This is an expanded and revised edition of an investigation of the critical approach in contemporary media studies. The main media studied on university courses (advertising, magazines, the press, TV, cinema, "new media" including computer games, the Internet and the World Wide ) are all addressed substantially and in separate detailed chapters. New material in this second edition includes sections on men's style magazines, docusoaps and "reality TV", digital interactive television, and mobile phone text messaging. It begins by explaining the concept of the sign and the ideological roles of media in contemporary culture and then scrutinises advertisements, glossy magazines, daily newspapers, TV programmes, recent films, and interactive media, with each chapter containing close analyses of particular examples. Key strands in critical theory such as ideology and psychanalytic theory are explored and challenges to established semiotic methods posed by audience studies and postmodernism are discussed.