The key element of this exam is a discussion which goes beyond identifying what the contemporary media do, and focuses on why they do what they do.

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1 A2 Media: Key Concepts for Exam (MEST3) The key element of this exam is a discussion which goes beyond identifying what the contemporary media do, and focuses on why they do what they do. The aim of this synoptic unit is to allow candidates to demonstrate their understanding of the Media Studies Specification as a whole. MEST3 will encourage candidates to demonstrate their understanding of the key concepts, and also to develop and formulate their approach to the media and the role of the media in today s society by referring in detail to the wider contexts (social, political, historical, economic, as appropriate) which affect media production, distribution and exhibition, by tackling media theory, and by taking part in a discussion of the major contemporary media issues and debates. Candidates are expected to look at cross-cultural factors and the effects of globalisation on the media where appropriate. A glossary of the terms used below can be found in the main Media Studies section on Moodle. All past questions, sample paper and mark schemes are on Moodle. Section A (Two unseen texts at least one will be from new/digital media, the other could be from any platform) 3 compulsory questions (totalling 32 marks 40% of the exam). You have one hour to answer the 3 questions in Section A: including 15 minutes to watch/ read the unseen texts and to take notes, and 45 mins to write answers to the three compulsory questions. The questions are less predictable compared to AS. The first question will require you to focus on the two unseen texts and will relate to one or more of the four key concepts from the AS unseen: forms, audience, institution or representation. This question counts for 8 marks. The other two questions are worth 12 marks each and require you to go beyond the two unseen texts and to use your own examples. These two questions will definitely cover the two exam topics: Impact of New/Digital Media Identities and the Media The questions may also cover wider media issues and debates, like the ones you are addressing in your critical investigations, e.g. Privacy, including the phone-hacking scandal and surveillance of personal data The media s role in the sexualisation of children Regulation of the media, including: the freedom of the press to print stories about both celebrities and ordinary citizens; whether more controls are needed over pornographic and violent material. The extent to which those with extreme views should be allowed access to the media.

2 Section B: The Individual Case Study on Identities and the Media and/or the Impact of New/ Digital Media: Answer ONE from a choice of 4 questions, two of which will be on Identities and the Media and two on the Impact of New/Digital Media. Candidates have one hour to answer this question. (48 marks 60% of the exam). Although candidates only have to answer one question, it is strongly advised to prepare a case study on both Identities and the Media and Impact of New/Digital Media; this will give you a choice of four questions, instead of two. In any case the two topic areas are closely related: a case study on Identities and the Media should consider the impact of new/ digital media on the identities constructed by the media for that group and on how audiences use the media to construct identities. A case study on the Impact of New/ Digital Media should consider this impact on Identities and the Media. Also, remember that, whichever question you choose in Section B, you will have to answer questions on BOTH Identities and the Media AND Impact of New/ Digital Media in Section A, using your own examples, not just referring to the two unseen products. Whichever question you answer in Section B you should aim to use at least four detailed examples, with a range of brief references to other texts. The Identities and the Media Case Study In this set topic area students should explore the media representations and ideologies that could be used to construct identities. They should study the mainstream media s role in constructing and influencing identities. They can also examine how identities are constructed across different media producers, for instance: what is the role and influence of mainstream media? how do the identities compare and why are they different or similar? Students have the opportunity to explore how active audiences use the media to create identities. Audiences respond to and use these identities and different audiences can respond to and use them in different ways. This could include examples of individual and collective identities and self- representation and how similar or different these are to the identities offered by mainstream media. They should also explore the important role of social media and the role of individuals when they are producers. They might also debate the relationship between the media and audiences, and consider how powerful the media s influence is on audiences. They can also examine what power audiences have, including how active audiences use the media and can create alternative identities and organise campaigns. They also need to consider how the media constructs and positions audiences. They should also examine the possible effects on audiences. They might debate whether the media offers only a limited range of identities and whether some identities dominate and some are marginalised. They could also explore whether there are now a variety of diverse identities, including how fluid they can be and the possibilities of a variety of alternative identities. They could study the way each individual can use the media to produce a different identity for different audiences.

3 They need to take into account the values and ideologies that are communicated by these identities, including ones that reinforce and challenge dominant ideologies in society and the media. Students have the opportunity to consider a variety of media issues, debates and theories that are relevant to their individual case study. These could include for example: the changing roles and power of audiences the notion of active and passive audiences pluralist versus Marxist ideas the role of social media and audiences as producers postmodern ideas about fragmented identities globalization post-colonial theory and cultural imperialism feminism and post-feminism queer theory celebrity and fan culture. They will also want to consider a range of wider contexts. These could include for example: Whether ideas in society about different identities have changed. Are identities more diverse and open or is there a move back to narrower, more traditional identities? Does the media reflect or reinforce this? Are there economic reasons behind the identities, and range or lack of range, including issues of ownership, control and choice? What are the possible positive or negative effects on democracy and the globalisation of culture? How is the media used for campaigning on issues? Case studies could be based on the following: A particular aspect of identity: for example, gender, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, age or regional or national identity. It is better to have a clearly defined focus rather than a very broad area of study. A specific aspect of media output covering a range of identities: for example, identities in reality television, news or music. Alternatively, they could put these two together and focus on an individual area of the media and a particular identity: for example, femininity and popular music, national identity and news, masculine crisis of identity and TV drama and film. Students should choose an individual case study to explore the topic of Identities and the Media. It should include detailed analysis of particular media products and audience responses and application of a range of media debates, issues, theories and wider contexts.

4 The Impact of New/ Digital Media Case Study The best way to approach this case study is to look at a news story that shows the impact of new and digital media on our lives. Any story relating to social media is a good starting point: use on main news bulletins of UGC filmed on camera phones/headcams/dashcams, such as that released to the media following the recent shooting of a black man by police in Charlotte, USA any instances of trolling, such as those targeting any woman who dares to have an opinion, particularly in male-dominated areas such as politics or gaming the impact of social media on politics Or you could look at some specific vloggers or YouTubers. Another option is computer games: are people becoming addicted to games such as Candy Crush Saga? What effects do computer games have on the people who play them? Alternatively you can look at the way traditional media have exploited new and digital media: the websites of the BBC, the Daily Mail and the Guardian; the use of digital effects in films; computer animation; the growth of niche TV channels and all the different platforms we can use to access the media when and where we want. It is important to avoid generalized case studies - use a specific example as a starting point. Candidates might study: The interactive consumer Social networking The internet and the world wide web Blogs Podcasts The changing contemporary media landscape The role of media institutions The media and democracy The changing role of the distributor and exhibitor New technologies and the audience The effect of globalisation on the use of new/ digital media Cross-cultural factors in the use and effects of new/digital media Values and ideology in the impact of new technology. Candidates might study a variety of new/digital technologies over the period of a term such as the impact of mobile phones and the changing modes of consumption of media products that are a consequence of such developing technology, or the impact of social networking sites on the internet such as Twitter. Areas such as these would allow candidates to investigate a variety of media issues and debates such as globalisation, ownership and control and the digital revolution and its consequent effect on production and distribution. Candidates might consider how new technologies affect the way we consume (and produce) media products and therefore affect the ways that media products are produced, distributed and exhibited. They should widen this approach to study the impact of new media across different media platforms. Candidates will also consider the changing role of audiences and the decline of the mass audience in the new interactive age, and how this mainly affects media institutions now and in the future.

5 A study of the impact of new/digital media would also lend itself to the examination of a variety of media theories to consider: how new/digital media affects the construction of media products (media analysis) the political and social implications of the new technologies and the methods of their consumption (media theories) the effects so far, and possible effects in the future, on media institutions (media production) the role of the interactive audience (media audiences) cross-cultural factors in, and the effects of globalisation on, the impact of new technology as appropriate. A case study of Youtube might look at a variety of issues all linked with the list above but would also examine the nature of the site, its content, the implications of a medium where we are all producers of media texts, the debate over whether a site such as Youtube is part of a democratisation of the media or whether media institutions have forestalled the power of the audience by purchasing such sites. There are also considerable implications for all media producers (and audiences) in the sense that now, it can be argued, creators of media products can control the distribution and exhibition of their own products. The four part documentary series The Virtual Revolution (in the media library on Moodle) covers most of the central issues relating to this topic. In answering a question on The Impact of New/ Digital Media, candidates should have a clear case study, but the need to stick to this is less strict than in answering a question on Representation. Responses should begin with a case study, but then widen to cover other areas where necessary to answer the question effectively. You should aim to use at least four detailed examples, with a number of brief references to other texts. Candidates will be expected to investigate the topics listed above by studying a range of media texts that encompass the three media platforms that remain central to the specification: Broadcasting and film Print Digital/web-based media (e-media) In the main Media section there is a glossary of key terms. Finally, feel free to either or with any queries.

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