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Why should we and How can we Study the Media?

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Why should we and How can we Study the Media? Media are critically important in our lives. We decide how, and sometimes whether to vote based on TV images of candidates and issues. We learn about other countries and cultures around the world from movies, newspapers and the internet. We may even come to know ourselves and our own cultures - to form our own identities - through interaction with music, film and television. It is essential then, that we understand how media institutions and media images work so that we can become critical and discriminating producers and consumers of media. Media texts are constructed, often by organisations; they use specialised language and have distinctive ways of telling stories. They have distinctive narratives and genres and are primarily commercial. The media have specific ways of looking at the world and consequently construct their own representation of reality. These representations carry messages and values which are interpreted by audiences in a variety of ways, media industries and institutions have an influence on the products created. I believe that part of the reason why people study the media is because they are interested in the whole intellectual culture, and the part of it that is easiest to study is the media. It comes out every day. You can do a systematic investigation. ...read more.


Effectively, the content of each of these newspapers are controlled by the same person and the same set of rules, this can't be a good thing surely? I would suggest that as the media has been seen to become recognised as a form of communication and in some cases, a way of giving people access to political theories and ideas is it not right that it should be studied and monitored? Particularly as there seems to be such a large amount of censorship and regulation by big corporations and the Government (both of which are potential corruptors in the media). 'All media entail is a process that involves senders, messages and receivers as well as a specific social context in which they operate' (Briggs.A and Cobley.P, 2002, p1). I believe that this quote from this book effectively sums up what the media is all about. - 'a process that involves senders, messages and receivers' - a form of communication, and one that I believe should be challenged and studied by the audience as well as the producers. When talking about why we should study the media, it is important to note how we should study, and the methods with which we use to study the media. This is because to me, much of the media today is subjective (which in itself is not a bad thing). ...read more.


I would suggest that this is not an accurate critique. Just as there can be poor positivistic theories, there can be poor interpretive theories. Likewise, there can be good positivistic and interpretive theories. An analogy to literary critique is the best illustration. As an English student, I have experienced and come to the conclusion that literary critique is always interpretive. For example, a positivistic critique of Hamlet would amount to nothing more than a catalogue of the number of times each word is used, the amount of ink, and the number of pages in the story. It would tell us nothing about the power and strength of the play. Interpretive approaches of Hamlet can be either good or bad. In my opinion, an interpretation that it is a play about "being happy" would be a bad interpretation, while a critique on revenge would be more accurate. The common experience of people who have seen or read the play helps determine the quality of an interpretation. While it is subjective, a reasonable determination can be made as to its value and I believe this to be a much more worthwhile view on this form of media and media as a whole. From this I can conclude that I take an ontological interpretivist position when looking at the world. However, interpretivism is certainly not the only theory that is available for use when studying the media and this should be noted when attempting to understand how the media can be studied. ...read more.

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