Hello everyone my name is Taylor Villarreal and I am currently a Junior at Towson University. My major is Mass Communication with a focus in journalism and media. The course that I am going to be discussing throughout my blog is Media Criticism. So… are you ready to get started !!!!!
Media Criticism/Media Literacy
First off.. media Criticism is the study of different texts that are within the media. Now a text can be anything ranging from a TV program to a print ad such as calvin klein. Media Criticism is about breaking down exactly what media is and how media affects our everyday lives universally.
In media criticism we must understand texts and be able to create meanings through symbolism.When studying a text you must use a critical process. This includes: selecting the image,describing the messages, analyzing the patterns, interpreting the signs and their meanings and evaluating the impact of that text. It is important to think critically about the media because in reality it affects our every lives. We look to the media to know about important information. In fact, the power of mass media plays a big role in society today because it controls how people live out their lives and how they think. And with mass media, it can create a patriarchy.This meaning that men are the ones who are calling the shots and making the rules. Due to the impact media has on society, people will do things differently and can even start to think differently all because of what the media tells people. It is very crucial in how people make decisions. Media Criticism offers a variety of tools to help us understand media messages by using a cultural Diamond approach. Now with this approach we are able to break texts up by their meanings and what they exactly mean. For example; some texts could be a semiotic which means that some texts will be interpreted and analyzed through signs. A sign is within all texts and helps to show the meaning of a text and how reality is created. Another example from the Diamond approach would be the narrative criticism. With this, texts are studied and they carry a cause-and -effect with a beginning, middle and end. An example of narrative criticism could be a movie such as cinderella. It’s a once upon a time kind of movie that creates this fairytale and gives off a cause and effect.
Importance of Media Literacy & Media text Example
The importance of developing media literacy skills is so that you have an understanding about what texts and signs mean.The four types of media literacy include the protectionist approach, the media arts education, the media literacy movement and the critical media literacy. The fourth approach, critical media literacy is one of our main focuses and it emphasizes power relations. In this type of media literacy, the viewer is able to create meaning-making out of what they see. An example of a media text would be the television show “the hills“. The show is a reality show and the people are mostly in their 20s and they go through the different stages in life and it shows how they each act differently in different situations. Drama is through the roof on this show which makes the viewer more engaged and it can become very interesting to see how relationships and friendships can change so quickly for the better and for the worse.The main audience for a show such as this would be teenagers to people in their 20s. So the demographic is for people who are younger, living the party scene and just heading into adulthood and trying to maintain independence. This type of show influences our culture by showing young people that a drama filled life is what happens when your in your 20s. And to some extent that is true, when you are in your 20s you will experience different things and more things will start to fall into place and or fall apart, but the non-stop drama is not a good thing for young adults by any means either with saying that.
The type of text-centered approach that I will be introducing next is semiotics. Semiotics is a way of interpreting what a text means and analyzing that very text to make meaning out of it. There are many signs that will lead to a production of meanings. For example; as you see above, here is a print ad for Coppertone Tanning lotion. I will be showing semiotics by breaking down the signs and their meanings through this image. You will see that semiotics is based on what you see in a text and thus the meanings are interpreted from that text and makes the bigger picture. We are going to analyze this picture with taking a look at the different signifiers (signs) and their signifieds(meanings). We will do this by using the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic analysis. First off the paradigmatic analysis consists of different sings that all connect to one meaning. So for the most part, it causes you to break down the chain of events. Now for the syntagmatic analysis, it involves a sequential order of the meanings and their signs all in one.It mostly includes the chain of events. So as we look at this cooper tone tanning picture above on the left we see that some syntagmatic characteristics would be that one woman and several guys are in the picture, the woman is in a yellow bathing suit as well as the men in their swim trunks,the men are looking towards woman, and the woman is tan. The paradigmatic analysis would be that we know it is a woman because she has long hair and her body type, we know that there are guys because of their masculine build and short hair, the woman is in a yellow bathing suit because it covers only tops part and bottom part slightly, she is not in shorts/jeans and a shirt, the men are gazing at her due to her tanned skin that make her glow, and the woman is tan because she uses the copper tone tanning lotion and she isn’t a pasty color. Now that we have just went over the paradigmatic and syntagmatic approach, let’s touch on the binary opposition. This means that you know its one thing and not another due to the differences. For instance; when looking at this ad we see that it is a woman in the middle and not a man, we see that this is portraying sun tan lotion because this woman is tan and not pale and we see that men are gazing at her because they aren’t looking away from her, but rather towards her. This picture is classic in the sense that it gives off sex appeal in a way that is in regards to her skinny body and her being tan. The woman has her assets as well which makes this ad very comical because it says “flash ’em” and the men are just so amazed by her body and attributes and yet they try to make it seem like they only want her for her tanned skin. In reality, the men just want the woman as a whole package because she is a sex symbol.
So you might ask why it is so important to examine media texts -well I’m going to tell you why. Media texts have such a heavy impact on people especially the younger generations that it is so incredibly important to try and figure out and break down the meanings and where they exactly stemmed from. Now when I say this I mean that there are many influences such a sex, alcohol and etc. and it is important to figure out what a portrait is trying to say because it could have hidden meanings just as the few that I listed and you may not even realize it. Sometime their is an underlying meaning that a person is trying to get across, but instead of coming out and being so vulgar about it, they hide it within texts such as photographs because they know that people will get the hint of what is really trying to be conveyed. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, especially in media criticsm and media texts. When you can sit down and critique a text such as an ad or a picture, you will be able to better understand the true meaning that lies within each of those texts. Sometimes you will have to pull apart every little piece of detail that is embedded within a text, to find out the true meaning in the first place. When you pull apart the texts, that’s when you see the big impact that it really has on society as a whole. The influences can be both positive and negative- with that being said, you must analyze each text carefully to make sure that you fully understand the meanings and be able to piece little by little the whole story all in one. Media criticism and media texts are so crucial in how we live our lives on a day to day basis and how we see each other as a society. We must remember that each text has something that is embedded in it and therefore it will always have to be broken down in order to see how it was pieced together in the first place.