Representation and Manipulation

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Length: 5–6 pages (approximately 1500 words)
Format: Short essay
Criteria: Please apply principles of clarity, style, accuracy, and academic honesty to the assignment. Refer to original document(s) when identifying news stories. Also consider secondary material such as course readings, news articles, and databases. Please consult the guide to writing essays in the Course Information.
Topic: In Part 2 of the course, you studied the various challenges of manipulation, the difference between reality and representation, including the difficulties raised by “pseudo-events,” and questions of truth and truthfulness in reporting.
Compose a thorough, clear, and relatively short examination of the ways that journalists can be manipulated by external forces. Distinguish between formalized censorship and the five ways that journalists can be manipulated. In your essay, refer to at least four course readings and provide three related examples from news stories (brief summaries are fine, with sources cited).
As well, analyze the nature of conflicts of interest (detailing one specific example of conflicted media coverage), consider whether the conflict of interest operates at an organizational and/or individual level, and suggest ways to avoid the warping effect of economic/political interests.
Consider:
1. Whether manipulation of journalism is easy or difficult in our society
2. What are the best ways to avoid being manipulated by powerful individuals and organizations
3. Whether the media sometimes pursue multiple (conflicted) agendas
4. How conflicts of interest make it easier for external groups to neutralize journalists
5. Whether limiting access is a common or uncommon strategy used by external groups to manipulate journalists
6. Whether intimidation and disinformation are common or uncommon strategies used by external groups to manipulate journalists

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