How to Use Channel One News to Teach Media Literacy

By Channel One News 10.31.2016 blog

Channel One News offers a perfect opportunity to teach media literacy — that is, the knowledge and skills needed to access, analyze, evaluate, create and communicate using media in all of its forms. These concepts are baked into the Common Core ELA standards and called out specifically in ELA standards in states such as Texas.

Newly enhanced for the 2016-2017 season, the curriculum included in Channel One News Premium now has a specialized focus on these skills. We include media literacy–specific discussion questions, as well as collaborative and project-based media literacy activities.

Whether or not you are a subscriber, here are some helpful tips for using Channel One News to teach students how to judge media sources for themselves.

Authorship & Purpose

Channel One News reporters and producers make deliberate choices about what stories to cover on our show. They consider what will resonate with students, what is most important for students to know about their world or what might be entertaining. Every choice is a teachable moment.

With the right questions, teachers can drive students to think deeply about why media creators choose to share certain stories. Ask students:

  • Why was this made?
  • Why did the author think this was important?
  • What does the author want me to do with this information?
  • Who is the target audience?

Response & Impact

Students will also consider the impact of the message and their own response. Channel One News often covers environmental and social justice topics. Our news stories explain potential solutions to major global issues. We tell heartfelt stories about people overcoming adversity or those who were inspired to make an impact in their community. Ask students:

  • Who benefits from this message?
  • What did the storytellers want me to remember?
  • How might people respond to this message?
  • What actions might they take?

Techniques & Interpretations

Producers, reporters and editors make creative choices about how stories are presented. Footage is shot, historical footage is found, graphics are created and music is added. Certain facts are included, while others are edited out. Words are chosen for emphasis. For some stories, anchors speak in a serious tone, while in others they smile and crack jokes. Ask students:

  • What facts were included? What have I learned?
  • What is left out that might be important to know?
  • Why was that music chosen?
  • What lighting was used?
  • What other techniques were used?
  • How do the techniques communicate the message?
  • How do I interpret this information, and what does my reaction tell me about myself?

Context & Credibility

Channel One News strives to deliver factually accurate and unbiased news stories. We believe we stand up to the scrutiny, but students should judge us for themselves. As students watch our show, ask them:

  • Who did the reporters interview?
  • How do you know whether these are credible sources?
  • What in this story is fact? What is opinion? Who says each?
  • Are diverse viewpoints represented?
  • Are there double standards in how different sources are treated?
  • Can I trust this news outlet?

How did other media outlets cover the same story?

Media literacy standards require students to compare coverage of the same event by different media sources. Use Channel One as a stepping-stone for further research. With two or more examples of coverage, ask students:

  • What media type is this?
  • What is the purpose?
  • Which provides more information about this topic?
  • What ideas or values are explicit or even implied?
  • Compare the techniques used in each. How do the techniques used change the effect of each piece?

For Satellite and Unsubscribed Online Viewers: Reading Advertisements

In order to bring Channel One to millions of viewers for free, we sell advertising spots. Even the advertisements present an opportunity for meaningful teaching. Ask students:

  • How did the words and images in this advertisement work together to communicate a message?
  • What is the purpose of the advertisement?
  • How does the advertisement achieve this purpose?
  • What is your response to this advertisement?

Kids today are awash in media. Channel One News offers a safe medium for teaching students how to field and interpret this tidal wave of information. Have you been using Channel One to teach media literacy in your classroom? Let us know about your experience in the comments!


  1. Mrs. R. Domingue

    Channel One news team visited our school (Goose Creek High) in Goose Creek, South Carolina a few years ago. How can we get you guys to come back and stream a live show like you did in the past.

  2. Maria

    You should come liberty middle school and interview the 8thgraders

  3. hana

    can u pls give a shoutout to mrs. cromarties class 6th grade pre ap math class

  4. Pheobe

    Not really cause the filters come and go. Now Christmas or Thanksgiving filters will come and no more Halloween. Sorry.

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