Evaluating Media Messages

The fact that media messages are constructed means that they can also be deconstructed, or separated into parts. The checklist below relates to the five parts of the communication situation—sender, message, medium, receiver, and context (see page 68). Asking questions about a message in the context of these parts will help you to analyze and evaluate it. The pages that follow will delve deeper into each checklist question.

Sender, Message, Receiver, Medium, and Context

Media-Message Evaluation Checklist


  • 1. Who created the message? Is the source reliable? Was it by a news organization, a public citizen, or an advertiser? (See page 241.)


  • 2. What does the message say (subject, main point, support)? (See page 242.)
  • 3. Is the information fair and logical? (See page 243.)
  • 4. What points of view are shared in the message? Which ones are left out? (See page 244.)
  • 5. What images or sounds catch my attention? (See page 245.)


  • 6. What type of media is used to deliver the message? (See page 246.)
  • 7. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the media format? (See page 247.)


  • 8. Who is the target of the message? (See page 248.)
  • 9. How might people different from me interpret this message? (See page 249.)


  • 10. What is the purpose of the message? (See page 250.)
  • 11. Who controls the transmission of this message? (See page 251.)

Your Turn Read and consider each question in the checklist above. Apply the questions to the next media message you encounter.