The following activity is designed to help develop students’ digital media literacy skills. Media literacy is a crucial component to developing students critical thinking skills in an increasingly digitized world. The now-common phrase “fake news” has proliferated in popular culture and has increased the need to guide students as they decipher whether information on social media is credible or not and how it can be used to inform or deliberately deceive the reader.
We suggest a group brainstorming activity, through teacher guidance, on media biases for 15-20 minutes, followed by an article analysis (25-30 minutes).
Write the words BIAS and PREJUDICE on the board. In small groups, ask students to brainstorm on the meaning of the individual words and come up with synonyms. They can also give examples.
Deciphering Media Bias:
Media can have ideological messages with social or political repercussions. Therefore, biased media can have a significant impact.
How can this manifest itself in the news? Ask students to brainstorm.
Media bias repercussions
Ask students to give examples of how biased media can affect people’s thinking or have grave social consequences. Example: The news is used to inform people about what is going on in the world and it should be accurate because it can form people’s opinions of their governments and/or societies, influencing their vote. This can impact people’s choices and behaviours daily. We expect journalism to be conscious of this- is this realistic?
Print out copies of one article or give students the choice.
Macdonald, Neil. “OPINION | Were the Blood and Treasure Canada Spent in Afghanistan Worth It? Ask a Shattered Soldier: Opinion | CBC News.” CBC News, CBC/Radio Canada, 11 Sept. 2017, www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/unintended-consequences-afghanistan-1.4281066.
Tsalikis, Catherine. “Not for Nothing: The Fight to Improve Human and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan.” Open Canada, 28 July 2016, www.opencanada.org/features/not-nothing-fight-improve-human-and-womens-rights-afghanistan/.
Provide students with a copy of the student guide below and have students work on it individually. The activity can be collected for marking purposes.
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