The aim of the present teaching materials is to enable pupils to deal intensively with news formats and their content, taking into account a critical attitude towards the medial conveyance of reality. Above all, aspects of content analysis and the understanding of the functions and working methods of news production are taken into account.
To be informed. A basic right.
The media coverage of current affairs and the background to political or economic developments. We find out the current events of the day from the news. They usually give a very neutral overview of what we as viewers should know, at least in the opinion of the editors who compiled the news. Precisely because the news is presented in a very sober and apparently objective way, it is important for children and young people to get an insight into the production conditions in order to understand and classify them.
What is the message?
Another important area is the question of the selection of existing reports by the editorial staff, which then decides what is and what is not important for the viewer from their point of view. This includes both the order of the reports, as viewers are used to seeing the “top reports” at the beginning of a news program, as well as the mix that makes up a news program.
What is important is the proportion of socially and politically relevant facts on the one hand and the more emotional stories on the other, e.g. reports about the offspring in royal houses or the marriage or divorce intentions of stars from the fields of music, film or sport.
The relevance of news programs and reporting varies greatly, both in terms of the various types of information and in terms of the needs of the recipients. A large part of the information conveyed is primarily used for orientation in the world, i.e. the knowledge of which special events are occurring in different parts of the world.
Disasters anywhere in the world rarely have a personal connection to the reality of the audience. It can be different for news from politics and business. When elections take place and who will be running which program, we find out almost exclusively from the media.
Information put to the test
While any person can publish information or positions on the Internet, the content of which is difficult to check for the user, journalists have the function of gatekeeper in serious reporting, who only uses verified sources on the basis of professional research. Nevertheless, the serious reporting and documentation are sometimes subject to errors.
Check the conveyance of reality
Children and adolescents should therefore be informed as much as possible about the procurement of information, the production conditions and the sources of errors in the news and reporting.
The idea that the media could represent a reasonably accurate representation of reality is a utopia. It starts with the fact that there is hardly anything to be found in media reporting about normal events and things that are taken for granted. What matters is what is extraordinary, what goes wrong, the catastrophe, the accident, the crisis, the violation of the norm.