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Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas
for Reading Lessons...
Reading: Viewpoints and
To identify fact from opinion in various types of media. To demonstrate
awareness that media can be biased or show things out of context. To analyse
readings to establish fact or opinions and to realise that there are
cultural differences between media in different countries.
What does “Media”
mean? ‘Media' is the Latin plural of
'medium', meaning the means by which something is communicated. Common
examples of media are Television, Radio and Newspapers.
Advertising, Music, Posters, Books, Magazines, Theatre, Cinema etc. are also
types of media - methods for reaching many people with lots of information.
Vocabulary associated with media:
Read the following article and discuss in groups:
"Current Media Issues:"
Many Americans are disturbed by the amount of violence their children see on
television. In response to citizens' complaints and pressure from Congress,
the four major TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox), agreed in 1993 to
inform parents of violent content at the beginning of a program, and cable
networks have agreed to give similar warnings. In 1996, the commercial and
cable networks went a step further and established a rating system, based on
the amount of violence, sexual content, and/or profane language that a
program contains. A symbol indicating the show's rating appears on the
television screen at the beginning of, and intermittently during, the
Such voluntary measures seem preferable to government regulation of
programming content, which would probably violate the First Amendment.
Another possible solution to the problem is technological. Beginning in 1998
new television sets sold in the United States will be equipped with a
"V-chip," a device that will enable parents to block out programs
they would rather their children not see.
Similar complaints have been voiced about the words and images accessible on
computers. Congress recently passed a law attempting to keep indecent
language or pictures from being transmitted through cyberspace, but a
federal court struck it down as unconstitutional. If this problem has a
solution, it probably lies either in close parental supervision of
children's time on the computer or the development of a technological
barrier to use of certain computer functions.
Each group will be given an English magazine. Look at and read the magazine,
discussing the style of writing and the design of the magazine with your
How does it compare
to Chinese magazines?
Is the magazine for
men or women? Or both?
What age group is
the magazine intended for?
Read one short
article – what is your opinion of the writing style used? (formal /
Additional Information about Media:
There are five free television channels in Britain (BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel
4 and Channel 5). There are also satellite and cable channels paid for by
subscription. BBC television has no adverts, it is funded by a licence fee.
All other channels have advertising.
The largest satellite broadcaster is BskyB (British Sky Broadcasting).
The BBC is the one of the worlds largest media organisations, providing five
national radio networks, 39 local radio stations and World Service (radio
and television) in addition to its two TV services. Its main source of
income is the licence fee, although it is having to become increasingly
commercial, for instance through the sale of programmes, merchandise and
Improved technology is leading to pay-per-view television being linked with
phone lines, radio, the Internet, and interactive opportunities such as home
shopping and banking.
From the 1950's to 1980's three privately owned television networks offered
free programs financed by commercials, they were NBC, CBS, and ABC -
controlling 90% of the TV market. Since the 1980's there has been an
increase in pay cable TV transmitted by satellite. Among the new cable
channels were several that show movies 24 hours a day, channels such as MTV,
which shows music videos, and many news and entertainment channels.
A fourth major commercial network, FOX, has expanded quickly, broadcasting
local and national shows.
There are over 300 public television stations across the United States, each
of which is independent and serves its community's interests. But the
stations are united by such national entities as the Public Broadcasting
Service, PBS, which supplies programming. American taxpayers provide partial
funding for public television.
Television shows are divided up into different times of day: Daytime,
Primetime and Weekends.
expansion of FM radio, which has better sound quality but a more limited
signal range than AM, led to a split in radio programming in the 1970s and
1980s. FM came to dominate the music side of programming, while AM has
shifted mainly to all-news and talk formats.
Developed over the past 25 years, talk radio features a host, a celebrity or
an expert on some subject, and the opportunity for listeners to call in and
ask questions or express opinions on the air.
85% of people in Britain today listen regularly to the radio. The sector
which attracts the largest audience is independent local radio, broadcasting
to young people in a largely music format.
British Newspapers (“The Press”):
More daily newspapers, national and regional, are sold for every person in
Britain than in most other developed countries. On an average day, nearly 60
percent of people over the age of 15 read a national morning paper and over
65 percent read a Sunday newspaper. There are 10 national morning daily
newspapers, 9 Sundays, about 1,400 regional and local newspaper titles, and
over 6,500 periodical publications on sale. There is no state control or
There are two types of newspaper, Tabloid and Broadsheet. Tabloids dominate
the market; they provide a mainly entertainment and sports news, usually in
a sensational or scandalous way, they use their own interpretation of
current news issues. The Sun is bought by around 4 million people every day,
four times the number who buy the highest selling broadsheet paper, the
Daily Telegraph. Middle-range papers (Mail and Express) claim about a
quarter of readers, with 'quality' newspapers (The Times, Guardian,
Independent etc) less than 20% .
In addition to national newspapers, there are also 43 million local or
regional papers bought or delivered free to homes in Britain every week.
In 1990 the press celebrated its 300th anniversary as an American
institution. In 1734 the governor of New York charged John Peter Zenger,
publisher of the New York Weekly Journal, with seditious libel. Zenger's
lawyer, Alexander Hamilton, argued that "the truth of the facts"
was reason enough to print a story. In a decision bolstering freedom of the
press, the jury acquitted Zenger.
The "New York Tribune" began in 1841, and it quickly became the
nation's most influential newspaper. Early in the 20th century, newspaper
editors realized that the best way to attract readers was to give them all
sides of a story, without bias. This standard of objective reporting is
today one of American journalism's most important traditions.