For this essay, you are required to take on the role of investigative reporter.
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For this essay, you are required to take on the role of investigative reporter. As a result, you need to carefully integrate and arrange a variety of sources, facts, and figures, in support of a focused, timely, worthwhile argument, that can take the form of an insightful analysis, a worthwhile answer to a significant question, a carefully considered stance on an issue, or a better understanding of a confusing topic.
As a reporter your presence as an original voice should be more limited than it was (or should have been) in the previous argumentative essay you’ve written. The sources, facts, and figures you integrate are, in many ways, the stars of the show while you provide a clear, purposeful organization and tie the various sources together in an artful and effective way.
Nevertheless, it is essential that you exert control over the essay; if it reads like a semi-random assortment of copied and pasted information, then you have not done your job. The introduction and the conclusion are two places where your voice could, and perhaps should, dominate. Also, you can provide prompting claims, supporting examples, and transitions of your own. Your voice brings clarity and connection to outside sources and keeps everything working towards the specific purpose/goal of the essay.
You are required to integrate a minimum of five sources into this essay, at least one of which should be scholarly. The sources should complement each other in the development of an understanding or a claim, as opposed to repeating a single point, and they should command roughly equal respect. Do not use one source to build the majority of your essay and then tack on four trivial sources just to meet the requirement. Also, do not turn each body paragraph into a simple summary of a single source. Build each paragraph around a separate argumentative or analytical claim and develop it with some complexity (reasoning and various forms of evidence, perhaps).
The assigned readings – “Why We Keep Playing the Lottery”, “The End of Reflection”, and “Growing Up Tethered” – are “reporting” essays. Study the rhetorical strategies and tactics the authors use, but keep in mind your need to modify their “newspaper” approach to paragraphing in order to fit the traditional academic essay approach.
The following is a list of reporting essays that you can find online through a Google search. This list is meant to offer additional examples of reporting topics and lead you to some potentially interesting reading material. These are NOT topics for you to use as the basis for your essay:
“Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”
“The Controversy over Disney Blacklisting the LA Times, Explained”
“Why Are Zombies so Popular?”
“The Ketchup Conundrum”
This list of essay options below IS intended for your use as the basis for your essay, IF you don’t want to come up with one of your own. Keep in mind that your essay needs to have a worthwhile issue at its core. If you can imagine your reader thinking “So what?” after reading your essay, then you’re missing appropriate significance.
Option 1: Argue for or against the belief that the United States is suffering from an insufficient supply of serious adults. Should we be concerned? Why or why not?
Option 2: The population is growing and resources are shrinking. Why are so many people in the United States buying bigger cars and bigger homes and more things? You could focus on the psychology that underlines our ability to ignore fundamental realities…
Option 3: What are the negative effects of caring too much about efficiency? What is the larger significance? Don’t produce a simple list of minimally developed effects; instead, assemble your list of effects in your notes, then look for ways to subdivide or categorize the effects in your list. Build each body paragraph around a different category or subdivision.
Option 4: How has HGTV changed the “world”? How has the Food Network changed the “world”? What issue is connected to this change? Why should we care that this change has occurred?
Option 5: Why are Americans so divisive? Narrow your focus to single significant reason and develop its contribution to the problem. Feel free to briefly acknowledge that other reasons exist, but do not turn the essay into a list of reasons that are all underdeveloped. What is the larger significance of your findings?
Option 6: Claims (and evidence) of fake news are everywhere. Choose ONE of the following two focal points as your entry into an essay on this topic: 1) Explain how distrust in the news damages the nation. 2) Explain which group, or groups, of people benefit the most from fake news, real or imagined.
Option 7: Produce your own relevant and significant question or issue or event to report on. Your topic must have my approval BEFORE the rough draft is submitted.
Font: Times New Roman, size 12
Margins: 1″ top, bottom, left, right. You may have to adjust these in your word processor
Pagination: MLA style, in the header, upper right, ½” down, as discussed in class
Justification: Left justification only (except for title and pagination)
Minimum length: 3.5 pages of text (22 full lines = 1 page, 11 full lines = ½ page)
Maximum length: 5 pages of text