Monday, 20 March 2023

Videogames CSP 2: Kim Kardashian Hollywood

Our second Videogames Close-Study Product is another phone/tablet game: Kim Kardashian Hollywood.

Again, this is an in-depth topic so we need to make sure we have studied this product across media language, audience, industry and representation. 

Kim Kardashian Hollywood: notes



The gameplay for Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is explained in detail in the app store or Google Play store:
Join KIM KARDASHIAN on a red carpet adventure in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood! Create your own aspiring celebrity and rise to fame and fortune! 
CREATE YOUR OWN STAR and customize your look with hundreds of style options, including Kim Kardashian’s personal picks!
⋆ STAR in a huge interactive adventure as you encounter other celebs, dedicated fans, persistent paparazzi… and even hang out with Kim herself!
⋆ RULE THE RED CARPET as an A-list movie actor, cover model, fashion designer and more – what you do is up to you!
⋆ TAKE OVER L.A. in a virtual world complete with exclusive clubs, upscale boutiques, and luxury homes! Travel to New York City and Miami!
⋆ DATE AND DUMP CELEBS at the best parties and hottest clubs! Flirt and become the next huge celebrity power-couple!
⋆ BRING YOUR FRIENDS ALONG FOR THE RIDE using Game Center and Facebook – help each other rise to fame, compare styles, send gifts, and see who can be the biggest star!
Game trailer:

Gameplay example:

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood - Narrative and objectives

The aim of Kim Kardashian Hollywood is to work your way  up the celebrity scale from Z-List to A-List.  As you play you will interact with a range of real and fictional characters in the United States and around many of the world’s most glamourous and famous locations.  As you progress, there are collectibles and missions that will allow you to develop the status of your customisable character. Your ranking is determined by your position on the Top Stars list in Hollywood. They are sorted into six different lists, Unlisted being the lowest rank to the A-list being the highest rank. You rise up in ranks by gaining fans. The goal of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is to gain as many fans as possible by doing well on projects, getting attention from Starnews, and dating to get to the A-list.


Characters are NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) that appear in goals or locations and the storyline as you progress in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. These exclude NPCs you meet in the game that you can date or network with. These types of contacts are randomly generated according to each individual game.

The characters in Kim Kardashian Hollywood are a mixture of real VIP characters and fictional characters. There are 100s – you can see a few opposite.

In your pursuit of celebrity some of the fictional characters work with you and some actively try to ruin your journey by beating you to A-List.


There are a range of locations in the game that try to mirror the stereotype of the celebrity lifestyle of an A-lister:

Narrative: special events

Special Events are temporary goal arcs that are available only during Weekend Events in the game. By completing them, players can not only earn Cash Cash, XP XP, Energy Energy and Star Stars, but also Special Event stars.  These regularly happen and keep the game fresh.  It also means established players keep coming back to the game to see what the latest updated events are.

By collecting Special Event stars, players can unlock exclusive rewards and Kustomize items. The Kustomize screen, also known as your wardrobe, is the screen where you can customize your character to your liking. You can purchase tops, dresses, pants, skirts, shoes, hairstyles, facial features, nail colours and fashion accessories like bags, jewellery, and tattoos.

You can change your look whenever you like. The game encourages players to "keep on top of current fashion to maximise your fans!"


Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is incredibly popular. It has been  downloaded over 50 million times and generated $200 million plus.

Why do audiences like it?

One way of understanding why audiences choose certain media texts is Blumler & Katz's Uses and Gratification Theory.

Uses and Gratification Theory states that audiences consume media products/texts for at least one of the following reasons:
  1. Diversion, escapism or entertainment – escaping from normal life.
  2. Personal relationships – fulfils their need for companionship. This is particularly true of social media products, online gaming and online communities. It can also apply to audiences developing an affection for certain stars or characters.  
  3. Personal identity - seeing your own lifestyle, interests or ambitions reflected in a media product; reinforcing your own identity.
  4. Surveillance – using media to find out about the world around them.
Which of these apply to Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?

Watch this video of Buzzfeed staff trying to play the game:


There are some key questions we need to consider regarding representation in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood:
  • How are women represented?
  • How is celebrity represented?
  • How is race/ethnicity represented?
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood contains quite controversial representations of women, celebrity and race/ethnicity.

It has been criticised for offering a representation of women focusing on appearance, modelling and dating as a way to be successful. Similarly, celebrity is represented as something to aspire to even without an obvious talent or ability.

On a more positive note, the game has been praised for its representation of race, ethnicity and sexuality – with the game offering a diverse range of characters.


Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was developed by Glu Mobile, a highly successful mobile game developer and publisher. It was released in June 2014 and was marketed heavily using the Kim Kardashian brand.

With social media promotion, the game quickly shot to the top of download lists and iTunes app store charts.

Media convergence

The game design means that there is a great deal of media convergence.  Media convergence is the merging of different media texts. How does Kim Kardashian Hollywood involve media convergence?

The game: TV Show and social media channels are referenced in game.  Player encouraged to engage online and gain bonus items for sharing on Facebook etc.

Social media: Game appears on Kim’s actual social media platforms. Also, need to tweet in game.

TV Show: Game appears on Keeping Up with the Kardashians episodes.  TV Show is also referenced in game.

Marketing and promotion

Watch this TV advert for the game:

Glu: monetising Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

The game is free to download but makes huge amounts of money from in-app purchases and subscriptions. Players need to buy energy to complete tasks (or wait 30 minutes for energy to replenish). They can also buy subscriptions:
  • Gold: 49.99 USD / month (or local equivalent)
  • Silver: 19.99 USD / month (or local equivalent)
  • Bronze: 4.99 USD / month (or local equivalent)
Small print

Due to the addictive nature of the game and the potential to spend huge amounts of money on in-app purchases, the developers place warnings in the app store before purchase:
PLEASE NOTE: - This game is free to play, but you can choose to pay real money for some extra items, which will charge your iTunes account. You can disable in-app purchasing by adjusting your device settings. - This game is not intended for children. - Please buy carefully. - Advertising appears in this game. - This game may permit users to interact with one another (e.g., chat rooms, player to player chat, messaging) depending on the availability of these features. Linking to social networking sites are not intended for persons in violation of the applicable rules of such social networking sites.

Videogames case study 2 - Kim Kardashian: Hollywood blog tasks

Create a blogpost called 'Kim Kardashian Hollywood CSP case study' and complete all the following questions under the subheadings Language, Representation, Industries and Audience.


1) What is the objective when playing the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game?

2) What is an A-list celebrity? Why is it important in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?

3) What is the narrative or storyline of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood? Where is it set?

4) What characters can you play as? What characters appear in the game?

5) What activities does your character get up to in the game? 


1) Who is the intended audience for the Kim Kardashian Hollywood game? Why do you think this?

2) What audience pleasures are provided by the game? Use Blumler & Katz's Uses and Gratifications theory.

3) Why is the game so addictive for audiences?

Read this article from Forbes on why the Kim Kardashian game is so successful. If the website is blocked in school, you can access the text of the article here.

4) Why does James Liu think Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is so successful?

5) What does James Liu suggest is the reason players keep coming back to the game?


1) What representations of women can be found in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?

2) What representations of race, ethnicity or sexuality can be found in the game?

3) How does the game both reinforce and subvert stereotypes in the media?

4) What does the game suggest regarding modern perceptions of celebrity and how to get famous?

5) How might someone criticise the representation of celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?


1) How much does Kim Kardashian: Hollywood cost?

2) How does the game make money?

3) What subscriptions are available to Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?

4) How was Kim Kardashian: Hollywood marketed and promoted?

5) How does Kim Kardashian: Hollywood use media convergence to cross-promote the game and the Kardashian brand?

Grade 8/9 extension tasks: reading and response

Read this Independent article on the Kardashians and celebrity culture. Why does the academic Dr Meredith Jones think the Kardashians are important to study?

Read this Stylecaster article on 5 things we learned playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. How does the game encourage players so spend real money on in-app purchases?

Read this article on Glu Mobile, the game developer behind Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. What does the article say about targeting female gamers and using celebrity to sell the game?

Read this Guardian article on a Kardashian controversy regarding promoting products on Instagram. Why do some people regard Kardashian as a "toxic influence"? 

Complete for homework: due date on Google Classroom.

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Videogames CSP 1: Lara Croft Go

Our first videogames Close-Study Product is phone/tablet game Lara Croft Go.

This is an in-depth topic so we need to make sure we have studied this product across media language, audience, industry and representation.

Lara Croft Go: notes

Lara Croft: history

Lara Croft first appeared in 1996 Eidos Playstation game Tomb Raider and was the first computer game to feature a female character as the protagonist rather than a supporting role or a secondary character.

The narrative of Tomb Raider was influenced by Indiana Jones and featured the daughter of a Lord (later a famous archaeologist), called Lara Croft on various missions through settings such as jungles, tombs and jungles. The genre is action-adventure and involves many conventions of this genre such as fighting villains using weaponry.

Evolution of Tomb Raider:

Lara Croft: beyond a videogame character

Lara Croft has featured in films (the first starring Angelina Jolie; 2018 version rebooted the character). She has appeared on magazine covers more times than any supermodel.

There have been advertising tie-ins, merchandise, comic books and  spin-offs featuring the character. The franchise has had numerous incarnations before Lara Croft Go in 2015. 

Lara Croft has been credited with bringing success on the Play Station for the games’ creators (selling 7 million copies world wide) and launching the female protagonist in games. She has also been widely thought of as a sex symbol. 

Lara Croft Go 

Lara Croft Go explores the ruins of an ancient civilization in the Amazon Jungle while fighting menacing enemies, overcome dangerous obstacles and traps, and ultimately, uncover the myth of the Queen of Venom.  There is no specific timescale – but is modern-day in Lara’s weaponry.

This concept of action adventure exploring and uncovering relics from ancient civilisations is not new and there is some intertextuality here with the Indiana Jones movies, original Tomb Raider games, Tomb Raider films and more.

Watch this online review of Lara Croft Go:

What are the features of the Lara Croft Go game?

In many ways, there are traditional Action Adventure elements to this game (she moves, she shoots, she avoids hazards).  However, this game is a ‘turn-based puzzle’ which involves by-passing enemies and unlocking paths in a sequential manner which suits the ‘short timespan’ that people can sometimes commit to mobile gaming. It faithfully preserves element of original Tomb Raider game and brings the original adventure up to date. 

The game also involves collecting items that unlock special powers and tools that help your progress through the game.  On the image to the left you can see many of the opponents that Lara comes across (Lizards, Snakes, Spiders) and some of the collectables. There are not many different enemies as memory is key.  

The three-act narrative structure proceeds from an orientation stage through various complications and blockages to a simple resolution.

Evolution of the character of Lara Croft
  • Lara is depicted as athletic with brown eyes and hair, frequently tied back in a plait or ponytail.
  • Her costume is usually a blue tank top, light brown shorts, calf high boots and long socks. 
  • Accessories / Props include gloves, a backpack, a utility belt with holsters and two pistols. 
  • Her original back story was that she was the daughter of an aristocrat who had a plane crash in the Himalayas, causing her to re-evaluate her life and seek adventure, leading her to become a thief and mercenary, living outside the law. The second era changed the narrative to her father being an archaeologist and her wanting to discover the reason for her mother’s disappearance. A third era focused more on both her parents being archaeologists and her mother disappearing and her father dying.
  • All three narratives feature her transition from a vulnerable girl to an independent, fierce adventurer (hero).
  • Most stories feature her being stranded on a mysterious, far away island although the location of this changes. 


Does Lara Croft reinforce female stereotypes in the media?

Yes (reinforces traditional stereotype):
  • Object of sexual desire. Her body features were particularly exaggerated in early versions of games.
  • Scantily-clad designed for male audience. Would a male character be designed like this?  
  • Is Lara Croft is designed to be attractive to the male audience as she basically acquires all the features that some men would describe as perfect.
 No (subverts female stereotype):
  • She is an action hero – traditionally a male stereotype in gaming.
  • She is empowered female heroine – rare in gaming industry at the time.  “The heroine, Lara Croft, is an intelligent, butt-kicking, gun-wielding, sexpot, ready to take on whatever comes her way.” Katherine Walker, Portrayal of Women in Media (Video Games)
This video from Feminist Frequency (videogame blogger Anita Sarkeesian) highlights the way male and female characters are constructed in videogames:



We need to learn about two distinct areas for the industries key concept:

  • Videogame regulation
  • The companies/franchises behind the game

Regulation: PEGI

PEGI stands for Pan European Game Information and is a European video game rating system established to help consumers make informed decisions when buying video games or apps through the use of age recommendations and content descriptors.

PEGI was set up by the ISFE* – an independent group that represents European software companies. Important: this is an example of self-regulation, not government.

Lara Croft Go: companies and franchises

Lara Croft Go is the combination of two successful franchises – Lara Croft Tomb Raider and the Hitman Go mobile game.

Tomb Raider is a media franchise that originated with an action-adventure video game series created by British gaming company Core Design. Formerly owned by Eidos Interactive, it is now controlled by Square Enix after their acquisition of Eidos in 2009. 

Square Enix developed Hitman Go in 2014 based on the successful Hitman game franchise.


We need to think about the following for the audience key concept:
  • Audience pleasures
  • Target audience for Lara Croft Go – and whether videogame audiences are changing

What is the appeal of Lara Croft Go?

“Acrobatics and platforming are key features of a Tomb Raider adventure, and we quickly realized that Lara had to be fully animated. Our animator did an amazing job of quickly producing a first batch of short animations for Lara, and immediately everything felt better. Again, we looked back at Lara’s classic animations from the first Tomb Raider and they fit right in with our turn-based game.”

– Square Enix

Audience pleasures: Blumler and Katz Uses and Gratifications Theory

Remember that audiences consume media products for a variety of reasons (from Blumler and Katz: Uses and Gratification Theory)
  1. The need to be INFORMED and EDUCATED about the world in which we live (Surveillance) 
  2. The need to IDENTIFY personally with characters and situations in order to learn more about themselves (Personal Identity)
  3. The need to be ENTERTAINED (Diversion) and escape daily life. 
  4. The need for SOCIAL INTERACTION (Personal Relationships)
Which of these apply to Lara Croft Go?

Target audience

Who is the target audience for Tomb Raider / Lara Croft games?  They fall into various groups and may be a mixture of all three:
  1. Those interested in the quality of the innovative gameplay.
  2. Those with brand loyalty to the Hitman Go series.
  3. Those with brand loyalty based on the feminine empowerment displayed.
  4. Those with brand loyalty based on nostalgia or even the sexualisation of Lara Croft (especially if they played older Croft games when at a formative age)

Videogames: Lara Croft Go blog tasks

Create a blogpost called 'Lara Croft Go CSP blog tasks' and complete all the following questions under the subheadings Language, Representation, Industries and Audience. 


1) When did Lara Croft first appear in a videogame?

2) What classic films influenced the creation of Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider games?

3) How has Lara Croft and Tomb Raider moved beyond just being a videogame?

4) What devices can you play Lara Croft Go on?

5) What type of game is Lara Croft Go?

6) How does Lara Croft Go use narrative (storyline) to make the game enjoyable for the audience?

7) What iconography can be found in Lara Croft Go? How does this help communicate the genre of the game? Think about mise-en-scene and setting here.

8) What other characters or enemies feature in the game?

9) What is the setting for Lara Croft Go? How does this compare to previous Lara Croft or Tomb Raider games?

10) Read this BBC article on the history of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider. How has the character of Lara Croft evolved over the last 25 years?


1) How are women usually represented in videogames?

2) How does the character of Lara Croft reinforce female stereotypes in the media?

3) How does the character of Lara Croft subvert female stereotypes in the media?

4) Why do some people believe the videogames industry is sexist and needs to change?

5) Do you think Lara Croft is an empowering feminist icon or just another objectified woman designed to appeal to male gamers?


1) What does PEGI stand for?

2) What is PEGI's job?

3) Which company created Lara Croft Go?

4) What two popular videogame franchises were combined to create Lara Croft Go?

5) What else is part of the Lara Croft/Tomb Raider franchise?


1) Why might an audience enjoy playing Lara Croft Go?

2) Where and when might an audience play a game like Lara Croft Go? Think about the device it is played on and the times of the day someone might want to play the game.

3) How did Square Enix design Lara Croft to make it appealing to an audience?

4) Which of Blumler and Katz's Uses and Gratifications theory might apply to Lara Croft Go?

5) Who is the target audience for Lara Croft Go? How does brand loyalty contribute to this target audience?

Exam practice optional extension task:

“Videogames are increasingly played and enjoyed by a wider and more diverse audience." 

Does your study of Lara Croft Go support this view?

Write a detailed three-paragraph answer to this question using the information you have learned in this case study.

Grade 8/9 extension tasks

1) Watch some Lara Croft Go gameplay online or, even better, play the game yourself. How is the game constructed to attract and maintain the engagement of an audience?

2) How is narrative, character, iconography and setting used to create intertextuality? (Links to other genres and media texts)

1) Read this NME feature on the history of the Lara Croft character. Do you agree that she is now a 'feminist icon' rather than a 'trapezoid-boobed pinup'? What do these terms mean?

2) Have later versions of the Tomb Raider/Lara Croft franchise featured a less-sexualised version of the character? Does this suggest society is changing in its attitude towards women?

1) Why do videogame producers prefer the self-regulation of PEGI to government regulation? Why is videogame regulation increasingly important in the 21st century?

2) Watch the full lecture embedded above: Distilling a franchise - the making of Lara Croft Go. How did the designers make conscious decisions based on previous franchises to create a successful game?

1) How has the marketing of Lara Croft/Tomb Raider franchise changed over the last 20 years and how might an audience respond to this? Think about reception theory - preferred and oppositional readings. 

2) Does Lara Croft Go target a female audience? Why do you think female gamers dominate the phone/tablet market?

There is a lot of work here - you will need to spend 2-3 hours on this between lesson time and homework. Due date on Google Classroom.

Monday, 6 March 2023

OSP & Videogames: An introduction

Our final media topic is Online, Social, Participatory media and Videogames - an in-depth area of study on new and digital media with two Close-Study Products.

Over the next few weeks, we need to study the following CSPs:

Lara Croft GO
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
Marcus Rashford

We need to study these products using all four key concepts: Language, Industry, Audience and Representation. Both Lara Croft GO and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood are good examples of the changing nature of the videogames industry - which is where we'll start.

A brief history of videogames: blog task

Watch the YouTube video outlining the history of the videogames industry from the 1970s to the 2010s. Now answer the following questions:

1) What were the first videogames like?

2) How have videogames changed over time?

3) What do the most successful games have in common? Answer this in as much detail as you can. Think about audience pleasures - what do people like about playing videogames?

4) What criticisms have been made towards videogames?

Read this Guardian feature from when Fortnite first became sensationally popular and watch the original trailer below.

Now answer the following questions:

1) At the time of the article, how many Fortnite players were there worldwide? (Bonus question - how many are there now? Try Googling it.)

2) Why is it so popular? What are the audience pleasures of the game?

3) Why might some people criticise Fortnite?

4) Copy and paste two comments from 'below the line' of the Guardian article - these are comments written by Guardian readers in response to the feature. Select one comment you agree with and one you disagree with and explain why.

Extension task: read this news story reporting that Prince Harry has called for Fortnite to be banned. Why does the Prince think Fortnite producer Epic Games is irresponsible?

If you don't finish this in the lesson you will need to complete for homework - due date on Google Classroom.

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Mock exams: Revision and preparation

Your Media mocks are a great opportunity to practice the full 90-minute exams you'll be doing this summer.

Use your notes, blog work and revision booklets / practice questions to prepare for the following:

Media 1 mock exam: Monday 20 February P5&6

Section A: Media Language, Representations and Contexts

Unseen text analysis - look at previous assessment LRs and revise mise-en-scene (CLAMPS) and other key media language from your GLoW Media glossary.

Magazines: Tatler and Heat - links to original Magazines blog notes here.

Advertising & Marketing: OMO washing powder advert, Galaxy Audrey Hepburn Chauffeur advert, NHS Represent campaign - links to original Advertising blog notes here. You can also find the original lesson slides here

Section B: Media Industries and Audiences

Film Industry: Black Widow and I, Daniel Blake

Radio: Radio 1 Launch - Tony Blackburn and Kiss Breakfast on Kiss FM

Music Video: BLACKPINK - How You Like That and Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

Media 2 mock exam: Thursday 2 March P1&2

Section A: Television

The questions in the first section on TV will be on the screened extract from one of our TV close-study products with 2, 8 and 12 mark questions about the clip. The clip will be from one of the episodes we have studied - Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child or His Dark Materials: The City of Magpies.

Question 2 is a 20-mark essay on BOTH Doctor Who and His Dark Materials - TV blog notes can be found on the TV final index here.

Section B: Newspapers

TWO 20-mark essays on the Daily Mirror and The Times - these could focus on any of the four key concepts: Language, Industries, Audiences, Representations.

You will need to be able to refer to the CSP pages provided by AQA. All Newspapers notes can be found in the Newspapers final index here.

Important: the final question in Media Two is the synoptic question where you need to demonstrate your knowledge of the whole course of study. The best way to do this is to discuss different CSPs that relate to the question you are given.

You can find some sample questions and answers for Paper 2 Section B on Newspapers here.

Revision is the key

It's important that you revise properly for these exams and give yourself the best possible chance of success. It's fine to make mistakes - that's what mock exams are for - but there's no excuse for not knowing some key information about the CSPs we have studied.

We suggest creating revision cards or knowledge organisers using the following topics:

Media language
E.g. Denotation and Connotation, Camerawork, Mise-en-scene, Intertextuality, Key conventions etc.

Media theories
E.g. Narrative theories (Todorov, Propp, Barthes), Reception theory, Uses & Gratifications theory etc.  

All 15 CSPs we have studied so far in the course. See links above to original blogposts. We recommend one revision card for each key concept you need to study for each CSP. E.g.:

Tatler - Language and Representations - 2 revision cards

Doctor Who - Language, Industries, Audiences, Representations - 4 revision cards 

Media language: Glossary and terminology

We have been focusing on GLoW words throughout the course - the key words you need to know for GCSE Media. Here are two links to help with your Media language revision:

You'll need your Greenford Google login to open these.

Revision cards

If you would like some revision cards to revise with feel free to pop in to DF07 and I'll happily provide you with them for free - I strongly recommend creating revision cards for all the exam CSPs and also for media terminology and theory (e.g. Mise-en-scene, Reception theory, Uses & Gratifications theory etc.)

The better you know the terminology, theory and CSPs, the better you'll do in the exams... Good luck!

Monday, 6 February 2023

Newspapers: Final index

To finish off our in-depth topic on Newspapers we need to create an index for our blog tasks.

As we know, creating a blog index is a great way of checking you have completed all the work on the topic and haven't missed anything crucial you may need in a future mock exam or assessment.

Firstly, create a new blogpost called: Newspapers final index.

Your Newspapers index should include the following:

For your index, the text should link to YOUR corresponding blogpost so you can access your work quickly and easily for checking and revision. This also means if you have missed anything you can catch up with the work and notes and won't underperform in assessments and exams due to gaps in your knowledge.

Due date: on Google Classroom

Newspapers: The Times - Representation and Industries

The second part of our case study for The Times focuses on Representation and Industries.

This is the final part of our case study work for Newspapers and is full of information that could easily come up in our exams.

The Times: Representation notes

Front page
Some key aspects of the representation on the front page:
  • By using the crest in its masthead, the newspaper is associating itself with being British and part of an established heritage and tradition.
  • Offers a positive representation of Boris Johnson and the Conservative party in their main front page story.
  • Picture story features a white child dressed up for World Book Day - reinforcing white middle class British values most Times readers would agree with.
  • Kicker informs readers of what the recent budget will mean for homeowners. This creates a strong representation of Times readers as wealthy property owners.

Inside page
Some key aspects of the representation on the inside page:
  • Amazon story is presented in a lighthearted way - almost an opinion piece rather than a serious news story. This is a strong contrast with the Mirror's reporting of the store as a 'threat to jobs'.
  • Views the Amazon store as progress and exciting rather than a threat. All the criticisms that appear in the article are immediately followed by a more positive viewpoint to reassure readers and present Amazon positively.
  • This story suggests the Times supports big business and corporations like Amazon over ordinary working class British people. 
  • Some particularly middle class elements in the article - e.g. reference to the feta sandwich. Also reference to banking apps and technology - an assumption that Times readers would be familiar with this. 


The Times generally supports the Conservative Party and is against the more leftwing Labour Party. The newspaper will often act as a voice for the establishment (the wealthy and powerful) and will not support anything that threatens major changes to the status quo (how things currently are). This can be found in the CSP pages of the Times we need to study.

Reminder: News values

Media theorists Galtung and Ruge defined a set of news values to explain how journalists and editors decided that certain stories and photographs were accepted as newsworthy, while others were not. The following list is adapted from their work:
  • Immediacy: has it happened recently?
  • Familiarity: is it culturally close to us in Britain?
  • Amplitude: is it a big event or one which involves large numbers of people?
  • Frequency: does the event happen fairly regularly?
  • Unambiguity: is it clear and definite? 
  • Predictability: did we expect it to happen?
  • Surprise: is it a rare or unexpected event?
  • Continuity: has this story already been defined as news?
  • Elite nations and people: which country has the event happened in? Does the story concern well-known people?
  • Negativity: Is it bad news? Bad news tends to get more focus as it’s more sensational/ attention grabbing. 
  • Balance: the story may be selected to balance other news, such as a human survival story to balance a number of stories concerning death.
The selection of particular news stories, images and text can create very different representations - as we can see in the same Amazon story across the Daily Mirror and the Times - as well as the focus of the political stories on each front page.

The Times: Industries

The Times is owned by News UK (a subsidiary of News Corporation). News Corporation is a conglomerate mostly owned by Rupert Murdoch, an Australian media mogul with many business interests worldwide such as the Fox network in the USA.  

In July 2009 News Corporation had to pay large sums of compensation for the phone hacking scandal, where their journalists were accused of using illegal methods to obtain information.  

The Times circulation in 2019 was 376,000, down 12% in a year and much lower than the high point of over 800,000 in the 1990s. Since 2020, The Sun and The Times have not published their circulation figures, perhaps to prevent knowledge of how many readers they have lost.

In response to the decline in print newspapers, the Times has:
  • Moved towards a multi-platform landscape. This means that it publishes and synchronises across its print, desktop and mobile platforms. Some newspapers (e.g. The Times) have a paywall on their online content. The Times has had a hard paywall since 2010, but it often experiments with making content available for free. Last summer, it began free registrations and has been adding around 30,000 a week.
  • Created a social media strategy in collaboration with the digital team to drive growth of their Twitter and Facebook profiles. 
  • In 2018, Times and Sunday Times hit 500,000 subscribers as digital outnumbered print for first time at an initial cost of £1 per week for a digital subscription.

Key question: Why have print newspapers declined?

ACCESSIBILITY / DIGITAL AGE: The growth of the Internet as a major source of news (since the 1990s). This has particularly impacted on advertising revenue for newspapers as we use the Internet (often free) for services. Television news is also available 24 hours a day so no need to make ‘appointment to view’ or buy a daily newspaper as updates on-line are more up to date.

COST: People are accessing news freely through social media and other online outlets.  Newspapers cannot compete with the speed and cost-free nature of this.  Twitter has no printing costs, printing factories, distribution costs and journalist wages.

CHOICE & VARIETY: Previously we would go to small number of outlets for our news (BBC and other national broadcasters, national and some local newspapers).  Now there are so many places we can access news (numerous TV channels, websites, social media accounts, blogs). 

IMMEDIACY: Critics of the newspaper as a medium also argue that newspapers haven’t moved with the times. The technology revolution has meant that readers accustomed to waiting for a daily newspaper can now receive up-to-the-minute updates from Web portals, bloggers and new services such as Twitter.

Newspaper regulation

How and why are UK newspapers regulated? The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) was a voluntary regulatory body for British printed newspapers and magazines. The PCC closed on Monday 8 September 2014 after criticism following the phone hacking affair. 

It was replaced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

The role of IPSO is to:
  • Regulate 1500 print and 1100 online titles.
  • Listen to complaints about press behaviour.
  • Help with unwanted press attention.
  • Advise publication editors .
  • Provide information to the public.
  • Provide a journalist whistleblowing hotline.
There is currently a heated debate in the media regarding whether the newspaper industry requires stronger regulation. Some people argue that the newspaper industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself using IPSO and that stronger, statutory regulation should be introduced instead. This would also implement the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry which followed the phone-hacking scandal. There are links in the extension tasks below if you would like to read more about the newspaper regulation debate.

Blog tasks: The Times case study

Create a blogpost called 'The Times - Representation and Industries' and then work through the following questions:


1) What representation of the Conservative Party can be found in the main story on the front page?

2) What representation is offered by the World Book Day picture story on the front of the Times?

3) How does the coverage of the Royal Family in the Times contrast with the reporting of the same events in the Daily Mirror?

4) How is Amazon represented in the Times inside page story?

5) How does the representation of Amazon contrast with the Daily Mirror story on the same topic?


1) Who owns the Times? Write the name of the company AND the billionaire who owns the company.

2) What was the The Times's circulation in 2019? How many papers did the Times used to sell back in the 1990s?

3) How has the Times reacted to the decline in print sales and the growth of the internet?

4) What does IPSO stand for and what is IPSO's job?

5) Why do some people want stronger regulation of British newspapers? 

Grade 8/9 extension tasks

How does the coverage of the Royal Family in the Times reinforce British social and cultural values?

Read this Guardian column on IPSO, the press regulator. Why does Polly Toynbee suggest IPSO has been a "total failure"?

Read this short Press Gazette feature on the Times's paywall. Why does the Times head of digital describe the paywall as a success? 

You may also want to watch this video from another Media teacher explaining The Times and the Daily Mirror for A Level students:

Due date: on Google Classroom

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Newspapers: The Times - Language and Audience

The first part of our main case study for The Times is focusing on Media Language and Audience.

Here are your two CSP pages for The Times:


The Times: notes

Media language

Language: The Times tends to attract an audience that is older and more traditional (Conservative politics), so the stories are targeted towards these values and beliefs to target their specific audience. 

Mode of address: The Times employs a formal style with advanced language to reflect the needs/education level of the audience.

Construction: The Times uses some layout design techniques to attract its audience (sell lines, kickers, pugs).  There are usually not as many as The Mirror, though.

Technical Codes: Whilst The Times employs colour, it is much more understated than the tabloid Mirror.  More traditional fonts, styles and sizes reinforce this traditional symbolism.

Conventions: The Times observes more traditional codes and conventions than the Daily Mirror, with less direct address and a more formal, authoritative tone as if giving the reader less active participation and more passive access to information.

Target audience

The Times target audience is older with over half the audience aged 55+. In terms of social class, they are overwhelmingly in the ABC1 social classes - 62% from social group AB. This means Times readers are likely to be professionals, managers or company owners. They are likely to be in the Succeeder psychographic group.

Audience pleasures and representation

The main reason we read newspapers is to find out what is going on in the world around us.  News, different opinions, information about current affairs. This includes British politics and the British Royal family (patriotic). The Times focuses on hard news that we expect from a broadsheet newspaper - politics, economics, world news etc.

One of the main reasons we read newspapers is for entertainment. We want to be entertained.
Information about royals who are seen as an important part of British culture and also access to cultural aspects such as TV dramas and directors. This targets people with disposable income and an interest in culture/status and how they are perceived. 

Personal Identity 
A Daily Mirror reader will probably think very differently from a Times reader. Even if a reader does not always agree with a viewpoint the newspaper puts forward, they may still be agreeing with the values being shared. The Times newspaper seems to endorse the Conservative party and show their strong affiliation with the political party by the way stories are constructed. The way businesses are represented also shows the Times values private companies over working class people. 

Becoming an active participant 
Increasingly newspapers, especially online editions, encourage audience input through comments and email. The audience are not targeted with informal language or direct address as often, leading to a distance between journalist and reader. This encourages less dissent and comment and therefore more passive audience members who will accept the dominant view point of the paper. 

The Times is right-wing and supports the Conservative Party. It is generally against the left-wing Labour Party. The Times newspaper will act as a voice for the establishment (the wealthy and powerful) and will not support anything that threatens major changes to the status quo.

Blog tasks: The Times - Language and Audience

Work through the following questions to make sure you are fully prepared for questions on the Times and the newspaper industry.


1) What is the main story on the front cover of the Times CSP edition and why does it appeal to Times readers?

2) List the other news stories and kickers on the front page of the Times CSP edition. Why do you think the Times selected these for the front page?

3) What is the main story on the inside page of the Times CSP edition and how is it constructed to appeal to Times readers? 

4) How are the Times front and inside pages designed to reflect broadsheet newspaper conventions?

5) What does a close analysis of the news stories in the Times CSP edition suggest about the Times's political beliefs?


1) What is the main readership demographic for The Times newspaper? Add as much detail as you can.

2) What aspects of the front page of the Times CSP edition suggest that their readers are likely to be more educated and interested in hard news rather than entertainment?

3) Times readers are mostly over 55 years old. Why is this and how is this reflected by the new stories and kickers in the CSP pages we have studied?  

4) What is the main audience pleasure offered by the Times? Use Blumler & Katz Uses and Gratifications theory.

5) Why might a reader enjoy this CSP edition of the Times? Use Blumler & Katz Uses and Gratifications theory categories and write as detailed an analysis as you can.

Grade 8/9 extension tasks

Read this Guardian column on the pleasures of print newspapers and the dangers of the digital age. Do you think newspapers will continue to exist in the future? Why? 

You may also want to watch this video from another Media teacher explaining The Times and the Daily Mirror for A Level students:

Due date: on Google Classroom