An important part of understanding the constructedness of media is recognizing that choices are made and that those choices can influence people and society. The decision of what to include and what to leave out is made all the time as media creators struggle to balance competing needs. By enacting the role of news producers and organizing a brief newscast, students experience the process of making the critical choices about what gets aired (or posted) and what is never seen.
Have students feature three top stories in a two minute broadcast.
AHA!: There’s not enough time to tell the whole story!
Grade Level: 6-9
Key Question #1 for Producers: What am I authoring?
Core Concept #1: All media is constructed
Key Question #4 for Consumers: What values, lifestyles and points of view are embedded in or omitted from this message?
Key Question #4 for Producers: Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles and points of view in my content?
Core Concept #4: Media have embedded values and points of view.
Materials: paper and pencils. Access to a stopwatch or timer.
Activity: Place students into small groups so they can work without overhearing the other groups. Ask each group to generate a list of important stories and current events. The list can include local, national or international news, sports, school events, etc. Then ask the team to select the three stories they want to cover in their 2 minute broadcast. Tell them to choose the stories they think their audience will be most interested in (the audience is their classmates). As they draft their scripts, they will need to keep in mind the time limit and should practice to be sure they are on target. Each team can designate a news anchor(s) to broadcast the stories to the class. Designate a class timer to call out “time” when the two minute limit is reached.
One student from each team should explain why their team selected certain stories and certain details and left out others for this particular audience.
Class Reflection: Did multiple teams report the same story? Were there similarities and differences in how they were reported? How do you feel about the choices you made about what to include and what to drop? What insights does this give you about the news you see and hear everyday?
This activity is adapted from CML’s Five Key Questions That Can Change the World.
The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework. Used with permission, ©2002-2014, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com