Newspaper Article Analysis
1. From the beginning of the course, you are directed to read newspapers weekly and clip articles that involve social welfare policy. From the file of newspaper clippings that you will have created by the end of Week 6 or 7, select one newspaper article that addresses a social welfare policy and enables you to carry out the analysis described below. The selected article must be about a Canadian social welfare policy issue.
The following is a list of social welfare policies to help you make your choice:
• Old Age Security
• Old Age Security Guaranteed Income Supplement
• Child Tax Benefit
• Canada Pension Plan
• Employment Insurance
• Workers’ Compensation
• Veterans Disability Pensions
• Canada Health and Social Transfer
• Provincial social assistance programs
• On-reserve assistance for First Nations
• Post-secondary student loans
• Child-care expense deduction
See pages 9–12 of Hick’s text for further clarification.
Marijuana laws, same-sex-marriage, and suicide are topics of social interest but they are not social welfare policies or programs, and therefore do not meet the requirements of this assignment.
Tips on selecting your article:
• Choose an article that is long enough and detailed enough to enable you to complete this assignment. Students who choose short articles are commonly disappointed because they were unable to adequately complete the assignment, and consequently receive a failing grade.
• Actually do the weekly newspaper clipping and create a file! Your file will provide you with alternative articles to choose from. Otherwise, if you procrastinate or avoid doing the clipping file as indicated in each module, you will find yourself in a stressful situation. Appropriate articles for this assignment may be very difficult to locate at the last minute.
• Read this assignment carefully!
The paper must provide a summary of the argument(s) presented in the article and identify the source that is being used for each argument (e.g., a particular person or think tank). There may be more than one argument included, in which case all arguments need to be briefly summarized in your paper.
Submit a (clean) copy of the newspaper article along with your paper. The Open Learning Faculty Member will be unable to mark your assignment without the copy of the newspaper article. The article can be a digital copy or paper copy.
Analysis of the newspaper article:
To help you guide your analysis of the newspaper article and to apply some of material you have been studying, we have created some “topics of attention.” Select a newspaper article that will enable you to discuss at leastthree of the five “topics of attention.”
Some newspaper articles will not provide a discussion of the policy-making process, and therefore the fourth topic of attention (listed below) will be immediately eliminated as a topic of attention for your analysis. You will be left to select three of the four remaining topics of attention to include in your analysis.
Topics of attention:
1. Paying attention to ideologies.
a. Identify and discuss the ideology that the author employs to discuss the social welfare issue. Draw specific evidence from the article to substantiate your claim.
b. Identify and articulate an alternative way of interpreting this social (welfare) issue. For example, if the author employs a neo-conservative ideology, you need to identify and articulate an alternative ideology, such as liberal or social democratic ideologies, and then describe and discuss the social situation using that alternative ideology.
c. Reflect upon the process of applying two different ideologies to one social situation. Identify and discuss some of your main observations—patterns, insights, and connections.
For instance, you may notice that the questions relevant for one ideology are not relevant for the other. Discuss what questions these are and why they dominate within a particular ideology and not another. (Hint: It likely has to do with some of the basic assumptions that underpin the ideology.)
Paying attention to how social welfare recipients are socially constructed in the article.
. How are social welfare recipients socially constructed within the article? For instance, is welfare fraud discussed? Are recipients constructed as fraudulent?
a. What recipients of social welfare are constructed by the author’s discussion of the situation? This may be very subtle, so look carefully. You are hunting for implications of what is being said and assumed, as well as how it is being said. Use specific examples, such as words or turns of phrase, from the article to substantiate your claim.
Paying attention to how the social issue is conceptualized.
. What worldview is used in the article? Chances are that it is a Eurocentric worldview, but look carefully. How does this worldview construct the issue being discussed?
a. What contextual (contributing) factors does the author identify as the cause of the problem? Who has the problem? What solution is offered? Whose interests are served by defining the problem in this way? Whose interests are not being served by defining the problem this way?
For instance, let’s say the article you have selected is about the BC social welfare policy requirement that single mothers, with children over the age of three years must be looking for work in order to qualify for social assistance. The author of the article conceptualizes the problem as one in which “some mothers are not really looking for work and yet are receiving welfare payments.” Single mothers are viewed as a financial drain on society and as possible frauds. So the problem is defined as a societal problem that we all need to be concerned about. The solution is more money diverted to enforcement of this new legislation and policy. The realities of single mothers in question are not discussed within the article. Instead, the author discusses past fraudulent activities. Implicitly, the author is making a case for further restricting the responsibility of the state for social well-being.
Paying attention to the policy-making process.
. Is there reference in the article to the policy-making process?
a. How is this process described?
b. How did Eurocentric thinking affect how the policy-making process was viewed?
Paying attention to what and how history is told and its effects.
. What history is embedded in the article?
a. Whose history is being told?
b. Who is doing the telling?
c. Whose history is relevant to this discuss but not included in the article? ( For instance, are First Nations women being talked about but not involved as a source of information for the article?)
d. What are the effects of this telling of history?
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