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GRADE LEVEL: Elementary and middle school TIME: 30-60 minutes MATERIALS: Four types of news media from the same day and The Medium Shapes the Message worksheet (download) PREPARE
  1. Have available or print four copies of four news media types (one copy per group). Possible sources include:
  2. Print copies of The Medium Shapes the Message worksheet, one per student.

<ol>
<li>Break your class into four groups. Give each group a copy of the local newspaper, a printout of each of the other three types of media and The Medium Shapes the Message worksheet.</li>
<li>In groups, students analyze each media  type and complete their worksheets.</li>
</ol>

Compare and contrast students’ findings. Possible prompts include:
<ul>
<li>Which news media that you looked at seems to cover the most stories? The least? Why?</li>
<li>Who do you think the audience of each news source is? How are their demographics similar/different?</li>
<li>In the case of stories that appear in more than one place, how does the coverage differ from one source to the next? Why is it different?</li>
<li>How does the content and layout (content organization) of online news organizations differ from that of print news sources? From social media sources?</li>
<li>Why do these front pages and home pages feature different stories?</li>
<li>Which source is most reliable? Least reliable? Most likely to be the first to have breaking news? How do you know?</li>
<li>What will future media will look like? Will they resemble something today, or go in a totally new direction?</li>
</ul>

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