DURATION: 3 hours
- Case study: news reporting
- The power of the visual
- Representation of disasters
- Representation of gender
After completing this unit, teachers will be able to:
- Analyze representations in news coverage of particular events
- Examine news reporting that offers alternative representations to those found in the mainstream media
- Assess the impact of representations on the audience and on the subject being portrayed
- Analyze representations of gender in media and information systems
PEDAGOGICAL APPROACHES and ACTIVITIES
- Because of our dependence on visual media, some media critics have expressed concern about how certain events, in particular disasters, are presented in the media. Examine media coverage of current events and issues and assess to what extent these concerns are valid. Discuss reactions to images of people personally affected by tragedy or disaster. Research and reflect on the strategies that are used by journalists working in mainstream and alternative media to depict the emotional impact of events while maintaining people’s privacy and dignity.
- Research and analyze the news coverage of a major event such as the earthquake in Haiti, the Asian tsunami, or the genocide in Rwanda. This case study should focus on the images from news coverage and the representations of people and issues connected to these events. Teachers can survey the Internet to locate the images that appeared in the mainstream media coverage of these events. The following questions can be used to analyze the coverage and the images in detail:
- Describe what was represented on television and in newspaper coverage. Identify the images that were used most often. Examine how these representations are constructed, considering the use of camera angles, the composition of a photograph, types of shots, who or what is shown in the footage/photograph and who or what is excluded
- What message is conveyed through the use of these images? What story do the images tell? Assess the potential of these images to become iconic. What impact might these images have on audiences? Consider the effect of the images on the viewer’s understanding of, or relationship to, the subject
- Discuss whether or not information about the event that doesn’t exist in images will be remembered. Explore the power of images to ‘obliterate’ other information not contained in visual form. What are the implications of this for an informed citizenship?