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Agency and Control Coursework questions 

1a.Describe how you use a specific social media platform and give an example of how you exercise agency over the platform 

 

The social platform I regularly use is Facebook where  my interaction would essentially align with the uses and gratifications model of communication. In this respect I use  facebook  to gratify my needs  which is to connect with people that share similar character traits , build social relationships , share my expertise with others  and  educate myself. I also join users groups that are of interest to me and generate my own topics of interest . 

 I   chose when I wish to connect , what  messages I will post ,  what posts I chose to interact with  and affirm through likes and even how I represent myself online. As I control my interaction and  make my own choices of how I use this platform  I exercise agency  

 

(4 marks) 

 

Teacher notes 

Responses to this question should explore a case study or piece of research that explores how an audience or consumers may have had some  kind of influence over the media. Particularly through the use of social media. Examples may include the use of likes, ratings systems, social media integrations into other media, producing and distributing content through own channels  the use of social media to communicate with media producers, the use of social media campaigns or trends in user-generated content being used in other media products

Marking criteria 

4 marks for a clear example of a way an audience has had influence over the media. The response names the audience, the type of influence and the media that has been influenced. 

2 mark for an example of a way that an audience has had influence over the media. The example may not be clear or may be missing detail. 

 

 

1b Describe how the platform controls how you use it and give an example of how the platform has agency over the user 

 

Facebook exercises agency over the user by virtue of  its invisible methods for collecting and generating information on users without their  knowledge or consent.  In this regard Facebook’s user  experience aligns with the Agenga Setting Function Theory where Facebook doesn’t tell you what to think –but what to think about . Facebook frames the rems of reference and acts like a gatekeeper in generating users news feeds  This includes third-party tracking in the form of Facebooks “like buttons”, logging users calls and texts . Facebook designs algorithms which takes into consideration engagement, relevance , timelines and many other factors to dictate and populate peoples News Feeds with the kind of content inferred by Facebook . Facebook sells personal data to other companies that target the user whilst interacting on the internet which significantly narrows the users autonomy and privacy online. 

 (4 marks) 

 

Teacher notes 

Responses to this question should explore a case studyor piece of research that explores how a media form, technology, organisation or product may have had some kind of influence over the media. This influence may include changing how an audience acts or thinks. Examples may include advertising as persuasion, violent media and younger audiences or social media usage and teenagers. 

Marking criteria 

4 marks for a clear example of a way a media form, technology, organisation or product has had influence over an audience. The response names the media, the type of influence and the specific audience which has been influenced. 

2 marks for an example of a way that the media has had influence over an audience. The example may not be clear or may be missing detail. 

 

Question 2. Discuss how the relationship between audiences and media has changed over time. Consider factors such as the production, distribution and/or consumption and reception of media.  6 marks

The relationship between the media and audience has changed  over time from a more linear model  to a more interactive model. In the first part if the twentieth century early communication theories put forward the view that media products transmitted messages from the media to the audience  Media communication was understood as a linear process where communication was considered hierarchical  - transmitted from the top down direct effect models and theories such as such as the Hypodermic theory  or limited effect theories such as the reinforcement theory primarily examined the effect of analogue media on audiences.

 

With the advent of digital technology and the internet audiences can not only access media from around the world , they can also create and publish media content, share technologies including networked databased media forms such as social media and torrenting sites and allows users to access , appropriate and publish media anytime and anywhere .Audiences can now exercise  more agency in their media use than ever before. Communication theories now places the audience at the centre of research examining audience reception and cultural factors in examining the audiences relationship with the media .

Social media sites such as  Facebook,   Instagram, Twitter and You tube allow media audiences to exercise their agency and consume media in a time and place of their own choosing. Social media platforms have had profoundly changed the linear model of communication where platforms such as the Youtube allow users to engage in content creation, production and distribution online. Users can establish their own channels, and with ease of production upload their own videos  have the ability to market to and reach a large audience and generate revenue through advertisements. Unlike the historical sender receiver models Youtube has provided a new way of communication and collaboration through content as well as information elevated the user to media producer and distributor. 

 

Responses to this question should explore the ways in which audience interaction with the media has changed over time – from a more linear model to a more interactive one. Responses may explore examples such as the rising use of social media, the changing of technologies or the ease of self-distribution. 

Marking criteria 

5–6 marks for a response that makes a clear link between two specific examples that show the difference in the production, distribution and/or consumption and reception of media products from different time periods. Examples are specific and detailed and explore the ramifications of these changes. 

3–4 marks for a response that makes a link between two examples that show the difference in how audiences may have related to the media from different time periods. Examples may not be specific or detailed and/or fully explore the difference in production, distribution and/or consumptionand reception. Ramifi cations of these changes may not be fully explored. 

1–2 marks A response that attempts to make a link between two broad examples of how different media and audiences relate. 

 

Question 3 Describe one way that the relationship between audiences and the media is regulated, and explain the challenges with this type of regulation.  6 marks

In Australia control over media content is divided between the government and a system of industry. This structure is based on the assumptions that the media is a powerful entity in society, some audiences need to be protected from harmful and offensive material and to ensure media organisations adhere to both rights and responsibilities. 

The National Classification Scheme is a cooperative arrangement between the Australian Government and the State and Territory governments where the Classification Board classifies films, computer games and certain publications.  Classifiers watch, play or read texts and make decisions about which classification category a text will fall under based on the National Classification code and Classification guidelines. The classification system considers six classifiable elements in films and computer games, including Themes, violence sex language drug use and nudity. Classification is also based on Impact where very mild is classified G, Mild PG, Moderate M, Strong MA, High R 18+ and Very High RC (restricted).

In Australia, all television programming must be classified. This includes subscription video on demand services such as Netflix. Television broadcasters employ in house content assessors to classify content according to Australian classification standards as modified for television. Netflix has a huge back catalogue of titles, which it has been adding to its Australian catalogue at the rate of thousands of hours of programming every month. The existing self-regulatory system simply could not keep up and customers were angry at delays in the release of new titles. It was in Netflix ‘s commercial interest to develop a system that would keep customers happy and avoid the temptations of illegal downloads 

In December 2016, The Australian government announced a pilot of a new self-regulation tool that combines the technology inherent in Netflix catalogue and delivery system with Australia’s classification ratings and consumer advisories. The system was the first online classification system for film and television. The system however experienced controversy when Netflix failed to warn parents about strong suicide themes and sexual violence originally given the series MA 15 + rating on the grounds it portrayed strong sex scenes and violence 

However, the Classifications Board reviewed the decision and ruled 13 Reasons Why should be restricted to people aged 15 years and over because of "strong suicide themes and sexual violence". As a result, Netflix amended its consumer advice for Australian audiences.

The ratings watchdog said parents should be warned about the strong suicide themes given the show depicts – in graphic detail – the method in which main character Hannah Baker kills herself, according to documents released under freedom of information.

 

Responses to this question should include a description of the type of regulation it is, who the regulatory body is and how the regulation is enacted. 

When explaining the challenges of a type of regulation, responses should include that type of regulation and its weaknesses, such as how audiences may avoid it or how media organizations may exploit it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description of regulation (3 marks) 

3 marks for a response that includes a detailed and specific example of media regulation that includes the type of regulation, who the regulatory bodies are and how the regulation is enacted. 

2 marks for a response that includes an example of media regulation that may include the type of regulation, regulatory bodies and how the regulation is enacted. 

1 mark for a response that attempts to give an example of media regulation but lacks detail. 

Challenges of regulation (3 marks) 

Responses to this question should explore the connection between ways that audiences can consume media, how these affect an audience’s agency within the media landscape and the ethical and legal issues associated with these processes. Responses should include at least two examples. 

Examples may include issues surrounding smart phone apps and sexting/cyberbullying, the use of illegal streaming and torrent sites, the use of online streaming services such as Netflix, iView or ten play, the use of music streaming services such as Spotify, etc. 

 

Question 4.  Describe the ethical or legal issues arising from media institutions harvesting and selling an individuals personal information: You may refer to “Cracking the Code” ABC report or the Cambridge Analytical documentary.

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Responses to this question should explore specific examples where there have been ethical or legal issues involved in media institutions harvesting and selling an individuals personal information.

Marking criteria 

Each example is worth 4 marks. For each example: 

3–4 marks for a response that details a specific example or case study of a new media production or product distribution. The response makes a clear and specific link between this and the ethical or legal issues that surround it. 

1–2 marks for a general response that names an example or case study of a media product or distribution model. The response may include some discussion regarding connected ethical or legal issues. 

Question 5. Today there are new ways that audiences can consume and receive media, which has an effect on the level of agency that audiences now have within the media landscape. 

Discuss ways that specific audiences currently have agency over their consumption and reception of media and the issues that this agency can raise. 

Provide the following when answering this question: 

  • Detailed examples of ways that specific audiences have agency over the media they consume 

  • A discussion of the opportunities of this type of agency or choice for the named audiences. 

  • A discussion of legal or ethical issues that may also arise with these types of consumption. 

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  • Responses to this question should explore the connection between ways that audiences can consume media, how these affect an audience’s agency within the media landscape and the ethical and legal issues associated with these processes. Responses should include at least two examples. 

  • Examples may include issues surrounding smart phone apps and sexting/cyberbullying, the use of illegal streaming and torrent sites, the use of online streaming services such as Netflix, iView or ten play, the use of music streaming services such as Spotify, etc. 

 

  • Marking criteria audience agency and insightful analysis of ethical and legal issues in the consumption and reception of media products. 

  • A response in this range would include at least two examples of audience agency in a media context. The specific audiences would be named in the response and would be dependentof the media. For example, it could discuss teenagers using social media or children using streaming video apps. The type of agency would also be clearly named – such as the abilityfor audiences to share, inform, arrange or choose the media they consume. 

  • A discussion of opportunities in this range would explore the benefits that this type of agency may have for the named audience – such as socializing abilities, ability to communicate, access to a variety of content or ease of use. 

  • Discussions of legal or ethical issues in this range wouldinclude specific examples of issues for the named audience, media industry or society arising from this audience agency. Statistics or case studies would strengthen these examples. These discussions would not dismiss these fears completely nor would they buy into them completely – rather they would

  • 9–12 marks for a response that includes a comprehensive discussion of 

  • give a balanced view of what the media means to society. 

  • 5–8 marks for a response that includes an adequate discussion of audience agency and appropriate analysis of ethical and legal issues in the consumption and reception of media products. 

  • Two examples may name specific audiences and the type of agency would be explained in the response. The response may mention the opportunities this media offers and give some thought to ethical or legal issues that it brings. 

  • 1–4 marks for a response that includes a limited discussion of audience agency and very little analysis of ethical and legal issues in the consumption and reception of media products. 

     Reference   Docs