News Article Parody Assignment

Purpose and Goals:

After writing your own news article you will write a parody of a news article. The goal of this assignment is to subvert, exaggerate, or otherwise humorously exploit the conventions of journalistic prose. For your parody to be successful it is important to strike a balance between adhering to and defying genre conventions. In other words, your parody must be recognizable as a news article, so you should follow some of the conventions while subverting others. Most news article parodies retain the proper style and format, but for content that would not appear in most newspapers.

Strategies:

  • Exaggeration—depicting a real issue in the most extreme terms
  • Inversion—reversing a commonly held value system
  • Trivialization—depicting a real issue, but changing the details to make it seem absurd

Audience and Conventions:

  • Content
    • Topic might not be “news worthy”: your article might cover an event with little political, economic, or social significance or focus on something commonly known
    • Your article might include seemingly unimportant minutiae
  • Style
    • You might write for an overly narrow audience
    • Open with a summary of the event and its significance
    • Present the most important information first
    • You might incorporate quotations from “experts” or whose expertise is lacking or irrelevant
    • Paragraphs should be relatively short
    • You might use unnecessarily elaborate language
    • You might use a “subjective” tone or emotionally-charged language
  • Format
    • Provocative headline
    • Byline: your name and the date should be immediately below the headline; identify the newspaper, which can be fictitious, in which your article appears
    • Arrange text in columns
    • Text should be in 12 point font, left-justified, and single-spaced with one space between paragraphs
    • Any images should be incorporated smoothly into the text
    • 750 words
    • Prose should be free of grammatical and mechanical errors

Grading:

This assignment will comprise 5% of your total grade for the course. You will be graded on these three areas:

  • Content—30%
  • Style—50%
  • Format—20%

To receive full credit in each of these areas you must skillfully use all of the relevant conventions. Partial credit will be awarded for using some of the conventions well and others poorly. Little or no credit will be given where few or none of the conventions are observed.

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