New Media Studies (OCR) Specification 2017 onwards
In particular, this page focuses on OCR's H009/01 AS paper - Media Today. Below is a snapshot taken from the spec of everything that COULD come up in an exam and an explanation. The buttons above will take you to each industry.
The QCA states that exam boards offering Media Studies are required to cover the following: Newspapers, Magazines, Film, marketing, TV and Radio/podcasts to include long-form TV drama, video games, participatory news, social media and technology. Key theorists are listed below but make sure you check out our extensive guide to theorists.
Semiotics: Barthes - you will need to use this if analysing texts, discussing denotaton and connnotation
narratology, including Todorov - this is useful for considering structure of narratives, in particular film and potentially music video.
genre theory, including Neale. This is useful for considering LFTV Drama but also the industry and economy of film
structuralism, including Lévi-Strauss - can be applied to magazine, newspaper, music video and LFTV drama analysis.
postmodernism, including Baudrillard - most likely will appear in music video but also magazines; also strong post-modern elements in some LFTV drama.
theories of representation including Hall - think about reception theory and how audiences respond to texts (dominant, negotiated and oppositional readings).
theories of identity including Gauntlett - the impact of online media and technology has affected representations massively
feminist theories including bell hooks and Van Zoonen - useful for LFTV analysis and possibly music video, newspapers and magazines.
theories of gender performativity including Butler - more for music video, LFTV and newspaper (dependent on story)
theories around ethnicity and postcolonial theory including Gilroy - good for tabloid press analysis, LFTV and some music videos.
power and media industries, including Curran and Seaton - possible newspaper industry links and also issues regarding regulation of some media industries
theories of regulation including those of Livingstone and Lunt - potentially useful for considering the role of Ofcom in regulating and protecting the public from media
theories of cultural industries including those of Hesmondhalgh (understanding global and cultural industries) - useful for LFTV Drama and newspapers.
media effects, including Bandura - link t o newspapers and readings, possibly issues related to adult content in LFTV drama
cultivation theory, including Gerbner - media effects model, see Frankfurt School - desensistisation.
reception theory, including Hall - try and use this, one of the easiest to relate to all media, especially audience positioning an reception of a media text
theories of fandom, including Jenkins - how does content spread online, what are the factors, consider cult shows (eg. Stranger Things) but also Minecraft (UGC)
theories of ‘end of audience’, including Shirky - thinking about the changes of the internet on audience models and fragmentation, good for considering social media and meshing/stacking of audiences.
Film Industry - The Jungle Book 2016 version (Disney live-action remake) - this also covers advertising & marketing (Poster and Trailer)
The specification states that students can only look at film from an industry perspective, also within an economic context. For this reason, students should understand how Disney operates as a business from an economic context and should also be able to explain how successful The jungle Book (2016) was in terms of a product that has gone through stages of production, distribution, marketing and consumption. Know your facts and be prepared to answer in bullet form if necessary, will either be a 5 or 10 mark question so there is only so much detail you can include IF it comes up.
Radio - BBC Radio One - Breakfast Show with 'Grimmy'
You need to have studied a full episode of the Radio One Breakfast Show (poor you) and be able to explain how the show is produced from an industry perspective but also how it can be considered from an audience perspective (either could come up).
You must be able to explain and relate to the public service broadcasting remit (PSB) to ‘entertain, educate and inform’ and how the institution is required to demonstrate a ‘distinctive’ output of content compared to commercial radio. http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/427412-the-radio-1-breakfast-show-with-nick-grimshaw-factsheet.pdf
This can be a five or ten mark question, so keeping your points detailed but tight is key here - why is the show made the way it is, how are audiences targeted and maintained, how much of this is down to historical practices, in what ways is the show responding to social change, and how much of an impact on UK culture does the show have. Rememeber, the industry is changing a lot, in the past year there have been significant loses in listeners with the show not dropping to 4 days a week! Nice one, Grimmy!
Magazines - The Big Issue
You need to study The Big Issue, a niche magazine product. This is actually quite a fun text to analyse that is both satirical and non-mainstream, so look for some interesting representations of people, culture, historical references and social issues.
You will be expected to analyse the product from a representation and media language perspective, so potentially you could get an unseen extract or even be asked to discuss how the magazine typically constructs representations for its audience.
Just remember that it's only a ten mark question, so don't get too bogged down dragging theory that is not necessary for this question. Identify the issues, the representation and how the magazine constructs them (and whether this is typical for this genre).
Video Games - Minecraft
Video games must be studied in relation to media industries and media audiences, including a consideration of the economic and social contexts that influence the video game industry.
Minecraft is an example of an originally independently produced video game that has grown exponentially in popularity and has since been taken over by an industry giant, Microsoft. You should be aware that if this question comes up it is likely to be a five or 10 mark question so you need to ensure you know your facts and keep to the question: why is it popular with audiences, how do they engage with the product and industry, how is the game profitable, in what ways is the marketing and success of this product down to audiences and industries? http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/422763-video-games- minecraft-factsheet.pdf
Music Video - Lady Gaga or Michael Jackson (they are not the same person)
Music videos must be studied in relation to media language and media representations, including a consideration of the historical, social and cultural contexts that influence how media language is used to construct representations.
You should investigate how the elements of the theoretical framework for media language are used to construct representations that appeal to particular audiences, including a consideration of the influence of historical, social and cultural contexts. Consideration should be made of media language elements specific to music videos such as camera shots, angles, lighting, settings, locations, costumes, props, makeup, editing and sound as appropriate.
Billie Jean is an example of a historically significant music video. The video was one of the very first videos on MTV to feature a black artist and be aired on regular rotation by the channel. The video’s immense popularity helped bring MTV into the mainstream and breakthrough racial barriers on TV networks and helped propel the album ‘Thriller’ to the bestselling album of all time.
Million Reasons is a contrasting example of a contemporary music video from a world famous, white, female artist. This particular video (from the album Joanne) marks a change in direction for the artist as media producers make use of media language to construct representations that might attract a broader, more mainstream market whilst not alienating the artist’s core fan base.
You will have about 10 marks to earn, so don't start bringing in theory because it's not necessary.
Newspapers - Print, Social and Participatory Media
Whilst you have to have studied the set texts (a tabloid and a broadsheet) Q5 is likely to be an unseen and will test your skills of analysis, including the integration of theory where applicable.
Spend time on this question comparing and contrasting the two front covers or front cover and social media feed (they will be linked by the lead story).
Question 6 is likely to test your knowledge of how industries are trying to attract and maintain new audiences in the age of social media - make sure you have some case studies to reference. And consider future implications.
Long Form TV Drama - American List A (4)
This is a synoptic paper, therefore you need to use all of your skills and knowledge. You need a good working knowledge of your chosen long form televsion drama to reference throughout. You also need to have a good knowledge of media contexts.
You may be asked to explain or give reasons 'why' something happens in TV drama, alternatively you may be given a statement to agree or disagreen with. Being synoptic in nature, this approach allows you to draw in your knowledge if you disagree and make sure you reference all of the theorertical framework if possible (using examples) to support your arguments.
You should use all the areas of the media theoretical framework (including theory) in relation to your chosen set television programme to consider, for example:
• the influence of technological change on the production, marketing and distribution of long form television drama in a global context (including the impacts of digital distribution platforms on the contemporary global television industry)
• how audiences consume and interpret long-form television dramas, including technological factors related to consumption, and media language factors related to genre hybridity, intertextuality and multiple narrative strands
• the media form specific elements of media language used to create meaning such as camera shots, angles, lighting, settings, locations, editing and sound
• the values, attitudes and beliefs conveyed by representations and the social and cultural context of these
• all relevant contexts, for example a consideration of the economic context behind the large budgets currently given to contemporary US long form television dramas.