AS Media Studies for OCR is a keenly awaited publication with excellent coverage of the main elements of the new specification and the requisite tools for media analysis. Sections on key concepts, comparative textual study and analysis of the moving image are illustrated with visually impressive colour plates.
One of the notable shifts in the new AS model is the exploration of audience and institutions through an understanding of new media technologies and media ownership. Comprehensive and succinct coverage of these areas is closely referenced with current case study profiles.
Enabling students to develop media literacy is one of the aims of the OCR course. Foundation production briefs are used to demonstrate the ways in which students can acquire a range of creative production skills. Overall, this is an impressive book which will help teachers resource their lessons in line with the new AS framework.
Advanced Level Media is a weighty, well-referenced book which has retained many of the features and strengths of the first edition. The new edition includes chapters on concepts and tools of analysis of media texts, media industries, film and television genres and skills for production work.
The textual points of reference have been revised and the authors have drawn on some illuminating examples. For instance, the Barnado's "Giving Children back the future" campaign is used to explore the way in which emotive visual and linguistic descriptors are employed in advertising.
There does seem to be an overemphasis on the coverage of film in a book that is marketed as providing "excellent coverage for the new ASA2 specifications". Although the suggested activities and pointers for further reading are invaluable, some of the focal themes assessed in the new model are not covered in sufficient depth.
There is, however, much in this book to ignite the reader's interest in media debates. Indeed one of the strengths of media education at post-16 is that it is not easily taught through the use of one standalone text. Both these books go some way towards recognising this and reflect the diversity of an evolving subject area.
Nancy O'Brien is head of media at La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School, north-west London