Have you submitted your major project to Top Screen and Top Design 2018?
Close Notification
Open Notification

Media Influence

Media Influence

Media influence is a challenging area to prepare for. You need to understand a range of communication theories, theories of audience, arguments and evidence made about the effect of the media, as well as arguments for and ways in which the media is regulated. Before you get started, familiarise yourself with the outcome in the VCE Media Study Design.

Key knowledge

• communication theories and models and their application to media forms and texts
• theories of audience, their relationship with communication theories and models, and application to media forms and texts
• arguments and evidence about media influence on audiences and the broader society
• arguments surrounding the rationale for and regulation of the media
• appropriate media language and terminology.

Key skills

• identify, compare and contrast communication theories and models
• apply communication theories and models to media forms and texts
• substantiate arguments about media influence
• discuss the relationship between audiences and media forms and texts
• analyse the rationale for and argument about the regulation of the media
• use and apply appropriate media language and terminology.


• Make sure you know a range of theories, including cultural effects theories and reception theories. These might include the Hypodermic Needle Theory, Two-Step Flow Theory, Reinforcement Theory, Agenda Setting Function Theory, Use and Gratification Theory, Cultivation Theory and Semiotic Constructivist Theory.

• Revise the political economy model.

• Be able to discuss ideas of audience, including the difference between active and passive audiences and audiences that are considered vulnerable.

• Be able to describe and evaluate a range of different studies into media influence.

• Revise reasons for media regulation and be able to describe ways in which Australia regulates the media, such as the National Classification Scheme, ACMA, Advertising Standards Board, the Voluntary Industry Code of Conduct on Body Image and newspaper codes of conduct.

• Answer questions about media influence from previous exams but be aware that the Study Design has changed slightly.


• Highlight key terms. When you start answering questions, underline key phrases to ensure you understand what the question is asking you. When you read back over your response, it’s also useful to underline words and phrases related to these keywords in your own writing to ensure that you have answered the question appropriately.

• Use topic sentences. Answer questions in your opening sentence, then go on to give further detail.

• Although there is no conclusive evidence on the nature and extent of media influence, the best responses will engage with evidence to show a deep understanding of this area of study.

• Do not make the mistake that some students make, suggesting that, for example, the Nazis used the Hypodermic Needle Theory. Theories solely exist to describe the process of communication and media influence