Attracting Audiences

Identify how the news media attract an audience

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Which type of news stories, headlines, photographs, video, audio, etc. attract the largest audiences? Do news outlets always want the largest audience?

  • Class discussion: What news outlets in your region attract the largest audiences? Why? Who do the news outlets appeal to?

  • Student exercise: Pick a local news organization. You’ve been hired to attract more young people as an audience to that newspaper, radio program, TV station, etc. What would you do?

  • Student exercise: As a class select a story in the news. Divide the class into four parts.
    1. Have one part of the class come up with three headlines for the story that emphasize the positive elements on the story.

    2. Have the second part of the class come up with three headlines that are as neutral as possible about the news story.

    3. Have the third part of the class come up with three headlines that put a negative light on the story’s events.

    4. Have the fourth part of the class come up with three headlines that sensationalize the story—that dramatize some element in the story.
  • Class discussion: How might these different headlines make you feel differently about the story—even if the story itself is not changed? How might you rewrite the story itself to be more positive, more neutral, more negative or more sensational?