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The Times - media studies Cheat Sheet by

Times analysis for The Media studies A level in 2021

Front Cover


-The photo could be seen as repres­enting May stereo­typ­ically as a weak woman, however, the invasive framing of the photo shows she is allowing her feelings to show in private whereas in public she is more controlled
- Female politi­cians often find it hard to balance being a strong, capable leader with being warm and kind. Andrea Leadsom criticised May for not being a mother.
- The language of the headline focuses on her emotions over her political achiev­ements but the tone suggests this is justified

Media language

- The central image is a close-up of May with dark rings under her eyes and a pained expres­sion. This connotes tiredness, stress and high emotion
- The headline anchors the image and gives the story a narrative where May is a character (fulfils the news value of person­ali­sation)
- The 'In the News' stories supply global context of what the audience is interested in
- Most of the print is black on white which connotes seriou­sness, however, the fashion headline at the top is in a paler, feminine colour and therefore is less serious
- The strapline and heraldic style logo draw on the Times' history and reputation as a trustw­orthy public­ation

Theore­tical Approaches

Semiotics: Barthes
The headline connotes the private nature of the photo. The private framing of the photo emphasises the personal nature of it
Narrative: Todorov
The complexity of the issue is turned into a story with May as a character
Feminism: Van Zoonen
Although May is presented as vulner­able, she is not sexual­ised. She is shown as a powerful woman battling against men, which is not a common repres­ent­ation in the media


- Target audience: ABC1, over 35, libera­l/r­igh­t-wing, well-e­duc­ated, middle class, interested in global reporting
- The Brexit edition is neutral so allows the audience to form their own opinion and response. The close-up allows identi­fic­ation and empathy with May and the Brexit process


- News corp was newly formed after a split from News Corpor­ation due to an interest in TV and film as well as print.
- News Corp also publishes the Sun and the News of The World, which closed down after the 2011 phone hacking scandal
- It demons­trates a right-wing view with The Sun but The Times is more neutral
- The group offered the first online newspaper in the UK but also introduced paywalls due to declining sales
- The Times is the only national quality newspaper to show year-o­n-year growth in circul­ation
- The Times is part of the IPSO: a regulatory body for newspapers that is funded by the industry

Theore­tical Approaches (copy)

Power and media indust­ries: Curran and Seaton
The Times is part of a large conglo­merate which may limit creati­vity. Rupert Murdoch is often accussed of contro­lling content which supports this point. However, diverse patterns of ownership may create conditions for a more varied approach to products.
Regula­tion: Living­stone and Lunt
The UK press is facing harsher regulation after 2011. There is an underlying issue of protecting citizen's from harmful material while allowing press freedom
Cultural Indust­ries: Hesmon­dhalgh
The Times Newspaper Group offers a wide variety of titles to minimise risk and maximise profit. It has embraced digital media and adding paywalls to increase income

Production context

- It is a quality newspaper published since 1785
- Since 1981, it has been published by Times News, a subsidiary of News UK which is a subsidiary of News Corp and owned by Rupert Murdoch. It is British based and American owned and produces other public­ations including The Sun and The News of The World.
- This edition was published 13th March 2019, after Theresa May lost a vote on her Brexit plan in the House of Commons
- The Times had a variety of views which allowed it to have a neutral stance
- After the Brexit vote and David Cameron's resign­ation in 2016, turmoil occurred
- The argument between leave and remain carried on even after the Brexit vote with Theresa May calling a snap election in 2017
- The Conser­vatives suffered heavy losses in the snap general election when May kept putting forward her Brexit deal which kept getting voted out by Parliament
- The cultural context links horser­acing meets like Ascot to the upper classes

Theore­tical Approaches (copy) (copy)

Cultiv­ation: Gerbner
Exposure to repeated patterns of repres­ent­ati­on(of May struggling to reach a deal, of Brexit chaosg­ene­rally) by newspapers can shape and influe­ncean audience’s views and opinions. Gerbner wenton to say that this is not like ‘hypod­ermic model’but rather depends on what the audience alread­ybe­lieves. The messages (e.g. politi­cians areine­ffe­ctual) need to resonate with an establ­ish­edb­elief (e.g. Brexit is a chaotic mess) in theaud­ience (e.g. middle class, middle­-right wing)
Reception: Hall
The Times has portrayed May and the vote ina way that encourages a negotiated reading.By focusing on the emotional state of Mayand the general despair at the progress ofnego­tia­tions, it is asking readers to reflect ontheir own emotional response to the situation.
End of Audience: Shirky
The concept of audience members as passiv­eco­nsumers is no longer tenable in the age ofthe internet with the rise of the prosumer whocan create their own content such as submitting stories and being part of forums. Many broads­hee­tne­wsp­apers like The Times have embrac­edthis, taking popular ‘below­-th­e-line’ (i.e. non-pr­ofe­ssi­onal) commen­tators and offering them‘a­bov­e-t­he-­line’ columns in their on-line editions.


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