This project is an opportunity to conduct a personal in-depth examination of the media that influenced your life from the age of six to 12, although you are not limited to that period of your life. You will reflect on your own experience and that of your family, siblings, and friends’ use of media during those important years in your development. Some of the topics you might want to explore may include:
What you enjoyed as a family—movies, TV shows, records, video games, radio stations, comics, and newspapers
What you used educationally—such as Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, Electric Company, or the newspaper
What was used in your school(s)—computers, films (which classes), movies as rewards for good behavior, newspapers
Programs or media (TV, radio, movies, records, videos, or books) that were promoted by your church, parents, and teachers
Programs or media (see above) that were discouraged or forbidden by your church, parents, or teachers
Any trips to the library for book clubs, story times, or quiet reading
“Must have” fashions or toys generated by TV or movies
Media role models who were important to you
When you became conscious of news shows and watched them (if you did), and which ones?
When you became conscious of talk shows and watched them (if you did), and which ones?
Did you have media—records, radio, TV—on in the background while doing something else: family meals, doing chores, homework, visiting friends, etc.?
Look at the media theories we’ve studied and see if any particularly strike you in a personal way—cultivation theory, two step flow, agenda setting, role modeling, cognitive dissonance, framing, etc.
Any particularly memorable films from childhood, favorite family TV shows, special songs, news events that captivated you, toys from shows
Any sense of empowerment from favorite shows or characters?
Any special lessons that you learned?
Any particularly violent or frightening programs that you enjoyed or were repulsed by?
Any media “rules” in your family? How aware were your parents of what you were watching and how much time you spent with media?
Describe your TV viewing habits—Saturday morning cartoons, after school shows, or videos. How much time do you think you spent with TV or videos, radio, records, while you were growing up? Do a graph for each year.
If you could relive those years again, do you think you would use media differently? How? Describe.
Will you raise your own children the same way with regard to media? Why or why not?
Have media had a positive, negative, neutral impact on your life? Why? How?
The completed project will have 15-20 annotated sources and include an eight to ten-page discussion of what you found and what you think this means. Sources MUST reflect variety; you cannot use all Internet or all library sources. And your textbook does NOT count as a source.
You will post your finished paper to a dropbox on D2L. Please use Microsoft Word and make sure you include all parts of the project. The project is due by five o’clock Friday, Feb. 19th. You may, of course, turn it in earlier, if you’d like. I strong recommend you start on it immediately and don’t wait until Thursday night to do it.
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