Mistakes to Avoid in Your Media EssayFriday, October 22nd, 2010
Common mistakes students do when writing media essays
A media essay is not something strange or unusual. In fact, it is a quite common essay topic today. Whether you are studying Language, Communication, Politics, Linguistics, Advertising or a similar career, media essays are very requested by teachers. However, even though an essay about media has the advantage that every student has plenty of experience on the field, they all tend to make quite similar mistakes when preparing their paper. Do you wonder why your essays get C’s or B minus? Do you want an A next time? Read carefully the following advice and avoid these very common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Skipping research
Just because you spend every afternoon on the Internet, posting messages on your friends’ walls on their profiles of Facebook, doesn’t mean you are an expert on social networks. Of course, watching TV when you are writing a media research essay is the fun part of it (watching with a critical attitude, while taking notes, of course!). Still, there is plenty of bibliography on media, and you should visit your library and read what others have written before you. In this way, you’ll be qualified to give your opinions by basing your arguments in authorities.
Mistake #2: Not mentioning other media
Whether you write your essay on the role of press, the Internet, or TV, you should always begin your essay by focusing the topic on a general overview: mention other mass media that interact with the one you are analyzing. Mass media include newspapers and magazines, telephone, mobile phone, the Internet, radio, television, cinema… and every other storage and transmission channel or tool used to deliver information. The influence of media in our society makes them irreplaceable, as well as criticized because the influence they have on so many people around the world.
Mistake #3: Not limiting the topic
At the same time, you can’t write a 5 paragraph essay on every possible mass media. In order to plan, organize and write your essay you need to establish a more limited topic, such as a particular mass media (write an essay on the evolution of TV, for example), the influence of media in a particular sector of society (teenagers and Internet social networks are a great example), the role of media in international affairs, sports, business and democracy, etc. Media essays can be very different.
Mistake #4: Handing in a plain paper, text only
It is not exactly a “mistake”, but it is something you could definitely use to gain extra credit on your media essays. When writing about this topic, try to include some material besides written pages. For example, you could photocopy old newspapers when writing about the role of the press. You could hand in a CD with selected radio broadcasts, or a DVD with fragments of TV shows you have analyzed The presentation of the essay will be directly related to its contents, and this kind of extra materials always adds some value to your media essay.