Project 1: Writing for a Specific Audience (Individual)



  Overview and Rationale

We all recognize that anyone who deals with any kind of audience tailors their message. Perhaps the most obvious way to think of this method of considering audience is to visualize how politicians structure campaigns.

Typically, a politician serves a diverse constituency that may be composed of a variety of diverse elements. For example, it may be part urban, suburban, and rural; it might include ethnic groups; it might cut across economic lines; etc. Each of these divisions, real or imagined, likely have specific interests. Urban voters might be very concerned about school and street violence; rural voters might be concerned about farm subsidies and school financing; a specific ethnic group might be concerned about foreign policy toward their homeland or changes in immigration laws.

If we were to follow a candidate campaigning among this constituency, we would witness very different messages tailored for each of these audiences. Sometimes we would hear a common theme that united the candidates campaign (less federal intervention, more spending on social issues, changes in taxation). At other times we would hear the message emphasize specific ideas. For example, crime prevention might be important to urban voters, less important for urban audiences, but of little interest to rural voters. At still other occasions we would hear the candidate emphasize issues that impact only one audience; farm subsidy might be important for rural audiences only.

None of this "manipulation" is inherently unethical (unless, of course, the candidate makes incompatible statements). Nor do I mean to suggest that understanding audience is solely a political domain. In fact, a richer source of audience adaptation can be found in virtually any advertising campaign.

Such techniques provide insight into the ways in which we, too, can consider how to meet an audience's needs and objectives.

  Project 1: Description

1. Find an existing article on a scientific, technical, business, or social topic that interests you. You may use articles from the internet, if they are from a reliable source. Submit a print copy of the original article either by mailing it to your instructor or placing it under the appropriate office door. DO NOT submit an electronic copy of this article! If you use an article from the internet, print it and submit the print version.

2. Submit a one-page rationale that serves as a planning document for your revisions. Discuss the following as appropriate to your article:

3. Rewrite that article for a different audience (either more or less knowledgeable in the topic), demonstrating in no more than three to four pages that you know how to

The three to four pages do not have to be sequential if what you submit demonstrates your ability to rewrite an existing article for a different audience. In addition, you are not being asked to revise the entire article so that it is no more than four pages.

Please review the procedures for submitting a project in either the syllabus or tutorial sections of this website. An incorrectly submitted project will NOT be reviewed.

  Project 1: Resources

Use the following resources to help you select a topic and to review both previous submissions and the kinds of comments provided by the instructor. Typically, you will find a list of previous topics and examples of previous submissions in a variety of formats. I suggest you ALWAYS select html files first; they are the most likely to display. If you see other formats, try them in this order: rtf (rich text format), doc (Word documents), pdf (portable document format, which requires a special free reader). I generally include these last formats so you can see how the paper was submitted.
List of Previous Topics Color Article Stock Market Article Gender Issues Article Gender Issues Evaluation
html html
rtf rtf rtf rtf
doc doc doc

 End of Page

Last Modified: 05/21/01

[ Top ]