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Studying Magazines at GCSE

jeremy | Saturday May 22, 2010

Categories: GCSE, AQA GCSE, Eduqas (WJEC) GCSE, Hot Entries, Magazines, Intro to Magazines, Teenage & Lifestyle Magazines, Other Topics

The Front Cover

AQA, and other boards, GCSE assignment 1 asks students to write about / analyse two different MAGAZINE FRONT COVERS.

GCSE is about mass media texts. You need to choose consumer magazines rather than specialist or niche audience magazines.

Some examples of the genres of consumer magazines are:

  • Fashion
  • TV listings
  • Children
  • Lifestyle
  • Home, garden and cooking
  • Motoring
  • Computing
  • Sports

Browsing Magazines Covers on MediaEdu

Visit MediaEdu’s Gallery


1. Choose the front covers of two different magazines.

2. Write in 500 words how the cover captures an audience’s attention.

3. Use media terminology.

4. Write about the typical codes and conventions of front covers.

5. Write about representation.

6. Write about how the cover effects the reader.

The main and most important purpose of a front cover is to sell the magazine by presenting an image that is appealing to readers. A potential reader should be able to look at a front cover and immediately see how this magazine will fulfil his or her needs.

What To Look For

  • Both the above covers are aspirational. They seek to entice the audience to buy the magazine because readers aspire to be seriously ‘cool’ and fashionable.
  • For men it is owning a fast exciting sports car, and being able to talk ‘technical’ about cars, as well as enjoying the fun of virtual ownership.
  • For women the ELLE cover plays on women’s aspirations to look beautiful like Emma Watson, and be healthy, and to look like and behave in the way this magazine suggests is beneficial to you.

What does the cover tell you about the ‘genre’ of the magazine?

  • Young women’s fashion, and style magazine.
  • Men and boys car magazine.

What is the ‘institution’ that owns or publishes the magazine?

  • BBC and ELLE UK

Look for ‘representations’ of people on the covers.

  • Top gear shows a large image of a Porsche sports car and a much small image of two men apparently fighting – why? The ethos of TG is...

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