Media Concepts


Media Language

Media Language is the way in which the meaning of a media text is conveyed and constructed to the audience (reader or viewer) and is done through codes and conventions.

  • For each medium, there are a number of ways we can interpret what they are trying to communicate to us.
  • To convey meaning, it is usually done through signs and symbols and is polysemic. This is dependent on two things: 1) how the signs and symbols in the text are 'read'. 2) the cultural background of the person 'reading the text'
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Institution is an established and regulated organisation that owns and produces many different media products, systems and texts. It creates and distributes media texts. They all have different aims, visions and audiences, in which they are often competing for. They tend to be large companies such as broadcasting companies, newspaper and magazine publishers, film production companies, music and publishing companies and some governments. Good examples of these are News Corp International, Bauer House, Disney and BBC

  • They key concept not only deals with distribution but ownership, profits, finances and control. Who are the key people? How do they make their money?
  • What their set of codes and values are? What are their relationships with the audience as individuals?
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Genre categorises a media text in accordance with its form, style and content; it also helps us understand how the text has been constructed, It is useful for producers (from different mediums) and audience to utilise a genre's conventions and expectations. The main questions to ask yourself are:

  • How are you able to identify what genre it is?
  • What qualities and things are used to establish the genre?
  • Does belonging to a genre mean that a text has to be exactly the same as other texts within that genre?
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Representation is based on understanding the choices that the media has made when it comes to portraying someone or something. In other words, how do we read what has been presented to us by the media? It can be quite hard to list every single representation presented to us so key traits are usually presented to us. These are the type of questions when being asked about representation:

  • Who or what is being represented? Who is the preferred audience for this representation?
  • What are they doing? Are they conforming to genre expectations or other conventions?
  • Why are they present? What purpose do they serve? What are they communication by their presence? What's the preferred reading?
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Audience is the most important concept in Media Studies as all products are constructed with an audience in mind i.e. target audience. These audiences will be able to understand the product/medium. Ideally, the media want the audience to read/watch/play/buy the text that is being presented to them. When creating a product, some of the areas you want to look at are:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Income
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Narrative is in every media text available to its audience. There is a beginning, middle and end. It is a sequence of events that happen and the audience makes sense of these events and connects these together in order to create an interpretation for themselves. We understand and construct meaning using our experience of reality and of previous texts. Each text becomes part of the previous and the next through its relationship with the audience. 

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