Year 12 Media Reading List

Hi Year 12 Media

As promised I have produced a reading list to help with your wider reading and to help with your private study time. I am not expecting everyone to read every item on the list but I would like you to read at least two of them. Some are essays, some are books and some are magazine/journal articles.

At first glance you might wonder how they link to our course but remember that this is about wider reading and so you have to use your own insight, intellect and experience to make links. In Feb and March I will spend some time discussing these and of course they will also help with your eventual application to university.



Negative Impact of the Internet

Media in the Online Age

Here is a collection of articles, blogs and essays which look at the negative impact the Internet has had on various media industries.


Social Media is the New Smoking

In The Guardian yesterday, Sean Parker, one of the founders of Facebook, has said that they knew they were creating something which could explore the “…vulnerability in human psychology”, when they were constructing how to make Facebook more appealing.

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Parker goes on to say how they exploited customers by using a ‘dopamine effect’. According to Science News for Students:

Dopamine also helps with reinforcement — motivating an animal to do something again and again. Dopamine is what prompts a lab animal, for instance, to repeatedly press a lever to get tasty pellets of food. And it’s part of why humans seek out another slice of pizza. Reward and reinforcement help us learn where to find important things such as food or water, so that we can go back for more. Dopamine even affects moods. Things that are rewarding tend to make us feel pretty good.

And Psychology Today said in in 2012:

Of course, sad stories or trying moments are shared too, but the goal there is to get viewers to secrete oxytocin, the “love hormone,” and elicit their help. Feeling supported during times of crisis helps mitigate the pain caused by the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people.

The Guardian goes on to say:

He explained that when Facebook was being developed the objective was: “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the “like” button that would give users “a little dopamine hit” to encourage them to upload more content.

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

But what does all this mean for media students? Consider Parker’s quote of, “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” It’s clear that the primary function of Facebook is business facing but that shouldn’t be a surprise to us. It’s the strange place of ‘cognitive dissonance’ in which we find ourselves. We know Facebook and other social media companies are based on an economic model and that they have no real obligation to make our lives better yet we somehow choose to forget all that and jump head first into the abyss. There are many reports of how social media is harmful to our mental health and yet we keep scrolling by, keep double-tapping for love and retweeting that hilarious meme.

It’s almost as if social media is the new smoking. We know it’s bad for our health but we choose not to think about it. We choose instead to keep puffing away, willingly harming our self-esteem, attention span and understanding of the world around us. Got a light?

New York Times Says Newspapers Still Relevant

News Media

In a recent article in the New York Times it is suggested that the print press are still relevant, despite falling circulation. In fact, they go as far to say that ‘Brexit’ was largely down to the influence of British tabloids. Read the full article below.

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This is a great piece of research which argues against the notion that online media is replacing ‘old’ or ‘slow’ media.

Gender Trouble – Judith Butler

One of the theorists we study for our exam is Judith Butler. 

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This website gives a great introduction to Butler’s theories on gender and sexuality. Click the image below:

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Van Zoonen: Feminist Perspectives in Media

Now that we have started to understand how ideology works we now need to extend our knowledge to other critical media theories. One of the theorists the Specification asks us to look at is the concept of patriachy by Liesbet van Zoonen.

You can read her original essay, Feminist Perspectives in Media, here: Zoonen_Liesbet_van_-_Feminist_Perspectives

According to Van Zoonen the media represent women with stereotypical images and this behaviour reinforces ideological concept of what it means to be a woman. The media does this because they believe it reflects dominant social values (dominant ideology) and male producers are influenced by this. All of this contributes to the concept of a patriarchal society. 

Let’s explore the different types of feminism.

Liberal Feminism

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Radical Feminism

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Socialist Feminism

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What are the Waves of Feminism?

Check this site for a brief introduction to the waves of feminism. It outlines the Three Waves. 

But wait, there’s now a FOURTH WAVE?

This is a pretty good discussion of the so-called Fourth Wave. It’s all about the use of online activism and something called, intersectionality.


Wikipedia offers a really good introduction:

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Later on in the week we will be looking at Judith Butler and her theories of gender. So, if you want to get ahead then start research in your Private Study time.

The purpose of doing all this is so we can analyse news media with depth and sophistication and offer a detailed exploration of how news media portray and represent ideas, values and beliefs.

Podcast: Jack Brown on Maths

In this episode I have coffee with award-winning maths teacher, Jack Brown. It’s a really fascinating insight into the mysterious mind of a maths teacher. By the way, you can find his amazing YouTube Channel here.