What is the message?

Media – Deconstruction


− To analyse stereotypes and prejudices transmitted through images and a video

− To deconstruct videos and songs used by the Media, in order to understand in what way the inherent messages affect and influence us

− To foster curiosity and open-minded

− To develop skills of critical analysis


Expected Outcomes

In the end of the sessions the participants will be able:

− To understand how our vision of the facts can be conditioned from the angle that was chosen or the lens that was used

− To perceive the message that is hidden in songs’ lyrics and to have a more accurate critical think about what is transmitted by the media


Target group



Number of participants: 12 – 20 people



(1 - very easy, 5 - very difficult)

Degree of expertise needed - 3

The amount of work to prepare and implement the scenario - 4

Relative overall cost predicted - 1



2h 30 min


Room with capacity for 20 persons

Chairs (one per persons) disposed at U shape

Two tables for the supporting materials



Computers/laptops with Internet access


Sound columns

Pages or apps that make word clouds from texts: http://tagcrowd.com, www.wordle.net or http://www.wordclouds.com.

Files with lyrics (to be choose by the facilitator according to the stereotypes to be addressed or internet connection for the participants choose the songs according their preferences). The songs’ lyrics can be found in the following links: http://www.metrolyrics.com; http://www.azlyrics.com

Paper; pens



For the Introduction Game the facilitator has to collect a set of images (about 10 more than the number of participants) - magazine clippings.

For the activity “Test your prejudice” the facilitator has to bring photos from newspapers or magazines that induces to a specific point of view, normally stereotyped, and also the same photos made by a different point of view (wider angle).

For the exercise “What kind of message do you listen?” if the facilitator has to point out specific stereotypes (gender, racism, social status, religion, etc.) he/she has to bring files with songs and lyrics related to these topics. Another way of conducting this session is to allow the participants to choose lyrics and songs of their preference and then help them to extract the inner messages of it. In this case, the facilitator doesn’t need to prepare anything. The facilitator can also use the lyrics provided in Annex 4.

For the timekeeping she/he should have a clock or a mobile phone.




Introduction Game for presenting the facilitator and each participant: “What am I through an image?” (45 min)

- At the beginning of the session the facilitator disposes the images (previously collected) on the floor inside the circle of chairs.

- The facilitator asks the participants to choose an image with which they identify themselves, that has something to do with them. Each participant picks up an image.

- One by one the participants introduce themselves: they say their name, age, place where they live, interests/hobbies and why they chose that image, what that image has to do with them.



The facilitator explain that the session will have two distinct exercises: the first one is about how to read a news and understand that we are led to think in a certain way, the second one is about paying attention to the lyrics of the songs in order to understand the message that is passed and thus emphasize specific values and ways of life. Although the two exercises are distinct, with no connection between them, the common denominator is the search for the true meaning, the inherent message.


Exercise “Test your prejudice” (30 min)

1. The facilitator forms 4 groups and gives to the groups the Parts A of the Annex 1 and 2.

2. Each group look at the images and reads the text about the images (Part A of the Annex 1 – “The assault”) and will discuss the message that it passes. Also each group watches the video and the text that accompanies it (Part A of the Annex 2 – “The Red Cross aid”) and discuss what they have seen in the video. Then each group writes down, on a sheet, their conclusions. (15 min)

3. While the work groups is concluded, the facilitator gives to the groups the Parts B of the Annexes 1 and Annex 2, where it is explained “what really happened” (The contextualization of the news) and shows the images in the remaining annexes.

4. The facilitator guides a discussion about how we are easily mislead by the media and how distorted news have a negative impact in society, leading to the rise of prejudice, anger, xenophobia and anger in our communities. He/she also mentioned that some photos in newspapers also induces in error because they are made from a narrow angle or a perspective that does not correspond to the reality.


Exercise “What message do you listen?” (30 min)

This activity is based in on the fact that songs and videoclips, spread by the media, use and abuse of certain words to emphasize values and specific perspectives of life. To analyze songs’ lyrics that are more listen by the youngsters reveal what values, lifestyles and points of view are transmitted - and the ones that are absent - in these messages.

1. The facilitator explains this idea to the participants.

2. The facilitator distributes the songs’ lyrics previously prepared or let the participants choose songs (with the respective lyrics) of their preferences. The song lyrics can be found in the following links: http://www.metrolyrics.com; http://www.azlyrics.com;

3. Then the facilitator explain how the sites/apps of words’ clouds work. The participants go to the site/app of words’ clouds and paste the songs’ lyrics into it.

4. With the support of the facilitator the participants analyse the meanings of the most repeated words, inside the song. What values/ideas they transmit?



The facilitators and the participants reflect, in plenary, on the results of the activities and make explicit the obtained learnings. (30 min)

The group reflects on how we are exposed daily, and without realizing it, to the values and perspectives of life diffused by the media, and how this often influences the way we think, talk, dress, act, and relate to one another. The facilitator explains that often, when we try to follow a certain ideal (of beauty, of life, of behavior) we experience frustrations and despair. It is important to be aware of this fact and do not blindly follow those values and standards.


Support tools

− Attendance list;

− Evaluation exercise: The 5 fingers of a hand: (15 min)

− Thumb - what I considered cool?

− Forefinger: what I point out (for good or for bad)?

− Middle finger: what I considered bad?

− Ring finger: my relation with the group of participants?

− Little finger: what was not enough?



Exercise “What messages do you listen every day?” from the handbook

Oliveira, S and Caetano, R., (2017). Literacia para os Media e Cidadania Global: Caixa de Ferramentas (Literacy for the Media and Global Citizenship: Toolbox)., CIDAC e PAR, Lisboa.


Ideas for action

For the introducion game, to avoid clutter in the room, you can use the images provided in Annex Introduction. Ask participants to choose one picture, with which they identify themselves, that has something to do with them. When the work is done, one by one the participants introduce themselves: they say their name, age, place where they live, interests/hobbies and why they chose that image, what that image has to do with them. In the end of the activity we will be able to see, how the same image can have different meanings depending on the person.

To challenge the participants to read different sources of news in order to understand the real facts.

To challenge the participants to show the word’s clouds tool to their friends and experiment it with other songs’ lyrics.



Annex Introduction

Annex 1: The assault phenomenon

Annex 2: The Red Cross aid

Annex 3a: Images

Annex 3b: Images

Annex 3c: Images

Annex 3d: Images

Annex 4: Song’s lyrics and words’ clouds


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