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Sample Statement of Purpose for Mass Communication

“If a nation can be compared to a large vessel at sea, then the journalists are its watch-keepers who timely report the treacherous shoals and hidden dangers to ensure the safe journey of the vessel.” This celebrated and thought-provocative motto by Joseph Pulitzer gives a most vivid and profound elucidation of the crucial role that journalists can play in contemporary social life. Regarding the role of the watch-keeper, I have my own understanding. The career of being a journalist entails “thinking allowed and thinking aloud.” He or she should, first of all, be an active, sensitive participant of social life and demonstrate independent and critical insights. Apart from such qualities as courage, social conscience, objectivity, enthusiasm and discretion, a journalist must have deep concerns for the destiny of his/her nation and the welfare of its people.

I never cherish any blind faith in the accepted theories and teachings but instead have endeavored to cultivate a skeptical attitude toward what I am exposed to. In my notebooks are recorded not only what my teachers have taught me but also my personal contemplations and critical views. On many important issues I have the habit of discussing with the most learned and inspiring teachers from whom to seek enlightenment and to probe into the essence of the matter through “collisions of ideas”. I have also devoted most of my spare time to studying technical literature in the libraries, to keep myself informed of the latest academic developments and to develop my own academic perspectives from a wealth of information. In taking examinations, I seldom confine myself to what is laid down in the textbooks but instead try to present my own understandings, observations and reflections. It is indeed not easy to be one’s true self but the joy of exercising my own academic initiative and exploring my academic possibilities has given me immense satisfaction.

In studying the courses in myself specialty, I have paid close attention to laying a solid academic foundation. I have been particularly fascinated by such courses as Mass Communication, Theories of Journalism, Theories of Broadcasting and Television Journalism, and History of Western Journalism, which have allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the principles of journalism and to examine journalism in a historical context. The world of journalism represents an exciting world of ideas and ideals, a world of variegated phenomena that make up the reality of our social life. Apart from compulsory courses, I took a number of optional courses like The History of Ancient China. This course has been very important to me because, in order to understand how China’s mass communication evolved in the contemporary period, it is necessary to gain insights into China’s traditional cultural and historical legacy and how those cultural and historical traditions shape the present and even the future of the country.

“A true scholar must be well-read and well-traveled.” This well-known Chinese saying points to two essential qualities that a successful student and scholar must possess—ample book knowledge and practical experience (the latter resulting from field trips far and wide). I believe this principle holds especially true for practitioners of mass communication because it is more of an applied academic discipline. For half a year just as a freshman, I did internship at XX Television Station—one of China’s major TV producer—where I performed two types of responsibilities: translating English materials into Chinese and editing news. The first responsibility exposed me to the standard practices of western mass media while the second allowed me to obtain practical work experience.

Later, working as an interning reporter at XX Daily, the largest newspaper in the city, I concentrated on the issue of possible water pollution in the Three-Gorge Region where the world’s largest hydrological project is under way. For a whole month, I traveled to 10 counties and investigated the operation of the 19 water treatment factories in this region. In addition, I interviewed 12 environmentalists and based on detailed facts and statistics I gave an objective and detailed analysis of the possible negative impacts of the project on the local water environment and urged the local authorities to take concrete measures to guard against possible consequences. My serial articles produced widespread sensation and made the protection of water environment the hot subject of the time in the local media. For me, this was a most important experience as a feature story writer because for the first time in my life I made extensive field trips and reported on the issues most closely related to the welfare of the general public. This experience significantly heightened my awareness of the social responsibility of the journalist and of the role that a journalist can play in promoting the social welfare of the people.

My independent thinking, sound academic performance and practical media experience distinguished me from most of my fellow students and came to the attention of Prof. XXX, a leading scholar on “cultural communication” in my university. At his invitation, I became a key member of his research team and served as his research assistant. I read a number of leading academic journals including XX and analyzed all the available American news programs recorded on videotapes. Based on my research findings, I wrote a research paper entitled Cross-Cultural Communication Significance of English News for Developing Countries. The paper explores how developing countries (whose native language is not English) can best employ English news programs as an effective tool of communication with the English-speaking audience in the world, with English language as the dominant language of communication in the ongoing globalization context. I also proposed specific steps how those developing countries can promote the communication and the influence of their national cultures in the international community and facilitate their social and economic development. My paper was published in the national-level journal TV STUDY, which indicates the rare achievement of an undergraduate.

The publication of my research paper also testifies to my research potential. The vice chairman of my department offered to be my advisor of my graduation thesis. Under his guidance, I am researching on media culture and constructing analytical models. So far, I have completed the research on American mainstream media culture and its pluralistic value system. My advisor has expressed considerable appreciation of my research work so far.

XX University where I am studying is a key national university that attracts best students from every part of the country. In fierce academic competitions, I have managed to remain top-third in academic performance and win scholarships throughout the years. I received the honor of Outstanding Student of XX University and on account of my distinguished English proficiency I won the third prize for my university in the nationwide English Contest of University Students in 2002. In my extracurricular activities, I organized and participated in several major events for such student organizations as “Galaxy” Literary Society, “What’s New” Student Newspaper, and “Be Creative” Association. As a result, my writing skills and journalistic competence have been markedly improved.

Building on my educational background, my research experience and my research interest, I would like to pursue a Master’s program in Mass Communication. The courses that I plan to study include international mass communication, mass media and culture, theories of mass communication, methods of mass communication research, history of mass communication, economic and political aspects of mass media. I wish to obtain comprehensive and advanced education in mass communication and seek opportunities to participate in workshops, seminars and projects. If possible, I will continue my study toward a Ph.D. degree. I believe that academically and experientially I am qualified for your well-respected program. Therefore I wish that you would seriously and favorably consider my application.


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