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The Following Is A Memorandum From The Business Manager Of A Television Station. - With A Free Essay Review

'The following is a memorandum from the business manager of a television station.

“Over the past year, our late-night news program has devoted increased time to national news and less time to weather and local news. During this time period, most of the complaints received from viewers were concerned with our station’s coverage of weather and local news. In addition, local businesses that used to advertise during our late-night news program have just canceled their advertising contracts with us. Therefore, in order to attract more viewers to the program and to avoid losing any further advertising revenues, we should restore the time devoted to weather and local news to its former level.”

Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence would be needed in order to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

The paragraph suggests that after changing the schedule of the station and giving more emphasis on the national news, viewership and advertising revenues decreased considerably. The paragraph therefore implies that the schedule be reverted back to the original one so as to undo all these changes and prevent losses. However, the argument consists of many questionable assumptions.

To start off, it states that after the change in news content, the majority of the complaints received were regarding the coverage of the weather and local news. However, the paragraph does not mention the number of complaints and the number of viewers who complained. It may have happened that the overall number of complaints received by the station reduced after the shift to national news and hence the relative percent of the complaints regarding the weather seemed to increase. Also, there may be the possibility that during this time, the quality of the weather and the local news decreased considerably, and hence the complaints were all warranted.

Secondly, the cancellation of the advertising contracts by the local businesses may be completely unrelated to the change in schedule. If another station or television show started which was far more appealing than even the local news or weather, naturally, the businesses would be inclined to advertise in that slot. Also, it may have transpired that the businesses themselves ran into huge losses which would result in them curbing their expenditure on issues such as advertising altogether. In such cases, even if the time devoted to weather and local news was restored, it would not guarantee that the businesses would renew their contracts.

Furthermore, the author reasons that to increase viewership and cut down on revenue losses, the time for weather and local news should be restored. However, if the reason for the loss of viewership is completely unrelated to the change in the schedule of the station, then such an action would not produce the expected results.


Essay Review

The version of the prompt that you include with this essay calls, in the instructions, for a discussion of the specific evidence that would be needed in order to evaluate the argument. Your essay does not provide such a discussion, and begins by referencing the assumptions of the argument. Since on the ETS site there is another version of this prompt that does ask you to discuss the assumptions of the argument, perhaps that is the prompt that you were actually responding to, but even in that case, the essay would not a direct response to the prompt. If you are asked to discuss assumptions, you need to do so with explicit sentences that begin like this: "The argument assumes that X is the case." If you are asked to discuss evidence, then you want sentences like this: "The first piece of evidence that is needed to evaluate the argument is X." Your essay seems focused rather on a general critique of the essay, but each set of instructions identify a particular type of analysis that you need to undertake. Here, then, instead of, or in addition to, saying that "it may have happened that the overall number of complaints received by the station reduced etc," you need to say that in order to evaluate the recommendation, we need evidence comparing the number of complaints over the past year with the number of complaints in previous years. Then you need to specify what this evidence will teach us and, hence, how it will help us evaluate the argument. And that means that you need sentences that look like this: "If the evidence shows that the total number of complaints has decreased, then it may be that the new programming schedule is more popular than the old programming schedule. In that case, the argument would be weakened because the argument implies that the local programming would be more popular." Now the same point roughly can be made about the subsequent arguments. In each case (assuming you are writing in response to the question about evidence) your arguments need to be tightly focused on the discussion of specific evidence. The arguments themselves are reasonable.

Best, EJ.

P.S. We now ask students to submit no more than one essay on any given day.
Submitted by: Anuja


August,25 2015

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