Welcome to AlbionMill…

This web-site has been a long time in the ‘development stage’ and so it is with some relief that Winter 2012 sees its official launch. A fancy way of saying that, finally, I’ve got my act together, worked out how to get my words on-line and am about to start what I hope will be a forum for A Level Media Studies debate and discussion for teachers and students.

On the simplest level this blog will be a centralised way to gather my thoughts and ideas on all manner of events and issues related to the mass media. I hope that these thoughts will be of use to both teachers and students engaged in the study of the modern mass media. I know from the many teachers I have met over the years that the fast moving nature of the subject can be one of the biggest challenges when trying to support students. I hope that the blog will be of some assistance summarising recent issues, linking to media concepts, theories and ideas and providing ideas for classroom discussions and activities. This blog has no exam board affiliation and the aim is not to look at specifications, assessment processes and mark schemes but simply to discuss a range of media issues and debates.

Teaching Media Studies is the best job in the world. Most of my working week is spent in the company of bright and enthusiastic young people engaged in the study of contemporary media and whilst they can be a source of frustration most are usually a delight (you know who you were/are)!!  I hope that the blog will raise some interesting issues that might help with any number of the varied and fascinating topics that media students get involved in studying. I’ve no idea yet what direction the blog will take as it’s impossible to predict where the media is going right now. The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be change. As the blog develops I will take requests for topics and issues that you would like raised and will be offering a range of resources including up to the minute discussion points and more detailed info-sheets linking contemporary issues to media concepts and theories. You can contact me if you’d like to discuss the possibility of commissioning bespoke resources.

So, just to identify whose thoughts and ideas you’ll be reading here, I am a Media Studies teacher in a Lancashire 6th form college. My colleagues and I look after in the region of 180 students in any given year and we are pleased to have seen the vast majority off to university and jobs with super high grades. I began my teaching career in English and like so many of my media studies colleagues found Media Studies on my timetable one September despite having no expertise in the subject. I began as a self-taught ‘expert’ (although a few years in I thought I ought to do my Masters in this area seeing as I was making a living from it!) I also work in a senior position for an awarding body (with no knowledge of exam questions before you ask) and have written thousands of words on the subject for various sources over the years. I have led a lot of teacher training and am in the most fortunate of professional positions. I spend the majority of my working week talking about the stuff that interests me in my leisure time – the position of the media in culture and society.

Currently my personal media interests tend to be US TV shows. I am a Breaking Bad fanatic (whether it or The Wire the best show ever on TV is a burning question in my own mind right now). I also love another very badly scheduled programme – Community is my favourite comedy series of late (with Death Valley coming a close second). I wish more people had watched Veronica Mars and that Brits had had a chance to see the wonderful United States of Tara. My guilty pleasures are horror and superhero films, Criminal Minds and reality shows with ‘skill’ tests and eliminations… give me episodes of Next Top Model and The Apprentice and I can waste many happy hours but I will curl a scornful lip at X Factor of course… I also suspect I may be more than just a little addicted to internet news sites.

The central belief behind my own career choices and the existence of this site is that the media is a crucial area and it calls for serious study. Our lives are lived in a media glare whether it’s in our immersion into social networking or the near monopolisation of our entertainment choices by media industries and corporate interests. Our whole culture is a media culture first and foremost. The study of the media requires an engagement with history, politics and borrows from Sociology, Philosophy and Psychology. Media Studies engages with the important debates of the day and media literacy is both enlightening and empowering. I don’t expect the government or the Daily Mail to ever agree with that but those of us involved in the study of the media know better.

So pop back for updates and commentary and check out Twitter and Facebook for more AlbionMill related info.

s@albionmill

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