The Role of Media in Elections:
Helping Students Understand Media’s Influence

by Frank Baker, media educator
(Workshops available; contact me)


Teaching Suggestion:The Recognition of Advertising Propaganda Techniques

Collect campaign ads from different candidates. Review their advertising propaganda techniques, such as glittering generalities, testimonials, and the “bandwagon” and “plain folks” approaches. Which techniques can students recognize in campaign ads? Who is the target audience? Is the advertisement effective? Why or why not? Using clippings from newspapers (cartoons, headlines, articles, photos), create original campaign ads and have the class analyze each product. What propaganda techniques were used? To whom will this ad appeal and why? How could the ad be improved?

Encourage students to explore advertising propaganda techniques with their family members, and to determine when and where these messages are most prevalent (i.e., at what times on television, and in what sections of the newspaper)?

Source: Using newspapers to teach about the election: a lesson plan. Social Education, (NCSS), September 2002

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