Media Imagery of Cities and Suburbs

Assignment 1 focuses on the images and stereotypes of cities and suburbs that are presented in the popular media. Your assignment is to critically oberserve(listen to, watch, and/or read) and analyze one type of popular media, focusing on how it portrays these places and the messages it imparts. Specifically:
1. Select a medium to analyze.
Among the media choices are TV, radio, films, song lyrics, magazines, advertisements, comic books, internet sites, billboards, newspapers, or any other appopriate popular medium. Alternatively, you may select more than one medium and compare how they use images and language to cover the same city or suburban story or topic.
2. Narrow your focus to one aspect within your medium.
For example, if you chose TV, you might focus on the 11pm news, children’s programs, sit-coms, commercials, or late-night talk shows. If you focus on films, you might focus on those potraying New York or Los Angeles only, or maybe on futuristic sci-fi films only. If you choose music, you might focus on folk, rap, country music, or Broadway tunes. If you select advertisements, you might focus on a particular retail product, such as cars or liquor. If you select magazines or blogs, you might compare how two different ones potray some aspect of cities or suburbs. These are just examples.
3.Describe and analyze what you read, hear or see.
Consider the following kinds of questions (and note that not all will apply-these are illustrative): How does the medium potray cities and/or suburbs? How are the images positive or negative, biased or unbiased? How do the images reinforce or challenge popular sterotypes? What evidence is there of either over or subtile anti urban or anti-suburban bias? How fair is the imagery of “real” city or suburban life? If outsiders were to look at only the medium you did, what perceptions of cities and suburbs would they have? What might these images imply about societal views of cities and suburbs? what might these images tell us about ourselves?
4.Report your findings in a 4 page typed commentary.
Make clear at the outset what medium you analyzed and how you did the research (e.g., when you obeserved). Also make clear at the outset what your theme or major arguement is. Use specific examples to support your arguement. Go beyond merely describing what you found to actually analyze and interpret it (see questions in #3). As appropriate, reference course readings and any other materials used. End with a strong clear statement of your conclusions.

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