In this 5-hour strategy, students consider how their view of the world is shaped by the news sources they use. Using Adobe Spark Page, they analyze and compare the media they engage with regularly, focusing on aspects like subject matter, perspective, depth and breadth of coverage, and credentials.
Because Spark Page enables students to present their work in thoughtful and visually pleasing ways, this strategy empowers students to both critique their media ecosystem and think carefully about how it shapes their worldview. This strategy may be adapted for use with other Adobe products, such as Adobe InDesign.
Students think through their media consumption habits and create an annotated media diary for themselves identifying where they get the media they consume. (90 minutes)
Students share and discuss their diaries in small groups. (30 minutes)
Students use their annotated diaries and ideas generated in their group discussions to create an Adobe Spark Page reflecting on their media diet. They use these steps to guide them. Students can examine an example here. (90 minutes)
Students return to their groups and share their work with their peers for critique. (30 minutes)
Students revise their pages according to the peer feedback they received. (30 minutes)
Students share and publish their pages.
What does your media diet look like, and how does it affect your view of the world? In this strategy, you’ll reflect on your media consumption habits, think through the advantages and limitations of different media outlets and platforms, and create an Adobe Spark Page to share your observations.
Because Spark Page makes it easy to quickly generate clean and professional-looking web pages, this project asks you to take journal-style reflections and hone them into a thoughtful, visually-appealing final product.
1. We all consume media from a variety of different outlets, sources, platforms, and perspectives: in just one day, we might flip through a newspaper, scroll social media, read an email newsletter, watch the evening news or a movie, play a video game, and read a book, all before falling asleep. (30 minutes)
Make a list of media you consume in a typical day, including:
types of media: newspaper, television, email
platforms: social media, news aggregators, chat servers
producers: publications, journalists, studios, creators, blogs / pages
2. After each entry in your list, note (as applicable): (30 minutes)
Approximately how much time you spend with it.
What kinds of information you get (and don’t get!) from it.
What you use it for (socializing, learning, entertainment, staying in touch with friends).
When you use it (in the morning, when you’re bored, in between classes).
Any other notes that help describe your relationship with it (eg., how it makes you feel).
3. Finally, review your now-lengthy list and think about the design, format, and features of each media source you’ve listed, focusing specifically on how those features shape your engagement and relationship with it. Which features do you use the most, and which ones have the biggest effect on how you engage with - and are engaged by - different media sources? For example: (30 minutes)
Push notifications from news apps
Recommendation and suggestion algorithms on YouTube and TikTok
The immersive, focused attention required by video games
The chyrons and scrolling information feeds on cable news
The ability to switch back and forth between multiple programs on live television
Instagram’s “endless scroll,” Twitter’s “retweet” and Tumblr’s “reblog” functionalities
4. In a small group (3-5 people), discuss your annotated media diet. What sources do you have in common, and which ones are unique to you? Do others use media in similar ways to you, or do you each have your own distinct habits? Do you consume more or less media than others? Which features are most commonly used by your group, and which ones are least? Are there any lacunae or gaps in your media diet as compared to others, or conversely. (30 minutes)
5. Select three to five entries of your annotated media diet - ideally ones that either play a large role in your day-to-day life or which have a particularly interesting or unusual aspect. (90 minutes)
Open Adobe Spark Page and, following the steps below, create a document exploring how you use these media sources, how they shape your thinking about and experience of the world around you, and what role you see them playing in our society. Consider:
Which things do your selections have in common? Are there things which are repeated across more than one, or things which are left out?
How would you describe the “perspective” of each? How do the people who create them see themselves? Do they have features or organizing principles (eg., journalistic ethics; user-generated content; or high production value) that shape the picture of the world they paint?
Are there any gaps in your media diet? Do you feel that your allegiance to one thing (news outlet, media form, or technology) biases your own perspective?
Check out this example for ideas.
As this is a personal reflection document, you should feel free to express your opinions and perspectives - positive or negative, critical or celebratory - as you write. Similarly, it is perfectly acceptable to be ambivalent, uncertain, or conflicted, to ask questions, to think out loud, or to wonder. Your writing can be a space for testing ideas or figuring something out!
6. Returning to your small group, share your page, walking your group members through your selections, ideas, and any questions you might have. As you listen to others share their work, ask questions about the parts which seem to either overlap with or diverge sharply from your perspective, and consider how their answer might influence and nuance your own views. (30 minutes)
7. Based on feedback from your group, make any necessary changes to your page. (60 minutes)
8. Share your Spark Page as directed by your instructor.
Consult the attached rubric to evaluate students' pages.