Archive for the ‘Critical Responses’ Category

NED1: The Media Fort

Posted: November 27, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 13_15, Creative Media Production, Critical Responses

The Glossary Brief is just what it says  – it is about defining the words we need to use when talking about Audience Research, Constructing Products, how audiences receive these products and your own personal responses. It is aimed to give you a pass, but without using these words you cannot get a merit or distinction. That having been said, most people find it easier to explain using examples – which puts it into a merit anyway…

Once you have your user name, you need to make sure I add you to Media Fort 2. You will get an email which you accept, and then you can post.

You then need to start posting. Text. Images. Videos. Audio. As long as it does what I have asked you to do (ie defined the words).

As to the key terms I have asked you to define – go to the mind maps. When you are talking about, say, Market Research, define 3 of the terms at the end of the branch (EG Product Market, Competitor analysis, advertising placement etc). You don’t need to define them all, as there are 50 other people defining those as well. Armed with these definitions, you should have a better understanding of the main are you are talking about – IE market research.

You can work together to figure all this out, but you need to post you own, individual work for each one. That is up to you!



So, we are now fully committed to the Glossary Assignment for Media Fort 2, and you still have Media Fort to reference to if you get stuck.

So, Today

  • You will carry on with the brief, submitting as posts to Media Fort.
  • If you get stuck – raise your hand, and ask the question. We will stop and try and answer the question.
  • This will help you as a group to complete the posts.

I will chase up those students absent last week – I need to make sure they are up to speed with this project before it gets going in earnest. So, If you aren’t signed up to WordPress, you will need to do that before I can sign you up to Media Fort 2.

Once I have everyone signed up – I will push tasks 2 and 3!

A collaborative approach to creating

Posted: April 23, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 11_13, Critical Responses

The Critical Responses Unit is about how the media views the audience – reducing the mass of individuals to an easily digestible set of classifications, how products are created for them, how they actually respond to them and how you respond to products. As such it has the potential to be dull.

The subject, however, is important – we, as producers, need to understand the audience and how to shape products for them. There are four main areas to explore :

  • Audience – How do we know who is watching? How are they watching? Who are they?
  • Products – How are products shaped for an audience? What choices do we make in production?
  • Debates – How do audiences respond to the products? What are the main debates around media theory?
  • Analysis – Produce a response to a product – as an analysis or review –

What we are going to do is make a site to explore the subject. Students will collaborate with me to produce the site as an interactive resource – think wikipedia, but with more accuracy.  This site will be aimed directly at 16-19 yr old media students on A level or vocational courses.

We, as teachers, will be the producers and the curators. Students will be the authors and contributors. As they research, and respond to the criteria, you will submit in the most appropriate format – suitable for the audience that you are targeting.


A quick Experiment

Posted: March 19, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in Creative Media Production, Critical Responses

Cultivation: socialization through training and education to develop one’s mind or manners; “her cultivation was remarkable”.

Ok – so maybe not quick.

We will divide up into 3 groups, and each group will look at Cultivation Theory. We will also need to be aware of how this links in with a number of other theories, such as Hypodermic Needle Model, Hyperreality and Agenda Setting. Hopefully, we can come to an understanding based on our understanding of this concept.

Now, you can just google – and to start, here is the Wikipedia definition. But that doesn’t help us understand it. IN order to do that we need a number of stages – defining (what is it?), understanding (So, what does that mean to me?) and synthesising (Doing something with it).

Part 1: Discovery

Group 1: Video Explanations:-

Here is a playlist of Videos about Cultivation Theory. Watch them and in pairs capture what they are talking about as a mindmap or list. IDentifythe important stuff, as well as the things you don’t understand.

Group 2: Text Book Definition

Here is the chapter on Cultivation Theory form Dan Laughey. Highlight the important elements in one colour, highlight the words you don’t understand in another.

Group 3: Charlie Brooker

So, watch the entire episode 1 of “How TV Ruined your Life“, making notes about it. Again, this could be a mindmap, list etc.

Part 2: Present

Each Group present what they have discovered about Cultivation theory to the other groups. Construct 1 big mindmap based on all group discoveries.

Part 3: Discussion

  • What does this mean to you?
  • How could it effect you?
  • What examples can you give of where it may be affecting you in your life?
  • What might be a positive application?
  • What might be a negative application?

Part 4: Application

How can we present this to the rest of the class to explain it to them?

Representation Theory

Posted: March 4, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in Critical Responses, FdA 12_14, Media Production
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Just a quick trawl through Google for you. This will be expanded in sessions, but I just want you to start thinking about what this means.

Thomas Grffiths – Media Representation Theory

Andy Wallis – Representation Theory… one step further

Stuart Hall is the godfather of audience research – he is the first academic to successfully develop ideas on looking at how the audience read these representations of reality.

And an application of this is Male Gaze. I dare you not to be more self conscious after watching this.

What you will be marked on

4 Be able to develop responses to media products

Critical approaches: eg content analysis, semiotic analysis, structuralism,

Genre: according to production technology, eg film, video, audio, print, digital; distribution method, eg television, cinema, radio, internet, CD, iPod, mobile phone, home computer, hand-held consoles; generic codes and conventions (content, style, symbolic, cultural, technical); changes over time, eg in audience, ideological shifts, re-definition, obsolescence, spoof, pastiche, parody

Narrative structures: narrative, eg single strand, multi-strand, closed, open, linear, non-linear; alternative narrative; enigma; climax; equilibrium

Representation: negative; positive; of social groups; of social issues; stereotyping; presence and absence



Suggested Tasks

P4 present a descriptive response to a media product with some appropriate use of subject terminology. [IE] 

  • Apply your content analysis, the effects theories and the audience response to create a final response to the product.
  • Draw conclusions as to the effects of this particular product
  • Write a conclusion to you report that describes the purpose and effect of the product.

M4 present a discussion of a media product with reference to detailed illustrative examples and with generally correct use of subject terminology.

  • Draw conclusions about the effects of this product based on your content analysis, the audience theories and the audience response.
  • Discuss your response to the media product
  • Draw conclusions as to whether this shows a wider set of issues with violent media
  • Write a conclusion to you report that explains your ideas using examples.

D4 present an analysis of a media product with supporting arguments and elucidated examples, and consistently using subject terminology correctly.

  • Compare responses to this media product to responses to other media products.
  • Analyze the media product with reference to your analysis of the content, the effect theories and the audience response.
  • Write a conclusion that explores the content and effect of violent media products using examples.


Present Your Results

Posted: April 20, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12, Critical Responses
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20th April – 4th May

Now it is time to interpret you results to present a response to the chosen product.

You can now take a clear look at the report as a whole, and see if you can draw and conclusions to the original question.

You have:-

  • ·       Audience Profile
  • ·       a content analysis
  • ·       Definition of Effects Theories
  • ·       Audience Response

So, write a conclusion that draws all these elements together – for example, people reading Harry potter often write their own stories, showing active participation in these forms of media.

So, you will have your own personal response to the product, as well as an audience response, which you can now explore using effects theories and content analysis.

Remember, we are focusing on Violent Media effecting society – so, if we have people watching violent films and then re-enacting them (admitting this in focus group), this would show hypodermic needle theory, an active participation and some elements of copycat theory. This would lead us to conclude that there is a link. But we need to refer to the evidence!

Apply what you have found, in general, to other products. Does what you have found out answer the original Question?

Make sure all your information has been presented, explained, and then write your response and a conclusion to explain everything you have discovered.

Violent Media to Blame…?

Posted: April 4, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12, Critical Responses
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A couple of interesting news articles that directly influence our study. Remember, part of the piint of doing this is not to prove a connection, but examine the possible connection between Media violence and real life violence.

First up – primary school children are copying “video Game Violence” in the playground. It covers a range of issues, but it is important to separate some of the statements. Read The Guardian article.

The teachers fear that by spending hours alone playing the games, children could become anti-social and slow to develop speaking and listening skills. Many pupils arrive at school exhausted having played the games until the early hours of the morning, they said.

Now, are the games directly responsible for effecting children to become anti-social, and retarding basic soft skills? Or is the lack of sleep causing this? Just because we see a correlation, does not mean it is a direct connection.

And coverage from The Sun and The Daily Mail on the 14 year old who murdered his mother. Lots of focus on his love of Violent Games, Videos and Coronation Street. What’s to blame…?

‘It must have had an impact because any normal thinking person wouldn’t have done what he did unless he got something imprinted in his brain from what he watched

Both articles make lists of the films he watched, but tend to skip past naming specific games. Interestingly, The Evil Dead is implicated  – the original film was one of the films classified as a “Video Nasty” in the 80’s, and was only available as an edited version for about 20 years.

Both articles imply a copycat effect – ie people consume the media and then try to act it out. This could be a blurring of the lines between reality and fantasy, but that would be an assumption. If the fantasy world is being confused with the real world, that would be an separate psychological issue.

We also have an implication of desensitization – if children consume lots of violent media, they are more likely to be able to commit it. There are arguments against this, mainly that the desensitization would only apply to media violence – however, if someone is confused about the difference between fact and fiction…?

What you are marked on:

3 Understand how media audiences respond to media products

Audience theory: hypodermic needle model; uses and gratifications theory; reception study; passive or active consumption

Effects debates: eg effects of exposure to explicit sexual or violent content, effects of advertising, health concerns; censorship debates

Responses: negotiated; preferred; oppositional; participatory; cultural competence; fan culture


P3 describe how media audiences respond to media products with some appropriate use of subject terminology [IE]

  • Describe Effects Theories
  • Describe Response terms
  • Select an audience
  • Have them experience the product
  • Gather their responses
  • Add conclusions to your blog

M3 explain how media audiences respond to media products with reference to detailed illustrative examples and with generally correct use of subject terminology

  • Explain Effects Theories
  • Explain Response terms
  • Gather audience responses effectively
  • Link responses with effects theories
  • Add the conclusions to your blog

D3 comprehensively explain how media audiences respond to media products with elucidated examples and consistently using subject terminology correctly

  • Explain Effects Theories with examples
  • Explain Response terms with example
  • Gather a wide range of audience responses
  • Explore a wide range of effects theories
  • Draw conclusion about the links between these responses and effects theories
  • Add conclusions to you blog

The Audience Response

Posted: March 9, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12, Critical Responses
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9th March – Plan Research

16th March – Prepare Research

23rd March  – Conduct Research as focus Group

30th March – Present Results

You now need to gather a focus group. You should have identified these people from your original survey and the profile you made of them.

You will need to define and explain basic audience effects theories, making sure you have opposing viewpoints. Since we are exploring Violence in the media, you will need to explain the following effects theories in terms of how violent media could be effecting violence in society:

  • ·       hypodermic needle model;
  • ·       uses and gratifications theory;
  • ·       reception study;
  • ·       Passive or active consumption:
  • ·       Copycat Theory


You will also need to define the following response terms and find examples.

  • ·       negotiated – The meaning depends on how the audience chooses to read it
  • ·       preferred – the meaning intended by the producers
  • ·       oppositional – the meaning opposite to that intended
  • ·       participatory – Involving the audience in production and meaning eg online response form Twitter, Blogs etc
  • ·       cultural competence – different interpretations depending on Cultural background, eg: The wire – who are the good guys?
  • ·       fan culture – fans creating their own responses

You will get volunteers and expose them to the same product – eg they will all play the same game (form the start) for a period of time and then talk about how they felt, what they did and how they experienced the product.

Through a series of Interviews (spoken or written logs) find out how the groups respond to the product.

  • ·       What did they do?
  • ·       How did they identify with the characters?
  • ·       Why did they enjoy it?
  • ·       How did they feel during / after the product?
  • ·       How did they understand their experience?
  • ·       How do their responses ot the product tie in with the theories you have explored above?


  • ·       Define Effects Theories in your report / blog
  • ·       Define response terms in your report / blog
  • ·       Select a group
  • ·       Give them the same experience of the product
  • ·       Gather their reactions to the product
  • ·       Link these up with the theories you have explored.