do you see?"
Theme I & M
They say a good picture is worth a thousand
• The perpetuation of stereotypes
and prejudice through the media.
• The use and misuse of images to
provide information and to evoke emotive responses.
• To explore how pictures are used
in the press.
• To develop skills of critical analysis.
• Collect 5 or 6 pictures from magazines
and newspapers and mount each one on a separate large sheet
• Strips of paper, pens, glue.
• Pins or tape to attach pictures
to the walls.
• Pin or tape the pictures on a wall.
• Give participants strips of plain
paper and ask them to look at each picture in turn and then
to write two alternative headlines, one positive and one
negative, on separate slips of paper.
• When everyone is ready stick the
headlines under the pictures.
• Compare the headlines.
Debriefing and evaluation
Talk about what happened in the activity
and what people learned.
• How many different interpretations
were there of each picture?
• Did different people see different
things in the same picture?
• When you read the papers or magazines,
which do you look at first the captions or pictures?
• To what extent do pictures show
the truth of what happened in a situation?
• How do editors use pictures to
convey information, arouse emotions, provoke sympathy etc?
Tips for the facilitator
Try to find pictures that can be interpreted
in different ways. For example, a picture of a traveller's
site with 10 pitches. One person may only 'see' the rubbish
left behind on two pitches while another person may 'see'
8 clean ones.
Suggestions for follow up
Be more aware of how pictures are used in
papers, in advertising and in charity appeals. Set the group
a challenge to see who can find the picture which has been
used in the most positive way and another which has been
used in the most misleading way.
Having looked at pictures used in the press
you may like to explore how journalists report the news
by trying it out for yourself in 'Making
You could also look at the activity, 'Front
page' in Compass. This is a simulation of a group
of journalists who are preparing a "reader-grabbing"
front page for their paper.