Fall Semester, 2017
Media Portfolio Assignment
Date Due: Mon, October 16

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What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a compilation of materials and artifacts (writings, doodles, images, photographs, creative responses, journaling) that demonstrate learning. An academic portfolio also demonstrates your ability to reflect upon, synthesize, and showcase your work.

Select a Topic:

Select an issue that is currently being covered by the media. It must have been covered since August 2017, and must be controversial. You need to be able to find two sides to the story and the media must be covering the debate in some way. Your topic can come from the realm of politics, economics and business, the environment (including extreme weather), national security, law enforcement, gun control, health care, immigration, the courts, education, technology, or the media itself. Your topic can also come from sports or entertainment if it’s suitable — that is, if there is a current controversy surrounding the topic that is worthy of discussion — clear such topics with me before choosing them.

Working with media: Seven Steps to keep in mind.
  1. Find the Facts.
  2. Find the Opinions.
  3. Find the Arguments.
  4. Find Any Hidden Assumptions.
  5. What is the ultimate (main) message of the article?
  6. Did the article persuade you? Why or Why not?
  7. Where do you stand on the subject?

Daily Reading Log:
Follow your topic in the news. Find at least five reports over the next month. Report on the substance of what they say, the position they take. If you watch the news, report on newscast and list it in you bibliography. I need to be able to find it online. You can include your emotions, your thoughts about the state of the world, your boredom or cynicism, whatever comes up for you

Things to keep in mind:


  1. Does the interpretation of your topic differ from one source to another? How?
  2. What do the sources want you believe about your topic? Do they direct you? How? How credible are the sources they are using?
  3. Is there language in the story that “labels” or “characterizes” the topic in ways that suggest how you should think or feel about it?
  4. Are there images, headlines or captions that lead you to think in a specific way?
  5. What has been left out? How might additional (missing) information change the way you think and feel about your topic?

How to Create a Portfolio

  1. Collect—Gather (write, photograph, draw, paint, record, save) evidence of all your reading, reflection, and in-class work. Edit and proofread. Your portfolio should reflect your work at its best.
  2. Sort & Filter—Organize your work by chronology, subject, and/or learning. Determine the best, most representative and important pieces that you want to include in your portfolio.
  3. The Table of Contents—Put material into the order that best shows it off and create a table of contents reflecting that order.
  4. Final Touches—Arrange in a binder. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on folders, but do be neat, thoughtful and organized. Include tabs as needed for labels. Use captions. Use color to help important items stand out. Use headlines to capture subjects or points of interest. Be creative. Express yourself.

What Should be Included in Your Portfolio?
Present 15-20 pages; at least half should be written: journal entries, reflections, etc. The rest can be art, cartoons, annotated news clippings, flow charts, collage, photos, etc.

Save everything you create or find. Decide later what you want to include in your portfolio. Remember that there is not one perfect way to create a portfolio. A portfolio is a sample of your work and should be presented in your own creative style. Portfolios present artifacts as evidence of learning. Each artifact should be accompanied by a caption or reflection explaining it. The following should be included:
  1. Title Page & Table of Contents
  2. 1 page Process Letter explaining your experience compiling this portfolio.
  3. Daily Reading Log (notes on media you’re tracking, personal response, etc.)
  4. Summary—Summarize the issue and explain why it's important. (Pages 65-66 in text discuss how to write a summary.)
  5. Quotes—Select 3-4 quotes from news articles and explain why you chose them.
  6. Research—Identify the context and any history you can of the issue.
  7. 5 Annotations—Provide at least 5 (FIVE!) different written news accounts, annotate and reflect on the way the news is being presented. Do you believe these accounts are accurate? Why or why not. You can include comments being made on social media if they are feeding stories on legitimate news outlets.
  8. In-Class Work—Include in-class writing we did over the time period that we studied the media.
  9. Bibliography—List sources. Include the URLs (web address). At least three sources must be major news outlets. Look at sources from all sides of your topic.