Research papers and presentations

Note: All papers should use the American Psychological Association (APA) style. For examples of types of APA references, visit  

Assignments:  The class will be broken down into several roughly equal-sized groups, each of which will be responsible for presenting a media topic. You will draw on a variety of sources, but you should use The Influencing Machine as the primary source.  Assignments to the group will be random, and assignments of the groups for presentation times will be random. Each group will have half of a class period to make their presentations (about 40 min).

Group Presentation: By pooling the research of the group, you will present an overview of your topic to the class. You should be able to lead the class in a discussion of the significant points of the media issue case study, along with explaining the multiple sides to the issue. Relate the topic to relevant current or historical examples. Please discuss your presentation plans with me and also let me know what equipment you will be using need.

Written presentation as a group: 1) Each group is to prepare 20 questions that should be used to generate class discussion during the presentation. Hint: Good discussion questions touch our emotions and intellect. Don’t just ask, “What do you think?” instead, find a way to have the students connect emotionally with your topic. Assign several class members not in your group several of the questions to ask. 2) Each group should also prepare a full source list in APA style of all the materials used in developing the presentation. 3) Write a 1-2 page single-spaced report detailing the decision-making of the group on the topic and contributions and participation of each group member. (Note: More than half of the learning for college classes takes place through reading and assignments outside the classroom. If you do not have time to participate in an outside-class assignment, you should drop this class.)

Sources for the presentations and papers:

The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone (Norton, 2011)

SPJ Code of Ethics at; RTNDA Code of Ethics at

Publications and Web sites from the professions of journalism, broadcasting, and advertising: The Quill, American Journalism Review, Columbia Journalism Review, Broadcasting & Cable, Advertising Age, The Poynter Institute,, and

New media/Internet issues:

News reports and analysis about your media issues from Lexis/Nexis.

For Internet searches, use, which is the best search engine.

Note: All presentations and individual papers must rely on at least 15 separate sources, including The Influencing Machine. It is suggested that you find all articles written about your topic and related topics in the above sources and then select all that are useful to your presentation. Having more than 15 sources will only make your presentations and papers stronger. A Word on Web Sites/Blogs: Do not use an individual’s Web site or Blog as a source unless you can establish that the person is an expert, i.e. a professor or professional in the topic area. It is better to use organizations or associations’ Web sites because they reliably give you the perspective of that group, rather than one person’s opinion.

Individual Written Assignment: Your individual paper should explore the legal, ethical, industry, historical or societal issues related to the media topic. You also should think about your own values and beliefs. The research paper should fully explore the topic but also may weave in your personal views on the media issue in a final discussion section. You can include other media issues that are similar to the topic.  Please do not just regurgitate someone else’s article in your paper; synthesize what has been written about the topic and then feature your own personal analysis in it. Note: There is no “right or wrong” answer so you should clearly explain what influenced your personal views on the topic. Length of individual paper: 2000-2500 words (about 8-10 pages typed and double-spaced). Your paper should contain a reference list in APA style and references should be cited in the text in APA style.

Group Presentations: You should present the topic in an interesting and engaging way. Do not just read or lecture. Your goal is to generate discussion and thought on the topic. One good method might be a pro-con debate on the topic. Many students have found success with a mock talk show about the topic or a lively PowerPoint presentation (If you do a PowerPoint presentation, please run spell check on it to avoid embarrassment). Use any visual aids necessary, charts, videos, photos, etc. (You will have access to the classroom projector and Internet connection.)

Grading: Each group member will receive the same presentation grade, so it is important to make sure all the members of the group do their share. Each group member should attach a short description of their work with the group to their individual paper. (If someone refuses to participate or do his/her part, please discuss the situation with the professor.)

Group Presentation Grading Scale (100 points):

  • Content (40 points)  How well does the presentation summarize the key points of the topic? How well do the discussion questions fully address the topic?
  • Class involvement (20 points) Did other members of the class successfully understand the topic from the presentation? Was discussion generated? Did you keep the interest of the class?
  • Creativity (20 points) Was the information presented in a creative and imaginative manner? Did you find a way for the class to “connect” with the material presented
  • Audiovisual aids A(10 points) Were audiovisual aids, like photos, YouTube videos, charts/graphs, used to support or rebut the points of the articles?
  • Use of additional materials (10 points) Was the case study supplemented with the required other sources, i.e. news stories, other analysis articles, etc.?

Audience responsibilities:

MATERIAL FROM THE GROUPS’ PRESENTATIONS WILL BE COVERED ON THE FINAL EXAM. This means you should attend each group’s presentation, ask intelligent questions, and gain an understanding of the topic. Everyone in the class will participate in a group so it is important that when you are the audience of another group, you show interest and respect. You are not to interrupt or be confrontational. Use the other group’s presentation as a study session for the final exam. Through your questions and comments and the group’s presentation, you should understand the topic and be able to answer questions about it.

Media Issue Topics:

  1. Group 1:  Why News Literacy Matters. Case study: Why should we educate children/teens to be critical thinkers about media content?
  2. Group 2: The U.S. News Media – Too Much Freedom or Not Enough? Case study: What is the impact of every American being able to post whatever they want online?
  3. Group 3: What is Fair and Unbiased News and Who Decides? Case study: Are there new gatekeepers and agenda setters in this age of fewer trained journalists?
  4. Group 4: Deconstructing Social Media and the Future of News. Case study: How can we have collaborative (rather than chaotic) media as we move to social networked news?

Note: If material from the Campbell et al textbook relates to your topic, you may use it as a reference too. But, first try to find the original source, for example, if the textbook material is a reprint of another article.