Friday, 8 May 2009

Evaluation of media studies project

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Before I started out in producing my magazine, I looked at other magazines that are currently available on the market. During this process I noticed that they all followed certain conventions. For example, most of them only used three or four (at the most) colours, and only two or three fonts throughout the front page.

This was more noticeable in Kerrang! For me as this was my main style model, as this magazine represents the same social group, as my magazine is aimed at teenagers who are into the Rock/Metal genres of music. Kerrang! Tend to keep to the same colours which have appeared on their front cover, throughout the magazine. For example in one issue I have looked at, they use dark purple, white and black on the front cover. This has carried on throughout the contents page and the feature article page, as the colours they have used, sometimes are associated with the bands on the pages. They Another way it develops existing styles of media products, would have to be the idea of having free giveaways on the front page, along with a large masthead which is visible from one side of an isle in the shop to the other.Another way I developed the reoccurring conventions would have to be with having the main article in the biggest font, and having the brightest colours on the page. The title “ROCKOUT” is in a big bold font clear for the audience to see. It gives the connotations of being a rock magazine, but a modern rock magazine, that features the likes of nu metal, and not as much classic rock. It is also a weekly magazine with a low price so my audience can afford it. Not to mention the fact that, to make as “real” as possible, I had to place a barcode, a date and the website address on it too. These conventions remained the same throughout the other pages of the magazines I looked at such as MOJO, Q and NME. For instance they all had a simple, yet effective layout, they only used one or two fonts and sizes, and they kept the use of colour consistent throughout. From this I hope that anyone looking at my magazine will be able to see these being used on every page. I decided to have a black and white background for my front cover, and the second page of the article. The reasoning behind this was the fact that I feel that black and white has the connotations of a hard background for the band, featured in my main article. I thought this would be a good idea – giving the impression that they have worked hard to make their band popular etc. the black and white background was supported with the main image on the page being in colour. This helped to give the impression that they have came through the hard, gritty times, and are now able to enjoy the work that they have put into it. That and the fact that they are a new band, so to use the colour image with the back and white background, helped me to try to show that they had some understanding of their music genre, as many old bands use black and white.

Who would be the audience for your media product?


The magazine is made for a 15- 17 year audience, who are into the metal genre of music, it is not aimed at one sex, I have tried to have a balance of male and female faces of the front cover, however there it is dominated by male characters. This is primarily because of the fact that the main story is about a new band, made up of a group of males. My magazine is aimed at teenagers who have a disposable income. I.e. - from their parents or guardians, and can afford to spend money on clothes, DVDs, music, and magazines. This is explained in more detail throughout the course of my evaluation of my media product. Once the product was complete, i handed some copies out to my target audience so i could get some reliable feedback from them; as i previously handed out a questionaire to this group. When they looked at my magazine, they said i have produced a suitable magazine for the results i was given. For example, they said that i have managed to use a few colours for the front cover of the magazine, and have managed to keep the use of colour consistent throughout. The types of photos i have used as well have been used effectively. And finally they commented on the price of the magazine as it is cheaper than the other magazines aimed at this age group.

How does your media product represent a particular social group?

From my questionnaire I was able to find out that within my teenage target audience, it would be mainly aimed at 15-17 year olds, as I felt this music was an aspect of their lives that they knew lots about, and who had spare money to spend on music, magazines, clothes etc. I didn’t really want to aim the magazine at specific sex, as I tried to show a range of both genders on the front cover (which challenges the stereotype of the hard rock image which traditional is male. Another issue that I was able to pick up on from my questionnaire results was that the teenagers I chose to do my market research on, mostly agreed that they all enjoyed a more of a Rock/alternate metal genre.
Although I didn’t want my magazine to be aimed at just one gender, I feel as though it is aimed at mostly people who like metal, as the feature article is about a new metal band, and most of the bands mentioned in the magazine are metal bands. However due to the fact that it is a new band, I felt as though this would help draw the audience in as people tend to talk more about new bands and albums rather than music that had been out for a few years. The band is not representing the social group badly or giving the “hard rocker” image off either; they are trying to give off a neutral tone towards them. The use of women on the front page also helps to represent a particular social group. For example, it will appeal to men, along with the fact that some women will aspire to be like the woman/women on the cover.
The people who are featured in the main article, were working class who were doing well for themselves. This helped to give a positive representation of the working class.

As well, it is noticeable that many of the stories in the magazines that I have looked at are all about new music as this tends to sell with our target audiences.

What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

The institution that would be best suited to publish/distribute my magazine would have to be Bauer, as it distributes magazines (including my style model Kerrang!) like Mojo this would increase Bauer’s share of the market. . Bauer is the biggest privately owned magazine publisher in Europe, as it publishes magazines in countries such as France, Britain, Spain and Portugal. Bauer doesn’t just publish magazines here in Europe, it also publishes in the United States and Mexico. Bauer has recently acquired EMAP and changed their name to Bauer Media. Now they also publish EMAPs former magazine and other media titles, and as a result, is now the country’s largest magazine publishing company that distributes television magazines, music/film magazines, and puzzle magazines.

How did you attempt to attract your audience?

Another way I attempted to attract my audience (other than the price and free giveaways etc) was the use of the various shots and images of not only males but females were used on the front cover to attract more male audiences. As Naomi Wolf (1991) states placing sexually attractive women on the front cover of a magazine, are used to sell these magazines, this giving the impression that woman aspires to thistype of lifestyle. Marjorie Ferguson’s theory that there four types of facial expressions used on women while they’re on the front cover of a magazine: Chocolate Box, which is a half to full smile, with the lips together possibly parted a little and have the teeth hardly visible with a close up of the face to the camera. Invitational: which shows emphasis on the eyes with her mouth shut showing a hint of a smile, looking at the camera. Super Smiler: Shows a full face toothy smile with hair being blown back. And finally the Romantic/Sexual looks. This is a more general idea that shows both male and female characters in a dreamy position on the cover. This has two ideas to showing the audience; the people are either “possibly available” or definitely available”. However, the shot I have used in my female character on the front cover is “invitational”. This is added to by the colours in the background (reds and pinks, which have the connotations of sex.) And of her clothes and her skin tone etc. For the actual shot itself I decided on using a high angle close of the woman. Another theory I have put into practise is “Uses and Gratifications” which is a theory designed to attract the audience as my magazine features a similar age group to my target audience who is able to identify with the subjects and other bands in the magazine . Another way I tried to attract my target audience was by the use of the newest metal band “Baptism By Fire” this band would be associated with the metal genre rather than alternate rock, the title itself gives this away. For the font type and size, I made it large enough to be seen, used a dark red, with an even darker red (which give the connotations of the metal genre and would appeal to an older teenage audience who just take an interest in the genre, and younger more gothic teenage audiences at the same time), because this was the best way I could think of for making it look like a dark, heavy metal band. This was after I tried dark red and orange, and dark red and yellow together, as they looked more of an alternate metal band now. So I decided to use the both reds. Another thing that would attract my audience would have to be the price, as it is affordable for teenagers, and stays around the price mark of the other magazines I have looked at.
My contents page would have helped to attract my audience as chosen to use a double page spread, and only three or four colours. Some of the images on I have on there are advertising other bands, and some of the photographs of people I have it are wearing band clothing, so this will attract them to buy the magazine even more as they can relate to the other bands being advertised in the magazine.
The article pages will also appeal to the audience as the questions I have asked the band are mainly about how they have became famous and rumours about them doing a tour with existing bands in the summer, as the audience are always interested in tours by their favourite bands, which is the most popular stories among this age group, according to my research, which is helping to encourage them to buy the magazine.
As you read the magazine, you notice the use of page numbers and other essential information regarding the magazine, These features are used for two reasons: To give a sense of clarity to the audience, and to give the audience a sense of ownership over the magazine, so they will be encouraged to buy the magazine.

What have you learnt about the technologies from the process of constructing this product?

Since the beginning of AS level Media studies, my ability of using Photoshop and taking photos with the digital camera has increased quite a lot, in terms of where is the best lighting, the areas to take the photos, the angles, and even just the general use of the camera, as in how to time the shot to be taken so you are able to get everyone you want in and where you want them sorted, so you get the best quality image as possible in the quickest amount of time.
I have also done market research which has also helped me, to see what people are looking for when they buy a music magazine.
During the use of Photoshop, I have learnt how to use all of the tools more independently than when I was doing my preliminary task of producing a school magazine. I am now able to edit the photos on Photoshop more efficiently now and know how to change the colour balance, and the general skills of layout in terms of creating my page My use of digital photography has also improved, and I am now able to demonstrate a wider range of shots I have taken for the magazine, whereas during my preliminary task, there was a lack of them, a straight forward mid/ long shot of the person was used on the front page, along with a couple of mid/close ups of other people from different stories in the magazine. Now in this project I feel as though I have shown these, but have also shown various angles not just the mid shot.

Looking back on your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

Since I have completed the preliminary task at the beginning of the year, I can say that I have learned quite a lot about using Photoshop, and my understanding of the programme has widened dramatically, especially since years ten and eleven. However I have not just learned more about the programme I used, but the theorists behind the conventions of magazines, the connotations that the different colours have the use of different angles and styles of shots. This is also due to the fact that I have analyzed and how they are used to appeal to the target audiences because different magazines have different conventions, however they also have some of the same conventions too. I have also learnt other things during my AS Level Media Studies, such as the use of technical jargon to describe my work, and work of others, such as denotation and connotation. The main difference to my preliminary task is that this piece is closer to an existing market product. I have also taken into account that different audiences have different requirements, which I’m now more familiar with the psychology behind targeting different magazines since I completed my preliminary task.

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