ENG102.032 − English Composition I
Prof. Eileen Joy
NEWS & COMMENTARY
Newspaper and news magazine journalism, as well as online news reporting, is by and large an industry of what is called "objective reporting." What this means is that journalists [persons who report and write for news corporations and news agencies] research and write on events happening in specific places throughout the world in a manner that purports to be just a record of what we call "the facts." Journalists are writers of so-called "objective" knowledge [meaning, "without bias" or "observed from the outside"], as opposed to "subjective" knowledge [meaning "biased" or "seen from the inside, personal point-of-view"]. Your task in this assignment is to locate a news article that you feel is provocative in some way [meaning that it is about a subject that could be viewed as controversial, or that people would be very inclined to argue over], summarize that article, locate what you see as a possible argument that could arise from the article's subject matter, and offer your own opinion in relation to that argument.
FIRST, your article must be no more than two weeks old, it can be regional, national, or global news, and it must come from one of these online sources:
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Los Angeles Times
The St. Louis Post-Disptach
BBC World News
Be extremely careful to distinguish news content from editorial content [editorials are small essays that often appear in news outlets where an author states his or her opinion on a current issue--these are usually labelled as "editorial" or "opinion" or "analysis"].
SECOND, once you have chosen your article, cite it at the top of your page, using MLA-citation style [consult your Foresman Handbook, page 808]. Below that, write a one- to two-paragraph summary of the article, keeping in mind the journalistic credo of "who, what, where, and when." For guidelines on how to summarize a news article, read "Summarizing an Article," pp. 43-46 in Writing From Sources. Most importantly, remember that it is not your job to repeat every single detail of the original, but to cover what you see as its most important points, leaving out what you determine to be extraneous details: a summary is a condensation of the original. It is also important to not change the emphasis of the original article, nor should you add any information that is not in the original.
THIRD, write one to two paragraphs on what you see as an interesting, provocative argument (or arguments) that persons would be likely to have over the article's subject matter, and put forward your own opinion on the matter, being careful to provide detailed reasons as to why you feel the way you do. By way of providing yourself with information about how arguments arise and over what causes, consult pages 12-21 in Everything's An Argument.
Your final paper should be one to two typed, double-spaced pages. Don't forget to include in the upper left-hand corner your name, the title of the course [ENG102.032: English Composition II], my name [Prof. E. Joy], and the date on which you are turning in this paper.