“The medium is the message” is a quote coined by Marshal McLuhan. It is asserting that various types of media can bring different perspectives and attitude on the same topic. Focusing on this idea, the Grade 10 English class held a small event called the Media Fair last week. Each student decided on a topic they were interested in and researched five text types relating to the topic. The analysis of the attitude and perspective of the text types were made into a poster. The Media Fair was a gallery walk where students walked around classrooms to see posters created by others and ask questions if necessary. During the time I was there, I stopped by three students and discussed different topics. Some of the questions I asked them were:
- Why did you choose your topic?
- What text type is the most effective in conveying perspective or attitude?
- Does the perspective or attitude expressed in text types differ from your initial thought on the topic?
- Has your opinion been swayed or influenced through research?
Their answers were also very intriguing and unique as they gave me a brief idea of how certain text types could quite easily affect and change one’s thoughts on a topic. Below, I gave a description of their posters.
Duncan had McDonald’s as his topic. He found two commercials, poster, movie, and an article that all showed somewhat different attitudes. I thought his choice of text types were interesting and asked him why he chose two commercials instead of another text type. I was very surprised to know that the choice of two commercials were made on purpose to emphasize the contrast between the different approaches taken by the directors. The poster was almost like an infographic, where the majority of the information was based on numeric data and statistics. While the first three media presented a positive, pro-McDonald’s attitude, the movie and article both reflected skeptical views on McDonald’s and the safety of their foods. The movie was a well-known documentary called Supersize Me, where a man had an experiment with his body by ordering McDonald’s every meal for a number of days. Lastly, the article from the Huffington Post claimed that their contribution to obesity problems in the US is significant and cannot be ignored.
Pascal’s topic was a very serious one: racial profiling. His choice of media was two videos, a meme, a song, and a political cartoon. Gladly, all text types were critical of the topic, but in different ways. One of his videos, a scene from Southpark, and the meme were satire, creating a sense of irony. The other video was a social experiment testing how the police reacts to a quarrel between Americans and another between Muslims. I was extremely shocked when I saw that the police reacted to the one between Muslims and arrested them, but did nothing to stop the fight between the Americans. Pascal and I agreed that this video was the most effective text type out of the five, because it was created based on a real-life experiment and directly showed how racial profiling was an ongoing issue around the world. It sent out a very strong message to the viewers to protest against any forms of racial discrimination.
Finally, Hemanth’s topic was the Wilson tennis brand. He analyzed a poster, a commercial, a review column page, a Tweet, and a news article. It seemed as though he primarily focused on the use of celebrity endorsement in a variety of media. In fact, four of his five text types involved a professional tennis player taking part in the advertizement. The poster and commercial, first of all, each featured Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori; both of them are widely known as best tennis players in the world. The news article included names of improving tennis players such as Grigor Dimitrov to make claims that the use of a certain racket affected his performance positively on the court. Twitter presented a new and unique way of conveying perspective and attitude: hashtags. Hemanth chose a Tweet posted by Wilson that celebrated Nishikori’s title at the Barcelona Open. However, the Tweet also consisted of a hashtag, #BurnTheBaseline, which was the slogan used for their newest release of tennis rackets. A similar effect as celebrity endorsement can be attained through this particular use of hashtags. The repetitive use of celebrity endorsement has influenced Hemanth’s impression on the Wilson brand from being a small-scale company to a world-leading enterprise in the tennis equipment marketplace.
In conclusion, I thought this event was very successful, as I was able to observe how others responded to attitudes or perspectives presented in a variety of text types. At the same time, I was fascinated by the diverse range of topics students chose. I would definitely like to see similar events being held again in the future.