Time: 45 mins - 1 hour
Two/three newspaper articles from different media sources;
Media bias section of the Back Up notes.
Choose two or three news websites with different editorial lines (e.g. the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Guardian). Have students visit the front page of each website and study the news section, comparing what stories are reported, which are given higher priority, how the headlines are phrased etc.
For each website, ask students to write three bullet points that they think describe the audience that site is written for.
Find two or more stories in the news covering the same issue. A couple of recent examples are listed below:
Ask students to use FAIR’s (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) guide - replicated in the Media Bias part of the Back Up section. Ask them to re-read the articles and circle or underline sections that they think are examples of bias. In a different colour, have them mark parts of the article that are factual and not subject to bias. Discuss the bias they found and their comparisons between the articles. The questions below might help prompt debate...
Which stories were the most biased? Which information was included in all the articles? What kind of audience do you think each article was written for?
Ask students to find an article in a newspaper or online that they think shows some sort of bias. Ask them to write a short article that tells the other side of the story.
Make it clear that bias does not mean lying, but presenting the same information in a different way.
Time: 45 mins - 1 hour
A range of articles about young people;
or the internet.
Ask students to research stories involving young people in the media (or provide them with a range of articles). Suggest they start with topics like; knife crime, teenage pregnancy, exam results. As them to think about the questions below:
Discuss their findings with the class and the kinds of words associated with young people. Do they feel the way young people have been presented is fair?
Ask them to rewrite one of the stories from their perspective and for an audience of a similar age.
Newsround – How the news gets made: In groups, students take on the roles of a news team and have to make editorial decisions e.g. running order of stories, headlines, pictures. Students can learn how the news takes shape, how editing works and how it can filter news content.
CitizEd: This page has two packs uploaded by teachers, ‘The media’ and ‘The role and significance of the media in society’ that contain detailed unit plans for tackling issues to do with the media, as well as activities for specific lessons.