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Introducing Media Representations 4

Steve Campsall | Wednesday December 08, 2010

Categories: Introductory Resources, Intro to Media Representations

‘Narrative’ (1)

Learning about an idea called ‘narrative’ can be very useful for your GCSE in Media Studies as it provides you with a subtle way of analysing many media texts including your own productions. This is because narrative is such a very common technique used to create many different kinds of media text, including news stories, films, TV series and advertisements.

  • Narrative is a way of giving information in a way that is not ‘dry’ and ‘boring’ – a way that makes an event seem more compelling and interesting to the listener, reader or viewer: something we can relate to.
  • It creates interest because it ‘converts’ a possibly complex and even boring event in real life into the form and structure of a story. In so doing, the event is made more interesting and more accessible.
  • It’s a technique many media producers use when they create media texts.

For a moment, let’s focus on the use of narrative in news stories. If you watch or listen to the news, you should be able to notice that many news stories are told in ways that are surprisingly similar to the way imaginary fictional stories are told.

Okay, they’re not exactly ‘Once upon a time…’ but editors and journalists still use many of the techniques taken from storytelling (such as creating a character as a ‘goodie’ or a ‘hero’ as well as a different character, a group in society, or maybe even a department in the council or government, as a ‘baddie’ or ‘villain’). News stories also follow a similar structure to that in which a typical story is told, using a ‘Beginning Middle End’.

Why use narrative?

Why do we all use narrative to tell of events in our life or in the world? It’s because, as we grow up, the ‘story’ – in its form and structure – has proved to be perfect for informing children about events in their lives, their families and of the world in general; and it makes an interesting and useful way to tell of...

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