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How the Media Presents Information

45 min

Essential Question 

  • How have various forms of media provided citizens with political information and influenced the ways in which people participate politically? 

Guiding Questions 

  • What are the different ways the media presents information?  
  • How is political participation influenced by media coverage? 


  • Students will explain how the media presents information can affect how people participate and interact. 


Student Resources: 

Teacher Resources: 

Facilitation Notes 

  • Teachers should choose which forms of media they want students to work with (newspaper, internet news sites, video clips) prior to beginning. Consider paywalls as a possible barrier to students accessing online articles.  
  • Teachers may also want to create a list of political topics for students to work with as local, state, or national topics all provide options at a varying scope.  


  • Ask students to think/record/share a time that they responded in a positive way to story shared by someone they did not know, possibly through TV or they read about or saw online. 

Scaffolding noteStudents are likely to want to share the story itself. Focus on drawing out their reactions/responses. (Donating to a cause, volunteering time, reading more about a topic, asking family about their experiences, sharing or “liking” a post, emotional response, etc.) Keep the conversations within the safe community built in your classroom space.  

  • Transition: Tell students you asked them to think about positive reactions to information that has been shared with them so they could be reminded they are impacted by the way people present information to them. They are likely able to recall a time in which they had a negative reaction as well. When information is provided to us, we often respond to it. Today’s lesson is a little different than this example because it is about the media. However, how the media presents information influences people are likely to respond as well. 


  • Use the coverage, analysis, and commentary styles for the basketball example to introduce students to the ways one event can be presented to audiences through distinctive styles.  

Scaffolding noteThis can be done in the manner most suitable for the class and students, whole group, small group, or individually. Teachers may choose to model parts or whole sections as needed.  

  • Transition: Next, let students know they will be looking at actual news reporting of events to see real examples of coverage, analysis, and commentary but this time centered around politics instead of basketball.  
  • Instruct students to find their own examples of coverage, analysis, and commentary, using the media type determined by the teacher (and predetermined topics.)  

Scaffolding note: Teachers may choose to have students look for one political event/person/happening covered by the three distinctive styles (more challenging) or keep the searches open to a wider range.  

Assess & Reflect 

  • Ask students the following reflection question:
    • Which presentation style most responsibly fulfills the media’s role of providing information that allows citizens to make informed political decisions? Explain your reasoning.
  • Graphic organizers can be collected to be reviewed or assessed as preferred. 
  • Class discussions.  

Student Handouts