Parents media usa

Short Paper #1

In one of our original discussions (and perhaps a few other discussions in weeks to come), I’ve asked/will be asking you to reflect on your own media use, both in terms of the specific forms of media most important to your daily life as well as your favorite websites/streaming services/books/etc.

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For your first “short paper” (4-5pgs), interview a person from an older generation (ideally this would be someone from a couple of generations past (perhaps a grandparent, or someone in their 60s, or 70s, or even 80s), but could also be your parents or someone a bit younger, as long as you are not interviewing a peer. Ask this person about their mass media experiences in the twentieth century, and think about the ways in which these experiences intersect with the culture of the time as well as how their experiences compare/contrast with today’s media. Campbell provides good historical detail in each of the chapters – this is an opportunity to bring some of that history to life!

(Have some fun with this paper. For instance, I’ve learned that my mother claims to have owned every 45 that Elvis Presley EVER recorded, but sold them all at a rummage sale because she thought she needed the money (for her kids, she says, blaming me!!). Of course, I can’t imagine my mother being one of those crazed, screaming followers of Elvis . . . but that’s part of the fun!!).

Use the questions below (organized around current/upcoming chapters) as a starting point, but feel free to adapt as needed and take the conversation in whatever direction you find most interesting (including questions about chapters such as newspapers, magazines, books, etc. if you like). Some of the sample questions may not be relevant to particular age groups, so it is a rough guide. Again, the key will be to bring some history to life and think about the meaning and use of mass media over time.  In reflecting on your conversation, try to tie your observations back to text material when appropriate and possible.  You should include the interviewee’s age and the relationship you have with them at the top of the page.

Short Paper #1 is due Sunday, October 1, 11:59 pm

Some questions to get you started:

Sound recording

What records did you listen to? Who was your favorite recording


What kind of record player did you have, and where was it in your


Was there any kind of music you weren’t supposed to listen to? Why?

Were you allowed to play music whenever you wanted, or were there

parental limitations in your house?

How much did a record cost?

Where did you buy your records?

How did you find out about the artists you listened to?

What did your parents think about records and record players?



What do you remember about your experiences with radio?

What kinds of programs did you listen to? (entertainment, music,

talk, etc.)

When were they on, and why did you like them?

Do you remember anything about the early radio commercials?

Do you remember any public concern about radio commercials?

Do you remember any educational radio programs?

What technical problems did you experience with your radio set?

Do you have some specific memories (good or bad) about listening to

the radio when you were young? What are they?

What was it like when FM radio became available?



What was it like when TV became available?

Where did you watch your first TV programs, and what was the

viewing experience like?

How much did your family’s first TV set cost and what factors

figured into its purchase?

What was reception like?

What was a typical family viewing session like?

How did TV change home life?

What do you remember about the corporate sponsors of TV shows?

What (if anything) do you remember about the quiz show scandals?

What do you remember about the first 30-second TV commercials?

How do your television experiences in the 1950s (or other time) compare with your

television experiences now?

If you have it, how did you decide to get cable or satellite TV? What

factors went into this decision?



What were your first movie-going experiences like, and how were

they different from today?

What were some of your favorite films growing up and why?

Do you remember anything about Al Jolson and the first talkies?

Were there films your parents forbade you to see? What were they

and why were you not allowed to see them?

What films were the most influential for you?



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