Two Assignments

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Based on the content from Best, Chapter 1, write a minimum 7 sentence response to the following exercise:

–Select a generally well known social problem, like racism or poverty, which has received considerable news coverage.  Select three news outlets about a discrete event or set of events that pertain to that social problem and compare the news coverage between them.  Consider writing about 2 or 3 aspects of the coverage.  Who does the coverage identify as key actors in the event?  Does the coverage attempt to assign responsibility to one party or another?  Whose “voice” or perspective is covered more than others?  What else can you say that is significantly different between the media coverage of this event?  

TEXT: Joel Best.  Social Problems.  (2021) 4th Edition. New York: W.W. Norton.   


For this assignment, you are going to direct attention to the rhetorical or persuasive aspects of claims making. That is, in order to make a claim about a certain event that could be interpreted as a problem worthy of attention, the speaker or speakers must be able to make credible and compelling claims.  What makes these claims compelling?  For whom are the claims compelling?  That is, whose attention are the claimsmakers trying to attract?  

(1) Go to

Read this short article about the social construction of social problems.  Pay  special attention to the graphic or image in the middle of the article that depicts, by using multicolored globes, different social, financial, and medical hazards.  The graphic compares actual hazards with public outrage regarding that hazard. With the exception of gun crime, most of the comparisons are more or less accurate.  
make sure to read the entire article so that you get some idea of the main points the writer is making regarding the intended audience of certain claims.  Why are some hazards largely disregarded?  Why aren’t the claims about these hazards largely disregarded?  Where is the deficiency: claimsmakers? Public? Policymakers? 

(2) Pick one of the hazards identified in the graphic in the middle of the article and write about three different claims that have been made to either minimize or maximize the harm caused by this particular phenomenon.  You will have to search for newspaper, Magazine, and other print or online media, including publicized medical reports or crime reports, that address these issues. When you identify the three claims, make sure to identify what are the grounds or warrants of the claims.  That is, are they making a claim that the hazard doesn’t happen very often and therefore is not dangerous, or are they making an appeal to a person’s sense of safety or well-being or moral integrity regardless of how frequently the problem occurs? What are the persuasive properties of their claims?

Please submit response with MS Word attachment or in space provided.  


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