How NFL protests were covered by various media
MEDIA MYTHS AND THE RISE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING
New media represent an enormous change within the historical system of mass culture and mass
communication. Media historian Henry Jenkins claims in Convergence Culture that “When people take
media into their own hands, the results can be wonderfully creative; they can also be bad news for
everyone involved.” Today Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and other media have
become tools of political and social revolution. Write an essay in which you support Jenkins’s assumption
and weigh the outcomes to decide which one is more likely.
In order to this, I would like you to choose a single current event of the past three years and research how
social and other media were used. Examples of popular past current events are: The Florida School
Shooting/Gun Control (2018) Women’s March (2017); President Trump’s Executive Order on refugees
(2017); 2016 Presidential Primary/Election coverage; the Orlando Shooting (2016); the Terrorist Attacks
in Paris (2015); Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as transgender (2015); shooting of Michael Brown in
Ferguson, Missouri (2014); Ebola Virus Breakout (2014); ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (2014); Edward
Snowden NSA leak scandal (2013); etc.
NOTE: Your essay must explore how the story was (or currently is) covered on TWO social media
platforms and on ONE traditional news source (CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Fox News, etc.). You must
include online research for both.
Consider the following questions: Did the mainstream media largely cover the coverage of your chosen
event or was it user-generated content that eventually exploded online? How do you reconcile the fact that
users create and actively build their own virtual spaces, but they do so on sites that are owned by huge
corporations and that are maintained for profit? Do you think that online “conversations” create access to
information that professional journalists have ignored? Or do think people’s ability to customize the news
and entertainment to be problematic? Please reflect on your own experience with social media and
consider when/how you heard about the current event you’ve selected.
• In addition to the Jenkins essay, you must reference TWO of the pieces that we have read for this
unit. These essays include “Our Future Selves” by Erica Schmidt and Jaren Cohen; “Growing Up
Tethered” by Sherry Turkle; “Cybersexism” by Laurie Penny; “Inequality: Can Social Media
Resolve Social Divisions?” By Danah Boyd; “The Loneliness of the Interconnected” by Charles
Seife; or “Precognitive Police” by Hedrick Karolisyzn.
• By March 9th, you must decide on a news story and clear it with me.
• As always, you must include a works cited page with your final draft. Please consult our handouts
and A Writer’s Reference for questions regarding citations.
Make sure your paper has a clear thesis and specific examples from social media outlets that demonstrate
your claims. Your opinions and ideas form the essence of this paper. Use quotes from the readings to
support your assertions; do not just summarize others.
FINAL NOTE: You are encouraged to use first person in this essay.
• Clear thesis reflecting original thought
• Detailed analysis of the thesis
• Paragraphs structured in an appropriate manner (do you skip all over or develop your views in an
organized, coherent, effective way)
• No irrelevant information (and no unnecessary repetition)
• Compelling, creative work that reaches out in some way to its audience
• Stylistic sophistication (correct grammar, how you use language, syntax, and punctuation for
emphasis and refinement)
• Consistent tone
• Paper does not resemble a list but instead actively analyzes and synthesizes material
• No unwarranted generalizations about every human being or “society” etc.
• Paper actively analyzes course reading
Note: An “A” paper is not only competent but commands attention, is insightful, persuasive,
sophisticated, compelling to read, and responds to the texts at hand in a mature and thorough manner.
Passing level papers (C or above) also follow the format on the syllabus and cite page numbers correctly.