We were asked to produce our own unique musicmagazine for our AS level Media Studies coursework.We had to make a blog in order to present evidence ofall the research and planning we had carried out anduse Adobe Photoshop to create a front cover, contentspage and double page spread. Now that I have finishedthe task I was set, the time has come for me to lookback and evaluate the effectiveness of my work and toconsider how much I have developed as a mediapractitioner.I made a choice at the very start to produce threecomponents of a music magazine that celebrates popmusic. Pop, as a genre, has very obvious conventionsthat are loved by all fans of this type of music. As a popfan myself, I was already familiar with these, but Icarried out extensive research into real pop magazinesto deepen my knowledge and to find out how existingmedia texts reflect genre through content, designfeatures and mode of address.My magazine is called Rhythmix. The front cover,contents page and double page spread all followtypical conventions of real pop magazines. They
feature bright colours, which entice the readership andreflect the bright, fun persona of pop. The colourscheme of my three pieces is mainly pink and orange.These colours are typical feminine colours, which willappeal to the youthful readership of my magazine, butthat also match the colours found in existing popmagazines like ‘We Love Pop’ and ‘Just Pop’.The colloquial mode of address used within my threepieces will also entice the readership further. Buildingup a relationship between the readership andmagazine is an important thing and an appropriatemode of address will make the readership feel asthough the magazine is a friend that understands her.Words such as ‘hotties’, ‘crush’ and ‘fiver’ are usedthroughout the three pieces and the audience willrecognise these words so therefore will want to readthe magazine. By using language like this, I havefollowed the conventions of pop magazines, as asimilar mode of address is found on the front coverand inside the pages of ‘We Love Pop’, which featurescolloquialisms such as, ‘LOL One Directed’ and ‘’Isnogged 17 girls last Saturday’. I have also followed thegeneral layout conventions of magazines by placing themasthead at the top of the frame on my front cover,
and the price and barcode in the bottom right handcorner, where the Western eye goes last. Sell-lines,meanwhile, surround the main image. My jam-packedfront cover does look pretty ‘busy’, but, again, it is acommon convention of pop magazines to have a‘chocka-block’ front cover in order to capture the fun,youthful persona of the typical pop fan and of popitself.It is typical of pop mags to use bright colours, I haveachieved this in my double page spread by usingcolours such as, pink, yellow and purple. All of myimages follow the conventions of images found in popmagazines and use typical pop iconography. Themodels’ images make it clear who my target audienceare. All of my models are in close proximity with eachother; they are smiling friendly and giving directaddress. This will make me TA feel like the models areactually looking/talking to them and the friendly smileswill draw in the reader and make her feel special andnot intimidated by the pretty girls. My contents page isalso typical of contents pages and follows generalconventions. My contents page also uses bright colourssuch as pink and orange which are two very femininecolours, which, again, will appeal to the reader and lure
her in. The image also shows the models looking fun,feminine and friendly, rather than too flirty orprovocative, making the image more appealing to thereader, as she will see the girls in this band as potentialfriends and role models. It is important for the modelsto look like this because it is vital for the reader to feelwelcomed and not be intimidated or jealous of themodels. I have secured a symbiotic link over my threepieces by using the same gorgeous models, who areyoung, about the same age as the target audiencewhich will heighten appeal and lure readers in. I havealso used the same colour scheme across my threepieces, including pink and orange which are fun, bright,youthful colours. However, in my double page spread Iused a different colour scheme of yellow, pink andpurple because it is a common convention of popmagazines to make subtle changes to their colourscheme to keep it from being repetitive and boring. Ididn’t want the magazine to be too ‘samey’ as if thereader was seeing the same colour scheme throughout the magazine she would get bored and eventuallyput it down and not continue reading. Throughcreating a symbiotic link I have achieved a strong brandidentity and I am sure whenever a girl saw the
magazine she would straight away know it wasRhythmix and she would be unable to not buy themagazine as it is full of all the things a teenage girlswants and needs. Below are my 3 pieces. Here, you cansee examples of how I have followed conventions:
As you can see my contents page is very similar to areal pop magazine contents page. There is an imageused of the front cover and arrows are used to saywhich article is on which page. This is good because itis very straight to the point and it makes it easier forthe target audience to navigate their way around themagazine. It is also a common convention to use puffsand I have successfully used them in my front cover.My front cover also includes the price in the top righthand corner and barcode in the bottom left handcorner. These two pieces of information are needed onthe mag but are not the most important part thereforethe font used is smaller compared to the other fonts.On my double page spread I have followed conventionsby adding page numbers, images, text and I eveninserted an image of an arrow with the word ‘more’written inside it so the readers knew they could turnthe page and read more. This is often seen on popmagazines.My magazine is aimed at a target audience ofpredominately fresh, fun and feminine females agedbetween 14 and 18. The readers of my magazine willbe young, feminine girls, who enjoy going out withfriends, social networking, and doing their hair and
makeup. They enjoy reading about the latest gossip inthe celebrity world and love finding out tips on how tobe like their favourite solo artist or girl band member,who they admire and aspire to be like. Music isimportant to the target audience. They are constantlylistening to music and they would do anything to meettheir favourite boy band, who they only ever see intheir dreams. The target audience are always listeningto music, whether it is on their iPod, iPhone or radio.They love to listen to radio stations such as Kiss 100and Capital FM to find out if their fave band or soloartist has hit the top of the charts! The girls most of all,love buying Rhythmix each week to catch up on thelatest gossip in the celebrity world and to find out whathot boy is in ‘6 Pac of the Week’ so they can add it totheir collection of posters on their bedroom wall! Itwill also satisfy her needs by including up-to-dateinformation about the latest celebrity ‘break-up’ andall the exclusive gossip on their favourite popartists/band. It will include real life stories, which willentice the reader and will give her advice on how tostay safe. For example I will include a story about a girlwho was lured in by a 30 year old man posing to be a16 year old boy on a chat room social networking site.
This article will include information on how to avoidcertain situations similar to this one. Safety is part ofMaslow’s hierarchy of needs. The magazine will notonly include real life stories and celebrity gossip but itwill also include tips on how to be the best she can be,with regards her physical appearance and herfriendships. This is also part of Maslow’shierarchy; he says that the mostimportant thing for aperson to have is selfactualisation. Thereforethis part of the magazinewill allow her to lookgood and feel good by giving the latest fashion do’sand don’ts and all the best information on makeup,given by professionals. This issue of Rhythmix also includes a “style special” which gives tips on how to look like the one and only Lauren Goodger who starred in one of the reader’s favourite TV show TOWIE. It also says how to do it by spending only a ‘fiver’ this is a good thing as the reader will not have a
full time job or be getting a lot of money so she loves agood bargain! As mentioned before, the colours of my3 pieces will also appeal to her as they are bright, funand feminine. The colours jump right out of the pageand lure her in to the point she cannot put themagazine down! Each story will appeal to her in oneway or another and she will not be able to get enoughof all the gossip and ‘fit lads’. By using an appropriatemode of address, magazines are appeal to appealdirectly to their target audience. Rhythmix is a teenagepop magazine and these days, teenagers use all sortsof slang and colloquial language and Rhythmix knowsall about what to say and how to say it! They knowhow to get in with the crowd. The readership will readthe magazine and get lost and escape from all therealities of her busy life at school and socialising. Themode of address helps the reader to do this. Thereader will see Rhythmix as a friend and will enjoyreading the magazine. Examples of mode of addressused are: ‘fit’, ‘lads’, ‘hotties’, ‘shop ‘til you drop’, ‘1D’(which is a colloquial, formal, friendly abbreviation ofOne Direction),’fiver’ and ‘lush’.
My magazine typically represents young females. Youcan see this through my three pieces. As you can see,they are all at ease with each other’s company. Theysmile brightly and have laid back body language. In thefront cover a long shot is used and shows them allstanding next to each other to one side, the contentspage includes a birds-eye shot of them lying on thefloor with their beautifully coloured hair sprawled outaround them and the double page spread includes amedium shot of them standing next to each other withtheir bodies slightly tilted. All the girls are smiling andlook content with life. They all look at ease with eachother and in no way look intimidating. The way thegirls are standing side by side with bright eyes andsmiling faces invite the reader in and will make herwant to read the article about this up-to-date, fresh,
new band who are ready to take over the pop world!The images show how confident they are and theyprove that young females can be successful andbeautiful. The models present this representation bygiving direct address which suggests confidence andself assurance. The costumes the models are wearingare also representative of young females today. Theyare wearing patterned leggings, which are the height offashion in today’s society. The leggings show off theirfun, quirky and individual personality. The models arealso wearing black and white long sleeve t-shirts whichreflect the fact that there are no ‘grey areas’ withinwhat they want to achieve. They’re star image is eitherblack or white and they are determined to be big andsuccessful; there is no room for failure. The threepieces reinforce accepted stereotypes about what girlslike and what girls enjoy doing, e.g. fashion, make up,gossip, romance, and wholesome boys. However, someolder people who are not ‘in with the crowd’ maycriticise this and say that the female gender amountsto more and that we should be encouraging teenageand young girls to see this, but I disagree with thisbecause I know for a fact that the things listed aboveare what teenage girls are interested in: my research
has proven this and in order to keep my audiencehappy and to keep circulation figures high, I willprovide my audience with what they are interested in.The double page spread article highlights the fact theyare new to the scene and ready to “mix it up.” The factfile on them is simple but tells the readershipeverything they would want to know about them, suchas all their favourite things. Even though these girls areyoung they know what they want and they are ready totake over and let all their dreams come true. The girlsare incontrol and ambitious. They are new to the sceneand want to make a good impression. The double pagespread includes a fact file on the girls. This makes thegirls even more appealing to the readers because thiscan make them more relatable. If the girl band likewhat the readers like it will make the readers like themeven more. The double page spread has a lure, it givesthe reader the chance to win the girl band’s debut
album so this is yet another reason for the targetaudience to read the magazine. As you can clearly seethe models are confident, in control and ambitious andthis whole representation is made across the twopages.The media institution I have chosen to use to own anddistribute my magazine is Hearst Magazines UK. It is asuccessful company that has been around for years. Itwas established in 1910 by William Randolph Hearst
and is a wholly owned subsidiary of HearstCorporation, one of the largest diversified mediacompanies. The institution owns a whole host ofsuccessful magazines, such as: Reveal, Cosmopolitan,Elle, House Beautiful and Good House Keeping.The company is the largest digital publisher in the UK,it’s reach extends to 1 in 3 UK women and 1 in 4 UKadults. The portfolio comprises 20 magazines and 20digital properties and it’s world class brands areavailable on multiple platforms. Hearst Magazines UKis so successful and because of it’s success it is likely tohave the capital to profitably launch my magazine andpromote it. I would be able to hold events to showcasethe magazine, such as a launch party, and later alongthe line, awards ceremonies for categories such as‘Best Male Pop Act’.Hearst Magazines UK has experience in a range ofareas that would allow my magazine to be successful.They know how to effectively run a magazine andlaunch it properly. They know what to do whencirculation figures start to fall. For example in July 2010Cosmopolitans circulation figures went down so theyrevamped the magazine. This worked very well and the
figures rose again. The company also know how todeliver audiences to advertisers efficiently.The institution also has a brilliant reputation; this willhopefully be carried through to my own magazine. Theexcellence of the brand and its world class status willbe extended to my own product. Their reputation willmean that advertisers and audiences will trust themagazine more.Hearst Magazines UK currently distributes magazinesto 1 in 3 UK women and owns a number of magazinesexclusively aimed at a female readership, e.g.Cosmopolitan, Elle and Reveal. This means that theyunderstand and know how to appeal to femalesthrough including things such as fashion, beauty andmakeup throughout the content. My magazine isaimed at a female audience and Hearst Magazines UKwill be aware of what needs to be done in order thather needs are fulfilled.The company currently own a website called‘SugarScape’, a magazine aimed at young femaleaudience, covering gossip and news related to the likesof One Direction and Conor Maynard, along with musicinformation and fashion advice. This is great news, as it
relates directly to the content of my magazine. HearstMagazines UK clearly has experience in appealing to ayoung female readership and providing the kind ofmaterial that my magazine will cover. What is evenbetter is that, because this is a website, there is a gapin Hearst Magazines UK’s portfolio for a print magazinecovering the same material. My magazine will fill thatgap and flourish because of the institution’s wealth ofexperience.Due to the presence of ‘SugarScape’ in HearstMagazines UK’s brand portfolio, this means that theywill have an existing link with advertisers who promoteproducts aimed at a female youth audience. HearstMagazines UK will also have experience of deliveringaudiences to advertisers through the distribution ofmedia packs. The same advertisers can be recruited formy magazine.Throughout the process of constructing my products Ihave learnt many new technical skills and improvedmany of the ones I already had. I learnt how to set up ablog and upload images, text and videos on to this. Atfirst, I found it rather hard to use because it was newto me and not something I was used to using but as Ibecame more accustomed to using it and after I
received help from my friends and class teacher I waseventually capable of navigating my own way aroundthe site and learning all the fun and interesting thingsyou can do to make your blog the best it can be. Thereare many advantages to using a blog. They enable youto keep all your work organised and to show the‘journey’ you have gone through as a mediapractitioner. In addition to this, blogs are multimediaand so allow the presentation of work to be moreinteresting and creative. Updating and editing a blog isalso possible. However, I am a sucker for old fashionthings and part of me would have loved to producesome sort of portfolio/scrap book to have all my workit. At the same time, nonetheless, I can see the benefitsof blogging and am glad that I have learnt how to worka blog properly; I have no doubt that I will make use ofthis skill in the future.Throughout this project, I also learnt how to use awebsite called ‘SlideShare’ this website came in reallyhandy and allowed me to upload my work to my blogin an easier and more sufficient way. I uploaded all ofmy analyses via slide share and my case study. It was agood way to get my work on to my blog however, Idon’t think I like the way it made my presentation
because it made the text very small and in some casesnot readable so for all my overviews I uploaded themstraight to my blog instead of going via SlideShare.The practical demands of the Foundation Portfolioproject have enabled me to improve my skills onAdobe Photoshop too. I used Adobe Photoshoppreviously at GCSE to make fragrance ads, so this timearound I knew the basic skills, such as how to add textlayers and text effects and how to adjust the saturationand hue on an image. Whilst using it for this project, Ilearnt new things such as how to effectively use themagic wand tool and the shape tool. The magic wandtool helped me to eliminate parts of an image I didn’twant, such as the background on the image thatfeatures on my double page spread, and the shape toolallowed me to create all the funky shapes I have on mythree pieces, which in turn resulted in my piecesfollowing the codes and conventions of pop magazinesmore successfully; pop magazines use these shapesliberally to create a fun feel. When comparing how Ifelt using the programme at GCSE level, I can see that,during this project, I was more confident andexperimental using the software, which allowed me tomake use of it in a more effective, creative and daring
way. The completion of the preliminary task, which Iwill discuss in the next section of this evaluation, reallyhelped me to feel this confidence at the main taskstage. I am now a complete Photoshop convert and cansee that there are countless things you can do withAdobe Photoshop and it is a brilliant way to edit andperfect photos.My photography skills have also improved as a result ofcarrying out this project; I have learnt how to takeimages in a more effective and creative way. Again, itcomes down to confidence and bravery! At GCSE level,I played it safe. For this project, I played with tiltedframes and bird’s eye shots and became creative withthe camera, which enabled me to produce shots thatwere in keeping with the fun persona and brandidentity of my magazine. I strongly believe in theimportance of getting the quality of the raw imagesjust right, as it will affect the overall feel and excellenceof the finished products. By approaching the ‘shoot’with a clear idea of the effect I wanted to create, butalso a touch of daring, I was able to produce greatshots that I could really work well with. At the sametime, however, I have learnt that photography is notjust about taking wonderful photos; there is so much
more to it, such as careful planning of mise-en-sceneelements, such as location and costume. These thingshave an enormous impact on the finished product andmy finished pieces are successful because I plannedthese carefully first. You also have to make sure thereare no shadows and no inappropriate objects in theframe that you don’t want to be there. I have slowlybut surely mastered the art of taking photos and I amvery proud of the images I took for this specific project.I took many images for this task so I had a variety tochoose from when making my three products. Whenselecting my final pieces, I chose the images thatfeatured poses that reflected unity between the girls inthe band and that captured the fun, youthful feel of mymagazine. It was great to have the freedom to pick the‘cream of the crop’, which is a luxury that some of mypeers, who only took a minimal number of images, didnot have. I think the process has made me confidentand skilled in selecting the right and most appropriateimages from a selection, a challenge I found reallydifficult at GCSE level. Below are the images I didn’tuse:(ADD IMAGES I DIDNT USE)
Looking back at my preliminary task, I feel I havelearnt, improved and achieved a lot since then andthrough completing the main task. I have successfullygot to know the target audience my magazine wasaimed at, and followed general conventions to staysafe and be sure the magazine would appeal to them.When comparing my preliminary task to my main taskthere are certain things you can notice such as lighting,mise-en-scene elements and mode of address. Forexample, in my main task I focused a lot more oncostume. The costume that the model wears is a veryimportant part of the image because it can show casetheir personality and star image. I also improved thelighting and composition of the models in my main taskbecause in my preliminary ask the image was ratherdark and my model looked very simple regarding theway she stands and bleakly smiles. In terms of mode ofaddress, I have found it a lot easier and moremanageable with my pop mag in comparison to myschool mag. This is because pop mags have such adistinctive mode of address. Research into existingmedia texts allowed me to become more familiar withthis. With the preliminary task, there were no realpoints of reference; I had to second guess which mode
of address to use to some extent in the school mag. Inmy main task I was also more experimental with toolsin Photoshop which allowed my main pieces to lookmore professional and aesthetically pleasing.When comparing my preliminary contents page to mymain contents page I have made a number ofimprovements. For starters, I created my preliminarytask on a word document therefore I was unable toedit the text and image in a way I would have liked to.The preliminary contents page is very unprofessionalcompared to my main task contents page and you cansee evidence of this below:
In terms of my double page spread I cannot reallycomment as I didn’t make one in the preliminary task.However, producing one really allowed me to learnmore about magazine journalism and to extend mycreative wings. Again, if this challenge had been set atpreliminary level, I would have found it hard because Iwas not as experienced, I didn’t have enough existingmedia texts to guide you me and even though I usedPhotoshop before I was not as creative and I could notuse it to the quality and extent I can now and my skillson Photoshop have now flourished.On a reflective note, I have learnt how to operate as apractitioner. I have an obvious aptitude for creativityand the ability to replicate media conventions. Nextyear, however, I think I shall have the confidence tochallenge conventions and ‘not play it safe.’ Next year,for my A2 Levels I want to have the freedom andbravery to not follow typical conventions and make thefilm trailer unique and inimitable!Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed making the frontcover, contents page and double page spread of themake-believe magazine Rhythmix. I have thoroughlyimproved my knowledge on magazine conventions notonly pop magazines but indie and house music
magazines. My understanding of how to use mode ofaddress and iconography for effect has improved and Ialso believe my knowledge and use of mediaterminology is getting better and better! I now am fullyaware of how to successfully appeal to targetaudiences no matter what age group they are. I havealso improved my practical and creative skills byperfecting all of my pieces. Furthermore, I think I haveenjoyed this project so much because my dream careeris to be an editor or journalist for a magazine, so thistask was right up my street and I truly believe I havelucratively perfected my final products and I am veryproud of them.