Understanding the mediated message
We create messages for a specific audience and follow our interests
15-18 years old, high school students
Groups of 4-5 students
WOW priority topics covered:
- Communication skills
- Media literacy
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to learn how to:
Create media content for different audiences / target groups;
Structure and give information according to their role, position and interest;
Analyze the mediated message considering the context;
Recognize the point where the information gets distorted;
role-playing, facilitated discussions
Place / Environment
A room that allows dividing a group into smaller, independent groups or several rooms
Tools / Materials / Resources
Printed materials, paper, pens
Step by step description of the activity / content
The group is divided into several four person groups, in which each assumes a different role. The scenario context is a crisis situation on the green ship: the desalinating machine breaks down, leaving the inhabitants of the ship with limited resources of potable water and in the impossibility of filtering the marine water.
The roles: the ship’s captain, the PR officer, the mechanic in charge with the desalinating machine, and a reporter.
Each trainee receives a piece of paper containing the information that their character knows and a statement about their particular interest (ANNEX 1). This information is initially know only to the trainee fulfilling the particular role, but they may share it with the others according to their particular interests and the way they choose to protect them.
The ship’s captain knows the implications of the incident and is aware of the consequences that may occur. Their interest is to keep panic at a minimum, so that the image and the value of the green ship take as small of a fall as possible.
The mechanic knows what caused the accident, how big the damage is, and an estimate of how long it will take to fix the machine. Their interest is to solve the problem as soon as possible.
The PR officer only knows what the captain tells them, and their interest is to maintain a clean image of the green ship project.
The reporter gets their information from whoever they decide to interview, and their interest is to pass it on to the masses.
The trainees should take a few minutes to study their roles, after which, the reporter will speak to each of them, trying to find out what is going on, and then write a short piece of news about the event. Each character needs to act according to the instructions received (ANNEX 1) in order to fulfil their tasks.
Each stakeholder will give different priorities to the various interests that are at hand. There is little chance that everyone will be able to protect their interests in the end, because each individual, even if not explicitly stated, has conflicting interests of their own. In addition to the interests their job entails, they probably also have a natural interest in behaving truthfully and in the safety of everyone.
A discussion on the distortion of the message then begins by comparing the information presented in the news to the information that the company head/PR representative had, the trainer facilitating a discussion around how the interest of each stakeholder distorts the factual information.
Assessment & Evaluation
The assessment is done during the final discussion, as the trainer ask questions to the group about how they understand the relationships between the message and the stakeholders.