I highly commend the web page 'Nine top tips for Media students'. From the people behind theory.org.uk, its worth a read!

Friday, 21 September 2018

Useful reading, viewing and links

DVD sets of autuer's work are useful
Using Amazon.co.uk links, here are some suggestions for books, DVDs, sites/blogs and playlists that will help with your A2 Media work.


  • MusiVidz is the main one, linking coursework and exam
  • MediaReg for the regulation exam topic we start after Xmas
  • ProdEval for tie-in material with the 1st half of the exam (though more is linked into MusiVidz posts)
  • Past student blogs - as the OCR (UK) is what CIE based their syllabus on, the Ilkley examples remain useful
  • Playlists - I've directly linked these in this post, or you can just browse the YouTube channel (and you can search for others beyond IGS/StG yourself).

Producer PalmPictures.com's website. A google.
Just 4 of the many video directors who have developed a distinctive individual style, leading some to label them as auteurs. The latter 3 have all directed successful feature films too - its a common route into the film business (remember that both Warp and WT emerged from music video producers deciding to take it a step on). You can find DVD sets with great extras compiling some of their work.

You will find I namecheck Corbijn especially often - there are also collections of U2 and particularly Depeche Mode music videos that he has (mostly!) directed. Depeche Mode and the Pixies' work is especially recommended if you're after inspiration to try something a little strange or different.

Recording an hour or so of music videos on any channel and making brief notes as you then watch multiple videos is another great way to quickly build up a wider range of specific examples - you may have nothing to note on some, and only 1 or 2 points on some, but the wider your range of references the better your own work will be - and the easier you will find both the Evaluation and first half of the exam.


Keith Negus' Popular Music in Theory: incredibly useful for both coursework and exam, this gives you a summary of media theories applied to music. Great for the Evaluation, but also blogging about audience; brilliant for both Q1 and Q1b of the exam. It is quite old, but still useful.

Not particularly academic but very useful for the history of music vids, + refs/analysis to/of many vids and directors you won't have heard of (but which could give you ideas), is Austerlitz' Money For Nothing: A History of the Music Video From The Beatles to The White Stripes. You can of course try a general music video (book) search, and you'll come up the likes of this. Austerlitz provides a history of the music video and how it developed over time, and mentions (details) lots of examples you won't have come across - but which might help for ideas. Such examples may also end up being used in your exam too.

Use the look inside feature for a preview

Anita Elberse's Blockbusters looks at how digitisation has changed the media industries (including chapters on the music industry) ... whilst also reinforcing the dominance of the major conglomerates, those with the largest distribution and marketing networks and capacity, and financing for large production budgets.

Case studies of Lady Gaga and Jay-Z show how modern marketing reflects digitised convergence, with Starbucks and Microsoft's search engine Bing playing major roles in the campaigns covered, as well as further tie-ins with tech and other brands.

See this post.

Andrew Keen is another useful writer; he critiques web 2.0 - very useful for your exam. You can get some of his work very cheaply on Kindle.

Be aware that there is an extensive links list (pictured below) for books on music video here.

EXAM (MANGeR topics; Q1b)
Dan Laughey's Key Themes in Media Theory is challenging reading, but really useful for your exam as well as the coursework (especially Evaluation). It is not a book you'd start reading just before exams; dipping into this from early in the year will help your understanding and knowledge of media theories grow, and covers many more ideas than we will in lessons.

What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot through the ages. Baldwin [3 times UK Prime Minister] was attacking the leading press barons of his day (Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Rothermere); the phrase was suggested by Baldwin's cousin Rudyard Kipling (17 March 1931) [Wikiquote]
I continue to blog on this topic, with an extensive archive of sometimes lengthy, highly detailed (and analytical) posts.

Curran and Seaton's Power Without Responsibility (7th edition, 2009) is the best book to buy. [amazon uk Unusually, it even has its own Wiki.
There have been SEVEN editions so far - if purchasing, check it is the 7th edition

It starts with the early history of the printing presses and the battles around press licensing, looks at how TV and radio regulation was very distinct (much more intrusive) in the way it was regulated, considering the public service broadcasting (PSB) and public funded BBC and how governments seek to influence this notionally independent institution, a key part of British democracy.

Another academic from the 'political economy' field
This Amazon user review puts it well:
This book contains a thorough insight into the history of the British press and broadcasting. It's historical review examines the interplay between successive British Governments and the emergence of a free press and broadcasting. It goes on to assess the consequences for the 'new' media in Britain; satellite and cable. Key themes include the BBC, as the world's first 'public service broadcaster' - a unique institution which has suffered many trials at the hands of the Government, in particular, during the '80s administration of Margerat Thatcher. I achieved a degree under the tutoring of the book's co-author Jean Seaton and am now successfully employed at the BBC. A fantastic, level headed critique which renders an enormous topic palatable.
Very accessible, classic student text
The challenge with this book is the density of references and terms; you may struggle at first with it, but reading this should considerably broaden and deepen your understanding of media regulation, and will introduce you to some of the key arguments you might use in your exam.

Like many Media academics, the writers come from a Marxist background, so can be expected to be suspicious of free market approaches.

Useful for a wider understanding of the Media, are books such as The Chomsky Reader (or his classic work, Manufacturing Consent) by Noam Chomsky, a leading theorist of the political economy approach (he runs a vibrant Facebook page too, and there are many clips of his lectures on YouTube!). We will mention his propoganda model frequently.

Brian McNair wrote the 1st edition of this book when I was one of his Stirling Uni students back in the day, and it has been established as a classic Media Studies text, on its fifth edition in 2009: News and Journalism in the UKThe Sociology of Journalism hasn't been updated, but remains a great overview of Media theory.

There will be a complete updating of News and Journalism in the UK out on July 1st 2016: British Journalism Today.


If you'd read all of these you'd know more about press regulation!
The Guardian is a UK broadsheet (quality) newspaper with a centre-left bias or ideology (almost alone in the mostly right-wing UK press). It wins many awards for its outstanding media coverage, and reading articles from this on a regular basis will certainly boost your understanding of the industry generally, expose you to frequent use of economic terms and concepts, and provide case studies which you could use in the exam.

Any broadsheet paper's media content will be a useful read.

Much of my blogging reflects the fact that I read most of the media-related content from the paper every day. Roy Greenslade is a commentator worth following - a former national newspaper editor, he blogs for the paper. I tend to read the paper on my phone, via the Android app, which allows you to select and refine the sections you download for offline reading, and to share articles via email or even directly to blogger if you have the app.

They tweet too!

There's a humour section, Media Monkey.

And ... media law; press regulation (one of our two core case studies) and a wider newspaper/magazine section; articles just on OfCom (the super-regulator who oversee radio, TV, mobile and online); they have a very international focus as a global media brand - so there is a US media section.

Their film section is great for AS ... but also A2 as you will use the BBFC and film regulation/censorship as a second main case study with the press. They don't keep a BBFC section any more, but just google 'site:guardian.com bbfc' and you'll see quite a list of articles, or occasionally dip into the paper's censorship section.


As well as the Guardian content suggested above, Julian Petley's Film and Video Censorship in Modern Britain is a great read [amazon] and provides some especially useful arguments. Petley has a clear point of view.

Behind the Scenes at the BBFC is very useful [amazon]. Published by the BFI in 2012.

An Amazon book search for BBFC will reveal many more options. NB: take care to read descriptions carefully to avoid encountering unexpected explicit material.

There are global guides too, such as the 2013 collection Silencing Cinema: Film Censorship Around the World.

There are a wide range of books on postmodern theory, which you may wish to explore in more depth independently (this is useful for the Media Language exam topic especially, but also in considering conventions and their influence on you); Drolet's The Postmodernism Reader: Foundational Texts (Routledge Readers in History), Sims' Fifty Key Postmodern Thinkers (Routledge Key Guides),Ward's Understand Postmodernism (Teach Yourself (McGraw-Hill)), Powell's Postmodernism For Beginners or his
Derrida for Beginners, Butler's Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions), Horrocks' Introducing Baudrillard: A Graphic Guide; just a few of the many, many books out there! [you'll have noticed some 'graphic guides' in there - there are a wide range of these on pomo and particular pomo theorists]

Still on pomo, there are works by/about Zizek, a key contemporary pomo thinker, such as Zizek and the Media or his films The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2008) and The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (2013). Another DVD which provides a useful overview of philosophy, very relevant for both exam sections (and coursework) is Examined Life, featuring material by the likes of Judith Butler.

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