Tuesday, 8 December 2009


During the process of creating my own newspaper, a website to support it and a poster, I used the following programs:

- Photoshop
- Blogger
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Publisher
- Microsoft Office Live Small Business
- Paint
- Google

The PowerPoint evaluation shows how I used the above programs.

Monday, 30 November 2009


After analysing the methods that other newspapers use in order to advertise their product, I have considered the following ideas for The Harrogate Times poster I am creating:

- Landscape A3 poster to attract buyer + many of the posters analysed use a landscape format
- A colourful poster for visual purposes + colours must not be gender based
- The poster could contain one or more images, again for visual purposes
- The image(s) must link in with a slogan and the purpose of the poster
- The poster must be kept simple in terms of layout so the overall message is not too complicated
- The poster must be clear and coherent for the buyer to understand

I also have to think about the purpose and aim for the poster. Do I aim to sell the poster using a scheme that compares prices to other newspapers? Or do I aim to sell the newspaper through its news contents and attract the audience to what it contains?

Here are a list of themes I could base my poster on:

- Money: I could compare the price of The Harrogate Times newspaper with another ultralocal or national newspaper. This could be a successful approach to take, as the audience may feel that The Harrogate Times newspaper is good value for money in comparison with other newspapers. The only disadvantage to this approach may be that the buyer may not be interested in price, and more interesed in what the newspaper has to offer.
- Community: I could include information on the poster about events and community based experiences. For example, I could include information about the Car Free Day and the Bed Race in Knaresborough. Images from the event could also be included, or a group of people at the event. This sounds like an exciting concept, as the poster will show Harrogate as a community.
- News: The poster could include snippets of news and main headlines including images to support the stories. This would inform the audience exactly what the newspaper includes, and what type of news the newspaper advertises. The only disadvantage in doing this is the fact that headlines are forever changing. This concept is less strong in comparison to the other themes expressed.
- Events: Events in the Harrogate area could be included on the poster, as The Harrogate Advertiser contains all the latest events and information. This is similar to the Community concept. In my opinion, this would be suitable for every audience, and a community based concept would attract the younger as well as older audience.
- Sport: The poster could advertise The Harrogate Times' sport section. However, the downside to this would be that a limited number of the target audience would be attracted to this concept as the sport section is only read by a section of the target audience. This is the weakest concepts of all expressed.
- Harrogate; The poster could include a bit about Harrogate. For example, information about Betty Tea Rooms or Harrogate's flower shows. The Harrogate Times could therefore sponsor events such as The Harrogate Flower show on the poster.

I now need to consider a possible slogan to put onto my poster. Slogans are a method of marketing used to make the buyer remember the product.

Here is a list of possible slogans which refer back to the earlier themes:

- Slogans for the Money concept:
- Slogans for the Community concept:
- Slogans for the News concept:
- Slogans for the Events concept:
- Slogans for the Sport concept:
-Slogans for the Harrogate concept:

In terms of images, there needs to be a clear, cohesive link between both text and image in order for the poster to make sense. For example, if I chose my poster to be based on the Community concept, I could have an image of a group of people at a certain event, as opposed to something random like a medium shot of Harrogate.

I will begin drafting a few posters, experimenting with a few different themes...

For this drafted poster, I have chosen the Harrogate concept; this is based on Harrogate's greenery and it's well known flower shows. It contains three images of Harrogate's finest greenery with the title of the newspaper underneath in a large font in order for the buyer to identify the poster immediately. These three images will be replaced with more colourful images containing Harrogate's finest flowers, as I think these current images are a little too similar. In the bottom right hand corner, there is an advertisement for The Harrogate Flower shows, sponsored by The Harrogate Times. These two images are also temporary as I do not yet have any images of the flower show; this is a drafted piece. I have included reference to the flower show so that the reader is aware of the event. It also shows that the newspaper sponsors events such as this. There is a slogan in the bottom left hand corner taken from the slogans I earlier created, in order to support the images of Harrogate's greenery. The word "celebrating" also sounds as if the people of Harrogate should celebrate Harrogate's achievements. I really like this basic layout, but I am also going add in more features such as a link to The Harrogate Times' newspaper. I also plan to play around with the images and what effects I can add to them to make them more visually pleasing.

This screen shot shows that I have playeda around with the images a little. I used the Toolbar in Microsoft Word in order to achieve the slanted format and shadow features on each image. I really like this.

This screen shot is more of a finalised product although I still need a collection of my own images. Here, I have added in a link to the website as well as mini images of flowers in the flower for an added feature.

My final poster shows the newspaper's knowledge of Harrogate throughout every season. It also advertises Harrogate's well known greenery; I have done this by editing the same photo on Photoshop and editing it to suit every season.

Here is a screen shot of my final poster:

My reasons for deciding on this concept can be seen in the evaluation.


This particular advertisement for The Guardian includes the following conventions:

- Bright colours
- Retro/minimalistic layout
- Quotes
- Reference to The Guardian's website
- Large font
- Repetition
- Clear and coherent Standard English

I will explain the possible reasons for the conventions identified. The use of bright colours immediately attracts the reader, however there is a mixture of colours suggesting that the newspaper is not a gender specific newspaper (for example there are greys evident in the newspaper as well as pinks and greens). The use of bright colours may also appeal to the younger generation, and thus, captivate a wider audience. The reasons for doing this may be because the newspaper aims to attract readers outside of their niche market, but also to inform others about certain aspects of national news. The advertisement uses a retro sort of layout, as it is minimalistic, yet colourful; this may be used plainly to attract the attention of the buyer. A quote is added to the right hand side of the advertisement into a paragraph; a smaller font than the rest of the text. There is no indication as to where this quote is from, however, the reference to website underneath the quote suggests that an editor from the guardian newspaper may have written this. The use of repetition of the words "fact" and "opinion" plainly illustrate the newspaper's own conventions; the newspaper includes solid facts and opinions based entirely on national news - this is field specific lexis. Overall, I believe that this specific advertisement is very effective, as the use of colour attracts the reader attention, but also tells the audience a little about what the newspaper includes.

Here is an example of another advertisment for The Guardian newspaper:

There is a clear house style in all of The Guardian's advertisements; the same colours and techniques are used, including large font and use of quotes. The purpsose of this may be to not only attract the buyer, but to also help them identify which newspaper this advertisement is marketing. The retro design is again incorporated into this advertisement, and may have been influence from an artist of some period. The Guardian therefore, may be introducing some sort of art form nationally, as well as getting the audience to notice the newspaper itself.

Here is an advertisment for The Times. This particular advertisement includes the following conventions:

- Large title
- Grey/black midtones
- White font to contrast against dark background
- Image to support text
- Quotes from newspaper

In comparison to the advertisment of The Guardian, The Times takes a very different approach when marketing its newspaper. This specific advertisement is emotional, targeting the sensitive and caring characteristic in the buyer. For example, the image shown in this specific advertisement is of a shark trapped in a netting who has died from malnutrition. The buyer can easily establish what is going on in the picture, and thus, become interested in the emotional plea. The quote in white font beside of the shark image talks about what is happening in the picture, and what is yet to happen if we run out of seafood. The quote uses heartfelt techniques and uses imperatives such as "be part of the times" in order to urge the buyer to purchase the newspaper and get involved with what is happening. This advertisement is also successful as it focuses on the devastating reality of the world, but also uses a completely different technique to other newspapers such as The Guardian who use font and nothing else. The use of blacks and dark blues also add to the atmosphere of the overall advertisement. In my opinion, the use of an image such as this may attract the reader even more as there is concrete evidence to suggest that Sharks are endangered due to the continuous decrease in seafood.

This Daily Telegraph advertisement is very unconventional in comparison to the three previously analysed. For example, the advertisment fails to use large font to attract the buyer, and the minority of text makes the advertisement hard to understand overall. The background colour is also very neutral (making it non gender specific), and help to give the advertisement a serious feel.

The key generic conventions of an advertisement of a newspaper are as follows:

- Neutral colours
- One or no images
- Simple layout
- Minority of text
- Title of newspaper
- Large font for title
- Field specific lexis such as "opinions", "facts" and "news"


Here is a list of feedback I gathered after completing my website:

- The scrolling text on either side of the home page is very effective and the nice image of the grass really captures the greenery effect that you are trying to portray
- The images are clear and the hyperlinks and the overall layout looks exactly like the website of many other local newspaper web pages from this area
- The marquee is really cool and I haven't seen it much on any other newspaper web pages but it's really effective when showing the local news

As the feedback I gathered was indeed positive, I felt there were no necessary changed I needed to make. I believe my website looks incredibly familiar to current media products such as the Harrogate Advertiser, and I believe I have been successful when applying all the generic conventions of a website which can be viewed in the PowerPoint evaluation.

Here is a screen shot of my website:


To begin creating a website, I needed a program to build my website on. There was a choice of three programs which enable the consumer to build a sucessful website for their small business. However, I encountered specific problems when using each of this websites.

The choices were:

Weebly - "Create a free website or blog in minutes by using a simple drag and drop interface. No ads. One of Time's 50 best websites of the year."

The disadvantages of using this site were:

- Text could not be easily moved
- Text boxes could not be created
- The set templates were too fancy
- The whole site was difficult to manoeuvre and understand

Microsoft Office Live - "Microsoft office live small business get a free website and more. It's fast and easy."

There were no strong disadvantages to this program, although there is no text wrap tool.

Google Sites - "Thinking of creating a website? Google Sites is a free and easy way to create and share webpages. ... New! Create a site from dozens of pre-built templates ..."

The disadvantages of using this site were:

- No text wrap
- Text could not be easily moved
- Text boxes could not be created
- The set templates were extremely basic and were difficult to edit
- The whole site was difficult to manoeuvre and understand

The website which I decided to use was microsoft Office Live as it had all the professional features I needed to create a newspaper based web page.
Firstly, I began by choosing my template and layout, as Microsoft provides a series of pre-made layouts for its users.

This is a screen shot of the pre-made layouts on Microsoft Office Live

After choosing my template, I began to insert one element after another just like the newspaper creation process, just to see how everything looked on the page.
As I believe everything to look visually pleasing in order to ensure the reader's interest, I chose to use my current html skills and adopt them into the webpage.
From previous experience in web design and photography, I used html codes such as scrolling text and hyperlinked images; I used scrolling text to broadcast the latest news (just like Harrogate Advertiser does) and used hyperlinks and navigation features to enable an easy and accessible web page experience.

I also inserted a search engine and a weather section, in order to inform the reader about local weather etc. The search engine is also evident on the Harrogate Advertiser's webpage, helping readers to search for what they desire.

I inserted the same masthead which I use for my newspaper into the webpage, however, I also added a pre-made background to support the greenery of Harrogate. Although no images can be seen in any of the webpage titles currently, I felt that I should challenge the conventions in order to present a visual display. Soon after, I started to insert all of my articles and images to support the newspaper. I also inserted a 'What's on' in Harrogate section and also a section where reader's have the chance to ask the editor direct questions.


I researched into current web pages which advertise a certain newspaper.
Firslty, I decided it would be beneficial to look at The Harrogate Advertiser's web page and identify its conventions in order to understand a little bit more about how websites invite the buyer. Instead of analysing other ultralocal newspapers to the Harrogate area, I will also analyse a newspaper from a different local area, as most of these local newspaper are published by Ackrill Media group; therefore most of these local newspaper will have the same generic layout.

Here is a screen shot of the Harrogate Advertiser's web page.

The conventions I have identified are as follows:

- Organised layout
- Bold title (however, the title is not substantially large which is interesting, as the masthead on the Harrogate Advertiser's newspaper is noticeably big)
- Hyperlinks and navigation bar
- Search engine
- References to jobstoday and property today etc
- Date
- Updates in a scrolling marquee
- Advertisements
- Subheadings, headings and images
- Letters to the editor
- 'What's on' column

What cohesive links does the Harrogate Advertiser's web page have with the newspaper itself?

- Similar/same articles
- Brand identity and house style
- Date and time
- Advertisements
- Some form of navigation
- Same images

What differences does the web page and the newspaper have?

- Hyperlinks and search engines on the web page
- Small proportion of articles with a link to the full article on web page
- Comment options on the web page
- Web page has scrolling text and other visual aspects which the newspaper does not have

This variation of similarities and differences outline the divergence between the hard print copy of the newspaper and the interactive, modern and 'instantaneous' version of the newspaper in web pages.
New media, for example, the internet has been involved in the decline in profits of print media.

I have also researched on the internet into the common generic features of web pages. One website, Jerz Setonhill.com, states that there are five key factors you must follow to create a conventional and successful newspaper based web page:

- Lead with your best stuff: put your best stuff at the top of the page to keep readers engaged and entertained
- Inform with meaningful links: to provide meaningful information to the reader
- Employ consistent navigation: 'Home' link in the navigation bar and other consistent links
- Prefer simple designs: to avoid confusion and to get straight to the point
- Write scannable text: provide meaningful subheadings, bulleted lists and bold keywords

What about The Hereford Times?

Here is a screen shot of the Hereford Times' web page

Is there any relation between this web page and the Harrogate Advertiser's web page?

- Noticeably different layout
- Hereford has larger title
- Both have main web page conventions such as navigation, images and text


After creating the second page of my newspaper, I wanted to gather a series of audience feedback in order to improve on my piece; the constructive criticism given could possibly help me to create a better piece overall, just like I did with my front page.

Below is a list of feedback I gathered:

- "I love the advert and the other images on this page"
- "There are so many articles and I think this page is very conventional"
- "The advertisment towards the bottom right hand corner of the page is really good. I also think that the quality of the rest of the images is brilliant"
- "the Index towards the top of the page needs to be bigger"
- "I really like this page. It seems stronger than your first page at the moment. You need to get your images sorted altogether and the piece will be sucessful"

There is no significant changes I need to make to this page, however, I need to make the font of the Index section bigger and possibly add another image to the Driving Ban article.


The screen shots featured illustrate the drafting process of my second page:

This screen shot shows the basic layout of my second page. I have added text boxes on Microsoft Publisher to create this layout. I believe that by adding specific elements to the page gradually, it helps to create an organised and planned structure.

This again shows the process of adding elements to my page for an organised structure. I have begun adding images as well as text, so that I can see how everything looks on the page. In my opinion, this is the easiest process when creating a media product such as this, as planning is key.

This is a screen shot of the middle part of my second newspaper page. I have added in all articles and images I need besides from the image for the 'HUB' article. This is again, a planning process to see how everything looks on the page.

Here is a screen shot of the bottom of the second page. I have continued to insert articles into the page as well as images. A variation of the articles originate from the articles I previously wrote in the blog. I have also written a few fillers to also insert into the second page.

Here, I have decided on my final main article on the second page, and inserted an image. I have also left space for the article itself.

This is almost the final product as I have inserted all of my articles I am completely happy with the layout. There are a few images I need to fulfill completion, as well as an advertisement. I may advertise a clothing line in the Harrogate area or even a florists to support the greenery of Harrogate.

This is the advertisement I made for my second page; it involves an image I took of my friend in cotemporary clothes to market a contemporary clothing line in Harrogate, Laudanam. I really like this advertisement as I believe it to be quite powerful; the use of black makes it stand out and the image is of a high quality.


Wednesday, 4 November 2009


After creating the first page of my newspaper, I wanted to gather a series of audience feedback in order to improve on my piece; the constructive criticism given could possibly help me to create a better piece overall.

Below is a list of feedback I gathered:

- "I really like the layout and it looks really neat. Some of the images aren't of a good quality though"
- "I like the use of green and I like the photography in the advertisement but the other images aren't as good"
- "Most of the images contain props or places as opposed to people. There needs to be images which contain the people of Harrogate"
- "There needs to be less images of shop fronts. One is enough"
- "The font should be bigger on the headlines as this can be seen in most newspapers"
- "I love the colour scheme and how it you've made a conventional house style. Everything is good apart from a few images and possibly the advertisement"

I also thought about the changes I could undergo in order for my front page to be a lot more successful:

- Images: these to need to be of a lot better quality, as most were taken from a mobile device. I also need to vary my angle of each image, as most on the front page are medium shots, therefore I need to take images of close ups and long distance shots. People need to be included in most of the images also in order for the newspaper to seem ultralocal. Possibly a photograph of the headteacher at Harrogate Grammar School would be good for the main article.
- Advertisement: this needs to be far more interesting than a photography based advert. Possibly an advertisement of a flower shop could be put here in order to compliment the greenery of Harrogate and its well known flower shows.
- Headlines these needs to bigger in order for the reader to be able to identify the article quickly.

Here are a few changes I made to my final piece which originated from my feedback:

- I have taken a photograph of the Head Teacher of Harrogate Grammar to support my main article; the previous image which can be seen on my drafted piece came from the internet as it was not my own. I have gone for a close up shot of Mr Sheriff (the headteacher) in order to vary my angles in each image.
- I have inserted images of a group of girls in order to support the article of Jakes restuarant and the Bar Crawl. I wanted more images of people in my newspaper as opposed to shop fronts that lack human perspective.

Here is a screen shot of the overall product:


Most photographs shown on the front page of my newspaper have been taken from a mobile device. The main image is not my own, as this is temporary; I wish to take an image of the headteacher of Harrogate Grammar to support the article.

Using a mobile decreases the quality in the images, so I may need to use an SLR camera if I wish to replace my current images.

First I had to pick my images from a collection of shots, and then edit that final image. For example, for the article about Jakes restuarant, I had to pick from a variation of images of customers in Jakes restuarant:

I then edited the image in photoshop using a range of tools.

Here, I have used the Saturation and Hue tool to make the image a little more believable in terms of colour, as the image turned out to be quite bright as it was captured on an average digital camera.

Here, I have demonstrated the use of contrast and brightness.

I continued to edit all of my images as previously shown. Photoshop CS4 is a brilliant program to use for editing images and is used for professional photographs.

Monday, 2 November 2009


The screen shots featured illustrate the drafting process when beginning to create my front page:

Here is a screen shot of the first stage of my newspaper front page. I began placing text boxes on the page to get an idea of the initial layout. The text box tool can be seen in the tool bar from Microsoft Word and is an easy application to use. After this stage, I then began to figure out where all of my news stories could potentially go, so I inserted the titles from each of my stories into the text boxes. I have also began to maintain a sufficient house style as I have used the colour green throughout the front page; I felt that the colour green could also compliment the greenery of Harrogate, and the well known Harrogate Flower shows.

This stage of my front page contains the following newspaper conventions so far:

- Cover lines
- Header
- Large Masthead
- Colour - house style
- Puns (e.g. Adjudicator "RULES" Admissions Unfair and The "MOUNT" On Cheltenham)
- Borders
- References to page numbers (e.g. "see page...")
- Large font for main article and masthead

Here is the second stage of drafting my newspaper front page. I began to insert my newspaper articles as well as understand where my images initially need to be. This process helps, as you can see visually whether certain articles fit into the text boxes or whether the layout must be changed. All of the articles included in my newspaper can be viewed in the previous blog: articles.

This stage of my front page contains other newspaper conventions so far, such as:

- Articles which include typical newspaper language (which will be dicussed further on in the blog
- Inserted an "online" column

This screen shot shows a more complteted stage of the newspaper; where I have inserted my news stories and began inserting the images to support the text. I have also included an "online" section which appears to be conventional in all ultralocal newspapers. By doing this, the buyer can then refer to the online page if they cannot access the paper itself. I have also inserted a picture box for where my advertisements will go, and a barcode which lies beneath a "recycled newspaper" logo. All ultralocal newspaper also include this recycling logo, in order to try and help the environment in saving paper resources. The grey text boxes to the left of the barcode include two other newspaper stories based on crime. These are grey, as they are added fillers which are also evident in other newspapers.

This stage of my front page contains the added newspaper conventions so far:

- Grey texts boxes for fillers
- Images to support text
- Barcode
- Recyling logo
- Space for advertisements

Here, I have inserted cover lines into the header of the newspaper, and I have also supported these with images. In my opinion, the images shown here are weak, and so are temporary, as I need to experiment with my photography a little more (for more information, see the next post: manipulation of images. i have also inserted a ....... which includes the price, website and date of the newspaper. I have done the following as these are typical newspaper conventions, and even the thicker border around the main article mirrors typical ultralocal newspaper conventions. Visually, the images and possibly the layout itself could be tweaked, but I would like some audience feedback on the final piece before re-doing certain aspects of the front page.

This screen shot shows the column to the right of my newspaper. It includes a section featuring key stories which are included inside the newspaper. All three images were taken from a mobile device, however, the poor quality weakens the overall effect. These smaller images need to be redone with a mega pixel camera in order to give the newspaper a professional look. Below these images, I have included page references and captions so that the audience is aware of what's happening and what the images are about.
Again, the borders around the main article can be seen here which is a main convention in ultralocal newspapers.

This screen shot involves my advertisement. I have used an original photograph taken from my photograph course to support the greenery of Harrogate. Although the advert itself markets a photography based campaign, the actual image itself is captured in Harrogate and compliments the consistent green influence in my newspaper.

Here is a screen shot of my final piece. I now need to gather a series of audience feedback in order to improve on anything which could influence the sale of the newspaper.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


This questionnaire will help me to create a successful newspaper, based on the feedback I recieve. This will also help me decided upon the newspaper I will create: whether it may be a national or ultra local paper etc.

The following questions are based on local newspapers in your area. This is a mulitple choice questionnaire unless specified otherwise.

1) Are you male or female?
[] Male
[] Female

2) How old are you?
[] Under 18
[] 19 - 30
[] 31 - 40
[] 41 - 50
[] Over 60

3) Do you purchase a local newspaper? If not, does your household?
[] Yes
[] No
[] Sometimes

4) What type of newspaper do you purchase and what is it called?

5) When do you purchase your local newspaper?
[] Daily
[] Weekly
[] Twice a week
[] Monthly
[] Yearly

6) Why do you buy your local newspaper? (If more than one, please specify)
[] Because I like to know what's going on in my area
[] Because I like to find out about future events
[] Because I like to see if there's anything I can do to help my area
[] Because I like to enter competitions and complete crosswords

7) What is the last story that caught your attention and what was it about?

8) Newspapers use a process called "dead donkey" in order to fill in the spaces of some newspapers. These are stories which contain very little detail and are often ignored by readers. Do you read these smaller stories?
[] Yes
[] No
[] Sometimes

9) Have you ever paid attention to a specific advertisement in your local newspaper, and thus considered into buying the product? If so, what kind of advertisement was is?
[] Yes (Please specify ___________________________________ )
[] No

10) What kind of photos do you expect in a local newspaper?
[] Good quality photos
[] Bad quality photos
[] Boring photos
[] Informative photos (conveying a message)

11) Do you feel that the containment of images are beneficial in your newspaper?
[] Not at all
[] Sort of
[] Yes, definitely

12) In your opinion, does your newspaper attract you visually? If so, what?
[] Yes ____________________________________________________ (Please specify)
[] No

13) Do you consider the price you pay for your local newspaper to be reasonable? (Please write down the price you pay for your newspaper next to 'Yes' if specified)
[] Yes _______
[] No

14) Finally, what, if anything, would you change about your local newspaper?

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Questionnaire Feedback and Results

After creating the questionnaire, I decided to hand it out to 50 people, ranging from the age of 16 up to 40. I felt that this specific age group actually read newspapers, due to the maturity of these ages. I also felt that 50 pages of feedback is just the right proportion of information in which I can benefit from.
The results for all 14 questions are as follows:

1) 64% (32/50) were male
36% (18/50) were female

2) 40% (20/50) were 18 or under
34 (22/50) were 19 - 30
12 (6/50) were 31 - 40
8 (4/50) were 41 - 50
6 (3/50) were over 60

3) 100% (50/50) all purchase a local newspaper, or their household does.

4) Purchases range from; The Harrogate Advertiser (80%:40/50), The Knaresborough Post (10%:5/50) and The Ripon Gazette (4%:2/50)

5) All 100 (50/50) purchase their newspaper weekly, however, they also purchase other newspapers which do not benefit their local area (e.g. The Daily Mail, The Mirror) daily or monthly.

6) 44% (22/50) ticked all the boxes. 46% (23/50) specified the "Because I like to know what's going on in my area" option.

7) Local news headlines differed variously. Most speculation consquenced from the death of Michael Jackson, Swine Flu, and politics.

8) 60% (30/50) ticked the "sometimes" option. 30% (15/50) ticked the "no" option and the other 10% (5/50) opted for "yes"

9) 73% (38/50) specified "no" to reading advertisements.

10) 80% (40/50) specified the "good quality" option. 20% of those also opted for the "boring photos" option.

11) 62% (31/50) opted for "definitely". 38% (18/50) opted for sort of or not at all.

12) The majority of the feedback said that images and interesting headlines attract them towards a newspaper.

13) 98% (48/50) agreed that the price they pay for their local newspaper is reasonable.

14) Changes differed from:
- "there should be less so-called "dead donkey" stories as they seem irrelevant and no one really pays them any attention"
- "main headlines should be more important, e.g. Something tragic as opposed something which isn't very important"
- "more pictures"
- "larger writing for us old ones who cannot read very well!"

82% (41/50) felt that no changes should be applied to their local newspaper.

My Mission Statement

It is my aim to create a successful newspaper for the Harrogate area. Due to this, the newspaper I am creating needs to be ultra local, as the newspaper will include news relevant to the Harrogate area only. I also aim to target 21-41 year olds, as this age group carried the majority of people who read newspapers in my questionnaire. The majority of the people tested were also male, so the articles I include on the first two pages of my local newspaper may potentially be male bias. Because I have chosen to target an audience of above 21, the articles I choose to write about need be relevent to that age group. The news values I wish to include within my newspaper are going to be, proximity (as this will apply to people living in the Harrogate area), and social and human significance (as some articles may affect all people living in the Harrogate area). I do not wish to include the value politics as politics is normally advertised in national newspapers. The newspaper will be 75p, as I will gain extra income from the advertisements featured in my newspaper. Other factors such as layout and structure will be later considered in the production.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Before writing a mission statement, I have deemed it necessary to write a list of possible stories I could include in my final newspaper, before deciding upon the target audience and genre etc. From this, I can gather a range of audience feedback to help me improve these stories, as the constructive criticism I will recieve will enable me to do this.

Here is a list of events and stories which are currently taking place in my local area, Harrogate:

- New school canteen for The Harrogate Grammar School
- Brilliant A level results throughout the Harrogate area - Harrogate High achieved 99% in A-C's
- River Island is opening in Harrogate - Apparently Primark too?
- School Admissions are set to change
- Newly renevated buildings collapse onto road into middle of town
- Boots has moved stores - bigger and better

Story for main article:

Schools Adjudicator Rules Admissions Unfair
A SCHOOLS adjudicator has ruled that admissions arrangements amongst secondary schools are unfair.

Infuriation filtered through many homes in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area just yesterday, as many children were refused a place at their chosen school.
Secondary schools such as Harrogate Grammar, Rossett, St. Aidans/St.John Fishers and King James of Knaresborough were limited in the amount students they could initially take on to Year 7, meaning that hundreds of parents and children would potentially be denied a place. Hundreds of parents have blamed admissions arrangements for "unfair dismissal" with complaints of up to 60, but the schools reason for doing this is still because student numbers should be limited.

In the event that a child would be denied a place at their chosen or preferred school, an appeal would have to take place in which a parent would plead for their child to be accepted into the school. There has been controversy about this process, as parents feel that that the given reason for their child to be denied is unreasonable and somewhat unacceptable.
All secondary schools stated that the preferences of children from rural areas were met before any youngsters living in the town area. In August, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator deemed the priority for children living in rural areas unfair, and many parents agree with the adjudicator's decision.

In September last year, the council threatened legal action against admissions decisions, but the OSA ruled this unnecessary to do so. Although the council also agreed to withstand a petition on behalf of denied placements, the OSA fails to cooperate.
Due to the lack of cooperation given by the OSA, the local authority has rightly tried to ensure that rural applicants are not disadvantaged, as well as applicants who may not have a sibling as the acquired school(s). However, authorities have said that the priority given to rural applicants places them at an "unfair advantage compared to town applicants in securing a place at an oversubscribed school", says Dr Ian Craig the new adjudicator.
Thus, there is a vicious circle of denied applicants which carries on this somewhat unfair denial.

A recent investigation took place to research into the controversial decisions made by school Head Masters and the admissions board. Headmaster from the Harrogate Grammar School, Mr Richard Sheriff, took this opportunity to demonstrate the reason why children are denied a place at local schools.
"I understand that there are hundreds of parents out there who are saddened by schools admissions, and I agree fully with the argument given by the adjudicator. I understand that admissions choices are unequivocally unfair, however, I understand that there is a need for this process as it is my job and the admissions board to keep the school in good order, and thus not let it become too over crowded in the number of students attending.
"A large number of the admissions reasons for denying a child a placement local schools are subject to confusion as many children should be suitable for that placement, however, I do understand that children entering from a rural area a lesser advantage.
"Sadly there is nothing I can potentially do to stop this "unfair dismissal", but I am willing to give my full hearted support to any parent or child who feels for this issue."

I have gathered a series of audience feedback to help me make this newspaper article a lot more conventional. I feel strongly on the subject of admissions, however, the article itself lacks structure and this is what I must improve on to make the article itself, strong and understandable.

The feedback consists of:

- "You have to include the typical newspaper conventions such as short direct quotes to back up your point, and one sentence per paragraph. It's too long!" (Teacher)
- "The quotes are a bit too long to be included in a newspaper. Shorten these and structure your article a little better." (Student)

I also gathered feedback from a member in my class, who pointed out the features which are not conventions of a newspaper:

- No images
- Needs a bolder headline
- Paragraphs need shortening
- No use of puns
- No use of columns

From this feedback, it has become clear that my article is a little too long and the structure of it is a too complex. I aim to include:
shorter direct/indirect quotes, smaller paragraphs, and more valid evidence to back up any point I am trying to make.
Here is a chart of 6 possible articles I could write about:

1) The £250,000 School Project

A BRAND new canteen named "The Hub" had its grand opening at The Harrogate Grammar School just yesterday.

The £250,000 project took an incredible 2 months to build, and was conjoined with the previous school canteen to make it even bigger and better.

Teachers and students witnessed the opening on the first day back from summer term.

Mr Richard Sheriff, head teacher at The Grammar School, said it was "a great investment."

Jade, 14, a student at the school, described the new food area as a "complete success."

Jade also said "The Hub is just brilliant. It's so much bigger and more spacious than the previous canteen. Even the new chairs and tables are great, and the layout just looks so much more attractive."

The school is currently working on a £1 million project to extend the sixth form building. The renovation will take place January next year.

2) Is Primark Coming To Town?

RUMOUR has it that Primark is coming to Harrogate since Sports Direct has been bought out and closed down.

Harrogate was always said to be "too up town for Primark", but finally the price-cutting phenomenon may be coming soon.

Sally Warnell, 22, from Harrogate said, "I'm so excited for Primark to finally arrive in Harrogate. I've been waiting for this day for so long. I always have to travel to Leeds to visit the store, and if Primark really does set sail and come to Harrogate, it will be so great."

And if that isn't already good news for the retail therapists, River Island is also set to open this weekend.

Banners outside the store which is currently being renovated feature River Island's website and the date it is set to arrive in the town.

3) (The Mount On Cheltenham

A NEWLY renovated building collapsed onto Cheltenham Mount, near ASDA on Tuesday.
The tenants currently living in the property moved into the top apartment just last week.

Estate Agent Mr J Harrison, of Feather Smales and Scailes said "It's a complete devastation. The property had been deemed ready in order for the tenants to move in, and the renovation looked absolutely brilliant."

Mr Harrison also stated that the brick work was unstable and that the agents will take the matter into their own hands.

"We will take immediate action in ensuring the building's security. This will never happen again."

Luckily, the tenants were not in the building when the brickwork collapsed and there were no tenants in any other of the apartments below.

"No one was hurt" said one of the tenants, Miss Langley.

"And thank the Lord. One of us could have been killed. It's an absolute outrage. The builders have obviously not taken any safety procedures before agreeing to let the estate agents put the property on the market.”

The brickwork on Cheltenham Mount has blocked the top of the road, and therefore caused another problem for oncoming vehicles.

The road is now blocked off and will be open to vehicles within the next few weeks when the brickwork is removed and cleared for safety reasons.

4) Leave The Vehicle – Get Green

HUNDREDS of residents are planning to leave their cars at home on Friday this week, as Harrogate prepares for its second annual Car Free Day.

Dozens of towns are also participating in the event, and Harrogate is just one of many. The event is also part of European Mobility Week, ensuring a healthier environment.

The aim is to encourage towns to make safer and “greener” places to live. This will initially help the environment and educate fellow participators on how to do their bit in the local area.

The event will involve numerous activities and sights to encourage residents to consider leaving their vehicle(s) at home on a regular basis. An exhibition will also be hosted by the police and fire service later on in the day.

Residents who are not used to leaving their vehicle at home also have the option to rent a bike free of charge in association with The Ride and Pedal event. These bicycles will be on offer between the hours 7:00am and 7:00pm, outside The Harrogate Railway Station.

For those who are not quite fond of bike riding, the Harrogate Bus company, Transdev, are also offering free transport for the day. Although this type of transport appears on the road, this is also a “greener” way to move as more people can take the bus route. Those taking advantage of the offer, can also receive a free breakfast on arrival.

Residents can also join in with the group bike ride, which commences at 5:30pm from Harrogate College (Hornbeam Park). The ride will finish at St. Peters Church near the town centre, where residents will also be greeted by St. Aidan’s School Swing band.

Last year’s bicycle ride participator, Linda, 44, said: “It’s such a brilliant idea. It’s so motivating and it does the environment so well. I will continue to leave the car at home on a regular basis.”

Linda also said that she saw a great change to the congestion of road last year when Harrogate’s annual Car Free Day took place. She said that the events were also “a delight to experience” and that she will continue to encourage people to do the same.

Organiser, Neil Jameson said: “Last year saw a great improvement in traffic congestion. We hope to see that same result this year. It’s so beneficial for the environment, and even leaving your car at home to catch the bus round the corner carries minimal effort. It really does make a difference.”

Neil Jameson also said that “traffic congestion raises problems for health” as fumes and toxins can harm elderly residents as well as the environment.

“These fumes can also be a major participator to asthma in young children. This is where it needs to stop”.

This year, the event has had huge support from the business sector, local government, schools, colleges and community organisations.

“Some people will do everything they can to make the environment healthier,” said Jane Auden, another participator of the event.

I feel that the following articles are valid and interesting subjects, which vary from news based on education, to the environment and travesties in the Harrogate area.
The following articles can be categorised into the following news values:

- Admissions article: social significance and proximity and human interest
- The Hub article: social significance and proximity
- Primark article: social significance and proximity and human interest
- Cheltenham article: human interest and proximity
- Car Free Day article: social significance and proximity and numbers


I began research into the generic conventions of a local newspaper; the Harrogate advertiser.

Here are the main aspects and conventions of the Harrogate Advertiser's layout:
- Main story always central
- Conventional house style - e.g. colours
- Local advertisements throughout the newspaper
- Columns of text either side of the main story
- Large image for main story
- Captions
- All columns are aligned (same width)
- Large masthead and headlines/cover lines
- "Dead Donkey"/ Fillers
- Website, date and price featured below masthead of front page
- Cover lines and images in header

I then analysed The Harrogate Advertiser in great detail in order to learn more about the conventions of a local newspaper...

Firstly, the early June Advertiser appears approachable and well organised in terms of the front page, due to the large masthead and columns of text. The masthead is also striking due to the use of a blue background contrasting against a white font, immediately identifying the newspaper by name and obviously status in terms of the local area, Harrogate. This is the house style of the newspaper; blue and white.

The Harrogate Advertiser contains advertisements of a vast majority, using at least 1/5th of the page space. The main story is central, with a font that dominates the whole page so that this becomes the centre point for the reader. Other minor stories (fillers) are added around this central news story which are continued inside. This really tempts the reader to want to read on and buy the newspaper due to the “cliffhanger” news. It is also evident that this newspaper targets the older generation due to not only the size of the paper, but the small print and superior use of text. There is also at least one image per main story featured in The Harrogate Advertiser, and smaller story with lesser detail and information are bordered and inserted to the corner or side of the newspaper. There is also an index on the third page of the newspaper, separating letters, sport, weather and other entertainment features such as the crossword.

There is also a significant number of advertisements, promoting products ranging from food to technology as these adverts are a sponser of the newspaper company. Coupons are also included within the newspaper near the middle, so the reader has the opportunity to take advantage of discount offers - this also tempts the reader to purchase the newspaper again.

I can easily categorise the Harrogate Advertiser into four main sections such as Human Interest, Hard News, Entertainment and Sport:

- Hard News: the front page suggests that school admissions are unfair, as previously explained in this blog, and this is the first story associating with negative or hard news which immeditely concerns the reader. This forms an emotional attatchment between the reader and the story, as they are involving themselves within the actual content. Writers use the hard news concept to shock and awe the audience as well as educate them in what is happening in their local area.

- Entertainment: there are many adult puzzles such as crosswords and tricky number sequences. These are inserted as they tend to entertain their audience and are present in most newspapers whether it may be a tabloid or broadsheet. Cryptic crosswords are aimed towards the mature target audience - this being the older generation as these puzzles are so tricky. This again expresses that the Harrogate Advertiser targets the older generation. Advertisements are also added at an entertainment value, but also to attract the reader into buying their product.

- Sport: there is a sports section towards the end of the newspaper, informing any sports fan about weekly events that have been happening in Harrogate. Sports range from snooker, to cricket, to football, and the house style compliments the blues and whites of the font cover making clear consistency.

Human interest: Apart from each story relating to human interest, there is a weekend weather chart to inform the reader even more about the local area in terms of weather and future forecast.

The first thing I noticed about The Knaresborough post, is that it appears to be somewhat identical to the Harrogate Advertiser.
I researched into the publisher of the paper as well as looking at the insert, and both newspapers are published by the Ackrill Media Group. Both papers follow the same house style in terms of the main headline being central and columns of other news follow around the centrepiece. The font for the masthead is exactly the same as the masthead belonging to the Harrogate Advertiser, and the only real significant difference is the change in colour; from blue to burgundy/maroon. The layout is identical to the Advertiser.
Both newspapers have share similar generic conventions:

- Advertisements at the bottom of the front page
- Cover lines and images above the masthead
- A large and bold font for headline
- An organised structure with columns
- Page numbers and website links
- A colourful image to support headline story