#BCM110: The Media Theory Toolbox and the Public Sphere

What do Big Brother and Q and A have in common?


Both are examples of a ‘Mediated Public Sphere’, which McKee (2004) defines as: ‘a metaphor for thinking about how individuals come together to exchange idea, information and feelings about what matters to them in a liberal society’.


This week’s blog post:

If we can define the public sphere as ‘the place’ where each of us finds out what is happening, and what social, cultural and political issues are facing us, and where we engage with those issues and say what we think about them and what should be done….

 Where is your public sphere?

How does it operate?

What are the issues that come up?

Who is included (and excluded)?

What role does ‘the media’ play in all of this?


In class:

What issues are presented in these examples? How, and where might debate about these issues occur?

Go Back to Where You Came From

Bring Them Here – Australia’s refugee policy

Safe Schools Policy debate

Change the Date – Australia Day

Is it time to delete Facebook?



#BCM110: The Media Industries and Ownership

7-11-2010-reupertandhomerimpson copy


This week we will be examining Media Ownership.

1. Media ownership in Australia is extremely concentrated (this explains the situation in 2013) – a more updated version here discussing recent changes to legislation in Australia, impacting ownership.

2. Fears about media ownership being concentrated in the hands of the few can be traced back to the 1930’s and Hitler’s use of propaganda

3. In modern society there is an additional cause of anxiety for democratic societies – anyone with an internet connection and/or a camera can make and spread propaganda, which is then picked up and spread through mainstream media channels.

4. Look at these images of headlines from The Daily Telegraph (owned by News Corp/Murdoch) – what ideologies are present?

sundaytelegraph-20130901-350           kick_this_mob_out








5. There are also issues regarding the moral conduct of the media –  News of the World Scandal


Blog post for the week:

Your blog topic for this week is all about media ownership and why it matters.

Who ‘owns’ and/or ‘controls’ the media you use to access your ‘news’?Why does this matter?

What trust do you have in your news sources?

Or taking what you now know about media ownership:

Does Beyonce matter? 


Recommended Reading: (log in to UOW library for access) McCutcheon and Pusey Media Moguls or Moneymen?


Resources on this week’s academic skills:

Critical thinking and writing

Giving peer feedback 

#BCM110: Representation and Interpretation


This week’s topic is Representation and Interpretation of texts.

For this week, we will be learning how to decode images using Semiotic theory.



Simple Explanation – Signs, Signifers, Signified



How images can cause controversy – what meanings might this image have for different audiences?

Ideology Explained


Equinox Campaign – an example of a complex image


ACTIVITY: In pairs, interpret one of these images as a practice for this week’s blog post:

This week’s blogging assignment:

-Locate an example of a complex image

-Discuss the denotation (what is there) and the connotation (what it means)

-Is it possible to read this image in more than one way?

Recommended reading – Semiotics for beginners

Time management and procrastination

The attention span myth? 

Time management and procrastination – these apps could help

#BCM 110: Media Audiences



Unpacking Media Effects Theory: What does media ‘do’ to audiences, rather than what does the audience do with media?

This episode of The Simpsons (where Marge crusades against cartoon violence) is a good example of a satirical rendering of a serious media issue. This is an example of a media text you could discuss in your own blogs.

This week’s reading is ’10 things wrong with the Media Effects Model’ by David Gauntlett. You can find this on the BCM 110 Moodle site under Week 2.

Topic for blog post this week: Describe a time when you were part of a media audience. How did the experience make you feel? What was useful or pleasurable about this experience? Were there any negatives?

Link to Tutorial Slides

Another source which may be useful to you:  how violent media (video games) are blamed for real violence.