How Newsweek Attracts Its Readers

How Newsweek Attracts Its Readers

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How Newsweek Attracts Its Readers

The media communicates to its target audiences by applying certain
signifiers in order to create meaning. These signifiers include
photographs, language, etc. Using my example of the Newsweek magazine
front cover I shall tell you how this magazine attracts its reader and
I will discuss the composition of the front cover in relation to this.

Newsweek is an international magazine that focuses on current affairs
and the media. It is serious in language. Its cover is suitable for
the type of magazine it is and the stories and articles it deals with.
It has a straight forward composition with immediately informative and
easy to read captions that tell you what the main stories inside are
about. The page is not too busy and there are no extra pictures or
captions to draw attention away from the main story or to over crown
the page.

There is a close up black and white photograph of Tony Blair on the
front who is the hot topic of the moment and symbolises war and
politics. As part of the sequencing of items in the composition, his
face is positioned to the right of the captions and is approximately
in the upper two thirds of the page. The use of black and white makes
the image very dramatic and has immediate impact. He has a serious,
concerned and almost challenged expression on his face. The lighting
that they have used and the closeness of the shot makes Blair look
old, drained and worn-out. As a prime minister he looks weak. This
interpretation most likely conforms to traditional view points and
values present in contemporary society

The captions positioned on the left of the page are bold in a
san-serif typeface, the text is split up by the colour yellow so that
the reader is more likely to read it, it is easier on the eyes and
more and more inviting to read than if the text was all white.
Symbolic codes have been used in the captions text; these are a system

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of signs which have a strong associative and connotative meaning
connected to them. For example "battered" implies that Blair is
beaten, defeated and worn out and has probably seen better days. The
caption is in serious language and suggests briefly that Blair's
future is looking grey and his time as prime minister is maybe coming
to an end (twilight implies the end of the day). This may have been
another reason for using black and white for the photograph of Blair!
The caption indicates the content of the story and anchors the signs
and gestures with in the photograph so that a specific understanding
and meaning is suggested, any other topics take up a small amount of
space making Blair the main feature. The less important items are
pushed to the top and bottom of the page away from the main feature.
E.g. Barcode, Date, Pricelist. The editor has also tried to create a
preferred reading by using a conventional "Newsweek" composition and
lay out. He has used a red border around the main story and image. The
captions are positioned down the left side of the cover. The black,
white and red has been broken up by yellow so that the whole
composition is more inviting to look at.

The Title "Newsweek" is in serif text; white on a background of red.
It is bold and easy to read. It is a conventional Title used every
week for Newsweek magazine so that the reader can recognise it easily.
It is a serious looking title to attract its usually target audience.
It is also conventional of the magazine to use red, white, yellow and
black on the front cover. This is also to be recognisable to the
target audience.

Newsweek's target audience are an intelligent, affluent, elite and
high calibre audience, they are individuals who are interested in
current affairs and the media and what is going on in the world around
them. The content of this magazine is in serious language and uses
more challenging grammar and a broader choice of wording than for
example the "Sun" newspaper. I think that this magazine also attracts
students interested in the media.
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