Critical Analysis of Media

40 mins.

Short overview:

The workshop will introduce the participants to a media mash up activity, an effective tool for developing young people’s critical thinking skills. It is particularly effective to deepen young people’s engagement in their creation and consumption of all types of media. It also fosters young people to question and uncover an author’s bias, and to build connections with their peers through shared cultural artefacts and experiences. This workshop asks participants to become critical listeners and viewers and to discuss and share their thoughts with each other.

Objectives of the workshop:

  • To learn how to use the SAMS technique to analyse adverts and music videos
  • To learn how to question and uncover the media author’s bias
  • To develop an understanding the language used to construct/deconstruct media (symbols, semiotics, aesthetics)


Methods: Trainer’s introduction
5 mins.

Introduction to Story, Audience, Message, Style (SAMS).

This media viewing technique is a helpful way to introduce young people to critiquing works and identifying central elements – the stories they convey, the audience they intend to have an impact on, what message they are sending, and stylistic elements that the media maker selected. It is al- ways good to underscore that all of these aspects can be controlled by the media artist in the choic- es they make throughout the production process. From the look, style, objects and symbols that appear to the types of shots used.

Methods: Small Groups Activity
Materials: Handout Music videos
15 mins.
Material usage/Remarks:

SAMS handout
Music videos, YouTube, Speakers
Trainer can select any videos relevant to the young people they work with


Activity: Critiquing Media using SAMS Technique

Present a number of videos to the group.

— - Break into small groups of 4-5
—- Ask them to analyse a music video using the SAMS handout. This activity introduces the process of critically examining music videos.

Play two music videos. Two examples:
Little Mix:
Dua Lipa:

Discussion prompt:

  • As the groups are discussing the videos, prompt them to analyse the additional elements; symbols, visual content, lyrics, style, set design, etc.
  • Ask them to compare the two videos.

Discussion prompt:
Analyzing music videos

Methods: Group discussions
10 mins.


  • The workshop culminates with a group discussion with each group sharing their findings. —
  • What impact might these have on young people?
  • Encourage discussion amongst the group to see if others received different meanings.
Methods: Trainer Wrap Up
Materials: Projektor Slides
10 mins.
Material usage/Remarks:

Slide with graphic of the ‘History of Media Making’


Wrap up workshop

Share how media making has been around for 40+ years, and traditionally involves these core elements:

  • — Media Production
  • — Technical & Creative Skills
  • — Critical Media Analysis
  • — Civic Engagement/Media Activism

At the intersection of all of these areas is positive youth development.
Helping young people to critically analyse media is one of the most effective ways to keep young people safe. Youth workers are best placed to support them as they navigate our digital world.


Please share your comments, feedbacks, suggestions about this workshop here.