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Today, arguably more than at any time in the past, media are the key players in contributing to what defines reality for the citizens of Europe and beyond. This book provides an introduction to the way that the media occupy such a position of prominence in contemporary human existence. This expanded and fully updated third edition of the bestselling The Media: An Introduction collects in one volume thirty-six specially commissioned essays to offer unrivalled breadth and depth for an introduction to the study of contemporary media. It addresses the fundamental questions about today's media - for example, digitisation and its effects, new distribution technologies, and the implications of convergence, all set against the backdrop of a period of profound social and economic change in Europe and globally. Key features: Expert contributions on each topic Approachable, authoritative contributions provide a solid theoretical overview of the media industry and comprehensive empirical guide to the institutions that make up the media. Further Reading and related web-resource listings encourage further study. New to this edition: New five part structure provides a broad and coherent approach to media: Part 1 Understanding the Media; Part 2 What Are the Media?; Part 3 The Media Environment; Part 4 Audiences, Influences and Effects; Part 5 Media Representations. Brand new chapters on: Approaches to Media; Media Form; Models of Media Institutions; The Media in Europe; Photography; Book Publishing; Newspapers; Magazines; Radio; Television; The Internet and the Web; News Media; Economics; Policy; Public Service Broadcasting in Europe; Censorship and Freedom of Speech; Audience Research; Sexualities; Gender; Social Class; Media and Religion; The Body, Health and Illness; Nationality and Sex Acts. Other chapter topics from the last edition fully updated A wider, more comparative focus on Europe. The Media: An Introduction will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of media studies, cultural studies, communication studies, journalism, film studies, the sociology of the media, popular culture and other related subjects.