Marketing Help – Media Analysis Project

The following is adapted from the work of Paul Martin Lester.


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In order to find meaning from a visual message, you need to learn a systematic way for studying images.


1.       Make an inventory list of every element in the image,

2.       Note the lighting used in the image,

3.       Note any eye contact by subjects in the image,

4.       Note the visual cues of color, form, depth, and movement,

5.       Note how the gestalt laws apply toward the composition of picture,

6.       Note any semiotic signs that are a part of the image’s content, and


When you’ve gone through the six steps noted above, it’s time to apply the six perspectives for visual analysis to the piece. Each perspective is noted below.


Personal Perspective – Gut Reaction

Rick Williams’ Omniphasism (all in balance) or Personal Impact Analysis

1.       What is the picture’s story?

2.       List primary words.

3.       List associative words.

4.       Select most significant associative words.

5.       Pair up primary & most significant associative words.

6.       Relate word pairs with your own feelings.

7.       Relate any inner symbolism.

8.       Write a brief story concerning personal insights.


Historical Perspective – The image’s place in history

  • When do you think the image was made?
  • Is there a specific style that the image imitates?

Technical Perspective – Consider the process decisions

  • How was the image produced?
  • What techniques were employed?
  • Is the image of good quality?

Ethical Perspective – Moral Responsibility

  • Was the image maker socially responsible?
  • Has any person’s rights been violated?
  • Are the needs of viewers met?
  • Is the picture aesthetically appealing?
  • Do the picture choices reflect moderation?
  • Is the image maker empathetic with the subject?
  • Can all the image choices be justified?
  • Does the visual message cause unjustified harm?

Cultural Perspective – Societal Impact

  • What is the story and the symbolism involved with the elements in the visual message?
  • What do they say about current cultural values?

Critical Perspective – Reasoned Opinion

  • What do I think of this image now that I’ve spent so much time looking and studying it?

Project Overview:


This week, you were introduced to six analytical perspectives for analyzing media. These perspectives form the foundation for your Media Analysis Project (MAP). Over the next three weeks, you will analyze a visual work from any media (print, film, television, Internet), of your own choosing.


Due Date:


June 5


Time Line:


·         Topic Assignment (Listed under Paper Topic)


·         June 5 Thesis and Outline (Listed in appropriate headings below)


·         June 5 Final Paper            


NOTE: Thesis and Outline, and Final Paper are two separate documents.




Your analysis must encompass all six perspectives. This will be a detailed analysis consisting of 6-8 written pages. You must also use four credible academic sources in addition to the media itself. All sources must be cited in-text as well as on a reference page using standard APA format. Information on using APA is available on the Online Library which is accessible through the Resources tab. Your final paper must include proper mechanics (clear, concise, and complete sentences and paragraphs), proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


Paper Topic:


Topic: Modern Family

I have chosen to use the television series Modern Family as my course project. When Modern Family came on the air, most of the buzz centered on Mitchell and Cam, who were occasionally shown together in bed, cracked jokes at their own expense, and flaunted every stereotype. But all the attention on Mitch and Cam’s lip life overshadowed deeper strands that make the show even more probative of contemporary culture. For starters, the characters in “Modern Family” are so immersed in technology that nearly every scene is refracted through a digital funhouse: an iPad screen, a cellphone camera, a baby monitor, a YouTube video. Characters spend half their time glancing past one another rather than communicating directly.

The creators of “Modern Family” are tapping into a different, more self-regarding anxiety: less focused on how families interact with the outside world; more centered on how they function internally. The particulars of the Pritchett-Tucker family may be different from those of the Huxtables, Bunkers or Cleavers. There are second marriages to immigrants, adolescent husbands who never grew up, gay dads. But the core values are the same.


Example Thesis


Adapted from Visual Communicate Images with Messages, 4th edition by Paul Martin Lester “Reaction to a barely functional cartoon family is as varied as the life experiences and attitudes of the viewers who watch it. If you are a fan of animated films, the cartoon may be appealing because it reminds you of your childhood. If you grew up in a similar home, you may laugh about like situations involving your family. If you enjoy watching the symbols of popular culture being nudged off their pedestals, you will appreciate the humor of the program. But if you think cartoon characters should be reserved for children and their concerns, you probably will be offended at the many adult themes and jokes expressed during the half-hour.”

Example Outline


I. Introduction

A. Opening to capture interest

B. Transition sentence that leads to thesis

II. Body 

A. Personal Perspective

1. Personal reflection on the topic

B. Historical Perspective

1. Key point supported by research

2. Key point supported by research

C. Technical Perspective

1. Key point supported by research

2. Key point supported by research

D. Ethical Perspective

1. Key point supported by research

2. Key point supported by research

E. Cultural Perspective

1. Key point supported by research

2. Key point supported by research

F. Critical Perspective

1. Key point supported by research

2. Key point supported by research

III. Conclusion

A.      Wrap up essay by summarizing or restating your thesis.

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