ACTIVITY: Mainstream and alternative views

Activity: Mainstream and alternative views

The specifics of this activity have been kept deliberately vague. However, I hope by now that you have heard enough about media literacy and the associated issues (to do with ownership, hegemony, individual bias and so on) to be able to compare and critique news stories from different sources. Of course, this will never be a precise science: but remember that the point of textual analysis is to look beneath the content, to consider how and why a message has been communicated, not just what is being communicated.

So please try to look at some examples of reporting both from mainstream TV news sites – UK providers include ITN (, for example, the BBC (go to their ‘Video and Audio’ page), or Sky News – but you are encouraged to find similar sites from your own (or other) countries. And also look at at least one “alternative” version of a story from Indymedia or possibly Yoo Doo. It would be good to try to find the same, or at least a similar, story from each site, but you could also try to consider the general way in which these sites present ‘the news’ as text and image.

How have the news stories been constructed? How is the reader/viewer being directed to think? How are the ‘facts’ presented?

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