Friday, 1 June 2012

Magazine Critical Reflections

Magazine Critical Reflection
Spread 1:
Confessional interview
I decided to do a confessional interview for my first magazine spread, as I felt that I already knew of a story which would be very suitable for it.
I felt that the 1st person format commonly used in confessional interview magazine spreads would be the best way to put across a story, that is engaging and sad in equal measures.
It is written in the voice of a young University student called Steven, who found his friend (Alex) dead in his own home, the day after they had been out on a night out together, despite his friend appearing to be in perfectly good health
I managed to set up an interview with Steve, and was keen to let him know the style of which the article would be written, and promised that I would make sure there would be no inaccuracies in the spread.  The event of which the article was based around was just a few months ago, so it was important to be sensitive at all times during the interview, whilst still getting as much of the story out of the interviewee.

When writing the article I was looking to build a bit of background on how the interviewee knew the victim, before going into detail about what they got up to together the night before Alex passed away. I did this so the reader can begin to picture them both as people, so they are more likely to be engaged in the story and read on.
The article was written in the style of magazines such as ‘closer’ and ‘Take a Break’ as I felt this was the type of story that you would find in a magazine like that. This was reflected by the use of a tabloid-like heading ‘I found my Friend my own home’ as it is shocking and the sort of headline which wouldn’t look out of place on the front cover of a magazine of that style. The headline was bold, and had a colourful base in the top left of the page similarly to other confessional articles in ‘Take a Break’ magazine.
I wanted pictures of both of the people involved in the story, and asked for some of Steven my interviewee as well as Alex. He gave me a couple of pictures that they were his, and also sent me a picture of Alex in his Tennis gear. I felt it was important to include the professional picture of Alex, as you couldn’t see his face particularly clearly in the other pictures and its important they reader can visualise them in the story.
I wrote the article in standard columns, but also used the ‘pullout quote’ technique which is typical of this type of article. I put quotes which I felt were engaging, and important parts of the story without giving everything away. This is because this will often be the first thing people read when opening this sort of magazine spread.
If I was to do the interview again I would have gone into more detail about Alex’s death as I didn’t describe how many people it happens to which would have made the article more shocking. Use of more emotive language may also have helped impact the reader more.

Second Article
Profile of an Athlete

When I decided to do a profile style article I worked to find someone who does something unusual, but is also comfortable speaking passionately about what they do.
I did this article on In-design as I was told this would make it look more professional.
A friend told me about an ex-Winchester student (Mike James) who competes in extreme endurance events, and is always happy to talk to the media about it.
So I set up an interview in a neutral location (he lives in Wales) where we could do an interview. I did background research of the intervieweeso i didn’t have to ask questions he gets asked all of the time by local press.
 I thought that I had the best chance of loosening up the interviewee by having a relaxed conversation in a chilled out environment where he would feel comfortable chatting about his feelings and experiences.
I decided to write the article so it would be suited to a lifestyle magazine. I tried to put emphasis on the more unique and interesting things he had to say rather than going into lots of detail about things that the reader might not even be able to understand.
The article was written to present the journey of someone who has dedicated their life to something which is very physically gruelling.
I started the article by describing Mike’s appearance and personality as I saw it, followed by a quote to try and paint a picture of the scene.
I felt that the most interesting aspects of the interview was why he is so passionate about what he does, as well as touching upon the highs and lows of what he has done so far. This is because in a lifestyle magazine it is the person who is most important, as it isn’t specifically about certain sports or affairs.
I tried to put pieces of humour within the article so it doesn’t sound overly serious, and keeps the reader entertained.
At the end of the article I tried to tie the article together almost so it seems that it’s completed the full circle. The final sentence contains a quote that sums up the personality of the subject and also a final comment from me. This then leads into some text boxes which contain bullet point information about James, which wasn’t included in the body of the article.
This is typical of the type of magazine that this article would be in, as they break down the informative parts of the interview so the reader can obtain the raw information. I included his achievements to show why he’s an interesting person, as this may catch the readers eye and make them want to read the article, as well as a box relating to his diet, as this is something that readers of that type of magazine might be interested in, but it isn’t worth being part of the main article.
I used pictures that Mike sent me via email, although in reflection i probably should have taken pictures of him chatting to me during the interview as well. I had to be careful not to use pictures that he sent me that were copyrighted by a professional photographer as this would potentially have lead to legal issues.
I possibly could have asked for more detail about the mental and physical pain as this would have made the article more interesting for the reader.
I was pleased by the way the article looked, and using In-design gave it a more professional feel to the piece. 

Magazine Spread 2: Profile

Magazine Spread One

Land Project Critical Reflection

Land-Critical Reflection. ‘Housing’. I worked in a group with Jack Courtez and Michael Conolly Our focus for the land documentary was that of ‘Housing’. This is a particularly broad subject to base a documentary on, so we decided as a group what we wanted from the documentary and the message we felt was most important to put across. We decided to incorporate the reasons the building of houses in rural area’s, looking at why it happens and why there can be problems. When filming we felt it was important to capture Urban and Rural area’s, to get contrasting pictures and sounds. We decided that there should be no narrative in the documentary, and that all of the voice in it should be used as a soundtrack. We drew up a rough guide of what we wanted to film, and how we wanted the film to look before we started filming. This gave us something to refer back to when we were unsure of what to film. It also helped to keep us focussed and thus we didn’t waste any time filming things that weren’t going to be useful in the documentary. We didn’t just use footage that we shot ourselves though. At the beginning of the film is some footage of St James’s Hill in Surrey. We asked for permission to use that piece of footage but didn’t hear back from the owners of the footage. However we are protected by ‘Fair usage’ as we only used a small clip that was necessary for our film, and also credited them at the end. The helicopter footage isn’t particularly interesting visually but we felt that the Poem being read over it was interesting as it speaks about how land is free, whilst St James’ hill has been acquired by the rich. We decided to use a poem about property and land at the beginning of the piece as it sets the tone, and introduces the subject of the film without being overly obvious. When that is finished we upped the sound and used short clips of men building houses, and the machinery. We used this because the sound is good, and is engaging for the viewer from the very start. We sped up some of the clips as well to give the video a pace. We used the footage of building sandwiched between the peaceful natural shots to emphasise the impact that man has had on the surroundings. Over the top of the rural shots that we got from around Winchester we used sound from an interview of a woman on a NIMBY campaign demonstration. She is outlining her concern about houses being built in the countryside and we layered it with pictures of green land and wildlife. She was never shown on shot as it was just used as a soundbite and part of the audio track not as in the form of an interview on the news. We then used the voice of a man addressing a crowd talking about why they are opposed to lans to build houses on a local beauty sot. The voice is layered underneath pictures of idyllic countryside. We felt that the sound was good for the piece as the man was very animated and was talking in a dramatic way which worked well over the pictures. We then faded it to black to show that something more dramatic was about to ha en. It was here that we used a piece on music that we had created on Garage band over pictures of Urban Decae. This contrasted with the previous images which had been of building and countryside without showing how laces can end u . We underlaid flashing images that we got off Creative commons of riots, which we flickered over the localised footage as almost a warning shot of what poverty can lead to when its at its most extreme in Urban area’s in Britain. We chose to film most of the Urban Decae images in the St Mary’s area of Southampton, as we knew that there was a high crime rate there, and thus we wouldn’t have to look far for some decaying buildings. I think this worked well as the shots show what can happen when a lace becomes urbanised and contrasts with what had come previously. Throughout the images of Urban decae and the music, we underlaid more soundbites from the demonstration and began to repeat them to emphasise that these issues aren’t just going to go away. When filming the Urbanisation we weren’t filming in HD which was a mistake because it meant that the images were slightly grain. We then stopped the music and faded to black to show that the worrying about housing art was over. We then used soundtrack from an interviewee who isn’t opposed to building new houses. He was a lad from Nigeria whose beliefs contrasted from those used in the earlier shots. We used natural images to show his calm opinions on what is important. We then went on to show Surburbia and overlaid a number of shots of new build houses, to emphasise how similar they all are. These pictures were used over the singing of a busker which came from the Barton Farm rotest footage. We felt that the tempo worked well over the shots of the Surburban estates as the tempo was upbeat and suited the journey-like style of filming we used. We decided to use music over the urban and suburban footage to seperate it from the shots of countryside and natural beauty. We used natural sound for those shots as we felt the images spoke for themselves, and they were supposed to come across as peaceful as possible. I felt that we were lacking an interview with somebody who lives in Surburbia and if flourishing because of new building. The interview with the Nigerian immigrant didn’t contain the same passion and tempo as the other soundbites and I think that art of the film suffered as a consequence.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Media Law-Investigative Journalism

Ordinary News Journalism involves simply telling the news, and is determined by what the public want to know about, which is known as the 'news agenda'. Investigative Journalism on the other hand involves going off the agenda and deciding for yourself what people want to know and hear about.
An example of this sort of journalism is BBC Panorama where they try and uncover stories which can create an agenda of their own, as they subsequently become topical because of the show.

Journalist's must consider six key points when publishing an investigative piece of journalism. They are as follows;

(1) Be sure of your witnesses;
Always make sure your witnesses are available to give evidence if you need them to. Make sure they are alive, awake and in the country!
(2) Make sure your witnesses are willing to give evidence;
Make sure you are 100% certain that your witnesses will turn up in court if they are needed.
(3) The standing of your witnesses;
It is widely accepted that an upstanding member of society such as a Nurse or a Police Officer will offer more support in court than a ex-convict street sweeper.
(4) Signed Statements;
Investigative journalist's should ensure that they get a signed witness statement from the time and has it clearly signed.
(5) Be cautious of photocopied documents;
It is always best to use the original and you may have to prove in court that your copy is authentic otherwise.
(6) Ensure you keep all evidence;
Journalist's are expected to always be able to prove their facts in court, so they must keep shorthand notes at all time and not dispose of rushes.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Media Law-Confidentiality and Privacy

Confidentiality is at the moment an incredibly hot topic in the media. There has been a large number of high profile cases in which confidentiality has been breached by journalist’s in recent times which increases the importance of Journalist's knowing these laws inside out.

When reporting on something personal it is vital to remember article eight; 'Everybody has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.'

Confidentiality depends on the type of secret information concerned (e.g official secrets is different to hearsay), as well as the expectation of the person passing on the information that it will be kept secret.

For something to be deemed secret information officially it has to have the necessary quality of confidence (i.e. not a rumour from a stranger), was gained in circumstances that both parties would understand that it should be kept secret (i.e. in a meeting with a doctor but not at a party or in a pub), no permission was given to pass on the secret and that harm would come to the person passing on the secret if it became public. It is important to remember that all of these four points have to be there for something to legally deemed 'confidential'.

Confidentiality laws can only be broken if the secret is in the public interest, and when a journalist is thinking about what is in the public interest they have to be careful to define what is in the public's interest-and not what is just of interest to the public.

'Public interest' is only a defence if the article has involved;
-Detecting or exposing crime, or serious impropriety.
-Protecting public health and safety
-Preventing the public from being mislead by an action or a statement of an individual or organisation.
The Public Interest is a buzz-word for tabloid newspapers particularly in celebrity journalism.

It was that final public interest item that was used a defence for the exposure of Ryan Giggs as a love cheat. It came out in the press that Ryan Giggs, a world famous footballer who was married with kids, had been involved in a sex scandal involving a model, as well as the wife or his own brother. Giggs complained that he had a right to privacy, that had been breached by the news stories. But the judge deemed that the public had been mislead in the past as Giggs was presented as a role model, and Giggs had consequently lost his right to privacy.
However it is important to remember that public interest isn't a valid defence in libel cases, but in privacy cases it is a strong defence.

People also have a right to confidentiality when being pictured. The publisher would need permission to use a picture of someone in their journalism safely. This consent can be either Explicit which is the written form of consent, or Implicit which is where the person is aware the picture is being taken.