Evaluation

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

By looking at other magazines such as ‘Vibe’ and ‘Kerrang!’ I have gathered information about their use of codes and conventions adapting it into my own media product. I managed to take some of their techniques and develop them adding them into my Hip-Hop and R&B magazine. An example of this is my front cover image. The camera angle and pose is an idea that I developed from the front cover of Vibe with Ciara as the subject. She also looks over her shoulder, but not at the same extent. Also, by using a sexy, beautiful, female artist I have used forms and conventions that attract the audience. Psychoanalysis show that beautiful people is a factor of attraction for other human beings, and that we look up to them as successful. This knowledge I have used to my advantage and are the background for the use of model. This I believe has enriched my front cover.

            The colours of my pages represent the two genders of which my magazine is targeted: male and female. This is something I will describe more closely further down the page.

            The Bronx challenge forms and conventions of other media products in its qualitative perspective and feature of artists that can be considered as role models. This makes The Bronx differ from a handful of music magazine’s that can be viewed as gossip magazines. The Bronx does contain gossip of some kind but the articles are of a high quality making the readers believe what is written as they are researched and proven. This is a value that the Bronx treasures and that separate the magazine from other real media products.

How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Each magazine has different codes and conventions that reflect the genre and the target audience. These codes and conventions can be found in the written language, font style, colours, images, etc. My target audience is teenagers and young adults who are interested in the music genre Hip-Hop and R&B. This is represented through the forms and conventions in my magazine. For example, the colours of my front page tell of a gender neutral magazine, a magazine targeted both genders. The pink colour represents women while the blue represents men. A contrast to this is the magazine ‘Spotlight,’ created by a previous AS student.

            On my contents page there is a big ‘B’ that is written as a graffiti letter. This is associated with the streets of big cities, which is exactly where Hip-Hop is born, in the Bronx. In this way one can say that the magazine represents the social group of teenagers and young adults who live in or close to the streets. The more luxurious layout of the magazine however (shown through the matching colours and quality of the articles), gives the association of teenagers and young adults who are born and raised on the streets but grown up to fame and fortune. This way the magazine is targeted both lower and middle class.

            The magazine contains both stereotypical and anti-stereotypical Hip-Hop and R&B artists. Lil’C is an artist who has her life on track. She is not pictured as an alcoholic or drug addict contrasting to the common view of successful artists. She is a positive youth making her a positive role model for the readers of the magazine. Tyson Wood on the other hand is presented in a stereotypical way. He is the artist who has been addicted to cocaine and written songs under its influence making him become famous. Also, the picture of him on the contents page tells of a stereotypical male Hip-Hop artist. The brand hat, the baggy sweater and the long ‘bling’ necklace all point in this direction. This is another way he differs from Lil’C who is presented as a more non-conventional artist with a look of “the girl next door” which immediately identifiable to the genre.

            All together these codes and conventions represent the social group of teenagers and young adults listening to Hip-Hop and R&B.

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

I believe that IPC (International Publishing Company) Media would distribute my magazine should it be published. IPC media is one of the leading media institutions in the United Kingdom and has published magazines such as NME. Research show that 26 million adults read magazines published by IPC Media. IPC Media has had great success and will therefore have the experience and resources to distribute my magazine.

            The reason why I believe that IPC Media would distribute my magazine is that their only Music magazine is NME which has the male gender as their target group. Therefore I think they need a magazine that is targeted both genders. The magazine will therefore attract an audience they haven’t reached with any of their magazines before. This, I believe, is an important fact in making them want to distribute my magazine. IPC media values the fact that they have a magazine to offer people with all kinds of interests and genders. Therefore, I was to shed a light on the gap in the brands and target audiences I believe they would closely consider publishing my magazine.

            Also, IPC media magazine productions all have the lower and middle class as their target audience. This can be seen clearly on the codes and conventions on their front page as well as the price of the magazine. Since this is the same audience as my magazine are targeted I see no reason why they would not distribute it.

Who would be the audience for your media product?

The audience for my media product is male and females from the age of 15 to 25 years old. This decision is based on my primary research showing that the majority of Hip-hop and R&B listeners are found within this age group. During my research I asked 25 random people from the age of 15 to 25 which music genre they would like to read about. 44 % of the asked wanted to read a music magazine of the Hip-Hop and R&B.

            The conventions that I have applied in my magazine suggest that the magazine is targeted for an audience of 15 to 25 years old with an aspirational age of 12 to 30.  This can be seen through the photos of the article subjects and what the article is revealing, for example drugs tell of a article the older audience while CandyGirls are targeted the younger group. One can immediately target CandyGirls as targeted the younger generation in the group name as well as the font style and colour pink in which the group name is presented behind their photo.

            The target audience within this group is lower-class and middle-class. This is clear in the use of codes and conventions of all the pages. For example, the front page has a tidy layout where the colours match and the contrasts in tone make the text easy to read. The front cover image is of good quality and is edited making the page look luxurious and professional. Therefore the page attracts the middle class. The font style used on the front cover however is in a graffiti style associated with the streets where the lower class audience lives. This use of font styles therefore makes it clear that the magazine is not targeted the upper-class. 

            This I have done deliberately since this social group is more likely to have a part time job and in this way earn their income. Therefore they have their own money to spend as they like. Another reason for selecting this age group is that between school and work the audience needs a diversion. This diversion could be my magazine.

 

How did you attract/address your audience?

I addressed my audience by the use of lexical choices that is known to the hip-hop and R&B community, e.g. “The honky horse,” “off the chain,” “mag,” “no.1”” “cease the moment” and “off the hook.” The headlines on my front cover and contents page looks like graffiti helping them to identify their favourite genre. Another factor that addressed my audience was the photos. The photos showed the genre as well as it attracted the audience, both men and female. The use of different, contrasting colours draws in the audience triggering their interest.  

            It was my research into similar products that showed me the importance of language and emphasizing artist’s names. It was an important factor in the audience identifying the genre of the magazine. By looking at the magazine VIBE I saw how they used a sexy female as the front cover subject to attract the audience. Therefore I adapted this into my own magazine as I saw how the image of a female not only draws men’s attention but also mine as a woman.

            During my secondary research I also picked up on the use of colour. The background always contrasted to the use of font colour so that the text would be easy to read. I also released how the different types of colours all create a different response in the reader. For example, colour psychoanalysis show that pink is a colour of universal love, a quieter version of red which is the colour who carries the strongest reaction form humans. By adding pink to my front page it tells about love. The fact that Lil’C is wearing the pink dress tells the reader that the article about her contains information about her love life. At the same time pink is a colour that is associated with femininity telling the female audience that this magazine is targeted for them. Blue however is a colour that is often associated with boys. In this way the use of colour both attracts and addresses the target audience. To make sure that my research and own development was correct and created the wanted effect on the audience I asked 10 students in 6-form which gender and age group they thought the magazine was targeted. The students where asked two questions and were given three alternatives. 90 % labelled the magazine targeted both genders while 100% targeted the magazine to the age group of 15-25 years. In this way the result indicated that the codes and conventions in the use of colour are correct.

            Another way in which I attracted and addressed my target audience was through font styles and magazine name. As previously stated above the use of graffiti looking font styles is representing the social group of my target audience as well as their social class.

            The use of photo subjects is another way in which I addressed and attracted my audience. By featuring successful young adult I attracted my target audience as well as addressing them. Through the images in my magazine the audience was able to identify the age group of the magazine. This is seen in photos in which there is obvious that none of the artists represented is over the age of 25.

 

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

During the process of constructing my own media magazine I have learnt how to manipulate and edit images by the use of Photoshop. By using a digital camera I have learnt how different camera shots create different effects. For example the by using a mid-shot on the front cover I have managed to capture the needed bodymass in order to show that Lil’C is looking behind her shoulder. Also, by using a mid-shot I have captured the face expression creating the associations of Lil’C leading the audience into the magazine.

            I have also learnt how to make use of the different features of Desktop Publisher using this knowledge to my advantage allowing myself to use features such as removing the background of photos.

            I have also used excel to make diagrams and tables for my questionnaire enabling me to make out the percentage of yes, no’s and maybe’s giving a clear view of my audience’s attention.

            The use of the different software packages has allowed me to produce a product that fits the need and expectations of my target audience. For example, without Desktop Publisher I would not have been able to move images and textboxes around as freely or use the many other advantages of this specific software package.

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

By looking back at my preliminary task I notice how much I have learnt during the process of making a magazine. I am now aware of how to use codes and conventions to attract and trigger the interest of the audience. If the codes and conventions are properly targeted these can trigger the subconscious mind of the audience into purchasing a product. However, this can only be done as long as there is communication between the developer and the audience at all stages of the process. If not the codes and conventions will not be as strong and therefore not as successful as hoped. Therefore I have been careful to communicate with fellow students during my development in order to create a product that is targeted this age group.

            This knowledge has made me aware of the huge role media have in our everyday lives, a role that many do not acknowledge. It is this lack of knowledge that makes it possible to “manipulate” their mind into thinking that they need this product. By having this knowledge I am aware of the media’s role and will therefore not be as influenced. At the same time I have been able to adapt this knowledge into my own magazine.

            Also, through the process I have learnt how proper planning and careful research is necessary to create a media product. I now understand the huge cost of time and human resources in order to create a media product and how every detail of the product is carefully planned. It is these small details that build the codes and conventions and talk to the unconscious mind.

            This process has made me more aware of a target audience and how everything has to be correctly targeted to make a magazine successful. If the magazine does not manage to target the magazine correctly this will create a major economical loss. It is therefore important that the genre, gender and age group is correctly fitted. To ensure this there has to be communication between the developers and the audience at all stages of the process. This communication is crucial in order to create a successful product. This communication has caused me to learn the importance of draft and redraft the product in order to produce the best outcome possible. Without the feedback from teachers and fellow students my magazine would have not have been as successful as it turned out to become.

Sources:

http://www.ipcmedia.com

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