Media & Debates

Lesson Plans

“Media coverage is the very lifeblood of politics because it shapes the perceptions that form the reality on which political action is based. Media do more than depict the political environment; they are the political environment.” -Doris Graber (From Mass Media and American Politics, 2001)

How have evolving technology and the media influenced the political process over time?

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Identify key communication technological developments and their impact on the operation and function of political conventions and elections.
  • Evaluate the impact of the media on the political process.

Common Core Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies this lesson plan addresses

  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
  • Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem. 

Part One: Activator

  • Teacher begins class with a discussion of sources of information for 2012 presidential election.  Possible questions for discussion: What are your sources of information on the presidential candidates, their platforms and policies? How do you evaluate your sources of information?  Is the source reliable and unbiased?  How do you know? Imagine this election was taking place in the 1912 instead of 2012, how would the sources of information be the same?  How would sources of information be different?
  • Teacher informs students this lesson will explore developments in communication technology and the impact of those developments on the evolving role of the media to transition to active student portion of the lesson.

Part Two

  • Students explore the Media and Technology portion of the website and use the graphic organizer provided to identify technological developments and their impact on presidential campaigns and elections.
  • Students use the worldwide web to research additional information on recent media and communication developments and or deepen research on specific campaigns and elections.
  • After identifying relevant advances and dates, students create an “Artifact timeline.” Directions for timeline completion are included on the graphic organizer.
  • Teacher leads a class discussion on the role of the media and technology in the political process after students have completed their media timeline.  Possible questions: Which advance had the greatest impact on the political process?  Why? How would you characterize the role of the media in the political process?  Have advances in communication technology improved the political process?  Do voters have access to more reliable and relevant information? Should the role of the media in the political process change?  Why?  How?



  • Media and Technology Artifact Timeline

Media and Technology Artifact Timeline

After identifying a range of communication technology developments, you will be creating an Artifact Timeline using information from the exploration of the website and additional research, if necessary.

  1. Identify the five advances (and dates) which you feel had the greatest impact on the political process.  Be prepared to defend your choices!
  2. Create an Artifact timeline which includes the technological advance, its impact on the media (two to three sentences) and an image which captures its relevance in political history.  You can create images or use images from the internet.

Common Core standards:
English Language Arts Standards » History/Social Studies » Grades 11-12