Wednesday, 16 September 2009


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

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