For Your Consideration…

I’ll just leave this reminder here for you from the SQA Mark Scheme for the 2015 Higher Media paper. It may help you focus on headings to think about… 😉

Candidates are expected to:

Question 1 


  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of language technical codes and/or cultural codes and/or anchorage as appropriate to the referenced content
  • give specific and valid exemplification of the referenced language concepts from at least one example of media content
  • make points which analyse the relationship between the language concepts and meaning


  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of categories and/or narrative and/or representation as appropriate to the referenced content
  • give specific and valid exemplification of the selected key aspect concept(s) from at least one example of media content
  • make points which analyse the relationship between the selected concepts and meaning

If categories is chosen, relevant concepts include: purpose, genre, tone and style.
If narrative is chosen, relevant concepts include: structures, codes and conventions.
If representation is chosen, relevant concepts include: representations, selection and portrayal, ideological discourses.


  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of target audience and mode of address and/or preferred reading and/or differential decoding, as appropriate to the referenced content
  • give specific and valid exemplification of the referenced audience concepts from at least one example of media content
  • make points which analyse the relationship between audience response and how key aspects are used

Question 2

Candidates must discuss the role of media referenced in the question. They are expected to:

  • make points that communicate ideas and information on the role of media. These points can include relevant issues, facts, perspectives or theoriesany valid point should be accepted if it is relevant to the question
  • make points of discussion which debate two sides of an argument, offer critical comment or develop a line of argument/opinion
  • draw at least one conclusion which provides a judgment in relation to terms of the question, connected to the evidence presented, and provide reasons

I’ll be about tomorrow if you want to look in when you’d normally have media. 🙂

Prelim Prep 01

Here’s the first revision aid for you…

It’s a mind map (well, duh!) of what the SQA are looking for in Question 1. What you should be able to do is extend each of the outer shapes by referring to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (dir. Stephan Elliott, Aus, 1994) [PQD, for short]. For example, what could you say about representation in PQD? And what quotations from the film would you use to illustrate what you are saying? And what would be your evaluation/opinion of the representation?

And then do the same for every other outer shape. With maybe more than one illustration/example/quotation for each. And then be ready to use that information to answer a question… 😉

(On a more practical level… if you can’t extend any of the shapes, you know what you need to revise!)

And remember, this is revision and prep, so bullet points/notes are fine!

The Media Student’s Book

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 17.15.11I was asked about a suitable textbook to support the course. Sadly, there isn’t a dedicated textbook for Higher Media (yet), but if you are considering buying any book, the best one is reckoned to be The Media Student’s Book. It covers all the main concepts we address, as well as going into infinitely greater detail and whole areas we don’t touch in the Higher. It is most commonly used as a 1st Year University or College course book, so if you are going on to study Media next year it may be a very good investment… There is also a really good website that has case studies and extension materials that you can access with the book (you can access them without the book as well… they just make more sense with the book!)

Now the bad news… You probably don’t want to spend £25 on a brand new copy.

You can get very good 2nd hand ones from Amazon/ebay (mine cost £12.78 plus postage), and be warned… it looks like the new edition is set to appear in Jan/Feb 2016… so that price may shoot up or drop like a stone. You pays your money and takes your chances… (Oh… and do not buy the Kindle edition if you have a Paperwhite… It is completely incompatible with it, and that’s £20 I’ll never get back…)

I’ll post some potentially useful sites over the next few days, and will keep you informed if I hear of any more specific Higher Media resources. 🙂

Homework Help [Updated]

[UPDATE: The original Language Slide Deck is HERE]

Here is (I hope) a fairly self-explanatory guide to tackling your homework. It is based on the SQA Higher Media marking scheme (2015). I’ve done my best to explain what the relevant bits mean and hint at what to look at/discuss… the rest is up to you.

FABFab Answer Time!

SQA ask that:

  • Language is decoded in detail using at least two different relevant concepts from within or across technical codes and/or cultural codes and/or anchorage.
  • There is insightful comment on the relationship between language and meaning.
  • Each language concept is exemplified and discussed by developed references to media content.

What you need to do:

Language: techniques used in media to create meaning
Decoded: analysed/interpreted by you
Concept(s): these are the key concepts we’ve been looking at and talking about since day one!
Technical codes: These are things like how the camera is used (framing/movement), how the shots are edited together, and so on — and how these have been used to create meaning
Cultural codes: This addresses aspects like characters, setting, colours, and so on — and specifically, what and how these add to the meaning created
Anchorage: refers to elements that help create a preferred reading, ie. the meaning intended by the creators (this could be the message/ideology/theme…)
Insightful comment: means you show a good and relevant depth of knowledge and/or understanding of how the language has been used to create the meaning conveyed
The relationship between language and meaning: Remember the basics. Media is constructed… somebody made the artefact, and our job is to identify the choices they made and then come up with reasons (hypothesise) about why they made these choices. For example, if the director chooses a Dutch (tilted) angle shot we need to:

  1. identify/recognise that it has been chosen, and
  2. suggest a reason such as to suggest that a character is untrustworthy or doing something wrong.

Exemplified: you have used examples from the text to illustrate what you are talking about (P.E.E. anyone?)
Discussed: your thoughts on the choices/reasons
Developed references to media content: You go in to some depth in your answer… and score added brownie points if you are able to reference other texts that use the same or similar concepts/techniques.

Bonus Content:

Here’s the help as a handy cut out and keep sheet!

Cut Out Keep Grab
Guess what happens if you click on the picture! 😉


Here are Miss Robertson’s slides on PQD. I’ve changed the formatting slightly to give them a higher resolution (i.e.: easier to read the small print!) Any formatting mistakes are mine and mine alone!

PS: Remember there is a download link for the Powerpoint files at the bottom of this post… it includes all the URLs as clickable links.
ASK QUESTIONS if you are unsure of anything!

PQD Overview (PPTX)

PQD Overview (Keynote File)

Getting Silly

It would be really useful if you were to make the time to answer the following task:

Example Q2

The KEY ASPECT that is the focus of the task is “meeting the needs of its [the media’s] audience”

The stem (or initial starting point) is a consideration of whether the media is ‘out of control’. For our purposes, we can consider the demise of The News of the World. Why did it happen, and was it a sign that the media were indeed ‘out of control’.

Review Panorama (Youtube Link) and the role of the ‘Redtops’ in preparation for answering. Remember, you need to make specific references to information from your research/knowledge.

The task has two parts:

a) give detailed information or ideas about the role of media referenced above, and discuss this by giving some opinions, arguments or conclusions about it

Remember, with regards the role of the media, we have looked at three specific roles. These are in the inverted triangle diagram, and have been mentioned umpteen times so I am not repeating them here!

The task invites you to consider whether the media’s defence — that it is meeting the needs of its audience — are sufficient to justify its actions.

Do not confuse the role of the media with the three analytical perspectives on the media we have been considering, namely: traditional, neoliberal, public service. They are not the same thing. 🙂

b) give specific examples from media content which illustrate the information, ideas or discussion

The second part demands specific examples to illustrate the more general argument/discussion/point of view you have advanced in a). You need to make reference to, and explain the relevance of, specific incidents or newspaper stories, or any other thing you feel helps illustrate your argument that the media is justified or not in how it meets its audience’s needs.

This must be completed by everyone and on my desk by Friday at the latest.

Q2: Role of Media – Guidance

PDF Icon
Click icon to download

First things first, here is the handout from today. Download it, and use it as a reference for approaching the task.

Next, you should make time to watch the whole Panorama documentary:

Hacking, Power, Corruption and Lies
(BBC, UK, 2014)

Once you have viewed the programme, refer to the summary sheet as a prompt to considering how an audience could view the actions of The News of the World / NewsCorp / Murdoch.

Don’t confuse the role of the media with the perspectives of the media. It’s easy done, so to avoid this, simply remember that the three roles of media that you are expected to understand and will be assessed on, are as follows:

  • influencing behaviour and attitudes (intentionally or unintentionally)
  • meeting needs (for information, entertainment, education)
  • achieving particular purposes (profit, self-interest, public service)

In contrast, the perspectives (neoliberalism/traditional/public service) relate to how we interpret the media, and what we understand to be the reason(s) for the media creating the product(s) it does.

According to the SQA:

candidates should be prepared to answer questions on any of the roles given above. Questions may be general, or may focus on one or more of the elements given in brackets.

That’s enough to be going on with. Watch the Panorama, and remember: You need to focus on The News of the World / NewsCorp / Murdoch… and not the Panorama programme itself.

PS: Couldn’t get on to WordPress in school, hence the delay. 😦