Analysis of Media Diary
Goal: To examine your media use through the use of relevant concepts and theories.
For this paper you will take the contents of your media diary and provide explanations for your media use and the potential effects of the content you consumed. You will interpret this through the lens of the theories and concepts you have learned about so far this semester. This will be easier to complete knowing as much as possible about your media use. Therefore, if you didn’t keep track of the shows you watched, the type of music you listened to, etc. it will benefit you to fill in those holes from your media diary.
This paper is broken up into three parts.
Part 1: Summary of your media diary (1/2 to 1 pg)- 6 points
For this section of the paper you will provide a half-page to full-page summary of your media use. Relevant questions you want to answer about your media use include, but are not limited to:
How do you see your media use as a whole? Do you consume specific media? Do you just flip through channels (for internet- do you go to specific web sites or just surf the net?)? Do you have habitual media use (i.e. do you use media based on the habits of your daily routine)? What type of media do you spend most of your time with? (Violent media? Drama programs? Comedy programming? News?) Do you spend a lot of time with media? Do you heavily rely on media/communication technologies to communicate with people? If yes, what form of communication do you use (text message, instant message, etc)?
To receive full credit, this section should provide a detailed summary of your media diary that answers as many questions in the description from the previous paragraph as possible, within the 1/2 to full-page length limit.
Part 2: Interpret your uses and effects using class content (2-3 pgs)- 30 pts
For the second part of the paper you will use theories from class to interpret you media diary. You will pick one user based theory (selective exposure, uses and gratification, selective perception, mood management) to explain why you use the media you consumed during the week you tracked your media use and one effects based theory (cultivation, priming, agenda-setting, framing, third person effect, spiral of silence, elaboration likelihood model, general aggression model) to explain the potential effects the media you consume may have on you.
Once you decide which two theories you plan to use to interpret your media diary (e.g. selective exposure and agenda-setting), you will provide a brief description of each of these theories as you understand them. Next, you will explain how the use theory you have described explains your media use (i.e. selective exposure means I watch things that support my attitudes and beliefs) and how the media you use may lead to certain effects (i.e. watching things that support my beliefs and attitudes leads the strengthening of those attitudes and beliefs). For example, you notice that you watch a great deal of Fox News on a daily basis. According to selective exposure, you watch Fox News because you see yourself as a conservative and prefer to expose yourself to information that supports your attitudes and beliefs about the world. In addition, according to agenda-setting theory watching Fox News may lead you to place importance on a different set of items that you see as being important to the country compared to someone who does not watch much news or someone who watches CNN, network news (ABC, CBS, NBC), or MSNBC. You are not required to show me an effect, but simply explain your uses and potential effects through the lens of the two perspectives you have chosen.
To receive full credit, this section should give correct descriptions of the theories being used for this section of the paper. In addition, the explanation of how the theories apply to your media diary should be consistent with the descriptions of the theories you provide. In essence, the explanation you provide should make sense within the framework of the theory.
Part 3: Find 2 research papers that support the interpretation of your media diary (2-3 pgs)- 24 pts
For the last part of this paper you are to find two peer reviewed research papers that support the arguments you have made in the previous section of the paper (two total- one for the use explanation one for the effects explanation-if you’re having major difficulties this can be negotiated). In other words, I want you to find research that supports the position you have taken. For example, using the example from the previous paragraph of watching Fox News, you may find a research paper that shows how people of different ideologies tend to watch certain types of programming (i.e. Conservatives watching Fox News and liberals watching MSNBC). This would support the interpretation of your uses theory (i.e. selective exposure) that you watch TV that supports your attitudes and beliefs. You would then find another study that supports the effects interpretation of your paper. For example, a study showing that watching programs that support your position leads to the strengthening of those attitudes and beliefs. This indicates that watching more TV that supports your position strengthens your beliefs and attitudes (i.e. the agenda-setting effect). Alternatively, you could also find a content analysis of the major cable news channels.
If the results showed that the content of Fox News is more conservative than CNN and MSNBC and that MSNBC is more liberal than CNN and Fox News, they you could use this to argue your point as to why you watch Fox News programs. That is, because Fox News is the conservative outlet that matches your attitudes and beliefs about the world, which is why you watch it.
You will need to provide a brief summary of the two studies you are using to support your argument (a total of 1-1.5 pgs). After summarizing each article, you will need to explain how it supports the arguments you made in part 2 of the paper (a total of 1 to 1.5 pages).
To receive full credit for this section, you will need to provide a concise summary of the articles you use to support your position. Once again, it is important to pick articles that provide an accurate summary of the article and provides an explanation of how the article supports your position within the confines of the theory and the article. For example, using cultivation to describe your uses of media would be inappropriate.