Studying the Exam Questions for Media in the Online Age

This is from Pete’s Media Blog and he writes for Media Magazine.

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Previous exam questions:

“The impact of the internet on the media is revolutionary”. Discuss.
“For media audiences, the internet has changed everything.” Discuss
“The impact of the internet on the media is exaggerated”. Discuss.
Discuss the extent to which the distribution and consumption of media have been transformed by the internet
Explain the extent to which online media exist alongside older methods of distribution in 2010.
Evaluate the opportunities and the threats offered to media producers by the internet.

Questions tend to focus on what difference the internet has made (‘revolutionary’, ‘changed everything’, ‘exaggerated’, ‘transformed”opportunities and threats’) but also looking at audiences and producers. So long as you read the question carefully to see which angle it is looking for, you shouldn’t have a problem. However, this focus on ‘difference’ does mean you have to be thinking about what the media was like pre-internet.

If we look at the bullet points in the Specification, which defines what should be studied, we should be able to see what kinds of question can come up:

• How have online media developed? (change from the past)
• What has been the impact of the internet on media production? (does it allow more people to produce their own media? what effect has it had on mainstream media?)
• How is consumer behaviour and audience response transformed by online media, in relation to the past? (audiences and the difference the internet has made)
• To what extent has convergence transformed the media? (technology’s impact- mobile devices, tv online, etc)

the kinds of thing you could talk about would include:
music downloading and distribution,
the film industry and the internet,
online television,
online gaming and virtual worlds,
online news provision,
various forms of online media production by the public or a range of other online / social media forms.

It is pretty open in terms of what you might have studied, so I would expect answers to draw upon very different case study material.

This part of the exam asks you to do three more specific things, whatever topic you answer on:

1. You MUST refer to at least TWO different media
2. You MUST refer to past, present and future (with the emphasis on the present- contemporary examples from the past five years)
3. refer to critical/theoretical positions

So for 1. Different types of media online count, so the fact that you are talking about say, music downloading and people making youtube videos would tick the boxes for two media, even though they are both online.

For 2. the main thing is to ensure you have a majority of material from the past five years. I’d urge you to make it even more recent than that- say the time you have been doing the course, as the web changes so fast. Talking about the future for this topic is easy- you can speculate about how your chosen examples might develop in the future- what next after facebook? what can you see happening with mobile media? how will traditional media cope with further spread of fast wireless connections? Some good speculation on this you could use is here

For 3. you need some critics/writers who have developed ideas about online media. I’ll be recommending some below.

Over the past two years, I’ve blogged a lot about media in the online age, with a huge range of examples on which you could draw.

Alan Partridge’s web series is a good case study of how TV might adapt for the web and it would make a good comparison with Dub Plate drama, designed specifically with the web in mind, with its alternative endings which could be voted for via TV or MySpace. there is a further blog on microseries here. If you used these in an answer, you’d need a second case study which linked with a different medium, perhaps something like Twitter.A second piece on Twitter is here.

For theorists, I blogged last year to introduce some useful writers, Find them here. A useful revision activity would be to watch the BBC Virtual revolutions series, which I blogged about here. I’ve also posted stuff about changing technology here and on how audiences are collaborating to make videos online here and on Michael Wesch‘s analysis of online production and internet memes.

So there is plenty of material! The main thing is to narrow down what you intend to use and to have some arguments to make around it. Look at the previous questions and decide which of the examples you want to draw upon would work with them and what kind of argument you would want to make.

Oh and here is the story behind a great bit of up to date online age stuff!

Lady gaga

Good article about claims that the internet is like the Wild west


Author: richeno

I teach Media, Film, Video Games, Photography and Drama at college level in the UK. I'm really into education technologies and creativity. I'm on Instagram.

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