Overview of Assignment:
Throughout the semester, you will be required to write a paper on American government as reported by major news outlets. The paper must be at least 2 pages in length, double spaced and have two sources. The purposes of this assignment is to: a) introduce students to the changing nature of American government over time and; b) to help students gain confidence in using class theories, terms, and concepts to analyze current political issues.
- Each paper will consist of the following:
- Summaries of a national policy issue or event as reported in a major news outlet. (See below for a list of appropriate news outlets.)
- A reflective response to the summaries, where the student describes how their chosen article can be used as an example of one or more terms, concepts, and theories covered in the class.
- A link to the article.
- You may choose to use one or more of the following news outlets for your assignment but are not just limited to these sources:
- National/international: New York Times, Washington Post, BBC News, Politico.co, The Econo0mist.
- Regional: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Cincinnati Enquirer, Boston Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle
- For the purposes of this assignment, a news article is defined as a factual, non-opinionated account of a political issue/event that must be more than four (4) paragraphs in length.Opinion/Editorial pieces and blog entries are not acceptable sources.
- Newspaper articles must have been published within this semester of the assignment submission date.
- Summary length is proportional to article length. Since your papers should be 2 pages in length, your summary should be at minimum one paragraph (4-6 sentences) in length.In other words, one or two vague sentences do not constitute a summary and you will not earn full credit for your assignment.
- All assignments must be double-spaced, using 12 point font.
Grading of Assignments:
Entries will be graded using the following rubric:
30: A well-written, well organized entry that demonstrates the ability to critically reflect and synthesize information from multiple sources. The summary includes all relevant information, but is organized and presented independent from the article being summarized. (The organization of the summary is independent from the organizational structure of the news article. If direct quotes are included, they are being used to support an argument or idea the student is making.)Within the reflective portion, the student is able to correctly apply at least two terms/concepts/theories and explains how their chosen article fits into the “larger picture” of either the American political system or class material (for example, last month we discussed “x” and this article reminded me of it because…)
25: Summary may not include all relevant elements of the news article and/or student may rely on excessive quotes to convey the relevant information. Within the reflective portion of the assignment, student shows difficulty in applying class terms/concepts/theories to their chosen article. Mechanically, entry contains organizational, grammar and spelling errors.
0 – Entry does not contain all required elements, including source and formatting. Alternatively, the entry is heavily paraphrased or contains sentences that were directly copied from the news article, textbook, or other sources.
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