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Portfolio examination Essay Sample

Portfolio examination Pages
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INTRODUCTION

This portfolio is a summary and conclusion on media studies relating to media content and audiences . The purpose of the portfolio is to outline how media , through quantitative and qualitative analysis , are able to produce meaning. Film theory and criticism is relevant to content analysis as it best illustrates the difference between media content , media form and media substance ,this topic will be discussed as it emphasises the way in which content , form and substance contribute to the production of meaning. The second part of the portfolio will be on media audiences, the nature of audiences , their needs, how they interpret media messages and about the social and cultural context of media consumption . To best understand the behavioural and cultural impacts on media audiences and their uses and understanding of the media , field research will be discussed and explained. The portfolio will in conclusion deal with the measuring of media audiences , the different methodologies and techniques, and for a purely theoretical illustration of the audience , psychoanalysis and television will be discussed to provide understanding of the role of conscious and unconscious structures in the understanding of the viewing experience of film and television.

2 QUANTITATIVE CONTENT ANALYSIS

Contexualising the research

2.1 Research problem

The purpose of this research is to establish the frequency and the amount of coverage given to crime stories compared with educational stories , and the priority given to each of the stories in The Citizen newspaper , over a period of five days on their front page, in order to ascertain how The Citizen covers crime versus educational stories, and wether education is given less priority compared to crime or vice versa.

2.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Of the five days of research, how many times was a crime story reported on the front page of the newspaper compared to an educational story?

Did the newspaper contain any educational stories on any other sections other than the front page?

What were the recorded sales figures on days when a crime story was reported on the front page compared with an educational story?

2.3 METHOD

Research will be conducted over five consecutive days during the last week of April within this current year. The Citizen newspaper is distributed nationally in South Africa while its core readership is mainly in Gauteng, this will be the targeted distribution site

Quantitative content analysis

Content analysis is a research method for the objective , systematic and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication . ( Berelson 1952: 18 ) Quantitative means that the analysis should give precise and accurate results as quantitative data are always numerical values or frequencies where the information revealed by statistics needs to be interpreted before the meaning becomes clear . (Holsti 1969: 3-5)

Unit of analysis

The below measurable units can provide a standard method of analysing the data, which can be counted and categorised .

The number of educational stories and crime stories will be the unit of analysis.

The below measures will be used:
Words
Establish the frequent distribution of the word “violence” and “education”. Time/ space
The frequency and the amount of coverage given and the number of pages allocated to each story, so as to reveal which story is given priority.

Categories

Categories will be the meaningful groups into which the above unit of analysis will be allocated .

Types of violence
For example: Domestic violence, religious violence, sexual violence and physical violence

Types of education
For example: Formal, Informal or non-formal education.

Categorising of days
For example: Day 1, day 2, day 3, etc…

Allocated number of pages
1 page, 2-3 pages, 4 and more pages.

2.4 FINDINGS

2.5 Analysis

As illustrated in the chart The Citizen had covered more crime stories over the five days as compared with educational stories. For four days the front page of the citizen covered politically inspired violence with each story covering the entire front page or more . An educational story only appeared once in the front page of the newspaper but more frequently in other parts of the newspaper, either in the middle pages or the last pages . The word ‘violence’ dominated the newspaper overall . The Citizen has also reported high sales over crime stories as oppose to educational stories that do not sell much. As a result the newspaper limits coverage of educational stories on the front page in order to keep high sales.

3 FIELD RESEARCH IN MEDIA STUDIES

Research problem

The Department of Communication has recently launched a public awareness campaign on television informing viewers and residents in Pretoria about the migration from analogue to digital transmission, the campaign was followed by criticism that the majority of the Pretoria residents are still unsure about the migration.

The aim of the study is to assess the awareness and concerns from the community members concerning the matters of digital migration, to try and establish if the campaign was effective and if Pretoria residents are aware of the migration and have any related concerns.

The number and composition of the focus group

Two focus groups made up of 12 residents from the locations/ townships and 12 residents from the suburbs/ urban areas in Pretoria Were interviewed .

Through purposive sampling we selected participants from households with two or more televisions who have access to more television sets and could exercise a choice of programme selection which increased the likelihood of coming across the campaign.

The location

The interviews were conducted over the weekend at a community centre, one in the township and another in the suburban area.

The planning

On the day of the interview video cameras were used to capture the interviews and the participants were offered a reward of the captured clips being used as part of further campaigning and advertising, the possibility of being on TV and winning a family getaway. Because there was a chance of participants taking on ‘acting roles’ participants were advised to be honest in responce and behave naturally. We encourage the participants to be completely at ease, speak freely and voice their views. The day was fun- field day where free food and beverages were served to all the participants and after interview games were played. The day can start with each participant completing a Yes/No questionnaire to determine if they are aware of the campaign and the original clip can be screened prior to the interviews. The discussions that followed took on a natural flow with a moderator to guide the interview where the need rose.

The interview guide asked the following questions:

1. Where you aware of the campaign prior to today?
3. Is it an effective campaign ?
2. Do you know anyone else, other than yourself, who is aware of the campaign? 4. Do you understand what the campaign is about?
5. In raising awareness about the switch is there anything you think could have been done differently?

There was a bit of lack of participation and a feel of discomfort from some of the participants , once the purpose of the research was explained and the formality was dropped participants felt at ease and spoke freely.

Results

The two focus groups provided varying feedback on the campaign. Respondents from the urban areas were mostly aware of the campaign even though they had alot of questions that they felt should have been answered as part of the awareness campaign. Mostl

4. MEASURING MEDIA AUDIENCES

Tshwane FM is one of South Africa’s leading campus-based radio stations. Tshwane FM was started as a project by the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Journalism. When the station first went on air in March 2004, it operated from the journalism broadcast training studio, which limited broadcasting to just 6 hours a day. In October 2005 the radio station moved into brand-new studios. These enabled the station to increase its broadcast hours to 19 hours/day from 6am to 1am. In measuring the audience of the radio station , it had to be determined if the radio station had grown in listenership over the last ten years since the day of Inception.

,http://tshwanefm.co.za/about_us.php

In order to target advertising to designated segments more efficiently the identification of market segments need to be more precise as this is essential for success. The research was aimed at uncovering the mysteries of the listeners and their behaviour and distilling it into hard data . ( Abelman & Atkin 2002 ). All aspects of programming needed to be matched to the radio station’s capabilities and limitations but most importantly , the targeted audience (Mytton 1999). For this reason, basic information on the size and structure of the listeners is pivotal to the success of the radio Station. Programme producers , media owners , advertisers and sponsors , including media consultants all require detailed information on the audience to produce , sell , advertise and develop content that is relevant to the target audience.

The research had to address a variety of important questions, for example, the size of the radio station’s listenership or audience as this would determine the value of the different programmes. How often people tuned into the radio station or dialed that frequency and who the members or the listeners are.

Coverage or reach is an important indicator of audience size (Kent 1994) . Audience share refers to the percentage of total listening households in the universe whose radios are tuned into Tshwane FM during a particular time slot

What has made it difficult to measure radio listening is the fact that the medium is mobile and allows people to go on with their daily activities instead of requiring everything to come to a standstill , which to an extend is also an advantage of radio ( Twyman 1994 ). Techniques that were used to measure audiences of Tshwane FM started with Social surveys where respondents were called and questioned on what they were listening to at the time of the call, when they usually listened and how often they listened to particular programmes , their radio listening habits .

Technology assisted with conducting self administered surveys , each time a listener logged on to listen online they had to complete a short computer-assisted personal interview which offered an opportunity to investigate a wide range of issues.

Audience measurement in South Africa

Common practice in South Africa is to set up joint research bodies that are responsible for commissioning , coordinating and overseeing research for interested parties in the media and advertising industries ( Kent 1994) . Such a joint body holds several advantages . It creates generally and commonly acknowledged data on media audiences that can inform interested parties . It also avoids unnecessary competition between various research organisations as well as arguments about the merits and demerits of competing methodologies and measures. In South Africa there is the South African Advertising Research Foundation ( SAARF) which focuses on listening patterns of the services of the SABC .

Measuring audiences for Tshwane FM was not without its challenges, a variety of methods had to be used , methods designed especially for radio . Most of the questioning was on ‘ usual habits’ when radio listening is often casual and not based on habit. Memory makes it difficult to recall radio listening and it is also more difficult to identify the radio station listened to. Tshwane FM as a small radio station had not established a particular identity over and above their programme material and this made it difficult to distinguish the station from the rest. Because radio listening happens with other concurrent activities , like driving , respondents tended NOT to report radio listening as they were doing something else at the time.

5 FILM THEORY AND CRITICISM

5.1 Theoretical discussion

Auteur theory is theory of filmmaking in which the director is viewed as the major creative force in a motion picture, how the director discloses , describes, experiences and ultimately visualises reality in the image , the specific director’s individual interpretation of reality. The theory started in France in the late 1940s and was termed the auteur theory by the American film critic Andrew Sarris. The theory developed out of the cinematic theories of André Bazin and Alexandre Astruc. A foundation stone of the French cinematic movement known as the Nouvelle vague, or New Wave, the theory of ‘director-as-author’ was advanced in Bazin’s periodical Cahiers du cinéma Two of its theoreticians, François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, later became major directors of the French New Wave.The auteur theory, which was derived from Astruc’s concept of caméra-stylo (“camera-pen”), holds that the director, who oversees all audio and visual elements of the motion picture, is more to be considered the “author” of the movie than is the writer of the screenplay.

Fundamental visual elements as camera placement, blocking, lighting, and scene length, rather than plot line, convey the message of the film. Supporters of the auteur theory further contend that the most cinematically successful films will bear the unmistakable personal stamp of the director.

“The strong director imposes his own personality on a film; the weak director allows the personalities of others to run rampant”- Andrew Sarris. The romantic view is that art cannot be the result of a collective process.

5.2 Application to visual examples

M. Night Shyamalan is a true example of an auteur director. “In the history of cinema, it’s difficult to think of a single filmmaker with a lucrative career built on signature auteurist elements who’s been relegated to anonymous work-for-hiredom as blatantly as Shyamalan has been”. The first movie he directed The Sixth Sense in 1999 was followed by The Village in 2004 and both movies have a differentiating style, almost instantly recognisable. Both films are supernatural thrillers that have a mysterious twist. Academy Award nominated filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn documented interviews with M. Night Shyamalan’s childhood friends and neighbors, seeking to uncover the director’s most intimate secrets and learn how they’ve been woven into the stories of his intensely powerful movies.

In the documentary/ movie, The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan, it is implied that some sort of childhood accident left him with a connection to the supernatural, his best-known characters, it seems, are a manifestation or personification of the possibly superheroic Shyamalan. Throughout the doccie, fans and friends of Shyamalan speak of the filmmaker in the sort of hushed, reverent tones that suggest the whispery register inhabited by Shyamalan’s own characters. When Kahn drives by the front gate of Shyamalan’s mansion, he finds starstruck groupies loitering outside. “Everyone knows … M. Night’s connected to the other side,” one says gravely. Shyamalan cultivates auteurishtics such as putting himself in the movie, just like Quentin, just like Hitchcock.

A scene in The Sixth sense where Shyamalan appears on the left.

A scene in the film , The Village , where Shyamalan appear in the reflection of the cabinet glass .

In The Sixth Sense ,a boy communicates with spirits that don’t know they’re dead and seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist. Shyamalan transformed himself into a disciplined director through this film. . The movie wasn’t like a Spielberg film, the closest influence was Hitchcock ( an auteur director of note) : the point-of-view editing, the emotional close-ups of actors, the fixation on detail, and the eerie score. It also adhered to Hitchcock’s definition of terror: “If you want the audience to feel the suspense, show them the bomb underneath the table.” We knew the ghosts were coming to chat with Haley Joel, and that created the suspense .Part Shyamalan’s directorial calling cards is that each of his thrillers runs exactly 106 minutes. His films have without fail revealed him as a director through his tendencies.

In The Village the population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end. The film, begins with one of the director’s trademark spooky conceits, a preindustrial village separated from the world by a forest full of monsters. This can be seen as a metaphor for Shyamalan’s own universe that is not affected by outward influence or power. His movies have their own internal schemas, their own calling cards, their own signature sound effects.

6 PSYCHOANALYSIS AND TELEVISION

6.1 Theoretical discussion

Psychoanalysis, named by Sigmund Freud , is the scientific theory of the human mind and personality and a therapeutic method of investigating unconscious mental process. Freud stated that human personality is the product of the relationship between inner , biologically determined drives or urges and the external constraints of the physical world and society. According to Lucan the unconscious is structured like language, for Lacan the unconscious is not a biological residence for drives and instincts but a linguistic and cultural construction . Lacan points to the fact that any understanding of the unconscious demands understanding of language.

Desire and pleasure

Eidsvik (1978:6) suggests that all narratives invoke the viewer’s imagination by initiaIly asking the viewers or readers an implicit question , ‘ What if…?, that can only be answered imaginatively in the narrative. That the imaginative narrative or narrative fantasy is in itself pleasurable which relieves the pressure of frustration both unconsciously and consciously ( cf. Altman 1988:78).

Regression

Viewing a film or television entails a mental process of denial or disavowal, a double suspension of belief and disbelief- believing and not believing simultaneously- in the reality of the fiction and regression to the pleasures of the imaginary stage . The power of film and technology is derived from their ability to convince the viewer that the unreal has been realised ( cf . Metz 1974:5).

Mirror identification

The experience of viewing television may be compared to Lacan’s mirror stage , where the child identifies itself in an image . Viewing a film or television is pleasurable to the viewer precisely because he or she has experience of this in infancy. In viewing the viewer identifies with his or her own act of looking and the look itself is termed primary identification . The viewer’s identification With his or her own look is a source of narcissistic pleasure.

Primary identification in television coincides with the look of the camera , and offers the viewer an unlimited camera view and possibilities of identification (cf . Stan1983:27).

Modes of enunciation

The regression and entry to the imaginary are help by the ‘modes of enunciation’ . or the specific structure of the text and use of production techniques that create the Illusion in the viewer that he is observing his own fantasies . The term ‘ enunciation’ is derived from structural linguistic and refers to both the ‘ said’ and the act of ‘saying’- in other words , a distinction between a story ( as ‘ his-story’ and ‘history’), which refers to the content , and discourse , or the way the content is communicated .

6.2 A psychoanalytical analysis of Scandal, the television programme

Scandal is an American political thriller television series starring Kerry Washington. Created by Shonda Rhimes. Kerry Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, is partially based on former George H.W. Bush administration press aide Judy Smith, who serves as a co-executive producer. The show takes place in Washington, D.C.and focuses on Olivia Pope’s crisis management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates, and its staff, as well as staff at the White House.

She plays Pope’s great strength and great vulnerability perfectly in synch with each other, a woman whose brain has all the answers but whose heart still makes poor choices.

SOURCES CONSULTED

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/44609/auteur-theory http://www.vulture.com/2013/05/the-buried-secret-of-m-night-shyamalan.html http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-05-29/film/after-auteur-how-m-night-shyamalan-became-just-another-director/full/

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