Year 12 Media Reading List Term 1

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 January will spend some time discussing these and of course they will also help with your eventual application to university.

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HyperNormalisation

Adam Curtis’ ‘HyperNormalisation‘, available on the BBC iPlayer. 

“We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, random bomb attacks. And those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – they have no idea what to do.

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This film is the epic story of how we got to this strange place. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.

It shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us we accept it as normal.

But there is another world outside. Forces that politicians tried to forget and bury forty years ago – that then festered and mutated – but which are now turning on us with a vengeful fury. Piercing through the wall of our fake world.”


This will be a great piece of additional work for you. Not only is it a brilliantly edited documentary with a wealth of found/stock footage montage but it also presents radical ideas. Please watch and then we can all get coffee one afternoon to discuss.

Introduction to Critical Thinking

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 10.08.42The philosophy instructor Geoff Pynn of Northern Illinois University and doctoral students Kelley Schiffman of Yale, Paul Henne of Duke, and several other philosophy and psychology graduates have produced this excellent series of animated philosophy videos which will teach you all about Critical Thinking.

You can watch the introduction right here but check their YouTube channel for the remaining videos.

The Echo Chamber

This is a fascinating concept and one  connected to our role as Media students. It is also something incredibly relevant to our lives, especially recently.

The night of the European Union Referendum I checked my Facebook and various online media sites and then got ready for sleep. It seemed quite clear how the vote was going to go and  many of my friends on Facebook had shared how they voted so I felt pretty confident about the outcome. I went to sleep expecting to wake up still in the European Union.

xE9pKYou all know what happened when we woke up that morning. I picked up my phone and clicked on the news app where it revealed that Britain had voted to leave the European Union. I was flabbergasted. I read on and checked other news sites and they all confirmed the same thing. I felt like I had woken up inside a Kafka novel. Turning on Facebook also revealed that nearly all of my friends had also been as surprised as I was at the result. Everyone, it seemed was absolutely livid.

But how could this be? Everywhere I looked online had revealed a ‘Remain’ outcome and especially my Facebook. I had unexpectedly fallen into the Echo Chamber.

The Echo Chamber is a place where your own ideas, values and beliefs are echoed by all those around you. It is a place where likeminded individuals repeat and often amplify these views so much that opposing views are either drowned out or are never heard. The views are echoed so much and so successfully that you end up convincing yourself that yours is the only view or at least the most valid. From Wikipedia:

Participants in online communities may find their own opinions constantly echoed back to them, which reinforces their individual belief systems. This can create significant barriers to critical discourse within an online medium. Due to forming friendships and communities with like-minded people, this effect can also occur in real life. The echo chamber effect may also prevent individuals from noticing changes in language and culture involving groups other than their own. Regardless, the echo chamber effect reinforces one’s own present world view, making it seem more correct and more universally accepted than it really is.[5] Another emerging term for this echoing and homogenizing effect on the Internet within social communities is cultural tribalism.[6]

But is this a problem? Surely, it’s a good thing to be surrounded by like-minded people? Perhaps. And perhaps not.

By existing in the Echo Chamber we run the risk of not really knowing what the world is truly like. When I went to bed that night I honestly thought most of the country had the same point of view as me regarding the EU. I was wrong.

This is dangerous because it can lead to limited critical thinking on very serious topics. We need to expose ourselves to opposing ideas, values and beliefs to both understand them and if appropriate, argue against them. But we can only do that if we allow ourselves to exit the Echo Chamber. But if we do we run the risk of listening to views we disagree with, we might get offended, we might get upset. However, we also might have a better understanding of the world around us and that, my dear students, will always be a good thing. Even if we discover truths we consider ugly.

To find out more about the concept of the Echo Chamber and its place in mass media, party politics and culture then head over to David Byrne’s website to read his article.

http://davidbyrne.com/the-echo-chamber

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The Reading List

I have a made a summer ‘reading list’ for you. I am not expecting you to read everything on the list but I do expect you to read at least two of the links I’ve given. I will also be expecting you to write a response to what you have read. If you’re unsure about which ones to read then we can discuss in class.


Here is a list of recommended things you should read to help you with A Level Media Studies and your studies in general. A collection of academia, novels and essays. They are all inspirational and will help you see the world as a more interesting place.

Summer Reading List July – Sept 2016


You should also watch this 57 minute lecture on the Essential Value of a Classic Education by Jeffrey Brenzel