Jim Armstrong


Final Paper:

Here’s what I am looking for (and will be grading you on) in your final papers:

* Is there a clear and obvious thesis statement? (Can I tell what you are going to be discussing?)
* Is your thesis supported by arguments that are logical, researched, and well-argued?
* Do you acknowledge and take into account opposing arguments — and, in refuting them, explain their relevance to your argument?
* Is the paper free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors?
* Does the paper’s overall organization support the writer’s efforts?
* Do all of the above elements demonstrate that the author has spent significant time thinking about – and working on – this topic?







Your final assignment for this class will be an eight to ten page thoughtful treatment of one of the topics below.  (If you are particularly inspired by another topic, please let me know and I will review it with you to see if it is both applicable and appropriate for this assignment.)  The paper should include a thesis statement and supporting arguments.  Primary interviews will certainly enhance your work.

A rough draft is required on or before Friday, April 3rd – however, a detailed outline that shows your considerable effort and planning will suffice.  This draft will figure into your final grade.


1.)  What will the new media landscape look like for students taking this course in five years?  What current elements will survive and which will not make the cut?  What will be the distinguishing characteristics of “new media” in 2020?  Your analysis should include details about what works now, what does not, and how changes will be incorporated in the future.  What will be the ‘next big thing’ – the application or platform or device that will come to define new media?  Obviously, this task involves some strongly-educated guesswork; I am more interested in your reasoning and your arguments than in the feasibility of any given proposal(s).
2.) Examine the ways in which people growing up in this generation interact with new media.  (By “this generation” I mean people born between about 1985 – 2000.  This group is sometimes called The Millennials or Generation Y.)  What does it say about this generation that so many people are so willing to share their every thought, every photo, every comment with the world?  Is it just narcissism fueled (and made worse) by technology?  Or is it a brand of introspection that will serve young people well as they mature?  This is a challenging assignment in that you have to fight the temptation to turn this into a long rant against annoying on-line behaviors.  You really have to analyze what’s going on in the ‘bigger picture’.


3.)  Assess the future impacts of the so-called “iReporter” on journalism.  Are the people most upset about citizen journalists only the ones who are worried about losing their jobs to them?  Or are there real concerns about the quality and quantity of unsupervised coverage that is not professionally edited?  What do you make of current mainstream media’s use of citizen journalists?  Is it a way to fill an ever-growing news hole, without regard to the true mission of a journalist?  Or is it a boots-on-the-ground, first-person approach with real value to the consumer?   Or is that a false choice – and the two must learn to live together?


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