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Myths about media studies: the construction of media studies education in the British press

Bennett, Lucy and Kidd, Jenny 2017. Myths about media studies: the construction of media studies education in the British press. Continuum 31 (2) , pp. 163-176. 10.1080/10304312.2016.1265096

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This article examines the construction and representation of Media Studies education in the British press. Drawing on an empirical analysis of five years of newspaper coverage, it concludes that Media Studies has been predominantly represented and framed as a ‘soft’ or ‘Mickey Mouse’ subject, with over half (61.1%) the news stories analysed approaching it through this lens. It shows that the right of centre British press in particular promoted this understanding of Media Studies as a subject devoid of educational value and with low potential for employability, rather than a legitimate option for study. When themes could be approached from either a negative or positive viewpoint (such as employability prospects and subject value), more often than not the negative perspective dominated. This article argues that this perspective has been bolstered by these newspapers largely through their justification of government action and policy towards the subject, which is framed as a positive interjection and opportunity for protecting educational standards. Ultimately, we show that the British debate surrounding Media Studies has been informed by a top-down discourse of elite political and Conservative party sources, with a scarcity of oppositional or broader political representation – a landscape that frames Media Studies education as a delegitimized and worthless pursuit of study.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1030-4312
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 December 2016
Date of Acceptance: 16 November 2016
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2021 11:45

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