Media Ownership

Monitor the differences between state-controlled (and/or state-owned) media and editorially independent or private media

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  • Class project: Find two different independent news outlets and two that are owned/controlled by the government or by specific political parties. Compare these 4 news outlets news stories for 3 days and make a grid of what stories each outlet covers. You might want to keep track of such aspects of the coverage as how prominent each news outlet features each story (is the story at the top of the news or on the front page or is it at the end of the newscast or buried deep within the newspaper?) and track as well the length of each story (is the story long or short?)

➢ Do the news outlets cover the same stories? If not, what might account for the difference in stories?
➢ For those stories that are the same, are the same facts presented—and in the same order? Are the same people (or kinds of people) interviewed?
➢ What conclusions can you draw from your comparisons? Is there a difference in the kind of news you are likely to get from state or party-controlled media versus private/independent media? What are those differences, if there are any? Is one kind of media more trustworthy? Why? Are you more likely to get details in one kind of media? Is one kind of media more sensational? Come up with as many differences and similarities as you can.

  • Guest speaker (as appropriate): Ask a person (or people) in your community who remembers a time when all the media were controlled by the state to come talk to your class. First learn a little of the background history. Then ask the person how the media were affected by the government’s control.  How was the public also affected?