Evaluation on factual writing task:
In this evaluation I will look over my newspaper edition that I created with the help of fellow writers. I worked on the front cover. As well as being a front page editor I was a graphic designer as well designing the front page and choosing its unique colours.
The purpose of writing is to inform and explain what is going on or is happening. Since the emergence of the Guttenberg press in 1440 mass information has been spread more easily. So we used to write to learn and inform and over the years it was embodied in newspapers. Only a few years ago the only source of information came from newspapers. However this has changed over time due to the internet and online articles we see the Daily Mail now has a website called Mail Online. Never the less newspapers are still important.
When writing factual content it is important to use facts as well as good sources. Most journalists state their sources and have a non-biased approach to their writing generally. There are a few exceptions where occasionally tabloids write in a biased and sometimes inaccurate way. Regarding more formal factual writing we see that stats are used and referencing to sources. There are various sets of rules that govern the writing of factual content. The ‘NUJ’ code of conduct is a set of rules every journalist abides by. It impacts every journalist in the sense of writing carefully. A journalist would have to explain sources as well as finding the right information so they would not write something against someone on the grounds of discrimination or harmful inaccuracies. The impacts of going against the ‘NUJ’ can get a journalist fired or sued in court. When writing any factual pieces a writer like myself has to be aware of being biased. Bias is favouring one side over the other or being prejudiced against a person or group in a way that is unfair. I was keeping my self-aware of what I was writing and if I was going against NUJ’ codes, I decided that I would read over and ask someone else to read over to check if I was making a mistake.
When making a complaint against a magazine or newspaper you would need to contact IPSO. The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is an independent organisation which regulates newspaper and magazine content to help protect individual rights and to maintain freedom of expression for the press. This organisation impacts the media in general because if someone writes something which is wrong and causes harm to someone it gives him the write to defend himself from a reporter who is causing big problems. The IPSO code of conduct has 16 main codes. Four important ones are these:
- Accuracy: This code is to make sure that your points and sources are accurate. This would mean not publishing misleading pictures, articles or headlines which would mislead people.
- Privacy: People are entitled to have some sort of respect for his/her family, private life and photos that are private. Only time journalists are allowed to use photos or interviews with people is with consent.
- Children: Minors who are under the age of 18 need permission from parents or carers for interviews, pictures or recordings of videos.
- Victims of sexual assault: Names of victims are not allowed to be released or published. The only way to publish names is if it’s legal to so or if there is a justification to do so.
During this project I wrote all my articles for the newspaper front page and adhered to the formal styles expected of factual journalism. The back page was for more informal type of articles that were feature orientated. One of my back page articles that I did for someone else’s edition was about Biryani and how to cook it and a very brief description about its history. However for my social media addition I decided to write about social media and politics in a formal way. The reason for this was because social media has a huge impact on people’s lives, lively hoods and even people’s opinions. Also I was linking it to politics which is a serious subject and is relevant to everyone.
When writing my article I had to keep in mind of three things which was hard to keep focus on. I had to be clear on my point in the beginning. I also had to be correct and accurate. The best way I did this I researched ahead into seeing if my points were right. I checked various news organisations for example CNN and the BBC. One of the mistakes I made was not checking if my team was using accurate information or valid sources. I did not check if other people’s articles were concise.
The news sheet is a project made the media department which is a collection of articles that are published weekly majority of the time. To see the effectiveness of the news sheet I decided that I would have a focus group with my target audience. I was told that the pictures have an impact on the news story and what the message is. Many of the students talked about how the colours of the sheet look nice and fit with the theme of the edition. Some students thought the stories where very interesting and relates to young people.
- Organisation into an editorial team
Originally our class was divided on what our interests were so both groups would have an equal number of people who had different roles. So when I was planning my edition for my news sheet I divided the roles between back page and front page. For the front page I decided that I would have 3 articles and nibs. For the back page the editor Lucy allocated roles. This is how I divided it:
Front page editor: Zak
Dimitar – 1 Article 1 Nib
Maryaa – 1 Article
Zak — 1 Article
Danni – 2 Nibs
Back page editor– Lucy
Keeley- 1 article 2 nibs / feature
Chai-an – 1 article / Fashion
Timi – 1 articles /sports
Lucy – 1 article / Food travel: food bloggers
Abi — 1 article/ entertainment
- Team meetings to review the news
When my team was together I talked about what my edition was about and explained what I wanted and what everyone was doing. I then talked with each member individually and asked what story they were picking and what they were going to do.
- Recording of names, dates and content using a spreadsheet
A spreadsheet was created to note down people’s roles and the date when the project started. It is used to organise roles within a group. It helps editors track down or chase writers and know what they are writing about. Noting down dates is important to keep up to date with deadlines as well as
Time management is very important because real newspapers like the guardian create articles daily and if an article is behind schedule it can be scrapped if something new happens. This is why it’s important to meet deadlines. Entire editions or newspaper ideas can be scraped if something new happens and is more recent regarding news.
In my edition the house style was similar to my template. The texts font was ‘Times New Roman’ and it was regular for all paragraphs except the first. The first paragraph is bold standing out from the rest. Only news on the side was not in bold like the main articles. The colour of the writing is black because all newspapers generally use black for their main articles. The main title’s font was Arial black, the size of the font was 64pt. The problem I had and was criticized was for leaving the space in the main title.
On front page titles such as Daily Mail and The Guardian they do not have a huge gap in a main page title. One the left side of the News sheet there is a small patch of news and information. I changed the colours of the original boxes around the article to the colours of popular media platforms for example YouTube (red) and Facebook (blue). One of the many criticisms was the colours what I selected, I was told they were too bright so I decided that I would dim them down for example the top yellow box it has been dimed to a darker yellow.
I made sure I had a 5 column grid and everything fitted in well. I had to make sure pictures are according to grid and they were not stretched or where not right. On the right I had a picture that I made bigger without stretching the image. However due to the camera I was using and my lack of skills I was not able to create the image I wanted. I made the mistake of not cropping too much but the reason for this was that I did not stretch the picture. The camera I was using did not have a lens which could zoom. However the clear photo was good to use.
An unedited illustration was given for the main story, so I had to crop it to hide the date or the argument made by the article would contradict itself. I tried my best to manipulate the images appropriately for the reader to understand. When my article was being reviewed I realised that the feedback was talking about captions. I realised that I should have kept a caption for the photo. I then added it in for the final piece. Because the writing did not have enough words I framed the photo for the main story to take up the empty space. Quality of the main photo was originally grainy and pixelated.
A writer has to have ambiguity, this means being open to more than one idea or interpretation. The importance of this is to show how balanced your writing is and knowing the facts and giving more than one opinion. There has to be facts with evidence with a reference. In my article I referenced the BBC programme. However due to time I was not able to check all articles references. Whenever writing any article being descriptive on your argument is important. Emotions always get the better of many whenever we write a paragraph for a newspaper or a post on social media. Emotions should only be used for an appropriate situation like in magazines of celebrities. This can lead to being bias and can alter the truth. This news sheet is more factual like the metro newspaper which is different from tabloids like the sun.
In my edition one of my roles was to look over spelling, punctuation and grammar as the editor. I looked over the articles given to me I changed the spelling errors and mistakes I even changed sentences to make the text fit in the boxes. I also checked if the articles were accurate or not as well.
Overall for my edition for the front page I believe I worked to my best. There was a lot of improvements that I made after I showed my first draft. I believe that I should have done more to fix the problems with my newspaper. I looked at the criticism it had and I mended it the best I could. However I could not improve it too much to address the problems it had such as the ‘double decker’, headline not being balanced and the layout showing the embodiment of social media.