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COMM/FILM/PCUL 2F00: New Media Literacy

COMM/FILM/PCUL 2F00: New Media Literacy
For this assignment you will write an editorial response to Jon Ronson?s
piece, “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco?s Life.”1
750-1000 words
The purpose of the assignment is to compose a persuasive response to
Ronson?s piece based on your opinion and with support from facts. It is
an exercise in concise and persuasive writing.
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What is an editorial?
? Generally speaking, an editorial is a letter or an opinion published in a newspaper.
? Editorials can be written about anything and from any standpoint. A strong editorial
incorporates facts to support opinions.
? The New York Times publishes three to four editorials a day. You can access them
? As you read through a few editorials consider, the following questions:
o What is the opinion/call to action in the editorial?
o What evidence is used to make/support its argument?
o How persuasive is it? Is it effective?
o What do you notice about the language and tone of the editorial?
How do I begin?
? Start by reading Ronson?s piece a few times.
? As you?re reading it, think through the following queries: What is/are the central
argument(s) presented by Ronson? What facts are used to support these? What are
potential gaps or weaknesses in the argument?
? If there are things (references, words, etcetera) you?re unfamiliar with in the editorial,
look them up. Understand Ronson’s piece inside out: understand it very deeply.
? Ask yourself: What stands out for me? What do I find interesting? What angers or
excites me? Do I agree with Ronson?s take on the issue(s)? What is my take?
? The focus of your editorial is for you to decide.
? You might base your editorial on the Sacco case, or one of the other examples Ronson
mentions, or, you might want to share your opinion on public shaming on social media.
? The editorial is based on your opinion, but opinion(s) must be supported by facts. Your
facts must be drawn from outside sources: this means you must find sources other than
Ronson’s editorial. There is not a set number of outside sources that you need to find:
sources can vary considerably in quality. You must cite the sources you use in a citation
style such as APA, MLA, or Chicago Style. You must cite all borrowings.
Develop a ‘thesis’
? Please don?t get bogged down by the word ‘thesis’.
? Think of the thesis as the main point(s)/arguments of your editorial. Ask yourself: what
opinion(s) am I persuading my reader towards?
? You need to have a clear sense of your thesis before your begin writing.
Background Information
? Once you decide on your main point(s)/arguments, you will need to do some background
research to support your opinion(s).
? For instance, perhaps you disagree with Ronson?s treatment of public shaming on social
media. What points do you disagree with specifically? What is your take on these
points? Use facts to support your opinion/argument.
? Alternatively, you might agree with Ronson?s examination of public shaming on social
media. What points do you agree with specifically? Why these points? How can you
expand on these points in support of Ronson? To do this you will need to bring in
additional facts in support of your agreement with Ronson, drawn from outside sources.
? Think of it this way: facts support your opinion, and build a persuasive argument for your
reader. While there is no specific number of outside sources that you need to seek out
and use in your editorial (and we will not answer questions on the subject of whether you
have „enough? sources: sources can vary considerably in terms of their quality, so we
cannot tell you whether what you have gathered is enough, or good enough, sources) it
is indeed expected that you find sources and cite them. I would suggest that you gather
as many facts as is necessary in order to make your argument a highly persuasive one.
? A good editorial presents a clear position that is strongly and persuasively argued.
? A good editorial is organized. Plan its structure in advance.
? A good editorial is succinct: it is clearly expressed, easily understood, and to the point.
? Write clearly, integrate facts with your opinion(s) and adhere to spelling and grammar.
? Your editorial will have an original title created by you, something other than “Editorial”
or “Assignment 2.” Think of a title that grabs attention and captures your piece’s spirit.
? The New York Times?s editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal provides seven tips for
writing an effective editorial.
3 Listen very closely to what Rosenthal says in the video.
? Briefly summarize the Ronson piece in a few sentences.
? Explain how your editorial offers points of departure from Ronson (in other words,
explain the ways your editorial is different than his), creating an original argument.
? Briefly explain the focus of your piece. What is its point? Why should your reader
continue reading?
? Your introduction is meant to hook the reader and draws them into your editorial.
? The body of the editorial should develop 2-3 main points/arguments. Each of these 2-3
main points/arguments is to be presented as a separate paragraph.
? Each point/argument must be clearly outlined and supported by facts (from sources).
? Organize your points from weakest to strongest. Your points get stronger as you go on.
? In a few sentences, briefly reiterate the main arguments of your editorial. A reiteration
is not a restatement: you are not just repeating yourself – you are emphasizing clearly.
? Your conclusion is one last attempt to convince the reader of your „thesis? (i.e. the
main point/argument of your editorial). You are making a last attempt to win them over.
? At the end, you want to keep the reader hooked and offer them something: a call to
action, food for thought, or a contextualization of the argument in a larger context.
Works Cited
? Please cite the sources of the „facts? used in the editorial. You must cite. A
Bibliography/Works Cited page, and in-text citations, must both be provided.
? Follow a style guide that you?re familiar with (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago Style).
? For further information on citation styles, see the listing of different styles on
the left hand side of
? For help from the Brock library (such as help via phone, email, or chat), go to
? For other forms of assistance, visit the Student Development Centre at
Top of the class.
The editorial covers all that is specified and does so with clarity and precision.
There is a logical progression of opinion, ideas and information.
Facts are incorporated to support opinions/arguments.
The writing is clear, and the editorial is organized and engaging.
The editorial covers all that is specified.
There is a progression of opinion, ideas and information, but the structure is loose.
Facts are incorporated to support opinions/arguments.
The writing is clear, but riddled with minor errors.
The editorial somewhat covers what is specified.
The presentation of opinion, ideas and information requires more focus and detail.
Facts are incorporated to support opinions/arguments.
The structure of the editorial is disorganized and riddled with errors.
The editorial disregards the requirements.
The presentation of opinion, ideas and information is unfocused and lacks detail.
Few facts are incorporated to support opinions.
The structure of the editorial is disorganized and riddled with errors.
The assignment does not meet basic acceptability expectations in multiple
ways. Such lack of due effort and/or lack of due adherence to instructions
merits failure.

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