AS key concepts

a document which includes the key concepts needed for AS media studies

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
This question asks you to reflect on who produced and financed the text, how
they have influenced the content, as well as the powers of external agencies (e.g.
regulatory bodies).
Manuel Alvarado lists seven features that shape media institutions:
Production Practices
Audience construction
Audience use
Does the institution have a clear ideology (ideas or beliefs) that could have
influenced the way the product has been constructed?
The most obvious form of ideology is political bias.
The production may have a leftwing (or liberal) bias, where they may
support procommunity ideas, the welfare state, proimmigration attitudes
and a belief in reform and social justice.
Or the production may have an obvious right wing (or conservative) bias,
where they support `traditional values' such as marriage and the family unit,
support freetrade and big business as well as have a tough stance on law
and order.
Remember, due to corporate takeovers, sometimes a large company (or
parent company) may own a subsidiary that reflects a different
ideological perspective. Sometimes the parent company puts on pressure
to make ideological changes or sometimes it leaves the company alone,
meaning that we cannot always expect a consistent ideology to be
This is where different bodies of a corporation work together for their
advantage. For example, Sky sells its Sky+ `box' as part of a package with
the Sky TV channels, which also advertise the `box'. Synergy can also be
more subtle, however. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns 20th Century
Fox, Harper Collins and The Times newspaper. When Fox releases a new
film, Harper Collins may publish the book of the film and the newspaper may
advertise the production or give it a good writeup in its review section.
The producer may have a specific brand image that it wants to maintain
(e.g. Disney would avoid putting its name on any product that was not family
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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
orientated). If the text upholds the institution's core values then it will
proudly display its association through the use of a logo or ident.
Certain institutions also pride themselves on their high production values
(e.g. America's HBO), whereas some makers of lowbudget horror have
famously low production values (e.g. Troma films)
Some institutions pride themselves on their size. However, large
commercial media productions are often criticised for putting the priority on
making money, rather than making a good product.…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
the makers will release two versions with two different ratings, so that a
larger audience will be catered for.
The BBC has to abide by the decisions of the BBC Trust who can give
directions as to the content of BBC productions. If you read the BBC
Charter, you will see that they have specific duties to represent Britain in a
very particular way, for instance, avoiding harmful stereotypes.…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
act of dissent (to go against the prevailing ideas of society). For
example, a dissenting representation of suicide bombers would be to
show sympathy for their cause, if not their actions.
When considering a particular representation, think about the frame of
reference the audiences uses when responding (their age, nationality,
social class, lifestyle and experiences of other media representations)
Continued...…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
Chinese market, often ensures that his newspapers represent Tibet in a
way that supports China's invasion.
Political parties or leaders can be represented in positive or negative
ways, depending on the political bias of the institution.
Due to Globalisation, western texts are dominating the world market. As
a result, western representations have more influence in the world.…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
This question asks you to consider who the product is aimed at and how the text
appeals to the audiences' needs, wants and desires.
Producers of texts can use a variety of methodologies to identify their target
audience. Sometimes this is a small, particular (or niche) audience it is
sometimes a large (or mass) audience or it can appeal to a range of different
audiences in different ways (this is known as audience segmentation).…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
Aspirers Want status and the esteem of others. Like status symbols,
designer labels etc. Live off credit and cash.
Succeeders People who have already got status and control.
Reformers Define themselves by their selfesteem and selffulfilment.…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
A different Dyer ­ Gillian Dyer (1988) ­ demonstrated how advertisers use
specific lines of appeal that tap into our desires and our fears. Images and
references put into advertising connect with our social needs.
Advertisements often feature some of the following: happy families rich,
luxurious lifestyles dreams and fantasy successful romance and love
elite people or experts glamorous places nature and the natural world
beautiful people comedy and humour childhood.…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
Media Forms/Language
(Codes & Conventions)
This question asks you to consider how a text has been constructed and why
editorial, presentational and stylistic choices have been made, as well as how
and what these may communicate to an audience.
The first thing you have to be able to do, in order to analyse a text, is identify
exactly what it is you want to discuss.…read more

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AS Media Studies Key Concepts
Visual Elements
If you analyse the visual aspects of a film or television programme (i.e. the
lighting, set, props, camera angle etc.…read more


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