Sunday, 23 May 2010


Here's a checklist of  some  basic resources  we've used  for the earlier topics, either  as hand-outs or downloads from our intranet.  Most are in Word, a few in pdf or as mp3. If you need new copies to update your notes or have any access problems, let me know asap.  


Glossary; Media Literacy Key Concepts; Terms common to all media; Media Conventions; Genre;  Ideology; Realism and Representation ; McLuhan Summary; Media Theory Overview

Websites: McLuhan ;  PG's Radio Teaching Site (useful for close analysis  of radio drama production in Question 1)


General: Freedom, Regulation and Control (pdf)

Press: What is the Press Complaints Commission ? (also mp3); PCC Editors' Code(also mp3);

Film:  Censorship History (also mp3); Censorship in Hollywood -Hays Code (also mp3); The BBFC Classification  Process (also mp3) ; Case Studies in Censorship (also mp3);  Petely and  Barker on Censorship; BBFC Statement on The Exorcist; BBFC Statement on Crash


Audience  and  Media Effects; Audience Effects (Powerpoint) Media Effects - Gauntlett (also mp3);  How Children Interprete Screen Violence; Effects Research Glossary

Websites: BBFC Student Website; Press Complaints Commission

Friday, 14 May 2010


Here's a provisional schedule  for the month leading up to the exam on June 15. I've indicated the areas we'll be covering  and the main resources you'll need to revisit.


AM: Post Modernism - examples of Post Modern media texts  (plus materials from last session )

PM:  Ideology and Representation - analysis of your production work ( make notes)

Resources (intranet): Media Literacy Key Concepts; Terms Common to All Media; Ideology; Representation


AM:  Media Regulation - Print

Resources:          Notes on PCC code with case histories

HW:   revision re above plus past-paper question on production work

 If anyone needs extra tutorial time, I'll be available Wednesdays PM  by arrangement


AM:  Media Regulation  -  Film     Review case studies ( e.g "Crash")

Resources:  BBFC Student Site  plus  case studies from intranet; 

PM:  Past Paper Part 1


AM:  Past Paper  Part 2   

Email feedback  and personalised suggestionsbefore Travel Day.  re areas for further specialisation and/or reinforcement over the break 

Provisional suggestions:

Jack:  Print & Film regulation; Games & Film in the on-line age
Matthew: Print & Film regulation ; Radio  & Music in the on-line age
Dave:  Print & Film regulation ; Music & Radio  in the on-Line Age
Luke: Print & Film regulation;  Film & Music in the on-Line Age

JUNE 8 & 9

FInal review -  content will depend on those areas where people feel they need most advice/assistance

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Week 4/5 Introduction to Post Modernism

For the next three sessions we're investigating the synergy between the expansion of Web 2.0 and the  growth of a post-modern digital cyberculture.   The first session will give you an over view of Post-Modernism. In the two subsequent sessions   you'll be doing an assignment exploring these connections with relation to specific media texts and patterns of audience consumption.  You should be thinking about media productions that have post-modern features e.g:

TV:   Big Brother, The X factor, Dr Who, The Simpsons
Film: Avatar, The Matrix, The Truman Show
Music:  MTV, music videos

In addition to the handout   and the Power Point presentation ( email docs to follow),  you'll need to refer to Music and Post-Modernism   and Theoretical Approaches to Post Modernism.  

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Week 4 - Essay Guidelines - Media in the On-Line Age

The question:  What has been the impact of the internet on media production; and how has it affected consumer behaviour and audience response?

In your discussion you should compare the main area you've investigated with another medium - perhaps by looking at the way  the two have converged. OCR examiners advise  students to  cover three aspects of the topic.  This can also give you a structure for your answer.

Historical – dependent on the requirements of the topic, candidates must summarise the development of the media forms under discussion,  when relevant to the question.  You need to show some awareness  of the medium  in its pre-web or pre-digital state.

Contemporary – current issues within the topic area.   I have given some prompts in earlier posts.

Future – candidates must demonstrate personal engagement with debates about the future of the media forms / issues that the topic relates to.

Week 3 - Audio in the Online Age

When investigating effects of Web 2.0  and digital technology on radio and/or  the music industry,  you could consider:

  • copyright & intellectual property issues
  • peer-to-peer downloading, torrenting
  • sampling, mash-ups, remixes
  • death of the album?
  • bedsit recording/ web radio  prosumers
  • on-line audio collaboration
  • podcasting culture
  • new strategies for   distributing music
  • web radio & the global niche audience
  • web radio - is it "radio"?
  • new  ways of interactive music making

For an overview of web radio issues, see the conclusion of  Chris Priestman's Web Radio

For  contrasting views of the future of the music industry see   an official corporate view  (upbeat)  and a blogger's view  ( pessimistic).  There's a debate on the issues here.

For new possibilities in  collaboration and on-line interactive music making, try  Squidoo.    You could also refer back  to  links in my previous  post  and to the posts on Jaron Lanier.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Resources for Web 2.0 Presentations - etc

Whether you're focussing on film, radio, gaming  or  music, you  should investigate   - especially  The Emergence of Web 2.0,  and Participation Culture,  both presented  by David Gauntlett.   

Another good intro  to Web 2.0 issues  is Nick Potamitis's short video  on Vimeo,  a more upmarket version of Youtube.

Cultural trends  that have been accelerated  by Web 2.0  might include:

  • trans-global creative collaboration  
  • hybrid   multi-media integrating text/audio/video/animation
  • niche audiences spread globally
  • an increasingly visual culture, privileging image/icon/brand/logo   (some VI issues here)
My own on-line creative collaborations can be found  at  Culture Court,  Radio QBSaulQBSaul's Youtube Channel, and  Toxic Poetry .  There are thousands of other examples  out in the cyberspace you could explore, like "digital writer" Tim Wright's innovative approach to writing radio plays.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Week 3 - Film in the On Line Age

In looking at the impact of Web 2.0 & digital technology on  film production and distribution  you could research:

  • The development of CGI  ( e.g "Avatar")
  • Digital vs celluloid  cameras
  • Digital post-production - editing and FX
  • Digital   vs celluloid projection
  • Use of Web 2.0 for promotion ( websites, social networking, audience feedback)
  • Collaborative production via Web
  • Access  to audience via web for new film makers
  • Threats to traditional distribution patterns ( cinema, VHS, DVD sale/rental)
Sources:   - essential reading! An overview of the changes
Cinema Reloaded  -  a new approach to collective film production via the Web

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Reviewing Web 2.0 & New Technology - Some Key Words & Concepts

Attention Economy
Collective creativity
Commodification of Public Space?
Cult of the Amateur?
Great Collage
Global Village 
Information Superhighway?
Media = ME-dia 
Surveillance / Privacy
Society of the Spectacle?
Technological Determinism
Visual Culture
Virtual Reality

PG's Media now monetised

You'll have noticed the recent inclusion  of adverts  in  our blog, using Google's automated system  which attempts to match  the content of  the ads to the content of  our page.  It's similar to the Adsense  programme Google uses  for its search-engine, matching adverts to the content of your search. Like all such  systems  it doesn't understand all the complexities  of natural language in context, and  sometimes produces bizarre results...

As you research Web 2.0   you should   investigate the whole issue of  generating income via the web.  What other business models are there apart from advertising?  What examples can you give in the  area you're investigating?  What effect is    payment per click, or payment per page impression have the way media is consumed?  What  media institutions  have thrived   and which ones are threatened?  Media theorist David Gauntlett  uses the term "Attention Economy"  to describe  the www.  What does he mean?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Evaluation on your blog -Summary of the key questions!

  • How do your productions use   standard media codes and conventions?
  • How well do the main production and the supporting pieces work together?
  • What have you learned from your audience feedback?
  • How have you used new media technologies  in research, planning and production?
In answering these questions,   relate your responses  to specific details  of  your productions. Give examples!  

Do use the  correct technical vocabulary when writing about the technical aspects of the production.   

Consider the narrative structure  of your pieces and how they relate to the larger narrative that they  imply.

Reflect on the ideas and values ( ideology) embodied  in your pieces  and their  representation of  individuals and social groups.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Absolute Final Deadline for Production Work - 28th April


Work Scheme for Term 3 - Week 2

Individual Research Assignments!

You will be expected to research  and present, for the group, a case study  of how Web 2.0  has affected  production, distribution  and audience consumption  in a particular area of media.  You should focus on  examples from specific media institutions and organisations; and you will be assigned particular industries to investigate, as follows:

Jack:  Games Industry
Matthew: Radio
Dave: Music Industry
Luke:  Film Industry

You can share the results of your research with the group  in various ways - as a blog entry; as a Power Point presentation;  as an oral lecture, live or pre-recorded ( 10 minutes approx)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Work Scheme for Term 3 - Week 1

Week 1  April 19  -  Control and Regulation of the Internet

This topic could be discussed either  in the context of Media Regulation or as  essential background to Media in the On-Line Age.

Tuesday AM session:  Brief review of history of the internet, development of www. Its de-centralised nature.
Tuesday PM  session:  Radio discussion :"Who controls the Internet?"  Allotting IP addresses, domain names  etc.  Make notes!
Wednesday AM session:   Ethical/political issues to investigate and note. Internet Watch Foundation. Google & China. Jehad Videos.

Monday, 29 March 2010

RNC Media Teacher mashed up by Belgian DJ

Last week I  discovered  that a couple of my spoken word tracks  ( parts of which were recorded at RNC) were included in a  radio mix  by a Belgian DJ, who added  further overdubs.  This is an interesting example of what Jaron Lanier was discussing below - except that in my case I was quite excited by the results...

Our News Banner - suggestions invited

Currently for the news banner Google is using the following keywords to select material: media; BBC; Guardian; web radio; new media; web 2.0. Can you suggest other keywords we could use to keep us updated on media in the on-line age?

Monday, 8 March 2010

Designing the web page to promote your production

With the main production tasks almost complete, it's time to think about designing the web page that promotes your product. We've done some research already into film and radio station websites ( e.g "District 9" etc for film, BBC Radio 4 drama page) but you'll need to do some more, relating it specifically to the genre of film ( action, horror, political thriller) you're promoting and the audience you're targeting. Use the Internet Movie Database which includes links to official websites for most recent films. Record this research on your blog.

Using iWeb templates or coding with tags in html you probably won't be able to match the technical or visual sophistication of a Hollywood blockbuster from Sony Pictures.

But you should be able to include basic elements of such sites - gallery of stills ( from your iMovie clips), links to the trailer, plus links to : a page about the film; a Facebook fan page or social networking link; a page about the film; star cast and production credits; BBFC certification. Include the tag-line of the trailer.

You also need to think carefully about the design elements. If you're working with iWeb, choose a simple template as a starting point. Avoid fuss and clutter. Choose fonts which suit your genre - maybe the font you use in the trailer - and colour values with the right connotations for your project. You can use a range of shapes in iWeb for encapsulating text and you can overlay images, although they won't be transparent.

There's some useful advice about web design in general here. You can also check out an iWeb video tutorial and/or visit Apple's iWeb support page.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Bits, Telecasting & Songles

Jaron Lanier discusses various strategies for enabling creators of music, movies or text to be paid for on-line consumption of their work, while retaining the flexibility and convenience of the web.

One concept, based on the ideas of Ted Nelson, who invented the hyperlink, involves integrating the function of ISPs with the collection of micro-amounts of money per bit when a content link is accessed. However this would involve a radical reshaping of the infrastructure of the web, perhaps using Nelson's own Xanadu system, which is different from html.

Another possibility for musicians and performers would be "telecasting" live performances on subscription. As domestic screens and audio improve in quality, size and volume (HD, surround sound) the telecasts would be more immersive and closer to the experience of a live gig.

Lanier also has a curious proposal for musicians - the "songle" or musical dongle. As it's becoming easier to embed digital files and wireless devices in anything and everything, he suggests music should be sold via physical objects, which could be integrated into everyday objects - coffee mugs, hats, clothes, as appropriate. A party skirt would play Lady Gaga as soon its owner made her entrance, a zoot suit would play swing & jive...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

You Are Not A Gadget

I'm currently reading Jaron Lanier's stimulating book, which considers some of the negative effects of the on-line media explosion, as well as the positive ones.

Lanier is a pioneer in computing, virtual reality and also a musician. While acknowledging the Web's enormous potential for empowering both individual creativity and global collaboration, he reflects on the shallowness of much Web 2.0 cyberculture - fragmented, anonymously trollish, a derivative mash-up in which the crafted personal statement is devalued.

He's also concerned about the effect of file-sharing which not only undermines the finances and long-term health of the cultural industries, but , in his view, devalues cultural production. He feels there is a danger that we 're becoming locked into a kind of digital totalitarianism, by confusing data with the persons that produce it.

You can read a section from the book, which sums up one of his key ideas here, as a pdf. He's also interviewed on American radio here.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Media Automaton

The video clips and news feeds on this page have been selected automatically, on the basis of key words I've supplied like "media" and from an automated scan of the content on the page. I've had no direct input into the process.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Pete's Media Blog

Pete Fraser is the Chief Examiner for OCR Media Studies and runs a large and very successful Media department at Long Road College in Cambridge. His blog contains a lot of interesting ideas about on-line media, with up-to-date examples.

Function of this Blog

This blog is simply intended as a convenient resource for my students at the Royal National College for the Blind exploring Media in the Online Age as a topic on their A level Media course. As digital technology has transformed media production and consumption, the blog also may help them to investigate related topics like Post- Modernism.

It supplements our materials on the RNC intranet and it's a quicker way of updating them, with more opportunity for interaction and feedback.

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