structure and content
  • editing for clarity and correctnessl

  

 

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