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News Print Technical & Symbolic Codes

Rob Miller | Thursday August 09, 2012

Categories: A Level, Eduqas (WJEC) A Level, WJEC AS, WJEC AS Media Studies, Key Concepts, Media Language, Hot Entries, News, Intro to News

Newspapers can be deconstructed like any other form of print media the following codes apply:

  1. Photographic Codes (framing, lighting, focus, camera angle, juxtaposition, types of shot, effects): newspapers use primarily black and white but sometimes colour photography is used reflecting production values and news values (see below). Some newspapers will have staff photographers but many buy from freelance photographers or news agencies and also will purchase library picture where relevant. A close up is often used to elicit emotion from the reader while framing and camera angle can determine the importance of the subject. Juxtaposition is often used to construct a preferred reading e.g. an article about the G (Gay) Credit Card next to a Page 3 model signifies a preferred reading of heterosexual culture.
  2. Textual Codes (tagline, captions, titles, writing, typography, language e.g. pun, personification, alliteration): Newspapers will employ textual codes dependent on genre (Tabloid, Mid Market Tabloid, Broadsheet) and target audience. Tabloid will often make use of pun to entertain and engage the target audience while personification and alliteration have similar impact. Assonance is also sometimes used.
  3. Symbolic Codes: Setting, Objects & props, background, colour, Indexical meanings. Main subjects – facial expression, eye contact, clothing, style, activity, pose, body lang., implied movement, status… These codes are recognised within the photographic codes employed.
  4. Design / Layout Codes: use of space, graphic devices e.g. affects, shapes, use of colour and typography. Use of white space is surprisingly important in terms of layout and graphic devises are commonly found in the Masthead (top of newspaper) e.g. the Daily Express has a coat of arms signifying tradition.

Some semiotic language however, applies specifically to newspapers and need to be analysed and interpreted different, with reference to a specific target audience:

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