“Must-See TV” – Broadcasting’s Most-Watched Moments

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DUE by the beginning of class on APRIL 12

Former Washington Post President and Publisher Philip L. Graham once said, “Journalism is the first rough draft of history.” 

As Communications students and scholastic journalists who will one day contribute to media that will serve as historical documents for future generations – you must have a deep understanding of (and respect for) broadcasting’s timeline. That includes awareness of some of the most significant moments in broadcast history across many genres, from news to sports, entertainment, and coverage of politically and socially relevant events. 

In this assignment, you will give a 12 to 13-minute oral presentation, accompanied by a PowerPoint and 2 video clips of your assigned broadcast. 

  • The two brief short video clips of your program may run up to 1-minute long each, and they should be chosen because those clips exemplify the significance of the broadcast event.

You will each be assigned (at random) an historically significant broadcast moment.

THIS IS A RESEARCH PROJECT, and must use thorough and accurate information from credible academic and historical data.  You are not providing your opinion; you are presenting facts backed up by citation from credible sources.

– Introduce the clip and set up what it was, e.g. part of a series, a one-time special broadcast, a breaking news report, etc. ALSO provide the necessary context about American society at the time when the program originally aired, e.g. its political and societal issues, its pop culture influences, etc.  

–This is necessary as context to understand how the broadcast clip fit into the “bigger picture” and made such a significant impact on society when it was aired. Do quality research about the time period. DO NOT GUESS or GENERALIZE what you think was happening in that era.  Conduct the appropriate research and present only qualified facts.

— Explain how the clip you just showed fits into broadcast history – Why it was so significant, e.g. did it advance technology; did it re-define or set new standards for a genre; did it impact the tide of public opinion about a subject, etc.? 

–You must clearly and thoroughly explain this program’s impact and why it is recognized as one of the medium’s most significant moments.

–TO BE CLEAR: Remember, we are talking about the SOCIAL ROLE OF MASS MEDIA so your goal is to fully explain the impact that this particular broadcast had on society. You are not just explaining the historical significance of the event.  You are explaining the significance of this event in the context of the fact that it was broadcast.  As we have been discussing all semester long, what is the significance of broadcasting as a way to expose people to important events and contribute to things such as affecting thoughts values and actions; affecting television viewing habits, etc., etc.  In other words: Talk about how the documentation of the event through broadcasting provided viewers with a “first rough draft of history.”

–Show the clips of the program at appropriate points to support your presentation.


You must cite at minimum four (4) sources, and they must be from credible academic, professional, or historical sources. 

You may not use pop-culture sources such as media reviews or magazine articles; sites presented by television networks, cables stations or print media; popular media such as “How Stuff Works,” or crowd-sourced sites such as Wikipedia. 

You may use up to THREE of these suggested research sites and resources.  You may also conduct information from other respected, high-value academic or industry sources that you find from research you conduct independently:

http://search.archives.gov/query.html?qt=television+history&submit=GO&col=1arch&col=social&qc=1arch&qc=social  The National Archives Database – searched “television history”

http://www.nyu.edu/classes/stephens/History%20of%20Television%20page.htm  Academic paper – History of Television.

http://www.ny.com/museums/MTR.html   The Paley Center for Media

https://www.loc.gov/static/programs/national-film-preservation-board/documents/tvmtr2.pdf  The Museum of Television & Radio –Library of Congress

https://americanhistory.si.edu/american-enterprise-exhibition/consumer-era/broadcasting  National Museum of American History

You may use up to TWO additional sources from:

Popular magazines/newspapers, entertainment reports, e.g. a television critic’s review/assessment of the program/broadcasting event.

You MAY NOT use crowd-sourced information from sites such as Wikipedia; low-value blogs; entertainment/social media posts, etc.

–See following page for RUBRIC–

NAME: _____________________________________DATE:__________

CHECKLIST of elements due on date of your presentation:

  • PowerPoint presentation must be posted under the appropriate entry on Schoology.
  • Presentation: 
    • You are expected to present bulleted highlights and full and clear summaries on the PPT slides with appropriate citations
    • You oral presentation may expand on those bulleted points and present deeper information, facts, context, etc., however, the PPT should give a clear picture of the extent of your research and its findings.
    • TIME OUT your presentation.  If information is on your PPT but you do not present it to the class during your oral presentation because you did not budget your time, then the presentation did not fully accomplish its task of teaching the class about this event, and points will be deducted from your assignment.


Quality of research and supporting data                                           

The presentation uses the appropriate required number and 

type of high-quality research; and, it presents thorough and                                                   academically significant information about the importance                              

of the assigned broadcast event.                                                    ______ / 50

Oral Presentation skills – clarity, grammar, preparation,

          and a clear introduction, middle, and conclusion.

          Time was budgeted well and the presenter gave

          all of the necessary information from the research project.         ______ / 30

PowerPoint – Neat and visually interesting; includes a

TITLE PAGE with student’s name; includes link to

2 – 3 minute clip of the broadcast; and meets

          all requirements for accuracy in grammar, spelling,

punctuation, etc.                                                                            ______/ 20

Works cited:  The PPT includes appropriate in-text citations

       (i.e. parenthetical citations)  and it includes Works

Cited slide/s at the end of the presentation.  Citation

format is correct.                                                                 ______/ 10

Total: _____/100

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“Must-See TV” – Broadcasting’s Most-Watched Moments

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