In this media memoir, you are asked to explore your experiences and some of the ways you think different media have influenced you. Think of the free-writing, activities, and discussions we do in class as preparation for this paper. The two primary components of this paper are: 1) your personal narrative, interwoven with 2) direct references to course material and literature in attempt to explain and interrogate your individual anecdotes and experiences. You should include in-text citations and provide a References list, both conforming to APA style. Your writing can be creative in nature but should be professionally appropriate and completely free f typos and without egregious grammar, usage and spelling errors. Here are some questions that might help you get going in your exploratory writing or rough drafting: • What do you like to do for entertainment or fun? How much of it is media consumption? What did you used to watch and listen to when you were younger, and what do you like to watch and listen to now? Explore the various media you have been involved with over the years (e.g., radio, music, TV, and video games). • What role have media played in your life? Try to remember way back: it’s those early experiences that often have the deepest influence on us. Did you have media heroes, heroines or idols when you were young? What stories and images and figures resonated most deeply for you or seemed to influence you most? How would you have been different if there had been no TV or radio or recorded music when you were growing up? • How did your parents or others handle TV and other media? Did they try to shape your time with media? How did you react to their policies? • To what extent have you tended to feel that the media were just “there” as part of “the world” — the air around us — versus feeling that these things were made by people and groups who were actively and consciously trying to influence you? No doubt your sense of this matter changed over time — and differed with different media. It’s easy to feel how advertisements are trying to manipulate us. It’s sometimes not so easy to notice how news programs and sitcoms and video games function to affect us — whether or not they were consciously designed to do so. What did you find yourself thinking or assuming to be the reasons or goals that people had for making and paying for things like news or sit-coms? • How do you think media have shaped the kind of person you are? An autobiographical essay is usually somewhat informal; it’s inevitably personal and often contains a mixture of functions. That is, it has an essential core of describing and even storytelling: What happened? What was it like? But the point of this describing is to speculate, think, and figure out: How did media affect who you are and how you think and see things? And it may invite some insights about the nature of media. All essays are exercises in figuring something out. An autobiographical essay can be playful and personal, but it’s also serious work. Structure? There is no ideal structure for this kind of essay; you have lots of choice. Instead of thinking, “What’s the right structure?” think “What’s the best way to get the job done?” That is, how can I tell someone about how the media have influenced me and my life — and tell them in a way that’s most interesting, that doesn’t waste too much time or make them feel lost? It might help to think about the two extremes in organization or structure. At one extreme is the nostructure mess. Freewriting can sometimes lead to pure mess (though not always), and you often get a mess when you do fast exploratory writing and jump to whatever idea or experience comes next into your mind — instead of trying to “stay organized” as you generate material. Making this kind of a mess is a good way to get started and come up with a lot of material as fast as possible. At the other extreme is a set structure that’s determined in advance — a structure like the five-paragraph essay or the conventional lab report. You’ll be looking for something between these extremes. It usually helps to concentrate on generating lots of material — letting it be messy — sifting through it to find the best parts — and then finally asking how this material “wants to be structured.” A good autobiographical essay can be structured around chronology or structured around a series of themes where you jump around in time. And there are lots of other possibilities. Keep asking yourself, “How does this material want to be told?” and “How can I tell it so it’s clear and interesting to someone I care about?” It also helps to realize that there’s no right answer here. There’s nothing wrong with separate sub-sections labeled with sub-headlines (e.g. “Rules and How They Actually Worked”). These can help readers not feel lost. But if you do include separate sections, don’t forget to ask yourself, “How can I help these separate parts somehow hang together and follow each other naturally to make a single essay?” Guidelines • Specific references to course literature are required. By this point, you should have synthesized the theory and concepts from our readings and lectures and be adept at critically applying them to media texts. • Use rich and concrete description from your media examples and popular culture habits – it can only strengthen your arguments (and weaken them when absent). The assignment description sheet can help you with brainstorming and idea building. • However, do NOT use excessive plot summary. Assume I am familiar with the film/TV shows/games/music/memes you are describing and only use plot details necessary for context. • Outside sources (in addition to the course literature) are permitted but not required. ALL sources MUST be properly cited in APA style, including a references page, double-spaced, in 12pt font with 1” margins. (Not a rule, but a suggestion: successful versions of this assignment generally end up between 5-10 pgs.) Structure ••Introduction: Preview your paper in this section. This is where you let the reader into the situation you’re hoping to explain. ••Thesis: Include a thesis statement that clearly defines your paper and gives the reader a “roadmap” of where you will go. ••Body: Provide your analysis of your media examples and experiences. Organize the body in a way that makes sense for the story you are trying to tell. Also note that simply telling a story is not enough. Make connections and use the media examples to speak into your life experiences and points of view. ••Conclusion: Summarize and bring closure. Grading Criteria criteria EXEMPLARY ABOVE AVERAGE ADEQUATE INADEQUATE Mechanics: 10% (5 pts) Essay is free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors; absent of fragments, comma splices, and run-ons. Essay has few spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors allowing reader to follow ideas clearly. Very few fragments or run-ons. Most spelling, punctuation, and grammar correct allowing reader to progress through essay. Some errors remain. Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors create distraction, making reading difficult; fragments, comma splices, run-ons evident. Errors are frequent. Organization: 10% (5 pts) Writing shows high degree of attention to logic and reasoning of points. Unity clearly leads the reader to the conclusion and stirs thought regarding the topic. Writing is coherent and logically organized with transitions used between ideas and paragraphs to create coherence. Overall unity of ideas is present. Writing is coherent and logically organized. Some points remain misplaced and stray from the topic. Transitions evident but not used throughout essay. Writing lacks logical organization. It shows some coherence but ideas lack unity. Serious errors. Style: 15% (6 pts) Shows outstanding style going beyond usual college level; rhetorical devices and tone used effectively; novel use of sentence structure and coordination. Attains college level style; tone is appropriate and rhetorical devices used to enhance content; sentence variety used effectively. Approaches college level usage of some variety in sentence patterns, diction, and rhetorical devices. Mostly in elementary form with little or no variety in sentence structure, diction, rhetorical devices or emphasis. Content: 25% (12 pts) Content indicates synthesis of ideas, in-depth analysis and evidences original thought and support for the topic. Content indicates original thinking and develops ideas with sufficient and firm evidence. Content indicates thinking and reasoning applied with original thought on a few ideas. Shows some thinking and reasoning but most ideas are underdeveloped and unoriginal. Application: 25% (12 pts) Main points well- developed with high quality and quantity support. Theories and course concepts are referenced abundantly and accurately. Examples are well thought out, evidentiary of main points. Reveals high degree of critical thinking. Main points well developed with quality supporting details and quantity. Critical thinking is weaved into points. Course concepts and theories are referenced accurately. Main points are present with limited detail and development. Some critical thinking is present. Main points lack detailed development. Ideas are vague with little evidence of critical thinking. Course concepts are not referenced at all or are referenced without clear explanation.
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