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Overview U

Writing

Overview

U.S. presidential candidates have always sought to leverage mass media in new and innovative ways to gain support for their campaigns. The first televised American presidential debate occurred in 1960, and it was considered groundbreaking. By 1992, candidates were making appearances on late-night television shows. Today, presidential debates are broadcasted and analyzed in real time, candidates appear on late-night talk shows and people ask candidates questions in Twitter-based town halls. In this Project, you will research the ever-changing role mass media has played in presidential elections and write a report on your findings.

Directions

You are a media consultant who has been hired by a startup social media company. The company wants you to write a formal research report that answers the question “How have changes in mass media influenced individual and societal thinking about politics and politicians?” In your report:

·describe major milestones in the history of mass media between 1960 and today

·compare and contrast the use of mass (and, as appropriate, social) media during three political campaigns

o  1960: The Nixon/Kennedy Campaign

o  1992: The Bush/Clinton/Perot Campaign

o  2012: The Obama/Romney Campaign

·discuss how changes in mass media impacted these three political campaigns

·identify how social media differs from mass media

·explain how media can influence individual and societal thinking

·show how changes in media since 1960 have impacted individual and societal thinking about politics and politicians

All the resources you will need (articles, videos, essays, etc.) have been gathered for you in Project Resources. You will need to find relevant information in these resources and synthesize it in your analysis. Feel free to supplement your research report with photographs, political cartoons and/or links to other media.

Make sure to document your sources appropriately using the APA citation format. It is important that you not use or quote from any source without citing it.

 

Deliverables

·Research Report

Suggested Word Count: 1500

Accepted File Types: .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, .txt, .pdf

 

 

 Project Resources

These are links to public external resources. Any comments or statements made on these public websites are not representative of College for America.

Understanding Media and Culture

This resource contains information on media history, theory, and societal influence. Read the following sections:

·Section 1.2 (beginning on page 11)

·Section 1.4 (beginning on page 27)

·Section 1.5 (beginning on page 32)

·Section 9.2 (beginning on page 394)

·Section 11.2 (beginning on page 494)

·Section 15.5 (beginning on page 703)

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Mass Media

Watch this video, which defines and describes mass media from the following perspectives:

·functionalist perspective (the function of mass media)

·conflict perspective (how the media portrays existing divisions in society)

·feminist perspective (how messages about men and women are represented in the media)

·interactionist perspective (how mass media shapes daily behaviors).

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A Brief History of Media

Watch this short recorded lecture on the history of media.

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History of Media

Read this historical timeline on the evolving relationship between politics and media.

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Media Construction of Presidential Campaigns

Read this article, which details the ways in which various forms of media have covered and constructed presidential campaigns across time.

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The First Mass Media Election

Read this opinion piece on the ways in which the 1960 election was the first to feature a significant role for the mass media.

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1960: Nixon/Kennedy Debate

Read this overview and/or watch the accompanying video of the Nixon/Kennedy Debate as you prepare to compare it to the other major moments in campaign media throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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How the Kennedy/Nixon Debate Changed the World

Read this opinion piece about the impact of the Kennedy/Nixon Debate.

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Debate Night: Bush/Clinton/Perot, 1992

Read this article (and watch the accompanying clips) on the major changes that took place following the 1992 presidential race.

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How the Presidential Candidates Use the Web and Social Media

Read this analysis of how candidates used social media in the 2012 campaign cycle.

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Taking the Debate to Twitter, Time Newsfeed

Click on the right arrow to see each Tweet and see how people reacted to an Obama/Romney debate in 2012.

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Seeking Reality in Presidential Campaigns

Read this article on the ways candidates are portrayed in the media.

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The Great Divide: Campaign Media in the American Mind

Read this scholarly article on the influences of campaign media on the American mindset.

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How to Write a Research Paper

Read 'Writing a Research Paper," "Genre and the Research Paper" and "Where Do I Begin?" to find helpful information for writing your research report.

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Common Paper Organization Patterns

Review the different ways to structure a paper as you prepare to complete the different sections of your research report.

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 Skill-Building Resources

These are links to public external resources. Any comments or statements made on these public websites are not representative of College for America.

Goal Question and Answer Sessions

Read this document to learn how to join a live question and answer session about this Goal hosted by a College for America Goal Mentor.

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2012: Obama/Romney Debate

Watch the footage from the Obama/Romney 2012 Debate and compare it to other major moments in the mediated history of campaigns.

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CfA Citation Guide

This resource helps to explain how citations should be used in CfA Projects including formatting guidelines and where to get help.

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APA Citation Question and Answer Sessions

Read this document to learn how to join a live question and answer session about citing information in APA format hosted by a College for America Goal Mentor.

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