The Importance of Being a Media Critic

Hi my name is Brittany Chucker and I am a member of MCOM 352 (media criticism) with Dr. Nichols. Media criticism is an important legitimate skill. The reason to critically analyze media is to become media literate. Actually, media literacy courses were suppose to be offered in school systems to help children understand the real motives to all the products and advertisements they are exposed to.
The importance of critically analyzing media is for us, as members of society exposed to massive amounts of media daily- is to ask ourselves not what the media is in front of us, but what motives, ideologies, power, and people are behind it. Mainly to stop and think, what is the real message to this media? It is important to understand how to critically think about the media especially when it comes to television. Television is a powerful industry motivated by profit. This means that television stations want to bring in a large amount of viewers, the common denominator to this equation is how trash tv came about. Televisions are a constant flow of images and sounds. What we constantly see and are exposed to from these shows can reflect our society’s behavior. The use of media criticism can help us step back and become more conscious about our media consumption and the effects it can have. Jane Tallim even says that media criticism is “ the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media— from music videos and Web environments to product placement in films and virtual displays on NHL hockey boards.”
Now that we understand the importance of being media critical, we must understand the tools we need to get there. Media criticism is not an opinionated form of critic. There is a process involved in becoming media critically savvy. 1st select a text, 2nd describe the message you see, 3rd analyze the patterns you see, 4th interpret the meaning of the message and patterns, 5th evaluate the impact the text can have on the viewer, and 6th (the fun part) write an essay about your findings. Everyone may see or interpret a text differently, but using patterns, logical arguments, and supporting evidence is what qualifies you to be media critical.

Recently, the Royal Wedding was a largely publicized event. An interesting preface is that in British cultural, the elites main purpose of control to the media, is to maintain class status, social structure, and ideologies. American cultural is more associated with the power of redeeming, aka profits, and personal identity roles and how it can effect one’s behavior. The Royal Wedding was held in London, the press there tended to focus more on the issue of Kate being a “commoner” and marrying into the Royal family. Though Kate was no commoner in American terms, her parents own a company called Party Pieces, a private mail order company that sells party supplies and decorations. It is said to be worth 30 million dollars. This can become a logical argument for how the British keep an order on class status. Kate is no commoner in American terms but to British culture if you aren’t Royal you are a commoner. This is why it is important to know who is behind the press because the goal here is to create an ideology to help maintain social structure and class statues. This media “stunt” insures a sense of hegemony, meaning that the elites keep the power over the oppressed. The British media’s portrayal of this event leads one to believe that the wedding was like a fairytale that could happen to anyone. That any commoner could be so lucky to marry into the royal family, this keeps people happy and hopeful but the reality of it is not even realistic unless you come from a multimillion dollar family. When looking at the American press coverage on the event, it tended to be more focused on the details to the wedding.
Like what Kate’s dress looked like, who was invited, and how much things cost. Pippa Middleton, Kate’s sister, was the center of attention in the American press for a while after the wedding, because she was considered to be so fashionable. We can logically argue that the American press was more focused on Pippa’s fashion sense in order to make large profits in the clothing industry. Mainly American women were the ones watching the Royal Wedding, because the American press refers to Pippa as a fashion “icon” that makes people want to dress like her, therefore sales go up. Concluding that British culture is more interested on their societies social statuses, while American culture focuses more on profit making from their society.

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About bchuck1

I am a super senior at Towson University. I am majoring in Communications with a minor in Art History. My future goals are in advertising, commercial or text, and I am hoping to receive a job at Ocean Spray. My hobbies are running and tennis.

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