Introduction To Media Studies



'The media' refers to the different channels we use to communicate information in the everyday world. 'Media' is the plural of medium (of communication), and the main media are

Pop Music

Media Studies involves the close analysis of the images, sounds and text that we experience via the media. It is the study of individual media texts (such as movies, TV shows, magazines, websites) and

Who made them ("institution")?
How they were made ("process")?
Why they were made ("purpose")?
Who they were made for ("audience")?
What rules were followed when making them ("conventions" and "genre")?
As well as essays, research, and reports, Media Studies also involves practical work, where you learn the techniques involved for the production of your own media text. Students at SIS have recently produced pop videos, TV commercials, magazine advertisements, computer animation, photo-essays and documentary videos. Media is a 'learn by doing' subject, and you compare your own experiences with what the 'professionals' go through. Most of our production in school is done digitally (ie using computers) and we have the latest software and equipment to help with this.

Media Studies can be taken as a GCSE, AS or A-level course and many students go on to study it at university. Success in this subject comes from a combination of creativity and understanding. It is a unique fusion of practical and theoretical learning, which, although it can be hard work and very time consuming, is always rewarding. It's also a lot of fun - what other subject deals with your favourite movies, popstars and TV shows?

As we progress into the 21st century, communications are becoming faster and faster and faster. Think of the millions of different media images you are bombarded with every day. It is as important now to be able to read and make sense of those images, as it has been to be able to read ordinary text. If you do not know how to read the messages coming at you from TV, the Internet, advertising etc, then you may become very lost in the modern world. You also need to have a good idea of how those messages are made, and who is making them, so that you may quickly become aware if someone (or some corporation!) is trying to manipulate your thoughts and feelings.

Media Studies is also about appreciating the skill and creativity which goes into the production of media texts. Just as analysing the different techniques used in the creation of a poem or novel helps you appreciate the talent of the writer, so does learning about media techniques help you appreciate value the skill with words and pictures that the creators of a media text must possess.

Media Studies also deals with the very latest ideas - which is why you need a website to help you study it. Although you do need to have some understanding of the history of media (particularly how new technological developments have changed things), the focus of your studies is what is happening right now, buzzing round the airwaves of the globe.

Use the drop down menu below to find the area of the media which you are going to specialise in. You will find lots of information on each media form, and a whole range of links to other sites. How easy can studying be?

Happy surfing!

©Karina Wilson 2000-2004


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