Chapter 1: approaching media texts

This chapter of The Media Student’s Book outlines ways of exploring and analysing the flow of media ‘texts’ in which most of us are immersed, attentively or not, most of the time. It focuses broadly on two approaches, qualitative and quantitative, and especially semiotic and content analysis. The wealth of example and discussion should give you some confidence with the specialist use of terms such as 'text', 'reader', 'signification', 'denotation' and so on. Examples range from the reality claims of the Ian Tomlinson mobile phone video; a shot from Titanic (US 1997); the title sequence of Mad Men (US 2008- ); through to the signifying power of dyed blonde hair.

As well as shorter explorations and examples in the chapter, including 'violence and the media', the Case Study handles visual and sound systems of signification via a study of images, voices, sound design and a video from President Obama’s inauguration, as well as a content analysis of football coverage in the press.

As for the other chapters, there is a list of links here as indicated in the book for reference and further study.

A Case Study linked to this chapter is available on this website: Reading a sequence from Let the Right One In

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