English: Media

Rough outlines on what to write/how to write/what to include

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What The Examiner Is Looking For

The question on the media in the exam will:

  • Usually be introduced by the word 'How' or 'In what ways'
    • Helps us focus on analysing the text in the way it is written and presented
  • Ask you to write about how the purpose of the text is achieved 
    • Done through the use of language and visual presentation
  • Will give you bullet points, which list the aspects you need to think about 

A good answer:

  • Focuses on key words of the question
  • Shows awareness of AUDIENCE and PURPOSE
  • Supports points with references to text
  • Analyses BOTH LANGUAGE and VISUAL LAYOUT of the media text
  • Comments in detail on all the points
    • Consider language more than anything else 


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Understand the Key Features of Media Texts

Focus on three aspects:

- purpose and audience (different from each text)

- the ways in which language is used

- layout and design (what the text looks like) 

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Purposes

Describe - describing an event or a situation e.g. news report

Persuade - persuading you to buy a product e.g. advert

Advise - advising for or against e.g. advising a healthy lifestyle

Inform - informing you of a new product e.g.

Analyse - analysing a product or situation - weighing out pros and cons

Review - Reviewing a film, TV programme or product

Entertain - entertaining their target audience via humour, pictures etc.

Argue - arguing for or against a topic

Recount/Narrate - narrating a story or event 

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Audiences

Adults

Elderly people

Parents

Young people

Children

Teenagers

Men

Women

Politicians

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Language

Sentences

Simple or complex?

Long, short or varied in length?

Different types included? E.g. statements, commands, questions

Complete or incomplete?

Words

Simple or complex?

Formal or informal?

Descriptive or emotive? Clear? Powerful?

Personal or Impersonal? 

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Layout

Graphics

Photographs

Illustrations/Drawings

Graphs, charts, maps, diagrams

Logos

Formats/types

Bold, italics, underline

Different point sizes

Different fonts and colours

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Layout

Other Features

Use of colour

Use of white space

Headings and subheadings

Captions

Numbered lists, columns and boxes

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Structuring your essay

1. Introduction

Always begin with a statement about the aims of the media text and the target audience - the examiner is looking for your understanding of the purpose of the text

2. Content

Sum up the features of the article - think about key questions such as why, how, when and who? BUT keep it as an overview and do not copy out information. Point out interesting features and how they contribute towards the purpose of the article e.g. a park which offers something for all ages makes it appealing to a wide range of visitors, which is good for business. By going this, you are showing a range and depth of reading. 

3. Language 

Make closely-argued and sophisticated points, explaining why certain language techniques are effective and what effect they have. 

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Structuring your essay (2)

Checklist of features

Emotive language (Be specific: verbs, adjectives, adverbs, nouns)

Metaphor (is it an extended metaphor?)

Alliteration

Simile

Hyperbole

Personification

Superlative ('most...')

Pun

Repetition

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Structuring your essay (3)

Colloquialism/slang/dialect

Listing (in threes)

Imperatives

Paragraphs (length and variety)

Rhetorical questions

Sentences (variety/length/incomplete)

Slogan

Punctuation (exclamation/ellipsis/bullet points)

Oxymoron

Logo (e.g. where it is positioned, how many times?)

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Structuring your essay (4)

Popular prase

Pronouns ('you')

Technical language

Contrasts

REMEMBER WHEN COMMENTING ON LANGUAGE, YOU MUST TALK ABOUT ITS EFFECT AND PURPOSE FOR BEING IN THE TEXT - Use 'PEC' (Point-Evidence-Comment)    

E.g. There are several photos contained of riders  (point) and in the background  a sophisticated background image of a motorcyclist can be seen (evidence). This is hazy, and could suggest the idea of a crash, giving the readers the other dimension to riding (comment).  

E.g. 2  The article utilises direct, straightforward ideas and words such as 'to keep out of trouble, you've got to be good.' This is done to express the advice clearly and succinctly. Using simple words means everyone can understand it. 

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Structuring your essay (5)

4. Visuals

Discuss the impact of photographs, drawings, maps and captions. You can comment on their placement, size and design. Link them to the points you made earlier and make it clear what they add to the text. DO NOT DESCRIBE THEM IN DETAIL, focus on their FUNCTION. 

5. Evaluative Conclusion 

State whether you feel the text has achieved its opinion and comment on whether you think it is effective. Offer suggestions about how it could have been better. Show the examiner you are still looking at the text, even offer a quotation or a slogan. 

Final thought: Make sure you have covered all areas of the text. At least refer to a section of unexplored test in your conclusion if you are pushed for time. Mention as many points as possible!

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