Specifications that use this resource:

Subject specific vocabulary

The following subject specific vocabulary provides definitions of key terms used in our A-level Media Studies specification. Students should be familiar with and gain understanding of these terms.

ABC figures

The Audit Bureau of Circulations is responsible for measuring the reach of different media across a range of platforms.

Active audience

The idea that media audiences do not just consume a text passively, they actively engage with it because of personal and social contexts.

Advertising campaign

A campaign run by an advertising agency which incorporates all of the ways in which a product, event or service is beneficial to the audience. This can be in the form of packaging, television, print and online adverts.

Advertorial

An advert that is presented in the form of editorial content. For example an advertorial video or post is an advert presented by the poster in their usual style.

Agenda setting

The way the values of a media (usually news) institution by prioritising and giving prominence to selected stories. Those deemed most important will take prominence in coverage and this will reflect the news provider’s values.

Anchorage

The way media language choices combine to attempt to reinforce the producer’s intended meaning.

Antagonist

In a plot, the character whose function is to disrupt the protagonist – often, but not always, a villain.

Archetype

A universal type of character found in various media texts, eg anti-hero, hero.

Audience

The people who read, see and/or listen to a media product.

Audience positioning

The way a media product addresses the audience to influence the way the audience will interpret the media product.

Avatar

In gaming this is the player’s representation of themselves within the game.

BARB

Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board – the organisation that measures and collects television viewing data in the UK.

Bardic function

This refers to the nature of the media as a story-teller/information provider within the culture.

BBFC

British Board of Film Classification – responsible for deciding the age classification and censorship of all films and video content released in the UK.

Big Close Up (BCU)

An extreme close up camera shot, usually focusing on the face or close detail of the body.

Binary opposite

When representations are structured as pairs that reflect oppositional values. For example, good and evil; police and criminals.

Binary opposition

The conflict created between two opposing ideas. This conflict creates the problems that drive narratives forward.

Binge watching

When multiple episodes of a TV programme are watched in succession.

Blog

A website or web page often created by an individual or small group which is regularly updated, often written in an informal, conversational style.

Blogger

A person who engages in blogging by updating and adding content to a blog. Blog is a short term for weblog.

Brand

A type of product that is manufactured and marketed under a particular name, logo and design.

Brand ambassador

An individual, often a celebrity, who is paid to promote and endorse a product or service. They will become the face of the brand and their qualities are associated with the product.

Brand identity

The image that a brand projects and the associations the audience then make with the brand.

Bricolage

When signs or artefacts are borrowed from different styles or genres to create something new.

Broadsheet

Newspapers that prioritise hard news, for example, The Guardian.

By-line

The printed line of text in a newspaper/magazine that names the writer of an article.

Call to action

An instruction aimed at the audience with the hope to provoke an immediate response – can take the form of ‘subscribe now’, for example. Often used in advertising and marketing.

Camera movement

The way the camera is moved during filming to add depth, interest and variation for the viewer, such as pan and track.

CAP code

UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct Promotional Advertising. The advertising code that covers non-broadcast media. It is written by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and administered by the ASA.

Censorship

The controls and regulations that exist about media content. Censorship powers can be held by governments or regulatory bodies.

CGI

Computer-generated imagery is the application of computer graphics to printed or moving image media. The term CGI commonly refers to 3D computer graphics used for special effects in film sequences.

Circulation

This relates to the amount of readers/viewers that access a media product. This can be measured in sales (magazines and newspapers), unique visitors (websites), listening/viewing figures (TV and Radio via BARB, YouTube viewing figures) etc.

Classification

A rating given to a film, DVD or video game which informs the audience the suitability for different ages of audience according to the criteria of violence, sexual content and inappropriate language.

Cliff hanger

A narrative device where suspension is created at the end of an episode or before an advert break in order to persuade the viewer to continue watching subsequent instalments of the programme to find out what happens next.

Closed narrative

A story where the main threads of the narrative are neatly resolved.

Close up (CU)

A common camera shot that tightly focuses on a person or object.

Code

Codes are the systems of signs that are used to create meaning in media texts. Codes can be both symbolic and technical. For example, Action code - media language choices that act to move a narrative forward, Enigma code – a question that is not immediately answered which draws the audience into a text.

Cognitive surplus

The cultural context of increased leisure time allowing for more sharing, collaboration and creativity using online platforms.

Collective identity

The shared sense of belonging to a group.

Colloquialism

An informal expression, often used in casual conversation as opposed to writing. May be used to establish an informal communication with an audience.

Colour palette

The suite of colours that are used in the creation of media texts, such as websites and magazines, to reflect a brand and appeal to its audience.

Commercial media

Privately owned media hat is funded by advertising revenue.

Commissioning

When programmes get the ‘go ahead’ or ‘green light’ for production. Producers will pitch their ideas to commissioning controllers who will decide whether or not to commission the programme.

Commodification

The process by which something becomes an object that can be marketed and sold.

Concentration of ownership

Refers to the limited number of organisations or individuals who control ownership of much of the media.

Conglomerate

A media conglomerate is a large corporation that owns a large number of media companies, such as television, radio, internet, publishing – giving the conglomerate large amounts of power in their market.

Connotation

The additional associative meaning that can be bought to a sign outside its literal, surface meaning.

Consumable product

These are products that we use regularly and that need to be replaced. Some audiences are loyal to a particular brand, whereas, others may be persuaded to change.

Consumption

A term used to refer to the act of reading, viewing, listening to or interacting with media products.

Content analysis

A method of research that provides quantitative data. It generally involves counting the number of times a particular feature appears in a given context – for example, counting the number of men who have speaking roles in a TV programme.

Content creators

Those involved in creating and sharing content online, for example, YouTubers and social media influencers..

Context

The social, cultural, historical and political values of a culture that impact on the production and reception of media products. The values within a context are subject to change over time.

Continuity

The logical and consistent presentation of images in the movement across frames within moving image products.

Continuity editing

Editing choices made to create logical and linear coherence.

Contrapuntal

Sound that does not match the action on screen.

Conventions

The widely recognised and typical way of producing media products within a particular genre or media form.

Convergence

The coming together of technologies and institutions to create a new product or media experience. This is often facilitated by digital technologies that bring together the facility to perform different functions such as internet browsing, playing music, taking photographs, watching videos etc.

Copy

The written material, as opposed to images, that features in a media text.

Countertype

A representation that actively seeks to subvert and challenge negative stereotypes usually of a person, group or place.

Cover lines

The written text that features on the cover of a magazine, they usually give a preview of the content inside.

Cross platform marketing

When one form is advertised on another media platform.

Crane shot

A camera shot that is taken from above the ground high on a crane (also known as a jib).

Cross-head

Words used as a title or sub-heading to break up text in a newspaper or magazine.

Cross cut

An editing technique used to establish that action is occurring at the same time.

Cultivation differential

The margin of ‘heavy’ viewers over ‘light’ viewers when assessing the perception of social reality that the media creates.

Cultural capital

An idea of a power gained in society by having cultural knowledge and experiences that are valued within a culture.

Cut

A simple editing technique. One shot ends and another begins, with no transitions or effects added.

Date line

A line that shows the date that a media publication/article was written/first published.

Decoding

The process through which an audience interprets a message.

Deconstruction

The act of analysing the structures used to construct a media product.

Deep focus

A technique used in photography or cinematography which produces a ‘depth of field’ where everything is in focus.

Demerger

Separating a large corporation into two or more smaller organisations.

Demographics

Statistical data based on groupings in the culture based on age, gender, ethnicity, income etc.

Denotation

The literal or surface meaning of signs.

Deregulation

The relaxing of controls and limitations imposed upon the media by the state.

Desensitisation

A psychological process which suggests that audiences who are regularly exposed to acts of violence through tv programmes, films and video games etc, are increasingly less likely to feel empathy or concern when exposed to violence, bad language or other forms of aggressive behaviour.

Dialogue

Words spoken by characters in a media product, such as films or television dramas.

Diegesis

The communication of a story from inside the world being represented. For example: diegetic sound has a source from inside the world being represented.

Diegetic sound

Sound that appears to come from the world of the film or TV programme, whether on or off screen.

Digital native

A person who is brought up with digital technology from an early age so using it comes naturally to them..

Diversification

Large corporations spreading their interest and shares in a wide variety of mass media forms.

Duopoly

An industry within which two companies control the market.

Editing

A post-production technique – any arranging, revising and preparing of written, audio or video content to get the piece ready for audience consumption.

Editorial

An article in a newspaper or magazine that expresses an opinion on a topical issue.

Editorial philosophy

A media product’s underlying values, attitudes and beliefs and the viewpoint it adopts. The editorial philosophy helps to determine the style and content of the media product including the mode of address it adopts.

Effects theories/The Effect Debate

The effects debate is collection of theoretical ideas that examine the potential impact the media may have on audience members. Effects theories tend to see audiences as largely passive and vulnerable to negative effects of the media.

Ellipsis

Where sentences are incomplete and are finished with a set of three dots; the words then need to be filled in by the consumer.

Emerging media

The communication that occurs through digital technology and new platforms with interactive elements, for example podcasts, social media etc.

Encode

The act of communicating ideas and messages through a system of signs. Media producers make specific media language choices to encode their messages.

Enculturation

(from Gerbner) How the media is part of the way we learn social and cultural norms.

Enigma

A question that is not immediately answered which draws the audience into a text.

Equilibrium/disequilibrium

In Todorov’s theory, equilibrium is the status quo or normal state of affairs in a narrative which gives way to unpredictability (disequilibrium) when equilibrium is disrupted. The narrative journey is usually about the restoration of balance by solving the problems created by the disruption (return to a new equilibrium).

Essentialisation

A process that involves ascribing certain traits or characteristics to someone by nature, those traits are seen to be part of that person’s nature and as such they are fixed and cannot be changed.

Establishing shot

The opening shot of a visual narrative sequence often showing the geographical location.

Ethics

The principles and standards that are upheld in broadcast media, film and the internet.

Ethnicity

Ethnicity is defined by your cultural identity, often demonstrated through customs, food and dress. It suggests identity is based on a sense of place, ideology or religion.

Ethnocentric

Roger Brown defines ethnocentrism as ‘the application of the norms of one’s own culture to that of others’ (Social Psychology, 1965). Stuart Hall refers to this definition in his theory of representation as he suggests ethnocentrism is an example of the way in which stereotypes reinforce the power of certain groups over others.

Exhibition

Where a film can be viewed, eg multiplex, independent art house cinemas, online, and film festivals.

Exotic other

A term used to describe someone who is perceived to be different or ‘foreign’ – a state of alterity.

Fabula

A term in narrative theory – Russian for ‘story’.

Facial action coding system

A technique whereby computer technology is used to capture a range of high resolution skin textures and different facial expressions used to help animators replicate computer generated images. This was used in the Galaxy chocolate advert to make Audrey Hepburn look real.

Fade

A transition that moves to or from an image to a single colour (usually black or white) where the second shot appears gradually so both images are on screen for a period of time.

Female gaze

A term used in reaction to Mulvey’s Male Gaze that considers representations that subvert the male gaze and present ideas from a distinctly female point of view. Often misconstrued to refer to products targeting a female audience.

Feminism

A collection of ideas and actions that aim to promote women’s rights and the social, economic and political equality of the sexes.

Flashback

A scene in a moving image text that is set in an earlier time than the main story.

Flexi narrative

A narrative structure that combines aspects of the same serial or series. For example, whilst each episode may feature a self-contained narrative, character relationships may develop over the course of several episodes forming a wider story arc.

Flow

A term first coined by Raymond Williams, after his first experience of US television in the mid-1950s, to suggest that broadcast media are experienced as a flow of similar segments not as separate items.

Fly-on-the-wall

A form of documentary filmmaking where the camera is an invisible presence, positioning the viewer voyeuristically as an unseen observer.

Focus group

Qualitative research where a group of people are asked about their views of a product which enables the producers to form an opinion of the needs of the target audience.

Font

The style and size of text characters on the printed page or screen.

Form

The classification of media products by type as it related to their production and the way audiences access them. For example, TV, magazines, and games are all forms of media.

Framing (reception theory)

The organisation of media language that acts to present a message in a very specific way that reflects the agenda of the producing institution.

Franchise

A media franchise is a collection of connected media products derived from a single original source, for example, a film – with a comic and video game also produced about the film or a film that generates sequels, is rebooted etc.

Free market

A capitalist system where the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and consumers and where state/legal regulation is kept to a minimum.

Gatekeeping

The way in which information is filtered by the media before it is prepared for publication, broadcast or distribution.

Gender norms

Cultural expectations of how different genders should behave – what is considered ‘normal’ for men or women.

Gender performativity

From Butler. The idea that gendered behaviours come from lived experiences within a culture. Gender is something people ‘do’ rather than something they ‘are’.

Genre

A style or category within media forms. For example, broadsheet is a genre category within the newspaper form.

Globalisation

The global spread of media and communications systems and businesses. How local and national industries are linked to a wider world culture.

Global village

A term coined by Marshall McLuhan where he described how modern electronic media have interconnected around the globe and have ‘shrunk’ the world making it seem like a village.

Guerilla marketing

Low-cost and unconventional marketing methods with a clear focus on grabbing the audience’s attention.

Gutter

The space between two pages of text in a newspaper or magazine.

Hand-held camera

A style of filming where the camera is hand held and not mounted on a tripod. This often produces jerky footage which makes the product appear more realistic to audiences.

Headline

The text, usually in larger font, at the top of a page or article in a newspaper or article, indicating what the content is to the reader.

Hegemony

The leadership or dominance in the media of a particular group that defines the norms and ideas of the culture.

Home page

The first page of a website that a user will access at a web address. The home page usually contains navigation links to the other pages of the website.

Hook

Something within a media product that catches the attention of the audience and pulls them in, this could be an image or a tag line.

Horizontal integration

Companies who acquire other companies operating in the same sector.

House style

The overall design style of a newspaper, website or magazine. This might include font, colour scheme and layout. The house style sets a product apart from its competition and makes it easily recognisable to its audience.

Hybrid

A type of media created through convergence resulting in a new form consisting of different media combined.

A way of describing a media product that is a combination of different genres and styles.

Hyperlink

An icon, graphic or text within a document that links to another file or object.

Hyperreality

From Baudrillard. An inability to distinguish reality from a simulated version of reality.

Hypodermic syringe model

The hypodermic syringe or needle model is an outdated effects theory that suggests a mass audience responds immediately to the direct influence of media products.

Icon

A sign that resembles what it represents.

Iconography

The visual images used within a media product such as costumes, settings etc.

Ideology

A system of ideas that determines beliefs and values. Dominant ideologies hold power within a culture.

Ident

Short for identifier – can be a short visual image shown on the screen in between television programmes, signaling the channel that is being watched, or an audio ‘call sign’ to identify a particular radio station/programme.

Implosion

From Baudrillard: the collapse of meaning in media products due to the sheer proliferation of signs and the way they often refer to one another to create meaning.

Independent media

Media companies that operate outside of the major companies within that industry. There are independent companies in film, TV and music industries.

Index

A sign that works by a relationship to the object or concept it refers to for example an image of a ball can be indexical of sport.

Institutions

The organisations that create and distribute media texts, such as the BBC and News International.

Interactivity

Interactivity is when media audiences take an active involvement in/with the media text.

Interpellation

The process by which a media product draws an audience in to make an announcement about something/someone.

Intertextuality

The act of making references to other texts and popular culture artefacts as part of the signification process. To create meaning, intertextuality relies on audiences recognising and understanding intertextual references.

IPSO

The Independent Press Standards Organisation is the independent regulator of the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK.

Jingle

A short and catchy piece of music or song/slogan used to promote a product, used particularly in advertising and on the radio.

Jump cut

A noticeable edit between two images with the same subject and framing.

Jump line

This is a journalism term for the line after or before an article telling you where an article continues on or where it began.

Juxtaposition

Placing two things close together with contrasting effect.

Left wing

Political views that are left of the centre of political ideologies

Let’s play video

Let’s play or LP is a style of video series documenting the play through of a video game.

Lifestyle magazine

A popular magazine concerned with lifestyle these can include men’s magazines and women’s magazines as well as health and fitness, beauty, interiors etc.

Linear narrative

A plot that moves forward in a straight line and logical fashion and does not use flashbacks or flashforwards.

Links

Clickable text or images that take users to different pages of a website.

Logo

The visual image used to identify a product, brand or company.

Long shot

Shot size or framing which shows the whole of a person.

Mainstream

The area of media production that reflects dominant cultural norms and aims to appeal to a broad cross section of people.

Male gaze

From Mulvey: a theory that suggests media products are usually constructed using a male point of view and reflect male desires. Women, therefore are often objectified in representations, presented as objects of male desire.

Mass amateurisation

The capabilities that new forms of media have given to non-professionals and the way the non-professionals have used these capabilities to create and distribute media content.

Masterplot

A collection of broad story-types that are told in different contexts and across genres. For example, a quest narrative focuses on a protagonist’s journey to reach a specific goal. This masterplot can be shaped in different ways and appears in genres as diverse as horror, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, crime-drama etc.

Masthead

The name of a magazine or newspaper, often presented in the form of a logo using a specially designed typeface.

Mean world syndrome

From Gerbner: this describes a situation where violence-related content of a mass media (news, fictions, documentaries) influences consumers of that media to believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is.

Media literacy

The ability to access, analyse and understand media. Media literacy allows a better understanding of the complex messages received via the media.

Media saturation

A term used to describe how our experience of the world and the way we view it is dominated by the media on a national and global level.

Mediation

Mediation is when the media takes a person or event and changes or interprets in a particular way to create a media text.

Medium/mid shot (MS)

A commonly used camera shot. Typically it will frame the subject from the waist up or show some background detail in the shot.

Merchandising

The exploitation of a character in TV/film through a range of non-media branded products, eg Star Wars action figures etc.

Merger

A combination of two media companies into one – usually to gain more power and influence in the market.

Message

The expected reading that the audience takes from a media text.

Metadata

The data providing information about one or more aspects of the data, it often summarises basic information such as title and description of an online video plus any tags and thumbnails.

Mise-en-scene

Literally ‘everything that is in the shot/scene’ in a single frame. This is what helps the audience to gain meaning from a scene.

MMORPG

Massively multi-player online role-playing game. An online video game played by a very large number of people at the same time.

Mock-up

A rough plan of how the layout of a page of printed media will look.

Mode of address

The way a media product ‘speaks’ to its audience.

Monopoly

Where one company dominates or has total control of the market place.

Moral panic

The way that the media stirs up intense feelings (often anger or fear) in the way it covers a news event or issue. These feelings are often out of proportion to the actual danger or threat presented.

Multimedia

Technology that enables sound, video, text and graphic images to be used in the same media production.

Myth

A socially or historically determined idea which has become accepted truth.

Mytheme

A fundamental part of narrative structure (typically involving a relationship between a character, an event and a theme) from which myths are constructed.

Narrative

The way in which a story or sequence of events is put together in a media text. All media texts have some sort of narrative running through them.

Narrative arc

The progression of a narrative from its start to the end. The arc refers to the building of narrative tension until a climactic moment creates a resolution.

Narratology

The study of narrative and narrative structures.

Narrowcasting

In opposition to broadcasting, narrowcasting addresses the needs of a specialised or niche audience.

Negotiated position

From Hall’s encoding/decoding model. When making a negotiated reading the consumer of a media product may agree with some aspects of the message in the product but may also disagree with other aspects of the message.

Neo-liberalism

A political ideology favouring free market capitalism.

News agenda

The importance given to stories in broadcast and print news, these will often reflect the ownership, and ethos of the news product.

News values

Ways in which media companies will assess and categorise news stories and decide on their newsworthiness. Each media publication will have its own news agenda and set of news values.

Niche audience/market

A small segment of an audience with specific tastes and interests.

Non-diegetic sound

Sound that is neither on the screen or features in the ‘world of the film’. Typically, non-diegetic sound will be sound effects or background music added to create mood and atmosphere.

Non-linear consumption

When audiences consume products at their own leisure, often using video-on-demand or streaming services. Linear viewing is where products are consumed at the time of their broadcast.

OFCOM

The Office of Communications is a government-approved regulatory body that is responsible for ensuring that the communication and broadcasting industries in the UK operate fairly and competitively. It also protects the public from inappropriate or offensive material.

Oligopoly

A market is shared by a small number of companies who have control or dominance.

Open text/polysemic

A text which lacks a preferred reading and could lead to several different readings.

Opening sequence

The opening section of a film/television drama. Often this is action-packed and ends on a cliffhanger. Opening sequences are also used to introduce key characters or to establish settings.

Opinion leaders

An individual or organisation that has the ability to influence others around them. These could be vloggers, media producers and owners.

Oppositional reading

From Hall: A reading of a product which does not recognise the intended or hegemonic meaning but disagrees or rejects the message being communicated.

Orders of signification

Roland Barthes ideas of two orders of signification being denotation and connotation.

Panning

A basic camera movement – the camera sweeps from one side to the other.

Paradigm

From Hall’s encoding/decoding model. When making an oppositional reading the consumer of a media product will disagree with the message in the product.

Parallel action

A narrative device in which two separate scenes are seen as happening at the same time by cutting between the two.

Para-social interaction

A media effects theory where the illusion of face-to-face relations is constructed through techniques such as the mode of address. This can be applied to online media such as blogs and vlogs as well as traditional media forms like television.

Participatory media

Referring to the audience’s role in creating, producing and distributing media content.

Passive audience

A passive audience is one that merely observes and takes in a media text without interacting or responding to it. The assumption is that a passive audience will agree with the preferred meaning of a text and will not challenge the content and that passive audiences will be directly affected by the messages in media texts.

Pastiche

The act of imitating the style or content of other media products.

Patriarchy

A society within which men hold the power and is structured to benefit male interests.

PEGI

Pan European Game Information – the organisation that judges what the age ratings should be for games. Produces guidance for consumers (mainly aimed at parents) so that they can decide if a game is suitable.

Pitch

An outline of an idea for the creation of a particular media product.

Platform

The technological distribution method used. There are three platforms: print, broadcast and e-media.

Plot

The main events of a storyline.

Pluralism

Where power is dispersed amongst a range of groups within a society and no one groups exerts consistent dominance. The plurality of power is reflected in a diverse range of ideas and opinions found in the media.

Point of view shot (POV)

A film editing technique that makes the audience feel that they are seeing the same as the character on screen.

Political economy

A study of the social relations (power) that together constitute the production, distribution and consumption of resources.

Polysemic

A sign that has more than one meaning.

Post feminism

A collection of theories relating to gender that acknowledge the changes bought about in society by second wave feminism.

Postmodernism

A collection of ideas that reject the traditions of modernism and engage with the late 20th Century/early 21st Century as a time of technological reproduction and media saturation.

Post-production

Further production work that is undertaken after moving and still images have been taken.

Preferred reading/Intended meaning

From Hall: The reading of a media text that the producers intended the audience to have.

Pre-production

The work, planning and research that is done on a media product before the actual production begins.

Pre-title sequence

Used to hook in the audience from the opening section of a television programme.

Primary research

Original and new research that is carried out to answer particular questions or issues.

Prime time

The times of the day when radio and TV audiences are expected to be at their highest.

Privatisation

When a company is sold to a private bidder and taken out of public ownership.

Producer (Media)

The people who plan, coordinate and create media products.

Production values

The qualities of a media text which indicate the cost. High budget products will be recognisable by their use of stars, expensive settings and props etc.

Propaganda

Media images and campaigns which are designed to promote a particular point of view or ideology.

Prosumer

A merging of producer and consumer. It describes those people who create, and adapt existing media content and then distribute it via social media and the internet.

Psychographic profiling

Identifying the audience using categories based on personality, values, opinions, attitudes and lifestyle.

PSB or public service broadcasting

Television and radio programmes that are broadcast to inform, entertain or educate the public, without trying to make a profit. They are financed in some way via the state. For example, the TV licence funds for the BBC.

Qualitative research

Qualitative research is used to explore and gain an understanding of audience opinions and motivations.

Quantitative research

Quantitative research is the collection of numerical data and statistics.

Raunch culture

A culture which promotes overtly sexual representations of women.

Realism

Representation by media products of situations or ideas in a way that seems real.

Reception theory

The study of how people use and interpret the media.

Register

This can be spoken or written and is the range and variety of language used within a product and will change depending on the target audience and the purpose of the product.

Regulation

Rules or sets of standards that are expected to be adhered to by media producers.

Remit

This outlines a broadcaster’s area of responsibility. The BBC’s remit is ‘to inform, educate and entertain’.

Repetition and difference

The mix of familiar and new characteristics which offer pleasures for existing audiences and attract new audiences to generic media texts.

Representation

The way in which the media producers combine media language elements to create ideas about people and the world around us.

Restricted narrative

When the audience only sees the narrative from the perspective of one character and therefore only knows as much as that character.

Right wing

Political views that are right of the centre of political ideologies.

Scheduling

The decisions of when and where to broadcast programmes on TV and radio.

Secondary media

Where an audience is not fully engaged with a text such as when watching television, they might be eating a meal, texting, engaging on social media on mobile phones etc.

Secondary research

Secondary research involves the collation and analysis of research that already exists.

Segmentation

The division of audiences into segments and categories.

Selection

What is and is not chosen to be used by media producers and creators, it can reflect the attitudes, beliefs and values of the producer/creator. Selection is part of the process of representation and what is chosen and what is rejected reflects the attitudes, beliefs and values of the producer/creator.

Self-contained narrative

When a whole story is told within a single episode.

Self-identification

How you view and categorise yourself as belonging to a group ie member of a political party etc.

Semiotics

The study of the way meaning is made in the use of signs.

Serial

A narrative where the story unfolds over several episodes.

Sexual politics

The power relations between men and women.

SFX

Special Effects. Graphics techniques that are applied to moving images to create specific effects.

Shot

A single image taken by a camera, or a single take of video footage.

Sign

A word or image that is used to represent or convey an idea or object.

Signposting

The technique of establishing what the location of a scene is from the beginning. For example, a hospital drama might be signposted by audio of medical equipment or ambulance sirens.

Simulacra

Representations that are simulation or copies of ‘reality’ that hold more meaning for the audience than the reality represented itself.

Simulation

Representations that imitate a subject, a location or experience.

Slogan

A catchy, eye-catching and memorable phrase, often used in advertising.

Social media/networking

Websites, platforms and apps that enable users to communicate with other people across the world.

Socialisation

From Gerbner: the process of leaning the norms and values of our culture. The media is said to have an active influence on this process.

Spin

The activities of RP officers (‘spin doctors’) employed to put a positive ‘spin’ or angle on stories about their employer or client.

Standardisation

The way the repetition of an idea, behaviour or attitude across the media over time can normalise/standardise the idea, behaviour or attitude.

Standfirst

An introductory paragraph in an article which summarises the article.

Statutory regulation

A regulation system that is implemented by law.

Stereotype

A set of ideas held about what a person or place is like that is applied to the whole group.

Stock characters

The repeated character types used within narratives. Stock characters are often related to the product’s genre. For example, the matriarch in a soap opera or the lone hero in a Western.

Storyboard

A visual representation and plan of how a moving image scene will be shot. Typically includes a sketch of each frame, camera movements, edits and timing, etc.

Strapline

A cross-column subheading, usually found in newspapers, magazines and websites, that emphasises part of an article or advert.

Stripping

Radio and TV technique where a programme is broadcast at the same time every day.

Structuralism

A theoretical approach that argues that investigating underlying structures is vital in analysing products.

Sub-genre

A sub-category within a genre.

Subscription broadcasting

Any platform/broadcaster that offers access to its content for a subscription.

Symbol

A sign or image of some sort that represents an idea through metaphor or association. For example: a rose can be a symbol for romance.

Synergy

Where links are created for commercial purposes between businesses, media industries and products. This link will benefit both participants. For example: Film tie-ins with McDonalds; Computer Games using commercial music as a soundtrack; Social media influencers creating ‘collabs’

Syntagm and paradigm

  • Syntagm: related to the sequences (structures) that create meaning.
  • Paradigm: related to the sets of possible signs that can be used within the structure.

Tabloid

The term is used to describe newspapers (and other media forms such as magazines, television programmes etc) that prioritise soft news and focus on celebrity gossip, popular sports and media.

Tag line

Short phrases that sum up a product, can be used in print and moving image promotional material.

Target audience

The specific group for whom a media product is intended.

Teaser

A form of trailer that ‘teases’ the audience about a forthcoming film. Often meant to intrigue, teasers are typically short and aimed at perking interest.

Textual poaching

The repurposing of media texts by fans to create new media products. This includes memes, fan-fiction, parody videos etc.

Theoretical framework

The theoretical framework includes ideas about media language, audience, media industries and representations. These theories are the tools used to critically understand and discuss the construction of meaning within media products.

Titles

The opening credits of a television programme or film, including the title but often including information about key personnel and snippets of the product.

Trailer

A short advert for a forthcoming film. Usually adhering to a particular set of codes and conventions, trailers might include highlights from the film and information about the stars of the film.

Transitions

How shots are edited together to produce a particular effect, they include cuts, wipes and fades.

Transmedia storytelling

A term coined by Henry Jenkins. ‘A process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience’ (transmedia Storytelling 2007).

Transnational culture

An analysis of the cultural effects of globalisation.

Treatment

A short outline of an intended media production. This might include written descriptions, sketches and mock-ups.

Typography

Font styles that are used in a media product. These can be sub divided into serif fonts, those which have short decorative lines such as Times New Roman and look more traditional, and sans serif fonts, without decorative lines such as Calibri and look more modern and contemporary.

Unrestricted narrative

Where the viewer has access to more information than individual characters.

User-generated content

User generated content (UGC) is any content created and distributed on a particular platform by a user of that platform.

Uses and gratifications theory

From Blumler and Katz: This is the idea that the media audiences make active use of what the media offer them. The audience has a set of needs which the media gratify: information, social integration, entertainment and personal identity.

Utopian

An ideal, if not impossible social world.

Verisimilitude

When a product’s content appears truthful or authentic.

Vertical integration

When one company acquires another so that it has ownership of different paths of the production process.

Violence debate

A recurring debate over assumed audience behaviour which focuses on the possible ‘effects’ of the representation of violence.

Viral marketing

A method of marketing which encourages media consumers to share opinion and information about a media product on the internet and on social media.

Voice of God

A voiceover or commentary provided by a narrator.

Voiceover

A segment of narration that is added to a broadcast with the speaker not seen on screen.

Vox pop

An interview which is conducted with ‘ordinary’ people, often in the street.

Voyeurism

The pleasure of looking at others whilst remaining anonymous. This is often associated with the idea of looking to gain an illicit pleasure.

Walkthrough

A demo on how to play a video game, the vlogger ‘walks’ the audience through a tour of the product.

Watershed

The time, after which is it allowed for media products (TV programmes) to contain more adult content or content that is deemed unsuitable for younger audiences. In the UK the watershed is 9pm.

Web 2.0

A phase in the history of the internet where it involved interactivity, user participation and collaboration.

White space

In magazines and newspapers where there is space free from text and images.