TVRA 4430W Media Review Fall 2018
(200 points; 20%)
Media Review #1 Tuesday, October 16
Media Review #2 Tuesday, November 20
Description: This assignment is intended to give you some practice writing popular media criticism, i.e. reviews, commentaries, or critiques of media texts that are intended for a general audience. Examples of this kind of writing can be found in newspapers like The New York Times, magazines like The New Yorker or Variety, and online publications such as Salon, The Root, Deadspin, The A.V. Club, Gamasutra etc. Although your media reviews should be written for a general audience, they should demonstrate your understanding of key concepts in critical media studies.
You will write two reviews over the course of the semester. Each is worth 10% of your final grade. You can—and are encouraged to—write on two different media texts. Ideally, you would chose two different mediums as well. For example, you could write on a television program and a video game; on a social media account and a film; or on a music video and a television commercial.
You are encouraged to follow one or two popular media criticism sites (like the ones mentioned above) and to model your own media reviews after their style. That is, try writing in the style of The A.V. Club, or NPR’s Eric Deggans, or Slate’s Inkoo Kang, or the reviews in Variety.
The purpose of a review is to a) provide a compelling argument for why the text is or is not worth the reader’s time and attention; and, b) provide an intriguing insight into the text by drawing the reader’s attention to an aspect of the text’s structure, relationship to other texts, or relationship to the social context that are unfamiliar to them. So, pay careful attention to how you structure your review and to the language you use.
The purpose of the abstract is to hook the reader, to grab their attention and make them want to know more about the text. I’m asking you to write an abstract that is exactly 250 characters long because a requirement like this demands that the writer think carefully about every word choice.
Format and Grading
Each review should be 700 words long (plus or minus no more than 20 words). It should be preceded by an abstract that is exactly 250 characters long. [So, 740 words + 250 characters in total.]
- You will post your review to the course website by noon on the day that it is due. Your online review should include links to relevant clips and additional information about your media text. It should also include an annotated clip (no more than 3 minutes in length) or image that illustrates the points you make in your review.
- You will also turn in a hard copy of the review at the beginning of class. This hard copy should be written in 12-point font with 1-inch margins. Please make sure to write your name, the course number, my name, the date, the name of the assignment (e.g. “Media Review #1”), and your word count at the top of the page.
You will be marked down for reviews that are more than 20 words over or under the word limit. Proofread your paper. Numerous typos or grammatical errors will result in a lower grade. Always cite the source for any quotes or ideas taken from your readings. Use APA style for citations and for your bibliography. See the Online Writing Lab (see the Resources page on the website) for guidelines on how to cite any kind of source material (e.g. an article from a journal, an episode of a television series, a chapter in a book etc.). The Brooklyn College Learning Center is also an excellent resource for assistance with writing. It is located in 1300 Boylan Hall.
As noted on the syllabus, your Media Review will be marked down by one grade (e.g. B to a B-) for each day that it is late. However, if you turn it in on time, you will have a chance to revise it and the new grade will replace the old one. You have one week from to revise the review from when I return it to you. You must attach the original with my comments on it along with the revised version.