Media matters 1

From Community Narrations

Aims of the practice and description of participants

Participants will practice ‘decoding’ media texts to develop an understanding of media literacy.

Resources, Materials needed

- Media sources – these could be newspaper or magazine front covers, food packaging, advertisements, social media adverts.
- Laptops/computers/tablets.
- Pens and paper.


45 mins.

Step-by-step - what has to be done?

Asking Critical Questions
Ask the participants to get into pairs
Give out Newspaper Headline resource (see resources) or this link

Or select your own. These could be newspaper articles/headlines or advertisements or social media posts. Ask the participants to answer the following questions. (15 mins)

Key Questions:
1. Authority: Who created the message that is being sent? To what extent is this person, company, or organization trustworthy or credible? Who will gain power and/or profit from the chosen media sources?
2. Artistic Decisions: What techniques were used to attract my attention? How do these significant details shape the media's message and the consumer's reaction to it? What language is used?
3. Audience: Who is the target audience for this message? People of a specific gender, race, age, socio-economic class, political affiliation, etc. Are there any lifestyles, values, or points of view that are not represented or are omitted from this message?
4. Interpretations: How might other people understand or interpret this message differently from me? Are there any embedded values or points of view in the sources?
5. Purpose: Why was this message sent? Was the source made to entertain, to sell or make a profit, to persuade, to provoke, or to inform / enlighten?
Ask the pairs to feed back to the group. (30 mins)

Learning Outcomes - which skills are addressed?

Participants will have:
- Identified different types of language to create meaning
- Gained an awareness of audio/visual “language”
- Started to think critically about what they are seeing, reading, and hearing

How do you check the outcomes are reached?

Working in pairs they will have:
- Compared notes.
- Answered questions about key concepts of critical thinking.
- Answered questions about that help to decode media texts.
- Discussed their personal observations on how media literacy can affect peoples lives.

Further links/readings