Part 2 – Language and Mass Communication

Today, media and mass communication dominate our everyday lives to an extent not seen before in history. We are constantly exposed to messages and techniques used in TV, news reporting, advertising, radio shows and the Internet. This part of the course is designed to help you become a more critical consumer of media. The learning outcomes include:

  1. Examine different forms of communication within the media
  2. Show an awareness of the potential for educational, political or ideological influence of the media
  3. Show the way mass media use language and image to inform, persuade or entertain

UNIT 1 – “FAIR AND BALANCED?” News reporting and bias in the media

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Session 1 – “Media Manipulation” Media bias
In the first lesson, we will define media, bias, agenda, and ‘manufactured consent’ before analysing connotative meanings of words to identify subtle bias in news reporting.

Session 2 – “If it Bleeds, it Leads!” Newsworthiness
Today we look at attributes that make a story ‘fit’ for publication or broadcasting, such as relevance, extraordinariness and sensationalism. We will also consider information biases as well as context.

Session 3 – Linguistic Devices in News Reporting
Today we learn about emotive language, euphemisms and vague language. Such linguistic devices are often used in news reporting and can indicate the author’s attitude towards the subject matter (tone) as well as potential bias.

Session 4 – Tabloids and Sensationalism
In this lesson we explore the formatting and stylistic features of tabloid news reporting, contrasting these with those of traditional broadsheet newspapers.

Session 5 – Technology and News Media
How is changing technology influencing the way the news is chosen, covered, and communicated? In this two-part lesson, we examine the impact of technology on traditional news media and see the influence it is having on the content and style of news reporting.

Session 6 – “Media Manipulations!” – Unit Summary
In our final lesson, we will synthesise everything we have learned so far and apply it to an in-depth analysis of a piece of news reporting. We will also produce another paper 1 essay.

UNIT 2 – “THE POWER OF PERSUASION” Advertising and propaganda – techniques and effects

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Session 1 – Amazing Ads!
We introduce the unit by looking at two advertisements that do more than simply try to sell products, one using humour and the other narrative techniques.

Session 2 – Analysing Advertisements
We will dig a little deeper and learn about specific persuasive techniques in advertisements. Get those Quizlet vocabulary sets ready!

Session 3 – Targeted Advertisements and Demographics
Today we learn how advertisers make broad generalisations about big ‘categories’ of people to sell us products, services and ideas.

Session 4 – Ads for Change and Protest
This lesson is all about counter-advertising: a category of ads that bend or break traditional rules to persuade the audience. We will examine anti-ads, philanthropic ads, culture jamming, parody and pastiche, and guerilla advertising.

Session 5 – Political Persuasion – Ads
As if you haven’t had enough of these already! Let’s learn how political campaigns put together positive and negative political ads.

Session 6 – Political Persuasion – Cartoons
Political (or editorial) cartoons have the power to make us laugh and also change our opinions about people, events and big ideas. Today we learn some of the techniques they use in our own analysis of a political cartoon.

Session 7 – Wartime Propaganda
No doubt you have seen some of the famous wartime propaganda posters of the past century. Today, we learn about some propaganda techniques that were used in these posters and, considering socio-historical context, consider why they might have been successful in shaping public opinion.

Session 8 – Written Task #1

UNIT 3 – “THE ART OF PUBLIC SPEAKING” Rhetoric and public speaking techniques


Session 1 – Rhetoric
We introduce the final language unit by looking at three essential elements of public speaking – pathos, ethos and logos.

Session 2 – Persuasive techniques in speeches
Stylistic devices do not just add flair to a speech, they help convey the argument. Today we learn a range of techniques and practise identifying them and analysing their effect in an example speech.

Session 3 – Famous speeches of history
Rhetoric is a contextual use of language that changes hearts and minds. How many speeches have changed the course of history? Today, we divide up some famous speeches from the past, analyse them, and investigate the impact they have had on the world.



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