Dissect the News Project Assignment Sheet



Step 1: Download 3 “grade the news” forms, along with an instruction sheet. 


Step 2:  Decide which you want to do:


             a) grade 3 sources within the same medium.  You might choose 30 minute news programs on different channels, 3 different newspapers (section A coverage of politics and government), 3 radio news programs (it might be tough to find 3 or these -- discuss with me if you choose this), etc.



            b). grade 3 different types of media – maybe cable TV news, Newspaper, and NPR news (all on the same day) to compare coverage of the same topics. You may not use web sources for this project, because it is too difficult to compare apples to apples online.


Either way, make sure the potential covered content is similar, which means ideally sampling from the same day/ time. It needs to be as comparable as possible in terms of news available for coverage. Also, all your sources need to be specifically intended as “news”.


Step 3: Record, watch, listen, read and enter your analysis on the downloaded form. Follow the "Grade the News" instructions carefully.


Step 4: Write up a 3-4 page analysis of your results, with the following points covered:


A. Briefly describe which sources you used, when they were printed or aired, etc.  Explain exactly why you chose these – (for example: to see which local tv news program provides the best information, etc.)


B. Describe your results.  What were the respective scores?  What were the areas of strength or weakness?  Did you notice any patterns? This should take up the bulk of your report.


C. What conclusions can you make from your analysis about the quality of news coverage?  Can voters get what they need from the sources you looked at?  Are some better than others?  Why?  Be as specific as possible. Cite at least 2 outside scholarly sources and explain how your results compare to theirs, or how your results illustrate the findings from the article. These sources could be Pew or Annenberg studies or academic journal articles.



Step 5: Look over your paper.  Proofread.  Be sure your grammar is correct, your ideas are clearly communicated, etc.  Attach the three forms to the 3-4 page write-up, and create a "works cited" page for your sources for part C. You need to use MLA or APSA citation style.  Turn it in by the beginning of class on Monday, October 18.


Some sources you might consider can be found here.