You are on page 1of 18

Media analysis unit Semester 1

Year 12 English

Unit Outline


Introduction to media analysis, assessing prior

knowledge and defining key terms (1-2 periods)
Focusing Activity Neutral Chair (1 period)
Investigating media analysis through creation of
media analysis cards. (4 periods)
A test of knowledge regarding topic so far. (1 period)
Learning the skills of language analysis used in
writing essays. (modelling how to do this: breaking
this down, step by step and writing an analysis
together in class) (3-4 periods)
Applying these new skills under SAC conditions (1-2

Board notes: why learning

media analysis is important
Media Analysis is a major component of
study in VCE English.
In fact, media analysis assessment tasks
make up approximately 33% of your final
year 12 result in English.
It is important to try hard in this area of
study because the building blocks for later
success in VCE will be established now in
year 10.
(Ask the following question and
discuss answers as a class) How else
might media analysis skills be of
assistance to you in the real world? Why?

Key terms in media


(note: Write the following titles on the board and discuss what
they might mean before writing up definitions)

Metalanguage: this is the language used to talk about language.

Persuasive language has a wide vocabulary that needs to be learnt.
( Very important!)

Analyse: means to examine critically.

A persuasive text: a text whose main purpose is to persuade. These

texts may include cartoons, photos, letters to the editor, opinion pieces,
editorials, speeches, essays, feature articles and many others.

Persuasive language techniques/strategies: the deliberate ways

language can be used to persuade the reader. There are many
techniques (you could brainstorm some of these now in class).

Point of view: is the position, opinion, belief or conviction the writer

wants the reader to consider, share, agree with or believe in.

Position the reader: means to place the reader in a position of

agreement with the creator of the text.

Focus activity neutral chair

Brainstorm persuasive techniques on board (emotional

appeals, emotive language, evidence, reason and logic,
rhetorical question, repetition, tone, inclusive language,
anecdote, pun, Tone: sarcasm etc,
exaggeration/hyperbole, generalisation, metaphors,)
Introduce this activity which attempts to show how
language is often used to persuade
1 chairperson (has a dilemma and is battling with their
The conscience will be represented by angels and
devils (2 of each)
Angels and devils take it in turn to try to persuade the
chairperson using a technique from the brainstorm. At
the end, the chairperson must decide who was more
persuasive and why.

the basics of writing

language analysis
Notes: Your personal views on the issue are not
relevant and you will be SEVERLY penalised for
expressing them.
When analysing and writing students must be:
thorough, impassionate, balanced and fair.

Students must also learnt to use sophisticated,

formal and appropriate language.

Last, they must discuss how the reader, not

themselves, are positioned by the author.


1. Read the article once through with your

heart and your gut.

2. In the margins, make a note of the Main

Contention you will generally find this at
the start or towards the beginning of the
article often in larger pieces, it is in
slightly larger font at the start of the writing.
The contention can sometimes be complex;
having major and a minor parts to it.

3. In the margins, write down the tone of

the piece and whether that tone

4. In the margins, write down the details

of the piece, including: authors name,
title of the piece, date of publication,
source of publication, and type of text
(ie Letter to the Editor, speech, opinion

5. Now, read it again, but this time with

your head. Using a highlighter,
annotate any persuasive techniques
you find (students are encouraged to
think about which persuasive techniques
are used most frequently and which are
most powerfully implemented.
Rank and chunk ideas you find
6. Start writing!

i. Introduce the issue being discussed by the text XXX has long been a
contentious issue debated in Australian media (This general
introduction is an easy way to get students writing)
ii. Mention the texts details author, title, source, type, date Entering
into this debate on XXXXX in the XXXXXX was XXXXXXX who wrote an
iii. Mention the texts tone Adopting a XXXXX and XXXXX tone, which
later changes to a XXXXX one, .....
iv. Outline the contention ......the author clearly asserts the opinion


You can talk about the general tone of the article but
there is no need to talk about any of the techniques
used Blunt and direct in tone, the author leaves no
room for misapprehension... A good way of linking your
introduction to your 1st body paragraph is to use the
general or introductory tone employed by the author ***


Sentence, Explanation, Evidence and
Effect, Link)
i. Topic Sentence: Begin your body
paragraph by discussing a technique or
strategy the author employs to forward his
arguments. This will be the focus of this
paragraph (You can talk about combinations
here if you like, including tone)


Mr Jenkins gets onto the front

foot in his opinion piece, launching a
tirade of verbal attacks of the
embattled Sports Minister, Mr
Holding. These attacks are sustained

ii. Explanation, evidence and effect (in any order!): You should
include evidence from the article to support what you are saying
but they dont need to be large slabs of words, they can be
shortened substantially to be included in the flow of your writing. **
Your examples should NOT be stand-alone phrases, but should be
incorporated into your writing **

As the bullies thrive so the defamation they are

responsible for spreads like wildfire.

if you still believe then think again warns the author.
the use of inclusive language we must... our goal
reinforces this sense of collective care and responsibility for
She describes it as a rite of passage to normalise it.
In short sentences, she hammers her point of view: It is
exploitative... remorseless... relentless

Also, the way persuasive techniques work in general and the effect
they are specifically having in this text need to be explained.
Eg. Attacks, in general, aim to belittle and denigrate those holding
opposing views and therefore position the reader to dismiss
alternative viewpoints. The authors aggressive stance also create
an aura of authority around their views, thereby intimidating the
reader into siding with their argument.
However, the effect can be different for different types of readers
and students can discuss this.
Eg. Such heavy handed tactics, while persuasive to those inclined
to cheap emotional manipulation, is likely to alienate readers
looking for the debate to be grounded of facts, logic and empirical

iii. Link link back discussion to how these

particular techniques support the authors
contention. Link forward to next idea.

Eg. The reader is likely to agree

which the authors contention
because the use of reason and logic
makes their views appear more

There is no need for a specific conclusion, as such, it is more about the conclusion of the
article and how it is likely to leave the reader feeling.
How did the author conclude the article? Was it effective? Did it position the reader in
a certain way? (remember that there are different kinds of readers.
You can summarise the techniques used to build their case.
Through highly charged language and examples, XXX emphasises the dire necessity

for parents to act. The article concludes with an appeal to the right of every child... to
live in a safe an respectful environment, with which no-one could disagree... Finally,
then, XXX positions the reader not simply to agree with him but to share his desire for
urgent and effective action.
Having drawn us directly into her argument, spoken directly to us, reminded us of our
broader social obligations and our current complicity, she has done quite the reverse of
her concluding statement through her language and her arguments, she has placed us
well and truly on the hook.
Reference to the development of a foundation for informed action concludes the
article on a restrained and authoritative note that would be welcomed by the readers.

The dos of media

Discuss how techniques work together
and combine in order to persuade.
Discuss the effect of strategies on
different kinds of audiences (ie: some may
be sympathetic, others may be alienated)
Use words such as likely.
Ask how the author tries to win your trust.


The donts of media

Dont ever disagree or agree with the
writers arguments. Dont get involved
personally with the issue (only assess there
Do not suggest a better way that the author
could have gone about things.
Dont list or name the persuasive techniques
used without commenting on why the
strategy was used and how the strategies
work or position the reader.
Dont ignore pictures, cartoons or images


Set language analysis

written task