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Looking through Lenses: A Media Literacy Skill: Overview

Media Literacy

Media are interpreted through different lenses. When you turn on the television, check Facebook, or scroll through Twitter, what kinds of media do you see? Do you feel like the advertisements, movie trailers, and photographs you come across are made to fit your interests? How might your opinions differ if you looked at media through a different lens?  

What is a lens?

When we view media using a lens we are using a certain perspective to interpret the source. Lenses allow us to look critically at a piece of media and see what it has to say about different pieces of society. Some lenses we might use to evaluate media could include:




-Socio-Economic status

-Where we live

-What our jobs are

-What culture(s) we belong to

And many more!

Resources for Analyzing Visual Materials

What media types can we analyze with a lens? A few examples


Buy this! Sale here! Advertisements are all around us, from print media to the internet. Often relying on catchy visuals or bold slogans, ads are designed to draw the buyer in, and these days may most often be seen on the internet, rather than newspapers or magazines. 



Similar to advertisements, commercials are designed to make us buy, buy, buy. Whether on TV, YouTube, or the radio, they combine visuals and sound to draw potential shoppers. 


Movie Trailers

Besides word of mouth and print ads, movies need to rely on trailers, sort snippets of their plot and action, to help draw viewers in. Think about a movie trailer you've seen recently. Do you want to go see the movie? How did the trailer persuade you? 


News Story

Ideal news reporting is unbiased, objective, and factual--but networks and newspapers still need to draw in consumers. Where do you get your news? Why did you choose this source? Does it confirm your beliefs or challenge them? 



In the culture of the cell phone camera and online album, we have more ways than ever to share and view photographs. Available photos can show us the current events, community happenings, or far away places, all within a short amount of time. What kind of photographs are we drawn to? What kind do we see without even noticing? 

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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