Aside Posted on
“Everyone uses language,
Artists play with language,
Great artists reinvent it.”
Media courses don’t exactly have the best reputation and boy don’t we know it. My class peers and I were recently branded as studying a ‘Mickey Mouse degree’ by Conservative Sunday Times for studying a degree which is apparently ‘‘little more than a state-funded, three-year equivalent of pub chat’ that is symptomatic of ‘a dumbed down educational world’.
David Blunkett, back a Labour Education Minister confidently announced a distain that too many youngsters were taking ‘narrow’ courses like media studies with an intention of finding future employment ‘instead of studying broader, more intellectually rewarding courses such as history.’ Chris Smith his ministerial colleague, was openly dismissive about the intellectual rigour of media studies degrees, while the Arts minister, Mark Fisher, lamented that media students ‘were being trained for jobs that did not exist.’ In 1997 the labour government opted in to consider ways of capping the rising number of students doing media and communication courses at both college and university.
How little did they know.
Many of the bold statements that have been made are by people who have been proven entirely naive to the content of these stories. When questioned Andrew Marr was asked at a Goldsmiths student forum to give two examples of bad academic media studies books published in the last five years that justified his low opinion of the academic field. Needless to say there was a long pause. as Andrew Marr tried to recall a title. The media has also been slated in the media as being ahistoric by biographer Brenda knoxx yet media history is part of the core curriculum of most media studies courses.
For the record all the films we watch in lectures, and yes we do occasionally, the media itself is only the starting point for what we do. To watch a film analytically and to explore it contextually in terms of its political, economical, cultural, social relativity is very different to just watching a film.
As a media production rather than a media studies student, for me the study of other films is inspiring. Fortunately for our careers worth and despite common misconception I have never studied a module called Hollyoaks in my time at university yet.
Recent lectures in ‘Placing your media production in context’ have really made me think about what the media means to me more than ever. Yes it is possible to just watch a film to absorb it with no deep level of understanding but my degree allows me to use the media to illuminate particular aspects of society that I would not normally take an active interest in with a deeper level of analysis that I am learning.
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss other people.”
A picture is much more than its physical form and to someone studying in the media sector we can take a great deal more information from it from the way of thinking that we obtain from constantly being questioned. Perhaps Blunkett could take a lesson in this, unlike drunk talk we do not make a point from the things we see, hear or feel without being able to back it up, argue it from multiple sides and innovate new ideas. The media is undoubtedly one of the fast moving subjects to study, yes it is a competitive industry but because of the scale of the market there is a great variety in opportunities and allows freedom of independence in many of its pathways.
With cinematography It’s not where you put the camera it’s where you put the audience. It’s only when you start watching and producing films with this in mind that you see why the course is not just watching films and how these analytical skills are useful in every career.
When media production began, films and television were an entertaining gimmick ; ‘Photographs of people talking.’ – Alfred Hitchcock
Media today is a miracle in itself. Whether people like it or not we are surrounded by it in our lives and through learning to understand, recreate it and reinterpret it we can create new ideas. What is human development without new ideas?
Despite the headline ‘Media Studies? Do Yourself a Favour – Forget it’. We shall not.