Media Issues and Debates Exam Questions

Section A: Broadcasting

Either: Radio and TV news

June 2005 – To what extent is television and or radio news under pressure to dumb down?

June 2004 – What factors determine the style and content of radio and / or television news?

June 2003 – To what extent is the news on radio and/ or television produced to satisfy a specific audience?

June 2002 – To what extent do TV and / or radio news broadcasts fulfil their responsibilities to their audiences?

Specimen paper – “It is naïve to believe that television news and /or radio news is a ‘window on the world’. It is as much a process of selection and construction as a work of fiction. Referring to specific examples, show the extent to which this statement is justified.


Or: Soap Opera

June 2005 – Why is British Soap Opera so valuable to television channels?

June 2002 – Discuss whether British Soap Operas are likely to sustain their popularity for the foreseeable future.

June 2003 – Discuss the importance of realism in British Soap Operas.

June 2004 – Discuss the strategies used by British Soap Operas to attract large audiences.

Specimen Paper – How would you account for the continuing fascination that British television Soap Operas have for such a large and divers audience?

2001? – “The settings within every soap opera are almost like characters in their own right.” With specific reference to at least TWO soaps analyse the importance of their settings.

2000? – Soaps are often charged with trivialising serious issues. Examine this charge with reference to at least TWO soaps and explain how the programme makers have attempted to prevent this happening.


Section C: Print

Magazines and Gender

June 2005 – How far have magazines reflected changing attitudes in society towards issues of gender?

June 2004 – To what extent are magazines confined by gender stereotypes?

June 2003 – How far do magazines rely on stereotypes in the representation of gender?

June 2002 – Why do many magazines target their readership by gender? Refer to specific examples that you have studied.

Specimen paper – What assumptions do women’s and/or men’s lifestyles make about gender? With reference to specific magazines you have studied, discuss the nature and purposes of these assumptions?

Soaps an Introduction

Since early 80s British Soaps have been broadcast in the evening underlining the fact that as a genre it has evolved and traced the change in the status and lifestyle of women (i.e. that they’re now more likely to be at work.)

Tania Modleski

Has analysed the techniques used to appeal to a specifically female audience:

  • Storylines usually centre on relationships and emotions, therefore appealing to women’s traditional competences of caring and understanding of the emotional needs of others and therefore the female viewer is positioned as the ‘ideal mother.’
  • Segmented narrative structure, multiple- synchronous storylines, dialogue driven plots, reiteration of key events from different perspectives addresses the female viewer who is busy and may need to drop in and out of viewing
  • No single hero nor particular moral perspective
  • Moral ambiguities and contradictions means that they are open to interpretations
  • Endless deferral of resolutions

Pleasures therefore reside in endless rekindling of anticipation; processes of interpretation which often occur in social intercourse after programme viewed.

Climactic denouements; line or narrative are a ‘masculine’ form.

Christine Geraghty

Points out the proliferation of strong female characters, all age groups, all appearances, all classes – all ‘normally excluded‘ by other programmes (till reality shows!!)

Soaps and gayness

Eastenders 1989 had soaps first gay kiss which aroused a storm of controversy.

Brookside in 1994 Beth Jordache kissed her girlfriend – greeted with enthusiasm – perhaps showing the greater tolerance for female sexual intimacy. In fact the episode increased Brookside’s ratings by 20%.