BBC magazine carried an article a couple of days ago about issues surrounding censorship and the media. In short, the debate was whether or not there should be similar controls on book sales as there are on television (the watershed) and film (age restrictions). Certainly a fertile topic for discussion with lots of scope to develop ideas relating to childhood and the influence of the media.
An interesting take on the future development of television as a starting point for discussion. Listen here.
New legislation proposed by government would allow them to monitor all emails, calls and web use, without requiring permission from a magistrate. A great debating point for any lesson, and am important issue.
Read a brief article about it here.
These form part of the revision pack I put together for students. They include a checklist of topics (from the specification) and examples of all past questions up to the most recent summer exam (I hold back the January exams for mocks).
The AS guide is for Unit 1: Families and Households and Unit 2: Education with Research Methods
The A2 guide is for Unit 3: Mass Media and Unit 4: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods.
Please feel free to adapt and use.read more...»
This is a fantastic commentary of the images of women portrayed by the media, commenting on how they project an impossibly flawless ideal. Jean Kilbourne argues, not just that this image leads to increasing eating disorders and mental health issues among teenage girls, but that the objectification of women’s bodies contributes to a growth in violence against women.
Watch the video and see if you agree.read more...»
TED is a fantastic resources of talks on a multitude of subjects. Go and have a browse - you are sure to find something interesting / fun / challenging / useful / eye-opening…
Wikipedia’s decision to stage a 24hour ‘blackout’, in response to threatened US legislation, should make an interesting discussion starter for anyone studying media and / or crime and deviance.read more...»
This year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has caused some controversy, with companies employing ‘booth babes’ to help promote their products. You can watch a news clip here, featuring interviews with attendees and ‘babes’.read more...»
Facebook provides plenty of fodder for lessons on the mass media at A level or GCSE. Try this story summarising what people are actually talking about on facebook the most.
The government published last week their interim report on the violence during the summer. You can find it here.
The LSE and the Guardian newspaper also carried out research, interviewing many of those involved. The findings are summarised in an article here.
Any student studying Mass Media for Unit 3, should be aware of the Leveson inquiry - a goldmine of examples! The BBC have been doing a rolling commentary on the witness statements, including that by Campbell here.
For those studying Mass Media, there’s an interesting article on the BBC today about the impact of communications technology on our lives. Focussing on the World Economic Forum in Davos, the author reports on some of the advantages and disadvantages raised by business leaders and development experts.
More on the sociology of opinion polls today - Tim Harford on More or Less discusses whether opinion polls can have an effect on voting behaviour. A nice little audio clip about 6 or 7 items down the page.
The internet has changed everything - or at least, I believe the claim has been bandied about here and there. So anyone can bung up a website and start publishing news and comment and can compete with the big ‘boys’ (and big girls in the media? Gosh, is everything gendered?). But now we hear that The Times will start to charge for access to their online editions. So have things really changed that much, or is it more that there has just been a shift in technology and the old patterns of ownership and control still persist in much the same ways? Well, I haven’t got any pat answers to that question, although regular readers will know I’ve often expressed irritation and scepticism at those who rather quickly leap to the conclusion that sociological theories (and some or many, textbooks) are out of date. Read this article from the BBC and see what you think. Are the big media corporations going to maintain their grip on mass communications in the new digital age?
If you are studying or teaching the mass media topic in sociology, the latest news about Google and the Chinese Government should feature somewhere in your classroom discussion.
In sociology lessons, the ability of states to control the media is frequently commented on, but the examples are usually close to home - in the UK the D notice system and so on, or historical - propaganda under the Nazis or in the Soviet Union. So China provides a really good example of a contemporary society where state control of the media - in a pretty heavy-handed way- is very much a reality.
This article on the BBC site gives a usefully summary of current developments. Interestingly though, it is a capitalist corporation - Google - which has decided it does not want to help enable a Government - indeed formally, a communist government, to curtail public freedom of expression. That might show how the Marxist and Pluralist debate in sociology can in fact get quite complex. You may wish to consider though, whether capitalist states are quite so blameless as some of them are portrayed. Don’t all governments at times manipulate the truth and manage information?
Yesterday’s Thinking Allowed included some interesting discussion on the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammed in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Denmark back in 2005. This should be useful for anyone currently looking at ‘media effects’ - the piece provides some useful food for thought and indicates that it isn’t just the media producers’ intentions or activity which is important.
The furore over the inclusion of BNP Nick Griffin on tonight’s Question Time, has prompted a lot of discussion in the media. Last night the BBC’s Newsnight, got in their two pence worth. If you missed it, click on the link to iPlayer and have a listen. It’s somewhere around halfway through I should think.
In amongst all the debate about Griffin, Newsnight did some very interesting contextualisation.read more...»