For media studies coursework, I chose to do the print option to create a music magazine - it’s called ‘HIPLIFE’. My magazine is based on the music genre of Hip-Hop/ R’n’B with a target audience range of males aged 16-22 years old. I worked alone on this project and contributed to the project fully. I enjoyed creating my project and am overall very pleased with the overall outcome of my final product. However, if I was to conduct the project again I would make minor changes based on my audience feedback and my own personal opinion.
Q1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
The genre of my music magazine is Hip-Hop/ R’n’B this is made clear by the title of my magazine and the slogan which is placed underneath – ‘The home of Hiphop’. I have used many conventions of a typical magazine, for example underneath my main title I have used a slogan which is used to convince the audience my magazine is better than my competitions. On my front cover, the colours and fonts that I have used also reflect the genre of my magazine as for hiphop the colours tend to be more plain such as blue, red, gold, black and white which are more sinister colours. Compared to a pop magazine which would use bright colours like pink, yellow and as pop music is ‘bright and bubbly’. Also on my front page, I have used one main central image which reflects the main feature article for this issue, and my model is directly addressing the camera which instantly involves the reader/ audience. Along with the main image, I have included the leading caption which ‘anchors’ the main image and runs with original magazine conventions. It was vital to use all these typical magazine elements as by doing this it makes my magazine look more realistic and professional because real magazines use those conventions. On my front cover I haven’t really used anything different, except I have brought in the two coloured strips on the ‘header and footer’ of the magazine which focuses more attention on my main image rather than other points on the cover. I think it proved successful as it did as I expected and retained focus on my image and from my audience feedback several audience members commented on how including these ‘strips of blue’ made my magazine seem more original.
My contents page fits the conventions for a hiphop magazine as it sticks to a plain colour scheme which runs throughout my magazine of blue, gold and white, I believe this adds to make my magazine more realistic etc. I have used the slogan of my magazine as my main header to emphasise the genre of my magazine. The list of contents shows the main articles in the magazine with text underneath informing and intriguing the audience/reader to read on. The main image on the contents page, like on my front cover, addresses the camera which involves the reader automatically. I have used this to my advantage as the other images of the models are looking away from the camera therefore not focusing the readers attention on them. However, the other images are still eye catching as the colours on the photos stick out from the others. The photographs that focus on the main articles have the numbers on so the reader can flick to that page number to read about that article. This is a good convention to use as magazine readers tend to ‘graze’ through magazines rather than read them cover to cover. I have used a few things which break the conventions of a Hiphop magazine such as the slogan as the main title aswell as the fact I haven’t used many images on the contents page. I have also included a quote about the artist which is unusual and rarely found on the contents page as they are usually found on the front cover or the double page spread. I feel my contents page is clearly set up and has a fluent layout, colour scheme and font type.
My double page spread uses many typical conventions of a hiphop magazine such as the headline which points out the name of the article and states who it is about. I have also used a text grab on my page stating a quote from the article – “I’m the fresh prince of the UK” ,which is an interesting and to some extent controversial quote. The inclusion of a simple introduction to the artist breaks it down as its not ‘diving’ straight into the interview and I have avoided leaving any white space by filling up the page really as much as I can. The main article text is simple and easy to follow, it is also directed straight at the reader as I have put the artist speaking in first person. By having the text in first person rather than third it makes the interview seem more direct toward the reader, it makes them feel more included and as if the artist is speaking to them and not the journalist. The photograph dominates my double page spread as it covers up half of it and the image generally reflects the one from the front page as it dominates the page, however I have refrained from using the same image which some hiphop magazines do. From general audience feedback, I have noticed that they like the fact the photo dominates the page and the setting of the image. Also many picked out the fact my journalism is interesting and very realistic aswell as genuinely believable.
Q2. How does your media product represent particular social groups?
My magazine generally represents young boys/men of today. The image compliments this as the model is of this social group – young and male. The text I have used and the fonts that go with them as they compliment the genre of hiphop as there is a good mixture of san sarif fonts, as the ‘abuse’ font is in a graffiti/ scruffy style which is related to the youth of today. The appearance of my model is very accurate according to the genre and social group because from research and my own knowledge I know that young people whom are into hiphop/R’n’B music where loosely fitted clothing such as ‘hoodies’ etc. Also the speech which is used within the text varifies the social group my magazine represents as it uses slang and youth terms such as ‘home-dog’ and ‘homey’. The actions the model is using also relates to young people associated with the genre of my magazine as on my front cover, the model is holding his chain and on the contents page the model is slouched – as on the ‘streets’ where young people are often associated. My magazine is adhering to social stereotypes of this social group and I have represented them in this way as it is their stereotype and I would of felt at risk if I had of tried to represent them in any other way as it would have been breaking the conventions a bit too much. The audience feedback on this topic was very positive in that the image and text fit the genre and representation of young people – “ I could tell the magazine was aimed at my social group ( young people) because of the style of the magazine, the text and the images used”.
Q3. What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? The music and magazine industry are slowly becoming a big partner in business. This is because magazines can be used to promote and exploit music stars thus for making the music industry money. This factor could be very important for the music industry in the future as it is beginning to feel the affects of music piracy and is looking for alternative ways to make money other than simply selling music. There are several music magazine publishers that would be interested publishing and selling my product. I feel that publishers such as Future Publishing and Harris Publications would be interested in selling my product as they have published magazines such as ‘Hiphop Connection’ and ‘XXL’ magazine which are similar products to mine. Therefore either of these publishers I feel would publish my product and I would be happy to let them as they are both well established publishers.
I feel that Future publishing or Harris publications would fund my product because they have supported hiphop magazines before and because my magazine offers a breathe of fresh air into the genre, as there aren’t many hiphop magazines on display at the moment. And because hiphop/ R’n’B is such a well established genre with such little competition it is almost guaranteed great success. Also my target audience and targeted social group tend to be the one’s who buy music magazines therefore I feel that either of those established publishers would happily fund my magazine.
My magazine is unique and special because it is original and offers a wide variety of hiphop not just main stream music. This makes it different to magazines such as ‘The Vibe’ because of the fact ‘Hiplife’ offers more than just mainstream music. It offers backstreet hiphop from the lesser known music labels at the same time as giving the reader articles about the biggest stars around etc. My magazine is most likely to make the publisher profit because there isn’t much competition around at the moment ‘on the shelves’ and because the magazine offers such a unique option of ‘backstreet’ hiphop. Also the target audience I am targeting is such a wide scale that it is almost guaranteed instant profit from the word go!
Q4. Who would be the Audience for your media product?
My target audience is male teenagers and students aged 16-22 as these usually are the consumers of this type of music. I know this as I consume this type of music myself, aswell as the fact i read these magazines therefore i have a relatively good idea in my judgment of age range. I know that my target audience is in the correct range as HIPHOP CONNECTION which is the UK's longest and top selling monthly hip-hop magazine has a very similar target audience. They use 'young black' slang in order to target their audience such as 'homey' and 'bro' etc. Aswell as things like interviews with teenagers on their opinions on the genre and certain artists etc. - if the magazine wasn't aimed at young adults aimed 16-22 they would interview a older or younger age group. Their occupation would tend to be skilled or unskilled worker (social-economic groups C1,C2, D or E). Readers main interests in life would usually be their music, sports, and more casual activities etc. They usually tend to like gang related films (Get rich or Die trying/ Notorious/ 8 mile), aswell as teen movies and television programmes that also land in that genre aswell as regular TV programming etc. And based on the phoenix project conducted by the UK based company EMAP, my readers would be enthusiasts or savants to the type of music which means they would either be people whose lives revolve around their music or people whose lives are better with the creation of the iPod etc.
After viewing my audience feedback, I am very pleased with the positive outcome as every question I asked had 70% or more in the favourable option.
My selected target audience is good because young males aged between 16-22 are the main consumers of this genre of music. It is also a good target audience as it is potentially a huge mass audience as there is limited mainstream competition. They are right for my product financially as they are a mass audience therefore large profits are almost indefinitely guaranteed. There is also a potential secondary target audience of younger males or slightly older males as they also listen to hiphop/R’n’B but not on as large a scale.
Q5. How did you attract/address your audience?
I feel that I attracted my audience in many ways!
Choice of Title – At first, I had several ideas for my title such as hoodstar, bustdown, wordlife and Kush. However, after consulting my target audience through a short questionnaire, I came to learn that ‘Hiplife’ was the more preferred title. I think the title will attract the audience because it was chosen by a few members from my target audience therefore more likely to be effective etc.
Front Cover Image – I think this drew in my audience because of the way my model is posed and the fact he is staring directly into the camera which involves the reader. Also the colour of the image stands out slightly from the background therefore centrally focusing the reader on it and because the image involves the reader it addresses them.
The use of storylines on the cover – This draws in my audience because all the storylines are bold and stand out. They also don’t go into much detail and are short & snappy which intrigues the reader to find out more about the stories etc. The language also attracts the reader as it is simple and not too complex.
The choice of articles featured on the contents page and the layout and language style of the captions – the articles on my contents page are all relevant to the genre and my magazine therefore intriguing the reader to go on and read them. The captions are short and sweet with little info. Underneath them therefore giving little about the article away, making the reader want to read them. The layout of the captions is quite appealing as they are curved around the image in almost a ‘half moon’ shape therefore making them easier and more attractive on the readers eye!
The Double Page Spread – The headline and sub-title of the article are attractive to the reader as they instantly grab the readers attention as they are bold and simple. The structure and layout of the double page is broken down and is fluent so thus intriguing the reader to read the article and as the writing is on one page it makes it look like there is less to read. The layout is also simple which can become appealing to the reader because if there is too much going on in the pages then the reader may be off put by the main focus of the article.
The way I present my article makes the celebrity seem down to earth and makes him seem more genuine to the reader etc. After my audience feedback results, I am pleased to say that my audience was pleased with the way I tried to attract readers using my images and the way I placed text etc.
Q6. What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
I have learnt a lot about several pieces of software during the construction of my product such as Photoshop and In design. I used such things as internet explorer and Google for research but I had a very good knowledge of these programs before hand therefore I did not learn much from using them, however they were very useful when creating and finishing my project.
Blogger- this is an online source in which I stored my research and uploaded my final project & all other work to do with my project. It came in handy as it was accessible from any computer and the program had very few limitations one of them was the fact your couldn’t shuffle the order of your posts which caused some parts of my research to be away from others etc.
DTP Software – The programs used with this where Photoshop and InDesign, they were used to create and edit my project for example Photoshop dealt with cutting out images etc. Where as InDesign was used to create the layout of the page and pull everything together. These programs were extremely impressive and allowed me to do almost anything I needed in order to create and edit my final product. However, I feel that if I’d of had previous knowledge of the programs then my final product could potentially look a lot more professional especially on cutting out and smudging the images etc.
Digital/Still Camera – These were easy to use and essential in my project as they provided the images for my magazine. By using them I learnt how camera angles and lighting can be very important in the way an image is portrayed to the audience.
In my opinion, not a lot needed to be changed or redone because the technology of the programs enabled them to be put right almost instantaneously.
Q7. Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
My preliminary task is no were near as good as my final product. This is because I had one day to produce my preliminary task and several weeks to edit and change my final project. The composition of my shots is a lot better as I thought carefully about the angles, lighting and settings of my images where as for the prelim I took them anywhere suitable. There is more smoothness within the editing and layout aspects of my final project as there is much more care, thought and detail in it compared to my prelim. There is a lot better selection of title and fonts as on the prelim I only used one font where as on my final project I have used several. Also there is more than one image in my final product and the images on my final product are much more interesting compared to my prelim image. I have also used a better range of colour effect on my final project as the colour scheme is continuous and flowing compared to the boring two colours of my prelim.
As you can see there is a lot more composure and detail on my final project compared to my preliminary task.
Conclusion In conclusion, I am very pleased with the overall outcome of my final project. I feel that it successfully met the conventions of a Hiphop/R’n’B magazine and could be passed as a professional project. The colour scheme I used suits the genre along with the appropriate mix of fonts and texts etc. The style and composure of the images are good, however if I were to change one thing I would change the smaller images on the contents page as they were rushed because I did not realise you had to have a minimum of four images on your magazine. I think I came close to complete realness and if I were to do it again, I feel I would make it completely professional.