Critical approaches – Task 5
Consumers respond to media texts in a number of ways. Culture theorist,
Stuart Hall, stated that a consumer will respond to a media product with
either a: preferred, negotiated or oppositional reading of the media text.
A preferred reading involves a consumer understanding the media
product and agreeing with what is been said in terms of content.
A few examples would be:
The smoking advert campaign on the top right hand side would be
consumed by the audience, understood and then agreed with. Therefore
they would be interpreting the signs and symbols as smoking is deadly,
while taking the same stance and are in agreement with the statement
been communicated through this advert. Smokers who are preferred
readers and accept these messages will usually quit or try to stop
smoking, due to the nature of the preferred reader.
Below it, a news story about red meat, which conveys the message that
Red meat is bad for you. A preferred reading to this media text would
understand the messages generated by the media producer and agree
with the view that Red meat is bad for you, this idea will then be in their
ideology when consuming future media texts. The same as the last
example applies to this one too, the preferred reader will cut their intake
of red meat out totally because they accept and agree with the message
The consumer generally accepts the preferred reading, but
occasionally alters it to reflect their own situation/experiences.
A few examples of the negotiated reading are:
A negotiated reader will understand and identify the preferred reason
but may alter it to reflect their own experiences of life and
consumption of media. This smoking campaign may be viewed by the
negotiated audience, understood and accepted, but their experiences
of smoking or people smoking may change their viewpoint. Someone
who has been affected by smoking may change it so the message
means more to them and use their own experience to view the advert
as more deadly. Where as someone who hasn’t been affected, could
take a relaxed approach and not see it as a problem, but at the same
time, identifies the danger of smoking. This is therefore not taking a
big stance against smoking, but not taking the stance of pro-smoking.
A negotiated consumer who smokes may cut down their intake of
cigarettes as a result.
The Red meat article will be understood and the preferred reading
identified by the negotiated consumer. However, the ideologies of
those who are consuming this product will allow them to alter the
message. The negotiated reader may view this article, accept it,
understand it, but unlike a preferred reader, may not fully cut the
product out of their life. Instead, a negotiated reader would cut their
intake of meat down, but not stop it fully.
The reader sill understands the preferred reading, but instead of
agreeing or altering, the consumer will reject the messages conveyed,
while having an alternative, oppositional view.
A few examples of an oppositional reading are:
Oppositional consumers will look at this media product, understand it,
identify the preferred reading and then reject it completely. On this
particular example, the consumer will see the harmful connotations of
smoking communicated, but will write them off and if they smoke,
carry on smoking, not cutting down or stopping.
Much can be said for this example as well. Oppositional viewers will
reject the content of this message and instead of reducing or stopping
intake of red meat, an oppositional reader will carry on eating red
meat in large quantities.
A Participatory act, in terms of media, is the audience interacting and
participating in sharing their opinions on news stories and TV
programmes, amongst other media products. Due to the rise of
social networking, participatory media has made giant leaps in the
past few years. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow consumers
to participate in discussion about specific subjects, while blogger has
enabled the consumer to interact with other people interested in the
topic area they are generating content for.
These types of media have helped media propel itself toward
•Blogs (written and video)
People tweet while TV shows are
on, this shows a sense of
participation from the consumer
of media products
Blogger allows people to voice
their views and opinions on
specific subjects, which has a
sense of direct interaction
between audience and media
•People write views and opinions on their interest area, which is a
type of participation with media products. However, others then
interact with the blog creator, that strengthens the interaction and
therefore furthers the participation element of the media.
•Similar to blogs, consumers of media products can post their
thoughts and opinions on an interest of theirs. This is then discussed
by others and various people participate in this discussion/debate.
This can be any topic and one of the easiest ways to generate
Sky Sports allow you to
participate in discussions
to get the consumers
reactions on certain
•The sharing of this content allows people to communicate with each
other regarding the products. The initial products can be classed as
participatory media, but the audience communicating their views also
contributes towards this type been a type of participatory media.
•Involves a producer of the podcast to share opinions and ideas on a
certain area. This media form is small and also an unpopular form
because people don’t stay completely anonymous with podcasts,
unlike they are on the other participatory media forms.
Sharing a certain product,
especially the digital ones,
contributes to the participatory
media, due to the consumer
interacting with others to bring
you a video/photo or piece of
Podcasts contain opinions
and views of the presenter.
Many podcasts involve
reviewing products, which
enables other consumers to
voice their opinions compared
to the presenters on the
Every media text requires us to have a certain level of cultural
understanding to be able to consume and understand the product. A basic
understanding may only require the audience to read and understand the
language throughout the media product. However, a more complex media
form requires the consumer to interpret signs and symbols within the
product, while attaching meaning from their experience of media
These understandings are simple in our own cultures, but if you were to try
and interpret or even attach meaning to media products from different
cultures, you would struggle to do so. On the other hand, some things
mean the same worldwide, no matter where you are from. An example of
worldwide cultural competence is a big corporation such as McDonalds,
which can be understood globally.
We have cultural
this. We can connote things from
this by reading the signs and
symbols on the product. For
example, we know what the red
rose is, we know who the figure is,
we understand the story behind it,
due to past experience.
From the media product, the producer of the text wants the consumer to
have a preferred reading of the product, in which the consumer will
understand and agree with the statements. This is big in terms of
advertisement, where the media producer will hope to carry out these
functions, which will lead to a larger quantity of sales.
As mentioned previously, a preferred reading will understand and agree
with the statement. A negotiated reading will still understand but may alter
the statement to fit their own ideology/experience of media products. While
an oppositional reading will understand but be completely against the
statements communicated by the media producer.
Something we don’t have any
cultural competence on so we
can’t even have basic
understanding on this product, and
products like it.
Fan culture is, in effect, the audience taking an active role in the creation of
a media product of their own. The sci-fi genre has become particularly
influenced by fan culture in recent year. This involves these fans taking an
active role to create stories, alternate endings or spin-offs of their favourite
media products that hey have consumed.
Henry Jenkins has been the main researcher in discovering how
audiences interact with texts and with each other, which builds this fan
culture. The idea of fan culture started a while back, but the establishment
of new technology has meant advancement in fan culture. A direct example
is Twitter, the social network giant makes it easier for fans of a certain
topic/interest to communicate easier.
Fan Fiction has also allowed fan culture to develop. With it enabling fans to
publish their works on stories and media texts, it gives them a active part in
the making of media. Works such as 50 shades of Grey started as fan
fiction, and since has become a bestseller.
Another example of where fan culture can
be created is Redbubble. This site allows
users to create T-shirt designs. These are
normally generated from a TV quote,
which is showing a certain fan quality,
which, in turn, creates this fan culture.
On Youtube, you can create videos from
different interest categories, while enabling
fans to communicate with one another
about the topics.
Fan fiction allows fans to create stories,
alternate endings and different versioned
stories, which generates this fan culture.
The option to communicate, like Youtube
also makes it easier to create ‘fan culture’.