Mass media is a constant in our daily lives. If you ever watch TV, read a news feed, surf the Internet, watch or hear an advertisement, or listen to the radio, you’re consuming media.
Given that most of us are experts when it comes to consuming media, we should be experts on writing about media, right? Some things are easier said than done. Don’t worry, even experts are subject to brain freeze every once in awhile and need a little inspiration.
If your brain is in a state of perpetual brain freeze right now and you can’t think of a topic for your paper, here’s the inspiration you need: 20 sensational topics for your mass media essay.
20 Sensational Topics for Your Mass Media Essay
I’ve divided the topics on this list according to the following types of essays:
- Compare and contrast
- Cause and effect
I realize the types of papers included here might not meet the assignment guidelines for your mass media essay, but the broad topics can be reworked and narrowed to fit just about any type of essay.
Take note of the links in each section, as I’ve linked to a few example essays to give you even more ideas for your paper.
Mass media topics: Argumentative essay
1. Trustworthiness of mass media
There has been recent debate about whether the media accurately presents information and whether people can trust the media. You might focus your argument on mass media in general or one specific form of media, such as cable news or newspapers.
2. Mass media and stereotypes
The media has often been accused of perpetuating stereotypes by including only one group of people in advertisements or presenting one class, race, or gender in a specific manner. An argument essay about this topic might examine print media, movies, or television.
3. Scare tactics in the media
Current technology means that we can receive news coverage almost instantly, but does the media bombard us with continual coverage and hyped stories to scare people?
4. Violence in media
If you’re writing an argument essay about violence in the media, consider how much violence is presented in the media and whether excessive violence can desensitize people.
5. Relevance of newspapers
When was the last time you picked up a local newspaper? If you answered, “Never,” you’re not alone. Newspaper readership has been on a steady decline for years. Consider whether newspapers are relevant today or whether other forms of news are now more relevant.
To learn more about writing an argumentative essay, read:
Mass media topics: Compare and contrast essay
6. Newspapers and news websites
If you’re comparing newspapers to their modern equivalent of news websites, you might compare the type of information that’s shared, the speed of news, and the type of information presented.
7. Print ads and TV ads
It’s obvious that print ads are static, using only words and still images to interest consumers, while TV ads can present both images and sound. But think about the similarities between the two. What types of strategies do both use to attract consumers, and who are their audiences?
8. Bias in various forms of media
News sources—such as CNN, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal—are often accused of presenting liberal or conservative slants to news stories. An essay about media bias might compare the techniques used in different types of media and examine how these techniques might affect the public.
9. Compare and contrast two media outlets
In this type of paper, you might want to compare news sources, such as network news or cable news or other types of mass media, such as television and film. You might examine the similarities and/or differences in programming, the audience, or the advertisements.
10. Traditional mass media and social media
Traditional mass media is produced and distributed by a select group of individuals working in the field. Social media is distributed by everyone. Consider how this affects what type of information is distributed and how people consume media.
To learn more about writing a compare and contrast essay, read:
Mass media topics: Cause and effect essay
11. Effect of media on social norms
What causes people to act a certain way in public? What’s polite behavior on the subway or in a traffic jam? How should people act in high school or in the workplace? What effect do television shows, movies, and other mass media have on a society’s behavior? An essay about media and social norms might also examine what causes people to imitate the media.
12. Cause and effect of media addiction
Why do people become addicted to media, and what results from this addiction? Are different age groups affected by the media in different ways? You might approach this essay from a medical or psychological perspective and examine the causes of addiction.
13. Mass media effects on children
If you’re writing about mass media and how kids are affected, think about how much media you consumed when you were younger.
How did it shape your personality, what you wore, which toys you wanted, or which restaurants you wanted to visit? Did this exposure have a lasting effect, and did it shape who you are today?
14. Effect of media on psychological and emotional health
People can become obsessed with media and can be emotionally harmed. Consider how media (such as print ads that present unreasonable body images) can affect a person’s self-image and self-worth.
15. Effect of media on relationship expectations
In romantic comedies, romance and love flood your senses. It’s always a happy ending. In real life, however, relationships rarely follow the pattern of a romantic comedy. In other movies, one partner is always cheating, lying, or being abusive, and couples cannot trust each other. This isn’t always real life, either.
If you’re writing about this topic, think about how these types of images affect people’s real relationships and their expectations of a partner.
To learn more about writing a cause and effect essay, read:
Mass media topics: Opinion essay
16. Mass media’s effect on daily life
Do you think mass media has a positive or negative effect? Or does it not have any effect?
17. Mass media’s influence on the economy
How might mass media affect marketing and consumer trends? Think about all those ads and sales at Christmastime. How does this encourage spending (for gifts for others and gifts for ourselves)?
18. Are any types of mass media obsolete?
Are printed newspapers or magazines needed now that the Internet is so prevalent? Is there another form of media that you’d like to see changed or revised to meet current needs?
19. Has mass media improved or declined in recent decades?
Does mass media still meet the needs of consumers, or does the media need to change? Do you feel that mass media is reliable and/or trustworthy, or are other news sources more credible?
20. Mass media’s influence on political attitudes
If you’re writing about how the media might influence politics, consider the 2016 election and the discussions surrounding fake news. Also consider how political ads have the potential to shape people’s opinions about local and national candidates.
To learn more about writing an opinion essay, read:
Finally… An Excuse to Binge-Watch?
Writing about mass media might give you the go-ahead for binge-watching your favorite series or may even give you an excuse to wander aimlessly around the Internet. It does not, however,give you permission to simply consume media and forget about your paper.
You still need to write a mass media essay—and you need to get started on it pretty soon if you want to get it done before the deadline!
For those of you who need a few more tips before finalizing your paper, check out these articles:
Don’t forget: you can also get help putting the finishing touches on your mass media essay with the assistance of the professional editors at Kibin.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
Of all the resources we publish on The Learning Network, perhaps it’s our vast collection of writing prompts that is our most widely used resource for teaching and learning with The Times.
This list of 401 prompts (available here in PDF) is now our third iteration of what originally started as 200 prompts for argumentative writing, and it’s intended as a companion resource to help teachers and students participate in our annual Student Editorial Contest. (In 2017, the dates for entering are March 2 to April 4.)
So scroll through the hundreds of prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from social media to sports, politics, gender issues and school — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information. And for even more in-depth student discussions on pressing issues like immigration, guns, climate change and race, please visit our fall 2016 Civil Conversation Challenge.
What’s your favorite question on this list? What questions should we ask, but haven’t yet? Tell us in the comments.
And visit our related list as well: 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.
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