The purpose of this paper is to get you watch different television news programs and to compare how each covers the news, particularly political news.
You need to compare 4 television news programs on 1) CNN, 2) Fox News, 3) local tv news and 4) either CBS, NBC or ABC news (pick one). Make sure you watch news programs, rather than the talk and opinion shows (which are intentionally biased and which usually air in the evening). The CBS, NBC, and ABC evening news programs, which are broadcast around 6:30 pm, are 30 minutes long, including the commercials. CNN and Fox run 60 minutes; you can watch 30 minutes of them. The local tv news, either from Jacksonville or Savannah, also run 60 minutes; you can watch 30 minutes of them. If you do not have a tv or cable: CBS, NBC and ABC all record their half hour evening news programs on their websites. The CNN, Fox and local news websites record short clips from their programs; pick enough clips for 20 minutes of programming from each site.
Your paper must answer the following questions:
1. What news items were covered in each news program? (Write these down while watching, including the time and date of each program.) What sort of “agenda” is being set by each program?
2. How did each particular program cover (or “frame”) these news items? Were they objective, “sensationalist” or biased in a liberal or conservative way? Give examples.
3. What commercial advertisements were broadcast during each news program? (Write these down while watching.) What audiences do you believe these commercials (including political advertisements) were designed to reach? If you are using a website, these commercials are aimed at YOU, based on your pattern of web use.
4. Which of these news programs did you prefer and why? Which news programs did you not like and why?
Write a 3-5 page typed paper comparing news programs on the 4 television networks and answering the questions above concerning what news items were covered, how they were covered, what commercials they featured and which programs you liked and disliked and why.
Basis of grade: you will be graded based on how well you complete the assignment, and what thoughts or opinions you might have about the news programs. You also need to write clearly and to proofread your paper.
90-100 1. Completes assignment: Your paper compares the 4 news programs and answers all the questions in steps 1-4 regarding news items, agenda setting, framing or slant on the news stories, commercials, your preferences, etc.
2. Adds something extra: Your paper is a smooth narrative that goes beyond simply answering the questions by giving additional thoughts and opinions about the news programs.
3. Proofreading, style: There are no spelling or grammatical errors. The sentences are written clearly.
80-89: 1. Completes the assignment as above.
2. Adds only a few thoughts or opinions about the news programs.
3. Proofreading, style: few spelling or grammatical errors. Sentences are written
70-79: 1. Partial assignment: leaves out questions
2. Minimal or no thoughts or opinions about the news programs.
3. Proofreading; style: little to no proofreading; spelling or grammatical errors.
Sentences are poorly written.
69 or less: 1. Partial assignment
2. No thoughts or opinions
3. No proofreading; bad writing