Category Archives: AS Level Media Studies Coursework Evaluation

My AS Coursework Evaluation :)

Question 1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Above is an image of a traditional music magazine front cover, it is the front cover of, “Q,” magazine. When creating my magazine I stuck to traditional music magazine codes and conventions as much as I could, and looked towards other music magazines to set an example for my own. I made the style and layout of my music magazine similar to that of other magazines of the same genre. For instance, on the front cover of my magazine I used a large photograph which took up a lot of the page and covered part of the title, I borrowed this convention from various other magazines such as Vibe and NME, which I had noticed often did the same thing. I decided to copy their technique as I felt it created impact. The background colour for the pages of my magazine was a mixture of black and dark purple, as I observed in other popular music magazines such as Q and Kerrang that it was common for music magazines to have darker background colours for their pages. I also followed examples of other magazines in various additional aspects of my magazine such as the way my headings were formatted and the way my text, photographs, and captions were presented. However I challenged some conventions of real media products through the use of one of my photographs. The majority of my photographs I tried to make representative of the music genre especially R&B. This was a challenge for me as I hadn’t taken photographs like that before. The photographs would either be taken of something musical like an iPod, somebody musical like the artist or the picture caption would relate the photograph with something musical even if it was not clearly explained from looking at the photograph itself. However one photograph used in my double page spread challenges the musical theme. The photograph is supposedly a home-photograph of the artist I created (Sapphire) at home with her dog. This photograph is supposed to challenge the realistic expectations of photographs in a music magazine as usually you do not see a photograph of an artist with there pet. The reason why I decided to use this image was to provide a change from traditional images, shock the reader’s expectations and also to show an insight into this “celebrities” personal life. In the made-up interview the made-up artist Sapphire mentioned her dog so I decided to include a photograph of her with the dog. Generally speaking the majority of photographs used in magazines are professional shots as this creates an impact on the audience that everything is perfect in the world of celebrities. However my photographs differed because they appeared to be home-photographed and therefore were more amateur shots. I felt this added a nice touch to the magazine but definantly would have contrasted with the readers expectations. This could impact on the audience making them think R&B TYM is not like other music magazines.


Question 2) How does your media product represent particular social groups?

My media product is a music magazine called R&B TYM that focuses on the R&B genre of music. Therefore, the magazine has to represent the social group of R&B artists in a particular way. One way this is done is through the use of photographs. The photographs of the R&B artists reflect their lifestyle. For example on my front cover and also on the double page spread there are photographs of a fictional R&B artist named Sapphire and she is wearing the sort of things that an R&B artist might wear (a hoodie, make-up, hair extensions etc). This helps to represent the social group in terms of the clothes that they often wear. And present them as being not too dressed up (like maybe a classical singer would be), but in fact quite commonly dressed although they do have a nice appearance. One photograph I took showed a close-up shot of the artist holding an iPod, this was designed to represent R&B artists as being normal people, as most people have iPod’s so it was a way to link the artist back to being like everybody else and doing normal things that everyone does like listening to an iPod. This is an example of one of the ways in which my media product represents a particular social group.
In addition to this the name of the magazine represented social groups for example youth culture. As I noticed from my survey the main audience for the magazine would be teenagers so the name of the magazine had to reflect this. I chose the name, “R&B TYM.” As the spelling of, “TYM,” looks as though it might appear in a text message, which young people might find appealing. Therefore the title represents the social group of teenagers.


Question 3) What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why?

Hopefully, if the magazine was successful enough it would be distributed by a large media distribution company such as IPC media. This company would help advertise the product so that more people would hear of it and would therefore want to buy it. The reason a large media company should distribute the product is that they have a lot of experience when it comes to distribution and would know the best ways to go about distributing the magazine.
I chose IPC Media because they are one of the largest media institutions in the United Kingdom which is obviously where my magazine would be produced and sold. In addition to this they have also distributed other music magazine of similar genres including NME. So I would already know that they are capable of getting the job done.
After distribution I think that my magazine would be sold in most newsagents and supermarkets.


Question 4) Who would be the audience for your media product?

The above image is the photograph used in my music magazine on the front cover. This image is also what I believe the target audience of my music magazine would look like; that is to say that I think girls who would be the audience of my music magazine would look like this. From personal opinion I feel that primarily the target audience of my music magazine would be female and probably in the age range of about 15-19. They would dress wearing the kind of clothing that R&B artists wear ie. hoodies. And would wear make-up, hair extensions etc.

In addition to this, I also used the results from my music magazine survey to help establish my target audience. During the planning of my magazine I managed to identify (statistically speaking) who the main audience of my magazine would be through the use of my survey. The main audience would be people who liked R&B music between the ages of 16-24, as the results of my survey showed me this. Also, as my magazine will be priced at £3-£3.99 it’s more likely that people of this age group will have the money to purchase a music magazine once each month.


Question 5) How did you attract/address your audience?

Ultimately, to attract my audience I looked at other music magazines and worked out the codes and conventions that they all had in common. I then applied as many as possible of these codes and conventions to my own music magazine, so that the audience got what they were expecting from a typical music magazine. For instance the large headings which attract the reader’s attention. Not to mention the large photograph of an R&B artist on the front page which draws in potential readers as they recognise the artist and therefore want to look more closely at the magazine. To attract the audience I looked at the results of my survey and noticed that potential readers wanted the magazine to focus more on solo artists rather than groups. This is why I made my front cover and double page spread focus on a solo artist. I used darker background colours to create an R&B feel for the magazine and the title R&B TYM was written on the front cover in large writing. These features of the magazine will attract readers as they carry the connotations of R&B and the title gives away the fact that the magazine has something to do with music, prompting readers to take a closer look.

I also looked at the results of my survey to attract the audience. My survey results told me that the readers wanted an R&B magazine, published once a month, consisting of 40+ pages and published with a cost of £3-£3.99. They also wanted the magazine to focus mainly on solo artists. So I decided to give the readers what they wanted and make the magazine according to this specification.

As for addressing the audience, I wrote the magazine in a style so that the audience felt included. For example putting the double page spread interview into a question and answer format so that it reflected natural conversation patterns and therefore the audience felt as though they were in the room watching the interview take place. I could have improved the magazine by including personal pronouns such as, “you,” in the text to make the reader feel as though they had been addressed personally and to allow them to feel more included.


Question 6) What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?

I have learnt about several technologies from the process of constructing this product. To begin with, my knowledge of using ICT to create such a product has greatly improved. My experience with using Microsoft Publisher to create this kind of product (a music magazine) has been limited in the past but from doing this piece of coursework I have learnt how to use Microsoft Publisher to insert images, add text boxes and create a professional layout for my magazine. Using Microsoft Publisher was definantly easier than doing the designs by hand or trying to create them using a different software package. Another form of technology I learnt more about was the camera as well as photo editing software packages such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and Paint shop Pro, which I had rarely used before. This software allowed me to edit the photographs which I took for my magazine and to adjust their brightness, contrast, hue and saturation. This is something which I would not have been able to do before but learnt to do through the process of constructing my music magazine. I have also learnt about using technology to create meaning; for example using font styles to reflect youth culture or R&B genre.


Question 7) Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?

Below are images of my Preliminary Task (The front cover and contents page).

I feel that the preliminary task (which was to create a school magazine) helped me lots and I learnt many things from completing it which, in turn, helped me to complete my full product. From the preliminary task I learnt the expected codes and conventions of most magazines and by completing the task it gave me a better understanding of some equipment (such as IT software) that I needed to use, as well as giving me some basic knowledge on how to construct a magazine of my own. For example I had an idea of a general layout for my magazine, and I could decide the way my photographs would be laid out and where to position headlines and text. Also, by looking back at my preliminary task when I was constructing my music magazine I was also able to pick out things which I didn’t like or wanted to change and could therefore think of new ways to improve my coursework piece and make it better than the preliminary task had been. For example I felt that the contents page in the preliminary task did not have enough information in it, and the contents did not consist of many pages/articles. I felt that although this was appropriate for a school magazine (because a school magazine often doesn’t have many pages) a music magazine should be different and should contain around 50 pages. So I changed the layout from the preliminary task (which had about 9 pages of contents in one column in a medium sized font) and made sure that the contents page of my music magazine had about 50 pages of articles written in a small font, set out over two columns.

Furthermore, Completing the preliminary task helped me know how to develop my planning techniques for the coursework project, and gave me an understanding of how to use audience research (such as surveys) to establish a target audience.

In total, I think I learnt a lot in progression from my preliminary task to my full coursework product.