WRITING TEST B

Consider the following comments and develop a piece of writing in response to one or more of them. Your writing will be judged on the quality of your response to the theme; how well you organise and present your point of view, and how effectively you express yourself. You will not be judged on the views or attitudes you express.

What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.
W. H. Auden
Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.
T. S. Eliot
Communication is two-sided – vital and profound communication makes demands also on those who are to receive it… demands in the sense of concentration, of genuine effort to receive what is being communicated.
Roger Sessions
The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.
Malcom X
Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
Charles Dickens
Don’t hate the media, become the media.
Jello Biafra

What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.
W. H. Auden

Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.
T. S. Eliot

Communication is two-sided – vital and profound communication makes demands also on those who are to receive it… demands in the sense of concentration, of genuine effort to receive what is being communicated.
Roger Sessions

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.
Malcom X

Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
Charles Dickens

Don’t hate the media, become the media.
Jello Biafra

Strategies for approaching this question

(Warning, Spoiler Alert. Don’t read this if you want to attempt this question without help)

This essay question is based on a question which came up in the 2009 London GAMSAT about falling standards in the media. After reading these quotes you should have noticed that there is no definite this vs that theme. The underlying theme is the media and subthemes are: power or the media, standards in the media, new media vs old media (become the media) and effects of the media. The 2009 question was like this without a single obvious answer.
You can tackle a question like this this from a wide range of directions using any of the approaches listed above, or one of your own

Points you might consider

Consider things such as:
  • How has new media affected traditional media (by reducing ad revenue, by allowing people to consume in their own time)?
  • Have standards slipped? If so, why?
  • What are the strengths of new media (everyone is a producer and a consumer, media is produced in real time)?
  • Have social networks evolved to cater to the needs of a less socially cohesive society?
  • Is new media isolating or empowering?
  • What are the dangers of traditional media.
  • Does traditional media have a place in the digital world, if so, what is it?

Suggested essay plans

In a short essay you will only have time for one or two key themes so you will need to decide what approach you’d like to take.
  1. Quality standards in traditional media have fallen due largely to a decline in ad revenue thanks largely to the rise in popularity of the internet. reference to W.H Auden
  2. Services like Twitter and Facebook have allowed people to create throw away media, much of which is also poor quality.
  3. However new media also has the power to be emancipatory as it is largely free and unregulated. New media is 2 way so promotes conversation. reference to Roger Sessions