Malala and the Media


"Malala can be considered a 'news icon'- a gravitational center that holds media attention- for various global issues."

Sean Aday and Silvio Waisbord
The George Washington University

Malala & The Media Curriculum PDF

This discussion seeks to make students aware of the complex, yet patterned, way in which the press tends to cover social movements around gender and women’s rights especially in the context of foreign policy issues. This narrative includes the following topics:

  • Understanding Malala and Media
  • Media Influence: Agenda Setting and Framing
  • Background: Media Coverage of Social Movements
  • Background: Media Coverage of Foreign Affairs
  • Intersection: Framing the Malala Story

A supplemental feature for high school teachers appears at the end of this theme.

The resource guide theme can be downloaded at right, and the toolkit theme can be downloaded here

Individual & Group Activities  

Research papers are assigned in this theme as both group and individual activities. Group projects make it easier to conduct cross media and cross-cultural research, while individual papers develop skills necessary for academic/think tank writing and publishing. 

Students will refer to the narrative to develop agenda setting and framing skills and to respond to various questions, including:

  • Did some media cover the story more substantively (or, thematically, as it is sometimes referred to in communication research) or more superficially (or, episodically)?
  • Were some media more likely to frame her story in terms of gender-based violence and women’s equality, or in terms of terrorism? And did this vary by the foreign policy priorities of the media organization’s home country?