COM 220 — Winter 2019

Greg Niedt

Research Activity 3 Assignment Sheet

Your third and final research assignment will be due on Friday, February 22. For this assignment, read NPR’s interview with Janelle Monáe at https://www.npr.org/2018/12/21/678450755/janelle-monae-on-her-dirty-world-dominating-year (you can also find it if you Google “janelle monáe interview NPR”). Address the following questions regarding methods and framing of the interview:

1. Think about Monáe’s answers from a narrative analysis perspective. How does she construct a story (or stories) about her life from the way she presents her answers? What do you think her intentions are for framing her history in this way? Highlight a few examples of where she uses emotional and/or personal language.

2. From a textual analysis perspective, look for some of the ways the article is written. What stands out to you? Look for words and structures that indicate when something is transcribed from speech, versus when it is written after the fact. (For bonus points, you might want to look up some lyrics and/or listen to the songs and think about how intertextuality matters here.)

3. And then, from a media analysis perspective, think about the page’s multimodality. What different kinds of media are present here, and how are they consumer? What effect does it have to so many types of media present at once, structured on the page the way they are? Finally, how does the fact that this is from NPR, conducted/written by multiple contributors, frame the piece?

4. The interview questions have been obscured in the text. Why do you think this is? Try to come up with a question for each of the five answers that Monáe gives; remember that in an interview, you want to ask open-ended, non-leading questions. Then, listen to the audio and see how close you were to the actual questions asked (as well as how close the transcript is to the recording, including what’s left out).

5. Think about the overall discourses present in the written and/or recorded versions of the interview: those that come through in Monáe’s biographical stories, the artistic ones that surrounds her art and the way she positions it, those involved in what it means to do an interview, etc. Which do you see coming through most strongly? What is your reaction?

6. Finally, this assignment would be pretty solidly situated in the media studies framework. If you were to consider this interview through the lenses of mass communication and intercultural communication, what different things might you want to focus on? Think beyond the interview itself, too!

Be sure to answer each question fully (at least one paragraph); you will most likely end up with at least a 3-page paper. Feel free to work in some of your own thoughts and opinions as well. As usual, the text should be double-spaced, 12-point standard font, with 1-inch margins, and the paper is also worth 10% of your grade. Good luck!

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