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February 2017

Hidden Figures Film Review

Hidden Figures (released in February 2017) follows the story of three African-American women – Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – who worked at NASA  in 1962 and were the brains behind sending John Glenn into orbit. Starring Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae.

 

I found this film incredibly inspirational and empowering. To see people with nothing and be treated so badly to achieve such greatness was amazing. Equally, showed how if you persevere with something, you can achieve incredible things. I think all three actresses portrayed each woman’s story beautifully and were brilliant throughout.

I thought it was such a beautiful story and loved how it was a true story. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen and was nearly brought to tears at moments.

 

I would give Hidden Figures 5/5 stars and would definitely recommend it to anyone.

 

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Spectre Review

SPECTRE is the 24th instalment of the James Bond films, based on the Ian Fleming novels. There is a good selection of actors and actresses featured in the film including Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes.

A cryptic message from former M (Judi Dench) leads James Bond to Mexico City and Rome where he meets the widow of an infamous criminal. After invading a secret meeting, Bond discovers the existence of the organisation SPECTRE. With the help of the daughter of an old nemesis, Bond ventures to the heart of SPECTRE. But what will he uncover?

SPECTRE starts of in Mexico City where Bond stops an Italian hitman from bombing a major parade. Bond finds a ring on the hitman’s finger with a symbol on it, a symbol that has been showing up at terrorist attacks around the world. With the help of Moneypenny, James tracks down the hitman’s wife in Italy and infiltrates a secret meeting of the organisation Spectre where he is discovered and nearly killed. Bond then has to track down old nemesis, Mr White. Bond then enlists Moneypenny and Q to help seek out Mr White’s daughter, Madeline Swan, to help unfold the web of Spectre. As James ventures to the heart of SPECTRE he learns what the connection is between himself and master behind the source of his pain. Each character is played by an amazing actor including Daniel Craig (James Bond), Lea Seydoux (Madeline Swan), Ralph Fiennes (M) and Christoph Waltz (Oberhauser).

I thought the film was overall an amazing action film. Once I understood the beginning, I really enjoyed the film. I specifically enjoyed the storyline as it seamlessly followed on from the previous bond film Skyfall. I found the acting really good and that the actors who played the main roles, portrayed there characters really well, especially Christoph Waltz and Daniel Craig. I was also happy to see Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris (Eve Moneypenny) and Ben Whishaw (Q) in on some of the storyline as they weren’t in the previous film that much. I also liked how all the Bond films Daniel Craig played 007 in are tied together. One of my favourite scenes was the car chase between Bond and Mr Hinx, it was exciting and humorous.  One thing I found unrealistic was the fight on the helicopter scene as I didn’t see how the helicopter stayed in the air when the pilot was dead. I didn’t like the fact that the scene where the building was falling and Bond had to jump was similar to the train scene in Skyfall. Also, I didn’t like the train fight between Bond and Mr Hinx. Whenever Lea Seydoux’s character was involved in the fight, she would be knocked unconscious for a few seconds and then be involved again. It didn’t seem that realistic.

The film was released October 26th 2015. Overall I found the film really enjoyable and action packed. Even though it was a stereotypical Bond film with a car chase, random destinations and a lot of fight scenes and explosions, I never sat there knowing what would happen next, it always left me guessing. I would definitely recommend people to see this film and all of the Daniel Craig Bond films, even if you aren’t that into action.

9.3.2 Reflect on Product and Progressions

When progressing to my final major project I plan to continue using WordPress as it is interactive and easy to navigate. Since the design of the webzine is what will attract people to the site and is what they first see, I plan to experiment with the overall design of the webzine as well as colour schemes and fonts. Hopefully by doing this, my webzine will appeal to the target audience.

Currently, I plan to use a range of multimedia including: reviews, podcasts videos, photography, features and listicles. By doing this, my webzine will appeal to a wider audience and will make my webzine more appealing.

By doing some audience research in advance, I will be able to see what type or media is most likely to target my audience, and then produce more of the popular style of media. To help with this as I progress through my final major project, I will be using analytics so that I can see what type of media and what topic is most popular and then adjust my work. As well as using analytics, I will be using social media as a marketing technique for my webzine, mainly focusing on Twitter. By using Twitter, I can use hashtags which will help reach a wider audience. I will also be using social media to communicate with my webzine readers as well as the comments section on my posts.

 

One thing that went well was the whole research behind the webzine and creating the mood boards and looking into other websites. Also, designing the whole webzine with fonts and colour schemes went well.

However, choosing a theme and making the site didn’t go so well and I had to do a lot of trial and error as I did’t know what theme would look good. I also struggled with creating things to  help navigate around the website.

 

 

 

 

 

9.3.1 Evaluate Product and Production of Webzine

The theme for my project was entertainment including books, films and music. Since starting the project my ideas for the project have changed, one way being what topics to cover. Initially I was going to keep it about books and films, but I decided to include music so that it would reach a wider audience. My ideas have also developed quite a lot as I started the project with idea of doing just articles, however now I want to include podcasts, videos etc.

When researching existing webzines I looked at a range of webzines because at the start I didn’t know what theme I wanted to base mine on. Once I decided on the theme of my webzine, I looked at Empire Magazine’s webzine and took screenshots of the parts of the website that I liked. To narrow down my search into each individual topic I wanted to cover I looked at a book website (Goodreads) to see if I could get inspiration for logos and layout. Looking back I think I could have researched more entertainment webzines and looked into other topical webzines to see what content they create and the layouts of the sites.

During this project my design skills have developed as I had to choose a layout for my webzine, pick a name and then design the whole site. Also, having to design the whole webzine independently and having to navigate around the site allowed me to develop my ability to use WordPress. My feature writing skills have also developed as I have had to write numerous articles including feature and listicles.

Having now completed the project, I wish I had done a little more research into webzines and the designing of a webzine. Also, I would have liked to have explored other types of media and how I could use them to make my webzine more interactive.

 

In my opinion, my webzine does meet the specification as I created a webzine aimed at 16-24 year olds.

When I started to upload content and customizing the webzine, I found the theme a little limited as it didn’t have many options to personalize the site. However, I still managed to publish content and made it fit for use.

9.2.2 Webzine Production Stage

Research

As I know I want to create an entertainment webzine, I decided to look at other entertainment webzines first. I mainly looked at Empire magazine as it is well known and popular, but also looks like what I want mine to look like.

With this entertainment webzine I like how it is quite neutral with the white, but also has accents of red and black. When creating my webzine I would like to use this but not have red and white. I also like the film star rating section as it includes all recent film releases. I may also use this idea in my own webzine.

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To widen my research I decided to look into the specific genres that I want to include

Production of Webzine

I first started by adding a theme. I decided on Genie as it is simple and looks like a webzine.

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I also added a dummy logo as this is only a test site, not my real webzine. I did this by selecting a copyright free image and adding it to the logo section of the general settings.

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For my webzine I wanted to have a section where I could categorise blog posts by their genre.  To do this I created a menu and added categories so that when I write a blog post, I can select the category I want it to be in.

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I also wanted a section where I have my archive, so I added a side bar.

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9.2.1 Plan, Develop Own Webzine and Digital Sketchbook

 

 

To help me get inspiration for my webzine I created numerous mood boards for logos, fonts and masthead designs.

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I also made a Pinterest board of colour schemes, logos etc to help me when designing my webzine. After doing this research I realised that I want my logo to be quite geometric as I think it looks good but also appeals to the target audience.

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After looking at logos I now know that I want to try and make a geometric style logo as they would suit my theme of entertainment and are really interesting. Also, out of all the logos I looked at, I preferred the more geometric style.

Also, after making boards for colour schemes and researching what colour schemes entertainment, I decided to use black and white for the main colour, but then include an accent colour.

As for fonts, I quite like the look of Prism and Vibe, as well as Cinema because they suit my theme and look the best.

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After looking at logos and deciding on a geometric design, I created a mood board of some geometric logos that I designed. Out of the five designs I like the top two the most as they look the most professional.

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I also brainstormed some ideas for a webzine name.

 

 

To help plan what articles I could write for my webzine.

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9.1.2 Webzine Interpretation

Researching into webzines has helped me decide on what type of webzine I want to create. After completing the research, I have decided to make my webzine based around the genre of entertainment including films, books and potentially music.

Over the past unit, I have analysed webzines, including what they are and the characteristics of them, and am going to be using this knowledge to help create my own.

From my research, I have learnt that websites tend to use big buttons to navigate around the site as they are easier to use on smaller devices. I plan to take this on board when it comes to making my website. I have also learnt that websites have fixed content, this is where the older content is stored in an archive and can still be accessed by readers. I think this is a good idea and am going to add an archive to my website.

Another aspect of a website I plan to replicate in my work is the use of categories to help people find specific pieces or type of content. I thought this characteristic would be quite helpful to readers as I have different types of content from features to videos, so the readers could select the category they want and not have to search for it. This idea will also help with the overall organisation of the website.

To further my research, I decided to look at how online magazines have designed their sites to get inspiration for my own site. From this task, I learnt that some online magazine use sidebars to add more information. I thought that this idea would work really well with my own website as I could use the sidebar for social media buttons and my archive.

For inspiration for my logo I looked at other logos for companies and websites and decided what I did and didn’t like about them and will use that research to help me great a logo that represents my webzine and that I like.

 

12.3.1, 12.3.2 An Investigation into the Changing Role of a Journalist – Specialist Study

In this essay I hope to test my hypothesis that the role of a journalist has changed and to do this I used a range of sources including academic and cultural. For my academic sources I used a selection books and for cultural I found some online articles on the subject. I chose this topic for my specialist study because I want to know how the role has changed but also how social media and the internet has effected the industry. Also, I think this will help me when coming to work on my final major project. This is because for my final major project I will be making a digital product and be taking on the role as a journalist.

Newspapers and journalists have been around for decades with the first newspaper being published in the 17th century and since it was the 17th century, the newspapers had to be made by hand or by a printing press.

A journalist’s role didn’t just change overnight; it has been slowly evolving over time so that it is up to date with the newest technology. According to Conboy “from the mid-1990s, the internet and a whole new vocabulary of blogs, tweets, citizen journalists, user-generated content, news aggregators and wikis have stretched and challenged the boundaries of journalism” (2011, p162). This shows that the role of a journalist has not only changed but that there is a whole new vocabulary surrounding journalism and that it started changing two and half decades ago.  Another person who supports this is Marsh who said “tweeters, bloggers, ‘citizen journalists’, all unheard if a decade ago, are changing the face of the news media” (2012). This is definitely true as a lot of journalists use ‘blogging’ as a way to reach a younger and wider audience.

“In the last decade digital technology has disrupted print journalism, requiring journalists to rethink how they deliver content to audiences” says Murphy (2012). This shows that digitalization has caused print journalism to decline and is why the role of a journalist has changed.

With a decline in print journalism, journalists have had to change how they distribute media. To keep up to date with the digital age, journalists turned to blogging as a way to target their audience, but also to reach a wider demographic. People find blogs an easier way to consume media on a day to day basis as they are easily accessible on a mobile phone and they are free to access. This is proven when brickweb said “with the advancements in technology more and more people are choosing to consume their news online or through smart phones and other mobile devices” (2011, updated 2016).

Since the digitalization of journalism, blogging has become a popular tool for journalists. This is shown when Bradshaw and Rohumma said “successful journalism blogs have emerged from every quarter, from the BBC’s Robert Peston, whose award-winning financial blog broke the story on the crisis as Northern Rock, to the initiatives of local newspapers like the Birmingham Post, which invited leading figures to use their website as a platform for expert analysis on local issues” (2011,p 74) They later said that “blogging offers a new way for journalists to source leads and to attract useful sources” (2011, p 77).

The new digital age of media as also helped connect writer to reader as online you can leave comments. This is supported by Bradshaw and Rohumaa when they said “traditionally a journalist built a contacts book through accessing directories and networking events, blogs turn that around, making it easier for members of the public to post comments on a journalist’s blog” (2011, p78).

However, it isn’t just blogging that has changed journalism and the media. With social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, it has become easier for journalists to spread the word on current news to millions of people online. In 2008 journalists took to Twitter as a tool after terrorist attacks in Mumbai and in the same year news of the Chinese earthquake was broadcasted by Twitter. “Social media has transformed newsrooms, speeding up news gathering and enabling recourse to wider ranges of sources and material” says Jewell (2013). Brickweb also said “one of the more positive effects it has had is that it actually is one of the easiest ways of having content distributed on a grand scale” (2011 last updated 2016).  With millions of people having a social media account, it is easier to be kept up to date via social media than by the news being printed in a newspaper. Also, some social media sites like Twitter allow you to use hashtags. This means that if there is a hashtag about something that has happened in the news, you can search for it on Twitter and can see every tweet that has used the hashtag.

Social has also has a negative affect on journalism with it completely taking over the role of a journalist. “In the old days, a reporter was given a lead or went out to find a story. Today, many stories are received third hand (sometimes even fourth or fifth hand) through Facebook posts or Tweets or Digg” says Alejandro (2011). This means that reporters are losing the chance to be first to cover/broadcast a story because before they even hear about it it has already been broadcasted on social media.

In conclusion, I have found the role of a journalist has changed which has supports my hypothesis. I have found out to what extent the role has changed, when it changed and what caused it. Also, I have learnt how social media changed journalism and how a journalist would use their social media to reach a wider audience. Choosing to cover this topic for my specialist study has also helped me understand how social media is used to target and audience which will help me when I come to create content for my final major project.

Bibliography

Alejandro, J (ND) Journalism in the Age of Social Media (online) http://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk, 07/02/2017

Bradshaw, P and Rohumaa, L (2011) The Online Journalism Handbook, Pearson Education Limited

brick web (2011, updated 2016) The Internet and It’s Effects on Journalism? (online), www.brickweb.co.uk, 11/01/2016

Conboy, M (2013) Journalism Studies: The Basics,Rutledge

Harcup, T (2015) (3rd Edition) Journalism Principles and Practice, SAGE

Jewell, J (2013) How Twitter has helped the emergence of a new journalism (online), theconversation.com, 03/02/2017

Lambert,T (2012) A Brief History of Newspapers (online), http://www.localhistories.org, 03/02/2017

Marsh, D (2012) Digital Age Rewrites the Role of Journalism (online) www.theguardian.com, 11/01/2016

Murphy, K (2015) (Vol 25, Issue 2) The Changing Role of a Journalist(abstract) (2015), 10/02/2017

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