How to Write Media Analysis Papers

Media analysis papers examine how media portrays people, products or issues. They're especially helpful to nonprofit organizations and businesses that work with stereotyped groups or issues. Understanding how the media reflects your products or customers helps you improve your marketing and public relations.

Identify your core group or issue. Make this as specific as possible.

Gather different examples of media presentations of that group or issue from a variety of different media sources. Unless you desire to examine a specific type of media such as radio, TV, film or Internet, include examples from several different types.

Examine each media source, looking for similar ideas or keywords used by the different sources. Listen for buzzwords such as "alarming," "incredible" or "gravitas." If you research a specific person, watch for similar portrayals of the person's character throughout the examples.

Consider the portrayal of the persons or issues by the media, whether positive or negative, and determine the overall impression the media conveys to the audience pertaining to them. Consider the person or people reporting and their bias towards the subject matter. Consider the placement of the coverage of the issue presented--as a cover story, as a side article or at the beginning of a news program or in the middle.

Collect research about the group or issue from other writers. Several journals publish information about media issues, or you can find information online at the Public Relations Society of America (see Resources below).

Write a first draft of your analysis presenting your methodology, analytical process and conclusions. Document your sources properly.

Read your analysis. Verify that it says what you intend and correct any errors.


Ask a friend or coworker to peer edit your analysis. A fresh pair of eyes catches common errors.

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