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G321 Media Studies Evaluation: Finn O'Ryan

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Finn O'Ryan

on 14 April 2016

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Transcript of G321 Media Studies Evaluation: Finn O'Ryan

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Once I was aware of which conventions were key to include in my magazine, I applied them to my magazine cover...
My magazine did not completely conform to the generic conventions of music magazines, as I wanted it to have some unique factors to make it easily identifiable and so that it stands out as different to other magazines.

Question 1
At the start of the year, I learned about the generic codes and conventions that are featured in music magazines, so that I could apply these to my own magazine when I eventually started to draft it. I analysed some popular music magazine front covers, such as Billboard, NME and Q for their codes and conventions and how they are used.


Once I was confident with the codes and conventions specific to music magazines, I was given a task to apply these to some fake magazine covers. Not only did this further my understanding of what to feature in my magazine, but it helped me consider layout, colours, and typography in accordance to the genre.
The use of the left third means that the top left corner/start of the masthead is easily recognizable when on a magazine rack.
I made sure that the cover lines were placed around the cover star so as not to take any attention from her. The cover lines surround her image to create a sense of symbiosis between her image and the magazine, which makes it appear more realistic and professional.
For the main cover line, I used a different typography in a larger font size, so that it immediately stood out to the reader and emphasised that it was the main article.
I used a skyline as this gives the reader a clear insight into which artists are featured within the magazine, so that they know whether they would like to read it or not.
One way in which I challenged the conventions of music magazine covers is by not using direct address. The cover star is looking away, implying that she does not have a personal connection with the reader, conveying her style as a "pop artist gone bad".
To make my magazine more unique, I used three bold background colours which I then used as the house style. These three bold colours appear to be clashing and overlapping one another, which not only made the cover appear quite vibrant and attractive, but reflected the masthead as they appear to be "fusing" together and conveying a sense of unity and wholeness.
Female pop artists usually appear very glamorous and sometimes sexual on the cover of magazines. I challenged this slightly by using a medium close up so her body is not revealed, although she is still wearing makeup which I highlighted to show that she is still conforming to the pop genre.
A huge influence for the style of my cover star was the artist MIA, specifically on the cover of NME magazine. I wanted to capture her cool and slightly effortless style, however I wanted my cover star to conform more to the pop genre, therefore I made her slightly more stylish and on trend.

My initial influences for my magazine front cover were the Q and Vibe covers featuring Florence & the Machine and Drake. I liked the idea of filling the cover with a close up of the cover star, as this brings all of the attention to them.
Using a close up became a problem when trying to include cover lines as it was very difficult to fit them in around the close up image. I eventually decided that I would instead use a medium close up, so that it was still very close to the artist yet I had room to include cover lines and other conventions.
The inspiration for my background on the cover page came from an issue of Dazed and Confused magazine. Although this is not a music magazine, I think that the bold, sharp colours convey the pop genre as well as the elements of hip-hop within the magazine and the cover star.
The NME cover featuring Haim influenced my skyline as it was very simply just names of artists within the issue of the magazine. This is a very simple way of intriguing the reader into buying the magazine.
The Billboard contents page was the main influence for the layout of my own contents page.
I used the idea of an "Online" section which I included at the bottom, showing that the magazine was modern as it used different media platforms to share content. This linked well with the social media icons.
Also, I liked the idea of a bold cover line followed by a sentence or two to describe it, as many other magazines tend to only write a few words.
I also used the idea of having images of the secondary artists across the top of the page, and a larger image of the cover star, E.M., below to bring the focus back to her and create symbiosis between the cover and contents page.
I did not include a music chart going down the side of the contents page, as it takes up too much valuable space on the contents page. Instead I included the "Hot 100" at the bottom.

I like Billboard's house styles as they are often very colourful, creating symbiosis with the Billboard masthead which uses bright block colours. My magazine is similar in this respect, as I used similar colour schemes on both the contents and cover to create continuity within the magazine.
Originally, my inspiration came from an NME double page spread featuring Nicki Minaj.
I really liked the layout of this spread, for example the integration of the text and image, as well as the Q&A style of interview with the cover star.
This was my first draft in which I planned to use the question and answer style interview, however I then found out that many interviews are now written in a way in which the quotes are embedded within the article, so i changed the way in which I was going to set out the double page spread.
I was much happier with the end result as the article was still integrated with the image, yet it used a modern style article to appeal to young modern readers. I combined the small elements of pink to convey her feminine/pop style with the urban background to convey her new hip-hop style.
I think that the layout and style of the double page spread perfectly reflects the identity of the cover star E.M., as there is a clear combination of an urban environment with the bright pink colour and on trend fashion.
The house style of the magazine is continued on the double page spread, as the red and blue colours are once again present. However, some elements of the house style are not present, which suggests that the magazine is versatile and constantly changing to fit around the artist and modern trends.
The headline for this article is "BAD GIRL IN THE MAKING", which links with the image of E.M. and her position. Her position gives off a sense of confidence that I think conveys her artistic style perfectly. Her facial expression is almost a smile but not completely, which I believe conveys the fact that she is a bad girl "in the making", so she is not completely bad.
I challenged the convention of using columns in my double page spread, instead writing one large article that fit around my artist. This reflects the fact that she is the cover star and therefore everything is done to suit her and around her, literally.
Question 2
How does your media product represent particular social groups?
The cover star of my magazine, "E.M.", challenges the stereotypical representation of the "pop princess", despite her genre mainly being pop. Her appearance on the medium close up on the front cover conveys her femininity as her makeup is clearly visible, however it is quite bold and harsh which represents her more powerful and independent identity.

On the double page spread, more of her body is visible and her clothing is slightly revealing, which could be interpreted as sexual and provocative to some readers, however I view it as her being confident and proud of her sexuality and not being intimidated by what others say. Also the background of the double page spread reflects average urban life, as E.M. is not from a particularly high class. The fact that she is the cover star implies that those from slightly lower classes or less wealthy people work harder to get where they want to be.

Her straight facial expressions throughout the magazine do not reveal too much about her and therefore she does not conform to the "relatable" and "likeable" figure that many female pop artists conform to. In the article, she states "I'm not here to be your idol", which suggests that she does not care if audiences like her or not, as she is just being honest and doing what she wants to do. Although this may seem quite cold and rude, it also implies that she is motivated and has worked hard to get to where she is so she does not care what others say.
Question 3
What kind of media institutions might distribute your product?
My magazine is targeted at younger audiences, from teenagers to young adults, who are interested in a variety of music genres, from pop to hip-hop. Billboard magazine is what I believe my magazine is most similar to, as both magazines appeal to the younger generation as they are both quite stylised and up to date with modern culture.
Younger audiences may not like that she does not conform to the style of female pop artist they are used to seeing, however they may also welcome her as she is very honest and interesting. The fact that she combines pop with elements of the hip-hop genre also gives her a wider appeal to young audiences who like different types of music.
My secondary artist, Asia Bunting, is a hip-hop artist. Her facial expression shows that she is confident and bold, which is often how females of the hip-hop genre are represented. Her black clothing also connotes power, which I think works perfectly for her as an artist.

I think that my magazine challenges the stereotypical representations of gender throughout as none of the women appear to be inferior or passive. This shows that FUSE magazine is very modern as it is promoting equality and breaking down the barriers between men and women.
Joshua Womack and Scarlett Mandell are also secondary artists. They are a collaboration of a pop artist and a producer. This represents the two genders as equal as they are working together to produce music.
All of the artists in the magazine appear very youthful, therefore representing younger people as hard working as they are all portrayed as successful artists.
I did some research into different publishing companies -
The distributor I have chosen is Prometheus Global Media:

Although I believe my magazine reflects what this service offers, it is technically not a publishing company so it will not publish my magazine.
One company I was particularly interested in was TIDAL.

TIDAL is the first artist-owned streaming service. It is a subscription based service which combines primarily pop and hip-hop artists, which is the same case for my magazine.
I have chosen this publishing company as they publish Billboard Magazine and the Hollywood Reporter. I think Billboard is what my magazine is most similar to so this would be suitable.
Additionally, it is a major publishing company, and I believe that my magazine appeals to a wide young audience and not a niche market.
Prometheus Global Media use a variety of different media platforms to get their content out to the public, which is perfect for FUSE magazine as there are many links and online exclusives within the magazine.
Question 4
Who would be the audience for your media product?
The target audience for my magazine is teenagers and young adults both genders from the ages of around 16 - 25, who are interested in different types of music, primarily pop. I conducted a survey using "Survey Monkey":
I also used social media to ask questions to find out who my magazine would appeal to, as this is much more accessible to many people, especially younger individuals who I believed would be my target audience initially.
Billboard magazine has a similar target audience of younger people of different genders, as it covers such a wide variety of music that it appeals to a very wide demographic. During the research process, I looked a lot into artists who combine genres and how sucessful they can be, and therefore I decided to show this with E.M. who combines pop with hip-hop.
Question 5.
How did you attract/address your audience?
Cover Lines
Question 6
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product?
The house style I used throughout my magazine was very colourful, similar to Billboard magazine who use bright and bold colours to stand out whilst connoting positivity that appeals to younger audiences. I used blue, red and orange/yellow as these are all quite bold and striking colours, which I believe reflect the style of E.M. my cover star, whilst conforming to the convention of brightness used in the pop genre. As well as this, the fact that these colours all seem to contrast and clash with one another conveys that the magazine is versatile and covers different genres of music, therefore appealing to a wider audience.

The use of black and white was important to make text stand out from these bold colours. Black and white are also gender neutral, which I was told when conducting target audience research, therefore I thought it would be a good idea to use them.
The word 'fuse' reflects the ethos of the magazine, as it means the coming together of different things. This word gives connotations of diversity and coming together, which could also apply to the readers who are joining together to create a fanbase for the magazine & the music genres and artists that are represented in the articles. Additionally, it is only one syllable making it easier for the reader to absorb and remember, so they would recognise it when browsing in shops.
The font I used is very large and definite, which displays the bold ethos of my magazine and cover star. I coloured the masthead white so that it stood out on the bright colours I used. White also has very few negative connotations, which immediately makes my magazine seem positive and appealing to audiences.
The images I used throughout my magazine portray the cover star as having a confident and determined attitude. For many younger people, particularly females, this may be inspirational and they may look up to her for not being afraid to be who they are and speaking about what they believe in.
As well as this, the lack of direct address on the front cover may intrigue the reader as this is a common convention they may be expecting to see. This could encourage them to read the magazine to find out more about her as an artist.
The language used in my cover lines is quite colloquial and informal, for example "Collaborate And Listen", which is a reference to a song lyric. In my audience research, the majority said that they would prefer informal language, therefore I am confident that younger audiences would prefer to read a magazine using this type of language
Additionally, the use of "newcomer" implies that this is one of her first and perhaps only interviews, creating a sense of exclusivity which may excite some readers.

All of the cover lines are written in capital letters, as this makes them clearly readable, however it makes them seem less significant than the main cover line which has a much larger font size and a brighter shade of white to attract the readers attention. The fact that this is also a quote gives the reader a small taste of what the magazine has to offer, which may encourage them to read the article as a whole.

The cover lines frame the image of the cover star, so that the image of E.M. is still clearly visible, yet the reader can still read what content is inside.The plus symbol in between some of the cover lines makes a promise to the reader that there is a vast amount of content within the magazine.

During the construction of my magazine, I used several different programs, including Photoshop, PagePlus and Publisher. The advantages of these programmes were...
The software I used also had some disadvantages...
Blogger was very helpful throughout the process of creating my magazine.
It made the process mcuh more simple by having one location in which all my research into similar products and my target audience was kept, as I could look back at this whilst I drafted and created my final product. This also made me feel much more organised as I could view all of my work whenever I wanted.
Blogger was very easy to use, as it was connected to my gmail therefore I was practically logged in all of the time. As it was online I could share the URL of my blog with others, including my teacher, who could then track my progress and provide me with feedback on work i submitted.
Blogger also allowed me to customise my blog so that it was more personalised and interesting to view.
Question 7
Looking back to your preliminary task, what do you feel that you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
Question 8
How successful do you think your end product is in fulfilling the task? How well does it fit the brief?
In the preliminary task, the background is very dull and therefore makes the entire magazine appear boring. The fact that my final cover is so much more colourful promises that the content is also much more interesting.
As well as this, the masthead of the preliminary task looks very unprofessional, whereas my final front cover looks a lot more believable which I am very happy with.
The overall appearance of the preliminary task is very basic and simple, and it does not include very many conventions which would be expected. I feel like my final product does include many convention whilst also looking better in general.
In the preliminary task, I did not include nearly enough content that would be expected when looking at a contents page. My final product has huge amounts to offer which I think is a huge improvement as it is much more believable.
Also, my preliminary contents page does not include any of the necessary conventions, whereas my final product does. I used social media logos, additional images, puggs with exclusive offers; it is just a much more professional magazine contents page in general.
The layout of the preliminary task is also not very attractive and there is no reasoning behind anything, which is not the case for my final product.
As a whole, I think that FUSE Magazine fits the brief very well. I think that I successfully applied the codes and conventions of music magazines to my product, whilst challenging them occasionally to create a more unique and new magazine.
I conducted large amounts of research into similar magazines, eventually identifying Billboard as my main inspiration, and targeted a similar audience of teenagers and young adults from 14-25. I think that my magazine appeals to this demographic massively.
Using a range of programs, I believe that I successfully created a professional looking pop music magazine which fits the brief.
During the drafting and planning stage of my magazine, I played around with PagePlus to see whether I would use this or Photoshop to create my magazine. In the end, I decided that I would use Photoshop for photo manipulation and PagePlus to rearrantext and create a layout as this is what each software is strongest at in my opinion.
An issue I faced later on in the creative process was that two of my photos looked very similar. I then realised that I could have been using more shots and angles, so on my contents page I used a close up of my cover star in comparison with the medium close up on the front cover and wide shot on the DPS.
After my first photoshoot with my cover star, I selected the ones I felt conveyed her style as an artist the best.
Once I had found the photos that I liked the most, this helped me a lot to think of her name and artist identity overall.
When creating my magazine, I wanted to capture the style of my artists through the photography as words can only say so much. The main way I believed that I could convey her style was through the mise-en-scene: from her clothes to her facial expressions.
Using Photoshop, I made adjustments to the photos so that who E.M. and the secondary artists are as musicians was really made clear.
Using Photoshop, I edited my photos and experimented with different backgrounds that I thought could work and carry meaning about my cover star and other artists. I did not use all of these effects, however I did get to understand Photoshop in more detail whilst experimenting.
I faced several problems when creating my double page spread. Firstly, I did not have the correct dimensions due to using Photoshop and it was actually only one A3 page. Using PagePlus, i fixed this issue.
After this, I could not decide how to make the heading stand out in comparison to the article. Using Photoshop colouring tools, I managed to create a pink grafitti-like outline.
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