Skip to Main Content

JRN 1000 Foundations of Journalism

What is visual literacy?

Visual literacy is defined by the Association of College and Research Libraries as:

Visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media. Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials. A visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual media and a competent contributor to a body of shared knowledge and culture.

For more information on the themes within visual literacy, see the ACRL Framework for Visual Literacy in Higher Education.

Visual Literacy Exercise

Get into groups of 3-4. Each group will be assigned a pair of images to examine.

1. Look only at the images. How does it make you feel and why? What do you notice? What do you think the topics are for the articles these came from? Do you think they have a left or right bias or are more center?

2. Look at the headlines for each image. Were you surprised or were your assumptions confirmed?

3. Look at the full article for each image. Do you think the images provided an accurate hook to get someone to look at the rest of the article? Would you have chosen a different image?

Group 1

Image 1A Headline Now or never: One of the biggest climate reports ever shows time is running out [L]

Image 1B Headline U.N. doomsday report warns of ‘climate time-bomb’ unless globe ditches fossil fuels [R]

Group 2

Image 2A Headline Biden brags Supreme Court 'didn't stop' him from canceling student loans: He's 'happy to break the law' [R]

Image 2B Headline New student loan forgiveness plan to impact 5,600 Pennsylvanians, relieve $45.1 million in debt [C]

Group 3

Image 3A Headline AP report on Laken Riley murder omits suspect's immigration status, focuses on dangers of women jogging alone [R]

Image 3B Headline AP Slammed For Coverage Of Nursing Student Murder After Illegal Immigrant Suspect Arrested [R]

Group 4

Article 4A Headline US Supreme Court weighs landmark online free speech case [C]

Article 4B Headline Opinion: How the Supreme Court should rule on Texas and Florida laws against social media moderation [L]

Group 5

Article 5A Headline Great stakes: Michigan moved primary to showcase state, but dissension and confusion ensued [R]

Article 5B Headline Axios Explains: Arab Americans' Michigan primary protest rooted in feelings of invisibility [L]

Group 6

TW: Images of people in distress

Image 6A Headline Editorial: Kansas City Super Bowl parade shooting is the nation’s new brand of terror [L]

Image 6B Headline On the Peculiar Coverage of the Kansas City Shooting [R]


AllSides complies top stories from the Left, Center and Right of the political spectrum and provides media bias ratings. Coverage is primarily political news.