Project Overview: The Media Literacy Guide
Create a guide to media literacy to help readers recognize bias in political reporting. Imagine the target audience as peers who are participating in politics for the first time. To vote in an informed way, your peers must navigate the media landscape — television, radio, social media, online articles, and so on — to learn as much as they can about candidates and political issues. In what ways might media try to influence their choices? What pitfalls should they look out for?
Your guide must include:
A detailed explanation of media literacy and how media influence the political behavior of consumers
A demonstration of how multiple “objective” news outlets cover the same issue in different ways
A list of criteria by which readers can identify bias in media and evaluate the neutrality of sources
The nature of your guide depends on the technology available to you, your skillset, and your classroom situation. For example, you may create a booklet or a pamphlet, or an online resource (such as a blog).
Since your target audience is your peers, the information may be presented in an informal way, although it must still be consistent, high quality, inoffensive, and well organized.
Create an outline for your entire media literacy guide. Then draft the portion of your media literacy guide that demonstrates how media can influence the political beliefs and behaviors of consumers. You will submit to your instructor:
1. Create an outline of your entire media guide
The outline must indicate that the required content will appear in your media guide, although you can choose how to organize these topics:
a. A detailed explanation of how media influence the political behavior of consumers
b. A demonstration of how multiple “objective” news outlets cover the same issue in different ways
c. An illustration of how each type of medium has its own capacity to create bias in consumers
d. A list of criteria by which readers can identify bias in media and evaluate the neutrality of sources
2. Expand on these major topics with subtopics and supporting evidence, based on your research. Although you do not have to write the outline in complete sentences, provide enough information about the points you intend to make, and the evidence you intend to use in support of those points, that the instructor will understand your plan.
3. Draft the portion of your media guide that demonstrates how the media influence the political beliefs and behaviors of their consumers. This portion addresses sections b and c, and perhaps parts of section a, under step 1.
a. Use the evidence you gathered during stage 2 to demonstrate how two or more sources cover the same topic in different ways.
b. Demonstrate how the medium itself can influence consumers, also using the evidence you gathered during stage 2.
c. Explain the implications of the evidence you just presented — that is, what it shows about media’s influence.
2. Write several paragraphs of background information:
a. Define media and media literacy in detail and give examples.
b. Emphasize the importance of media literacy in the political landscape.
3. Write a conclusion (at least one paragraph) that reiterates the overall purpose of your guide and echoes the sentiments of the introduction.
a. Add visual aids, such as images, tables, or pull quotes, to illustrate ideas, especially the points you make about how the medium of a source can influence consumers politically.
b. Add signposts, such as section headings, to help readers navigate your guide.
c. Include a works-cited list, endnotes, or footnotes to indicate which sources the information in your guide came from.
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