Essay Help?

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Chillhouse

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No i don't want you to write my essay for me. I've got that covered. I'm just having a bit of trouble with it. It's a six paragraph essay about the way mass media tends to distort fact and use fear mongering and shocking headlines to increase ratings. Three of those paragraphs are supposed to be body paragraphs; each one focuses on a different argument.

I'm just having a teeny bit of trouble figuring out how I can divide my massive amounts of info into three seperate main points (What can I focus on in each paragraph?). Any suggestions would be muchly appreciated.
 

Pojo

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Well...What kind of info do you have? For one body, you could give ways how it does it in positive ways, another in negative ways, and a third on how the public responds to it
 

Mitsukuni

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Ah, same format as I use at school.
Well, take your three main topics, then use the paragraphs to explain those three subjects.
Sorry if I'm not that much of a help :sad:
 

Chillhouse

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Well...What kind of info do you have? For one body, you could give ways how it does it in positive ways, another in negative ways, and a third on how the public responds to it

Can't do that, i'm trying to sway the reader to my side by showing him the facts. It's persuasive.

The third one isn't bad though.
 

Chillhouse

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I see...Well what's your opinion on the subject?

It's not an opinion, I'm just taking a side and arguing it. My thesis is:

The purpose of this report is to show that mainstream media journalism, in the form of television and print, often spins truths to create fear that bolsters their popularity.

^^Noth the best thesis statement, but this is a rough draft.

Also, my essay title is "End of TIMES" which I thought was hilarious. I'll probably end up changing it though just because English teachers hate wittines.
 

Pojo

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Never have a sentence in your paper along the lines of "the purpose of this"...You should never say something like that...
 

Chillhouse

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That's what the teacher told me to say. >__<

We're all supposed to word our thesis like that.
 

Izzy

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Actually Pojo, that's not necessarily true. It depends on the tone of the essay. In a persuasive one, not so much. However, coming from historical study, it is rather useful.

Chillhouse, if you'd like, send me a beep. I have a lot of writing experience. If not, here are my two cents:

It really depends on the content you have. If you have mostly primary sources, stick to building a narrative using three sources or examples and building around them. If you've got mostly secondary sources, build a case like a pyramid.
 

Charlie

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Never have a sentence in your paper along the lines of "the purpose of this"...You should never say something like that...

That depends on the subject. I know that in Philosophy essays you should definitely say "the purpose of this essay is..."!


I think that it's important the weigh arguments even though your trying to be persuasive. It doesn't have to be boring like:

Blah blah FOR.
Blah blah AGAINST.

If you're arguing for, I'd throw in things like:
"I shall now explore a contrasting opinion, and show why that opinion is wrong. It may be suggested that [blah blah AGAINST], but this doesn't hold water because [blah blah FOR]"

If it was me, my 3 paragraphs (obviously I don't know about the subject, so this is just guess work) would be:

1)Argument that the media needs high ratings, news papers need to get sold and so they can be expected to do what they can to make business work.

2)Set-up argument that facts are distorted, but then argue against this saying that laws are in place to make sure that what you read/see is in fact roughly true (slander/libel laws, laws stopping pure nonsense being), and so this makes up for more misleading headlines because the true does come.

3)Argument that it's okay to use people's fears to sell papers, because if people watch/read the news they can make up their on minds as to whether something is worth fearing, and if a paper/news channel promotes too much fear people will tune out knowing they've gone to far.

So I'd split my source up in that kind of way. Identify which bits fit together, and think about what people would say against your opinions.
And if it's meant to be persuasive then I guess there's all sorts of other stuff you have to do... like address the audience, use flattery and other rubbish...
 
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Heh, I always thought that you should never start a paragraph with "This is about/This is for"

Just what I was always taught. I hate writing essays >.<

But what are you main points? It might help if you post some of them that way we can get a feel of how you should build up your essay.
 

Mingus

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No i don't want you to write my essay for me. I've got that covered. I'm just having a bit of trouble with it. It's a six paragraph essay about the way mass media tends to distort fact and use fear mongering and shocking headlines to increase ratings. Three of those paragraphs are supposed to be body paragraphs; each one focuses on a different argument.

I'm just having a teeny bit of trouble figuring out how I can divide my massive amounts of info into three seperate main points (What can I focus on in each paragraph?). Any suggestions would be muchly appreciated.

The advice above mostly seems sound, particularly Charlie's. But have you considered arranging your argument point-by-point? For example, 'such and such an aspect of the mass media leads to this tendency of distortion. This distortion in turn leads to competition to attract viewers and readers through the most titillating headlines. In turn, this leads to x y z.'

On a more substantive note, have you considered looking at the development of narrowcast (as opposed to broadcast) news? Cable news channels tend to cater to a particular interest or view point, whereas network news used to be all the TV news their was. Consider, for example, the respective political leanings of Fox (conservative) and MSNBC (liberal), and the international focus of CNN. Moreover, the proliferation of internet-based news leads people to focus on very specific news sources, which generally cater to certain interests. Of course, the internet can also provide an enormous variety of news sources. For a while, I consulted the NY, LA and London Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy's blog, the Wall Street Journal, the Times of India, CNN, the Guardian, BBC, and the Financial Times (my favourite, to be honest). Be careful, as well, about generalising about 'main-stream media'. What constitutes MSM? What makes it main stream? You might also consider radio news--Air America and its republican counterparts (the people who broadcast Rush Limbaugh and Gordon Libby, for example).

Also, take a look at FactCheck.org for really interesting examples of media spin.

HTH. Good luck with your essay!

Edit: Also consider (although you've probably come across this already) the decline of print newspapers. This has important implications for your argument.
 
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My professors always told us to be completely ambiguous regarding our opinion of the subject.

remember though........you completely missed the point if you don't get at least one mention of Bill O'Reilly, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News.
 

Izzy

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Like I mentioned, make sure you see what kind of sources you have. This really does matter and changes how you build your paper.
 

closet dl

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I would have the following six paragraphs:
a) My thesis
b) examples of media distorting political reality
c) examples of media promoting fear through over-dramatization of events
d) examples of media promoting non-reality by elevating "gossip" stories about public figures to the level of news
e) my views on the effects of these distortions
f) conclusion
 

Mingus

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My professors always told us to be completely ambiguous regarding our opinion of the subject.

remember though........you completely missed the point if you don't get at least one mention of Bill O'Reilly, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News.

This is entirely counter to everything I was taught. You should look at both sides, but come down firmly on your position. Argue for it--an essay is an attempt at answering a question or stating a position, particularly a persuasive essay. You need to argue a side, and your argument must be compelling. Whether you care or not, it should look like you do.
 

Charlie

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Concerning how the essay should be written, just listen to your teacher.

To people saying "avoid this, avoid that" it all changes depending on the subject. An English essay should be written very differently to a Philosophy essay that would be different to a History essay which would be different to a Politics essay which would be....
All different. Some call for clear and concise opinions, some call for objectivity, some you should avoid saying "I" in, some you must use "I"... Different!
 
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