Term Project Guidelines
Former students email the journalism program chair from their status as
upper-division students at four-year colleges and universities stating
that the term project they completed for their Mass Media and Society
class was one of the most important assignments they completed, not just
in the course, but some add that it proved to be one of the most important
assignments completed while an undergraduate student at Saddleback. Some
students are able to go back to the institution or business where they
conducted their interview for the project and obtain an internship to
fulfill their upper-division requirement in that area. Many students conduct
an interview in an area in which they are interested only to find out,
after the interview project, that this is NOT an area of communications
they would like to pursue.
It is suggested that you select a media job you think you might like
to have one day.
It is important that you begin the process of scheduling your interview
within the first few weeks of class. People working in the media, as with
most professions, are very busy and need plenty of lead-time to set time
aside for an interview. Students are encouraged to move outside their
own circle of friends and relatives for interview possibilities. All students
MUST clear their term project subject with the course instructor prior
to the interview.
Term Project Guidelines:
First: Call an Orange County media source and tell them you are enrolled
JRN 1/CA1 Mass Media and Society course at Saddleback College and you
need to interview someone at a media-related business for a class term
project worth one quarter of your semester grade.
It helps to have a tape recorder. It also helps to have a camera because
I prefer that a picture of you with the person you interview, at the place
they are employed, be included in your report.
What area of media you are most interested in; public relations, print
journalism, advertising, T.V., radio etc? Try to pick a person with a
broad background in the area of your choice. Pick someone who can answer
most of the provided questions. If the media personality you chose cannot
answer all the questions, maybe they can direct you to someone at the
business who can. It is possible to interview someone outside Orange County
with the instructor's permission.
Next: Go IN PERSON and conduct an interview preferably at the person's
place of work. The interview MUST be in person and not over the phone.
Get a picture of you with the person, again, preferably at the person's
place of work.
1. Background and history of the publication or business.
2. Publication circulation, estimated audience or number of clients.
3. The geographic area served by the business.
4. How many editions, programs, or services are associated with this business
5. What are the demographics and psychographics of the audience served?
Term Project Guideline page 2 of 3.
6. What are the gatekeeping policies of this media source? Who makes
the editorial decisions? Who are the gatekeepers?
7. What or who provide the main competition?
8. Where do the revenues come from to support this media business?
9. If they have advertising, how much does it cost and to whom do they
sell? Does the business accept community feedback?
10. What jobs are available in this business? What is the best entry-level
position? What are the wages one could expect for various job descriptions
within this media business. (Be sure to ask for salary ranges, do not
ask for the specific salary of the person you are interviewing) Is the
position paid hourly, salaried, do they pay stringers or freelancers?
11. Does the business sponsor internships?
12. How does the person you are interviewing like their job? What are
specific duties and responsibilities?
What are the positive and negative aspects of their job?
13. What educational and/or vocational training is necessary for most
full-time positions at this business? What are the best places to get
this education or training?
14. What are the job benefits? (insurance, perks, freebies, payola, junkets,
These questions serve as a guideline. You are expected to develop your
own questions both before and during the interview. Not all the questions
apply to all businesses so improvise and come up with some of your own
Be sure to include your evaluation of the assignment at the end of your
No Q and A formats. Write the report as a personal essay or feature story.
The reports should be typed double spaced, 8-10 pages long.
Journalism 1, Mass Media and Society
Professor J. Mike Reed
Time your class meets
Name of the business you visited
Address of business
Phone number of business
(Number you used to make your contact for interview)
Name and title of the person you interviewed
Please staple the cover page to your report for presentation to the professor.
I prefer you do not use folders.
5 extra credit points for reports handed in the week before due date.
Term Project Guidelines/3
Projects handed in late will have an minimum of 50 pts. deducted.
No projects accepted after last regular class meeting.
For more information or questions, please contact
Professor J. Mike Reed at