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Media Studies

Why Media Studies?

Media Studies helps you to understand your culture and the world around you. This course is designed to allow students to draw on their existing experience of the media in the forever changing, digital world and to develop their abilities to respond critically to the media. It enables students to explore a wide variety of media, including modern digital technologies, box-office blockbusters, television advertising, the power of the internet, magazines and new media forms such as the Internet and computer games. The specification also encourages creative work to enable students to gain a greater appreciation of the media through their own production pieces.

We are all living in a media saturated world and throughout the course you will develop your interest in and enjoyment of what you watch, listen to and read so that you can analyse these critically and independently.

Summary of content

The media play a central role in contemporary culture, society and politics. They shape our perceptions of the world through the representations, ideas and points of view they offer. The media have real relevance and importance in our lives today, providing us with ways to communicate, with forms of cultural expression and the ability to participate in key aspects of society. The economic importance of the media is also unquestionable. The media industries employ large numbers of people worldwide and generate significant global profit. The globalised nature of the contemporary media, ongoing technological developments and more opportunities to interact with the media suggest their centrality in contemporary life can only increase.

This WJEC specification offers learners the opportunity to develop a thorough and in depth understanding of these key issues, using key concepts and a variety of critical perspectives to support critical exploration and reflection, analysis and debate.

Although the primary emphasis in this specification is on the contemporary media, at A2 learners will explore how the products relate to their wider historical contexts. Learners will also extend their experience of the media through the study of products with which they may be less familiar, including those produced by or for a minority group, non-mainstream and non-English language products. This specification aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the transnational nature of the media, considering the effect of different national contexts on representations in media products, the global reach of media industries, and the targeting of audiences on a national and global scale.

The media in Wales play a vital role both economically and culturally. This specification aims to celebrate Welsh talent and increasing success in film and television production, raise learners' awareness of key challenges facing media production in Wales, and provide opportunities for exploration of complex issues of representation of Welsh cultural identity.

Units

Inherent in the AS and A qualifications in Media Studies and studied across the units is a conceptual framework. This framework consists of four inter-related areas:

  • Media language: how media language, codes, conventions and techniques create meanings
  • Representation: how the media represent events, issues, places and social/cultural groups
  • Media industries: processes of production, distribution and circulation
  • Audiences: how different audiences/users respond to and interact with media products and processes

The framework is set out in detail in the respective units in sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the full specification.

In order to inform their study of the media, learners will develop knowledge and understanding of the influence of relevant contexts on media products and processes. The following contexts will be considered to inform the study of media products:  

  • Industry Contexts (AS and A2)
  • Historical Contexts (A2 only)
  • Social and Cultural Contexts (A2 only)

AS - Unit 1 - Investigating the Media

Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes;

24% of qualification; 100 marks

Section Forms studied in depth

Other forms studied

Media products studied Key concepts studied

Section A: Selling Images – Advertising and Music Video

Print and audio-visual advertising

Music video (marketing)

Online media

A range of age appropriate examples chosen by the teacher in line with criteria provided in the specification covering the following:

  • print, online and audio-visual advertising
  • charity or public information and commercial advertising for consumer goods
  • historical examples of print and audio-visual advertising produced before 1980
  • music videos, including examples produced before the year 2000
  • contrasting representations, use of media language and target audiences
  • Media
  • Language
  • Representation
  • Audiences

Section B: News in the Online Age

Newspapers

Online and social media

Radio
  • At least one printed newspaper and its online version from a list of options set by WJEC
  • At least one news website from a list of options set by WJEC
  • At least one online radio news source from a list of options set by WJEC
  • A news event as reported across a range of social media websites to be chosen by the teacher
  • Media
  • Language
  • Representation
  • Media industries
  • Audiences

Section C: Film Industries – from Wales to Hollywood

Film

Online media

  • Two complete films
  • One Welsh film from a list of options set by WJEC
  • One Hollywood film chosen by the teacher from a list of options set by WJEC
  • Media
  • Language
  • Media industries
  • Audiences

AS - Unit 2 - Creating a Media Production

Non-exam assessment: internally assessed and externally moderated by WJEC;

16% of qualification; 80 marks

Media form: options available

Elements to complete Production media: options available
Music video, advertising and marketing Research, planning, production and reflective analysis Audio-visual or print media options
Online News Research, planning, production and reflective analysis Two online media options
Film Research, planning, production and reflective analysis Audio-visual or print media options

Set Production Briefs: The media production briefs set for first assessment in 2018 can be found on page 25 of the full specification.

A2 - Unit 3 - Media in the Global Age

Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes

36% of qualification; 90 marks

Section Forms studied in depth

Other forms studied

Media products studied Key concepts studied

Section A: Television in the Global Age

Television

Online media

  • Three complete television programmes
  • One complete crime drama episode made in Wales set by WJEC
  • One complete non-English language crime drama episode chosen from a list of options set by WJEC
  • One complete crime drama episode produced in the 1990s chosen from a list of options set by WJEC
  • Media Language
  • Representation
  • Media industries
  • Audiences
  • Media contexts

Section B: Magazines – Changing Representations

Magazines

Online media

 
  • Three magazines
  • One historical magazine chosen from a list of options set by WJEC
  • One mainstream contemporary magazine chosen from a list of options set by WJEC
  • One non-mainstream magazine chosen from a list of options set by WJEC
  • Media Language
  • Representation
  • Media industries
  • Audiences
  • Media contexts

Section C: Media in the Digital Age

Video Games

Online media

Three contrasting video games chosen from a list of options set by WJEC

  • Media Language
  • Representation
  • Media industries
  • Audiences
  • Media contexts

A2 - Unit 4 - Creating a Cross-Media Production

Non-exam assessment: internally assessed and externally moderated by WJEC;

24% of qualification; 80 marks

 

Media form: options available Elements to complete Production media: options available
Television

Investigative research and development, cross-media production and critical analysis

Audio-visual plus either online or print media options
Magazines

Investigative research and development, cross-media production and critical analysis

Print plus either online or audio-visual media options

Set Production Briefs: The cross-media production briefs set for first assessment in 2019 can be found on page 45 of the full specification.

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