Communication and Media Studies

You’re a staff writer at “The Charlatan”, Carleton University’s
campus newspaper. Your editor has recently informed you
about on-campus, student-centred debates concerning
mass media, which you’re to address in an upcoming op-ed
(i.e. editorial). In particular, the student body is unclear about
the driving forces behind much of the media we consume.
So your aim as a staff writer is to introduce students to the
idea of media industries. Effectively, you’ll communicate
your answer to the following question: what is the media
industry is and why is it important to understand it?
Your piece should consider the following tension: the role of media in democracy on the one hand, and the idea that
media are often produced with a for-profit motive on the other. Feel free to borrow descriptive concepts from the

readings and/or lectures where appropriate, but remember to describe their meaning so that an audience of non-
media studies students can follow along. In terms of formatting, capture a pull-quote from your writing and display it

somewhere in the document using a large font—a technique used to grab the reader’s attention and alert them that an
important point is being made. Also, feel free to include an appropriate image, bearing in mind it would be the article’s
thumbnail if it were shared on social media.

The op-ed can be written in an informal tone, but it should read as though it can be published. This means that it must
be clear, concise, and copy edited to address any issues with spelling and punctuation. In terms of structure, the first
paragraph should introduce the topic, the last paragraph will summarize the case you’ve made, and the paragraphs in
between should systematically explore the tensions created by the media industry.
The piece should also have a catchy title—something that reflects its main point while grabbing the reader’s attention.
No direct citations from course material are necessary, though if you draw from a reading to define a concept the
source should be indicated (i.e. “as Gasher et al. observe,…”).
As is the case in all writing for publication, this piece has a firm word count and it can not exceed 750 words. Be sure
to have a look at the grading rubric on cuLearn before beginning the project so you know what we’re looking for.

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