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How journalists adapted to and made use of media formats and technologies

MS 111 Final Exam Fall 2020 Edition

Instructions Overview:

This exam contains two parts, worth 130 points overall. The first part consists of seven short answer questions (10 pts each, 70 pts total); the second part consists of two essay questions (30 pts each, 60 pts total). The recommended length for essay questions is 500-800 words. These are recommended lengths only; the quality of your answers matters more than their length.

You are encouraged, though not required, to substantiate your claims using historical examples of your choice. You are welcome to use a historical example in more than one answer. Please note, however, that each answer will be evaluated separately according to how effectively you address each question. Thus, for each answer you provide you should explain how or why a given historical example constitutes evidence for the specific claim you are making.


In general, you don’t need to cite sources for the Final Exam.  The only two exceptions to that are:

  1. Direct word-for-word quotations of six or more consecutive words, for which you should use quotation marks and either parenthetical or footnote citations.  Another way to put it: if you cut and paste anything from someone else, you must cite it. Otherwise, use your own words to demonstrate your grasp of the idea, example, or argument.
  2. When addressing a particular author’s concept or argument (i.e. Starr’s concept of constitutive choices or Torres’s discussion of the “burden of liveness” (which is actually a term Torres borrows, with appropriate attribution, from José Esteban Muñoz!).  For these, just be sure to mention the author’s name when you introduce the concept so it is clear who you are drawing on.  No need for parenthetical or footnote citations here, unless you want to include them.

Composing your exam:

Please compose your answers in a word-processing document, indicating which questions you are answering using the format “Short Answer [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], and [7]” and “Essay Question [1], [2].” Please do not include the question itself in the document you submit. You may temporarily copy questions for the convenience of answering them, but please delete the questions themselves before saving your document as a PDF. This is to prevent the questions from increasing your Turnitin score.

The Final Exam is open note and open book. You may access any document, lecture slide, or recording available on Bcourses while taking the exam. Nevertheless, you are expected to produce your own individual answers without coordination or discussion with anyone else, including other members of the class. Anyone found to have communicated with anyone else after having opened this Final Exam document runs the risk of receiving a zero (“0”) on portions or all of their Final Exam.

Turning in your exam:

Please save your document in PDF format as “MS 111 – Final Exam (LastName, FirstName).” Include in the document itself your name and all of your answers following the format explained above. When you are ready, please upload your PDF to Bcourses assignment created for the Midterm Exam by the due date and time.

For members of the class without special accommodations or extensions, the due date and time are 2:30 PM, Friday, December 18th, 2020. All students are granted a one-hour leeway period to allow for technical complications. Please double-check after submitting your Final Exam that it appears as intended on Bcourses.

Part One:

Short Answers (10 pts each, 70 pts total) Part One consists of seven short answer questions. Answer all seven questions to

the best of your ability, drawing on your knowledge of course material. You may, but are not required to, provide historical examples to substantiate your answers.

Short Answer Question 1:

How media industries are regulated depends both on the technological requirements of the medium in question, but also on the historical and political conditions surrounding that medium’s introduction. Select and compare two instances of media regulation, taking care to explain why they differed in form or outcome.

Short Answer Question 2:

The telegraph, Tom Standage argues, was in effect “the Victorian internet” insofar as the possibilities and perils presented by the first “wiring [of] the world” were equally profound. Assess this claim by considering how the telegraph provoked a change in the conduct of government, business, or interpersonal communication.

Short Answer Question 3:

What is the message of industrialized light (gas or electric)? Present your claim by considering a new social or cultural activity made possible by urban or residential lighting systems.

Short Answer Question 4:

TV changed politics in ways both subtle and obvious. Identify and explain one significant impact the televisual medium had on political activity.

Short Answer Question 5:

Who or what benefited most from the development of information processing technologies and why? Identify a prominent adopter of an information processing technology and explain what new process or capacity this media technology made possible.

Short Answer Question 6:

What is media convergence and under what historical conditions does it tend to arise?

Short Answer Question 7:

Business and government elites have often proven adept at developing genres and forms of leisure popular with the general public, but they are not always successful. Why not? To explain, you may provide an historical example wherein media audiences exercised active agency.

Also see: An Analysis of Social Media News Platforms and Sites

Part Two:

Essay Questions (30 pts each, 60 pts total) Part Two consists of two essay questions. Answer both essay questions to the best

of your ability. Each essay should include a clear argument backed up by supporting points. You may employ comparison, content analysis, or causal explanation in your argument. You may, but are not required to, provide historical examples to substantiate your argument.

Essay Question 1:

New media technologies often unleash creative cultural energies and give rise to new industries centered around the production of media content. The quality and quantity of such emerging media content depends largely on the technical characteristics and historical conditions surrounding the introduction of new media technologies. In an essay addressing at least two media technologies we have covered this semester, identify and explain the emergence of a prevailing historical trend in the production, distribution, regulation, or consumption of media content. You may consider historical, political, social, or technological factors contributing to this trend (and, if applicable, its conclusion). You may consider examples of media content exemplifying this trend. Additionally, you may consider the cultural impact of this trend.

Essay Question 2:

Perhaps the quintessential media profession, journalism has enjoyed and suffered a complex relationship with the media industries within which it operates, thrives, and struggles. In an essay addressing at least two media technologies we have covered this semester, compose an argument explaining how journalists adapted to and made use of media formats and technologies. You may consider technological, political, and business-related challenges that journalists have encountered. You may consider the problems of journalistic ideals such as objectivity and fairness. Additionally, you may consider the impact of journalism on news audiences.

More to read: Introduction To Media And Communication Theory

Last Updated on December 16, 2020

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