UNIT THREE: NEW AUDIENCE, NEW GENRE
For this assignment, you will repackage what you wrote for Unit Two in order to reach a totally new audience. To do this, you’ll chose a new genre* that you think will best reach that audience. You will also write an Artist’s Statement explaining your choices.
What do you mean?
Maybe you wrote about the effect of Covid in the Bronx for Unit 2, and you think New York politicians should know about what you wrote. Maybe you wrote about young women skateboarding in the Olympics and you want girls in grade school to know how awesome those athletes are to boost their self-esteem. In this unit, you’ll think about a specific audience that should know about your unit two article (and why). You will then “repackage” or “re-vision” your article to reach that audience.
First, choose from ONE of the following five audience groups:
- Fourth graders
- City Tech Freshmen
- New York City Council members
- Your grandparents or older relatives
- Activist groups (like BLM or LGBTQIA+ Youth, etc.)
Once you have decided who your audience is, you will decide how best to reach them. In other words, you will have to choose the best genre for your project. For Unit 3, this genre must be multimodal. We’ll talk more about what this means, but for these purposes, it means you need to have words and images or words and sounds or words, images and sounds. In other words, you cannot write a simple essay– this is time for your Unit Two research to come alive!
Remember, you are trying to reach a specific audience here. So you don’t want to choose a genre arbitrarily. You want to choose a genre that is going to speak to the audience you have in mind. Fourth graders probably aren’t going to want to watch a TED Talk. Likewise, you probably shouldn’t make a comic book for the City Council. An Instagram page, with well-curated stories might be a great way to reach high-school seniors, though!
A note: we’ll brainstorm possible genres in class, but there is one restriction now: No PowerPoints! The reason for this is that PowerPoint isn’t a genre–it’s a tool, a slideshow, basically. You would never just send a slideshow to City Council and say “here you go!” You might use a slideshow when you give a speech (and you can use a PowerPoint in any speech or lesson plan you give) but the speech is the product, not the PowerPoint. You should also be aware that PowerPoints are famously boring, so it’s best to rely on them sparingly and to rely mostly upon what you have to say.
Composers of all sorts often write an Artist’s Statement for their audience that explains their inspirations, intentions, and choices in their creative and critical processes. It helps the reader understand the process that led to the final product by providing insight into what the author set out to do, how they did it, and what they might do to further improve the piece. You will write a one page, single-spaced Author’s Statement that reflects on your finished Unit 3 Project.
A successful Artist’s Statement should:
- Discuss your specific rhetorical situation and related choices:
–your purpose: why you composed the work on that specific topic, in that specific way
–your audience: what you understood about your readers and how this affected the compositional choices you made
- Explain your choice of genre and how you worked with its conventions. For example, maybe you created a photo essay. An accompanying statement, in which you explain why you found the photo essay to be the best way to communicate your ideas about gun control, for example, would go a long way toward helping your viewers get the most out of your work.
- Reflect on your composition, discussing successes and limitations. Use this as an opportunity to look back at your composition and evaluate the extent of your achievement as well as note what you would have done differently or better.
*Note: This should be a fluid, cohesive document that reflects on and justifies the rhetorical choices in your Unit 3 Project. Do not just merely answer each question in list form.
You will largely get graded on: Appropriateness for your audience, Effectiveness of message, and care. What do I mean by this?
- APPROPRIATENESS FOR AUDIENCE: Well, first of all, a puppet show is not appropriate for a city council meeting any more than a brochure is appropriate for a preschool class, so , in part, I’m talking about what genre you choose. But I am also talking about topic and diction. If we take the examples of the preschool and the city council meeting, it’s pretty easy to think about. Learning how to use crayons isn’t a real city council topic, and commercial zoning laws aren’t a real preschool topic. Likewise, you would use different diction (and fonts, and pictures, and so on) with kids and with politicians. Usually.
- EFFECTIVENESS OF MESSAGE: This one is simple to explain, though not always simple to DO. Does your point get across to your intended audience?
- CARE: This sounds pretty vague, because it’s going to vary by genre, but basically, this is how much of a finished product you turn in. If this is a more formal paper, or a children’s book, or a brochure for the city council, it should be relatively free of grammatical “error.” If you are writing in Brooklyn English, that’s fine (if it fits your audience, of course,) but you still need to be consistent and free of typos and your project needs to look good. In other words, you need to be able to explain why everything that’s on the page (or in the video, or on the webpage, or in the recording, etc) is THERE.
- ARTIST’S STATEMENT: A fluid and cohesive Artist’s Statement that explains the rationale behind the rhetorical choices made in your Unit 3 assignment.
Some notes for the instructor: First of all, the students may decide on a specific audience beyond one of these five choices, but we’d like this to be an at-request situation. That is, if someone really wants to address Congress– great! But if we just leave the audience wide-open to students, we’ve found it way too vague and students just say their audience is “everyone” or “teenagers” or “New Yorkers.” We wanted to give clear specifics.
Second of all, if you would like to open this assignment up and give students the option of revising Unit One OR Two, that’s great.