Traditional vs. Emerging Media

Traditional vs. Emerging Media



Media Literacy (Lesson 2)



60 minutes

Traditional vs. Emerging Media

Student Pre-Work

Assigned in Lesson Plan: Online Privacy

Conduct a short interview about life before mobile phones, internet, email, eBooks and other emerging technologies, with someone who is in a different age bracket than you: a parent, grandparent, younger sibling etc.

Ask them:

  • Where do you get your news?
  • Which types of emerging technology do you use most?
  • What is better about your life today as a result of technology? What is worse?
  • Do you think people have changed?
  • Are there some technologies you purposely avoid? Why?


Discussion (10 mins.)

Ask 3-4 students to share their findings from the interview task.

  • Where do your subjects get their news?
  • Which types of emerging technology do they use most?
  • What is better about their life today as a result of technology? What is worse?
  • Do they think people have changed?
  • Are there some technologies that they purposely avoid? Why?

Class Activities

Where Do We Get Our News? (5 mins.)


A 2011 YouGov poll asked British people about which media outlet they trusted most.

  • 64% of adults said TV is the most trusted outlet
  • 55% said websites
  • 58% said radio
  • 38% said newspapers, 25% said magazines
  • Facebook & Twitter had only 15% of people’s trust

Do you think these responses would be different if the same poll was taken this year?

A 2014 poll saw 64% of people trust the authors of Wikipedia entries, over 61% trust in BBC News journalists, and 45% trust in journalists from upmarket newspapers (Times, Telegraph, Guardian etc.)

Do you think this trust in Wikipedia over journalists is well-founded? Why?
How do you stay up-to-date on current events?

The Shift Towards Online Media (10 mins.)


How have publishing & broadcasting moved online?
What are the digital alternatives to traditional mediums?

  • Television:  YouTube, downloadable shows via iTunes, streaming via Netflix
  • Radio: Pandora, Spotify, podcasts
  • Newspapers – blogs, websites, social media
  • Magazines – blogs, websites, Apple Newsstand, Flipboard
  • Books – iBooks, audiobooks
  • Billboards – pay-per-click ads, banner ads
  • Direct Mail – email newsletters, social media

What advantages do online vs. traditional media have over one another?

  • Traditional media seen as more trustworthy
  • Online media can move more quickly
  • Emerging media has a level of flexibility that traditional media doesn’t (up-to-the-minute information, citizen participation)
  • Traditional media often has political leanings/affiliations, where online media can be more independent – this is particularly important in countries with government-controlled media when there is political strife (i.e. the Middle Eastern uprisings)

During a crisis (i.e. pandemic or natural disaster), which outlets would you turn to for information?

Case Study (30 mins.)

Group Research Task

In groups of 3-4, look for information on a major news event that has occurred in the past few years. [Suggestions: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Middle East Conflict/ISIS, 2015 UK Elections]

Find out:

  • How were these events reported on in traditional vs. emerging media?
  • How different was reporting within and outside of the affected country?
  • What concerns are there about accuracy of online information?
  • How did citizens participate in the journalistic process?

Give groups 15 minutes to research, then share their findings with the class.

Closing Response

Free Writing (5 mins)

  • How do you participate in the media cycle?
  • In what ways are you an information producer or consumer?
  • What opportunities exist for citizens to be involved in the creation and distribution of information?




Communication, Media Studies


Media Literacy (Lesson 2)


Key Stage 5, Undergraduate


60 minutes

Curriculum Points:

Pupils and students test their knowledge of digital media and
talk about the role media plays in their lives.

Materials & Preparation

Assign pre-work task in previous class
Students will need access to internet-connected devices in order to conduct research


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