1. Choose a media outlet and perform cursory research and analysis
Find a media outlet. It could be a newspaper (print or online), magazine, television channel, YouTube channel, Twitter feed, or any other distinguishable media content pipeline that allows you to find as much of the following information about the source as you can:
a. Who owns it and how is ownership structured (e.g., private, public, small business, conglomerate)? Is ownership shared? Is decision-making shared? If so, how?
b. Where and how does it make its money (e.g., advertisers, subscribers, how much, etc.)
c. Where does it get its news content from? Primary sources? Secondary sources? If
secondary, are they primary sources themselves? If so, are they expert primary sources? Or, does it simply pass along received information? If so, from who? What makes the information shareable?
d. What kind of public and user feedback does it collect (e.g., user/viewer comments, letters to the editor, a direct-feedback mechanism like voting/likes/etc., a complaint line, etc.) Who does it solicit feedback from? Does it block anyone from providing feedback?
e. Where does it stand on major ideological issues (e.g., X must be avoided at all costs; Y must be done at all costs). What kinds of information and perspectives are favored? What kinds are not included, and/or repressed?
Write two to three paragraphs about how the above information structures the “manufacturer of consent” for this news source. Focus on what kind of materials the source publishes, how it draws
revenue for this work, and what kind of relationship it has with its audience. Be sure to define “manufacture of consent” in a useful way and apply it as part of your analysis.
2. Read and analyze three articles from your selected media source
Complete an analysis of three articles selected from the media source you used above. For each article, identify which news values (p. 77) you think apply to the article. My recommendation is to discuss all news values you think apply to that particular article and what evidence you can offer for that application. Remember to structure your analysis well.
The news values offered in the text are:
a. Negativity – negative events are more newsworthy than positive ones
b. Recency – the event should be recent
c. Proximity – the event should be close by
d. Consonance – events which can be made to cohere with ideas and understandings that
people already have are likely to have high news value
e. Unambiguity – the events should be clear; if there is a dispute or a question there should be
f. Unexpectedness – that which is not routine is more newsworthy than that which is
g. Superlativeness – the worst or best of something is more likely to be covered
h. Relevance – the audience should be able to see some relevance to their own life in the event
i. Personalization – if something can be reported in a personal rather than abstract way it will
be more newsworthy.
3. Your own analysis
In 350 to 500 words synthesize your two brief analyses (From 1. and 2.) above into one coherent analytical summary. While doing so, describe the manufacture of consent in the media source you chose. Use evidence from your analysis about the kinds of news articles that the source publishes and the qualities of these articles that lead to their publication. Be sure to think specifically in terms of the content of the articles, how this content serves the ideology of the medium’s owner(s), and how this ideology connects to a particular audience Your answer does not need to be “right,” but it should be thoughtful and based on the evidence that you have collected.
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