Anne Frank
Learning About the Holocaust

Studying Media

What is The Media?

Any way in which we communicate is a medium of communication.

When we speak of these collectively (radio, television, the press, cinema and so on) we refer to the media.

This word comes from Latin (which explains its irregular ending) but has been naturalized into English (become a standard English word).

Sometimes you will read of the mass media (those aimed at a large public) but increasingly the qualifying adjective (mass) is taken as read.

Media in the Curriculum

Pupils in England and Wales study the media within the National Curriculum as part of the requirements for English up to Key Stage 4 (GCSE at age 16).

They may also study media as a separate subject for exams at GCSE. In other countries (including Scotland) you may have much more freedom in the curriculum you use, but may still wish to study media texts.

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Studying Anne Frank and the Holocaust Using Media Sources

In studying the Holocaust and the life and death of Anne Frank, you can use media sources from the past and present and from a range of countries and contexts.

From the time of the Nazi government in Germany before and during the Second World War, you can find many examples of films and printed texts, which show some of the official or approved attitudes of the Nazi party at the time.

There are also plenty of modern media sources for studying the subject, and related topics, like ethnic cleansing, in such countries as the former Yugoslavia.

You may wish to find out about the uses or purposes of the media texts:

  • who wrote them?
  • for whom?
  • when and why?

Equally, you may wish to find out how they work: do they appeal to the reason or to the emotions of the audience, or do they work some other way? Are there techniques we can see at work?

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It is very important for us to be aware of the media and understand them. if we do not do this, then we may be misled into attitudes and beliefs we would not support, if we were able to think more clearly.

Here is a simple example. Many populist newspapers in the UK (especially those in tabloid format which are called “Red Tops”, because of the use of red colour in the title) publish stories about people who have been detained by the national immigration authorities. Some of these people claim to have been persecuted by the officials of the states from which they come, and they ask for asylum (living in safety) in the UK. Reporters have coined the phrase bogus asylum seekers” to refer to people who make this claim, but are not really under threat of persecution in their home country. But we may read and hear the phrase so often, that we think all asylum seekers are “bogus”. How often does “asylum seeker” appear with such words as “real” or “genuine”?

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If you live in a country other than the UK, you may think that the media in your country are more or less accurate in the way they show things than are the UK or US media. You may wish to study how free they are in the way they show things. In one country they may be very strongly influenced by the government. In another country, the government may leave them alone, but they may be influenced by business, or even the personal views of the owner or chief executive of the production company (such people as the Australian Mr. Rupert Murdoch or the Italian Signior Silvio Berlusconi).

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