Paper & Presentations

  • All assignments are worth 15 points each.
  • Word Count: 3 pages minimum, no max.
  • Requirements: Must use the readings + textbook. Other sources too.

Class 4: Monday, June 8th – Paper/Discussion #1

Class 8: Tuesday, June 16th – Paper/Discussion #2, War of the Worlds

  • Go into your room or wherever, and listen to Mercury Theater/Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds in full. Mercury Theater or Youtube works. It’s 57 minutes long. If the link doesn’t work — it’s easy to look it up online and listen to (book here, for reference).
  • I want you to do a running commentary on the entire thing. Step by step, minute by minute… or big moment by big moment.
  • Pretend you are alive when this is happening – I think it could be interesting considering what is happening right now.
  • Try to understand or see why people freaked out and why they did what they did. Would you fall for it? Why do you think people fell for it?
  • Use the Understanding Media & Culture in answering questions or expanding on your answers. Watch any of the newscasts or videos about War of the Worlds (on website). Also, do some research, you’ll see this is not just an American thing… it’s actually happened in other places.

Next part of assignment:

  • Go to Apple TV and watch EPIX’s first episode (or 2) of War of the Worlds. It’s free as of May 28th! Do not watch the Speilberg + Tom Cruise version. Though to show how apart the father & son are, the dad wears a Yankees hat and the son puts on a Red Sox hat. Nice piece of writing there.
  • Compare the show and the radio broadcast. Do a running commentary again.
  • The episodes are about 50 minutes long. Sorry about the subtitles. **I actually really enjoyed the first episode’s pacing**
  • No real word count especially with a running commentary. But if you write hardly anything, then you didn’t do the above work.

Long Pieces:

Orson Welles – The Untold Story Behind The War Of The Worlds

The Night America Trembled 1957 – H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds 50th Anniversary TV coverage 1988

Short Pieces:
The original ‘fake news’? ‘War of the Worlds’ at 80

Orson Welles apologizes for the The War of the Worlds’ mass panic

AT&T Operators Recall War of the Worlds Broadcast – AT&T Archives

Class 11: Tuesday, June 23rd – Paper/Discussion #3, Whistleblowers

You will be discussing Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Whistleblowing and… the Internet. You know, light stuff!

Daniel Ellsberg

Edward Snowden

‘State of Surveillance’ with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (VICE on HBO: Season 4, Episode 13)

Edward Snowden – “Permanent Record” & Life as an Exiled NSA Whistleblower | The Daily Show

How we take back the internet | Edward Snowden

Richard Ledgett: The NSA responds to Edward Snowden’s TED Talk

Lastly, this just showed up on youtube. It’s the award winning documentary on Edward Snowden called: CitizenFour. It’s free and yet another option to use for your work.


  • Feel free to go your own way but here are some to guide you:
  • Be sure to include The Ellsberg doc and choose the Snowden stuff.
  • What are your thoughts on Daniel Ellsberg? Is he (or was he) the most dangerous man in America? Expand on Ellsberg especially after the documentary you just watched.
  • Did you know who Edward Snowden was/is? Were you one of the people in the Man on the Street video from John Oliver’s piece?
  • Edward Snowden has been called a hero and a traitor – where do you come out on it?
  • What are your thoughts on what he did? Explain why.
  • John Oliver discusses several points about people not caring about surveillance, do you agree or disagree?
  • Should the government be allowed to have this much power to spy on people around the world, and in turn in the US?
  • What are your thoughts on gov’t surveillance? What are your thoughts on the NSA’s rebuttal…
  • How do you feel right now about all this????
  • Any thoughts/ideas you want to add or focus on, up to you.

Class 14: Tuesday, June 30th – Paper/Discussion #4, Whistleblowers Part II

Vanity Fair – Magazine – read earlier
60 Minutes News Piece – watched during TV week
The Insider – rental online, YouTube impermanent link


  • Once again – you can go your own way but here are some.
  • Required: Would you do what Wigand did knowing what happened to him? Would you blow the whistle?
  • Do a small compare and contrast… don’t get bogged down in this. But I need you to prove you read the article and watched the film.
  • I really want you to use the Media Law & Media Ethics chapters to inform your work.
  • This is your last assignment — so I do not want to burden you with prompts. I want you to use what you’ve learned, use what you’ve read, and write your piece.
  • Can you understand the points of view of CBS? 60 Minutes? Lowell Bergman? Jeffrey Wigand? Can you approach it from a media law & media ethics POV?
  • Should artists take creative license to tell a true story?
  • There are so many other questions and ideas I have but with only one more to go after this… I want to see what you can do.

Class 15: Wednesday, July 1st – Presentation Day

  • Using a subject covered in class or in a paper/discussion, record and present a 5-10 minute presentation. Expand on the subject, and do not cover the same ground.
  • Example: Take a different approach to Snowden & Ellsberg – maybe this time, he is a traitor. Or a hero.
  • Example: Go deeper into War of the Worlds