The purpose of this project is to further develop your critical thinking, research skills and to encourage you to delve into an international issue of your choosing. The project consists of two components: a collection of at least four current newspaper articles related to a single international event of your choosing, and 2000 word summary-analysis paper devoted to the articles you selected for this project. You will also need to include a “works cited” or bibliography page along with hard copies of each of your news articles when you submit your completed essay. Purpose of the Paper (Examining the Production of Contemporary Historiography) – The goal of this paper is to allow you to analyze how “historiography” is an ongoing process largely influenced by the news media. History is a subjectively generated product. History incorporates the biases and viewpoints of those who produce it. The news media today is a key source in providing us with “meaning” connected to newsworthy “historical” events. In fact, the news media is in fact a major part of the process that generates “history.” Although news media reporters and editors frequently claim that they are presenting “just the facts,” the way in which these “facts” are presented often carry a number of biases that strongly influence public perception and interpretations of current events. For this assignment, you are going to pick a specific, single international event and examine how this event is presented by different news media sources from around the globe. You are being asked to compare the articles you have selected for this assignment and discuss how the differing ways in which the event you have chosen actually reflects more than the “plain” facts, but rather reveals complex layers of social values, assumptions, biases, beliefs and meanings by each of your articles’ authors.
Selecting a Topic 1) First, select a single international news event that has occurred in the past 60 days. Since the purpose of the paper is to address international issues, the event you select for this assignment must have occurred OUTSIDE of the United States (although the issue may INCLUDE the US as one of the agents involved). There are numerous current news issues to choose from, but for this project I strongly suggest that you choose an event of a political or social nature. If you are struggling to find a topic for this paper, you may want to check out respected news sources online such a CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, etc. to get a sense of current news events that are relevant to this assignment. 2) Your topic should be a single, recent event, not an ongoing issue. For example, you might choose to discuss a recent, single action that took place in Yemen or Afghanistan or Syria or the Central African Republic, or Palestine, etc., but you may NOT choose the overall, ongoing violence in Yemen or Afghanistan or Syria or The Central African Republic, or Palestine, etc., as your topic. For example, you could choose a single, recent protest, or meeting or act of violence that has recently occurred in Syria as your event for this paper, but you may not choose the overall ongoing civil war in Syria as your topic. A recent election (outside of the US), a newly approved law or act of legislation (outside of the US), an international political meeting, the signing of a treaty or international agreement, a single act of violence, a recent missile test, a recent day of protest or a recent military action that took place on a single day would all be possible topics for this paper. However, any paper that tries to address the entirety of the Syrian civil war, war refugees, peace in the Middle East, Aids in Africa, poverty in India, international human rights, human trafficking in Southeast Asia or drug trafficking in Mexico, etc. are all too broad for this assignment and are not appropriate topics for this class. You need to choose something much smaller – a single action or event that occurred on a specific day – as a topic for this assignment. For example, you could pick some relatively small, particular portion of an issue to focus on, such as a reaction to a controversial law that has just been passed, or a particular act of violence that recently occurred, or a recent meeting between heads of state or a recent foreign election, or a recent military intervention, etc. Also, please do not choose a sporting event, a natural disaster, a health crisis or an outbreak of disease for this assignment.