Media, as a subject, encompasses an incredibly wide range of topics. Due to this broadness studying it at a degree level means you'll require a variety of resources when producing work for classes. Here are some of them.
This is a list of the resources that I have been recommended or have personally found to be the most useful so far.
1) The Television Genre Book by Glen Creeber (2015)
This book came in extremely handy for my second year module specifically about television genres. The book is split into sections which discuss the history and details of each genre of television. It uses examples of shows relevant to the genre inside of the book too which I didn’t find to be the most helpful for me seeing as the examples used are often older. That being said though, the book contains all the information that you need to be able to apply theory and context onto your own choices of contemporary screenings.
2) Sociology AQA Year 2 (Publisher: Collins, 2016)
I came across this book during A-Level Sociology as opposed to at ARU but it’s a book that I still keep going back to. Half of my second year of Sociology was about media so this book contains a lot of useful information about the media as well as notes on sociological studies. These studies can be used as forms of research to back up points in your essays. This is a great book which covers all sorts of topics relevant to media studies such as representations of characters and gender portrayal.
3) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction by John Storey (7th ed)
This book almost alone is the book that got me through first year’s Theorising Popular Culture class. The class is amazingly insightful and interesting but it’s also very information heavy. The way that this book breaks each subtopic down into a chapter made the information overload feel much easier to manage. I used highlighters on my copy of the book to pick out key information to then make notes from. I made these notes by hand because the act of physically highlighting and writing them down made the difficult parts easier to remember. Before buying a textbook brand new I recommend looking on websites such as eBay, especially if you plan to write all over them anyway. I got my copy of this book for less than £3!
TedTalks were something that I watched rather frequently before going to university anyway but they have turned out to be incredibly helpful sources of information. For instance, in my Digital Media Theory class we were asked to watch TedTalks about the #MeToo movement and the power that a hashtag holds. I definitely recommend using TedTalks as a resource for your studies, especially if you are writing about a topic which is political or sociological. There’s more useful ones out there than you would think!
5) Adobe Audition + Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Audition is an editing software which allows users to edit together audio. In first year I was introduced to it alongside another software called Reaper but Audition, by far, I find easier to navigate.
Adobe Premiere Pro is another editing software which can be used for audio but its primary use is for editing videos. It has audio slots available but using Audition is more precise and generally easier. Both of these programs should be readily available for use in the ARU editing suites and for free student download on compatible laptops. Equipment such as cameras and audio recording devices like Zooms and TazCams are available for hire from Media Services (located in the Coslett Building on ARU's Cambridge campus).
6) Adobe Photoshop + Adobe InDesign
Adobe Photoshop is a useful piece of software that takes care of your digital editing needs. I used this program for my Desktop Publishing class when producing book covers and posters from a brief. The software allows you to do many things including compiling images together, manipulating them and recolouring them to your liking.
Adobe InDesign is a program which is better suited to digital editing if you are trying to do a more complex form of design. I used this software, again, in Desktop Publishing class but for the digital e-book creating briefs. InDesign allows users to do many things that Photoshop isn’t able to do such as animate images and insert pressable buttons. Tutorials for using any software like this can be found for free on YouTube and are really helpful.
I hope my list helps you get prepared for your degree, whether it’s in Media Studies, Film Production or something else creative – it all helps to get productive and proactive. Good luck!
Ciéra studies media at ARU in Cambridge. Find out more about this, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.