MEDIA DIET Assignment

Since Journalism 210 is dedicated to the study of media and culture, I want students to carefully consider the increasingly important role the mass media play in our lives. One way to do this is to reflect on our personal media experiences.

During the next two weeks, I want you to select a 24-hour period and keep a journal that carefully tracks your mass media consumption. Keep in mind that many media interactions are voluntary – say, reading a book or watching a show on Netflix – but others are thrust upon you – seeing a billboard while driving down the highway or being exposed to radio or TV programming while having drinks at a restaurant.

I realize that it can be tricky to define mass media, so you will need to use your best judgment when deciding what to track. Certainly, you will want to record all interactions with …

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Books
  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Apps
  • Video games
  • Social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Billboards
  • Posters
  • Advertising in all forms, including mass e-mails
  • Radio or streaming music services
  • TV or streaming video services
  • DVDs or Blu-rays
  • Film

Although some people may include text messaging, I believe this is a form of personal (not mass) communication. That said, there are exceptions, such as receipt of an advertising text from Redbox. Basically, you will need to use your best judgment and show me that you took the assignment seriously by demonstrating a reasonable level of detail in your media diary and your reflection on the role that mass media plays in your life.

To complete this assignment, please go to Class Blog – Week 7 and make a post that contains the following:


Your media diary, noting the dates that you decided to track your media consumption and the number of hours (or minutes) that you spent with varying types of media. A well-done media diary will look something like this …

Forrest’s Media Diary

Feb.. 14, 2019

Radio: (approximately 1 hour) Mostly spent listening to NPR on my drive to and from work

Billboards: (approx. 15 minutes) This was difficult to track, as I read many billboards while driving to and from work and running errands on my way home

TV: (approx. 3 hours) This includes time watching DVR recordings of TV shows, including “Game of Thrones” and “The Flash,” as well as an hour listening to local and national news broadcasts while performing household tasks.

Books: (approx. 1 hour) Mostly spent reading class texts in preparation for upcoming lectures

Social media (approx. 30 minutes) Spread throughout the day reading and responding to social media posts and messages from friends and acquaintances

Websites: (approx. 45 minutes) Spent reading news stories in preparation for lectures and class discussions, as well as reading for personal interest

News apps: (approx. 30 minutes) Spent reading news stories that popped up thanks to alerts or e-mails on my smart phone

E-mail advertising: (approx. 5 minutes) Spent reading advertising in mass e-mails


Approximately 250 words reflecting on what you learned by tracking your media consumption. Were there any surprises? Is your media diet lighter or heavier than you expected? Is the media more or less influential in your life than you imagined? Do you plan to make any changes based on what you learned? Explain your answer to the last question, no matter what it is.