CNST 431

MAJOR PAPER

 WORTH 40% DUE November 20th  

 

A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF CANADIAN MASS MEDIA

 

One way to develop sensitivity to the mass media is to observe and critique a mass media phenomena in a systematic manner. Choose a mass media category, such as books, newspapers, magazines, sound recordings, movies, television, advertising or the Internet. Pick a communication event which include such things as a conversation, a scene in a movie, a speech, or a new technology. Then follow the template as required.

 

Template:

 

2% Define Canadian? What does it mean to be a Canadian? How are we different from Americans?

 

4% Describe the history of the mass media you have decided to investigate.

 

3% How is the phenomena you are observing Canadian?

 

2% What are the Canadian content regulations for your phenomena?

 

2% Who is the target audience?

 

9% Observable phenomena: To be included in the accompanying appendix. It may be as long as you wish. For example, several newspaper clippings, the written sound track of several songs by one artist, the shot-list or audio listing of a television program or movie, several advertisements etc.

 

15% Critical Analysis: The critical component of your paper should be 3-4 pages long, double-spaced in 12-inch font.

 

3% What challenges does your mass media face in the future?

Describe and/or envision the future of the mass media you have selected.

THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF CRITCAL QUESTIONS AND PHENOMENA.YOU ARE TO PICK A TOPIC FROM THE FOLLOWING SELECTION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO ANOTHER TOPIC, PLEASE SUBMIT A SHORT OUTLINE JUSTIFYING YOUR SELECTION.

 

NEWSPAPERS:

 

1.       Select a newspaper chain and describe its owner, history and critically assess chain ownership.

 

2.       Follow a front-page news story and do a visual and written comparative content analysis across several different newspapers, local and national.

 

3.       Pick an ethnic newspaper and explain its importance and difference from a non-ethnic newspaper.

 

4.       Describe the growth of alternative and minority newspapers. Examples: Gay or high-tech magazines like Wired.

 

5.       Describe an on-line newspaper and the positive versus negative aspects of an electronic newspaper versus a hard-copy traditional newspaper.

 

6.       Identify advantages and disadvantages in the consolidation of newspapers, daily and weekly, into chains and cross-media conglomeration.

 

7.       Examine the history, trials and tribulations of the Calgary Herald or The Sun newspapers.

 

MAGAZINES:

 

1.       Do a critical analysis of a trade magazine.

 

2.       Take a magazine and give examples of how advertising influence women's perceptions of themselves.

 

RECORDED MUSIC:

 

1.       MP3s and piracy are plaguing the recording industry. Why? What could be done?

 

2.       Do a content analysis of a Canadian artists' lyrics. What do the lyrics say about Canadian culture?

 

3.       Violence and violent lyrics are being condemned and linked to the Taber shootings this summer. Should we have a rating system for music, the same way we have a rating system for censorship, appropriate viewing for movies?

 

4.       Select a sound recording chain and describe its owner, history and critically assess chain ownership and its effect on popular music.

 

5.       Explain the big business behind the making of music and give an example.

 

6.       Take a music genre or artist and explain the importance of its/her/his legacy.


RADIO:

1.       Why is radio a ubiquitous and influential medium? Follow the shake up for the new ROCK 97 channel.

 

2.       Select a radio chain and describe its owner, history and critically assess chain ownership and its effectiveness as a Calgary radio station.

 

3.       Examine one radio station in Calgary and its history, format, target audience.

 

4.       Compare listening to a sporting event on radio to it being broadcast on TV.

 

5.       Describe the role of CBC radio. Should its funding be cut and should it start to accept advertising on air?

 

MOVIES:

 

1.       Epic spectaculars marked one period of moviemaking, social causes another, sex and violence another. Have these genres had a lasting effect and why? Select one movie and give examples.

 

2.       Explain how and why teen films are important.

 

3.       Select a movie studio or movie exhibitor and describe its owner, history and critically assess ownership and its effect on movies.

 

4.       What makes American movies different from Canadian movies? Do a comparative analysis of two movies, one Canadian, the other American.

 

6.       Describe the role of Telefilm and should its funding be cut?

 

TELEVISION:

 

1. How does television affect people and society? Analyze a television show and give examples.

 

2. How has television news evolved into its present format? Examine a local television station and its news format.

 

3. How is television being affected by the introduction of new technologies?

 

4. Describe the role of CBC television. Should its funding be cut and should it start to accept advertising on air?

 

5. How has cable and specialty channels changed viewing habits in Canada?

 

6. How do CBC and CTV complement each other as national networks?

 

THE INTERNET:

 

1. What is the future for commercial web-magazines?

 

2. What is the future for commercial online information services?

 

3. What is the difficulty with the Internet as an advertising medium?

 

4. What is the effect of digitization and fiber-optic cable on mass communication?

5. What is the connection between the Web and hypertext? How has hypertext changed the way human beings create and receive stories?

 

6. Should the CRTC attempt to regulate the Internet? Why or why not?

 

ADVERTISING:

 

1. Why is advertising essential in a capitalistic society?

 

2. What is the role of advertising agencies?

 

3. Using semiotics, follow a Canadian product and its visual advertising campaign.

 

4. What are the major tactics used in advertising and show examples of how they are used?

 

5. What are the advantages and the problems of the globalization of the advertising industry? What is hegemony and explain its part when it comes to advertising and the transferring of a dominant cultural ideology?