Archive for the ‘Traditional Journalism’ Category

Magazine Journalism or Magazine Advertising?

April 21, 2009




People in the UK spend around £2 billion on magazine each year. 2.600 magazines are sold every minute of every day in the UK. Obviously, magazine is a popular media product in the UK. 

Magazine are generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles, and financed by advertising. 

However, there are some traditional criticism of magazines. In the first place, magazine is a commercial market driven for. It don’t just sell journalism to readers, but also sell readers to advertisers. 

In magazines, advertising could reach the target audience, educate them about their products or services, and move them closer to making a purchase. The whole idea of advertising in the magazines could sum up in one word: Image. Different from the limited space and certain page structure in the newspapers, it is possible for advertisers to print more complex layouts of their products. It could be reflect in one whole page with a full-colour and glossy format. 

In addition, most magazines have specific market demographics based on different location, occupation, age and gender. In this case, advertisers could choose the type of magazines which are related with their target consumers. For instance, the make up advertising will focus on female magazines.  

Magazine advertising is one of the most powerful marketing tools. Therefore, it is not a simple journalism product which could provide information for citizens to participate in democracy. To some extent, magazines are vehicles for consumer capitalism. It encourages lots of false needs.  

Furthermore, the feminist media theorists argue that magazines promote stereotypes. 

Women in magazine advertising are always presented as beautiful and sexy. The female models are all gorgeous.They dress well with expensive jewellery and perfect make up. They are looking good and charming in the advertising. Sometimes, people buy the magazine just for looking at advertising and try to change themselves as the model. 

Another representation of women is domestic. They are often described as housewife to stay at home. Their jobs are looking after kids, washing clothes and cleaning the house. Therefore, many advertisements related to foods, kitchen and bathroom staff could be seen in magazines. 


Take the In Style magazine advertising as an example. Only a Body, In Style.One of many gender stereotypes, this advertisement depicts women as mindless figures, present only for sexual display.  Her eyes and head are left out of the photo, thereby focusing attention on her sexuality. 

Nevertheless, people are not meant to be put into categories or definitions. Stereotypes limit human potential, individuality and creative thinking. 

Image source:


War&Peace, War&Journalism

March 30, 2009


Robert Capa, who was the greatest photojournalist in the 20th century. In his life he covered five different wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino Japanese War, the Second World War across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the First Indochina War.



To Capa, technical considerations were secondary to catching a dramatic moment.


Robert Capa’s pictures would not make people feel aware of the importance of photo taking techniques but the courageous which can only be exchanged by a life. Because of this enormous courageous, his pictures are regarded as classics. No one criticizes whether his pictures are dedicated, whether the meaning could be delivered correctly, whether crops are compact, whether shutter opportunities are neither more nor less, and the tones of pictures are rich. Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, with bad quality, deserves to one of his most famous pictures. And in the D-Day landings, even the objects are really blurred. Focal lengths, shutter speeds, apertures are meaningless nouns. He took pictures by his life, but not by cameras.




Robert Capa is the most famous war correspondent in people’s memory, and his career was gambling. However, on May 25, 1954, Capa stepped on a landmine and died with his camera in his hand.


People will never forget him. His photos have become a symbol of humanity and war. He hated war during his whole life and looked for peace. He tried to use his photos to record the war and awake people’s conscious to stop killing each other.


The most sentence of Robert Capa is that “If your pictures are not good enough, you are not close enough”. Through his photos, people can hear the sounds of bullets and bombs. Every photos prove that the war is the most foolish and brutal thing made by human beings.



Image sources:


March 29, 2009


Language is something linked with words and grammar which could present meaningful statement and enable us to communicate with each other. Journalists is a kind of job to write and report truth to the public. However, is language the only thing we can use as communicate tool? Actually, visual language could also be structured in journalism.

A photojournalist is usually a type of reporter that works for a certain publication and goes out to get images for a story. Earlier it used to mean only still photography. But now in broadcast journalism, when the electronic media has become more powerful, video photo-journalism is also included.

Especially, photojournalism covers the report during the war. Even though sometimes photographs are often printed in black and white, they are widely accepted as standing in for the real thing. These photos could be regarded as objective records of the real world.





Similar as traditional print journalism, newspapers also turn photojournalism into a routine production.

The images created in photojournalism are part of a news story, or feature in a magazine. Photojournalists must supply pictures which are in focus and have sufficient tones to reproduce well in newsprint. They are helped by using standardized film and equipment. They know that editors demand impact or shock-value related to the story. photographers place the newsworthy event in the centre of the frame, look for dominant verticals and an even surface pattern. Once the pictures are processed, the phtotgraphers’ work is reinforced by the choices of picture editors, who crop and retouch pictures to ensure they match the conventions of realism.

P.S: Light and colour have specific symbolic connotations in the photography. There are some explanations for different use of light and colour.

Darkness suggests fear,evil, the unknown.

Light suggests security, virtue, truth and joy.

Cool colours(blue, green) suggests peace, distance and silence.

Warm colours(red, yellow) suggests aggressiveness, violence and mature.

 There are a lot debates about photojournalism, and we will discuss that later.


Image resources:

Journalism in Wartime

March 26, 2009


How is war  tranformed in to “stories”?

War is narrative. The story of war as told by the journalists in a narrative structure: it starts with a problem and ends with a happy result. At first, there is a threat and a loss. However, a new hero and a victory will appear. Then, a serious of trials and defeats is following. In the worst moment, the hero will lead to final victory with order restored.

Language of War

The bias of news is reflected more obvious in the process of reporting wars. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has never stop, meanwhile, the biased treatment accompany the conflict consistently. It is not difficult to find some specific examples. Usually, journalists refer ‘refugees’ to Palestinians, however, few audience know that it was caused by Israel occupied their land to established a new country. In addition, journalists use different type of language to describe Israeli and Palestinians. Compared with Palestinians, the news emphasised a lot on the death of Israeli. Moreover, certain words such as ‘murder’, ‘lynching’ and ‘savage cold-blooded killing’ were always related to Israeli deaths, but not those of Palestinians. The purpose of this kind news is to be eye-catching and attention-grabbing; nevertheless, it neglects to report the truth to public. Another possible reason is that Israel has an allied relationship with US; as a consequence, the bias appeared.

War Journalists

Where there is a war, where there are journalists. In order to report the war and get the first hand news, many journalist sacrifice thier lives. For example, in the Iraq War, 12 journalists died in only 20 days. Even though, many journalists still take their responsibilities and report the latest development in Iraq.  There is a debate about whether it is valuable for journalists to lose their lives in the war. They use pictures and words to record the war. But who could protect them? Here is a link to a commitee to protect journalists.

I’d like to introduce a famous female war journalist in China. Luqiu Luwei, who works in Phoenix Television.  Duringthe Iraq War in 2003, she was the only one Chinese journalist who entred Baghdad  and  obtained a lot  attention froChinese audience even the govenment leaders. She is refered to “A beautiful rose at battleground”.


Image Resource:

A Routine Process of News Production

March 21, 2009


The news we watched everyday is not simply reported by the journalists in its naturally newsworthy. The production of news is structured, predictable and strongly patterned. Though the process is complex, it has fixed steps. Namely, news is selected from regular sources, judged by certain values and reported in similar ways to satisfy audience demands. 


There are some routine methods which are used by journalists to produce news. 

  • News Net. In this way journalists distribute resources according to where news is likely to be happened, such as elite countries or major cities. Generally, geographic territoriality, organizational specialization and topical specialization should be considered by journalists to report news. 
  • News Diary. It is a method to pre-select some routine news. In the diary, journalists record predictable events that undoubtedly will become public concern. The contents of the diary range from political issues (elections, and wars) to religious, social and sporting occasions (religion conflicts, the Nobel prize-giving and the Olympics ).Some of the institutional sources of news are from the bureaucratic organizations. 
  • Gatekeeping. It is an indispensable step which is described as ‘a secondary selection process’ in the production of news. It is linked with the activities of editors. Their job is to determine which pieces of those news submitted by journalists should be published in newspaper or be broadcasted by programmes. The gatekeepers have to make judgement about whether this news story is important or not, and examine if the news is accorded with their organization’s communication routines and characteristics. Also, the process of gatekeeping could be considered to guarantee the quality of the news we received. 


News Values

  • Frequency— Recent events are favoured, especially those that have occurred in the previous 24 hours.
  • Proximity— The event should have a relationship with the audience’s experience and cultural background.
  • Negativity— ‘Bad News’ is ‘Good News’.
  • Conflict— Balanced journalism presents that ‘each story has two sides’.
  • Reference to elite nations and persons— Events happened in the USA and other members of the ‘first world’ or activities performed by politicians and celebrities. 


Narrative Structure

  • The typical roles of characters are the villains, the heroes, the helpers and the victims. 

       E.g: In the drug crime news, the drug runners are villains and drug are victims, while police officers are heroes and social workers are helpers.

  • News narrative develops story from order to disorder and to order again. 

       E.g: Equilibrium—Obstacles—Disequilibrium—New Equilibrium

  • Basic structure of narrative story: the binary opposition.

       E.g: Masculinity—Femininity      Work—Domesticity

        Rationality—Emotionalism  Labour—Conservative