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Research Paper Assignment: Analyzing Historical News Coverage
Due by June 29 at 11:59pm EDT
News coverage shapes the public’s perception of events, but different news outlets often cover the same events in different ways. In this paper, you will choose a significant episode in U.S. history involving the news media and compare/analyze how three different newspapers covered it at the time. Your goal is to assess how each newspaper covered this event, to compare and contrast the three newspapers’ coverage, and to formulate an overarching argument about the press’s coverage of this event. Here are the steps I suggest you take to complete this assignment.
(1) Choose a topic. I want you to research and write about a historical event that interests you. There are a few criteria for selecting a workable topic:
a) It needs to a major national news event—something about which newspapers throughout the country would have published several articles within a few days.
b) It needs to be a specific event, not a broad phenomenon. For example: Great Depression is no good, stock market crash of 1929 is good; civil rights movement is no good, Montgomery bus boycott is good.
c) It needs to be something that different newspapers are likely to have covered in at least slightly different ways. For example: topics such as the JFK assassination, the moon landing, or the 9/11 attacks are no good, because nearly every newspaper covered them essentially the same way.
I’ve provided a list of possible topics at the end of this document, but do not feel constrained by that list. I encourage you to choose a topic that you genuinely want to learn about.
(2) Watch the video tutorials. If your research topic is from 1980 or earlier, watch the video titled “Searching for articles using ProQuest Historical Newspapers.” If your research topic is from 1981 or later, watch the video titled “Searching for articles using ProQuest U.S. Newsstream.”
(4) Do some preliminary research into your topic. Find out the exact dates when the event occurred and familiarize yourself with some of the details and the people or groups involved. You may use Google/Wikipedia for this.
(5) Start searching for articles! For topics prior to 1980, use the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database. For topics since 1980, use ProQuest U.S. Newsstream. Do not use other databases or Google. Magazine articles, academic journal articles, blog posts, and more recent newspaper articles should not be part of your analysis. Enter an appropriate date range and keywords for your search
(6) Decide which three newspapers you want to compare. You don’t need to choose the three newspapers that published the greatest number of articles on your topic. Just make sure all three published enough for you to analyze—at least three substantial articles published within the space of a few days.
(7) Read as much as you can find on your topic in each of the three newspapers you selected. Your goal will be to compare the totality of the coverage in the three newspapers, not just to pick one or two articles from each (which may not be representative of the overall coverage). Your essay should cite/discuss at least three articles from each newspaper—that is, at least nine articles in all.
(8) Think about how you would characterize the coverage in each of the three newspapers. Remember to focus on the coverage of the event, not the event itself. For example, did they play up or play down this news? Did they cover it in a serious or light-hearted way? Did they show sympathy or agreement with one side or the other?
(9) Formulate an overarching argument about the coverage in the three newspapers. For example, did they all cover this topic in a similar manner? If there were specific differences, what were they? How might you explain the differences? This should be the thesis that you introduce in your first or second paragraph.
(10) Write the paper! It will probably help to start with an outline and notes. Make sure the paper is well-organized, with clear topic sentences and smooth transitions. Illustrate your points with specific examples from the articles you researched. Don’t just summarize what the articles say, analyzing why they say it (or say it in certain ways).
Tips for analyzing news coverage
• Make sure you understand what type of article you are looking at. Is it a straight-news article by someone on the paper’s staff? Is it a straight-news article from a wire service or from another newspaper (e.g., Associated Press, United Press International, Washington Post-LA Times News Service)? Is it an editorial? Is it an opinion column?
• Consider the placement and “play” of the article. If you are using ProQuest Historical Newspapers (before 1980), you can see the placement by clicking on the tab that says Page View-PDF. If you are using ProQuest U.S. Newsstream (since 1980), you will see the page number right under the headline (after the byline, publication title, and date).
• Consider the angle and emphasis. What information goes in the lead? To which topics does the article devote the most space? What issues does the article address (or not address)?
• Where did the journalist(s) writing this article get their information? Which sources get their quotes/points of view presented first/last? Does the article express skepticism about the information/quotes/statements? Does it express approval?
• Analyze the headline. Is it sensationalized? Boring? Does it seem more sympathetic to one side or another?
FORMAT: Double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, standard one-inch margins. No cover page or bibliography needed (references/works cited page needed if using parenthetical citations).
LENGTH: 2,000-2,800 words, not including citations (7-10 pages)
DUE DATE: Monday, June 29, 11:59p.m. EDT
SOURCES AND CITATIONS: Your main source should be the historical newspapers, since that is the material for your analysis. Use online sources for factual background only (consider getting a book from the library for more detail). All direct quotes, and all ideas that are not your own, must be cited. You may use either Chicago style citations (footnotes) or MLA/APA style (parenthetical citations with a “references” page at the end). When citing newspaper articles, simply give the author’s name (if provided), article title, name of the publication, and date.
• Citation format for newspaper articles (Chicago style): Author name, “Article Title,” Name of newspaper, publication date, page number. Example:
o Paul Valentine, “Poor People to Step Up Militancy,” Washington Post, June 3, 1968, p. 1.
This is theTOPIC: Publication of Starr Report (Sept. 1998): the report from Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr details President Bill Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, including explicit descriptions of their sexual encounters; Starr suggests that Clinton may have committed perjury in an attempt to cover up the affair.
I would like a writer from the US.
I would like the articles to be from the Washington Post, NY Times and a West coast paper, there are 3 articles needed per newspaper. The articles are to be from the 1998 time period of when the Starr report was written.
Use this database https://www.proquest.com/usnews/fromDatabasesLayer
Login is: cunninm2 Password: @Setonhall2021 I can do the verification and will do it