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. 

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