Media Terminolgy

  • Created by: jamie
  • Created on: 01-04-13 08:35
Signs associated with a particular genre. “The blood, bats, and crucifixes are part of the iconography of the vampire sub-genre.”
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Binary Opposites
Sets of opposite values said to reveal the structure of cultures and, by extension, media texts. “In early examples of the Western genre cowboys are the good guys and Indians are the bad guys – they are what Levi Strauss would call binary opposites
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This occurs when something that is written or spoken is added to a visual image to stabilise its meaning. “The slogan anchors the audience’s interpretation of the image.”
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Everything in the shot – lighting, colour, setting / location, costume, body language, movement, eye contact, object and props.
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To suggest or imply in addition to literal meaning – culturally loaded idea. ”The use of a film star in an advert connotes glamour and success for the product.”
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Unwritten rules in mainstream texts. Main characters will always survive to the end. Underdeveloped sidekicks will be killed off. Action Film Conventions
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Sequence of events organised into a story with a particular structure.
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This is where one media text references another. The Simpsons often uses plots from horror films in its Halloween specials.
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The initial status quo, which is ‘disrupted’ in a narrative. Equilibrium Disruption New Equilibrium
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The literal meaning of a sign. A logo on a photo denotes an advert.
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Social Class
Groups in society separated by the nature of their work and level of education, etc. Advertisers use the ABCDE scale.
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Oversimplified generalised, or exaggerated representation of a person or group. ‘All Muslims are religious fundamentalists.’
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Preferred Reading
This occurs when the audience thinks what programme makers wanted them to think.
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Oppositional Reading
This occurs when the audience thinks something different to what programme makers wanted them to think.
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A dramatic reconstruction of real events. Events are often interpreted. ‘Road to Guantanamo’
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Marxist theory that argues the media convince us it is in our best interests to submit to the ruling elite. The news is always reinforcing how the Royal Family is a good thing.
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The fusion of two or more genres to create a new sub-genre. Docu-soap, which fuses elements of documentary and soap opera.
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Hypodermic Needle Model
A theory that suggests that the media ‘inject’ ideas into a passive audience, like giving a patient a drug.
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High Culture
The cultural products and activities, which enjoy enhanced status because of their perceived value and aesthetic merit. Opera is high culture and X Factor is low culture.
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Hard News
Important news like the war in Iraq or Tony Blair resigning as opposed to soft news like celebrity and human-interest stories.
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Non–Diegetic Sound
Sound added during editing that is not part of the on-screen action. Heartbeat on Deal Or No Deal.
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A combination of a documentary and a soap opera. ’Real lives’ are presented in ways, which are usually associated with fictional narratives. ‘Airport’
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The term used for the classification of media texts into groups with similar characteristics. Sci-fi, Horror.
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Marxists believe the ruling elite exploit the working masses. They believe the media helps enforce the dominant ideology.
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The process by which a media text represents an idea, issue or event to us. This word can be used to highlight the way things change after being represented by the media.
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A narrative device that teases the audience by presenting a puzzle or riddle to be solved. “Will Sam Tyler come out his coma in Life On Mars?”
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Niche Market
A small target audience with specific interests, for example, gardeners who watch gardening programmes.
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Effects Model
The idea that the media can be blamed for society’s problems. Computer games make people violent or Marilyn Manson was to blame for Columbine.
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Cinéma Vérité
A style of TV or film which may use techniques such as improvised dialogue, jerky, hand held camera work and natural lighting in order to ‘seem more real’.
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Red Tops or Tabloids
The Sun and Mirror, lowbrow papers full of soft news, gossip and opinion. NB. Some broadsheets are now tabloid shaped. This is now known as the Berliner format.
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Serious newspapers associated with hard news and reporting important events at home and abroad. The Guardian and The Times.
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An idea that a media text can give you that isn’t necessarily true. In American war films the Americans are usually the good guys. Further research? Jean Baudrillard & Roland Barthes
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Public Service Broadcasting (PSB)
Regulated broadcasting which has providing a public service as a primary aim. Educating the public on health and nutrition would be an example of a PBS broadcast.
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Mode of Address
The way a media text talks to its audience. Westwood on Radio 1 talks in street language. Women’s magazines address readers as friends would.
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The ideological system within which we live. Wealth is privately owned. People aim to get rich and most things are judged by their economic value.
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Uses and Gratifications Theory
The idea that people are not manipulated by the media rather they pick and choose what they want to believe. People know the X Factor is rubbish but watch it for fun.
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Moral Panic
A hyped overreaction from the media causing people to believe society’s values have collapsed. Teenage crime, ‘happy slapping’ and binge drinking.
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Organisations involved in media production, distribution and censorship. BBC, Ofcom, Endemol
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deliberately scheduling a different type of show to competing channels e.g programming sport against a cookery show on a rival network.
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putting a new, or less popular show on before a popular one in order to catch the viewers that may tune in early.
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putting a new, or less popular show on between two popular shows so that viewers do not bother to turn off or over and watch the new show.
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putting a new, or less popular show on after a popular show, in the hope that viewers will remain transfixed by their TV set.
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going straight from the end of one show into the beginning of another, without giving the viewer the opportunity to change the channel.
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airing episodes of the same show at the same time each day. This means that the viewer knows when the show is on without having to look at a TV guide. This is common practice with news and talk shows. It's also used for syndicated drama and comedy sh
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Genre Conventions
Typical features that allow audiences to identify genre.
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Mainstream Conventions
Traditional and popular, normally consumed by mass audiences.
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Star Marketing
The use of stars to promote a programme.
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Production Values
How much money is spent on a television programme for example and how this can be identified.
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A detailed breakdown of the target audience.
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Three Act Structure
Most Sitcoms are commonly broken into three parts – at the beginning the characters, setting and problem are introduced, the second part (and longest part of the programme) involves the narrative chain of cause and effect while the final part (Act 3)
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Central characters.
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Binary Opposition
Where two very different things/characters are deliberately placed against each other so audiences construct meaning.
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This is where a storyline is in chronological sequence.
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Sound that is coming from the scene
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Confirms meaning.
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Hyper Real
Exaggerated representations.
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Cultural Stereotype
Commonly found representations that are deliberately encoded for entertainment values.
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Situation Comedy
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Independent Production Company
An organisation that makes programmes that are commissioned (bought) by broadcasters.
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Something, or somebody that has elevated status.
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Where the camera switches between two scenes.
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Critically Acclaimed
Has received awards and nominations and is well received by audiences.
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Transitory Characters
Characters that make a one off appearance in the show.
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An environment where things just don’t work properly or how they should.
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Critical Success
See critically acclaimed
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Niche Channel
A channel with a small audience share
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Something that may cause controversy
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Cult Following
Where a programme has small but loyal audience deeply committed to the programme.
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Post Watershed
Broadcast after 9pm
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Techniques used to decide the time to broadcast a programme including what it comes before and after.
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Free from the control of large corporations or organisations
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Pilot Episode
A trial, one off episode to test audience reaction
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Avant Garde
Something that is experimental and innovative
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Cultural Capital
The knowledge, skills and experience that effect an audiences’ consumption of a text
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Multi Stranded
Where the narrative is based around a number of characters each with their own storyline
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Hand Held Camera
Portable cameras that provide a more ‘jerky’, realistic representation
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High Key Lighting
Lighting that completely illuminates a scene.
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Two Shot
Two characters either side of the frame – helps audiences understand character relationships.
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Shot Reverse Shot
One character (character a) is in the frame and the camera is placed behind the shoulder of another character he/she is communicating with. When conversation is exchanged the camera is placed behind character a. and the camera cuts between them – ano
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Tracking Shot
A smooth take of objects or characters moving through space (has the reverse effect of hand held) helping with narrative continuity
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Verite Camera Work
Realistic camera work (normally hand held) seeking to make the scene/shot as authentic as possible to help with audience identification.
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Black Comedy
Difficult comedy that audiences find it awkward to laugh about because it borders being offensive and can contain morally abhorrent representations.
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The pleasure of looking at other people
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Where audiences can use the drama they see unfolding on the screen as a way of working through their own problems
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A disorder that commonly involves the sufferer suddenly falling asleep in any given situation/environment without warning
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Genre Marketing
Where audiences are marketed to via their enjoyment of a specific genre
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Socio Economic Categorisation
A way of categorising audiences based on their occupation and class e.g. A (landed gentry), B (doctors/lawyers), C1 (teachers, middle managers), C2 I(skilled manual workers), D (unskilled manual; workers), E (students/pensioners/prisoners/unemployed)
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Psycho Graphic Categorisation
A way of segmenting audiences via their personality type (Aspirers, Mainstreamers, Individualists, Carers, Succeeders).
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Narrative Arcs
Storylines or themes that repeat through a series
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Narrative Themes
Social issues that are explored in a text
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Binary Opposites


Sets of opposite values said to reveal the structure of cultures and, by extension, media texts. “In early examples of the Western genre cowboys are the good guys and Indians are the bad guys – they are what Levi Strauss would call binary opposites

Card 3




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Chloe Dickinson



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