Write an essay in which you compare and contrast three news stories on the COVID-19 pandemic for the same day news cycle.

Directions: Write an essay in which you compare and contrast three news stories on the COVID-19 pandemic for the same day news cycle.

Due Date: Monday, April 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.  The assignment is worth 10% of the course grade.

Format: 3-4 pages, 11-12 point font, double-spaced with standard margins (1-1.25 in.)

Step 1. Select your three news stories from the following:

  1. national print news source, using one of these four: The New York Times (www.nytimes.com), USA Today (www.usatoday.com), The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com), or The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. local news source such as: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram or a news source from your hometown
  3. A news source of your choice (You may choose an additional source from either the national or local lists above or something else.)

Step 2. For each of your three sources:

  1. Provide a bibliographical citation: Writer(s) or reporter(s)’ name(s), “Title of article or report,” Newspaper, Television news program, on-line publication, etc., URL, April XX, 2020.
  2. Ask three questions for each source (from Gregory Bassham, et al.Critical Thinking: A Student’s Introduction, 6th ed. [McGraw-Hill, 2019], p. 428):
  3. Regarding “what happened,” what are the facts?  “Who was involved?  When and where did it happen?  What are the known causes and consequences of the event?  What precisely was said by those involved?  What precisely did authorities, experts, witnesses, and others say about the event?”
  4. How is the news information presented?  “Who is telling the story?  In what form? . . . In what tone and style? . . . What has been emphasized?  What in the story reveals the perspective (assumptions, intuitions, biases, etc.) of the writer or reporter?”
  5. If the presentation involves some conclusion from the facts, are the two basic criteria of a good argument satisfied: “true premises and good reasoning?”

Step 3. Answer the following questions as the basis for your comparison (from Bassham, ibid., pp. 429-432):

  1. What facts are shared by your sources?
  2. Which source does the best job of providing context for understanding the public relevance of the facts?  Indicate how it accomplishes this task in contrast to the other two sources.
  3. How does each source’s arrangement of the facts affect the audience’s response to the news story?
  4. Compare and contrast the language used in the three sources.  What is the impact of any primarily emotive words in each source?  Give examples.  Do one or more of the sources seem to appeal to specific prejudices of the anticipated audience?  If so, give examples.

Grading rubric:

  1. Uses the three news sources as noted in Step 1 (25 points)
  2. Describes the content of each of the three sources in Step 2 (25 points)
  3. Critically analyzes and compares the content of the three sources in Step 3 (25 points)
  4. Writes effectively (grammar, spelling, style) (25 points)

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