#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 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 …..

Where is YOUR public sphere(s)?

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 discussion – media issues:

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?

Group presentations… 



This week we will be starting group presentations.

Check out our Moodle site for some more useful resources on giving presentations.

And…. what not to do:


In groups you will: present a media issue you have researched, including the following:

-An overview of the issue and why it’s of significance

-An account of how the issue has been addressed with appropriate examples drawn from a range of media sources

-A discussion of what has been included or overlooked in the media presentation of this issue and how this might be addressed.

So  – what do we mean by a media issue? Something happening in the media (coverage) or something the media is doing (trends) … or something else?


Some recent media issues:

School Climate Strike – using social media for good

Social media is making us dumber

Body positivity and social media

Keep Sydney Open – lockout laws, live music and young people

A practice group activity:

Marshmallow Challenge Instructions



In your groups:

Which media issue? How to choose?

– You could either work from choosing the topic that most interested you?

Or something that’s happening in the media that you have followed with interest?

Weekly topics:

-media effects and anxieties about these

-content analysis and cultivation theories

-reading images – representation- semiotics-connotations

-ideology and interpretation

-ownership and control of the media

-the role of the mediated public sphere

-the NEXT WEEK: concept of the moral panic