reviews

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  • reviews

    1. 1. Reviewing Skills Print Journalism 7th April 2006
    2. 2. What is a review? <ul><li>A report? An opinion? </li></ul><ul><li>Should it be balanced and objective? </li></ul><ul><li>Or subjective / opinionated? </li></ul><ul><li>Differences between types of publication/ expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Types of reviews - products, events, case studies </li></ul><ul><li>The value of reviews </li></ul>
    3. 3. The job of the reviewer <ul><li>Cohen : ‘to present opinions entertainingly and clearly, within the limits of the paper (s)he works for.’ </li></ul><ul><li>3 principles of reviewing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviewers operate on behalf of reader, listener, viewer not producers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Context defined by market of their publication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal opinions within clearly defined framework </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. The job of the reviewer <ul><li>Readers seek guidance - evaluation of whether they want to buy/ consumer guide? </li></ul><ul><li>Local newspaper reviews often disproportionately influential. </li></ul><ul><li>Allen : ‘judgments are made about the cultural tastes of readers, listeners or viewers which provide the framework within which the reviewer operates.’ </li></ul>
    5. 5. What is a review? <ul><li>Reporting : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Particularly important in newspapers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Factual information - who is involved? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do readers need/ want to know? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wider context. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observation - audience? Venue? Artwork? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some degree of scene setting required </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. What is a review? <ul><li>Opinion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you think of the product/ event? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is interested in what you think? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is your audience for your review? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your peers? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Musicians? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A wider public? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should I hold back what I really think? </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Objectivity vs Subjectivity? <ul><li>Do I have an open mind? Or pre-conceptions? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I listen to the CD / go to the gig/ watch the film? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the pre-conceptions? </li></ul><ul><li>Can / should they be changed? </li></ul><ul><li>What choice do I have over what I review? </li></ul><ul><li>Need to be factually informed and opinionated </li></ul><ul><li>Originality - not rehashing other people’s views. </li></ul>
    8. 8. 3 phases of reviewing <ul><li>Martin and Jacobs: break down the process into three parts - </li></ul><ul><li>DESCRIPTIVE - form of event, genre/ style, where it fits ‘current cultural zeitgeist’ (Allen) </li></ul><ul><li>INTERPRETIVE - explanation of what goes on based on context, reference to other works, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>EVALUATIVE - a recommendation, judgment </li></ul><ul><li>This is quite a prescriptive approach to reviewing and often helps get a review started but do not feel limited by it, </li></ul>
    9. 9. Editorial Expectations <ul><li>What do they want? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they decide what is/ is not going to be reviewed? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a house style? (formal or informal?) </li></ul><ul><li>Star ratings? How to distribute them? </li></ul><ul><li>Influence of other writers on the publication. </li></ul><ul><li>Space - number of words often dictates the style of the review. </li></ul><ul><li>Wider range of reviews in magazines/ newspapers: DVDs, CDs, Books, websites, digital, restaurants, tourist attractions, theatre, film, television/ radio etc. </li></ul>
    10. 10. How to access material <ul><li>Journalist can also be pro-active in what they write about. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT many are responsive to other publications and PR companies rather than own instincts. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to consume music as a fan to be effective music journalist? </li></ul><ul><li>Need to be involved in music more widely than just being a journalist? </li></ul>
    11. 11. Case Study 1 : On the night reviewing <ul><li>Often up against very tight deadline. </li></ul><ul><li>Advance research. </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuality! </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas for review in advance? Good or Bad idea? </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to absorb gig/ write can often be limited by circumstances: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seated/ standing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indoor/ outdoor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Busy/ quiet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dark / Light </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Early/ Late </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Case Study 2 : Television reviews <ul><li>Earliest TV reviews read like news stories </li></ul><ul><li>Advent of celebrity television reviewers - Clive James, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Programmes now released in advance to reviewers </li></ul><ul><li>Reviews most important for episodic programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Acerbic reviews most often seem to be reserved for television (Screen Burn etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Blurring of lines between reviews and previews/ listings </li></ul>
    13. 13. Case Study 3: CD reviewing <ul><li>Again: importance of research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do I know about the act? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can I find out? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the most relevant facts to include? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Listening / Writing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How many time do I need to listen? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much detail? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should I listen differently than if I was listening for pleasure? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are the key points I want to make? </li></ul><ul><li>In what order should I place them? </li></ul>
    14. 14. More general tips for reviewing <ul><li>Importance of first paragraph - need for immediacy </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of preparation - don’t approach in a vacuum - immerse yourself in the job </li></ul><ul><li>Always take notes - as you watch, at the interval, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Read other reviews and observe styles employed </li></ul><ul><li>Develop your own style </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of ethical considerations/ freebies </li></ul><ul><li>Be able to ‘convey your boredom in an interesting way’ (Allen) </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid blandness & cliches </li></ul>
    15. 15. The value of reviews? <ul><li>Do they make any difference? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is most interested in them? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The artists? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The audiences? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The readers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The (record) industry? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An element of each - but arguably they are part of the sales process, and the industries benefit most. </li></ul>

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