Archive | March 2013

Printing Press Evaluation:

When given the brief, my initial thoughts were to head straight to the Huffington Posts website, in order to get a good idea of what type of article I would be writing. This proved to be quite difficult; Huffington Post boasted a multitude of articles, of various topics, all with various writing styles and formats. What this did give me, however, was some freedom in the way I constructed my article; I wasn’t restricted to in keeping with a certain tone or format, as the Huffington Post simple didn’t have a set one.

After establishing the tone of my article, and the approach I wished to take, it fell to research; we had already watched Page One, which documented the troubles of The New York Times during the end of printed media, and its attempt to enter the digital age. Whilst this proved a base for the research, I still needed more sources to support whatever point I would make in my article, as well as some primary research. The primary research came easily enough with the Questionnaire, and I managed to get a good-sized base of answers. I also managed to get a quote from The Medium is the Massage, a book by written my Marshall McLuhan, on the topic of his views on media and communication. The reference from this book seemed to tie in well with the brief itself; McLuhan talks about how technology and the media are reshaping, which goes perfectly with a topic such as ‘the end of the printing press’.  With a few articles thrown in for good measure, I think I gathered a sufficient amount of resources and information to write the article.

With nothing left but to start piecing the article together, I got to work, and more or less eight hundred words later, it was finished. Overall, I think the brief was a good insight to what it could be like working for a magazine/newspaper, having a deadline to complete an article and having to find valid research to support it.

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Printing Press Questionnaire:

Questionnaire:

 

Q1) Within your age range, please choose your preferred method of media.

 

14-29:

Radio: II

Newspaper: III

Mobile Device (Phone, iPad, Kindle, Tablet, ETC): IIII

 

30-45:

 

Radio: IIII

Newspaper: III

Mobile Device (Phone, iPad, Kindle, Tablet, ETC): III

 

46-61:

 

Radio: IIII

Newspaper: IIII

Mobile Device: II

 

62+:

 

Radio: II

Newspaper: III

Mobile Device: 0

Q2: Do you believe that printed media is a dying form of media?

 

Yes: IIII IIII II

 

No: IIII III

Q3: Do you trust information taken from an online source as much as you would that from a newspaper?

 

Yes: IIII

 

No: IIII II

 

Depends on the source: IIII III

Q4: Would you rather have censored, controlled news, or complete freedom of information?

 

Censored: IIII IIII

 

Freedom: IIII IIII I

Q5: What’s your opinion on the fall of the Printing Press?

– ‘It’s inevitable; technology just keeps advancing.

– ‘I’ll always prefer a newspaper over reading something on the Internet; it’s so much more personal and familiar.

– ‘It’s just more of the same. I see no difference in reading it on a tablet than from a paper.

Q6: Would you pay higher prices of printed news, or read it online for free?

 ‘I’d sooner pay for a newspaper, its a more reliable source.

– ‘News should be free anyway; the internet is a step in the right direction.

Q7: Finally, do you have any thoughts on the topic of a slowly crumbling Printing Press?

‘The Printing Press will continue; you can’t get your wife an online birthday card, can you?

– It’s just about convenience; if its simpler and easier, I’ll gladly change to it.

– What’s going to come after digital news?

Is it the end of the Printing Press?

‘The medium, or process, of our time – electric technology is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life.
It is forcing us to reconsider and re-evaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.
Everything is changing: you, your family, your education, your neighborhood, your job, your government, your relation to the others. And they’re changing dramatically.’

–      The Medium is The Massage, Marshall McLuhan.

Media is changing. In today’s world, it’s clear that the media and its distribution channels are not longer what they used to be. As people move towards a digital means of media, the printing press as began to diminish drastically, and with the way the current trends are leading, how long will it up until print media is a dead institution?

It narrows down to a matter of convenience; when the news is readily available at the palm of your hands, twenty-four hours a day, completely free, it’s of no surprise that the public prefers digital media to print. In the modern, fast paced world, print media simply can’t keep up as technology advances. But, what affect will this have on the media?

Directed by Andrew Rossi, ‘Page One: Inside the New York Times’ looks at the issues affecting most newspaper publications; how to keep afloat in the digital era. Issues that arise in the award-winning documentary include the WikiLeaks scandal and charging for news online, both of which have implications for print media. Certainly, news institutions such as The New York Times are going to charge for online news; it’s a company, after all, and thus has to make money to pay its writers and try to turn a profit. However, this raises a question: Is there a point to charge for media online, when it can easily be found for free somewhere else online? Of course, an institution such as the NYT will always have its loyal subscribers, whom would be more than willing to pay online for what they used to get via print. However, this would be a great deal less than what they received before the era of digital media, and surely not enough to fund its large staff of writers. And so, it lies to speculation that, with the Internet growing everyday, there will be a time when most newspapers will crumble to blogs and other forms of online media. But then we must ask ourselves, when the media institutions are in ruin, who will be reporting on the hard news stories? This issue is mentioned in Rossi’s work; most news comes from leading daily papers such as the Times, or the Guardian, whose reporters travel over-seas to bring it daily news. Other papers then use this news, or online sources, which haven’t done the initial research themselves. So, if these leading papers were to fall, who would be researching the news? Can the Internet provide an answer to that, too?

As I mentioned, WikiLeaks is an issue brought about by the digital age, where anything can be published online without much restraint. With the end of the printing age, will the digital age bring about a new era of uncensored, unrestricted news, because certainly, you can’t censor the entirety of the Internet? Described as the ‘9/11 of diplomacy’ by Italian Foreign Minister Frattini, WikiLeaks was an organization that published secret information, news leaks and classified media to the web, online for anyone to see, free of charge. This complete freedom of information differs greatly from what we saw with print media, where information had levels of restriction to what the paper would want to have put into the news, where as the internet is open for anyone to report on whatever they want. So if the digital era is replacing print, is it a future of completely free information, or rather, a future of unreliable sources and stolen information?

In a series of questions regarding the ‘end of printed media’, over seventy percent of people questioned (from a range of 14-70) favoured digital as their personal choice when it came to the media, with iPads, Kindles and Tablets replacing the traditional magazine or newspaper. So where does this recent trend come from, with people deciding to go online and look for news, instead of reading whats given to them in the news? Well, it all seems to come down to a matter of context; since we’ve entered the mostly digital age, everything has begun to shift to the internet; TV can now be watched online, radio shows have been replaced with online podcasts, or simply online radio shows. The younger generation have never had the connection to Printed news as the older generations have; it’s less of a change for them, and more of a step for convenience than losing something they’ve had their entire lives. But that doesn’t mean that the Printing Press will simple fade away; to quote someone from my questionnaire, ‘The Printing Press will continue; you can’t get your wife an online birthday card, can you?’ The Printing Press will continue, even if the newspaper industry doesn’t; the industry is more than simply news, it’s post cards, booklets, books, posters, signs, leaflets; the Internet cannot take over every aspect of media.

Is this the end of printed media? That isn’t something that can be easily concluded today; it’ll be years before we see any sort of end to printed media as we know it. That being said, it does seem inevitable; technology moves forward, neither staying the same nor going backwards. In the same sense that print media replaced the time consuming and expensive method of simply writing and re-writing copies of text, digital media will replace printed media, because it is cheaper, easier and modern. That isn’t to say printed media won’t live on in some form, but digital seems set to take the lead for the future. The question we should be asking ourselves is, however, what will replace digital?

Word Count: 832 (758 excluding initial reference).

Bibliography

McLuhan, M. (1967). The Medium is The Message. UK: Penguin Books.

Nelson, P. (2012, 11 28). The End of the Printing Press? Retrieved from http://www.technewsworld.com: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/76691.html

Braun, J., Hand, D., Novack, K., Oxman , A., Schlesinger, A. (Producers), Novack, K., Rossi, K. (Writers), & Rossi, A. (Director). (2011). Page One: Inside the New York Times [Motion Picture]. Magnolia Pictures.

Evalutation.

For our final piece, we decided to do an article describing our time at the Liverpool Biennial. Seeing as we had both similar ideas, we decided it was better to do our work together into a large article then we would be able to achieve individually; whilst I worked on the writing, Tom completed the initial layout of the spread. Once finished writing, we merged the two together and began editing it as we saw fit, both of us working on its final design. To do this, we used InDesign; whilst initially struggling to grasp how we could use this for our final piece, we eventually passed the soft-wares learning curve and found it to be a very useful tool when it comes to magazine layouts. We considered the use of other software; Photoshop, Illustrator, even Word, but neither gave us the same results as InDesign, which whilst confusing at first, became incredibly simple to use. In the future, if given another task, I would feel confident in using all three of the tools (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign), but would tend more towards InDesign then the others, as it just seemed to work well for us as a team.

We also learnt the difference between various software and file types whilst working on this project; InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are some of the software’s we used, each suited to particularly different types of media. We used InDesign, as stated, for our final piece. However, if our piece focused more on the article rather than the design side, Illustrator would have been the desired choice, as it always easy layout of text into a magazine/book format. Of course, Photoshop would have been the choice had our magazine focused on image and photo layout more than the actual design itself, as the software allows for easy editing of images with text.

Next, we learnt the different files types for our work; ‘PDF’, ‘JPEG’, and ‘GIF’ are some examples. Whilst working in media, we learnt that the lower the file size, the better. With this in mind, with out article, we decided saving it as a JPEG would be the optimum choice, as it had the lowest file size, especially when compared to GIF, which is more suited to moving images and larger files. 

Top Ten Digital Communications: MSN.

Simply known as just ‘MSN’, it is a collection of Internet sites and services created by Microsoft. One such service was known as MSN Messenger, and was an instant messaging service that was launched in 1999 to compete with AOL Instant Messenger. In the time before Facebook and Skype reached their current popularity, MSN (Or Windows Live as it would later be known) was used by millions to instantly chat with friends and relatives and, if they had a webcam, video chat, making it at the time one of the most well-rounded internet communication services. Another service they are well know for is ‘hotmail’, one of the worlds leading E-mail services, with over 380 million active users.

Top Ten Digital Communications: Reddit.

Often called the ‘front page of the internet’, Reddit is a social news and entertainment website where users can upload content into any of the various ‘sub-reddits’ available, to which there are many (For example, there is a ‘subreddit’ called ‘r/BirdsWithArms’, where users, strangely, upload images of birds with Photoshopped arms). Users can vote on the uploads of others, whether they are good enough to reach the sites ‘front page’. The site was formed by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005, both graduates of the University of Virginia. Often, the site is used post comical content, but is also used for serious information or news in general.

Top Ten Digital Communications: FaceTime.

Like Skype, FaceTime is a video telephony software that allows users to communicate face to face over long distances. Developed by Apple (As is a few of the choices on this list), it is supported by all Apple devices with a forward facing camera, or a Mac computer equipmed with a FaceTime Camera, formerly known as an iSight Camera. Of course, the decision between FaceTime and Skype depends on the equipment you’re using; whilst both are extremely useful, FaceTime is more suited to Mac and iPhone users, due to the products inbuilt nature with iOS.