Diversity and the Media
Write a 68-page essay analyzing a chosen diversity issue covered in the media.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course
competencies and assessment criteria:
Competency 1: Describe theoretical ideas of power in relation to policy.
Discuss sociological theories appropriate for promoting understanding of a diversity concept.
Discuss how a media piece may affect or might have been influenced by policy and/or power.
Competency 2: Identify historical and contemporary influences of discrimination in U. S. culture.
Discuss how minority and dominant groups are portrayed in a media piece to understand influences on
Competency 3: Analyze the effects of social policy using aggregated data.
Analyze data that is appropriate for supporting or refuting the central tenets of media piece.
Competency 6: Communicate effectively.
Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format and with few errors of grammar, usage,
Use this online tool to track your performance and progress
through your course.
How are different social groups portrayed in the mass media in contemporary society? How far have we come in terms
of reducing or eliminating stereotypical images and portrayals of minority groups? To answer these questions, we need
to place them in the context of the economic, technological, and social changes that have shaped postindustrial U.S.
society and affected relationships between diverse groups in our society. For example, watching TV sitcoms and
dramas today we see not only much greater diversity in cast members but also minority group members playing
leading roles, something that was much less common just a few decades ago.
As we analyze how the various media forms portray cultural diversity, another thing to consider is the role of people
with power in the media industrythose who make the decisions about what stories and images appear on a TV news
program or magazine or newspaper article and how those programs or stories will be framed.
Questions to Consider
Details Attempt 1 Evaluated Attempt 2 Evaluated Attempt 3 Evaluated
To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow
learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community.
Some sociologists who study the media argue that the media is a reflection of what is already happening in
society, while others contend that the media manipulates its audience by portraying events or issues with a
particular slant or goal in mind. What do you think? Does the media reflect what is already going on in society,
or does it manipulate viewers to draw conclusions about what is going on? Perhaps a bit of both? Consider the
implications in terms of how the media portrays like racism and sexism.
Can our interaction with mediamovies, TV shows, news and radio programs, and so onhave any influence
on our understanding of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, age, religion, et cetera?
To what extent does the news media create and perpetuate stereotypes about particular groups of people?
The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful
context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation
menu of your courseroom.
Click the links provided to view the following resources:
How to Do a Content Analysis.
Click the links provided below to view the following multimedia pieces:
Racial Stereotypes | Transcript.
Institutional Discrimination in the News | Transcript.
Merton’s Typology of Prejudice and Discrimination | Transcript.
The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:
Zayani, M. (2011). Media, cultural diversity and globalization: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of Cultural
Diversity, 18(2), 4854.
Collins, R. L. (2011). Content analysis of gender roles in media: Where are we now and where should we go? Sex
Roles, 64(3/4), 290298.
Cooky, C., Wachs, F. L., Messner, M., & Dworkin, S. L. (2010). It’s not about the game: Don Imus, race, class,
gender and sexuality in contemporary media. Sociology of Sport Journal, 27(2), 139159.
A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer
to the resources in the SOC-FP2000 Cultural Diversity Library Guide to help direct your research.
Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for
the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course
Deggans, E. (2014). Four lessons from the media’s conflicted coverage of race. Retrieved from
Critical Media Project. (n.d.). Class. Retrieved from
Smith. S. L., & Cook. C. A. (2008). Gender stereotypes: An analysis of popular films and TV. Retrieved from
The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. Unless noted
otherwise, these materials are available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore. When searching the
bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific FP (FlexPath) course designation.
Healey, J. F., & O’Brien, E. (2015). Race, ethnicity, gender, & class: The sociology of group conflict and change
(7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
In this assessment, you will have the opportunity to take a deeper look at the connection between the media and
the cultural diversity of U.S. society. You will discuss how a current program or article in current news media
approaches diversity-related issues and explain how we can use the sociological perspective to better understand
both the portrayal of diversity-related issues and the media’s broader role in U.S. society. Effectively evaluating the
accuracy of the information provided in your chosen media piece will require some additional research and fact
checking, something that sociologists do as well when they are weighing the validity of opposing arguments.
Choose a news media piece from a reputable source that is focused on an issue related to race, ethnicity, gender,
sexual orientation, religion, age, physical or mental disability, or social class. Examples of acceptable media include
newspaper articles, editorials, and radio or television news segments. Write an essay in which you complete the
Briefly, in one or two paragraphs, summarize the main events or issues presented in the article and describe
how they relate to cultural diversity studies.
Compare and contrast how minority and dominant groups are portrayed in your chosen media article or
Consider how your source material demonstrates this dominant/minority group differentiation. For
example, is there differentiation along racial or ethnic lines, or other variables, such as gender or
Discuss at least two sociological theories that are most appropriate to understanding the diversity issues in
your chosen media piece. Include relevant examples from the article or program to illustrate your points.
Examples of theories include:
Marx’s and Weber’s theories of inequality.
Park’s race relations cycle.
Gordon’s theory of assimilation.
Human capital theory.
Authoritarian personality theory.
Culture of poverty theory.
Do one of the followingchoose which is appropriate for your chosen article:
Discuss how one or more of Merton’s four categories of prejudice and discrimination apply to the
media piece you chose.
Explain whether assimilation or pluralism best describes how race and ethnic relations are presented
in your media piece.
Find and analyze two credible sources of data that are appropriate for supporting or refuting the central
tenets of your chosen media article or program.
If data is cited in your media piece, you may go to that source and analyze it yourself; then consult an
additional source that supports or refutes the data presented.
Make sure to include citations for any sources used.
Discuss how the content of the media piece may affect or might have been influenced by power. For
example, consider how individuals in power influence decisions regarding how issues are portrayed.
This can include corporate executives, lobbyists, special interest groups, or those who own a
particular newspaper, channel, or media conglomerate.
Suggest, in your concluding paragraph, a viable policy strategyone that could be implemented at the
local, state, or federal levelfor addressing the particular diversity-related issue presented in your news
article or program.
Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
Length: 68 pages, not including title and references pages.
Format: Include a title page and reference page, and format the paper and your citations according to
current APA style and formatting guidelines.
Sources: Cite the chosen article or program and at least two additional scholarly sources.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.
How to use the scoring guide
Diversity and the Media Scoring Guide
Use the scoring guide to enhance your learning.
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