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The eye of the beholder: A media literacy lesson plan


How does the news media impact how we perceive an election? Can news coverage change our opinions of a candidate?


Subject: Language Arts, Civics
Grade: 9-12

Brief description
Students explore the impact the news media have on shaping perceptions and opinions in general and in their coverage of the presidential campaign.



  • examine media perspective of campaign coverage.
  • explore different effects of news angle, bias, and slant.
  • recognize "fact versus opinion" in news coverage.
  • analyze the difference between "reality" and "perception."
  • explore tenets of journalistic ethics.


media, literacy, campaign, election

Materials needed

paper, pencils, a variety of student-provided news publications

Lesson plan

The Eye of the Beholder [archived copy] unit guides students on an exploration of the impact the news media have on shaping our perceptions of events. Students begin the unit by discussing and writing an article about a simulated school event. Students read selected news stories, discuss elements of news stories, and bring in newspapers and magazines for class use. One extended option invites students to follow the media coverage of a presidential campaign, including issues that receive regular reporting and how the reporting presents the candidates.


Suggested point values for written activities are included in the "procedures" sections of the unit. Assess the extended projects as a major grade, looking at the criteria of obvious preparation, validity of examples, long-term effort, and effective presentation.

Lesson plan source

The American President

Submitted by

Lois Lewis


Updated 03/13/2016