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Archive for July, 2011

Reflections

You know, it’s interesting. Before starting this particular blog, I had started a couple of others, but they didn’t really have a specific purpose to them; they were more like an online diary. As such, I started them and wrote a few entries, but never really kept them up – but then again, I was never good at maintaining even a handwritten diary when I was younger.

That being said, I have really enjoyed writing this blog, and having something specific to discuss in each post. I really think that I could be diligent enough to maintain a blog if it had a certain theme, rather than a general ‘what is happening in my life’.

I have also enjoyed the general research and reading that I have done to inform myself enough to write about the things I have talked about. I love being able to read different articles and forums and gain a better overall understanding of something. I have even come out with a different perspective on online media as a whole after this.

I very much look forward to continuing this blog and developing a greater understanding of different aspects of the media.

 

Is there anything that you feel is not talked about enough in today’s media, or something about the media that often gets forgotten?

 

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Print vs Online – Not So Different…?

I know that I have spent some time and energy on this blog talking about how the internet has drastically changed the way that society accesses and interacts with the media and changed how media is managed and produced. But I am seriously reconsidering this. I was flipping through a book called Style: the Essential Guide for Journalists and Professional Writers, which was put out by News Limited. (For those of you outside of Australia – News Limited is the big scary Murdoch owned conglomerate that owns basically all of the Australian print media).
Anyway, as I was reading through this book, and more specifically, the chapter about the internet, I realised something about news production: it’s still very much the same.

Yes, a key difference between print and online news is deadlines and printing times – but even online news has a strict deadline to adhere to when they put out their daily newsletters. Another interesting thing that I realised, was that in printed newspapers, particularly with broadsheets – there is the emphasis on important stories being placed ‘above the fold’ of the newspaper. The interesting thing about this is that even for a news website, there is still an ‘above the fold’ line (when you can see a story/headline without having to scroll) that holds the place for important stories.

At the same time, the concept of a deadline has changed within the new generation and within the general media culture. Because so many online news sites are 24-hour, the concept of a deadline can be hard to define. Obviously there is deadline pressure in uploading important breaking stories as they happen, but traditional deadlines as print or broadcast media know them do not exist in the online medium.

I also feel that many of the things I have mentioned in previous posts relating to design and layout, show that online and print are still very similar in some ways, such as the way that images and headlines are very prominent features in both formats.

Do you think that there is a drastic difference between print and online, or do online aspects (such as commenting) simply enhance the news experience as a whole?

Images and Headlines

Headlines, captions and images. Newspaper design is as a key factor in readership, and other than the news itself, these two things are what makes up a newspaper, in fact they are actually the most important parts of designing a page, regardless of whether it is print or web.  But why are headlines and images so important?

Images are the first thing that the eye is drawn to. It gets the attention of a wandering eye, and so many people prefer to read an article with an image attached to it than one without. It is also easier for the reader to have an image to reflect with and help focus on what the story is about, as well as visualising the situation and being able to imagine what it was like to be there.
From a publisher’s perspective, images help fill out a page, make it more aesthetically pleasing, and help make it look like it’s worth the money the readers are paying.

Because headlines are the second most prominent element on a page after photographs, their role in layout and design is crucial. However, headlines are more important in online publications than in printed newspapers because online readers tend to scan the text. Often headlines will be the only thing an online reader uses to determine if they will read a story or not and so headlines should be as sharp and direct as possible. Similarly, captions are also especially crucial in the online world. It has been said that effective caption writing is more important in an online context, than with a printed newspaper, because more photographs can be posted online than printed in a newspaper.

I personally love news photography. There are so many pictures that define our news and history, and seeing one image can conjure up so many memories and emotions. Of course there is the iconic photo of the Tiananmen Square protests, and the man with his shopping bags standing in front of the tanks. Any one in the Western world can look at this photo and know exactly what it means and the story behind it. In the same way that anyone in the world can look at  a photo from September 11, 2001 and feel so many emotions.

The most harrowing image for me in recent times, was during the Pike River Mine explosion in New Zealand late last year. It was the front page of the Advertiser in South Australia following the second mine explosion that confirmed that all those trapped in the mine were dead. The image took up 3/4 of the front page, and was a photo of a woman in the moment of shock and grief at finding out her loved one was gone. I feel that it is images like this that make the news. There is no way that anybody would ever be able to write well enough to convey the multitude of emotions that these people were feeling, but one single picture can convey so much. Unfortunately I have not been able to find an online copy to show you – although a quick Google search will give you plenty of pictures of grief-stricken family members.

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