Final Major Project- Final evaluation:
For my Final Major Project, I decided to create two double-page spreads and an opening page (Editor’s letter) relating to my chosen topic of why photography exists in many people’s lives today linking to the technology that enables beginners to produce stunning quality photos. I decided to base it on the photography magazine ‘Outdoor Photography’ since I’ve used this magazine brand for my first final project and so I was able to remember the success I had with the emulation of the layout, content and features such as the separation lines and page folios.
(Covers unit 8 2.1)- After considering all the available research opportunities available for my topic and medium, I decided to bring in my sketchbook once again as the backbone for all my research findings whether they were primary or secondary findings. (Covers unit 8 4.1)- This made me remember having it within my first final project and how it allowed me to engage more thoroughly with the findings. This was no exception either because even though I had a lot more to take in such as all measurements, distances and in-depth analysis of the language style used, spending more time on applying it to my portfolio also contributed to make me feel like I’ve put more effort into my research to make it look more presentable rather than using a computer to simply paste my findings on to a document- with the chances of missing out on vital information being higher.
(Covers unit 8 2.1)- My portfolio was just the backbone for holding my research though. I feel that my primary and secondary research findings made the whole process even more rewarding since I managed to gather findings that really enhanced not only the quality of my articles but also my own personal knowledge. My primary research involved mainly the use of carrying out email interviews with professional photographers so that I could gather their views of their love for photography as well as their opinions on modern photographic technology. One very rewarding aspect here was that I managed to make contact with one photographer who had his work published in recent issues of ‘OP’ so this made my double-page spreads feel somewhat more value to me and possibly more trustworthy to the target audience. (Covers Unit 8 3.1)- The fact that I had started conducting the questions before the project rem begun and sent one of them off at this time made it a lot easier for me to prepare for any delays in replies and come up with any alternatives if need be (which wasn’t required after all which made the whole process even more promising).
(Covers unit 8 2.2)- When it came to my secondary research, this allowed me to engage more with the findings since it involved the use of the magazine itself to gain information all the elements that formed ‘OP’s unique style and layout. After completing this section of research, it made me confirm that this was definitely the most beneficial part of the whole process; not just because of how it flashbacked back to the first final project but it made me ask myself- what better research for my project is there than the sources of my magazine itself? (Covers Unit 8 1.1)- This question also reminded me of how my Final Major Project intended to meet the requirements of my target audience so using the source as physical research was also understanding how the target audience became attracted to the magazine so that I could implement that into mine. However, more of my secondary research included looking into types of modern camera, lenses, smartphone platforms and editing software available today. The majority of these were online sources so they saved a lot of time overall looking for them.
All my choices for research methods carried out were a result of past projects and experiences of success with them such as my research unit which introduced all the various research methods and sources. (Covers unit 8 2.1/3.1)- Having this knowledge benefited massively when it came to determining my methods- especially with my email interviews because it reminded me of how to conduct my questions so that they were open and neutral to gain the most information. As a result, I did manage to very successfully gather some very detailed answers which I was effectively able to use within my double-page spreads.
(Covers unit 8 2.2/4.1)- Although the research process allowed me to thoroughly complete my double-page spreads and opening letter, there were obstacles that got in the way but they were only minor and somewhat expected. One of them was that I did find it a lot harder researching the technological side of my content rather than the existing content of the magazine because once I had that I had to put it into an article that emulated the style of ‘OP’. From this reflection though, it looks like I found this element the most challenging to face during the production rather than the research process. (Covers Unit 8 1.1)- Although I used all the research methods and presentation techniques I was familiar with from past experience, it did allow me to make room for applying some news elements to is such as producing a content page for easier access to what section my research plays in my project and a very strict Harvard reference list showing which sources I got all my findings from.
All the pieces below are my submission pieces for my Final major Project including the two double-page spreads and the editor’s letter.
(Covers Unit 8 1.1)- For my double-page spreads, I can’t say that I originally had ‘intentions’ for the aesthetic side of it because I didn’t choose an existing page from ‘OP’ to emulate, although I was expecting the layout to look identical to what would be seen in in the magazine- which is what the target audience expect as well.
From looking at both of my final double-page spreads it’s definitely evident that I have followed all of my intended instructions for production. For instance, how effective my methods of research had been regarding the secondary research towards the layout and measurement details- all coming from the ‘OP’ magazine itself! Also not forgetting the use of Adobe InDesign to create it. Due to all this, I now feel a strong sense of admiration for the final pieces (Covers Unit 8 3.1/1.1)- My research only played around half of the final result of my pieces though; the majority of it was down to the use of Adobe InDesign which featured various tools that allowed me to emulate the text font/size, height and width of the text columns, thickness of the separation lines and distances of spacing between each object to name just a few. All of these were a massive success in allowing me to produce the quality of work I produced overall but having prior experience with InDesign also helped me to recall what tools performed which tasks so
(Covers Unit 8 2.1)- However, there were some more complex and substantial problems I was faced with during the actual production period- some of which link to my research. A perfect example included I was reminded to consider all the measurements that my magazine held in certain areas. As much of a helping hand this was, it did cause some major disruption for the progress I had currently made with my double-page spread because it meant that it wasn’t possible to readjust the measurements without disturbing the entire layout of my double-page spreads. Even though this did cause severe disruption to my production schedule and ate into my spare time to sort out, it was definitely worth it in the end because both my double-page spreads looked much cleaner, orderly and spaced out which is what my target audience is used to in the actual ‘OP’ magazine. (Covers Unit 8 1.1)- This whole experience is also a good one to keep in mind regarding future progression and as a journalist in the industry: this is a vital skill I can and obviously will carry on into next year’s projects and it has taught me the importance of using my own judgement when it came to problem-solving, even if it means carrying out the little extra research- which I had to do in this case scenario.
(Covers Unit 8 4.1/1.1)- This measurement-adjustment process introduced some self-refection towards my previous projects, especially my first final project. I compared the double-page spread I create then to my current ones to see the difference and I was honestly very surprised at the unexpected difference I had for mixed reasons. I was over the moon to see the proof in my current double-page spreads of how far I have progressed over the year regarding the skills I have been able to use to more of an industry standard over time and how many new skills I have learned in the Final Major project compared to my first term as a journalism student. However, I did feel a sense of regret that I didn’t really consider the use of the tiny measurements for my first project because that spread looked a lot more crowded and not spaced out enough. But then I realised that for a student who has had little experience of the software on a course which they have never studied before, I wouldn’t have remembered to consider those little elements!
(Covers unit 8 3.1/1.1)- As for my editor’s letter, my expectation on this were totally different to the double-page spreads because the editor’s letter is the same in every issue in terms of the layout, measurements and what and where everything is positioned so this was very easy for me to replicate.
Regarding the production of my editor’s letter, I’d happily say that the process of development was much smoother and less tense to complete because: I was emulating a set layout that appears in every issue of ‘OP’ and I had the experience with researching more into the measurements and distances of elements apart from each other. This meant that I could measure out everything on the page coming from the issue itself and use this as a guide when it came to actually creating it on InDesign.
(Covers Unit 8 3.1)- Not only this learning curve but also the recent discovery of the measurement and X/Y axis tools allowed me to replicate these millimetre measurements without error. Due to both of these factors combined, the result is a final editor’s letter that looks pretty identical to the existing one in terms of the paragraph and column measurements, almost-perfect accuracy with the font text and how I even applied a little ‘throw-back’ with the use of the double-page spread I created for my first final project! (Covers unit 8 3.1/2.2)- However, I did face a few difficulties that could have impacted the overall final piece. One of them was that InDesign didn’t have the exact correct font for the ‘at a glance’ section. All I could do here was find the closest look-alike to the font used by ‘OP’. another problem was the grey arrows in this section because InDesign didn’t have the tools to create this. The fact that I could create it in Word and them copy it across proved that- along with the text font- that problem solving comes to me more naturally than previously (with thanks to project 2 which was all about problem solving!) it’s also perfect practice for the industry within journalism because if I couldn’t face up to problems and solve them then, no news would be of a good enough quality to publish or get published at all.
Looking at how all of my final pieces have turned out and how they have progressed through the production process, I have clearly proved that I have effectively carried out all that I proposed during my proposal regarding the use of Adobe InDesign. In fact, I have successfully gone above and beyond this with how many new skills I have picked up along the way with the measurement tools and the X/Y axis tools too. All of these factors have also posed perfect opportunities for self-reflection on my progress as a journalism student but also in relation to the industry.
My target audience for this project clearly depended on my magazine brand I set myself to emulate and my topic(s). My general target audience for the magazine was aimed at those of all genders and backgrounds with a strong interest or passion for photography but my topic narrowed it down to amateur or beginner photographers who are wishing to or starting to take up photography- this was concluded during my project pitch when my tutors questioned me on whether my target audience would be more appropriately based in categories of interest rather than age and gender due to the content of the magazine. (Covers Unit 8 2.2)- In relation to my double-page spreads in particular, I feel very strongly that I have clearly met the requirements of the target audience due to the fact that I have successfully developed two double-page spreads that show a strong relationship with the layout of the magazine and an editor’s letter that replicated almost by the millimetre the actual page from ‘OP’.
(Covers Unit 8 1.1/2.2)- Any of my final pieces for the Final Major Project will ask the question of whether they have met the requirements of my target audience. And although I haven’t replicate my double-page spreads from any existing ones, I can say that I have indeed met the target audience’s requirement through the aesthetically identical appearance to the existing layout of the magazine- which is the same in every issue and hence that, is what the target audience expect from every issue of ‘Outdoor Photography’. As for the editor’s letter I produced, this was definitely no exception; the first thing the reader finds when they open the cover page of ‘OP’ is the editor’s latter in the same format, style, layout and text font in every issue. As a result, this is what they expect from every issue and I can assure the reader that from how mine looks regarding professionalism and identical layout and format, the target audience would most probably become as intrigued as ever to read mine if it was to appear in the actual magazine itself.
This was in collaboration with how ‘Outdoor Photography’ features all different experiences from various photographers in every issue.
(Covers Unit 8 3.1)- For my double-page spreads, I and set myself to do a first draft and a final draft for each within a wo-week period: one week for the first draft and the next week for the final one. This only applied to the double-page spreads because I knew they would look totally different from each other in terms if layout and both feature very different content, even though the target audience would clearly whether or not they both looked like they came from ‘OP’. The other point of one week per draft was so that I could recall my memory with Adobe InDesign and get back to grip with the tools available once again.
(Covers unit 8 3.1/1.1)- Overall, I personally believe that my strongest skills here was how I managed my time and how I planned my production schedule according to the deadline and how each stage should take to complete. I also kept in mind that we had a couple of bank holiday Mondays and a one week half term which counted as one project week so I managed to organise my work around that. I also left those weeks completely blank of any production work in case I had anything I might have fallen behind on or need to finish. (Covers unit 8 1.1)- However, even though this element of the Final Major Project covered criteria, I also needed to prove that I understood what each criteria meant and how to achieve it. This was when I developed my own blog post checklist that consisted of a production log and weekly progress summary that covered certain criteria depending on the work completed that week. This assured me beyond everything else that I was achieving each criteria to distinction standard and that I was also considering endlessly about what went well that week but also what I could have I improved upon too.
(Covers Unit 8 4.1)- Though saying this, there was one major weakness that I didn’t really realise I had until it was mentioned by my tutor: asking for feedback on my production work. This was quite hard for me to become friends with at first because my confidence levels in myself were still lower than they should have been. However, I notice over the weeks that I was handing over more article drafts each time for feedback and corrections that needed making. As hard as this was for me to get to grips with at first, it taught me that the positives that came out of it were miles greater than the feelings of mild disheartening, (Covers Unit 8 1.1)- and the feedback even taught me a few things about my magazine brand that I didn’t really pick up on before. For instance: my tutor commented that my language compared to the ‘OP’s’ language style meant that mine was very conversational and talked how I would talk for real. It was also noticed that I referred directly towards my photos whereas the magazine articles talk about the journey taking them rather than directly towards the photo. All this required was altering my articles according to all written feedback given and my language style research. Not only did this teach me one of the most vital lessons of the project but in the context that these errors would have lowered my final grade for definite and a skill I can build more and more confidence in overtime in preparation for next year and as a future journalist.
(Covers Unit 8 4.1/3.1)- Other major helpful and successful elements of the project included my learner progress tracker and feedback sheet(s) which held all my feedback given and how I was going to implement that into my production work- all of which helped me to keep on track with my progress and get myself into the habit of setting interim deadlines, playing a part of my production schedule too. Even though many of my target were ‘to complete…’ or ‘to research more on…’ I found it really handy when it came to looking over the week’s production with my tutor so that he could voice his thoughts on my work whether they were good or suggestions for improvement. This definitely involved the week where the target for regular feedback-asking was implemented so whatever the targets were, this proves that they all made my pieces as professional and ‘OP’ emulated as they look now.