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Introducing Media Representations 3

Steve Campsall | Wednesday December 08, 2010

Categories: Introductory Resources, Intro to Media Representations

Whilst the technology available to the giant media corporations is nowadays quite phenomenal in its ability to recreate what looks, to the audience, to be reality, it’s important that as a Media Studies student you are able to stay thoroughly objective.

  • Being objective means ‘standing well back’ from a media text and avoiding getting too involved in its story or detail. This will allow you to recognise it for what it is: its producer’s point of view and, therefore, no more than one person’s version of reality.

This is a very important understanding and hopefully it might even seem obvious to you already – but it’s far from obvious to many people (perhaps everyone should take a Media Studies GCSE course!).


It’s worth thinking about the word representation because not only is it a key media concept, it’s also what media texts do: they represent aspects of reality or of an imagined reality. Perhaps ‘re-presentation’ might be a better way of thinking about it.

What the media does is to re-present for its target audience a part or an aspect of the world (which could be real or imagined) in order to entertain or inform us – but very often, also, to persuade us (perhaps often when we least expect we’re being persuaded to accept a particular view of life). It’s important to remember that what we’re being persuaded to accept is someone else’s view of the world, or on a particular part of the world that that person deems important enough for the audience to see and think about. It is not balanced and is therefore not reality.

The news item you might see this evening, for example, will have been carefully selected from a whole range of possible news items: the images will have been chosen from a whole range of possible images; the camera angle will have been chosen from a whole range of camera angles; what you see on the screen will have been selected carefully – and of course, the...

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