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Media Studies

Media Studies is a dynamic subject which has both theoretical and practical elements. It is compatible with many Key Stage 4 and Post-16 subjects. The course gives students the opportunity to look at the role of the media and enabling them to explore and analyse how the different forms of media are put together, who owns and controls it and the impact that the media has in their own lives and the world around them. The practical unit allows students to put theoretical knowledge into practice by showing technical skills as well as engaging them in a creative and imaginative activity which promotes working with others.

Student guide to the new GCSE Media Course 2017

Content breakdown of the GCSE Media Exams


COMPONENT 1: Exploring the Media (Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes/40% of qualification - 80 marks)

This component (previously known as a unit) provides a foundation for analysing media products, introducing learners to media language and representation through the study of print media forms. You will develop your ability to analyse media language, representations and meanings in a range of media products. In addition, learners will study products from specific media industries and audiences to develop their knowledge and understanding of those areas of the theoretical framework. You will also begin to explore how media products reflect, and are influenced by, the social, cultural, historical and political contexts in which they are produced. The following media forms will be studied:

Media forms Areas to be studied
Newspapers (sections A and B)

In-depth study covering all areas of the theoretical framework:
Media language (section A)
Representation (section A)
Media industries (section B)
Audiences (section B)
Media contexts (section A)

Advertising and Marketing (section A) Media language
Representation
Media contexts
Magazines (section A) Media language
Representation
Media contexts
Radio (section B) Media industries
Audiences
Media contexts
Video games (section B) Media industries
Audiences
Film (section B) Media industries


Learners will be assessed on their use of relevant subject-specific terminology and relevant theories or theoretical perspectives in this component. Component 1 exam has TWO sections:


Section A: Exploring Media Language and Representation

This section will assess knowledge and understanding of media language and representation in relation to two of the media forms studied for this section: magazine front covers, film posters, newspaper front pages, or print advertisements. Learners will analyse two types of resource material:

  • Set products: learners are required to refer to unannotated copies of their set products in the examination in both questions one and two*

The set products are:

Magazine front
covers
Film posters (marketing) Newspaper front pages Print advertisements
Pride
(November 2015)
GQ (July 2016)

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Spectre (2015)

 

The Guardian
(4 September 2015)
The Sun
(18 December 2013)
Quality Street (1956)
This Girl Can (2015)

  • Unseen resource: in question two, an unseen resource in the same media form as one of the set products will be set for comparison.

In Section A, there will be two questions:

  • Question 1 will assess media language and will require analysis of one of the products set for study in this section. Learners refer to an unannotated copy of the product in the examination. Reference to relevant contexts may be required.
  • Question 2 will assess context and representation in relation to a different media form from that assessed in question one.
  • Part (a) will assess knowledge and understanding of context in relation to one set product.
  • Part (b) will require a comparison of an unseen resource with a set product in the same media form. This question requires an extended response.

Section B: Exploring Media Industries and Audiences

This section will assess knowledge and understanding of media industries and audiences in relation to any of the four forms studied for this section: film, newspapers, radio and video games.

The set texts for this section of the exam are:

Newspapers Radio
The Sun
https://www.thesun.co.uk/
The Archers
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qpgr
Film (media industries only) Video games
Spectre, 12 (2015)
http://www.007.com/spectre/
Pokemon Go (2016)
http://www.pokemon.com/uk/

  • Question 3 will be a stepped question assessing knowledge and understanding of media industries in relation to one form studied.
  • Question 4 will be a stepped question assessing knowledge and understanding of audiences in relation to a different media form from that assessed in question 3.

 

COMPONENT 2: Understanding Media Forms and Products (Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes/30% of qualification - 60 marks)

This component builds on the introduction to key areas of the theoretical framework provided in Component 1. In Component 2, you will gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of media language and representation, as well as extending their appreciation of these areas through the study of media industries and audiences.

You will also develop knowledge and understanding of how relevant social, cultural, political and historical contexts of media influence media products.  

In this component learners will explore particular media forms in depth through both of the following topics:

1) Television: crime drama

2) Music: music video and online media.

You will develop the ability to:

  • analyse and compare how media products construct and communicate meanings and generate intended interpretations and responses
  • use relevant theories or theoretical perspectives and relevant subject-specific terminology
  • respond through discursive writing to show knowledge and understanding of media issues
  • construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning which is coherent, relevant, substantiated and logically structured in an extended response.

Section A: Television - Crime Drama

Television genres have distinct social and cultural significance in terms of their particular representations of the world, their financial importance to the television industry, and their popularity with television audiences. Each set option involves study of a complete episode from a contemporary programme and one ten minute extract from a programme produced in the past.

This is designed to enable you to develop a knowledge and understanding of how genres change over time. You will thus be able to explore how media language, representations, messages and values, themes and issues in the specified crime dramas reflect the key social, cultural, political and historical contexts in which they are produced. The complete episodes set will also highlight industry issues and emerging, modern developments in television in the form of online broadcasting. This provides opportunities to address key aspects of media audiences, including targeting, consumption and appeals.

The media texts we will be studying for this section are:

Luther, Series 1, Episode 1 (2010), 15
Original broadcaster: BBC

Plus a ten minute extract from:

The Sweeney, Series 1, Episode 1 (1975), 15
Original broadcaster: ITV

In this section of the exam, we must consider how the complete episode and the chosen extracts reflect the society and culture of the time in which they were made i.e:

  • what the complete episode and extract suggest about the representations of gender, ethnicity and age
  • key aspects of the broadcasting industry
  • key audience issues.

Luther allows you to study an example of a contemporary crime drama which gives representations of ethnic diversity. It uses familiar crime conventions to raise contemporary issues whilst at the same time extending and varying them.

It contrasts in its representation of gender in particular with The Sweeney, whose conventions reflect a 1970s interest in blending action with police procedure.

The two series demonstrate different approaches to public service broadcasting, one publicly funded and the other commercially funded.

Section B: Music - Music Video and Online Media

Section B requires a detailed study of music through focusing on two contemporary music videos and the online, social and participatory media surrounding the artists. In addition, learners study one music video from the past to enable learners to develop their understanding of media language and of how representations reflect, and are influenced by, relevant contexts.

Contemporary music videos

The music videos we will be studying for this section are:

Music video Bad Blood Music video Freedom


This In-depth study covers all areas of the theoretical framework:

Media language - How any given media text communicates meaning (i.e words, images, sounds etc.)

Representation - The way a media text shows us people, places, events and issues.

Media industries - How the media runs itself as a business of making money!

Audiences - We are all different yet similar and so we care categorised by the media into groups.

Media contexts - Nothing ‘just happens’, everything has cause/effect and the media is no different. A media text is generally always a reflection of the world that made it. In other words, how we feel about ourselves and each other at any given point in history is reflected by the media we made at that time.

Music videos from the 1980s

Duran Duran, Rio (1982)

Music video Duran Duran Music video Simon Le Bon


Areas to be studied with this music video:

  • Media language
  • Representation
  • Media contexts

All these media texts can be found easily online for revision!

Social and participatory media

Social and participatory media - Taylor Swift Social and participatory media - Pharrell Williams

The role of social and participatory media in relation to an artist's website will be studied. Reference should be made at least to Facebook and Twitter although other social and participatory media (such as Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube) may be considered. These can be accessed through each of the artist's websites.

Learners must study the corresponding websites for Taylor Swift and Pharrell Williams.

Areas to be studied with these websites:

  • Media language
  • Representation
  • Media industries
  • Audiences
  • Media contexts

The contemporary (i.e Modern) media industries are increasingly dependent on each other for the production (making it), distribution (getting it out to the public) and circulation (getting their media texts shared by both companies and audiences themselves) of their products. This is particularly obvious in the music industry, where forms such as the music video have developed both as products popular with audiences and as marketing. You will also be able to explore how the music industry uses conventional online forms such as websites as well as social and participatory media. This will enable you to explore a range of industry and audience issues. Websites, by their very nature, are dynamic and updated to respond to industry and audience needs. Learners are required to study the following elements of their chosen websites:

  • the design of the home page, including its use of images and topical material
  • links to other content, including audio-visual material and music videos
  • interactive links, including to social and participatory media.

For this component, learners must develop their knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the theoretical framework as follows:

Media Language Representation

· the various forms of media language used to create and communicate meanings in media products
· how choice (selection, combination and exclusion) of elements of media language influences meaning in media products, including to create narratives, to portray aspects of reality, to construct points of view, and to represent the world in ways that convey messages and values
· the relationship between technology and media products
· the codes and conventions of media language, how they develop and become established as 'styles' or genres (which are common across different media products) and how they may also vary over time
· intertextuality, including how interrelationships between media products can influence meaning
· fundamental principles of semiotic analysis, including denotation and connotation
· theoretical perspectives on genre, including principles of repetition and variation; the dynamic nature of genre; hybridity and intertextuality
· theories of narrative, including those derived from Propp
· the nature of media production, including by large organisations, who own the products they produce, and by individuals and groups
· the impact of production processes, personnel and technologies on the final product, including similarities and differences between media products in terms of when and where they are produced
· the effect of ownership and control of media organisations, including conglomerate ownership, diversification and vertical integration
· the impact of the increasingly convergent nature of media industries across different platforms and different national settings 
· the importance of different funding models, including government funded, not-for-profit and commercial models
· how the media operate as commercial industries on a global scale and reach both large and specialised audiences
· the functions and types of regulation of the media
· the challenges for media regulation presented by 'new' digital technologies 

· the ways in which the media re-present (rather than simply present) the world, and construct versions of reality
· the choices media producers make about how to represent particular events, social groups and ideas
· the ways aspects of reality may be represented differently depending on the purposes of the producers
· the different functions and uses of stereotypes, including an understanding of how stereotypes become established, how they may vary over time, and how stereotypes enable audiences to interpret media quickly
· how and why particular social groups may be under-represented or misrepresented
· how representations convey particular viewpoints, messages, values and beliefs, which may be reinforced across a wide range of media products
· the social, cultural and political significance of particular representations in terms of the themes and issues that they address
· how representations reflect the social, historical and cultural contexts in which they were produced
· the factors affecting audience interpretations of representations, including their own experiences and beliefs
· theoretical perspectives on representation, including processes of selection, construction and mediation
· theoretical perspectives on gender and representation, including feminist approaches
· how and why media products are aimed at a range of audiences, from small, specialised audiences to large, mass audiences
· the ways in which media organisations target audiences through marketing, including an understanding of the assumptions organisations make about their target audience(s)
· how media organisations categorise audiences
· the role of media technologies in reaching and identifying audiences, and in audience consumption and usage
· the ways in which audiences may interpret the same media products very differently and how these differences may reflect both social and individual differences
· the ways in which people’s media practices are connected to their identity, including their sense of actual and desired self
· the social, cultural and political significance of media products, including the themes or issues they address, the fulfilment of needs and desires and the functions they serve in everyday life and society
· how audiences may respond to and interpret media products and why these interpretations may change over time
· theoretical perspectives on audiences, including active and passive audiences; audience response and audience interpretation
· Blumler and Katz's Uses and Gratifications theory.


COMPONENT 3:Creating Media Products (Coursework Non-exam assessment: internally assessed and externally moderated by WJEC/30% of qualification - 60 marks)

Content

This component draws together knowledge and understanding of the media theoretical framework gained throughout the course by requiring you to apply your knowledge and understanding of the media through practical production. In this component, you must apply their knowledge and understanding of media language and representation to an individual media production for an intended audience in response to a choice of briefs set by WJEC.

The set production briefs will change every year, requiring you to create a production in a different genre/style and/or for a different intended audience. The briefs will be released annually on 1 March in the year prior to assessment, and will be published on the WJEC Eduqas website. 

Production briefs will always be set in the following media forms: television, magazines, film marketing and music marketing. The briefs will always specify the intended target audience, as well as other key requirements such as genre/style. Learners will develop a response to their one chosen brief by creating a production aimed at the specified intended audience.

The following media forms and frameworks will form the basis of all set briefs:

Television

  • Create a sequence from a new television programme.

Advertising and Marketing: Music

  • Create a music video to promote a new artist/band.

Advertising and Marketing: Film

  • Print-based marketing material for a new film.

Magazines

  • Create a new print magazine.

In order to ensure that an undue amount of time is not spent on the production, all phases of the production – aims, research and planning and the production itself – should be completed over a period of no longer than twelve weeks. 

Statement of Aims

Learners must complete a brief outline of their aims for the media production that must be submitted with the production. This will be assessed with the production and will enable learners to explain the ways in which they will apply knowledge and understanding of media language and representation to the production and target the intended audience. This is a compulsory element of the non-exam assessment and learners must complete the statement of aims in Section B of the cover sheet using approximately 250 words. A template is provided on the WJEC Eduqas website for guidance.

Research and Planning

Learners will undertake preparatory work to develop their understanding of media language, representation and audience in relation to their intended production that must be guided, monitored and authenticated by the teacher. This research and planning will not be assessed separately but learners will be assessed on the production outcomes that result from these stages.

The research may include:

  • analysis of the use of media language in similar media products to identify the codes and conventions of the particular genres and forms
  • analysis should focus on how specific techniques such as layout and composition, camerawork, editing and sound are used to create meaning, and the way in which representations of events, issues, individuals and social groups (as appropriate) are constructed, considering how choice of elements of media language influences meaning
  • research into how media products are aimed at and target audiences, including analysis of the techniques used to appeal to and engage an intended audience
  • secondary research – internet-based research appropriate to GCSE into audiences to develop understanding and support analysis
  • primary audience research such as focus groups prior to completion of production work. Learners will also plan their production work carefully to ensure that they apply their understanding of media language and representation to the media production. The planning work may include:

- a pitch or treatment for the production

- a project plan including a timeline and the planned use of, for example, resources or equipment

- planning documents appropriate to the forms/products undertaken such as a step outline, a shot list, a storyboard, a script, draft designs, mock-ups of composition and layout.

Component 3 is internally assessed and externally moderated. The total number of marks available is 60:

· 10 marks for the statement of aims

· 20 marks for creating a media product that meets the requirements of the set brief

· 30 marks for creating a media product for an intended audience.

The assessment of this component will be based on the statement of aims and the media production. Learners who do not submit a production will be awarded zero marks for the statement of aims.

Learners must submit:

  • A media production.
  • A statement of aims for the production, outlining the ways in which knowledge and understanding of media language and representation will be applied in response to the brief and how the intended audience will be targeted.
  • A completed cover sheet available on the WJEC Eduqas website. 

Student Guide to the new A' Level Media Course 2017

Content Breakdown of the A' Level Media exams

COMPONENT 1: Media Products, Industries and Audiences (Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes/35% of qualification).

Section A – Analysing Media Language and Representation

Advertising and Marketing

Music Video

Newspapers

Tide print advertisement (1950s)
and
WaterAid audio-visual advertisement (2016)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uiy3dkTwPcQ
and
Kiss of the Vampire film poster (1963)

Dream, Dizzee Rascal (2004)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAhc4auA7A
and
Riptide, Vance Joy (2013)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ_1HMAGb4k

The Daily Mirror, November 10, 2016 front cover and article on US election
and
The Times, November 10, 2016 front and back pages.


Question 1 - Representation

  • will be based on ONE of the above AND AN UNSEEN TEXT
  • both the texts you are given will have a THEMATIC LINK! IDENTIFY IT AND HALF THE BATTLE IS ALREADY DONE FOR YOU!

Question 2 - Media Language

  • will be based on TWO of the Above under ONE of the other Headings
  • relevant resources MAY be provided for you to analyse
  • you will have to analyse how words, images, colours etc. have been used to communicate meaning.

Section B: Understanding Media Industries and Audiences

Learners must study the following media forms and products set by WJEC

Advertising*     Film**
(cross-media study,
including film marketing)
    Newspapers
Tide print advertisement
(1950s)
and
WaterAid audio-visual
advertisement
(2016)

https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=Uiy3dkTwPcQ
    Straight Outta Compton (2015)
and
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
    The Daily Mirror and The Times
Radio Video Games

Late Night Woman's Hour: Home, 
28 October, 2016

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0801q15

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
(2012)

*   Advertising is only studied in relation to audiences
**  Film is only studied in relation to media industries

Questions 3 a-c AND 4 - Media Industries

  • You will have to discuss the media industry in terms of a business - this will involve us studying aspects of Broadcasting and Print. We will also be looking at the three key stages of the media industry; Production, distribution and circulation of media texts.
  • You will have to discuss the evolution of technology within the media, they MAY tell you which to discuss but if not, JUST STICK TO ONE OF THE INDUSTRIES STUDIED IN CLASS!
  • In Question 3(d), you will be rewarded for drawing together knowledge and understanding from across your full course of study, including different areas of the theoretical framework and media contexts. Q3(d) looks at MEDIA OWNERSHIP.

GUIDANCE FROM THE TEACHER GUIDE

The focus of section B is on the set products as examples of the related media industries and audiences. For this section, learners should not engage in analysis of the textual features of the set products, but should study them as examples of the relevant industry and audience issues that they illustrate (see bullet points on media industries and audiences below).

Advertising: Tide print advertisement and WaterAid audio-visual advertisement
In section A, learners study media language and representation in the two set advertisements. Here, learners will develop knowledge and understanding of the same two advertisements in terms of the relevant audience issues they illustrate. The two advertisements reflect different historical contexts, purposes and target audiences.

Film (cross-media study, including film marketing): Straight Outta Compton and I, Daniel Blake
Film must be studied in relation to media industries only. Learners will study the set films and their marketing across various media, exploring the convergence of media platforms and technologies and other relevant industry issues. The two films reflect contrasting aspects of the film industry: mainstream (Straight Outta Compton) and independent (I, Daniel Blake) production. In order to develop an awareness of the films as contemporary examples of the film industry and of its marketing strategies, learners should consider at least one trailer and at least one poster for each film, as well as online marketing where relevant. Selected extracts from the films may also be studied in relation to the industry issues exemplified, including the opening credits and at least one other age appropriate extract.

Newspapers: The Daily Mirror and The Times
Learners should have knowledge and understanding of the two newspapers as evolving media products in terms of the relevant newspaper industry and audience issues they illustrate. In order to develop this awareness, learners should consider one complete print edition of each newspaper chosen by the centre and selected key pages from each newspaper's website, including the homepage and at least one other page.

Radio: Late Night Woman's Hour
Learners should have knowledge and understanding of Late Night Woman's Hour as an evolving media product in terms of the relevant radio industry and audience issues it illustrates. To inform their understanding of Late Night Woman's Hour as an example of the contemporary radio industry and contemporary radio audiences, learners should have an awareness of the historical significance of the programme in terms of its evolution from Woman's Hour and how it has been created in response to industry and audience demands. In order to develop this awareness, learners should consider at least the complete set podcast of Late Night Woman's Hour. The set podcast is age appropriate. Some of the other podcasts contain material that may be inappropriate for learners. It is the teacher's responsibility to ensure that any additional podcasts studied are age appropriate for their learners.

Video games: Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
Learners should have knowledge and understanding of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation as a contemporary action adventure game in terms of the relevant video games industry and audience issues it illustrates. In order to develop this awareness, learners should consider at least one extract from the game chosen by the centre, which may be accessed online. As the video game is PEGI rated 18, it is the teacher's responsibility to ensure that any extracts studied are age appropriate for their learners.

COMPONENT 2: Media Forms and Products in Depth (Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes/35% of qualification)- WORTH 90 MARKS

There are THREE Sections in this exam:

Section A: Television in the Global Age

Television today is a global industry. Through an in-depth study of two contrasting programmes produced in different social and cultural contexts, learners will explore the dynamics that shape contemporary television production, distribution and circulation. The role of public service broadcasting in a global marketplace will be considered, as you will explore the significance of the economic and industry contexts in which the set products are produced.

The way in which the television industry is regulated and the marketing strategies used to promote the set product will also be investigated.  Learners will also have opportunities to explore how the television audience is defined, constructed and targeted on both a national and a global scale. In addition, the particular appeal of the programmes for audiences will be investigated, and issues such as fandom and the way in which audiences use media texts will also be considered.

The two texts we are studying for Section A are:

Life On Mars (UK)
Series 1, Episode 1: (2006)

Original Broadcaster:
BBC One (UK)

The Bridge (Denmark/Sweden)
Season 3, Episode 1 (2015)

Original Broadcaster:
SVT1 (Sweden)
DR1 (Denmark)

UK Broadcaster:
BBC Four


Section B: Magazines – Mainstream and Alternative Media

The magazine industry in the UK is a highly challenging media environment, with thousands of titles competing for readers and market space. Here, you will study two magazines in depth, developing an understanding of the contextual factors that shape their production, distribution, circulation and consumption, as well as considering the historical, social, and cultural significance of the representations they offer. Learners will also explore how media language incorporates viewpoints and ideologies.

This section includes two magazines that have been produced within different historical and industry contexts and that target different audiences. One of the magazines will be contemporary, whilst the other will have been produced before 1970; one will be a commercial magazine with mainstream appeal, whilst the other will have been produced outside the commercial mainstream. The magazines in each option therefore offer rich opportunities for comparative analysis.

The two texts we are studying for Section B are: Vogue (July 1965) (Conde Nast) & The Big Issue (Oct 17-23 2016, No.1227 (Dennis & The Big Issue Ltd)

Specified extracts for study from the set editions will be provided by the exam board.

For Section B: Magazines, learners will develop their knowledge and understanding of the aspects of the theoretical framework, theories and theoretical perspectives. See P35-40 of spec.

Section C: Media in the Online Age

In a world increasingly dominated by digital technology, online, social and participatory media have become an integral part of the contemporary media landscape. The growing cultural significance of online platforms is evident in the number of subscribers that bloggers and YouTubers like Zoella and Alfie Deyes (PointlessBlog) attract, and in the amount of web traffic that the websites of online newspapers and magazines generate.

Through an in-depth study of two contrasting online products, learners will look at the role played by blogs and websites in the media today, exploring the way in which these convergent media platforms increasingly overlap, as well as investigating the potential that they offer for self-representation.

The changing relationship between media producers and audiences will be considered here, as learners will examine the idea that media consumers have now become producers who regularly and actively participate in the creation and dissemination of media content online.

The impact of digitally convergent media platforms on media production, distribution and circulation will also be explored, as learners will study an online newspaper or an online magazine produced for a minority group, considering the way in which digital platforms can be used to reach specialised audiences. These set products can be seen to demonstrate significant emerging developments in the media, reflecting the ongoing impact of technology on media language and audience interaction.

The two texts we are studying for Section C are Pointless Blog and Desimag (the No 1 Asian lifestyle magazine).

Websites and blogs are, by their very nature, dynamic and updated to respond to industry and audience needs. Learners are required to study the following elements of their chosen websites and blogs:

  • the design of the home page, including its use of images and topical material
  • links to other content, including audio-visual material such as the relevant YouTube channel, vlog etc.
  • interactive links, including to social and participatory media.


For Section C, learners will develop their knowledge and understanding of the aspects of the theoretical framework, theories and theoretical perspectives are shown further in this booklet.


Assessment in Summary

This component assesses media language, representation, media industries, audiences and media contexts.

Learners will be assessed on their use of relevant theories or theoretical approaches and relevant subject-specific terminology in this component.  Learners will also be required to evaluate theoretical approaches and theories.

The exam consists of three sections:

Section A: Television in the Global Age (30 marks)
There will be one two-part question or one extended response question.

Section B – Magazines: Mainstream and Alternative Media (30 marks)
There will be one two-part question or one extended response question.

Section C – Media in the Online Age (30 marks)
There will be one two-part question or one extended response question.  Each part of a two-part question will be based on one set product. Extended response questions willbe based on both of the set products for that form.

Extended response questions require learners to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning which is coherent, relevant, substantiated and logically structured.


COURSEWORK OPTIONS

COMPONENT 3: Cross-Media Production (30% of qualification/60 marks)

The briefs will be released annually on 1 March in the year prior to assessment, and will be published on the WJEC Eduqas website.  The following media forms will always be set:

Television
Create a cross-media production to include a sequence from a new television programme and related print or online* products.

Advertising and Marketing: Music
Create a cross-media production to include an original music video for a new or local/unsigned artist or band and related print or online* products.

Advertising and Marketing: Film
Create a cross-media production to include a print marketing campaign for a new film, and related audio-visual or online* products.  The cross-media production must not include a complete short film, film sequence or trailer.

Magazines
Create a cross-media production to include a new print magazine and related audiovisual or online products. In order to ensure that an undue amount of time is not spent on the production, all phases of the production – aims, research and planning and the production itself – should be completed over a period of no longer than sixteen weeks.

Key media theorists/theories you will need to read and understand on this course:

Media Language

  • Semiotics, including Roland Barthes
  • Narratology, including Tzvetan Todorov
  • Genre theory, including Steve Neale
  • Structuralism, including Claude Lévi-Strauss
  • Postmodernism, including Jean Baudrillard

Representation

  • Theories of representation, including Stuart Hall
  • Theories of identity, including David Gauntlett
  • Feminist theory, including Liesbet van Zoonen
  • Feminist theory, including bell hooks
  • Theories of gender performativity, including Judith Butler
  • Theories around ethnicity and postcolonial theory, including Paul Gilroy

Media Industries

  • Power and media industries, including Curran and Seaton
  • Regulation, including Livingstone and Lunt
  • Cultural industries, including David Hesmondhalgh

Audiences

  • Media effects, including Albert Bandura
  • Cultivation theory, including George Gerbner
  • Reception theory, including Stuart Hall
  • Fandom, including Henry Jenkins
  • End of audience’ theories - Clay Shirky.

These are the key theories that are essential to the course. I will include a summary of these theories below but you MUST engage with the ideas in class and should be prepared to engage with them, even challenge them! After all, learning is all about challenging assumptions rather than accepting them at face value.


Summary of Theories to be Studied

MEDIA LANGUAGE

Semiotics - Roland Barthes

  • the idea that texts communicate their meanings through a process of signification
  • the idea that signs can function at the level of denotation, which involves the ‘literal’ or common-sense meaning of the sign, and at the level of connotation, which involves the meanings associated with or suggested by the sign
  • the idea that constructed meanings can come to seem self-evident, achieving the status of myth through a process of naturalisation.

Narratology - Tzvetan Todorov

  • the idea that all narratives share a basic structure that involves a movement from one state of equilibrium to another
  • the idea that these two states of equilibrium are separated by a period of imbalance or disequilibrium
  • the idea that the way in which narratives are resolved can have particular ideological significance.

Genre theory - Steve Neale

  • the idea that genres may be dominated by repetition, but are also marked by difference, variation, and change
  • the idea that genres change, develop, and vary, as they borrow from and overlap with one another
  • the idea that genres exist within specific economic, institutional and industrial contexts.

Structuralism - Claude Lévi-Strauss

  • the idea that texts can best be understood through an examination of their underlying structure
  • the idea that meaning is dependent upon (and produced through) pairs of oppositions
  • the idea that the way in which these binary oppositions are resolved can have particular ideological significance.

Postmodernism - Jean Baudrillard

  • the idea that in postmodern culture the boundaries between the ‘real’ world and the world of the media have collapsed and that it is no longer possible to distinguish between reality and simulation
  • the idea that in a postmodern age of simulacra we are immersed in a world of images which no longer refer to anything ‘real’
  • the idea that media images have come to seem more ‘real’ than the reality they supposedly represent (hyperreality).

REPRESENTATION

Theories of representation - Stuart Hall

  • the idea that representation is the production of meaning through language, with language defined in its broadest sense as a system of signs
  • the idea that the relationship between concepts and signs is governed by codes
  • the idea that stereotyping, as a form of representation, reduces people to a few simple characteristics or traits
  • the idea that stereotyping tends to occur where there are inequalities of power, as subordinate or excluded groups are constructed as different or ‘other’ (e.g. through ethnocentrism).

Theories of identity - David Gauntlett

  • the idea that the media provide us with ‘tools’ or resources that we use to construct our identities
  • the idea that whilst in the past the media tended to convey singular, straightforward messages about ideal types of male and female identities, the media today offer us a more diverse range of stars, icons and characters from whom we may pick and mix different ideas.

Feminist theory - Liesbet van Zoonen

  • the idea that gender is constructed through discourse, and that its meaning varies according to cultural and historical context
  • the idea that the display of women’s bodies as objects to be looked at is a core element of western patriarchal culture
  • the idea that in mainstream culture the visual and narrative codes that are used to construct the male body as spectacle differ from those used to objectify the female body.

Feminist theory - bell hooks

  • the idea that feminism is a struggle to end sexist/patriarchal oppression and the ideology of domination
  • the idea that feminism is a political commitment rather than a lifestyle choice
  • the idea that race and class as well as sex determine the extent to which individuals are exploited, discriminated against or oppressed.

Theories of gender performativity - Judith Butler

  • the idea that identity is performatively constructed by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results (it is manufactured through a set of acts)
  • the idea that there is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender
  • the idea that performativity is not a singular act, but a repetition and a ritual.

Theories around ethnicity and postcolonial theory - Paul Gilroy

  • the idea that colonial discourses continue to inform contemporary attitudes to race and ethnicity in the postcolonial era
  • the idea that civilisationism constructs racial hierarchies and sets up binary oppositions based on notions of otherness.

MEDIA INDUSTRIES

Power and media industries - Curran and Seaton

  • the idea that the media is controlled by a small number of companies primarily driven by the logic of profit and power
  • the idea that media concentration generally limits or inhibits variety, creativity and quality
  • the idea that more socially diverse patterns of ownership help to create the conditions for more varied and adventurous media productions.

Regulation - Sonia Livingstone and Peter Lunt

  • the idea that there is an underlying struggle in recent UK regulation policy between the need to further the interests of citizens (by offering protection from harmful or offensive material), and the need to further the interests of consumers (by ensuring choice, value for money, and market competition)
  • the idea that the increasing power of global media corporations, together with the rise of convergent media technologies and transformations in the production, distribution and marketing of digital media, have placed traditional approaches to media regulation at risk.

Cultural industries - David Hesmondhalgh

  • the idea that cultural industry companies try to minimise risk and maximise audiences through vertical and horizontal integration, and by formatting their cultural products (e.g. through the use of stars, genres, and serials)
  • the idea that the largest companies or conglomerates now operate across a number of different cultural industries
  • the idea that the radical potential of the internet has been contained to some extent by its partial incorporation into a large, profit-orientated set of cultural industries.

AUDIENCES

Media effects - Albert Bandura

  • the idea that the media can implant ideas in the mind of the audience directly
  • the idea that audiences acquire attitudes, emotional responses and new styles of conduct through modelling
  • the idea that media representations of transgressive behaviour, such as violence or physical aggression, can lead audience members to imitate those forms of behaviour.

Cultivation theory - George Gerbner

  • the idea that exposure to repeated patterns of representation over long periods of time can shape and influence the way in which people perceive the world around them (i.e. cultivating particular views and opinions)
  • the idea that cultivation reinforces mainstream values (dominant ideologies).

Reception theory - Stuart Hall

  • the idea that communication is a process involving encoding by producers and decoding by audiences
  • the idea that there are three hypothetical positions from which messages and meanings may be decoded:
  1.  the dominant-hegemonic position: the encoder’s intended meaning (the preferred reading) is fully understood and accepted
  2. the negotiated position: the legitimacy of the encoder’s message is acknowledged in general terms, although the message is adapted or negotiated to better fit the decoder’s own individual experiences or context
  3. the oppositional position: the encoder’s message is understood, but the decoder disagrees with it, reading it in a contrary or oppositional way.

Fandom - Henry Jenkins

  • the idea that fans are active participants in the construction and circulation of textual meanings
  • the idea that fans appropriate texts and read them in ways that are not fully authorised by the media producers (‘textual poaching’)
  • the idea that fans construct their social and cultural identities through borrowing and inflecting mass culture images, and are part of a participatory culture that has a vital social dimension.

‘End of audience’ theories - Clay Shirky

  • the idea that the Internet and digital technologies have had a profound effect on the relations between media and individuals
  • the idea that the conceptualisation of audience members as passive consumers of mass media content is no longer tenable in the age of the Internet, as media consumers have now become producers who ‘speak back to’ the media in various ways, as well as creating and sharing content with one another.

IMPORTANT: VIDEOS MADE FOR THIS COURSE CAN BE FOUND HERE: https://vimeo.com/user66952902

 

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