Five thousand years ago, the Babylonians hung symbols over their shop doors depicting what kind of trade went on inside and, voila, the first advertisements were born. Advertising may have become more prevalent over the years, but wherever communities and commerce exit, so too does advertising.
Despite what people say, advertisers know that language (and images) work at both the conscious and the unconscious level, and a person unaware of advertising’s claim on him or her is the person least well equipped to resist its insidious attack, no matter how forthright they may sound. Therefore, the purpose of a classroom study of advertising is to raise the level of awareness about the persuasive techniques used in ads.
In 1999, Children Now, a California-based organization that examines the impact of media on children and youth, released a report entitled Boys to Men: Media Messages About Masculinity (see below for full article). The report argues that the media’s portrayal of men tends to reinforce men’s social dominance. The report observes that: the majority of male characters in media are heterosexual; male characters are more often associated with the public sphere of work, rather than the private sphere of the home; non-white male characters are more likely to experience personal problems and are more likely to use physical aggression or violence to solve those problems.
What changes will the internet bring to the types of news we encounter? As you read this, several large newspapers are under threat. Over the past decades news organizations have been bought by multinational corporations. What are the positive and negative effects of centralizing the news?
examine how conventional uses of journalistic language affects the presentation of news stories. The most important concepts in this section are emotive language, euphemism and vague language and you will also learn about the distinctions between broadsheet and tabloid journalism.
Have you ever wondered why only bad news gets reported? Or why some bad news gets more coverage than other bad news? Learn the criteria by which analysts agree the news is ‘selected’ or chosen.
Learn some underlying theories of the news (whether print, online or televised) which will teach you to be critical about the information you receive via news media and ‘official’ outlets like mainstream newspapers, BBC, Sky or Fox news. You will learn the key concepts of bias and how the news is narrativized – turned into stories for public consumption.
The basis of arguing or debating effectively is using objective evidence to justify opinions, rather than relying on assertions that are based on logical fallacies. Understanding a logical fallacy is an immensely empowering skill.
In language, the way we express our views, whether we are very certain, or somewhat less certain, is frequently shown through modality. It is an integral part of persuasion; sometimes present overtly, and at other times less obviously expressed.
You can think of a speaker as an artist or craftsperson and ethos, pathos and logos as the framework upon which the artisan works. Hone your own knowledge of these rhetorical tools, and how to recognize and appreciate them in speeches you study.