How to write a media analysis essay
The media is an integral part of modern society. Think of what would happen to the world if there were no news streaming in from different parts of the globe. Media is an ideological power of communication that delivers facts and offers insight to allow understanding and give significance to them. In this article, we will look at tips on how to write a media analysis essay. Through journalism, the media can convey social realities to its audience. News provokes a member(s) of a community to pay attention to the problems at hand simultaneously and mostly form the same perspective.
The greatest responsibility of media research is to critique whether a public sphere is safely created, which rouses interest in diverse groups of people. Establishing this requires the study of the content of media materials (newspapers, radio shows, television shows, etc.)
What is media analysis?
Media analysis refers to evaluating the various types of media and establishing the most appropriate channel to promote a campaign, product, or service. An analysis of how certain messages will be received and how they will be perceived by the public also constitutes media analysis.
The media disseminates information obtained via credible sources in ethical ways to a multitude of people. The functions of media analysis in an organization are to:
- Testing how effective your key messaging is
- Analyze the efficiency of your media public relations
- Assess the organization’s media coverage as well as its competitor
- Obtain trend insights
- Respond to and mitigate communication crises
How to write a media analysis essay
Media analysis is used by journalism professionals to frame a story and finally publish it, by establishing the specific terms and rhetorical approaches to use. Many media students are tasked with writing a media analysis essay, here is a step-by-step guide to get you started:
Collecting stories for study
1. Create a list of all media outlets within your reach
Media outlets could consist of TV shows, radio shows, newspapers, news websites, and social media huddles. You should keep in mind the depth of the story you want to analyze and widen your scope to national and international media outlets.
2. Create a list of search terms suitable for your topic
Search and identify the key terms relating to your topic. This will help you in structuring your research by addressing terms that correlate to the media channels you are investigating. For example, say you are doing a media analysis on a breach of private consumer data in a company. Your key terms would be privacy violations, data breaches, customer compensation, etc.
3. Go through research databases and gather news stories within the last 6 months
To find articles in scholarly databases, use your list of key terms. Some useful resources include Google Scholar (free), Ebsco Host, and Lexis Nexis (subscription-based). For a professional media analysis, you may collect between 120-200 articles. You may stretch your cover of study for up to 12 months allowing you to do more in-depth research.
4. Group the stories in genres and exclude irrelevant data
The three main types of stories are feature, opinion, and news. Separating data into categories helps to establish what to expect when reading a story.
Story analysis for your media analysis assignment
- Read the articles and make short notes or highlight your readings
Be careful to note important information within your readings. Things to look out for include:
- Story position, it could be a headliner, front-page, etc. story
- The portrayal of the story from different media coverage
- Bias, a lack of evidence of the emotional appeal bring placed upon the audience
- Buzzwords continuously repeated words across different media channels
2. Critique and question the articles you read
A significant part of media analysis is questioning your readings and finding evidence-based answers. Some important questions you need to ask yourself include:
- How has this topic been framed by the media?
- How is this topic represented by its spokespeople?
- Are there any voices absent from the subject of the article?
- What topics are getting the most attention in each genre
- What media outlets are mainly interested in this topic
- Is there a peak and recession of media coverage within the year?
- Summarize the information you have acquired
After finalizing your media analysis, write in brief a summary of key takeaways about how the media is covering your subject. Include all your evidence-based answers to the question you had asked yourself earlier.
3. Identify opportunities for you to introduce a new story
A media analysis provides you with an exceptional opportunity to introduce your own story. During your analysis, you might identify some information gaps, identified issues, or chance to gain a wider audience. You can fulfill all those gaps by writing your own story.
Structure of a media analysis essay
1. Come up with an executive summary as the introductory part of your analysis
The executive summary is highlighted by an introduction to your topic, the purpose of your analysis, and an outline of your findings. In this part, you should provide any background information on the subject that may be important for your readers. In addition, include why you chose to study this particular subject and make a brief statement on the nature of your findings.
2. Define your methodology
This is the part where you define your research process, from describing the search terms used, the media outlets you got your information, your sample size, the period of research, and the databases used. As you describe your methodology ensure you employ a lot of detail and clarity.
3. Analyze the topic to figure out how the issue is being investigated
You need to do a comparative analysis of your findings on how media channels are covering your topic. This presents an opportunity to answer some of your earlier questions.
4. Observe the view of spokespeople
You may need to highlight the contribution of certain individuals including professionals, members of the public, members of academia, advocates, business leaders, etc. A simple trick would be to tally the number of times a spokesperson appears in an article on your topic of study. This would help identify the most quoted persons in certain fields.
5. Identify patterns
Stories rely on one or more archetypes to frame them and pass their intended message. Identify archetypes in the stories you are analyzing. This may help you establish the least used archetypes and figure out what works best for you.
6. Provide a conclusion and recommendations
As you conclude your media analysis paper, you need to summarize your most significant findings. Remember to explain how they are beneficial to your audience. Include recommendations on ways of framing a story, which media channel to place it on, and who is the best to quote. Cite detailed examples to support your recommendations.
Media analysis outline
A critical analysis is not a normal type of document; it is the outcome of intensive research. After learning the structure of a media analysis essay, the next step is learning the outline of such an essay. Here is a brief overview of a media analysis essay:
The introduction offers insight into the main purpose of writing the essay. It gives an opening to what the audience should expect in the rest of the paper. Here is an introductory sample of a media analysis essay:
“For a long time, mass media has refused to give enough coverage to the LGBTQ community, despite the evolution in society. Consequently, a large part of the population is left unaware of the issues members of this community face. Additionally, most people are ignorant of how to treat and engage with members of the LGBTQ society. There is however an interest by most people to make LGBTQ members feel included and accepted. This essay talks about how mainstream media can help in giving a voice to the LGBTQ community and help to sensitize the rest of the people. ”
2. Thesis statement
Since a media analysis is a type of essay, it requires a thesis statement. It is a part of the introduction that makes a statement to verify or contradict a theory within the essay. This statement appears at the end of the introduction. Here is a sample thesis statement for your media analysis paper:
“It is important to analyze how the media portrays and addresses members of the LGBTQ community. The media heavily influences acceptance and discrimination against members of this community. ”
You should organize your content into different paragraphs. Each theme should be introduced, proven, and provided as an example in its paragraph. A persuasive style appeal is a great element to employ in organizing your body, that is, ethos, pathos, and logos. Organizing your body into paragraphs has the following effect:
- Information is presented in sections in a logical manner
- Information is presented chronologically
- The right information is passed on to your audience
- The body section is made spacious, allowing readers to easily scan its contents
The conclusion offers an opportunity for you to review your analysis. It recaps the important parts of your essay and reinforces the thesis statement. Additionally, the conclusion could offer insight into additional research into your essay. Example conclusion:
“The fact that members of the LGBTQ community do not get sufficient and positive media coverage shows a flaw in society. Inclusivity and respect should be accorded to all members of the society regardless of their sexual orientation and affiliation. Media outlets should be channels of encouraging liberated sexual affiliation. This will not only educate other members of society on how to engage members of the LGBTQ but help reduce stigmatization and discrimination towards them.”
How to conduct a media analysis essay
There are a few basic concepts for conducting media analysis, here they are:
- Create a list of all media outlets in your area
- Create a second list of statewide media
- Collect a piece of media coverage over a set time frame, six months to be precise
- Analyze the pieces of information you have and what media outlets they come from
- Write a summary of your learning from your exercise
How to title a media analysis essay
Great skill in titling your essays comes in handy to define what your paper is about. The advantages of formulating an effective title for your essay include:
- Maintaining focus while writing your essay through the use of a working title
- An effective title automatically suggests a good thesis statement to your audience
- A good title could help your research be easily found if published within a database
Here are the features of a good media analysis essay title:
- A good title is clear and precise
- It includes the subject and focus of your essay
The subject can be the author and/or the literary work of the subject of your essay. The focus on the other hand is the particular center of interest of your media analysis essay.
A simple formula to use is:
- List focus followed by the subject, e.g. The role of a female protagonist in Chimamanda Ngozi’s Americanah
- Use a colon (:) to separate your focus and subject, e.g. Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”: Tragic love
- Use a quotation “from a relevant source or the literary work” and a colon, e.g. Analysis of “tragic comedy”: William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
Media analysis essay topics
As a student, you need up-to-date media analysis paper topics to make effective arguments for your papers. Ensure that the topics you go for enable you to come up with proper points and suitable arguments. Here is a list of great topics suitable for media analysis:
- Analysis of the death of print media
- Analysis of the film and media industry
- A Marxist analysis of social media in Africa
- A media analysis of terrorist attacks
- An analysis of Netflix’s social business strategy
- A research analysis of the correlation between media and violence
- Influence of media on human behavior and perception
- The portrayal of women in the media
- The influence of social media on innovative advertising
- An analysis of Donald Trump’s use of the media
- Crafting a social media strategy
- Media effects influence racial stereotyping
- The portrayal of masculinity in the media
- Audience segregation in media advertising
- Effects of the media on financial trends (Wall street)
- The portrayal of Middle Easterners in American media
- An effect of face-to-face communication in the media
- The significance of media literacy
- The political climate of corporate media
- Traditional media vs. modern media
- The portrayal of sex to young adults in the media
- An analysis of media censorship
- Media power: addressing minimum wage and the wealth gap
- The portrayal of the media on minorities and LGBTQ+
- The effect of corporate social media audits
Defining target audience for media analysis essay
A media target audience is the specific group of people you want to reach with your social channels. These are individuals who are most likely to consume your products, services, or content. They are likely to have some common characteristics. You may ask yourself, what are two possible audiences I can write an analysis essay for on social media? Well here are a few tips on how to find your social media target.
- Gather data on your current clients and social media audience (age, language, spending power, etc.)
- Employ social listening to find dialogues about your brand
- Analyze which social channels your audience uses
- Monitor your competition
- Understand your audience’s needs from your channels
How to detect media bias
You may need to write a critical analysis essay on how to detect media bias and propaganda. The first step is to find a trending event or social problem that is extensively covered by the media (both mainstream and social media). Next, choose two different news pieces from different media outlets and write an essay comparing and contrasting the two news pieces.
Clearly define the particulars of your article, that is, the author, title, and publication. Do not ignore the type of article it is, say, international, national, local news story, a column, or an editorial.
Ascertain the main supporting arguments of your articles and make sure the points are valid. Analyze the article concerning the logical flow of the article including any rhetorical devices or fallacies. Evaluate any omitted information that could provide a different or better insight to the audience it was intended. Be careful to determine whether inconclusive or deceptive evidence exists within the articles.
Remember, a critical essay on media bias is like any other type of academic writing. It needs proper paper formatting (APA/MLA), citation, references, and essay length (4-5 pages).
Media analysis reports
A media analysis report is meant to help you evaluate whether you are maximizing your media channels to reach your audience. A great media report complements your organizational goals and strategies by:
- Ascertaining the value of your campaigns and showing that you are meeting business goals
- Monitor your media channels and focus on those that most of your audience use
- Scale your media campaigns to those of your competitors
- Identify the type of content that keeps your audience most engaged
Here are the steps to creating a media analysis report:
- Identify your stakeholders. Find out whom within your team will need your report; it could be sales and marketing, public relations, senior management, etc.
- Identify your goals. Curate exactly the purpose you want your media analysis report to serve. Does it serve a qualitative or quantitative value for the business?
There are three main categories of reporting:
- Regular reports- use significant metrics to show you following on different media channels
- One-off report- Doing a qualitative analysis during a one-time campaign, to figure out what was successful and what failed
- Research report- Social evaluation will help you find information on current trends
- Ask specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-conscious questions. These elements are critical while presenting your report.
- Make a choice on which metrics to track. You do not have to track all media metrics that come your way. Choose those of most value to your organization to include n your report. Some metrics you should consider include:
- Reach and impressions
- Lessons learned
- Lessons learned
- Establish which media reporting tools to use. Before you establish the reporting tools you need to choose consider:
- The data sources used
- The quality of data
- Future development plans you have that might engagement of your audience
- Establish reporting time frames. You may choose the frequency of your reporting according to your needs. It may be daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, yearly, etc. Remember, that some metrics need to be tracked more often than others.
- Presenting your report. Create a vivid, clear, and interesting report. Use graphs, charts, word clouds, and virality maps to add animation to your reports. You may include short descriptions and samples of media posts you are using and include them in your report.
A snippet of a media analysis report example could be as below:
“Toyota has been the leading automobile manufacturer in the world. The company motto is ‘ensuring the car in front of you is always a Toyota’. Toyota has gained loyal customers and fans all over the motor world. A silent and stealth takeover is however happening. A new company thought to make boring cars but slowly gained the attention of car owners and enthusiasts. Tesla Motors has had more media mentions in print, mainstream media, and social media than any other car manufacturer in recent history. Huge interest is developing for electric cars. Whether it’s due to the innovative technology they use or having a charismatic C.E.O. Tesla Motors is the new motor world darling.”
Media is a formidable power of communication in modern society. The media conveys social realities and issues to its audience. Media analysis is used for story framing by journalists who finally publish these stories. The structure and outline of a media analysis essay form the backbone of writing one. Titling a media analysis essay may be hectic; however, you may choose a topic from the ones available in academic databases. In case you are stuck while writing your media analysis essay, follow the contents of this article or ask for media analysis assignment help.-