Week 10 – 1. Inquiry: Write a review of a magazine/website

Consider yourself as a visual consumer. Find a website/brochure/magazine you like and reflect on what it appeals to you. Write a short review of the site/product on your blog, making reference to points addressed in this week’s study materials.

I began this exercise by looking up website inspiration sites for examples of what is considered good design. I then stumbled across http://compliments.dk/ and it appealed to me as a visual consumer immediately.

Although the website takes up the entire screen width, there is still a great amount of white space around each section in the grid layout to prevent overcrowding (Ames 2015, pp. 5-6).

They have utilised a very clean, bold and easy to read typeface for their headings, that stands out and grabs the reader’s attention (Ames 2015, p. 4).

According to Ames (2015, p. 3), the use of the colour white promotes the ideas of cleanliness and elegance,  which is fitting for the selling of high quality furniture, and therefore their use of large amounts of white is aesthetically pleasing to me and makes sense.

The final visual aspect of this website that I really like is the way in which they have used photographs. The use of a hero image at the top of the page supports the written content well and grabs the viewer’s attention (Ames 2015, pp. 4-5).


Reference List

Ames, K 2015, Week 10 – Impact of design, COMM11007 Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/

Compliments 2015, Compliments, viewed 22 September 2015, http://compliments.dk/

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Week 9 – 1. Inquiry: Review two different examples of curation

The 25 Best Hotels of 2015 (data driven)

Gold Standard Hotels (written by editors)

Consider the differences. If the purpose and audience is similar, how does the way the information is structured and presented make a difference to the way it might be received?


The two articles appear to be similar in purpose and audience, both are trying to show potential world travellers the best hotels in which they can stay in multiple countries. However, their presentation of this data or information is vastly different, and therefore both articles have a very different style.

The list of hotels on the article ‘The 25 Best Hotels of 2015‘  on tripadvisor is generated by star reviews out of 5 by users of the website. This content was not curated by any editors, and therefore no real editorial decisions were made in the collation of the data and content of this article. Instead, members of the audience itself voted on hotels based on their own personal experiences, and therefore were the generators of the content. The problem with rankings used in data driven journalism is that rankings can be difficult to understand and analyse (Diakopoulos, 2014). Diakopoulos (2014) suggests that for rankings to be authoritative, they still require editorial decisions to be made as to what should be included or excluded, and what algorithms need to be used to determine the data. The problem with this article is that unless these editorial decisions were made, the top ranking hotels could potentially be any hotel if they had received a good overall score. For example, if a small hotel had only received one or two reviews, but they had both been perfect, five star scores, it could potentially be included on the list along with huge hotels that have had 100’s of reviews both good and bad that had averaged out to a higher score.

Because of this, the article does not appear to be very personal in its delivery, and readers are unable to see a written description that describes someone’s personal experience at the hotel. It appears less like a genuine recommendation and more like a automated list that contains a few photos that only just manage to capture the feel of the hotel.

The ‘Gold Standard Hotels‘ article, however, is written by editors who have collated the data that they have found, but have then taken the extra step to give the article a more personal tone by focusing more on generating their own written content to accompany the list, depending on what they believed would be of most interest to their readers (Ames 2015, p. 1). They also made editorial decisions on the inclusions of photographs, where they presumably narrowed down their selection of photographs for each location to just one photograph that best supported the mood that they were trying to express in the written section.

This style of article is more likely to appeal to people looking for a descriptive review of the hotel, and it may have a higher influence on them due to the personal nature of the writing.


Reference List

Ames, K 2015, Week 9 –Content generation vs content collaboration, COMM11007 Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/

Condé Nast Traveller 2015, Gold standard hotels 2015, viewed 22 September 2015, http://www.cntraveller.com/awards/the-gold-list/gold-standard-hotels-2015/viewall

Diakopoulos, N 2014, ‘How news organizations can rethink rankings’, American Journalism Review, 24 October, viewed 22 September 2015, http://ajr.org/2014/10/24/rethinking-news-rankings/

tripadvisor 2015, Top 25 hotels — world, viewed 22 September 2015, http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/TravelersChoice-Hotels-g1

Week 8 – 1. Inquiry: Review Social Media

Think about your interests. Find a social media networking site that is most suitable and aligned with those interests. Think about how you might use this network personally, and then how you might use it professionally. Reflect on this on your blog.

The social media networking site that most relates to my interests is probably Instagram. I am very interested in Graphic Design and Illustration, and I have found that there is a large community of designers and artists on there who share their artworks and designs. Because it is a photo-based social media, people can easily share images of finished works or works in progress.

When I use Instagram personally, I share photos of friends, my dog, things that I’m doing, and occasionally my artworks and designs. I have my account set to private, and only people that I approve can see my personal posts.

However, when using Instagram for a professional purpose, an account should be kept public so that it reaches a wide audience.

Ollier-Malaterre, A and Rothbard, N (2015) refer to four different strategies that can be used by professionals on social media, ‘open’, ‘audience’, ‘content’ and ‘custom’. An open strategy means that the user posts very honest and authentic content to their social media, and therefore they risk being considered unprofessional sometimes. The audience strategy means that professional and personal accounts are kept completely separate, and the content shared on both accounts is completely different. For a professional utilising the content strategy, they have professional contacts on their personal account and then choose to carefully consider what they upload, ensuring that even casual and personal posts still have an air of professionalism.

The final strategy is the ‘custom’ strategy, where both audience and content are managed via things like contact lists, allowing for both professional, and casual, honest identities to be present on social media.

I already use Instagram on a professional level as well as  a personal level, as I use it to promote my small graphic design business. I have links between my personal and professional accounts although I keep the content separate. I believe that this achieves the custom strategy as I keep the content separate and different on the two accounts, yet I still allow for my friends to access my professional account if they wish to. I keep my personal account private so that I can keep my personal and more casual posts from being associated with my business.

According to Ames (2015), an important point to consider when using Instagram in a professional sense is the style in which you are writing. Whilst you need to be professional, you need to be relatable to the audience on the social media, and therefore your tone should reflect theirs. On my professional account, I try to achieve this by using emoticons and asking questions to try and promote comment responses from my followers.

As for using Instagram for professional journalism, American Journalism Review found that it was used by news professionals more so to promote the branding of the company rather than the actual news stories (Barron, R & Lardieri, A 2015). Titlow also supports this by saying that ‘Instagram is more about branding and engagement than eyeballs and dollars’ and that journalists are using the social media site as an experiment (2015).

Other professionals, however, have found that there is an opportunity to share actual stories on Instagram to a wide and receptive audience. For example, Neil Shea uses Instagram to share the extra stories that he writes that don’t always make it to the final copy of the magazine he works for, but he still feels deserve to be heard (Baker, D 2015).


Reference List

Baker, D 2015, ‘Instagram journalism: The new content trend shaking up the media world’, Contently, 23 June, viewed 15 September 2015, http://contently.com/strategist/2015/06/23/instagram-journalism-the-new-content-trend-shaking-up-the-media-world/

Barron, R & Lardieri, A 2015, ‘Newspapers Hunt for New Readers on Instagram’,  American Journalism Review, 7 April, viewed 15 September 2015, http://ajr.org/2015/04/07/newspapers-hunt-for-new-readers-on-instagram/

Ollier-Malaterre, A & Rothbard, N 2015, ‘How to Separate the Personal and Professional on Social Media’, Harvard Business Review, 26 March, viewed 15 September 2015, https://hbr.org/2015/03/how-to-separate-the-personal-and-professional-on-social-media

Titlow, J 2015, ‘How Journalists Are Using Instagram’, readwrite, 25 September, viewed 15 September 2015, http://readwrite.com/2012/09/24/how-journalists-are-using-instagram

Week 7 – 2. Inquiry: Review a newsletter

Visit the website of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) at http://www.iucncsg.org/ and review a newsletter.

a. Reflect on the following on your blog:

i. What kinds of stories are in the newsletter?

The Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter is a special interest newsletter, which means that it is read by members of the public who share the same interest, and that it contains a lot of language that only these members of the public would understand (Ames 2015, p. 1).

The newsletter contains an editorial, obituaries, information about the CSG Student Research Assistance Scheme, Book Review, Details of Meetings, Regional Reports on crocodiles, and Science publications.

ii. How do these target the organisation’s audience?

These stories are definitely targeted toward a specific audience, which is what makes for a successful newsletter (Ames 2015, p. 3). The Crocodile Specialist Group has made an effort to create a small community that can give their readers a sense of belonging, which can be seen in the inclusion of Obituaries of their passed members, and in the recognition of individual’s discoveries and efforts, and with photographs of members captioned with their names. They were able to do this because of a newsletter’s personal style of writing (Ames 2015, p. 1).

The inclusion of both casual-styled articles and fact heavy meeting details and science publications means that the newsletter caters to both the members in the audience who are general public but have the shared interest, and also to people who are highly involved in the subject through their work.

iii. If you were a science journalist, is there anything you may be interested in following up as a story, and why?

As a science journalist, I think that there is a great deal of information that could be easily followed up with a story. The Regional Reports for crocodiles all over the world gives facts and a brief overview, and a journalist who wanted to do a story on the habits of crocodiles in a particular area would find that this is an excellent starting point.

Likewise, the submitted publications in the Science section could also be followed up with a feature article on the writers and their achievements and discoveries.

iv. What do you think is effective or otherwise about this newsletter?

I think that the attempt to create a sense of a small community through this newsletter is extremely effective as it makes the readers feel as though they are able to connect with other members of the public and professionals who share their passion on what could be considered a slightly obscure subject. This guarantees that their readers will continue to read future publications to see what their friends and colleagues are achieving around the world.

Another effective aspect about this newsletter is that the issues are released every three months. This means that there is enough time between issues to research and find new information so that the readers don’t get bored (Ames 2015, p. 2).


Reference List

Ames, K 2015, Week 7 – Newsletters and brochures, COMM11007 Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/

IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) 2015, ‘Crocodile specialist group newsletter’, Crocodile Specialist Group, April-June, vol. 34, no. 2, viewed 15 September 2015, http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/34(2-a5b9578f.pdf

Week 6 – 2. Inquiry: Review a Cirque de Soleil Media Kit

a. Visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/press/kits/sho ws.aspx

b. Select a show and then review the supplementary media for each show. Specifically, review the Press Kit which is a downloadable PDF.

c. Identify the elements that comprise the Press Kit and reflect on how you might incorporate them into a story.


The Cirque Du Soleil press kit that I decided to reflect on was the ‘Totem’ show. The press kit can be found here. This specific press kit comprises of the following sections:

  • Show Overview (Backgrounder)
  • Totem Fact Sheet
  • Critic’s Reviews
  • Information about the Writer/Director (Biographies of Key Personnel)
  • Brief Overviews of the Main Characters (Biographies of Key Personnel)
  • Descriptions of the scenes (Backgrounder/Graphics)
  • List of the creators (Backgrounder/Graphics)
  • Costume information (Backgrounder)
  • Set Design and Projection Details (Backgrounder/Graphics)
  • Support Overview (Backgrounder)
  • The Cirque Du Soleil Village Setup (Backgrounder/Graphics)
  • And the Background Story/Mission of Cirque Du Soleil (Backgrounder)
  • Cirque Du Soleil Fact Sheet

If I were to write a story about the Cirque Du Soleil ‘Totem’ show, I would start by providing a few catchy facts from the Totem and Cirque Du Soleil Fact sheets that would aid in creating the inverted pyramid structure.

I would then go into more detail about the story by paraphrasing the Show Overview to give my readers an idea of what the show was about.

I would use a direct quote from the Review section, from a critic of a high credibility and prominence so that my readers found my sources reliable.

Depending on the length of the story, I would include different amounts of information. If it was a short news story, I would then briefly discuss the most important points from the remaining sections on the writer, characters, scenes, costumes and set. If it were a longer feature article I would choose one section that had the most interesting information available, and I would then focus on this for a few paragraphs.


Reference List

Cirque Du Soleil, 2012, ‘Cirque Du Soleil: Totem – Press Kit’, viewed 15 September 2015,

https://static01.cirquedusoleil.com/en/~/media/press/PDF/totem/totem-press-kit.pdf

Week 5 – 2. Inquiry: Find and discuss an article

Find an article that has impact on you because of the sources, speech and reporting, and discuss why it is an example of good journalism or media writing.

The article that I have chosen to discuss is ‘Sex abuse royal commission: single national redress scheme recommended by commission‘ by Jane Lee and Rachel Browne for the Brisbane Times.

The reason that I have selected this article is because I believe that it is an excellent example of good journalism because it uses a variety of source types and methods of quoting that makes it reliable and an interesting, well-informed read.

The combination of excellent and reliable primary and secondary sources makes this article seem reliable and therefore I feel as though I can read it without being too skeptical.

Primary sources, according to Whitaker, Ramsey and Smith (2012, p. 163), are people who were directly involved in an event. Ames (2015, p. 1), also states that primary sources can be documents that contain new, original information.

In this article, Lee and Browne frequently refer to the 589 page REDRESS AND CIVIL LITIGATION REPORT released by The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse,  which is a Primary Source.

The article also contains quotes from Nicky Davis, who is the leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and therefore would be considered a primary source due to her involvement in the previous events (Whitaker, Ramsey & Smith 2012, p. 163).

Quotes from Francis Sullivan from the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, and Leonie Sheedy, the chief executive of Care Leavers Australia Network would be considered to be secondary sources as they are providing background information, making comment on and drawing conclusions from the event of the report being released (Ames 2015, p. 2).

The other aspect of this article that I believe makes it an example of good journalism is the combination of direct quoting, indirect quoting and paraphrasing. The journalists have managed to use a good balance throughout of these methods.

However, one criticism that I would have is the combination of direct and indirect quoting which is considered to be bad practice according to Ames (2015, p. 5).

The second final aspect of this article that I consider to be a strength is the link provided at the top to a secondary source that is an opinion article, ‘Royal commission forces sexual abuse ‘bystanders’ to consider their inaction‘ by Sonia Orchard. I appreciate that they did not quote this article directly as it is not the most reliable source due to the subjective nature of opinion pieces, but they have still included the link to it for readers to use if they wish.

I also liked the summarisation at the end of the article of the 5 key recommendations of the report, so that readers were able to gain some background information of the report even if they did not choose to read the whole thing.


Reference List 

Ames, K 2015, Week 5 – Voice, Attribution, and Acknowledgement, COMM11007 Media Writing, CQUniversity e-courses, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/

Lee, J & Browne, R 2015, ‘Sex abuse royal commission: single national redress scheme recommended by commission’, The Brisbane Times, 15 September, viewed 15 September 2015,

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/nsw/sex-abuse-royal-commissionsingle-national-redress-scheme-recommended-by-commission-20150914-gjlubh.html

Orchard, S 2015, ‘Royal commission forces sexual abuse ‘bystanders’ to consider their inaction’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 September, viewed 15 September 2015,

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/royal-commission-forces-sexual-abuse-bystanders-to-address-their-inaction-20150909-gjj4u8

Whitaker, R, Ramsey, J & Smith, R 2012, Media Writing: Print, Broadcast, and Public Relations, 4th edn, Routledge, New York.

Week 2 – 2. Inquiry: Review Trendsmap

For this week’s blog inquiry task, we were asked to review Trendsmap for the top Twitter trends on a particular day in our area, and to reflect on the relationship between these tweets and our local media. When I set up Trendsmap, it was unable to register Bundaberg as my location as there were no trends in the area. Therefore, I have chosen to use Brisbane, as this was the location that the site suggested.


What are the top stories in your area?

The top trends in Brisbane for the 23/07/15 are as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 1.37.25 pmScreen Shot 2015-07-23 at 1.32.33 pm

The majority of trends that can be seen are all related to either current national political issues or the major news providers, which would suggest that there will be some sort of relationship between the tweets and the media.

What is the relationship between the tweets and news stories in local media (if any)?

The main stories that the popular tweets are referring to are Bill Shorten’s opinions on asylum seekers and refugees, Bronwyn Bishop’s misuse of taxpayer money, and the closure of ABC stores across the country.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 1.34.03 pm

Examples of tweets in Brisbane about @billshortenmp, Labour and #auspol.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 1.33.45 pm

Examples of tweets in Brisbane about @abcnews and abc.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 1.34.48 pm

Examples of tweets in Brisbane about Bronwyn Bishop and #auspol.

Each of the topics discussed in these trends can be found in both local and national media. On the home page of the Brisbane Times, viewers are immediately shown 2 article summaries about the Bronwyn Bishop scandal, and one about the closure of ABC stores. The Courier Mail also reported on the ABC shop closure in this article: ‘ABC Shops to close nationwide‘.

Even though these are deemed ‘national’ news topics, they are still strongly reported on in the local media as the local audience are still very interested in hearing what is happening across the nation.

These stories are also featured in national media, as seen in the ABC News which included the stories ‘ABC Shops to be closed, jobs to go as retailer moves online’, and ‘Bill Shorten faces stiff opposition from Labor’s left faction on boat turn-backs about-face’. Other national media coverage of these topics was found in the article ‘Shorten faces test over plan to adopt Coalition’s asylum boat turnback policy‘ featured in The Guardian, and the articles ‘Bronwyn Bishop’s Facebook cover photo angers social media‘ and ‘Bronwyn Bishop ‘Choppergate’ scandal inspires memes‘ featured on ‘The Sydney Morning Herald‘.

Can you find evidence that tweets are being used in news stories?

Many of the news stories mentioned above include references to tweets that were made using the trending hashtags and usernames.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.27.03 pm

Example of the use of a tweet included in the article ‘Bronwyn Bishop and an image emblematic of what went wrong‘ by the Brisbane Times.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.30.17 pm Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.30.10 pm Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.31.43 pm

Examples of the use of tweets included in the article ‘Bronwyn Bishop’s Facebook cover photo angers social media‘ by the Brisbane Times.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.33.55 pm

Example of the inclusion of a tweet in ‘Bill Shorten faces stiff opposition from Labor’s left faction on boat turn-backs about-face’ featured on ABC News.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 2.36.22 pm

Example of the inclusion of a tweet in ‘Shorten faces test over plan to adopt Coalition’s asylum boat turnback policy‘ featured in The Guardian.

From these examples, it can be seen that a large amount of evidence exists to suggest that tweets are regularly being used in news stories that are relevant to their regions of origin.

Can you find evidence of tweets being used by organisations to promote an event of issue?

With the types of topics that are currently trending in my area, I was unable to find any events being promoted by organisations, however with the high amount of usage that twitter gets in media, I do not doubt that it occurs.


Although this point is not particularly relevant to this week’s tasks, I did find it interesting when reviewing the trending tweets and news stories that there was a high level of usage of the term ‘Choppergate’, one example being in the story ‘Bronwyn Bishop ‘Choppergate’ scandal inspires memes‘ featured on ‘The Sydney Morning Herald‘.

This reminded me of a section from last week’s reading where it was explained that columnists and reporters have been using the created suffixes ‘-gated’ or ‘-gate’ when referring to other political scandals, followed by the suggestion that it is perhaps time to cease using this now obsolete reference to a scandal that occurred over 40 years ago (Whitaker, Ramsey and Smith 2012, p. 89).

It would appear that some professionals seem to have missed the memo.


Reference List

Borello, E, 2015, ‘Bill Shorten faces stiff opposition from Labor’s left faction on boat turn-backs about-face’ ABC News, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-23/bill-shorten-faces-stiff-opposition-from-labor-left-on-turnbacks/6641350

Chan, G, 2015 ‘Shorten faces test over plan to adopt Coalition’s asylum boat turnback policy’ The Guardian, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/22/shorten-faces-test-amid-push-to-adopt-coalitions-asylum-boat-turnback-policy

Fairfax Media, 2015, ‘Bronwyn Bishop ‘Choppergate’ scandal inspires memes’ The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishop-choppergate-scandal-inspires-memes-20150720-gig6k0.html

King, M, 2015 ‘Bronwyn Bishop and an image emblematic of what went wrong’ The Brisbane Times, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/bronwyn-bishop-and-an-image-emblematic-of-what-went-wrong-20150722-giib7r.html

Network Writers, 2015 ‘ABC Shops to close nationwide’ Courier Mail, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/companies/abc-shops-to-close-nationwide/story-fnkjkokp-1227453397770

Ruppert, B, 2015 ‘Bronwyn Bishop’s Facebook cover photo angers social media’ The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishops-facebook-cover-photo-angers-social-media-20150723-giiala.html?

Ruppert, B, 2015 ‘Bronwyn Bishop’s Facebook cover photo angers social media’ The Brisbane Times, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bronwyn-bishops-facebook-cover-photo-angers-social-media-20150723-giiala

Ryan, P 2015 ‘ABC Shops to be closed, jobs to go as retailer moves online’ ABC News, viewed 23 July 2015,

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-23/abc-shops-to-be-phased-out-and-closed/6641476

Whitaker, W. Richard, Janet E. Ramsey and Ronald D. Smith 2012, Media Writing: Print, Broadcast, and Public Relations, 4th edn, Routledge, New York.