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Last Updated: Friday November 23 2007 11:54 GMT

Animals in the media

KS2/KS3 Media and society

The shark on sale at the market

Attitudes to animals are influenced by media coverage. Getting positive coverage can mean the difference between life and death.

Examine how you feel about different types of animals, and why that is.

Learning aims

  • Media representations influence attitudes to animals
  • Those attitudes influence important decisions


    Start by reading this news story about a giant Shark caught off Lands End in Cornwall. Does anyone feel sorry for the shark? What do most people feel?

    Below is a list of animals. Working in pairs sort them into these three groups - to show what sort of news stories they normally appear in.

    Worksheet: List of animals
    Koala bears

    1. Good press
    2. Bad press
    3. Mixed press

    Koala - Rat - Badger - Crocodile - Vulture - Dolphin - Eagle - Wasp - Shark - Hedgehog - Seal - Snake - Hyena - Locust - Wolf - Elephant - Peregrine Falcon - Spider - Killer Whale - Whale - Bee - Dog - Cat - Monkey - Tiger - Fox

    Ask the class

    1. Can they remember any recent news stories involving these animals? If you have internet access use the search box on the Newsround website to find examples.

    2. How do these news stories colour your view of the animals involved?

    Main activity

    Gather together a diverse collection of animal images, the more unusual and thought-provoking, the better.

    Hand out the images, and ask students to use them as a starting point for an imaginary news story. They should each mock up a news report where the facts challenge the press stereotype of the animal; shown in their image.

    Extension activity

    Ask groups of students to think about the different ways in which animals are represented to us - through newspapers, cartoons, films and advertising.

    What are their favourite and least favourite images of animals and why?


    Read out some of the reports or scripts.

    Do students think that their imaginary reports could change attitudes towards animals?

    Do 'cute' animal stories help us to understand animals better?

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