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Agency and control in and of the media


The relationship between the media and audiences has never been more complex. The contemporary media landscape poses issues and challenges for the way that academics and commentators have traditionally theorised the nature of communication. The media has always been considered to have the capacity to influence, but now the balance of power is shifting and arguments around who influences who have become highly contested. The media and its audiences are now both thought to exercise agency; the capacity to act and exert power. Today the media not only produces and distributes content to audiences, it also generates and sustains social networks, which have, in turn, enabled new modes of production, distribution, consumption and reception based on the sharing of commercial and user-generated content. This has contributed to business models based on data aggregation and the harvesting and sale of personal information collected from what many individuals consider social and personalised media engagement.


Laws and policies of the Australian Government and self-regulation by media institutions de ne and maintain standards through regulatory bodies and codes of conduct, but individual interaction with other media users, as in social networks, is not subject to these constraints. As the media increasingly crosses national borders, governments struggle to maintain control over the laws and policies created for their jurisdictions. These issues pose challenges for managing and regulating the use of the media by globalised media institutions, governments and the individual.

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to discuss issues of agency and control in the relationship between the media and its audience. 



Students must write a report based on a case study of the media and its influence on, and relationship with, its audience and institutions as well as the issues and challenges of regulation in an Australian and international context.

Students should analyse, discuss and evaluate the following:-

--the extent of media influence and the media audience

--the ethical and legal issues surrounding the product within its production, distribution, consumption and reception, and what these issues suggest about different    viewpoints of the relationship between the media, audiences and institutions

--the changing relationship between the media and its audience

--the effectiveness, rationale for, issues and challenges of the regulation of the product and the audience.


The task must provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate their use of media language in the analysis and discussion. 

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