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Posts Tagged ‘Noakes’

The magazine is not a marked entity in Multiplatform Journalism, but it is a necessary practice for when we are marked on the magazine product next year, when we will also have it printed.

This week was focused entirely on production. The main focus of the lecture was putting together a flatplan for the magazine. This is the content order spread across the entire publication.

We had previously put together a flat-plan in our collective meeting last Friday which was lucky as we were very low on numbers. What myself and Ben did was productive. I proofread Ben’s article and completed my own whilst Ben hunted down some press releases.

We will be meeting again this Friday to discuss theme and page layouts, it would be a good idea to put our ideas into production as well as the final project needs to be completed by Friday.

We are marked on the process of putting together the magazine. We will have to evaluate where we went wrong, how we could have improved and what we will do next term to improve on this.

We will also be marked on 6 journalistic outputs. I have yet to decide which ones I will be using but we have to review why we produce each piece in a certain way in reference to our audience/publication etc.

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Assessing

Today was our first assignment. It came in the form of a presentation. I chose to complete mine on the role of the Prime Minister and the Internal affairs of the government.

The day went very well, my seminar seemed quite positive – hopefully this will be reflected in my marks. I took particular interest in the foreign students that based their presentations on their home country. Thailand, China and the United States all have differing political systems to the UK. It was interesting to note the differences and in many cases, similarities between the different systems.

Printing

Our afternoon session went ahead as usual and this week we looked at printing layout of the magazine as a whole and the technical aspects behind it.

Printing presses tend to have one giant sheet that the magazine is printed on, sometimes in its entirety. This is called a Web-offset print.

This sheet of paper has every page of the magazine printed out on it and this is why most magazines will be made up of a page count that’s divisible by four.

Once the entire magazine is printed it is then folded, and folded again, then probably folded another two or three times. What you will get is an A4 (or thereabouts) size magazine that has the bottom, side and top chopped off. This will then be your magazine.

The location of each page on this ‘master’ page is key. When it is folded several times over, the location of each page will change. As a magazine printer I would need to know how many pages there are in the magazine and what is on each page to make sure that during the folding process everything lines up correctly. You wouldn’t be able to have pages printed on this master sheet in chronological order because when it is folded up, they will no longer appear chronologically.

You will then end up with 4 pages (or 1 signature) fitting on two sides of one sheet (technical term being ‘folio’), if you fold this sheet in half you have single pages or perhaps one page of a double page spread.

Anyone else confused, or is it just me?

Binding

The magazine is then bound and there are three different options to do this:

The first is stitched. Two staples in key places down the centre of the magazine that keeps it in place. This is by far the cheapest option but not always the strongest or aesthetically pleasing.

Alternatively you could saddle stitch the product. This is where the spine is joined all the way down so you can’t see the join. It looks good but if you have a magazine with loads of pages it can struggle to keep them all in place.

Finally you could use a technique called perfect binding. This is popular in paperback books, as the squared off spine can be sized to fit any number of pages comfortably. This is the most expensive option and isn’t always needed for smaller magazines but does look great if you have a mag of over a hundred pages.

Colouring

Magazines tend to get printed in four prime colours – Cyan, Magenta, yellow and black. These colours combine to make pictures, pictures and should be able to mix to combine the right concentration of colour content to reproduce the original image.

Pacing

When you are reading a magazine there is something called pace. You know what it means but in the context of reading, you can have a pace to a magazine. Most mags tend to have quite a quick pace in the first third. There will be content pages, news pages, and editor’s notes, short regular features. Then as you get in to the second third and the meat of the magazine that’s when you reach the features and interviews. Often the front cover feature will be somewhere in this section. As you draw toward the final part of the magazine, you will often find ‘in other news’ sorts of features that the editor may think the reader will be interested in. There might also be regular columns, or guest opinion pieces.

You can break down pace within your thirds. During the main features section you may want quite a still feature that is perhaps a sit-down interview with someone. Alternatively if you were covering a sport or event with lots of action you could have actiony type photos, and the written pace of the feature could be quicker and more upbeat.

Brainstorming

We completed the day by getting in to our groups and discussing the magazine again. We pinned down ideas and began putting our content into sections. We are planning a group outing (although a divided one) to cover the national union strikes this Wednesday. I will go up to Birmingham with Taksaya and Ben and Sabrina will stay in Coventry. We have a view to meet up again on Friday to compare content and discuss any issues or extra content we may need.

 

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The MA Journalism Project provides you with an opportunity to create an original and intellectually critical extended writing. You are expected to produce a dissertation of 12-15,000 words or an appropriate project in print/broadcast/online format or other acceptable platforms together with a shorter dissertation, on a topic relevant to your specialist interest and mutually agreed with course staff. The topic should be worthy of sustained in-depth inquiry. Both types of dissertation should take the form of a properly academically written and referenced piece of work following accepted conventions.

 

This description is intended to engage and excite an MA Journalist student into the final project of the year. We discussed this at great length with Fred and Andrew today and it opened and closed many avenues not previously thought of.

The idea that had been floating around my brain for a few weeks was looking at journalistic training over three very different countries with the aim to discover the best journalistic practice and who teaches their journalists best.

I began explaining my idea and shortly was interrupted by my lecturers explaining that this task would be tough and I would have to simplify the whole thing. Each country’s definition of journalism is different. Journalists perform different roles in different places around the world; some inform, others direct or manage, it can even protest and demonstrate. So ultimately good journalism would be determined on how well each country adheres to its law and purpose.

I would have to essentially look at what journalism actually is in each country, but I imagine this idea has been done to death.

I then thought of my secondary idea that came up during the preparation of my M40MC essay. Here is my written proposal:

How does a dramatic, culture-changing event affect media policy and the role of journalists?

My intention is to view three countries with differing cultural heritage and examine how the aftermath of each event causes change in national policy. I will also investigate the changes in journalistic practice.

To do this I intend to analyse a national newspaper with the highest rate of circulation from three countries; The United States of America, The Czech Republic and [arab league country after arab spring]. This analysis will include measuring the volume of news stories – both local and national, international content, cultural reporting and framing of political news stories.

I also intend to interview a reporter from each of the national newspapers who has worked both before and after the traumatic event. This will provide a level of first-hand qualitative research that will have not been featured in previous texts.

By combining both the qualitative and quantitative research, I will then be able to answer how an event with a global impact changes views and policy in the media. This will ultimately become the definition of ‘Post-Traumatic Journalism’.

 

I think this is ultimately what the Final Research Project will be so I have opened up a new Category under ‘My Course’ titled Final Project Journal.

When I research anything, or contact anyone regarding my Final Research Project I will update it in this. It may not be that often quite yet, but hopefully a little bit every once in a while over the next few months will mean I’m on top of things when next summer arrives.

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With the second half of Monday dedicated to discovering InDesign there wasn’t a lot to write about from that particular class apart from that we re-constructed a magazine DPS (Double Page Spread) from AutoCar.

Hence I didn’t really offer a full write up.

Friday’s seminar session with Fred and the Global Media and Communication gang was a discussion roundtable of work we had been reading up until that point. We discussed theories and different media concepts and conversed as to how we will be using them to relate to our essay this term. That’s the part I worry over is the academic writing. I’ve always struggled with academia, if you ask me to write a story about anything I can, if you want me to critically analyse the media systems present in the Czech Republic since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the drop of the Iron curtain – I’ll struggle.

But I’m reading all I can and so far have been impressed with how I have approached this course in comparison to my BA. Of course the reasons are justified but I’m happy the work is going in to it.

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Trevor's attempt at a banana carving

We had a three hour lecture.

The first fifteen minutes we were told “go find a news story”, we had two and a half hours and they had to be uploaded in the final 15 minutes.

I was scanning over my email when they were telling us the point of today’s lecture and noticed this and decided to follow up the story with a local spin.

I went over to the Coventry Market and introduced myself to one of the fruit stall owners. I decided to write the piece in the style of the Sun. Here is my finished story.

British public “too busy” to carve bananas

Fruit stall owners were ‘monkeying’ around yesterday, trying the latest internet sensation – banana carving, but some don’t believe the trend will take off.

The carvings, made famous by Japanese artist Keisuke Yamada, won’t continue its rise in popularity because “the people here are too stressed, too busy” says Hussain, a Coventry fruit salesman.

He was too busy to try carving one himself, but he kindly donated one for a customer to try.

Trevor, 36 attempted to re-create Yamada’s famous ‘beach-bum banana’ and noted that “it’s very creative”.

 “I’m not very artistic. If I could sit at home trying, it might be better”.

 If only he had time.

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To report news there is a very simple structure that can pretty much guarantee the news story is readable should you follow it. Its an inverted pyramid.

__________________

\         OVERVIEW          / Important facts come first reader understanding.

..\                                  /

……\                            /  Expansion puts it into perspective.

……….\                   /

…………..\ detail/  Specifics and data back up the facts.

………………\  /

Pro’s

It delivers the story efficiently

It allows cutting from the bottom (used less now with modern printing)

Con’s

Doesn’t allow people to get to interested in the story

It gives the story away straight away.

The inverted pyramid doesn’t allow for drama and is less used in feature writing, but it allows the readers to get a feel for the story and know the news. immediately.

The Language of news is key to inform people of the latest events and depends on the readership.

They should be short, active sentences

Short, simple paragraphs

Tell the reader what the story is about. “If you told a friend about an important story, how would you say it?” Noakes (2008)

As a task we had to write a hundred word news story about a press statement in our chosen field (available on moodle). I have written mine for a tabloid newspaper like The Sun.

AJKA RUMBA!

8 people have died and 120 have been left injured in Hungary near a town called Ajka. The local aluminium plant – MAL, may have overloaded a storage facility full of toxic waste. The World Wildlife Fund had taken pictures three months ago showing red sludge seeping out of the plant and Zoltan Bakonyi – the head of MAL has now been arrested for what the Hungarian Prime Minister calls ”human negligence”. The charges are said to be on suspicion of public endangerment and environmental damage the company could pay a fine for up to £64 million.

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The task of reading a chapter from The Universal Journalist by David Randall (2000) proved a harder job as originally anticipated. The stated publication has been re-produced and re-printed several times over. Of course I picked up the wrong one. I had located the 1996 publication in which the chapter I needed is titled ‘News Values’.

The 1996 version

I read through this chapter and found it very interesting, I have also found that my lecturer must find it very interesting as well as he quotes it verbatim – not that there is  anything wrong with this, as previously stated I personally found it very interesting.

There were one or two references that Randall makes that I didn’t understand or connect with immediately but I am beginning to find that I am of general understanding when it comes to certain things on this course. I think McNae’s Essential Law for Journalist’s/2007 is also helping this but more on that later.

The 2000 version as recommended by my course tutor

Of course I later found out that I shouldn’t be reading the 1996 edition of The Universal Journalist, instead I should have picked up the 200 print. Luckily I located the publication on Amazon.co.uk and an amazing feature that my fellow journalists in training should make proper use of, is if you have an amazon account, you can in fact look inside many books even if you’re not buying them.

Fortunately I did this and despite very few differences between the ’96 and the ’00 edition I did find more updated references that helped my previous understanding.

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The second half of M42MC was more focused on what the expectations are of us this year when it comes to assignments and presentations so it was less of learning discussion.

We did discover a few things thought that in local governments there will be recommendations given which will appear in a leaflet or newsletter. This can end up on the local paper’s editor’s desk, and from here it is not a bad idea to report this news as ‘recommendations’ are likely followed through. This then brought up a discussion about whether this was true or not and ultimately it is probably worth checking and investigating further.

We also got told of a few books that are essential reading.We found McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists but couldn’t find Morrison’s Essential Public Affairs. Although after looking in the library I think it might be under a different name.

 

Even later in the afternoon we attended our first M42MC lecture with Andrew Noakes. We too discussed what was expected of us this year but also discussed the structure of magazines and newspapers. I’ll try and break it down here.

Chief Exec

\

Publisher __________

/                                            \

_____           Editor     ______                           Ad Manager

/                            |                              \

Art Editor                         Deputy Editor                 Production Manager

/                                                     |

Designers                                         Section Editor

/          :        |                   \

Sports writer         :       News                    Features writer etc.

:

Freelance Contributors

 

A word of helpful advice from Andrew is that if I am a regular writer and I want to be a Section Editor, I have to do their job meaning either take on some of their responsibilities when they’re on holiday or ill or anything else, and take on responsibilities outside of my job description.

In the second half of the lecture we discussed people like Galtung and Ruge and about News Values. I looked at a breaking story from the conservative party conference about George Osbourne’s announcement about the council tax price freeze. A bit more about this will be put up on moodle which I will hopefully link to here once found.

We have been given a bit of homework by next week which is to read a chapter from two different books; Universal Journalist by Randall (2000) and Information Age Journalism by Campbell (2004).

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