English 225:
The New Pioneers of Digital Music
English Dept. Artifact

This research paper was one of the first I wrote as a U of M student, which I remember being especially long and challenging. The paper discusses how technology has changed the music industry and most specifically, how Pandora and Spotify (two online music listening services) have continued to change the game. Essentially, it argues that Pandora and Spotify are good alternatives to illegal file sharing and that they are here to help the music industry, not hinder it.

 

Even though my opinions have varied since, I am proud of the effort I put into this paper, including the clear and well thought­out arguments it presents. These included how iTunes was able to divert illegal file sharing into a more profitable online downloading system, and how subsequent companies like Pandora and Spotify have created new ways to monetize digital music listening. It shows a strong attention to detail and a high degree of research knowledge. It also, once again, shows how my interest in social issues commonly intertwines with my interest in music and the arts. 

Writing 220: Repurposing Project 

The point of this assignment was to take a piece of writing from our past, and turn it into something entirely different, but using a similar theme. I decided to repurpose a previous piece about music into a ‘mock ­article’ for Pitchfork magazine and website, titled “Is Pop Music Making Us Stupid?” I am still impressed with how well I was able to copy their formatting and structure. I then went on and analyzed some songs that have been #1 hits over the past 5 years, and made claims that the lyrics encourage a rather “stupid” lifestyle. I defined stupid as self-destructive and unsustainable behavior. 

 

I am still quite proud of this piece, even though it does make some rather large claims about Pop music without providing any scientific data to back it up. I still thinks it makes a worthwhile argument. The last paragraph criticizes some aspects of American culture like excessive partying that is celebrated in some pop of these Pop songs. This shows that I wanted to push back from the status quo to say I am not in support of this, and that is a characteristic that I like about this piece. The overall message the paper makes is that “its ok to not be crazy like the pop stars,” which is something I appreciate. 

Race & Racism:
Race -- Not A Laughing Matter

ULWC Artifact

This paper was written for my Race and Ethnicity credit and also serves as the upper­-level writing artifact. I have very vivid memories of the class and of writing this paper. After what we learned about racism in class through discussion, videos, and readings, I came to this conclusion for the paper: that racially charged humor serves two main purposes (albeit inadvertently); one is that it is used as a way to represent where we stand as a society in terms of racial equality, and two, that it typically reinforces racial stereotypes.

 

After re­reading this paper, I am very pleased with how well the argument is structured and the evidence it provides. It shows a clear focus, thesis, and attention to detail while providing in-­depth research to support the argument. There are also themes of social consciousness (racial equality) as well as ideas from my communications studies which is another reason why I appreciate the argument it makes. Finally, I sense my voice as a writer being developed in this paper as well, which tends to have a sense of urgency, importance, and consideration for others. 

 

Writing 220:
Remediation Project

The idea for this video came after my repurposing project mentioned on the left, and from what I have learned in my communications classes: that media messages can have strong impacts on people’s attitudes and behaviors. Therefore, if Pop music does not encourage intellectual thought and does encourage some self ­destructive behavior (as I argue), than is it actually making people stupid? That is the same question I asked people in the video interviews. 

 

After making the video, I've decided that it does not make anyone stupid. That is too broad a category. But I do believe it does create a cultivation effect among listenters, allowing them to slowly include the lifestyle they see and hear in the music into their own view of reality. This once again showed my interest in social well-being. I am proud of the video because I received some good responses from people on the Diag and feel that I pieced it together in a way that was informative and entertaining. This video clearly showed how typical persuasive writing can be transformed into video format in order to make an argument. I learned how to use iMovie better, how to structure an argument for video format, how to balance information and entertainment, and much more. 

Academic Writing

 

 

Here I have included some of my favorite and more challenging pieces of writing that I have completed in my Gateway Writing Minor class, English 225 class and Race & Racism class. These pieces of writing required a lot of time, research, effort and revision in order for me to feel satisfied with turning them in. Click on the title box of each piece to take a look.