The Media

There are six topics within the Media section. The media topic will be assessed in paper two. All of the integral elements, theories and methodology are ingrained throughout so keep revising and ensuring you’re using this terminology throughout your exam practice.

  • Topic one – The relationship between ownership and control of the media
  • Topic two – The media, globalisation and popular culture
  • Topic three – The process of selection and presentation of the content of the news
  • Topic four – Media representation of the age, social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability
  • Topic five – The relationship between the media, their content and presentation, and audiences
  • Topic Six – The new media and their significance for an understanding of the role of the media in contemporary society

Introduction (Topic one)

The media refers to the predominant means of communication whether that is in written, verbal or via broadcast it is the means by which mass audiences can be reached. The study of the media is concerned not only with the means of communication but also the technology, the effects on audiences, the institutes that own and control the media and the quality and priority of the message delivered by the media.

There are two types of media, new and old. Old media is characterised by static messages. This means things communicated in one direction, directed towards the audience and the audience don’t interact but just consume. Examp,es of old media are TV, radio, DVD, CD and newspapers. The new media is digital technology, it is mainly characterised by an interactive relationship between the median of media and the audiences for example red buttons on our TVs, social medias, technological devices. The new media can be outlined using four key terms, convergence (one device now has many functions), interactivity, audience/user power (through interaction and creating their own media content) and accessibility,this being the concept that media content is largely free to consume.

To summarise the main differences between the new and old media we recognise the new media is always changing, it is interactive, it uses the internet, there is live communication and virtual communities are established.


Point – Cornford et al (1999) argued the new media is not revolutionary it is just evolution of the media.

Example – Cornford argued that interactive audiences has always been there there it is just the form of communication that has changed. For example letters are replaced with emails and this communication is naturally faster.

Evaluate point – this point is further supported by Boyle (2004) who agreed that the new media is just an evolution of the old media with the main differences between the two is speed of communication.

Counter – however it must be noted that these opinions in sociology suffer from temporal validity, this means that as technology and consequently the media change at rapid pace their idea of evolution may now be outdated as new forms and medians for communication develop this means caution has to be taken when applying the evidence when used to strengthen an argument as it may no longer be a valid argument.

Point – the power of the new media needs to be considered in developing identities within society and institutions.

Example – although new media is considered mainly free the devices and WIFI needed to operate and access the media are not free. This creates inequality in access to the new media.

Evaluate point – therefore a negative impact is the power of the new media in creating a digital underclass. This underclass may be made of older generations who may struggle complete tasks as paper forms become redundant and are replaced with digital forms. This can lead to a form of social differentiation.

Counter – however neophalliacs would not view this as a negative and point out that this is new media giving the opportunity for a different kind of sharing and communication between generations as one teachers the other.

Point – social differentiation – attitudes to new media divide society

Example – Curran et al (2003) power without responsibility (wiki leaks) cultural pessimist and neaphilliacs.

Evaluate – reinforces idea of social divides in society which lead to conlfict

Counter – however cultural pessimists not to be assumed to be purely negative view or a not useful view as they point out considerations such as increased cyber crime and issues with on-line bullying adding to anxiety and depression rates in society.

Key terms

Media,    New media,     Media saturation,     Convergence,    Interactivity,    Audience/power,    Accessibility,    Cornford and Robins (1999),    Boyle et al (2004),    Curran and Seaton (2003),    Neophilliacs,    Cultural pessimists,