Media revision



Semiotics- language of signs

Roland Barthes- one of the main way of communication is verbal. Other ways include clothing, hairstyles, body lang, colours etc

We communicate through verbal and visual signs


  • The signifier: the physical form of the sign- the written word/visual image
  • The signified: the concept/ idea that the signifier produces


Signifier - A sigh Signified- boredom, relief, exhaustion

Signifier- colour red Signified- danger, love, anger

Signifier- laughter Signified- happiness, anxiety

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Polysemic- Many meanings/interpretations

  • Signifirs are polysemic
  • The signified is based on experiences (culture/ society)

Signifiers in film and TV

  • use human capability for interpreting signs
  • can be found in all areas of film

Subjective signifiers- not intentionally put there but something that reminds an individual of something in their life/ memories

Objective signifiers- put there intentionally to give clues about how to feel/react- an audience usually picks up on the same objective signifier


A man carrying a rose- about to do something romantic, romance, forgiveness, proposal

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The meanings of signs may also be thought as having 2 levels:

  • Denotation- physical qualities of the sign, literal meaning
  • Connotation- associations carried by the sign
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Conventions- what everyones doing:

  • song/jingle
  • humour
  • slogans
  • famous people/ intertextuality
  • terms and conditions
  • brand name/logo
  • colour scheme
  • repetition
  • price
  • image of shot- 'money shot'
  • stereotypes

'the first function of an ad is to create difference'- advertisers will use different signifiers to create different meanings about their products

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USPs (unique selling points) and branding

Signifiers help to create unique selling points and establish the brand identity of a product- makes it different from other products which creates a market

Importance of signifiers:

  • help to establish brand identity and help communicate messages about groups of people
  • adverts must communicate a distinctive brand identity to help separate their product from others in the same market
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Roland Barthes- Myths

  • The 3rd order of signification the sign reflects major culture- variable


  • Dominan ideologies of our time
  • help us make sense of the world
  • they turn culture into nature and naturalize the world (Culture into nature- something that might have been a pov which we all accept)
  • A common myth is masculinity, e.g. Lynx, princess/disney films

Myths of femininity: In chanel- you need a man, need to be skinny, pretty, successful

Other myths:

  • men in control
  • celebs lifes glamorous
  • wealth= happiness
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Language codes

Written codes

  • Headlines
  • subtitles
  • puff-extra  - leads you on to read
  • feature/lead story
  • standfirst
  • type face- sans serif/serif
  • choice of words
  • by line
  • strapline (subsidery heading/caption)
  • banner
  • column
  • body copy
  • secondary stories
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Language codes

Technical codes

  • Editing- photoshop, airbrush, crop
  • cinematography
  • framing

Symbollic codes

  • images
  • headshot
  • simple design
  • adverts
  • colour
  • promotions
  • people- clothing 
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Types of newspaper

  • The Sun- Tabloid, conservative
  • Daily mirror- tabloid, labour
  • Daily mail- Tabloid, conservative
  • The Guardian- broadsheet, lib dem/labour
  • The Independent- Broadsheet, none

Right wing- traditional, moneys a priority, about the individual

Left wing- collective, about everyone


  • smaller than broadsheets
  • stories focussed on gossip/celebs- soft news
  • more larger images
  • brevity
  • red tops- red mastheads/ sans serif text 
  • overtly biased
  • dramatic, sensationalist
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Types of newspaper


  • lots more information
  • serious news stories/ formal tone
  • more factual- providing info
  • more detail
  • column layout
  • hard news
  • more text than images
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Galtung and Ruge- News Values Theory

Frequency- how long the story is /lasts- short term stories like murders are preferred over long term developments like a famine

Threshold- the size of the event indicates its importance

Unambiguity- events do not have to be simple but must be accessible by the public- must be able to be understood 

Meaningfulness- idea of relevance to us and our culture

Consonance- the familiar is more likely to be thought than the unfamiliar

Unexpectedness- rarity of an event leads to its circulation- shocking storiess

Continuity- once a story achieves importance it will be continued for some time

Composition- provide a sense of balance, bad news with good news, foreign with domestic

Reference to elite nations- events are more likely to be reported if they occur in the developed world

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Galtung and Ruge- News Values Theory

Reference to elite persons- the famous and the powerful are more newsworthy than ordinary people

Personalisation- making a story seem more personal so they can engage 

Negativity- bad news is good for the press and TV news- threshold is much longer than for good news

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TV news codes and conventions


  • medium shots of news anchors (presentors)
  • wideshot of studio
  • long shot on location
  • establishing shots
  • over the shoulder shots for interviews (not wanting to be seen)
  • piece to camera on location talking to cam

Mise en scene

  • formal attire
  • presenters sat behind desk, serious expression, sat upright
  • direct eye contact
  • in TV studio
  • colour of the set links to brand
  • experts
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TV news codes and conventions


  • theme tune for each programme- sense of urgency
  • presenters are well spoken- pronounced words- formal
  • ambiant sounds on location
  • direct mode of address


  • Straight cuts
  • opening montage of up coming news stories
  • graphics to explain news stories
  • ticker tape
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Tv news

Lots of different roles/ stages

News agender foes where in the news:

  • negative news first
  • competition between journalists
  • they decide what goes where for us - biased?
  • tells us whats important/whats not shown- what should be cared about
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E media (electronic media)

Web genres

  • social media (social networking/ dating sites)
  • retail
  • corporate business
  • broadcasting
  • gaming
  • music
  • film

How has e- media affected the following industries?


  • you fan watch it whenever- demand services such as iplayer
  • increase viewers due to advertised or talked about on e media
  • each channel has a website- advertised
  • netflix- comp for TV
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E media (electronic media)


  • less paper versions- more online so more instandly available
  • links to videos
  • online sub-scriptions/ regular emails
  • regularly updated online
  • apps


  • can listen to radio online/ on phones- more portable
  • music apps make it easierto listen to just music- no need for radios anymore
  • simulcasting- watch performers on Radio BBC1 extra


  • can look online instead of paper versions
  • can get more info from celebs via social media- more reliable
  • blogs/apps- huge comp- on apps like sc
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  • a company/ insitution that is responsible for a media text 

Public service broadcaster

  • concerned about benefiting the public rather than purely for commercial purposes
  • have to have a variety of genres
  • have to have British programmes
  • high quality programming
  • appeal to all groups in the public
    • Examples BBC (funding through TV license) and Channel 4 (advertising, caters for minority groups, represents ethnic minorty)

Commercial broadcaster

  • broadcasting by privately owned corporate media and funded by advertising/sponsorship
  • subscripting gets money
  • please audience and advertisers- need to make sales/get something out of it- have to create programmes that advertisers will want their product associated with
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Brand- a product manufactured by a particular company under a particular brand

Brand identity- how a business wants to be perceived by audiences

Brand image- how the audience view the brand

Brand value- what is important to that brand and what they want audiences to connect with 

Ident- what a channel puts together to show what they're about

Remit- criteria they have to follow

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  • how the media depicts groups, events and places

factors that affect representation:

  • institution- their values, beliefs and image
  • Traget audience- their values, beliefs and interests
  • Genre- generic conventions

Analysing representation

  • identify the group being represented
  • choose adjectives to describe the group
  • support it with evidence from media 
  • refer to values/ideologies that the representation embodies
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Gender and Advertising

Goffman suggests that despite change in role of women in society, they are still presented in a particular way 

Common themes:

  • The artificial look: unreal image- poses are not how normal women stand
  • The feminine touch- women are constructed in strange ways
  • Deference: may be symbolised by lowering oneself (submitting to men)
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  • everytime we see a media text we are not seeing reality but a version of it 
  • process in which all media goes through where they have been shaped to give a version of the truth 


  • Selection- what will be included (certain info left out)
  • organisation- how far has the info been organised, highlighted, what has been given first?
  • Focusing- ends up with audience concentrating on one aspect of the text
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The male gaze theory

  • audiences take pleasure in viewing the female as the object
  • the audience have little choice in viewing it in this way due to the male dominated industry
  • the only power females can possess is her sexuality which she uses to manipulate the male

Stereotypes: simplified/ generalised version of a group or place


  • stereotype was not meant to be negative and simply meant as a shortcut


  • stereotyping is not a simple process
  • they arent always negative// about minority groups//not alway false// not always rigid or unchangable 

Barker (against perkins)

  • stereotypes are often condemned for misinterpreting the 'real world' (e.g. false stereotype that women are available for sex at anytime)// or are too close to the real world 
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Media lang techniques in moving image

Moving image 

micro features (cinematography)- directors use the camera to direct the audience to significant characters, locations or objects

Shot types:

  • close up- emotion//facial expressions
  • extreme close up- detail//emphasise on emotion
  • mid shot- body lang// more personality
  • establishing/long shot- setting//scale
  • two shot- relationship 
  • over the shoulder shot- share experience
  • high angle shot
  • PoV shot
  • Reaction shot
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Media lang techniques in moving image

Mise en scene (french term that means everything that is 'placed in the shot'

  • actor position
  • setting
  • blocking
  • costumes
  • lighting/shadows
  • colours
  • make up
  • haircuts
  • props
  • special effects
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Media lang techniques in moving image

Editing (describes how a film moves from one shot to the next)

Editing transitions

  • straight cut- no interference, keeps flow of film
  • fades
  • dissolves- gives impression images are belnding together
  • montage- juxtaposition of diff shots to create meaning
  • graphic match
  • action match
  • eyeline match
  • shot reverse shot
  • jump cut- disorientates the view, can creat time, space
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  • Ambient- background noise
  • Synchronous- sounds in sync with images
  • Asynchronous- sounds outside the image
  • Diegetic- character can hear the soundtrack
  • Non-deigetic- sound isn't in their world
  • incidental music- adds mood
  • contraputal sound- goes against the scene
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Shot vocab

  • Dolly- cameras mounted on a cart which travels along tracks for smooth movements
  • Follow- camera physically follows subject
  • Pan- horizontal movement left/right
  • Tilt- vertical movement of camera angle
  • Track- movement which stays a constant distance from the action

Intertextuality- visual/audio references made to other texts

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Iconography- significant objects, sound codes

Codes and conventions- commonly occurring features

Branston and Stafford- 

the maker can rely on certain kinds of audience familiarity to play with and the audeicne looks forward to become more adventurous within these stabilities

Genre is no longer fixed elements 

Why do we enjoy genre?

  • audiences have specific expectations that they wish to be fulfilled 
  • they enjoy recognising features - attracts audiences 
  • comfortted  that we can predict they way a genre addresses us 
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Audience response

Reception Theory- Stuart Halls

  • producers encode meaning within a text which they hope members of the audience will decode and understand
  • however, audiences do not always decode it correctly/agree with the meanings they decode

Three types of reading audiences can make:

  • Preferred reading- one that producers hope will be inferred
  • Negotiatied reading- audiences acknowledge the preferred reading but modify it to suit their own values 
  • Oppositional reading- audience members from outside the target audience may reject preferred reading, receiving their own alternative message
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Narrative Theories

Narrative- the way the story is told

Plot- the main events in a meda product

Propps character types

  • Looking for certain types of characters in films 

Todorov's Equilibrium theory

  • all stories start at a state of equilibirium. which is disrupted and followed by a chain of events. Resolutions is the new equilibrium 

Levi Strass' Binary oppositons 

  • consider productions of the meanings of narrative e.g. vs female
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Narrative Theories

Barthes enigma code

  • creates Qs and mystery for the audience which creates curiosity e.g. start of walking dead

Barthes action code

  • refers to actions that lead to others creating suspense

Narrative logic

  • audience may create explanations to make sense of the plot 

Cause and effect

  • every effect has a cause for every event- narrative must reassure us that it'll be acted upon


  • showing an event/moment from earlier on
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Narrative Theories

Linear structure- chronoligical sequence of plot events 

Non-linear structrue- non chronological sequence of plot events 

Multi-strand narrative- different stories involved

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Why people use media

Uses and Gratifications Theory

  • Zailmann- shown the influence of mood on media choice- boredom= exciting content but stress= relaxing
  • same programme may satisfy different needs 
  • learning
  • gaining sense of security
  • seeking advice of matters/opinion
  • gaining knowledge

Personal idenetity:

  • finding reinforcement for personal values
  • models of behaviour
  • identifying with valued other
  • gaining insight into oneself
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Why people use media

Social interaction

  • gaining insight into circumstances of others
  • sense of belonging
  • basis of conversation
  • substitute for real life companionship
  • helping carry out social rules
  • connect with family, friends, society


  • escaping problems
  • relaxing 
  • fill time
  • emotional release
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Why people use media

Social interaction

  • gaining insight into circumstances of others
  • sense of belonging
  • basis of conversation
  • substitute for real life companionship
  • helping carry out social rules
  • connect with family, friends, society


  • escaping problems
  • relaxing 
  • fill time
  • emotional release
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