Under Construction: Newsbeat page for AQA A Level Media.

I’m currently nibbling away at changing my page for “Life Hacks” to work with the new requirement for Newsbeat as the CSP.

Life Hacks was very similar to the previous CSP (The Surgery) however there are a few major changes in content and approach needed because the new CSP is shared between three BBC radio stations and is a twice-daily news bulletin (with a major online and text presence) compared to the previous CSP which was a weekly advice programme.

I’ll leave the page up here but it won’t be complete for a week or so. When it is finished there will be an exemplar answer to show you how you can incorporate details from the CSP into an exam answer. I know there are very few resources out there for the radio CSPs so I won’t take this down and leave you with nothing!


Context in A Level Media: Or rather help for those who thought they knew about context but are looking at AQA Paper 2, Question 3 and melting like an ice-sculpture at a July wedding: Score Hair Cream – Cultural Context, Men’s Health – Social Context, The Voice – Economic Context, Ghost Town – Political Context and War of the Worlds – Historical Context.

Guess what! It’s some stuff to help you write about context in A Level Media! Just click here!


Christmas is a time for giving! (For giving myself a David Hesmondhalgh shaped pressie that is). I solemnly promise to write a webpage on Hesmondhalgh and the cultural industries over the Christmas break.

Did you know there was a Game Developer Barbie?

Well there is.

Oh so video games aren’t serious enough for study. But they have their own Barbie! Do you have a Barbie poetry? Thought not!

Which is a way to say that the cultural industries are ever changing and are vital to the way we understand society.

Which leads me to an admission.

Is there something you kinda know a bit about but don’t really know and you are just hoping you don’t get caught out on it?

One of the things that I have been just getting by with while teaching the A Level Media Studies course is the work of David Hesmondhalgh.

From his bio: “I’m often asked how my name is pronounced. Here’s my attempt to transcribe it: ‘Hez-mun-dalsh’, with the stress on the first syllable. But nearly everyone gets it wrong, and I really don’t mind. I live in Yorkshire but the name comes from East Lancashire – and so do I. “

Don’t get me wrong, I know all of this stuff . . . Cultural industries as summarised by Hesmondhalgh

Cultural industries:

• Cultural industries

• Commodification

• Convergence

• Diversity

• Innovation

• Conglomeration

• Vertical integration

• Cultural imperialism.

. . . and I can teach it all pretty well in a economics and business-y way but I think there’s much more to Hesmondhalgh than pseudo-economics and business theory.

I’ve just spent a few, happy, hours listening to him on the radio, watching him deliver lectures and reading snippets of his books and he’s really interesting. He kicked off his academic career looking at the music industry and writing about how strange it is that one of the ways we produce meaningful cultural product is also part of a capitalist enterprise.

He is currently Professor of Media, Music and Culture at the University of Leeds (working in the School of Media and Communication). Previously he worked for the Open University in the Sociology department. Neither of these are business or economics departments. His work, like the best Media Studies, seems to take a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring the media industries and, even with my current limited knowledge, I can see, that he uses sociology, politics and cultural theory to help make sense of the way producers organise themselves.

So, for Christmas, I am going to be reading all 400 plus pages of this . . .

and posting up a page to help you understand it and link it to the CSPs over the break.

I promise.


Witch book do I read first!

Oooh! look what I got in the post today! Rae Stoltenkamp is an old teaching friend of mine from South London (and one of the nicest people in the world) and now she’s only a flippin’ novelist! If you like your witch-lit with a healthy feline flavouring check her out at http://raestoltenkamp.com/!

P.S. my youngest daughter (who is a bit of a amateur Egyptologist) got the Bastet ref straight away – clever clogs.

Apparently one of the characters is based on me! I hope that’s a good thing!


Postmodernism! Baudrillard! Hyperreality! Simulation and Simulacra! Eco! Score Hair Cream? Emily in Effing Paris!

Or who would play you in the movie adaptation to the sequel to your life?

I’ve made a page which explains some key elements of postmodernism using my new bête noire Emily in Paris.

Enjoy it now it is délicieuse!

Mmmm! So simulacra-y!