Media Education and Student Journalism
The following information provides teachers with an overview of media
education and its connection to student journalism. As media education has
become a key component of the Language Arts curriculum in all provinces, the
following material will demonstrate to media education teachers the connection
between the two curriculums, learning outcomes, skills learnt and links to
lesson plans and activities involving journalism and media education.
Thousands of media images bombard us every day. They are found on billboards,
magazines, newspapers, video games, tv, radio, the internet.....and even in our
These images influence our values, opinions and attitudes, and our social
conventions and norms. This is especially true for young people. Media, and
especially the Internet, are more than just a means of learning about the world
around them. Media is their world, their "reality".
Because mass media plays an extensive and influential role in the lives of
students, it is important that these media images are brought into the classroom
curriculum so students can learn how to become critical thinkers, listeners,
readers, and viewers as well as effective users of the media available to them.
Through media education, students are given tools they need to respond
thoughtfully and critically to what they see and hear every day.
As a student journalism network, SNN provides teachers with information and
resources you can use to show your students how the media works. It encourages
students to think critically about what they read, see and hear in newspapers,
television, radio and online media.
Media Literacy is the ability to decode, analyze, evaluate, and produce
communication in a variety of forms. It addresses the skills students need to be
taught in school, the competencies they must have as they consume information in
every day lives.
Media education is the development of basic literacy skills. It helps
students to deconstruct media texts such as television programs, music, video
games and advertising, It helps them learn how to create their own messages in a
variety of media and encourages them to ask important questions.
Journalism Studies is the development of the knowledge, skills, and
dispositions students need to understand the media and respond as informed and
active citizens. Building on a common base of journalism skills, students are
also given hands-on training in the technical skills required to report their
stories in any media form - newspapers, magazines, radio and television and web
sites. Journalism students are encouraged to continue to develop strong writing
skills and build on a broad knowledge of current affairs and events.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF MEDIA EDUCATION
(Source: Jesuit Communication Project website
http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/JCP- John Pungente, S.J.)
1. All media are constructions. This is arguably the most important
concept. The media do not simply reflect external reality. Rather, they present
carefully crafted constructions that reflect many decisions and are the result
of many determining factors. Media Literacy works towards deconstructing these
constructions ( taking them apart to show how they are made).
2. The media construct versions of reality. The media are responsible
for the majority of the observations and experiences from which we build up our
personal understandings of the world and how it works. Much of our view of
reality is based on media messages that have been preconstructed and have
attitudes, interpretations, and conclusions already built in. Thus the media, to
a great extent, give us our sense of reality.
3. Audiences negotiate meaning in media. If the media provides us with
much of the material upon which we build our picture of reality, each of us
finds or "negotiates" meaning according to individual factors: personal needs
and anxieties, the pleasures or troubles of the day, racial and sexual
attitudes, family and cultural background, moral standpoint, and so forth.
4. Media messages have commercial implications. Media literacy aims to
encourage awareness of how the media are influenced by commercial
considerations, and how they impinge on content, technique, and distribution."
Most media production is a business, and so must make a profit. Questions of
ownership and control are central: a relatively small number of individuals
control what we watch, read and hear in the media.
5. Media messages contain ideological and value messages.
products are advertising in some sense proclaiming values and ways of life. The
mainstream media convey, explicitly or implicitly, ideological messages about
such issues as the nature of the good life, the virtue of consumerism, the role
of women, the acceptance of authority, and unquestioning patriotism.
6. Media messages contain social and political implications.
media have great influence in politics and in forming social change.
Television can greatly influence the election of a national leader on the basis
of image. The media involve us in concerns such as civil rights issues, famines
in Africa, and the AIDS epidemic. They give us an intimate sense of national
issues and global concerns so that we have become McLuhan's Global Village.
7. Form and content are closely related in media messages.
McLuhan noted, each medium has its own grammar and codifies reality in its own
particular way. Different media will report the same event, but create different
impressions and messages.
8. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form. Just as we notice the
pleasing rhythms of certain pieces of poetry or prose, so ought we be able to
enjoy the pleasing forms and effects of the different media.
COMPARISON of Media Education and Journalism Curriculum Learning
(for more detailed information on Provincial Curriculum Outcomes, check out
Media Awareness Network website
While curriculum may vary from province to province, the following
Foundational Learning Objective chart can be seen in most journalism and media
Foundational & Specific Learning Objectives
Foundational & Specific Learning Objectives
|- recognize and
appreciate the role of journalism in contemporary society and in their
personal lives assess the role magazines play in their lives
-recognize and explore the ways in which print and broadcast media create
and present a message
- recognize and create the various forms, conventions, and styles of
- recognize the attributes of quality journalism and the legal, ethical,
and moral issues which confront the free press
- develop the speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing, and
representing skills needed to create various print publications and
|- Recognize and
appreciate the role of mass media in communication, in contemporary society,
and in their personal lives
- Recognize the codes, forms, and conventions of the various mass media
- Recognize the ways in which the various mass media shape their
messages, and construct a sense of what the world is or how it works
- Analyze and evaluate the various mass media, including their sources,
intents, and underlying values
- Recognize the role and power of advertising in the mass media
- Extend and apply their speaking, listening, writing, reading, viewing,
and representing abilities
- Extend and apply their representing and viewing abilities by designing
and creating a media text
A natural fit with journalism, media education students can develop print and
multimedia stories covering topics such as ~
- understanding how media works and the amount of media we are exposed to;
- explore the values and tastes that related to students’ own culture -
entertainment (tv, radio, movies, music, video games), fashion (clothing,
- analyze implied messages of verbal and non-verbal content in the media
- write opinion stories about different media issues: teen image, violence,
health issues and government regulations.
Skills learnt from both media education and journalism:
|- reading and analyze all forms of information
|- effective communication   ||
- problem solving |
|- critical thinking ||- investigation
|- collaboration ||- responsible citizenship|
|- understanding the world as a set of related systems
|- using technology
Assessment is an important aspect of all curriculum. Similarities in
journalism and media education assessment include:
- using journals, personal response, observation
- critical response
CROSS CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
Both media education and journalism can also be integrated into other
curriculum such as social studies, health, global studies, math, science.
English and Language Arts
As a language arts teacher you might have your students analyze articles in
different newspapers, news broadcasts and internet news sites. This can help
them understand which ones are written well, objectivity and unbiased. They can
summarize an article using various formats already used in language arts, such
- Persuasive essay similar to Opinion writing
- Thesis statement- Writing a lede/lead
- Feature/Profile writing
Social Studies/Family Studies/Health
Issues ranging from family violence, parenting, human rights violations,
poverty, social issues in their community and social issues in their schools are
discussed daily in schools. Through writing and journalism, students have an
opportunity to express their views on issues that matter to them.
French immersion/ First Language
French immersion & french teachers can draw on the educational resources
available through SNN and its French counterpart, Rédaction de Rescol. You can
encourage your students to develop their language skills by translating from
English to French OR French to English. Select stories from the current issue of
SNN/RDR and assign them to students for translation.
Technology students learn how to research using effective researching
techniques and how to critique websites. They also develop good computer skills,
use software program to write their stories and multimedia equipment and
software in the development of audio/video stories.
If history doesn't seem relevant to your students' lives, ask them to think
of it this way: history is simply the current events of yesterday. And today's
news will be in the history books of the future. Writing about current events
and history can help your students understand how it is influenced by media. Or
deconstruct their history texts and challenge the view of history presented.
Your students can tell others about what is happening around the world by
getting them to trek around the globe through the internet and exploring
interesting places and report on issues facing other countries. They can find
alternative reporting sources that tell a story from another point of view from
the dominant one in their own community/society. Explore indie news sources.
Writing on science issues offers your students a unique perspective on the
study of biology, chemistry, palaeontology, physics, oceanography or technology.
As well they can report on developments in science: computers, medicine, space.
It can also help your students understand why ecological, conservation news is
hard to locate in mainstream press.
Many of the decisions made in the media are based on aesthetic
considerations. The role of art in a mass-media-dominated society is of major
concern for aspiring artists. Art teachers need to assess more than just the
principles of pleasing form when looking at media; they need to consider all of
Students are immersed in rock music and rock videos. While some music
teachers use rock as a resource, many consider it inappropriate for their music
courses. However, there are many valuable connections that can be made through
the comparison of traditional and popular music. The popular-music enables music
teachers to help their students investigate the aesthetics, the value messages,
and the commercial implications of this pervasive form.
Physical and Health Education
Representation of gender, sexuality, violence, and televised sports in the
media are all avenues that can be explored in the classroom.
LINKS TO OTHER LESSON PLANS
LINKS TO MEDIA EDUCATION RESOURCES