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Understanding Media: Process and Principles

About This Course

Every day, we are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of media messages.

Some messages are easy to recognize. We know that TV commercials and Internet advertisements are there to sell us products.

We know that movie trailers are made to entice us into theaters.

We look with a critical eye at the ads we see in newspapers and magazines because we know they are trying to persuade us in some way.

Other media messages aren't as clear. This course will teach you to look for and decipher the "hidden persuaders" in those messages.

That's the term Vance Packard, journalist turned social critic, gave to these subliminal media messages in his book of the same name in the 1950s.

While this is nothing new, modern technology and a deeper understanding of the human psyche have made it easier to embed -- and harder to detect -- hidden messages.

Many individuals accept everything on the Internet as factual; they forget that the Internet has no gatekeeper.

Volatile issues -- such as abortion, war and gun control -- have made politics more partisan as they polarize like-minded people into distinct camps. People often accept without question "facts" presented by politicians who share their values.

This course will help you deconstruct and analyze political and social messages. It will also help you understand the sophisticated and subtle means of persuasion marketers are using to sell you their products.

The aim is to make you a critical consumer of various messages so you can make more informed decisions.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Analyze an advertisement and how it attempts to manipulate the viewer
  • Identify types of media message
  • Explain the five principles of media
  • Identify different vehicles for delivering media messages
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of each medium

This course is designed to engage high school students, college students and the general public to become critical media consumers and as a result, good citizens.

Course Instructors

Sherrye Dee Garrett

Sherrye Dee Garrett

Sherrye Dee Garrett, Ed.D., teachers courses at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi on reading disabilities, adolescent literacy and content reading.

Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson, a business analyst for Public Partnerships, LLC, has years of experience in education and journalism.

Training Partner:

Newspaper Association of America Foundation

The Newspaper Association of America Foundation strives to develop engaged and literate citizens in a diverse society. NAAF endeavors to help media companies increase their readership and audience by offering programs that encourage the cultivation of a more diverse work force in the press. The foundation also invests in and supports programs designed to enhance student achievement through newspaper readership and appreciation of the First Amendment.

This $30 course is free thanks to the generous support of The Newspaper Association of America Foundation.