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How to Get the Message Across

Our world is dominated by mass media. TV, the Internet, billboards and posters try to grab our attention all the time, every day. Advertisements, films and news flicker across the screens, often with spectacular pictures and effects. Your attention is worth a lot. But who do you listen to when everyone is shouting out their message?

Getting the message across

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Getting the message across

The trick is to come up with something that stands out and that reaches into everyone’s hearts. Then you have to mix emotions and facts to make a credible impression - thereby creating a presentation that supports the contents of your message. For instance, use happy people if you want to sell successful products.

Watch this pro-life advertisement below and try to figure out some of the techniques being used to persuade Americans to vote against an individual's right to have an abortion.

Pro-life Advertisement

Tasks and Activities

Comprehension

  1. Why are they presenting all these babies?
  2. What are the babies saying and why are they saying it?
  3. What are they saying about God?
  4. Why is the camera sweeping over the posters all the time?
  5. What is the effect of all the close up shots?
  6. How would you describe the background music?
  7. Who is the adult narrator?
  8. What are her alternatives to abortion?
  9. What is said about the organisation Prolife Across America?
  10. Give examples of facts presented in this advertisement.
  11. What is the final message about unborn babies?

Discussion

  1. Would this advertisement have been successful in Norway? State your reasons.
  2. Abortion is a hot topic in US society, but not in Norway. How come?
  3. How do you react to this advertisement? Do you think it gets its message across to Americans or not?

Research

  1. Visit one pro-life website and one pro-choice. How do they present their views? Which do you think is most successful?
  2. Find statistics on people’s attitudes towards abortion in the USA. Are there any differences between regions, ethnicity and age? Search for: polls, abortion, statistics, USA. Make sure that you use impartial information, preferably official statistics. Government agencies and news media are usually reliable. Cross reference your findings, e.g. do a specific search on some of the statistics you find, to see if other web sites turn up the same findings.
    Make sure you state your sources and the exact year the surveys or polls were carried out.

Project

  1. Come up with a topic of your own that is being debated in the English-speaking world. Find out how the various views are presented on the Internet. Make a comparison of two or more web sites and their presentation of the issue. Include at least one other school subject in your work - like social science, science or mathematics.
    Some suggestions: the death penalty, gun control, illegal immigration, internet piracy, media violence, war on terror
  2. Finally, give a presentation in class where you present your findings.
  3. Include a short discussion in class at the end of your presentation.
  4. Finish by a doing an anonymous poll on the issue at hand. Present the results in class.

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