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  1. 1. Key Concept 1: Genre The word genre comes from the French word for type or class . It is often used in literary and media theory to refer to a particular type of text. Genre is a key concept in Media Studies as media texts are often discussed in terms of the similarities and differences they share with other media texts. Genre is a useful way of categorising media products for both the industry and the audience. It s practical for the industry because they can produce and market the product effectively and the audience can plan their choices based on their likes and dislikes. We started by looking at a range of different magazines to find that there were obvious categories like cars, gaming, music, fashion, and interiors. We could see their obvious similarities and differences just by looking at the front covers and the contents pages.
  2. 2. To decide which magazines would fit into the LIFESTYLE magazine GENRE we had to find which magazines had the following content: Celebrity Fashion Health Beauty Sex Advice Horoscopes Fiction This mix of contents is a convention of lifestyle magazines. This means that a magazine must have all or most of these in the contents, to be considered as part of the LIFESTYLE magazine GENRE. Writing Tip: The magazine is typical of a lifestyle magazine because it conforms to the conventions of the genre. It includes celebrity, fashion, health, beauty, sex and advice ‒ everything the audience would expect in the contents.
  3. 3. Conventions of lifestyle magazines can also be found in other magazine genres. For example: Has a HEALTH section Has an ADVICE section Has FICTION HYBRID MAGAZINES There are some magazines that mix genres and Grazia and Arena are two examples of this. Arena (no longer publishing) mixed fashion and music and Grazia mixes gossip and fashion. The reason for doing this would probably be to compete in a different market with something different to offer i.e. Grazia would be competing with Chat and other gossip magazines. It has been able to tap into the younger target audience with a focus on fashion trends.
  4. 4. CONVENTIONS OF LIFESTYLE MAGAZINES 1. The mix of contents such as celebrity, fashion, health, beauty, sex, advice ‒ find evidence on the cover and the contents page 2. There is a model or celebrity on the front cover as the main image and he/she is looking directly at the camera 3. Direct mode of address is used ‒ the magazine is talking to you and makes direct reference to your lifestyle‒ i.e. Lose Your Gut, Impress Your Girlfriend, New Styles for You! 4. The tone of the magazine is aspirational. The magazine assumes the position of lifestyle coach ‒ it tells you what you need and then offers you advice on how to get it. 5. The editor s letter is chatty and informal. It will often also use a direct mode of address ‒ as though they are a friend of the reader 1 3 2 4
  5. 5. Key Concept 2: Media Language Media language is another key concept in media studies and it refers to the way the meaning is communicated between producers and audiences. DENOTATION and CONNOTATION are terms used to analyse how meaning is communicated through SIGNS. There are 3 different categories of SIGNS in media studies: The SYMBOLIC sign ‒ you can t guess the meaning just from looking at it, you have to have learned what the sign represents. For example a traffic light is a SYMBOLIC sign. The ICONIC sign ‒ looks like the object or concept it refers to so for example the female sign on a ladies toilet is an ICONIC sign. The INDEXICAL sign ‒ is produced by the object or concept it refers to so for example smoke is an INDEXICAL sign because it refers to a fire. First level of signification is DENOTATION. This is the literal/obvious/ common sense meaning. Second level of signification is CONNOTATION. This is the meaning we attach to words and images depending on our knowledge and past experiences. Both the DENOTATIVE AND CONNOVATATIVE meanings together form our understanding of what we hear and see in media texts.
  6. 6. Example 1: DENOTATION: The image denotes is that this is the letter m. It s a symbolic sign that in Western Culture has become widely recognised as the brand logo for the fast food restaurant McDonalds. So the signifier is the m and the signified is McDonalds restaurant. CONNOTATION: For me the image connotes ideas about unhealthy eating and the possibility of putting on weight. It also has connotations of Americanisation and the loss of individual cultures. So here the signifier is the McDonalds brand logo and for me the signified is Americanisation. Example 2: DENOTATION: The image is an iconic sign and it denotes a man smoking a cigarette. Most people will also recognise him as singer and songwriter, Pete Doherty from the band, Babyshambles. So the signifier here is the man s face and the signified is musician Pete Doherty. CONNOTATION: The photograph itself is telling the audience something about the musician. The first signifier is the decision to take and/or print the photograph in black and white. The second is posture and facial expression because he is looking away from the camera in a dreamy expression, as though something more important than the photographer or the audience has caught his attention. The third signifier is the cigarette he is smoking and the smoke it has created. These three signifiers together signify that Pete Doherty is carefree and rebellious. So even if we didn t know about the private life of Pete already, this photograph is providing us with clues. Many people will already know about Pete from his regular appearances in the press. So when I look at the photo the connotations are drug addict, ex-boyfriend of Kate Moss, co-front man of The Libertines and talented poet.
  7. 7. Magazine Titles Some magazine titles are CRYPTIC like FHM (for him) and GQ (Gentleman s Quarterly) so the readers have to work out what they mean. Other titles are information giving like Men s Health tells us what the magazine is about. However health has an expanded meaning which covers topics ranging from sex to fashion. Titles can signify a character type like DIVA (a magazine for the lesbian community). Sometimes words with negative connotations are invested with positive meaning. This is an example of AMELIORATION. Diva has come to mean prima Dona but its Latin meaning goddess is probably the meaning which the producers are hoping to communicate. The contemporary meaning is familiar with many parts of the world; sophisticated or urbane. It s a compound noun (it combines two or more words in a single unit), and is derived from the Greek word Kosmos (the world or universe) and polites (citizen). The intention is probably to appeal to a welltravelled, sophisticated individual. Tatler has a reputable name as a middle class magazine having been established in 1709. It s unlikely that modern readers will be aware that tattle comes from the middle Dutch talelen meaning idle talk or chatter . Tatler is the noun.
  8. 8. MAGAZINE LAYOUT CONVENTIONS Masthead ( log o) The name of the magazine displayed in a specific typeface. This is the visual branding of the title and is often done in a specially designed typeface to be very recognisable and unique. The masthead is usually used on the contents page inside as well as the front cover, and as a logo for advertising and branding purposes Dateline Month and year of publication, often with the price. Note that a monthly magazine usually hits the news-stands the month before the cover date
  9. 9. Mai n im ag e In the case of this front cover there is a single image of the model Shania. The image is used in a classic way, the face is big enough to stand out on the news-stand, with the model making full eye-contact. The image on a magazine s cover represents the personality of the magazine. Each aspect of the image is analysed, from the expression to the colour of the model s hair ‒ everything that might make the readers identify with the magazine. The reader is meant to aspire towards being like the cover model. Model credit This says: 'Shania: So hot.' It is unusual for such a credit to appear on a magazine front cover, but is done on fashion magazines. The photographer and model credit is usually on the contents page Coverlines Cosmopolitan magazine uses a lot of cover lines, which are distributed around the main image without detracting from it too much. A mistake often made with cover lines is that they run over an image that has a lot of colour changes, rendering the words invisible. This is a problem here with the red text on the hair on the left and the smaller yellow text against Shania's skin In our culture we learn to read from left to right and from top to bottom of the page. This is why the prime position for information is the top left hand corner. Front covers also make good use of underlining, emboldening and a variety of font sizes, styles and colour. Magazines usually stick to the same set of fonts for each cover to keep the HOUSE STYLE even though the colours may or may not change. A lot of information needs to be crammed into a short space to tell the reader what s inside the magazine. Without doubt, today s magazines are pre-occcuppied with sex, packaged as a commodity and sold within the magazine.
  10. 10. Mai n c over line This is very large - taking up almost a quarter of the magazine cover - and comes in three layers, each with a different colour. It promotes the use of naked male centrefolds, a feature of Cosmopolitan in the UK since its first issue. Note the main cover line is positioned against the model's shoulder so it shows up clearly Left third The left third of the magazine cover is vital for sales in shops where the magazine is not shown full-frontage. The title must be easily recognisable in a display of dozens of competitors. The start of the masthead is important here, as are short cover lines that are easy to read B ar c od e Standard bar code used by retailers S elli ng li ne Short, sharp description of the title's main marketing point (for Cosmopolitan: 'The world's No 1 magazine for young women') or perhaps setting out its editorial philosophy.
  11. 11. Analysing a Double Pag e Spread Title Standfirst Drop capital Columns Body Text Gutters Page numbers Mode of address Question and Answer format Plug Pull quote Side bar Main Image Title The title is at the top left of the double page spread and this is fairly typical. It is much larger than the rest of the text on the page so it is clear it is where we should start reading. The typography chosen is in a serif font which usually connotes tradition and in this case it is chosen because this is the style of typography used for the Twilight books and films. The title is a pun on the film title new moon . Stand first This is the subheading for the article and it usually sets up the angle of the story, telling the audience a bit more about the article. In this case it is placed directly under the title, centred and in a sans serif font. The technique it uses is a rhetorical question Is Jamie Campbell Bower going to eclipse RPatt? They are suggesting that Jamie might be a bigger star than Robert Patterson.
  12. 12. Drop Capital These are nearly always used in magazine articles so they are conventional. They are usually a design feature on the page and the choice of typography for this usually tells us something about the article. Again here they have chosen a serif font. Body te x t, Columns and Gutte rs The body text in this article is divided into 3 columns on the right side. Each column is of equal width and length to achieve a sense of balance on the page. The body text is a conventional black font in size 8 or 9 with some line spacing to make it easier to read. There is actually quite a lot of text in this article for a teenage audience so the text is broken up by the format, a pull quote and images. The area around the text and in between the columns is called the gutters. This gives the text some space to breathe. Pa g e numbe rs These aren t always found on every page in a magazine but in this case they have put a page number on the side with all the text. Here they have also put the name of the magazine beside the page number. Plug Beside the page number they have placed a plug (advert) for the film at the bottom of the page so if the reader is interested in Jamie they have the information they need to go and watch the film. Pull quote It s very conventional for a magazine article to use a quote from the main body text and make it larger with quote marks. It breaks up the page and supports the standfirst in the angle of the story.
  13. 13. Format Some articles will have a question and answer format, especially for a younger target audience. This magazine has decided to use pink text for the questions and black for the answers. The colour pink will appeal to the target audience and it stands out clearly against the black. Mod e of ad d r e ss The mode of address is how the magazine speaks to the reader. In this case the mode of address is chatty and informal. Puns and slang are used and the questions asked are quite personal and not of a serious nature. The magazine is asking the kind of questions it thinks a teenage girl would ask and it is giving the answers to them like a friend passing on information. Photog ra phy Photography is a key way for the magazine to attract readers for the magazine. This is the cover story so Jamie will also have featured on the front cover, to help sell the magazine. In the main image here he has been photographed in very bright lighting to perhaps connote his youth and innocence. This is supported by his innocent gesture of scratching his head as though confused by his newfound popularity. The idea of innocence and boy next door is further supported by his puzzled expression and the choice of clothes for the shoot. House style This is a guide for the style of the magazine, spelling and use of grammar. This is designed to help the magazine s designers and journalists write in a consistent way for the target audience. This will direct journalists when deciding on format and mode of address for example.
  14. 14. Principles of Design: BALANCE To understand balance, think of the balance beam. When objects are of equal weight, they are in balance. If you have several small items on one side, they can be balanced by a large object on the other side. Visual balance works in much the same way. It can be affected not only by the size of objects, but also their value (ie. lightness or darkness, termed visual weight). Symm e trical (Formal) Balance Symmetrical balance is mirror image balance. If you draw a line down the center of the page, all the objects on one side of the screen are mirrored on the other side (they may not be identical objects, but they are similar in terms of numbers of objects, colors and other elements. Asym m e trical (informal) Balance Asymmetrical balance occurs when several smaller items on one side are balanced by a large item on the other side, or smaller items are placed further away from the center of the screen than larger items. One darker item may need to be balanced by several lighter items. Although asymmetrical balance may appear more casual and less planned, it is usually harder to to use because the designer must plan the layout very carefully to ensure that it is still balanced. An unbalanced page or screen creates a feeling of tension, as if the page or screen might tip, or things might slide off the side, just as the unbalanced balance beam would tip to one side Balance by colour: Our eyes are drawn by color. Small areas of vibrant color can be used to balance larger areas of more neutral colors. Balance by Value: Value refers to the darkness or lightness of objects. Black against white has a much stronger contrast than gray against
  15. 15. white. To balance these two colors, you would need a larger area of gray to balance the stronger value of black. Large flat areas without much detail can be balanced by smaller irregularly shaped objects since the eye is led towards the more intricate shape. Balance by position: Using a balance beam, a larger weight closer to the center point can be balanced by a lighter weight further away from the center. This is the basis for balance by position. Sometimes larger elements on one side of the page can be balanced by a smaller element that is positioned by itself at the far end of the other side of the page. This is a very tricky type of asymmetrical balance that often ends up looking out of balance. Balance by texture: Smaller areas with interesting textures (variegated light and dark, or random fluctuations) can balance larger areas with smoother, untextured looks. Balance by Eye Direction: Your eye can be led to a certain point in a picture depending on how the elements are arranged. If the people in a picture are looking in a certain direction, your eye will be led there as well. Elements in a picture, such as triangles or arrows, will also lead your eye to look to a certain point and maintain the balance of a picture. When we look at magazine covers, contents pages and articles we can study how balance has been achieved. It is usually either symmetrical or asymmetrical for magazines.
  16. 16. This double page spread from Men s Health has achieved asymmetrical balance with the use of colour and value. The designer has been able to balance the page with text and large photograph on one side and 3 smaller photographs with a side bar on the right side. The same colours have been used on both pages, which also helps balance the layout. Can you name all the design features on the pages?
  17. 17. K e y Conce pt: Me dia Languag e Topic: Putting word s tog e the r As there is little space on the front of a magazine, the text producer needs to cram a lot of information into a few words. There are a few different techniques the producer uses on the front cover to ensure the reader finds the content appealing. Technique 1: Modifiers To squeeze lots of contents onto the cover, nouns are heavily modified. Delicious cook-ahead str e ss fre e fea st (Bella) The noun is feast but look at the number of modifiers ‒ delicious , cook-ahead , stress-free , Modifiers are words which give more information about the noun. When modifiers come before the noun this is referred to as pre-modification. In listing so many pre-modifiers the producers build up the reader s anticipation of what is coming next. Sometimes the modification comes after the head noun: The 1 0 rules of Ex Etique tte (Cosmopolitan) Technique 2: Elision As well as heavy modification, a feature of front covers to consider is what the producer chooses to leave out for reasons of economy. This is referred to as elision or ellipsis. Lose your belly Se e re sults in two we e ks (Men s Health) Presumably the results the reader will see in two weeks are those of having lost their belly. The determiner the is omitted without affecting meaning. Determiners are like adjectives, they make the meanings of nouns more specific. Examples of determiners are; the , a , this , that , these , those , my , your, their , one , first , last , some , any , no , all .
  18. 18. Technique 3: Sentence Types Sentences can be divided into two types: minor and major. Minor sentences are complete in intention but often lack a finite verb. Finite verbs have a tense, e.g. present or past, giving a clear idea of when something took place or whether the action has been completed. They also tell us how many are involved (singular/plural) and who the participants are: My ex spied on me from the attic (Bella) The following sentence is a minor since it lacks a finite verb: Hair to send him round the twist (More!) You would be correct in saying that send is a verb but it is non-finite because it is unclear when the action will be undertaken or completed. This is an example of the infinitive, the word to followed by the verb. Non-finite verb forms do not express contrasts of tense, number, person or mood. Turning your flat into a film set The ing participle in Turning makes the verb non-finite because it is not clear when the action is to take place. Sometimes in a minor sentence the subject will be omitted. STARTS THIS WEEK: ONLY IN BELLA YOUR CHANCE TO CONSULT PRINCESS DIANA S PSYCHIC! The subject of a sentence is normally the noun, noun phrase or pronoun which appears before the verb. In order to insert a subject into this sentence we would have to invent one ‒ It starts this week.. or we could rearrange the sentence ‒ Your chance to consult Princess
  19. 19. Diana s psychic starts this week. Minor sentences appear frequently on front covers and in headers of magazines. Divide the following into major/minor sentences; 1. Aliens forced me to have sex 2. LOUD AND PROUD Asian dykes speak out 3. 10 ways to simplify your life Technique 4 : Sentence Functions Some producers prefer a particular type of sentence and sometimes this communicates a message about the text. Sentences can be divided into four types: Declaratives: This type of sentence makes a statement or assertion All Saints get mucky Imperatives: Give orders or make requests Get stress off your back Interrogatives: Asks questions Feeding friends? Exclamatives: These are used to express surprise, alarm or a strong opinion and are accompanied by an exclamation mark Nice tackle! Categorise the sentences below into the four functions: 1. Do you need a second income? 2. Most couples assume that both partners need to work. 3. It s men v women in the sexually-sussed stakes! 4. WIN a trip to Hollywood! This is a branch of language study known as pragmatics.
  20. 20. Technique 5: Problems and Solutions The problem/solution format is a feature of magazines. The producer anticipates that the reader is in need of advice and can sometimes simulate a conversation in an attempt to reduce the distance between themselves and the reader. A question is posed which is designed to raise a problem in the reader s mind and like a friend, the text offers advice. Sometimes the advice is given in a more authorative way, like if it s for a serious health condition i.e. CANCER BREAKTHROUGHS: THE ADVICE YOU NEED Technique 6: Tricks of Language Producers use an array of linguistic tools in order to attract our attention. Rhyme: Catch him, snatch him, make him yours Alliteration: Six simple secrets to keep you looking fabulous Assonance: Fake mates Vocabulary of excess: There s zillions of styles to suit you Superlatives: (comparison to the highest degree) Scrap the rest we ve got the best Puns: Frisky Fellas. How to spring the little lambs Polysemous words: Nice Tackle! The sexiest rugby players you ve ever seen Intertextuality: CURL POWER! Idiomatic phrases: Snogs ahoy! Contractions: The boy spesh!
  21. 21. The Contents Pa g e The contents page is useful in a magazine because we don t tend to read them in a linear fashion. We tend to pick them up, look at the cover, look at the contents and go straight to what we find most interesting. We go back to the other pages later. The contents page reflects the agenda of the magazine which stays the same for each issue. The features will reflect this agenda. The contents page is useful to be able to see at a glance, the mix of genres which are included in magazines. We found that lifestyle magazines tended to have contents under the following generic titles: Sex, Advice, Horoscopes (women s magazines), Fashion, Celebrity, Health, Beauty and Fiction. Caldas-Coulthard (1996) also found that magazines often have a fixed structure made up of major features. She found that Marie Claire had eight major features: 1. Reportage ‒ an article inspired by women s daily lives in other cultures 2. Profile ‒ a celebrity interview 3. Emotional ‒ a writer is commissioned to interview people about an emotional situation 4. Society ‒ a slice of the social life 5. First Person ‒ a raw first hand account of something that has happened to someone 6. Designer Profile ‒ a fashion history 7. Life Stories ‒ a mini biography of a famous dead person 8. Review Section ‒ films, books, music etc. Can you find a similar structure in another lifestyle magazine?
  22. 22. The Editorial Many magazine contain a letter from the editor to the readers. This usually introduces the magazine s contents, but it also gives the producer an opportunity to address the readers directly. The editor writes as though the reader shares the same views, attitudes and beliefs as them. The length of the editorial varies and has its own particular style which corresponds to the style of the magazine. You can ask these questions to help you discuss the editorial in an exam: 1. Who is speaking to whom? 2. What assumptions does the text producer make about the reader? 3. Are there common-sense views which the reader is presumed to share? 4. Who does the producer think the reader is? Are there any claims about the reader (presuppositions) which the producer couldn t possibly know? 5. Is the producer being friendly? Is the mode of address conversational or formal?
  23. 23. KEY CONCEPT 3: REPRESENTATION Media images may seem very realistic but they never simply present the world as it is. They are always a construction, a re-presentation of reality The concept suggests that some media represent over and over again, certain images, stories, and situations. This can make them seem natural or familiar ‒ and therefore marginalise or even exclude other images, making those unfamiliar or even threatening. This prompts the question: if some groups or situations are routinely represented in oppressive or limited ways, how does this relate to public understandings, and to how some groups are treated by others ‒ in the street, at school or at work? Stereotyping and Scripts The media give us ways of imagining particular groups, identities and situations. When these relate to people they are sometimes called stereotypes or types. When they offer images of situations or processes, the term script is sometimes used. This has the implication that we grow familiar with these and often know how to perform them in our own lives, often to the exclusion of other ways of being. These imaginings can have material effects on how people expect the world to be, and then experience it.
  24. 24. Stereotypes are widely circulated ideas or assumptions about particular groups. They are often assumed to be lies that create prejudices. Stereotypes have the following characteristics: 1. They involve both categorising and an evaluation of the group being stereotyped 2.They usually emphasise some easily grasped or perceived feature(s) of the group in question and then suggest that these are the cause of the group s position 3. The evaluation of the group is often, though not always, negative 4. Stereotypes often try to insist on absolute differences and boundaries between us and others whereas the idea of a spectrum of differences, which applies to many of us, is more appropriate. If you look at characteristic no. 2, these easily grasped features are often circulated by dominant discourses and relate to powerful ideological assumptions. Stereotyping puts these features ate the centre of the imaginary figure ( teenagers , men , women ) and then imply that all members of the group have always had those features. Men are physically strong Men are heterosexual (straight) MEN LIKE LOOKING AT SLIM, SEMINAKED WOMEN IT’S MANLY TO BE INTERESTED IN TECHNOLOGY AND GADGETS MEN LIKE TO DRINK ALCOHOL
  25. 25. Answer the questions below: Which social group is being represented here? What is apparently valued by this social group? (What is important to them?) Why could some of these values not be integrated into a mainstream magazine like FHM? TASK 1: Come up with an idea for new lifestyle magazine, which challenges gender and/or racial stereotypes. What is the ideology of your new magazine? What is the unique mix of contents? What are the coverlines? TASK 2: Design a front cover for your new magazine ensuring it clearly challenges gender and/or racial stereotypes. Print the cover and place in your folder.