Media Criticism in a Digital Age : Professional And Consumer Considerations book cover
1st Edition

Media Criticism in a Digital Age
Professional And Consumer Considerations

ISBN 9781138913189
Published August 3, 2015 by Routledge
624 Pages

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Book Description

Media Criticism in a Digital Age introduces readers to a variety of critical approaches to audio and video discourse on radio, television and the Internet. It is intended for those preparing for electronic media careers as well as for anyone seeking to enhance their media literacy. This book takes the unequivocal view that the material heard and seen over digital media is worthy of serious consideration.

Media Criticism in a Digital Age applies key aesthetic, sociological, philosophical, psychological, structural and economic principles to arrive at a comprehensive evaluation of programming and advertising content. It offers a rich blend of insights from both industry and academic authorities. These insights range from the observations of Plato and Aristotle to the research that motivates twenty-first century marketing and advertising. Key features of the book are comprised of:

  • multiple video examples including commercials, cartoons and custom graphics to illustrate core critical concepts;
  • chapters reflecting today’s media world, including coverage of broadband and social media issues;
  • fifty perceptive critiques penned by a variety of widely respected media observers and;
  • a supplementary website for professors that provides suggested exercises to accompany each chapter (www.routledge .com/cw/orlik)

Media Criticism in a Digital Age equips emerging media professionals as well as perceptive consumers with the evaluative tools to maximize their media understanding and enjoyment.

Table of Contents


1 The Essence of Criticism

2 Critical Functions

Criticism and the Communication Process

4 Knowledge Acquisition and Processing


5 Tonal and Talent Ingredients

6 Stage-Molding Ingredients


7 Business Gratifications

8 Consumer Gratifications


9 Depiction Analysis

10 Structural Analysis

11 Probing Ethics and Values

12 Aesthetics and Art

13 The Logic of Aesthetic Form


14 Reality Programming

15 Composite Criticism

Appendix: Specimen Scripts

The Cosby Show: "Theo’s Holiday"

The Newsroom: "Dinner at Eight"

The Simpsons: "Bart Sells His Soul"

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Peter B. Orlik is director and professor in Central Michigan University’s School of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts. Industry experience includes work as copywriter, radio announcer/music director, and television promotions executive. He was the 2001 recipient of the Broadcast Education Association’s Distinguished Education Service Award (that organization’s highest honor) and a 2003 inductee into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame.


Criticism that attacks without analysis does no good. What we need are knowledgeable critics capable of examining the media and providing intelligent insight. Media Criticism in a Digital Age provides the tools to prepare thoughtful media commentators who are capable of helping us better understand media. Dom Caristi, Professor, Ball State University

Using personal experience and reasoned scholarship, Orlik incorporates the fundamentals of traditional media criticism into an accessible approach to dealing with new and emerging media. David Byland, Editor, Journal of Media Education

Orlik shows media consumers as well as media practitioners (and wannabes) how to evaluate the ever-changing media industries and their products through various approaches, especially "composite criticism." Such assessment provides comprehensive, effective, and meaningful critiques – both positive and negative – that contribute to media literacy in the 21st century. Louise Benjamin, Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Kansas State University