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Question 1 - In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
My media product is a local, tabloid newspaper designed to support the interests and needs of teenagers in the local community. Before the initial production process of my newspaper, I conducted a considerable amount of research into other local tabloid newspapers. Firstly, I identified four local tabloid newspapers which wer e 'The Metro', 'The News Shopper', 'London Lite' and the 'Bromley Times'. I then analysed the typical forms and conventions of each front page and explained the meaning of each convention I highlighted. This is a front page example of my forms and conventions analysis:
I conducted this type of front page analysis on each of my four researched newspapers. By interpreting the forms and conventions identified from existing local newspapers and incorporating those forms and conventions into my own newspaper, this is how my media product USES the typical conventions of local newspapers
today. For example, I included a masthead at the top of the front page, I also used fixed column widths to emphasise a page structure as well as a wide variety of colours which are typical of tabloid newspapers. Along with this, I also conducted analysis using the key media concepts of µRIVALING¶. This particular technique enabled me to gain a far greater understanding of the front and second pages of my local newspapers and how they target audie nce their audiences by representing the audience themselves using hidden messages and values within the textual information of the newspaper. This is an example of my µRIVALING¶ analysis:
This technique provided me with very detailed an informative expla nations about the unique relationship between a local newspaper and its target audience, how a local newspaper can be read as a narrative in the correct context, the production costs of small local newspapers and the various forms of language that can be u sed to support the demographics and psychographics of a particular target audience.
My media product CHALLENGES the forms and conventions of other media products in the print screen shown below. This print screen shows my sub -story which can be found at the bottom of the second page of my newspaper. What is unusual about this particular article is that the text is wrapped around the image which anchors the news story. Newspapers usually organise textual information into columns and separate images away from the textual information, whereas this particular structure is more representative of magazines.
Sub-story image anchoring the article.
The article is wrapped around the anchored image.
During my target audience research and my own personal experience as a teenager, I have realised that the majority of teenagers today would prefer to read magazines than newspapers because magazines usually contai n less textual information and a wider variety colour and imagery than the majority of local newspapers. As my media product is a newspaper designed to appeal to teenagers, I believe that by challenging the typical conventions of local newspapers and incorporating a magazine-style layout, it would benefit my newspaper¶s appeal to its target audience.
DEVELOPING the forms and conventions of local tabloid newspapers also develops the typical limitations and designs. I believe my media product develops the forms and conventions of local tabloid newspapers because it is aimed exclusively at teenagers.
For example, the masthead is one the first features every potential reader will u se to not only identify the name of the newspaper, but to make an almost immediate assumption on the type of news the newspaper will contain. For example, µThe Sun¶ is a left-wing political bias and it contains extensive coverage of current affairs and celebrity gossip. My newspaper is called µTeen Today¶. The word µTeen¶ is an abbreviation for the word µteenager¶. This implies that the newspaper is predominantly targeted at a younger audience and that the type of news stories covered in my newspaper woul d only be of interest to a younger target audience.
The vast majority of local and regional newspapers focus on trying to appeal to the biggest target audience they possibly can. However, because my newspaper is primarily directed at teenage rs, this makes my newspaper genre specific because it is targeting the needs of a restricted teenage audience. This suggests that my newspaper is developing the original forms and conventions of newspapers.
Question 2 - How effective is the combination of your main media product and ancillary texts?
As I have explained previously, my project consists of a front and inside page of a teenage newspaper and two separate ancillary texts in the form of a website and a poster. In my opinion, the idea of an on line website to support my µTeen Today¶ newspaper was an extremely effective solution for my target audience to access local news feeds, discussion boards and other news not featured in the latest edition of the print newspaper. On the other hand, I strugg le to find some form of reasoning to support the overall effectiveness of the newspaper poster. This can be linked to the recent developments between µold¶ and µnew media¶.
Old media platforms are traditional forms of communications that existed before the introduction of the Internet. Industries which are considered to be adopting old media include cable television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books and any other type of print publication. New media encompasses the rapid emergence of digital communic ation platforms. Some examples include websites, podcasts, blogging, online bulletin boards and talk radio. The print industry has in recent years succumbed to a huge loss in advertising revenue, circulation figures and most importantly the control over t he interests of the public since the rapid introduction of its predecessor, µnew media¶. The rise of new media has increased communication amongst people all over the world. This has also brought about a huge demand for interactivity, allowing people to express their opinions on various new media publications such as discussion boards and blogs. Please refer to the video on µThe Death of Print Media & The Rise of New Media¶. I found this video posted on µYoutube.com¶ and it contains a very detailed an informative investigation into the argument that old media has suffered as a result of the impact of new media. Due to the overwhelming demand for interactivity amongst audiences today, newspapers like µThe Metro¶ and the µBromley Times¶ have created official online websites to anchor the news covered in the printed newspaper with interactive blogs, discussion boards, videos, pictures and breaking news feeds. The most obvious interest of online news is that it is free. The second most important interest of online news is that it allows the user to interact with news topics and publish user generated comments expressing their individual views and opinions on whatever they wish. These two specific needs for free news conte nt and interactivity illustrates the transformation from traditional print-based publications to the new media er a we are currently immersed in. It is evident that all existing media industries must acknowledge this change and ado pt new media platforms if they are to survive. In conclusion to my answer for question two, I believe the ancillary text to produce an online website will prove to be an ext remely effective tool for my newspaper to use in order to move with the rapid developments of new media and at the same time obtain a much wider target audience who have a clear interest in interactivity and free online news content. However, this particul ar ancillary text will not be as effective if the printed µTeen Today¶ newspaper experiences a significant loss in circulation figures as a result of the introduction of a free online website . The second ancillary text which is the newspaper poster will not prove to be as effective as the online website because the poster is solely for advertisement purposes. The poster is only designed to inform my target audience of the launch of my media product, therefore it is limited in its use and is not as dynamic as the website.
Tteris to advertise the launch of my newspaper but other than that, it is limited in its capabilities.
This is a print screen of the Metro website. www.metro.co.uk
This is a print screen of the Bromley Times website. www.bromleytimes.co.uk
The second ancillary task which was the newspaper poster, in my opinion was not as effective as the online website because adopting an online website is what the majority of national and local newspapers have had to do since the loss of advertising revenue and circulation figures. However, during my research of newspaper posters I found it very difficult to find at least 4 or 5 official newspaper posters. From personal experience, I cannot remember noticing many posters/adverts advertising new local or national newspapers anywhere. As a result, I found it difficult to take inspiration from the limited number of newspaper posters that I found to create my µTeen Today¶ poster.
Question 3 - How did you use new media technologies in the construction, research, planning and evaluation stages?
New media technology is the Internet or any application or platform which is digitally based.
Planning was the initial stage of my project. This is where I created newspaper sketches, original photography samples, lead and sub -story written documents and a coursework proposal which set out the plans and aims of my newspaper.
My Coursework Proposal
My coursework proposal acted as the foundation from where I would begin the planning stage of my project. The purpose of my coursework proposal was to explain the aims and plans I had for my teenage newspaper. I created the proposal using the program µMicrosoft Word¶ and in my proposal I discussed everything from the name of my newspaper t o its intended target audience using the key media concepts of µRIVALING¶. To upload this word document onto my blog, I decided to use an external application programme called µScribd¶. Scribd is a free online publishing website which allows you to upload word documents onto the website and then share them on various different publishing formats such as µFacebook¶ and in my case µBlogger¶.
The newspaper sketches were created with just two A3 pieces of paper, a black permanent marker, a pencil and a ruler. I took two photographs of the front and second page newspaper sketches using a digital camera and uploaded them onto my blog.
Front Page Sketch
Second Page Sketch
I then uploaded the sketch photographs onto a Microsoft Word document so that I could annotate the forms and conventions of my front and second newspaper sketches.
Front Page: Forms & Conventions Analysis
Second Page: Forms & Conventions Analysis
I also used Microsoft Word to create two separate draft articles for my lead and sub story.
Brief Planning Notes
Lead Story Drafting
Although the content of these two planning documents are not entirely representative of the content in the final version of my newspaper, they have helped me elaborate and develop my final article pieces by providing a structure for me to work upon. I have also posted a number of original photography samples onto my blog .
During the research stage of my project I conducted research into similar local newspapers such as the µNews Shopper¶ and the µLondon Lite ¶. I also researched past newspaper posters from newspapers like µThe Sun¶ in order to gain inspiration for the design of my poster, as well as target audience research which discussed the target audience of my newspaper using audience demographics and psychographics. The two media technologies I used during the research stage of my project were the Internet and the online web-publishing programme µScribd¶ which allows users to upload word documents onto blogs. I obtained my newspaper poster examples from Google images along with the front and second page local newspaper examples which were used for forms and conventions analysis, key media concept analysis using µRIVALING¶ and also for personal inspiration for the design ing process of my newspaper. The images below are print screen e xamples of my poster research.
The Guardian Newspaper
The Sun Newspaper
My target audience research can be found on my blog as a µScribd¶ document.
The construction stage of my project is where I began creating my µTeen Today¶ newspaper. The programme I used to create my newspaper was µIn -design¶ which is a software feature commonly used on Apple Mac computers. At first, I had no understanding or previous knowledge on how to use the µIn-Design¶ programme and so I had difficulty coming to grips with the programme as I had to learn very quickly. As I progressed with the construction of my newspaper in µIn -Design¶, I posted images of my newspaper¶s progress onto my blog as evidence of draft material. The images below were taken from my blog. They show my newspaper during its on going construction.
Front Page of My Newspaper (Draft)
Second Page of My Newspaper (Draft)
I also used the programme µPhoto Shop¶ to edit the photos I have used on the front and second page of my newspaper. Below are a few examples of the original photographs before they were edited in Photo Shop.
Below are a couple of photographs which were edited in Photo Shop and placed on the front and second page of the final version of my newspaper.
Caption to label the image.
Black border to enhance and anchor the image on the page.
I also used the Internet to search for adverts I could use on the front and second page of my newspaper. I also had to edit some of the adverts in Photo Shop in or der to adjust the size of the advert or crop part of the advert image.
Question 4 ± What have I learnt from my target audience feedback?
In order to gain the target audience feedback I required, I used my personal user account on the social networking website µFacebook.com¶ to upload two print screen images of the front and second pages of my µTeen Today¶ newspaper. The reason why I chose my Facebook account to obtain the feedback I needed from my target audience was because the majority of people who are listed as friends on my Facebook account are teenagers. Therefore, the best method for obtaining the most important and constructive feedback was to upload sample images of my newspaper onto my Facebook account because my newspaper is specifically designed to appeal to the interests and needs of teenagers . The images below represent the target audience feedback I received from my µTeen Today¶ newspaper.
As you can see, I received a large number of responses, with each person proposing positive, negative and constructive feedback comments.
Teen Today newspaper, front page Facebook comments continued.
The first key element I have taken from my target audience feedback is that feedback itself is extremely dependent upon the future success of your media product. Without target audience feedback, you cannot possibly grasp a true understanding of the needs and interests of your target audience regardless of the amount of target audience research you may have previously conducted. The second lesson I have learnt from my target audience feedback is that all feedback has relevance to the development of your media product. Positive comments are just as valuable as negative comments and you must consider each and every comment without pre -judgement in order to effectively target the needs of your target audience. The third and final lesson I have gained from my target audience feedback can be linked with the old cliché ³the customer is always right´. I personally found myself disagreeing with some of the comments my target audience feedback provided me with. However, I have learnt the significance of this feedback and I now understand that the best form of evaluating the degree of success of your product is to organise structured target audience feedback.