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Media Design : How to be an Effective Visual Communicator

What is design?

Design is a "beauty of presentation."

Design elements
-black space - photos/captions
-gray space - words
-white space - blank space
-inner space
-gutter margin

Attraction attention with:

-dominant element
-dramatic shape
-readable type
-unity between spreads
-graphic punctuation

Arranging Elements
-select a dominant photo
-each photo should be a different size and shape
-strive for a variety of horizontal, vertical, and square photos
-keep in mind your white space, keep margins equal

Headlines are the most important

-should be incorporated in the spread
-headline and photo should match
-usually headline is on top of copy

Media Release Tips

Make sure the information is newsworthy.

Tell the audience that the information is intended for them and why they should
read it.
Start with a brief description of the news, then distinguished who announced it, and
not the other way around.
Ask yourself, "How are people going to relate to this and will they be able to
Make sure the first 10 words of your release are effective, as they are most
Avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language.
Deal with the facts.
Provide as much contact information as possible.
Make sure you wait until you have something with enough substance to issue a
Make it as easy as possible for media representatives to do their job.

Newspaper Design

Need Balance
Focus-let layout show importance
Needs unity throughout
Have dominant photos on each page

Media and Narrative : How to be a Storyteller


-Beginning, Middle, End
-Writer's Voice
-Symbolic Representation
-Reconstruction of Scenes

-A reliance not so much on the
the interview so much as on
the shared experience

-100% true-verifiable
-Focus on human drama
-Suggests broader social problems
-Sometimes uses 1st person

Learn the difference between reports and stories. Use one to render information,
the other to render experience.
Use dialogue as a form of action. Dialogue advances narrative;quotes delay it.
Reveal traits of character. Show characteristics through scenes, detail, and dialogue.
Put odd and interesting things next to each other. Help the leader learn from
Foreshadow dramatic events and powerful conclusions. Plant important clues early.
To generate suspense, use internal cliffhangers. To propel readers, make them wait.
Build your work around a key question. Stories need an engine, a question that the
action answers for the reader.
Write from different cinematic angles. Turn your notebook into a "camera."
Report and write for scenes. Then align them in a meaningful sequence.
Mix narrative modes. Combine story forms using the "broken line."

Writing Skills : How to Learn From the Best-Basic Models

Basic Models

Public Relations
-communications specialists
-organizes information
-"News Release"
-Strategic - Specific Goal

News Story
-Serves public
-Accurate and Truthful

-Lead - hook

Inverted pyramid

This model begins at the top with who, what, when, where, and how. As it moves
toward the narrow point at the bottom, the why is explained.

Hourglass Story

This model is top heavy with an emphasis on the facts. The story narrows through
the middle, then widens to impact. This type of story also relies more on quotes.

Anecdotal Story

This kind of story explains a complex issue in human terms. It begins with an
example, then illustrates how a person or group is affected.

Targeted News

This news has one specific area of discussion.


Investigative Piece
-Under cover
-Background information

Online Reporting

People often read online stories because they are shorter and they will take less
time to read. These are also readily updated, and when people want new news,
they can find it online the fastest.

Decision Making : How to set agendas and build consensus


Three important things:

-Is it relevant?
-Is it useful?
-Is it interesting?

Important elements:


Where does the story fit?

-Hard News

Everything needs to be planned out. Stories are often decided on long before they
ever are printed. It is good to look ahead and see what needs to be done ahead of
time to be more efficient.
It is more than just words. There are also pictures and layouts. What goes in must
be decided on by the writer and must be approved. It has to fit certain standards
and consider anyone involved and how it might affect them.

Deadline is huge! It could affect if the news gets out on time, or even how much it
costs to print! The public expects the news at a certain time, and it is the job of the
paper to get it to them.

Assignments are often made by a specific person. He knows what the reporters are
capable of, and certain people are going to naturally be better at covering certain

It is so important to plan. Plan ahead and then as you go. Know what needs to be
done and when it needs to be done by. Inefficiency is often a result of lack of
planning. Planning also will probably reduce the stress level when it comes down to
getting it done on time and done well.

Purpose of Communication

Communication is ultimately telling a story. There are many parts and many times,
pieces are overlooked. Stories are told through print, words, pictures, and tons of
other mediums. There is often more to a story than what it obvious.

Jesus was an incredible storyteller. He used parables to get his meanings across. He
took what the people were accustomed to and portrayed his message in their
terms. Then He could take the story and point out the lesson within it. When we
take these stories to heart, we can connect them to the meaning and get so much
more out of them.

We spent a large portion of the class watching a football game. What we learned
was that it is not just about a football being thrown and ran into the endzone. It is
not just about men tackling each other. Each of the players is a person with a life
story that got them to this point. Each coach has years behind them coaching the
same game but with so many different players. The announcers have more than a
voice and the fans have more than a cheer or boo.

When we really began to look above, around, and behind the game itself, we saw
so much more. We saw determination and frustration. We saw victory or defeat
following so many years just to get to this game. We saw excitement and pain. The
job of the broadcasters is to get all of this across with their cameras and graphics.
We see so much more when we look for the meaning behind the obvious story.

Media Ethics
Communication comes in many forms, but someone must decide what is ethical and
what is moral when it comes to getting the message across. Is there a right or
wrong way to communicate? That is a debatable. Some would say that anything
goes, while others want to consider those involved or those they could affect by
saying or printing certain things.

A journalists job is to inform. He needs to look at what is different, local, timely,

and significant. What is different is what will catch people's attention. Local news
means more to people because it is what directly affects them. People don't really
care about things when they happened a month ago, and they want to know things
that are significant to their lives or to society.

The work of advertising is to persuade. But what do you use to do the persuading?
It seems like more and more, sex is in advertising even when it has nothing to do
with the product. It is up to the advertiser to decide what will get customers, but it
is also up to him how he will do it.

It is all a choice. If you tell the truth, but lose profit, which should you do? What is
more important? What's right? It is all a question of ethics and morality.

Journalists have a number of responsibilities. . .

-Seek Truth
-Minimize Harm
-Act Independently
-Be accountable to. . .

Be Artistic

We spent this day in the Black Box exploring different artistic avenues in theatre.
We did various activities to expand ourselves and for many people, it was a time to
come out of the box.

Types of Learning
Intellectual—power of mind
Physical—power of body
Intuitive—truth or fact independent of reasoning (brain farts)

One of our first activities was to act like a ragdoll. Professor Byland held the strings
and we had to follow along as though the strings were connected to us. This took
some imagination, but in the end was effective.

We also did an activity with a partner where we acted as though the other person
was our mirror. You could never predict what the other person would do, so it took
a lot of focus to follow along.

Then we played imaginary tug-o-war. We imagined a large rope as well as a tiny

thread. We had to consider what natural reactions would occur if the rope were
actually there. For example, if the other person let go, we would probably fall on
the ground.

Our next activity was a group game where we had to be creative and join in on
what the first person began doing. We could not do the same thing, but something
that would occur in the same scene.

The next game relied on what the person ahead of us decided we should do. We
would ask "what are you doing" and then we had to follow through with what they

Then we had to create statues as a group. This reminded us not to think, but just

As a group, we acted out various objects. My group was an electric toothbrush.

Some of us laid on the ground and acted it out, while Rachel and I did the sound
effects. The rest of the class had to guess what we were.

The next activity was an improv game. We were given a situation and how to
respond. This took spur of the moment creativity.

This day was a day of exercises to get us out of our comfort zones and to realize
that creativity and artistic ability comes from doing, not thinking. Just give it a try.
We never know when the most profound things could come from just going for it.

Be Inventive : Use of Language to Communicate Meaning


-Artful Control of tempo and rate

We began to explore this area by laying on the ground. We breathed and stretched.
Once our bodies felt better and we were in a place where we weren't focused on
them as much, our minds could begin to expand more.


In order to get the mouth, tongue, and throat ready to speak, some warm-ups are
needed. Of course we don't do these things in everyday activities, but they will
probably benefit those who will use their voices for their vocation. We also did a
number of exercises to move our lips around and make various faces. I discovered
that my face isn't all that flexible and that I do not use all of my facial muscles,
because I could not do everything I was asked.


-What we cannot cure, we must learn to endure.

Lip Sound
-Pete Brady bastes his roast beef with tomato paste.

Lip-Teeth Sound
-Victor, for fear of becoming a victim, would not volunteer to test the voodoo.

Tongue-Teeth Sound
-Arithmetic is thought to be the most elementary from of mathematics.

Tongue-Tip to Gum Ridge

-Tina munched as she lunched on the spiced meat.

Articulation is a huge part of communication. If you can not get the words across
correctly, then you can not effectively make your point or fully express yourself.
Some words or word combinations are harder to get across, so they need to be
practiced. In order to make a living with your voice, you need to be able to master


Energy is always needed. No one wants to listen to a boring and uneventful

speaker. If you can hide and not be seen, then the voice might help you sleep, but
hopefully that is not the plan. The communicator needs to be able to keep the
attention of those listening and that will partially be accomplished through varying
the flow and adding excitement to the words.
Be Free : Stimulating the Imagination

Physical Activity

One of the first things you can do to stimulate imagination is to get the body
moving. We may have just walked around aimlessly for a period of time, but we
ended up laughing and it got us to the point where we were waking up. Once our
bodies were moving, it helped our minds to begin to turn as well.


Definitions -

1) The faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not

actually present to the senses.

4) The product of imagining; a conception or mental creation, often a baseless or

fanciful one.

Synonyms - ingenuity, enterprise, thought

Something that made me really began to think about imagination was the
discussion of a child's thoughts and how we give those up as we get older. But
shouldn't we allow some of that to stay? Imagination makes life fun and interesting.
It makes the world a better place when it is used the right way.


Definitions -

1) The state or quality of being creative

2) The ability to transcend traditional ides, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like,
and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.

Drawing the Picture from the Music

This I believe was an exercise that combined imagination with creativity. We

listened to a piece of music. That music in turn, initiated a thought process and
allowed our imaginations to begin to move. Then we allowed our creativity to take
the crayons and lay it out on paper. This together showed our ability to go back to a
time when we just had fun and it also showed that something of that remains in us.