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ppt file on writing reviews

ppt file on writing reviews



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reviews reviews Presentation Transcript

  • Reviewing Skills Print Journalism 7th April 2006
  • What is a review?
    • A report? An opinion?
    • Should it be balanced and objective?
    • Or subjective / opinionated?
    • Differences between types of publication/ expectations.
    • Types of reviews - products, events, case studies
    • The value of reviews
  • The job of the reviewer
    • Cohen : ‘to present opinions entertainingly and clearly, within the limits of the paper (s)he works for.’
    • 3 principles of reviewing:
      • Reviewers operate on behalf of reader, listener, viewer not producers
      • Context defined by market of their publication
      • Personal opinions within clearly defined framework
  • The job of the reviewer
    • Readers seek guidance - evaluation of whether they want to buy/ consumer guide?
    • Local newspaper reviews often disproportionately influential.
    • Allen : ‘judgments are made about the cultural tastes of readers, listeners or viewers which provide the framework within which the reviewer operates.’
  • What is a review?
    • Reporting :
      • Particularly important in newspapers
      • Factual information - who is involved?
      • What do readers need/ want to know?
      • Wider context.
      • Observation - audience? Venue? Artwork?
      • Some degree of scene setting required
  • What is a review?
    • Opinion:
      • What do you think of the product/ event?
      • Who is interested in what you think?
      • What is your audience for your review?
        • Your peers?
        • Musicians?
        • A wider public?
      • Should I hold back what I really think?
  • Objectivity vs Subjectivity?
    • Do I have an open mind? Or pre-conceptions?
    • Do I listen to the CD / go to the gig/ watch the film?
    • What are the pre-conceptions?
    • Can / should they be changed?
    • What choice do I have over what I review?
    • Need to be factually informed and opinionated
    • Originality - not rehashing other people’s views.
  • 3 phases of reviewing
    • Martin and Jacobs: break down the process into three parts -
    • DESCRIPTIVE - form of event, genre/ style, where it fits ‘current cultural zeitgeist’ (Allen)
    • INTERPRETIVE - explanation of what goes on based on context, reference to other works, etc.
    • EVALUATIVE - a recommendation, judgment
    • This is quite a prescriptive approach to reviewing and often helps get a review started but do not feel limited by it,
  • Editorial Expectations
    • What do they want?
    • How do they decide what is/ is not going to be reviewed?
    • Is there a house style? (formal or informal?)
    • Star ratings? How to distribute them?
    • Influence of other writers on the publication.
    • Space - number of words often dictates the style of the review.
    • Wider range of reviews in magazines/ newspapers: DVDs, CDs, Books, websites, digital, restaurants, tourist attractions, theatre, film, television/ radio etc.
  • How to access material
    • Journalist can also be pro-active in what they write about.
    • BUT many are responsive to other publications and PR companies rather than own instincts.
    • Need to consume music as a fan to be effective music journalist?
    • Need to be involved in music more widely than just being a journalist?
  • Case Study 1 : On the night reviewing
    • Often up against very tight deadline.
    • Advance research.
    • Punctuality!
    • Ideas for review in advance? Good or Bad idea?
    • Ability to absorb gig/ write can often be limited by circumstances:
      • Seated/ standing
      • Indoor/ outdoor
      • Busy/ quiet
      • Dark / Light
      • Early/ Late
  • Case Study 2 : Television reviews
    • Earliest TV reviews read like news stories
    • Advent of celebrity television reviewers - Clive James, etc
    • Programmes now released in advance to reviewers
    • Reviews most important for episodic programmes
    • Acerbic reviews most often seem to be reserved for television (Screen Burn etc)
    • Blurring of lines between reviews and previews/ listings
  • Case Study 3: CD reviewing
    • Again: importance of research
      • What do I know about the act?
      • How can I find out?
      • What are the most relevant facts to include?
    • Listening / Writing:
      • How many time do I need to listen?
      • How much detail?
      • Should I listen differently than if I was listening for pleasure?
    • What are the key points I want to make?
    • In what order should I place them?
  • More general tips for reviewing
    • Importance of first paragraph - need for immediacy
    • Importance of preparation - don’t approach in a vacuum - immerse yourself in the job
    • Always take notes - as you watch, at the interval, etc
    • Read other reviews and observe styles employed
    • Develop your own style
    • Be aware of ethical considerations/ freebies
    • Be able to ‘convey your boredom in an interesting way’ (Allen)
    • Avoid blandness & cliches
  • The value of reviews?
    • Do they make any difference?
    • Who is most interested in them?
      • Consumers?
      • The artists?
      • The audiences?
      • The readers?
      • The (record) industry?
    • An element of each - but arguably they are part of the sales process, and the industries benefit most.