American Sociological Association

Analyzing the Social Construction of Media Claims: Enhancing Media Literacy in Social Problems Classes

Recent research has called on scholars to develop pedagogical interventions to address issues of media literacy. This teaching note answers that call by describing a media literacy project designed for use in social problems classes. The project acquaints students to the constructionist approach to social problems and the method of content analysis. Guided by the principles of scaffolding, the note discusses how students are guided through a series of readings, assignments, and activities that enables them to analyze how social problems are portrayed in news media. Analysis of student papers and comments reveals an increased understanding of the rhetorical strategies that are commonplace in media coverage of social problems. While designed for social problems, the project can be adjusted and modified for use in other sociology courses.


Todd K. Platts





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