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Controversial Essay Topic Essay

For this paper, you will discuss a controversial, recent news story and map out the reaction to this story using Storify as a medium to organize and curate links, social media posts, and photos.

The goal of this assignment is not only to understand what is going on in a particular controversy, but also to chart the ways in which people talk about that controversy. Storify is particularly useful for this purpose because it allows one to curate news stories, social media posts, and images alongside one’s analysis. What will result from this assignment is not a paper in the traditional sense, but it will be your sense-making of a controversy and the conversations around it, along with tweets, images, and links that exemplify these conversations.

Choose a story that interests you, but that has a variety of interpretations available. For example, you might choose to analyze the Miley Cyrus VMA performance and the ways in which race was discussed afterwards, or the ways her controversial performance alienated certain people. Your news story must be recent (within the last six months), popular (your classmates will know at least cursory details of the story), and controversial (other people need to have talked about it). I strongly discourage going out of your depth–if the controversy surrounding Syria vaguely interests you but you have no prior knowledge of the conflict, you may find another topic easier to manage.

Narrowing down your topic of analysis is important; otherwise you’ll be far too overloaded. Instead, you’ll need to focus in on the conversation–for example, while discussing the Steubenville Rape case, you might focus on the ways on which the victim was portrayed, or alternatively, the ways in which the football players were talked about in the news coverage. Narrow down to what you think is important in the story—what most makes you curious about this controversy? What’s the key issue here?

This assignment will have two general parts: first, you must discuss the news story, summarizing its key components. Second, you must explore the conversation happening around that news story, looking up tweets, Facebook posts, and opinions articles from around the web that summarize a perspective on the event. For this assignment, you’ll need a combination of three posts (not all tweets or Facebook posts) that exemplify the conversation and the angle you’ve chosen.

Remember the medium: since this assignment is based online to be viewed online, you’ll need your artifacts to be engaging and deep. Vivid photos, interesting links, and credible authors are important tools to engage your audience. You aren’t restricted to a Word document, so be creative!

The text of your Storify must still be paper-length–but since you won’t be using traditional pages, I expect 800-1000 words instead. You will generally be posting between links/pictures/posts, but traditional paper-writing skills still apply; an introduction, conclusion, topic sentences, and transitions are all necessary components of this assignment.

Due dates: Proposal Due Thursday, Sept 12 First Draft Due Wednesday, Sept 18 Second Draft Due Monday, Sept 23 Final Draft Due Friday, Sept 27

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