Topic outline

  • Course Description

    This course provides essential knowledge and skills on media literacy and critical thinking, required for understanding contemporary media and media content, as well as for understanding, interpreting and creating messages and articles that we receive and send via mass media. It contains 20 lessons and employs the blended learning method, an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with classical lecture/classroom type of teaching. The participants will be familiarized with and introduced to the key concepts in the field of media and communication, empowered and encouraged to take a critical, active citizen and socially responsible role towards the contemporary media landscape, and trained to produce articles in English of publishable quality. They will learn about the importance and influence of the media, their pervasiveness, the way that the messages are constricted and how they could be deconstructed, decoded and critically assessed in terms of quality, reliability, objectivity etc. and grasp the wider context in which the media function and the discourse they use to address the users/recipients.

    The course will cover several larger areas of the media universe, each covering a number of different topics: Types of Media: Traditional vs. Social; various meanings of media literacy; 5W + 1H – essential rules of responsible journalism (Who?, What?, When?, Where? and Why?, plus: How?); Find a Villain – How to analyse and critically read media messages?; The World in 30 Minutes: Constructing a TV News Lineup; Representation and Symbolism in the Media; Bias in the Media; Spin Doctors – What is Media Spinning?; "Fake" News and how to recognize them (CRAP test), The Power of Media (a very short history of the mass media, investigative journalism and examples of the most influential cases in history of media – the Watergate scandal, WikiLeaks, Panama papers), several lesson on style and writing in English and how to improve your research, writing and publicizing skills. Participants are most welcome to submit their work to TYM.


  • Lesson 1 - Introduction

    The aim of this course is to offer an introduction to some basic concepts of media literacy. This means understanding the role and power of the media in today’s world, but also understanding how media messages are constructed and, as much as possible, acquiring the skills to make them yourself. In order to get an insight into media literacy, we will cover in more detail these 6 topics:
    What is Media Literacy?
    How to critically read media messages?
    The essence of responsible journalism
    Basic principles of writing
    The elements of style
    Youth activism and the media
    As you can see, some units are more informative and provide brief theoretical explanation of the basic concepts, while others are more practical and oriented towards expressing yourselves.

    LESSON 1 – Introduction
    This lesson introduces the course on media literacy education, that is, the 20 lessons and the blended learning method. 

    Watch a short introductory video to the LESSON 1.

  • Lesson 2 - Media and Communication

    Lesson 2 introduces the notion of the media. You will learn about the concept of the media, the origin and meaning of the word, examples of various media, from traditional to the most current, understand mass and global media, and discuss the role of the media in the process of communication.

    Watch a short introductory video to the LESSON 2.

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      A short video explaining the meaning of the notions media and communication. 


      Prezi presentation of the lecture can be found here.    

      So, what are these media and, more specifically, mass media that are so important today?
      In order to grasp the role of the media, we need first to understand the role of media in the process of communication. The term media comes from a Latin word medium, which means something in between. In the process of communication, media is thus something that mediates, something that connects or transmits messages or participants in communication.
      A classical model of communication, as described by a Russian-born linguist Roman Jakobson, has 2 basic constituents:

    • File icon

      Read the full lesson content from the link above.

    • URL icon

      This short, 5-questions Kahoot quiz 

      contains questions related to the lesson 

      on communication and (mass) media.

  • Lesson 3 - What is Media Literacy?

    This topic introduces the notion of media literacy. You will learn about the distinction between
    the narrow notion of media literacy as the ability to read and write and a wider notion of
    literacy as the possession of certain knowledge and skills. Also, we will discuss the concept of
    functional literacy and what does it mean to be media literate in today’s world.

    Watch a short introductory video to the LESSON 3.

  • Lesson 4 - Critically Reading Media Messages

    Critically reading media messages means to be aware and to think critically about the angle from which that the story is being told.

    Watch a short introductory video to the LESSON 4.

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      Critically reading media messages means to be aware, to think, and to think critically, about this angle that the story is being told. We will illustrate this point by looking at several different media footage of the Syrian crisis.

      Prezi presentation of the lecture can be found here.  

    • File icon

      Read the full lesson content from the link above.

    • Assignment icon
      Opened: Saturday, 16 December 2023, 12:00 AM
      Due: Friday, 16 January 2026, 1:00 AM


      Task: Watch these 2 short clips carefully 



      Now, think about and try to formulate answer to the following questions in the form of a couple of short paragraphs (up to 500 words in total):

      Who would be the 'bad' and who the 'good guys' here?

      Who amongst the officials has been presented, i.e. whose statements were given?

      How do clips from China and Russia look like?

      What do you think about the overall position-standpoint of the clip's author? 

      Does that tell us something about the overall attitude of the given TV network and the audience/society it addresses overall?

  • Lesson 5 - Basic Principles of Journalism

    This lesson introduces the basic principles of journalism.

    Watch a short introductory video to the LESSON 5.

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      Lecture Basic Principles of Journalism introduces the basic things that we expect to see in any good media reporting. Its essence is summarized in the 5 Ws and 1H principle, meaning that your information should contain answers to the following 5 questions: Who, What, Why, When and Where, as well as How.

      Prezi presentation of the lecture can be found here

    • File icon

      Read the full lesson content from the link above.

    • URL icon

      Short Kahoot Quiz on the Basic Principles of Journalism

      Useful Tip - If in doubt, beware of the photos!

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      Concept, Investigation, To Find, Search, Discover

      This presentation summarizes the development of responsible journalism and provides examples of the most influential cases in the history of investigative journalism The Watergate scandal, WikiLeaks, Panama papers...

  • Lesson 6 - Top 10 Rules of Journalism

    This topic offers practical advice on some of the basic principles of good reporting. Based mainly on an engaging blog entry Journalistics of the journalist James Porter and other similar sources, it summarizes these elements into a top 10 tips for good reporting. These 10 practical rules are: Name your sources; Be objective; Offer balance; Get it right; Don’t plagiarize; Don’t believe everything; Keep good records; Don’t write in a stream of consciousness; Find your voice; Never stop learning and have fun.

    Watch a short introductory video to the LESSON 6.

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      This short video lecture offers Top 10 essential rules of journalism or 10 practical tips for good reporting, adapted from the list by Jeremy Porter from the blog Journalistics.


      Prezi presentation of the lecture can be found here

    • File icon

      Read the full lesson content on the link above.

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      Magnifying, Glass, Lens, Discover, Find, Truth, Explore

      Investigative journalism is often defined as a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. 

      Organizations of investigative journalists 

      •IRE ( – for years, it gathers journalists, editors, educators and trainers, as well as student, from USA and worldwide.
      • the Global Investigative Journalism Network has been established in 2003, with members being invited from all national, regional and continental organizations of investigative reporters.

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      Investigative Journalism Sources:

      The Internet offers a number of useful, practical and insightful manuals about investigative journalism, with step-by-step guide on how to find a story, follow it, treat your sources, defining minimal and maximal hypothesis etc. 

      10 steps investigative reporting 0 by Methlal Weerasooriya - issuu   Ten Steps to Investigative Reporting By Lucinda S. Fleeson publication by the International Center for Journalists

      "Broaden the Definition of Investigative Reporting 

      Don’t limit yourself! Investigative reporting includes more than stories that expose corruption and criminal activity. Important and suitable topics include stories that explain how systems work or fail, or reconstruct a complex event. Reporters at many newspapers have found that readers have a great interest in how things work, what is going on, how it may affect ordinary people." 

      Investigative Journalism, From BIRN’s Probe to Porn Vids, A short article by Serbian Award-winning investigative journalist Branko Čečen (in English)