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 in
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 or publication?
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 their
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, other)
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 questions.
Be sure to include your evaluation of the assignment at the end of your interview.
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.
Cover page:
Term Project
Journalism 1, Mass Media and Society
Professor J. Mike Reed

Your Name
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 (949) 582-4368