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Introduction to media studies

Formal Essay 1 Guidelines

Your first essay should be approximately 4-5 pages typed in 12-point double-spaced Times New Roman. This essay is worth 100 points.

Revisit your early use of media.

Read the excerpt [Excerpt, Ch.1, Follow the Music, Holzman.pdf] from Jac Holtzman’s book Follow the Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture. Holzman describes always believing he was born to the wrong parents, but that he escaped through the movies. Here’s a key passage:

“My only other escape was far more to my liking—the movies. The images on the screen showed characters of stature, grace, and romance: the world the way I wished it could be. From my bedroom window, if I craned my neck just so, into view would come the Trans-Lux theater, which changed films weekly and gave you a free pass on your birthday. I haunted the place.”

In this essay, you need to similarly look back at your early use of media and also consider how media still today impact your daily life and social relationships. At first, it might be useful to consider how media impact you today, but then trace back to your earliest use of media and examine what media provided in relation to your non-mediated childhood memories.

Some questions to consider might be the following (you should answer at least four of these):

  • How did your media use connect you to other people?
  • How did media separate or isolate you?
  • Did you discuss your media use with others, especially parents (were there usage limits, policies, etc.)?
  • In terms of how you perceive media compared to your current and more nuanced understanding of how media are constructed, how did you perceive media differently when you were younger?
  • Looking back, do you wish your engagement with media had been different?

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