Exam Post Mortem

1/            A lot of students were confused between the concept of social values and media influence

  • Social values are society values at the time. Our values do change over time. For example, women do not squeeze themselves into corsets, bind their feet to make them smaller or remain at home as housewives. However, contemporary women do starve themselves to look thin, engage in plastic surgery and wear copious amounts of makeup.
  • On another level social values can include family, environmental, economic, personal and political.
  • The cigarette advertisements indicating changing social values are a good example.  Up until the late 1970’s it was acceptable to show smoking, it was even encouraged (doctors smoke camels) even though there was a lot of evidence that smoking caused cancer.
  •  Now smoking is unacceptable and advertising shows the damage smoking causes. This is a change in social values.

2/            Media Influence is how the media persuades audiences. This can be done through production techniques i.e. lighting, editing, sound, voice overs, leading questions, interrupting the interviewee and spouting personal opinion (Sydney
shock jocks). Media influence extends to all forms of media whether it be print media by misquoting or exaggerating what has been said, sensational headlines, obscure sources.

Advertising is a good example of media influence. We buy products we don’t need. Media Influence is also demonstrated through bias towards certain causes whether they be economic, political or social. Murdoch papers support conservative governments and are generally anti-labour. Look at the reportage on Carbon Tax, Boat People, Forestry (all examples of media bias).

  • There can also be left wing bias, refugee and detention camps, softer jail sentences etc…..Look at the recent slaughter in
    Norway. The perpetrator blames the left wing for multiculturalism, global warming, conspiracy theory that the UN wants to rule the world. Usually demonstrates a high level of paranoia and concerns about communism and Marxism.

2/    Many students did not give examples from the media to back up their claims.  Whilst you might argue that tabloids exploit their stories you must show where this happens and how they do it. Pick a story, for example the phone hacking scandal
and the death of Milly Dowler.  News of the World were engaged in payoffs to police, politicians and criminals. Compare
the behaviour of tabloid reporters to broadsheets like The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian that do not use underhand or illegal methods. Explain that tabloids are entertainment and not real news. They blur the boundaries
between fact and fantasy.

3/            Some students did not understand or were unable to explain the difference between traditional media vs new media.
New media is anything that is digital. Remember the exercise of taking a print newspaper and turning it into an online one. What are the differences.  You can access new media anytime, anywhere. Online news uses multimedia and reader comments. New media takes advantage of social media and uses blogs, facebook, twitter (all now part of media)

4/            Essays not structured like essays.
Hard to know what you some students are arguing about. It must have an introduction, supporting paragraphs and conclusion. There was way too much personal opinion, no-one cares whether you agree or disagree with something.  This is showing your own bias. Try and be impartial and state the facts and how you are going to argue one way or another.

5/            If the question asks you to examine advertising, stick to advertising. Don’t introduce sit coms or other forms of media. Make sure you understand what the question is asking.

6/            Make sure you mention Media Watch. This exposes bad journalism.

7/            Talk about Gruen Transfer and watch some of the shows. This is a great show that exposes the tricks of the advertising trade. Learn how they manipulate audiences. Often it is through an emotional connectional or playing on aspirational desires.

8/            Students are not connecting the practical work done in class to the theory. For example, advertisements, tabloid newspaper and online newspaper. We’ve created all of these and by doing this have had practical experience in manipulating stories and presenting a point of view. Remember the good and bad representation videos of Marist. How can footage be manipulated by the professional media. Remember media watch exposed how current affair exploited youth gangs by manipulating footage exactly how you have practised manipulating footage.

8/            Students with high absenteeism generally did not do well. It became obvious that they were not reading through
the Maristmedia blog or through their textbooks. They were not watching current affair shows or reading any newspapers. You can’t expect to do well in a media subject if you have no interest in the media!


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