Comparison of reputable and disreputable or opinion-based journalism.
The purpose of this short paper is twofold: 1) It’s to get you looking at (“reviewing”) popular literature on your topic; 2) you are to compare reputable sources with either clearly biased, disreputable ones or, if such sources don’t apply to your topic, you can use editorials (a clearly opinion-based genre). *If you can’t find disreputable or editorial sources check with me.
Your paper should have a brief intro to your topic and then coverage of two contrasting news sources that report on or argue about your topic. One source needs to be from a reputable, less-biased publication. You can see a list rated by bias here: Link. The other source should be from as biased a publication as you can find. For our purposes the worse the reporting the better. Use the same AllSides media bias ratings linked above. If your topic is less newsworthy, more specific, or esoteric, i.e., it doesn’t lend itself media coverage you have a couple of options. Search for the keywords you identified in your reference sources with “opinion” or “editorial.” If this doesn’t yield results check with me and I’ll recommend looking for less formal sources such as blogs, vlogs, forums, etc. (This only applies if your source clearly isn’t dealt with in popular literature.)
Your paper should contain your rationale for each selection—why did you choose each news story or editorial? What does each source show you about your topic? What does the partisan (biased) or editorial piece argue? From your background notes, what do you think about your topic after having read each? Try to imagine what you would think if you hadn’t done any background research or knew very little about your topic. From doing some research try to outline the range of positionsabout your topic so you can characterize each source accordingly.
Where to find biased sources???
Check out this link to the “Top ten sites to help students check their facts”: Link
Note there are ten resources for you to check out. NewsBusters is a rightwing site that will be useful for this perspective.
Not listed on the “Top ten sites…” is Ad fontes media (by lawyer Vanessa Otero) produced a media bias chart that went viral. It’s a great place to start. Link Simply check out the sources at the top and in the middle of the chart for more reputable reporting and ones at bottom on the sides for more “selective, incomplete, fabricated, propaganda,” sources.
You know where to search for good information (Pew and CQ Researcher for starters), but branch out and search the following databases through UCSC: EBSCO Academic Search Complete, Sage Reference Online, Nexis Uni, ProQuest. IMPORTANT: These search engines will give you different types of sources. You are just looking for sources labeled “news,” “journalism,” “newspaper,” “magazine,” etc., not academic journals yet, these come next week.
Cite your sources in-text and provide References (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) at the end
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