IDEOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN WEEKLY NEWS MAGAZINES
The purpose of this Critical Process exercise is to appreciate the ideological diversity of weekly newsmagazines
1 Description Take a recent issue of a mainstream newsweekly Time and review all the articles, including the various topics covered, the writing style and tone, the level of analysis within the articles, and the information sources employed In the same manner, review all the articles in a recent issue of a conservative magazine like the Weekly Standard and the progressive magazine the Nation, each of which have a fraction of Time’s circulation (Other political magazines may be substituted) To add another dimension to your research, review the ads in each magazine You can present your findings in a short summary of each magazine’s ads
2 Analysis Devise a chart to organize your findings according to (a) the stories covered and (b) the way the stories are covered What patterns emerge? How do the publications differ? What do you notice about the advertisers in each magazine?
3 Interpretation The Weekly Standard and the Nation represent competing visions of society To what extent are their viewpoints also reflected in the mainstream media? Why do you think certain topics covered in these magazines are included/excluded from mainstream magazines like Time?
4 Evaluation What value do magazines like the Weekly Standard and the Nation add to the debate on various social issues? What other mass media (television, radio, etc) regularly cover the same issues from their political perspective? Should their views be reflected more in the mainstream media? What would this public dialogue look like? If people read only mainstream media, what would they be missing?
5 Engagement Keep track of what may be missing in the mainstream media sphere by reading magazines that offer alternatives, and make sure you read articles that you don’t agree with Try dipping into the following conservative publications: the National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the American Conservative Likewise, sample the stories from the Nation, the Progressive, and Mother Jones Begin to question your own ideology Where do you stand on these important issues? Finally, impress your friends with your knowledge, and inspire them to start reading more