Category: Readers, Writers, Texts

The History of Advertising

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.

‘Water is Wet’ and the Language of 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.

Money and Muscles: Men in the Mass Media

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.

Disruptive Technologies

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?


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.

Distorted Reality

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.

Logical Fallacies

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.