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A Level Media Studies

Head of Department: Mr L Woodward BA (Hons) (Bournemouth), MA (King’s College London)
Email: lwoodward@stedmundscollege.org

A Level Media Studies equips with the tools to understand the ever-shifting and changing role of the mass media in contemporary society. As technology continues to change the fundamental ways in which messages and information are communicated, students will be encouraged to think critically in evaluating the influence of the media and the extent to which it shapes our views and experiences of the world. Effectively tackling these issues and debates requires engagement with a range of disciplines, from social sciences and politics, to semiotics, linguistics and audience reception theory.

Equally, media production stimulates students’ creative and technical abilities. It provides students with an insight into planning, organising, executing and presenting products across different media platforms. This practical experience further develops students’ analytical eye by allowing them to experiment with different codes, conventions, techniques and devices. Both the examined and practical elements of the subject promote students’ debating, reasoning and social skills and their ability to work effectively with others.

COURSE CONTENT IN RHETORIC I

Component 1 – Media Products, Industries and Audiences

The first section of the course is designed to train students’ analytical eye; their ability to scrutinise media products and consider the ways in which messages have been constructed and communicated. Students will learn about the techniques used by media producers, across a range of industries, to convey meaning and how these techniques can achieve certain effects on audiences. A range of products will be studied from across a number of media industries, including advertising, marketing, newspapers, radio and video games.

COURSE CONTENT IN RHETORIC II

Component 2 – Media Forms and Products in Depth

Across the second year of the course students’ macro analysis skills are developed. This means they will look at three media industries in depth and consider wider issues and debates. Students will firstly study television, specifically its globalisation as an industry and the extent to which we are living in a ‘golden age’. This will be followed by a study of magazines, in which students will study texts from different time periods, as well as comparing mainstream contemporary products with more specialised, niche publications. Finally, a study of ‘online’ media assesses the impact of digital technology and how social media platforms are changing audiences’ consumption habits.

Component 3 – Cross-Media Production

The coursework component consists of 30% of the course and is predominantly completed in Rhetoric II. The coursework briefs are published by the exam board on March 1st of Rhetoric I, allowing students the Trinity Term and Summer weeks to research, plan and develop their ideas. In the Michaelmas and Lent Terms of Rhetoric II students must then execute these ideas to develop their own cross-media production. Students will get a choice of four briefs, which will read something like the following:

You must produce a cross-media production for a new magazine in a specific genre of your choice. Create original print pages for a new magazine and associated promotional material to promote the magazine. You should create a cross-media production for an independent publishing organisation (such as Dennis, The Big issue or Iceberg Press/ TCO London) targeting an audience of 30-49 year old ‘explorers’ or ‘reformers’.

Key Skills:

Photography,

Cinematography

Full training with state of the art equipment

Publishing (Adobe InDesign and Photoshop)

Video editing (Adobe Premiere Pro)

Personal skills:

Independent learning

Academic research skills

Media literacy

Textual analysis and deconstruction

Essay writing

Ability to debate and discuss issues

Enrichment opportunities

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