WR121 Carlsen Spring 2019: Media Literacy

Why we're here

In this class, students will analyze a popular news site (ie. Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Buzzfeed News, etc.) and examine if it's appropriate and credible enough to use for academic writing. They should be able to determine patterns of bias or reporting quality, and note any other key signals of credibility. The goal of this assignment is to help students become more "digitally literate" when choosing essay sources for college writing, and also to practice close reading of media sites, which is a useful skill in all academic classes moving forward.

Center for Media Literacy Toolkit

Below are five key questions to ask of any piece of media and the core concepts of media literacy that they connect to.  These come from the Center for Media Literacy's MediaLit Kit:

Five Key Questions of Media Literacy

  1. Who created this message?
  2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
  3. How might different people understand this message differently than me?
  4. What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
  5. Why is this message being sent?

Five Core Concepts

  1. All media messages are ‘constructed.’
  2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
  3. Different people experience the same media message differently.
  4. Media have embedded values and points of view.
  5. Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power. 

Fun with Fake News: FACTITIOUS

See how well you can tell real news stories from fake ones: