Period 5: Working period
IMAGE: Studies of Big Media
You had decided to do a study task about Big Media in Europe, a topic within the subject “Contemporary Europe”. Every day, you were bombarded by the media: Catching the news on your phone on your way to work, watching TV in the evening, headlines and advertisements grabbing your attention.
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Who decided what Europeans knew about what was going on in the world? What were the sources of information? You had heard about Rupert Murdoch – the Australian-American media tycoon, whose global corporation owned large media interests in the United Kingdom. What did it mean for a country to have one company controlling large swathes of the public media, with the sole interest of earning profit for its shareholders? You wanted to find out more.
You would do it as a common study task in the team To prepare the task, you had made a list of different media that you would investigate; local, national – from the country where you came from and the country where you were staying now, as well as European media such as Euronews, and global media such as BBC and CNN: You had picked TV channels, newspapers, Internet news portals and radio stations.
You divided the different media among each other, together with several books on the subject. During the week, you would follow your chosen media and read and research individually and in smaller groups. And then you would meet for one day in the weekend to present, discuss and conclude.
It seemed straightforward enough. That afternoon, back from work, you sat down in front of the computer and logged on to the Internet. But then you got lost. Every small article or film raised a new question. You jumped from one page to the other, witnessing how different media presented news in wildly different ways.
One Internet blog said that the climate demonstration numbered 10,000 people, while according to BBC, there were only 2,000. One source declaimed Julian Assange as a dangerous rapist and terrorist, while another hailed him for his fight for democracy and free media. It was like drowning in an ocean of information.
Several of your teammates had the same feeling. Some complained that you did not have enough time to cover this huge topic. But then you agreed that you had to focus on the product. It was easy to surf around the Internet forever, but now it was time to zoom in and conclude, each on their particular task. That helped. You prepared a small sketch on how different media presented the same news, with explanations in between about who controlled each of the media in question and how it was organised.
A common conclusion
When you met Sunday morning, you had a lot to explain and tell each other about. There were posters, plays, presentations and even a couple of songs. You presented, asked questions and discussed, and tried to come up with some main conclusions. You ended up becoming much wiser about how the media in Europe is organised, the different interests it serves, including its global connections, and you also got some insight into how people had organised to create alternative kinds of media in order to get their voice heard.
You felt like you had been a part of all the groups, and that you had read all the different material, and not only your small part. The discussions about the media continued late into the night before you finally called it a day.
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