A2 MEDIA COURSEWORK EVALUATION Rachel Zieminski 13DJS
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Looking at my overall product I think that it does fit in well with other well established local newspapers over the county, yet at the same time it challenges some conventions and is unique. My newspaper conforms to a typical style of a tabloid, like many regional newspapers do, and have kept it to a four column layout. Most of my ideas I got from magazines that I enjoyed reading but I had to make sure that it didn’t escape the standard conventions of a newspaper as I could not merge the two media types together. My overall aim was to combine fashion and local news into one readable newspaper that relates to my young market.
After looking into many regional newspapers and many cases of trial and error, I came up with two sketches of what my front and second page would look like…
Most front pages of informal newspapers contain fairly indirect headlines so I chosen to follow this convention and make mine indirect. More formal broadsheets have a direct headline, but this did not tie in with the more informal ‘Rock & Rose’ brand. Secondary leads used in the top right hand corner as these are used in tabloid newspapers such as The Sun. Masthead contains logo which can be seen by many local and national papers to provide an instant brand identity for the paper and established the papers colour scheme, which is utilised throughout the paper and other areas of the brand. Most front pages also contain a preview of the newspapers lead story. This story is attached to the headline I chose my lead story and placed it as the centre article on the page.
The newspaper date and website is found at the top of the page, which is another prime position encouraging the reader to visit the website and receive more hits, resulting in the newspaper being able to command higher advertising fees. This is why many newspapers flaunt their web address as I have done. The logo I chose is very edgy, I decided to use the combination of two different fonts and some stars and a guitar. This I did not see used by other newspapers meaning that I did not conform to the usual conventions. There is usually one photograph that dominates the front page which accompanies the lead story and I have used one on my front page. The price is often featured below the masthead however I took the approach that can be seen in The Metro of a tab going across the corner of my page. This is to highlight the fact the paper is free which is a good sales tactic for the paper and printed in a noticeable place makes it more obvious on the page.
Catchy slogan used is in a prime position underneath the logo, to enhance the brand and make the front page look more interesting and engaging.
Some of the newspapers I analysed used line separators to separate the different sections of the page and I have used this method on the front page. Most free newspapers, unlike most premium newspapers have a main advert on their front page. This increases their advertising revenue as they are most expensive spaces available. So I have used one for major chain store Selfridges. All headings I have researched have contained subheadings which expand on the head line. Therefore I have chosen to keep this convention. The name of the local area is included in the masthead to give identity to the paper and show to which region it is being marketed. Cut out image overlapping the masthead creates professional aesthetic for the page. Also the plus are featured at the top of the page around the masthead.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
This was one of my most enjoyable tasks as I find that Im much better on the creative side as I am to producing the actual product. I felt that I could be a lot more imaginative and inventive when deciding what to do which helped my thinking pattern. I chose to do a radio advert and a poster for this task as I found the two would be challenging and would be more fun also.
When I researching radio adverts and posters for my ancillary task I found this quite difficult as not many local newspaper use this form of media to advertise as it is very costly and has a lot of high competitors.
Many of the examples I found focused on one specific area to advertise such as The Sun advertising its website as this is the most successful part of the company accessed by millions a day. This is a very good strategy but unfortunately as ‘Rock & Rose’ is a new product it doesn’t have the same trust in its readers so this method would not be as effective.
This then gave me inspiration for my advertisement and my aim was to capture the message of what my paper’s aim and to reflect this into a poster. I did this by including the different aspects my paper features on the poster- ‘real life news’, ‘local interviews with the model of the week’, ‘fashion’ ‘competitions’ and ‘shopping’. This shows what my newspaper is about, a fashion based local paper, and also entices the audience with the word competition which my target market would wish to look further into.
I decided it was important to advertise the fact that my paper was free by doing so the same way it appears on my front page and that is in the top right hand corner tab. This is a big selling point as my target market are not known for having disposable income and this will be to their advantage. By having it in a white font with a red background, I’ve seen this in my extensive research and it seems to have a positive affect on the customers decision when choosing a newspaper.
As it is a local newspaper I wanted to make sure there was still a great sense of community within so it was important for me that the imagery and the models which will be recognisable to the readers as they will feel more of a connection to the articles.
The grey and the yellow colour scheme is very modern and unusual therefore working to my advantage setting it aside from its competitors. It features the realise date as this is vital to the reader as it informs them when the paper will be out. The web address is also used as it’s the first port of call that the reader would take when looking further into the product.
As with the poster an important part of designing the product was to maintain brand identity by reinforcing the brand that had already been developed through my main product. I tried using a range of different effects to make my poster stand out and be different, which with the use of Adobe Photoshop CS4 made editing easier to follow than I expected. Reflecting on my research and gaining ideas from more ordinary regional newspapers was a challenge, so I tried to use the ideas I had gained wired in with ideas from posters for magazines, which seemed a lot more on the lines of what I was looking for. I used the internet to download various fonts mainly from www.dfont.com . I wanted the poster to come across as being in your face as it sets itself apart from most other posters.
In the brief it stated that my radio advert would have to be 30 seconds in length but this later on proved a problem that occurred during recording. As 30 seconds seems like a relatively short amount of time, but after writing up a script and reading it back whilst timing myself it came out much shorter than I predicted. After a period of trial and error I realised I would need to have a talking section that lasted around 20 seconds and then with the added music, into and fade out this would all add up and fill the 30 second gap.
I found the advert very much of a challenge to put together as I have had little if not any experience with using software such as “Garage Band” for my first draft of the advert then moving onto “Windows Movie Maker” which was simplistically laid out and easy to follow. I recorded my speech on ‘Windows Sound Recorder’ and then inputted it into the Movie maker programme. After the speech ends I put a gradual volume rise onto the song by Kano called ‘Rock n Roller’, I chose this song as it’s a lively, energetic song which I think reflects Rock & Rose well. Afterwards I faded the song out slowly to end dead on 30 seconds. Upon reflection something that I would of changed would have the quality of the song I chose. As I did not have the mp3 version of the song I had to record it onto ‘Windows Sound Recorder’ which affected the overall clarity of the words and music. In general I believe my radio advert was a success, and fitted in with my paper being slightly different and unique as apposed to the more classic regional newspapers that you find in stores.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
My audience feedback was overall very positive. I didn’t just chose to ask my friends as even though they would give their honest opinion I didn’t want my results to be bias. I uploaded my work to the social networking site Facebook, made the picture public so not only just my friends could access the photos but the general public could as well. I then asked them to write what they think about the paper in the comment box.
The feedback I received helped me as the Small details such as the size of the font and placing of the picture were the most common point brought up, but one issue raised was that it wasn’t clear it was a newspaper that I was presenting and that it was more like a magazine- from me trying to challenge the conventions I have taken away the principle needed to determine my newspaper. From noticing this it proved to be very helpful and really boosted my predicted grade for my coursework. One person who I had asked about it specifically commented on the size of the title. They mentioned that the masthead looked plain and not attention grabbing. After going back to this it really did seem it. During this audience feedback I realised how much getting others opinions really does help for things you never noticed before. I edited different parts that my audience had mentioned and the second time round on my feedback things were much more positive.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Through the use of new media technologies this was the reason how I got my feedback from my audience. I found that the best media convention to use was the internet, in particular the social networking site Facebook. This is a well used site that my target audience use in their free time. So with the access to my blog and posting my work on facebook, I could send my work straight to my friends giving them a direct link sending them straight to all of my work, so I could not only get feedback on things such as my ancillary tasks but when it came down to theory work, I could ask other media students who would also have and use blogs.
Blogger helped me a huge amount as well. With the use of blogger I could upload my work to it and have it marked online by my teacher, this proved extremely helpful as I could go back and redraft it and get feedback within a couple of hours. The way it came across most helpful was that if my work was on my blog, I found that aslong as I had access to the internet I could pretty much do work anywhere as long as I had access to Blogger. This was helpful as I could then use my Blackberry phone if I did not have access to a computer. Not only was this a huge help for me but also for my teacher as she does not have to chase around after you for work, but simply view it straight away on a blog.
The use of Slideshare made uploading easy and a lot more tidy as well. It meant that I could upload lots of work at a time, but keep it tidy at the same time.
My entire newspaper project has been based around new media technologies. If It wasn’t for the fact that I had excessive access to the internet then my project work would have been no way possible. A large amount of my research was done through the internet and the work I carried out into other specific regional newspapers came off of their own websites.
The newspaper tabloid The Sun for example, although it wasn’t a local newspaper, it really helped in the development of my paper, where without having to go buy a copy every day, I could use their website as a way to see what their front page looked like each day, helping me with my ideas on what my product layout would look like. This site particularly helped me presenting my second page as I thought this was a trickier of the two.
I found the use of the magazine websites also useful, even though they do not follow the same conventions as a newspaper It gave me ideas into the creation of my poster. Websites such as NYLON were very helpful as they use loud colour schemes to make their poster stand out. The site shows fashion show dates and posters designed for specific designers new season collections. These helped with ideas for backgrounds and how to pattern the poster. Another source I found helpful was fashion Myspace. Smaller independent local designers try to help each other out promote each other through advertising each other with posters.