I love this post because it resonates with my life because really… what am I doing with my life?
As part of a university assessment that took place in the first half of this year, we were to build and promote a website with a theme, a group of 7 of us put together this website here:
There are a number of articles, videos and radio stories I made which are on the site that I’ll also publish here in my blog.
Check out our Facebook too!
Alcohol was an important topic at the time, the NSW Lockout Laws had just been introduced, so it was constnantly in the news. There is also a lot of important aspects to explore regarding Australia’s love/hate relationship with alcohol, and the history behind that relationship. On the other side, the boutique beer and cider industry has been booming in Sydney (and Australia) for a number of years now and the wine industry has been growing for even longer – from a lifestyle, and importantly an online digital media perspective, food and alcohol dominate this online discourse and we incorporated recipes and reviews to bring a lighter side to the website.
Hope you enjoy the site!
How important is an intro?
The answer: very.
We are constantly told to never judge a book by its cover, to not always judge first impressions. This is good advice as many first impressions can go astray. This is what makes job interviews so scary!
However I think it is human nature to judge a book by its cover and to go on first impressions – we all do it so we all know how important it actually is to have a good cover, a good presentation, a good interview, and in the case of a news story: a good intro!
Most often used in news stories: Using the Ws and the Hs but avoid labels (i.e. Doctors, lawyers, politicians) – Have the main elements, not too long, but interesting. Short intros use just one element for EMPHASIS.
While these intros are good to start out with if you’re writing news stories, I think it’s more fun to write and read if there is a little more suspense and creativity. Why read on when everything is summed up in the first par?
Delayed, Teaser and Surprise Intros
A delayed intro will not use all the information in the first intro par, just hint at it. The writer still tries to catch the interest of the reader though. The key point is not until after the reader is well into the story, but not too far, generally the punch is only momentarily delayed – and often comes after a dash. A surprise intro specifically delays the punch until the second clause of the intro.
For short stories the punch could be right at the end. These forms do not follow the inverted pyramid – it would actually be an upside down pyramid or a diamond.
I like this idea because I like writing that isn’t straight and isn’t upfront to the point. It is also a little more relaxed, perhaps reserved for opinion pieces, news stories with a tinge of colour, or online writing.
Narrative, anecdotal, picture, and background intros:
Used in features, colour stories and opinion pieces. Narrative and anecdotal intros starts like an author might start a book or a chapter. They can be very effective if done well. The main goal is to set the scene, paint a picture, present a setting, a background with a bit of creative flair. A picture intro uses a lot of descriptive words to really flesh out a word sketch. A background intro is pretty self-explanatory, it is much like a narrative/picture intro but with more of a story background added.
Most importantly, these kinds of intros invite the reader to connect with the story and the subject on a personal level. These leads may run over many pars.
I like these types of intros a lot. I also think that most writers prefer them also because they are interesting and fun to write and requires a good imagination and skill with words and word-painting. I really enjoy thinking of unique ways to write and grab a reader’s interest and I think that spiking their imagination by making them create an image in their head is the best way of doing it. However, done poorly and these kind of intros can just be misleading and confusing – the worst thing an article can be.
When I approach stories using a narrative et al. intro I try not to be too frivolous and try not to overuse adjectives, sometimes less can be more. If subtlety and innovation are applied, an intro can be really powerful, successfully lure in a reader and complement the rest of the story.
Reserved for the more complex stories. When there are several components involved try to introduce them over several sentences, to build up the scene as clearly as possible. The intro may run over quite a number of pars. A shotgun intro is an example of this: many short sentences; punch, punch, and punch.
I haven’t had much experience in writing these kinds of intros. I would imagine with complex stories that it is imperative to be as clear as possible, which is why I can see the benefit of a shotgun intro. Shotgun intros I think would work well on Twitter and online platforms that are all about the SPEED of delivering news.
Used to show contrast, how things differ: e.g. rags to riches.
Good to use in historical stories or mini-sagas: first refer to the past then to the present/opposite situation. A flashback intro contrasts the past with the future, and can refer to times in the present which resemble situations in the past.
I like contrast intros because I find them interesting to read and they are the kind of intro to grab my interest. I want to know why x is different to y. The key is getting the contrasting info in a short enough introduction – too long and the reader is lost, too short and the reader is confused.
Shock and Punch intros:
Get the readers interest but dramatically. Still reflect the core of the story and avoid sensationalism. Unlike the punch and shocker intros, a staccato inro should be used to set the scene, an exciting scene. And most importantly, of course, keep the reader reading.
From the examples I’ve read a punch intro seems to be obviously shorter and punchier than a shocker. A shocker may drag on a little bit more but the shock will come in the second clause. Although these intros are effective perhaps they seem to be reserved for the tabloid papers – even though sensationalism is supposed to be avoided quite often it isn’t. I also think they can become a bit confusing for the reader but maybe that is a technique in order for them to read more? I wouldn’t personally use the staccato intro for a colour story, I prefer to take time setting a scene – staccato intros seem a bit jagged.
However, I would imagine all three would also work well online, considering the amount of information that can be fit on the home page of a news website.
Uses the first person (I did this, I did that) – while a big no no in news journalism, opinion pieces, bloggers, some features in newspapers magazines and online will write this way – usually if the writer is a big name, writing an opinion, the magazine writes in that tone, if it is a letter etc.
I have never had the pleasure of writing an opinion piece as not many people are interested in my opinion however I have blogged a fair bit, like right now. As you can see I haven’t started with a personal intro, but with the dreaded question intro (see below). These can be so tacky and look quite unprofessional in the professional field of publication so if using a reference to self, while it is sometimes so tempting, I would only want to do it if I was a well established journalist/interviewer/writer etc.
I remember being told in Intro to Journalism last year: You’re a student, no one wants your opinion. I totally agree.
Direct address, question and quotation intros:
The direct address intro really involves the reader by addressing the reader as ‘you’ (“you can expect to pay twice as much … ”). Used sparingly in articles on cooking, gardening etc. The question intro will ask a question then answer it but are not very popular among subs. The quotation intro is ever less popular, and will most likely only ever be seen in features or magazines. Effective quotes are usually the best quote available and set the tone. They can either be a) an AMAZING quote that sums up a story as well as a journalist could (these are rare to get) or b) a quote that is short but works as a good shocker or punch quote and is relevant to the story.
I can see where the question and direct address intros would be useful in gardening and cooking articles, but I have never had to use them so far. I quite like the quotation intro, I think they have a edge to it similar to the shocker and punch intros. They have the risk of displacing the reader but if the quote is good enough, really encouraging them to read more.
A freak intro can be anything, but are rare. An open letter for example.
A follow up intro refers to something they have already reported on.
A second day intro reports on a running story and gives it a fresh angle.
- How to Write an Introduction [Quick Tip] (rehavapress.com)
- How to Write an Introduction [Quick Tip] (hubspot.com)
KITTEN TIME! These are two of my favourites… two VERY SCARY VIDEOS!!!
There was an interesting essay from 2002 about blogging that I had to analyse when I was studying at one of my many different universities. It’s interesting because came out when blogging had just started becoming popular yet they talk about really relevant things.
It’s called Blogging Thoughts: personal publication as an online research tool by academics Torill Mortensen and Jill Walker.
• Associate Professor in the Digital Culture and Mobile Communication department at the IT University of Copenhagen
• She has researched online communication and net culture, with a focus on multi-user games, weblogs and online communities.
• She studied at the University of Bergen
• is a member of the executive board of the Digital Games Research Association.
• She is interested in how people use the internet in their every day lives, media studies, reader-response theory, role-play games, internet culture, travel, academic weirdness and online communication.
• Jill Walker Rettberg is an associate professor at the University of Bergen with the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.
• She studied at the University of Bergen and the University of Stavanger in Norway.
• She has researched blogging and how people tell stories online since 2000.
• In 2006 she won the Meltzer Award for Excellence in the Dissemination of Research. In 2008 she published a book called Blogging (Polity Press).
• She grew up in Norway with Australian parents so she is fluent in both English and Norwegian.
I had a go at analysing the text…
“We do argue that blogging influences the way you think about thinking, and that it may change the process of research. To some extent it might even change the method.”
Blogging Thoughts, pg 254
Both the authors have their own blogs and have been blogging since about 2000, when the article was written. They mostly blog in English and sometimes in Norwegian. They usually blog interesting articles or videos relating to their field of work and occasionally the odd personal one.
Reading the Introduction of the essay, the writers talk a little bit about their first experiences blogging. Originally their blogs had started out as a place to direct their thinking about work but they soon turned into and area for of personal, professional and academic discussion.
Both women were doing their PH.D’s at the time of the publication.
This essay was published when weblogs were just starting out, and little formal study on weblogs and their affect had really been published, so Mortensen and Walker wrote with much speculation about the future of blogging, writing often from their own positive experiences blogging. The main argument that I believe comes across is the idea that blogging can influence the concept of writing, researching and thinking.
They both claim that their writing quality and writing fluidity for their PH.Ds improved considerably after they started blogging regularly. The whole idea of writing in a weblog can completely change the way you write. The spontaneous pace of publishing on a weblog allows the writing to be personal and informal, as ideas both big and small can be published with or without later revision.
As they write:
“Weblogs are written continuously and published without being revised. Though a tool like Blogger does allow a post to be written, saved and not published instantly, publishing a new post will automatically also publish the drafted post. The system assumes instant publication will be the norm. Sometimes webloggers will revise posts later and republish them; other bloggers make it a matter of principle to limit revision, preferring the im- mediacy and perhaps, in a sense, honesty, of the first expression of a thought.”
Blogging Thoughts, pg 266
At the time of the publication of this essay, where there had been little study on weblogs, it was actually uncommon to have academics using and writing in blogs, even though many professionals were using weblog spaces to discuss work and ideas etc. Weblogs at the time were considered more to do with popular culture and social communication.
Although Mortensen and Walker encourage the idea that writing in weblogs would allow academics to have a different relationship with their audience, as their writing style usually changes and becomes much more informal than the writing style in academic journals and scholarly articles.
I also read A Blogger’s Blog by Danah Boyd, she comments on how blogs can actually confuse the distinction between spoken and written word – and suggests perhaps a ‘second orality’ has emerged from the medium of blogging – an orality that is of course physically written, but the nature of the casual style in which it is written suggests it has more of an oral quality:
“These new mediums have both textual and oral qualities and the emergent modern mediated culture creates a new orality that is simultaneously remarkably like and unlike orality (Ong 1982: 134). Blogs are one of these new mediums.”
A Blogger’s Blog, pg 14
This essay is a personal, empirical overview of the process of blogging. This is a much more relevant style of analysis as opposed to an academic and theoretical analysis because the whole idea of blogging is that the reading and writing is generally more personal and relaxed.
“Having participated in this movement [of the blogging revolution], we have chosen to make full use of our own experience as bloggers and participants in the blogging community in researching this article, rather than conducting rigorous statistical surveys.”
Blogging Thoughts, pg 251
Although personal in writing style, their point of view is particularly relevant considering both the writers were undertaking their PH.Ds at the time, and had done extensive online research relating to blogging. They have since both gained jobs teaching media at a tertiary level as well as individually published further articles on cyber-activity. This essay gives insight into a huge variety of subjects regarding blogging. Everything from writing style, to software, to relationships between the public and private, readers and users of blogs, blog uses and the positive and negative effects of blogs on society and culture. Most significantly, for me, they also have philosophical viewpoint about blogging and bloggers, which, as a blogger, I find most interesting.
Despite many of their points remaining relevant, some aspects of the essay are a little out-dated. Sometimes they write in a way that feels like it is addressing an audience with little to no experience of blogging, whereas reading it nine years later, I would say many more people would be familiar with SOME type of blogging or online personal expression. For example, Mortensen and Walker say about blogs: “This new medium of personal expression is another expansion of the public sphere into the private.” Pg 258
Referring to a blog as being a ‘new’ medium is one indication, but also to dwell on this idea of this new cross over of the private to the public implies that it was a new, interesting cyber development at the time. Nowadays, especially in gen Y, to update something personal and private to a public space is often an automatic, sometimes impulsive act that many people are unfazed by, thanks to Twitter and Facebook. However that is certainly not to say it makes the point, or any other points irrelevant as such, but the early date of publication and lack of research on the subject of blogging for them to dwell on has possibly slightly limited the potential of exploration into the new.
However, despite this 9 year time period, the key points that Mortensen and Walker draw on regarding the cultural and societal impact of a blog, even though they may have been writing in the early ages of blogging philosophy and hypothesis, some of the points that they do dwell on are still significant in today’s cyber-world where blogging is so much more common and widespread so much so that we may have even forgotten, or never even learned or thought about, these points. Consider the following points made in the essay:
“When discussed in the media, weblogs are generally treated as belonging to popular culture or perhaps as being a form of folk journalism. Pg 252
When a blog is good, it contains a tension between the two spheres, as delicate a balancing act as the conversation of any experienced guest of the French salons of the 19th century.” Pg 256-7
“This image encompasses the seemingly paradoxical mixture of private and public that is evident in weblogs. They are enclosed and private spaces that allow the writer to cultivate an autonomous voice. And yet they are visible, open spaces that encourage linking and conversations.” Pg 260
“In our blogs, we allow ourselves to write half-thought, naked ideas and show them to others rather than saving them for fully fleshed out care- fully thought through papers.” Pg. 267
Mortensen and Walker write:
“Weblogs are used for recording thoughts, for sharing thoughts, for participating in discussions, and also for analysing thoughts.
Blogging Thoughts” Pg 268
This is the sentence that really pinpointed understanding the essay for me. It was easy to pick up what they were talking about in general in the essay – But this sentence addresses the functional elements of a blog that take place subconsciously. What it is used for? Why it is used? How is it used?
It was the philosophy of a blog, bloggers and how a blog influences society and culture that were the key points I personally was trying to understand.
Blogging these days is so familiar to me that I felt I needed to find a sentence that really pinpointed the significance behind these subconscious, automatic, hourly or daily actions that I do when I personally blog, be it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr or this blog.
In comparison to that sentence I quoted, I found a sentence that gave a different idea to what I had originally thought about blogging:
“Bloggers have been likened to journalists, or perhaps better, editors; they might as well be compared to researchers.” pg 250
Bloggers as researchers? Bloggers as journalists? Editors? All these terms associated with a simple blog. But that is exactly what Mortensen and Walker discuss that is so interesting. The cultural effect of blogging. Nowadays blogging is so common, so frequent and so widespread that we don’t think about things like that. We don’t consider how much of a cultural and societal impact blogging can have.
The example Mortensen and Walker gave regarding September 11 pinpoints this exact impact I am writing about.
[Regarding the attacks] “Instead of coming to a consensus opinion, as much of the traditional media did, weblogs showed the dissent among individuals. Bloggers were very vocal about their opinions and reactions to September 11th and the aftermath. On the day of the attacks, there were 22% more posts to Blogger users’ weblogs than on an average day. In the weeks following the focus shifted from personal experiences and anxieties to opinions on the war.” Pg 259
Nowadays the focus has shifted from blogging to instant news and the quality of news sources. While this has been known for a while now that Twitter has skewed the journalistic form, the Boston Bombings proved just how good and bad twitter and Reddit can be.
But when I think about it, we are journalists, editors and researchers – we can teach people and inform people through out blogs. As Danah Boyd wrote in her essay:
“Early adopters believed that blogging is about the ability to speak freely to a large audience with no limiting authority or editorialcontrol. As institutions become interested in blogs as a potential market, blogs are emerging with controlled content, and yet these are still blogs.”
Danah Boyd, A Blogger’s Blog, Pg 12-13
I believe the authority of the news is changing from the formal to the informal – from the news authorities to the audience – This is why that par was a crucial ‘light bulb’ moment for me reading this essay.
- Do You Have to Be a Great Writer to be a Great Blogger? (business2community.com)
- Tips About How To Be Considered A Greater Blog writer (leccoworkshop.com)
- The exciting new frontier of professional blogging (dianaesparza.wordpress.com)
- 41 Creative Blog Ideas You Can Publish (weblogbetter.com)
Thank you BuzzFeed for doing what you do best: making me feel better about my life. Here you will find exactly what it says: 19 successful people who, in their 20s, seemed to be doing a bit worse than me. I feel like I currently resemble Ang Lee the most… though I sincerely doubt I will end up being an oscar winner.
Radishes and clam broth do not belong in my drink.
ROSA GOLLAN explores the mysterious world of cocktails.
I thought the sliver of candied bacon atop my glass of maple bacon-infused Jack Daniels was bad enough. I thought a side of salami with my dill vodka and clamato juice was bad enough. What even is clamato juice? Oh of course – a drink made from reconstituted tomato juice and clam broth.
What’s going on here? I find it highly concerning how much time, effort and money people are putting into bringing together a list of pretension-infused ingredients to make what is essentially a concoction of poisons. I just don’t see the appeal in paying 25 odd dollars to dress up a substance that my body immediately tries to get rid of as soon as it enters, at least not on a student budget anyway. Give me a simple refreshing cider, a clean vodka and soda, a bold glass of red. A goon sack for all I care, just keep it simple.
But this is the way it is now. This is Clover Moore’s aim, to make a city of experimental bartenders in claustrophobic bars, to “build a more civilised drinking culture and encourage owners and operators to offer more than just alcohol such as live music and good food.”
While the state government attempts to regulate drinking hours and hunt down boozers who cause trouble, the rest of us, it seems, are developing a more refined palate for booze. But what I am starting to see, what makes it all the more stupid, is that our palate is refining to be something from another planet.
I’ve managed to whittle down the wanky cocktail into a few different categories:
THE FLOWER VASE
Ingredients might include: Hibiscus, dried hibiscus, hibiscus slices stuffed inside hibiscus, rose petals, jasmine, candied lavender.
Flowers live in the garden, not in my cup. I have no desire to find a whole sunflower growing from my drink, or a Venus flytrap for that matter.
THE GARDEN SALAD
Ingredients might include: Carrot juice, beetroot, mushroom bitters, radish chunks.
I understand a Bloody Mary, a slice of cucumber, the odd olive, even some ginger sprinkles. But a kale juice margarita is not okay, neither is vodka with edamame bean puree. Bars are tapping into the raw food revolution but vegetables are healthy, alcohol is not. It’s false and misleading advertising.
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS
Ingredients might include: Wood smoke, fire, dry ice, explosions.
When I think of liquid nitrogen and the misty dry ice effect, I can’t help but remember the English girl who lost her stomach a few years ago for drinking a shot laced with the stuff. If you want a smoky effect, get your mate to blow their cigarette into your glass.
It’s all a love/hate relationship for me. At times it’s great to be able to go out with friends, sit on broken milk crates and sip expensive liquid from a chipped teacup. But I find myself asking which body part do I need to sell to afford this? Why do I need this encyclopaedia to accompany my drink? Why is liquid nitrogen involved in everything? I feel cultured yet dirty at the same time.
I’m not just angry with myself and society for being sucked in by all the glamour and adjectives. I’m actually really curious to learn more, to understand why cocktails need to be tampered with, to understand the appeal of cryptic menus.
At a swanky cocktail bar in Sydney’s eastern suburbs you can find a variety of mysterious, inexplicable items on the menu. Pink peppercorns? White chocolate ice sphere? Pumpkin pie moonshine? And I don’t know how anything could make tequila taste nice let alone a mixture of butter, raisins, brioche and chestnuts.
The number of ridiculous items was so extensive, infuriating, and fascinating that I just had to check it out. My curiosity of the mixed berry shrub and Pimms option got so intense that on arrival I very nearly burst through the doors and ran for the bar screaming “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!”
However, first I had a list of questions about the menu for the poor waitress, one of them asking what ‘green pea tonic’ was. She replied, “We infused tonic water with green peas and pull all the florals out of it so it has a fresh pea flavour.” She was utterly convinced this is a normal thing to do.
I decided to go with the John Wayne – Bulleit Bourbon, Laird’s Apple Brandy, maple, root beer & cherry cola syrup, peanut butter bitters mist – I was too intrigued by the peanut butter mist. Despite being assured it was the best drink they had, what I got tasted like a watered down bourbon decorated with a tiny American flag sticking out of a soggy cherry. Where was my peanut butter? Not even a hint.
Three cocktail bars, three decorative menu choices, three watery drinks later and nothing came remotely close to blowing my mind or even getting me slightly drunk. I wasn’t upset, angry, or disappointed. I was happy because I had proven it was all a scam, that we aren’t better off because we have truffled honey milk and saffron in our drinks, and that miso paste and crisp meringue floating in our glasses aren’t going to make us better people.
I had won, I had beat them and their system. And then I realised I had spent all my rent money, had consumed an obscene amount of empty calories, and was sitting alone in a fancy bar, thoroughly sober and unsatisfied.
Originally published on ON I’ll Drink To That magazine
A hangover is an experience, boy is it an experience. What’s the best way to banish it?
By ROSA GOLLAN
The Simpson Desert forming in your mouth, drool oozing down your chin, the woven mat of your hair, the crusty mascara in your eyelashes, your brains sloshing around in its own wine-infused cerebrospinal fluid and, of course, an unquenchable queasiness rising from your core.
Basically, during a hangover your body is as desperate to repair itself as your pick-up attempts from the night before and you need to replenish amino acids ASAP to get your liver up and running.
So lets get cracking.
Scenario #1 – The Big Breakfast
Drinks consumed: 3 sparkling with orange juice, 2 gin & tonics, 1 Long Island Ice Tea, 1 tequila shot, ¼ goon sack
Hangover symptoms: sore legs, pounding head, dry mouth, calling in sick to work.
Cure: Buttery vegemite toast for entrée, two fried eggs, crispy bacon with some melted Gruyere cheese and lashings of Mexican chilli sauce on a soft white bun for main.
If you haven’t already thrown it all up, carbs and protein are great for soaking up the booze smoothie in your stomach so your body has something else to process it with.
Rating: One of the few upsides of a hangover is you can put your diet on the shelf today and treat yourself to relatively guilt-free deliciousness, perhaps it’s mostly psychological but I felt right as rain after this cure.
Scenario #2 – The Minimalist
Drinks consumed: 2 double vodka lime sodas, 2 sparkling wines, too many tequila shots.
Hangover symptoms: vomiting, extreme nausea, dehydration, loss of dignity
Cure: Tap water, coconut water, powerade, gastrolyte, and peppermint tea
Tequila is the devil and after waking up a little worse for wear, I soon discovered there was nothing I could keep down. Back to the basics it: lots of liquid. I started with small sips of tap water and eventually upgraded to coconut water, which I recommend because it tastes delicious, is refreshing and full of potassium and electrolytes. By the evening, after a variety of other drinks, I was onto solids, one whole banana!
Rating: While not very satisfying, this cure really worked a treat at rehydrating and replenishing my body, but I would avoid this level of hungover at all costs.
Scenario #3 – Exercise
Drinks consumed: 2 ciders
Hangover symptoms: dizziness, bags under eyes, unnatural and misleading amount of energy
Cure: 20 minutes of running, jogging, or walking.
This hangover was on the milder side, but I had very little sleep so I woke up and was on overdrive. A dawdle to brisk walk with plenty of fluids with you could certainly help speed up the body expelling the toxins in your body. But sex is exercise! You’re thinking. Dr Joris Verster from the University of Utrecht debunks this by saying, “There is no research that shows that sex will make a hangover go away, but maybe it will make the time go faster.”
Rating: This may work for some, but not for me. In hindsight I would not recommend running, walking, or even leaving the house. Perhaps just stay in bed.
Scenario #4 – Hair of the Dog
Drinks consumed: 3 cups of punch, 1 amaretto sour, 1 unknown concoction involving crème de cacao.
Hangover symptoms: Unknown, hangover not yet reached.
200ml quality tomato juice
2 tspns Worcestershire sauce
½ a lemon
While this ingredient list is extensive for a drunk person, I’ve taken the liberty of translating the assembly instructions into a simple motto for your day to day life: mix ingredients, top with bacon.
Rating: While drinking to cure a hangover is always going to lead to a greater downfall, there are never enough excuses to make a bloody good Bloody Mary, here is your chance if ever there was one. Funnily enough, the saying ‘hair of the dog’ exists in lots of different languages so clearly it has been tried and tested in many other parts of the world.
EDIT – Hangover from previous hangover now reached. Not recommended.
Originally published on I’ll Drink To That Magazine
A recent study by the University of Queensland has revealed that alcohol companies could be using social media to target underage drinkers and bypass advertising laws. Rosa Gollan reports.
What is excessive drinking? Would you know if you had stepped over the line?
The relationship between alcohol consumption and violence has been the subject of much debate in NSW recently, and everyone is being warned not to drink too much. But a recent report has shone a disturbing light on our self-knowledge when it comes to alcohol.
Rosa Gollan reports.
Photo source: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1342726
Masterchef is fond of saying, “We eat with our eyes first”, but there is actually research to back it up. Many studies have shown that when we find food more appealing, not only do we enjoy it more we also absorb more nutrients from it (weird huh?!). Subsequent studies have validated this finding!
YOU HAVE TO GET TO HARTSYARD! SERIOUSLY! My fav restaurant in Sydney.
Anyway. Why put up these photos?
Firstly, I am super hungry! Secondly I wanted to point out this act that has become a great marketing tool and social media and blogging and ‘folk journalism’ (see previous post on blogging) tool. It is no doubt that Instagram has taken off, with about 83% (not real figures) of all Instagram traffic being food related images. Many restaurants have taken to posting images of their food, especially if their menu changes a lot, on different social media platforms – it is a good idea because even if it’s not a $10,000 camera it can still look good, mainly because the dishes look so good.
This esquire report here find the negatives of it, and there are plenty of people (my mum for example) who find it annoying. But phooey to them – get with the times, this isn’t the 60s, this is the digital revolution, and you’re either with it or you’re not. We are in the VISUAL age – people my age, let alone even younger, have short attention spans. I think this is why I much prefer reading online and struggle nowadays to do my academic readings. This is why my generation and I love PHOTOS because, as they say, a photo tells 1000 words – we are VISUAL sponges, we area a visual generation (and the digital generation, and the millennial generation etc…)
I believe that headings, images and layout is one of, if not THE most important for newspapers to invite the audience in, if you have a dedicated reader who has been reading SMH for decades then maybe not, but these are the most eye catching things, especially pictures. But that’s just me, I think visually.
The difference between photojournalism and amateur instagramalism is, according to one of our readings, a photojournalist: “must only photograph what has happened, when it happened and not recreate a situation because they didn’t get there on time. They must not move things around on the scene of an event to make the pictures look better. They must not alter their photographs on the computer or in the darkroom, like take an ugly telephone pole out of a picture. The photojournalist must also tell the truth, just like the reporter.”
Where as your average instagrammer will edit and make things look pretty all the time with filters and blurs. Obviously there is a difference between a magazine/feature image and a news image. I was photographed for a feature I was mentioned in on Internships by Fenella Souter last year for Good Weekend. Trust me, that photography session was VERY planned (2 hours it took for one photo), and it looks it. They said they were only going to grab a quick headshot!
Why are photos so important? This site here explains that photos are needed to:
- Brighten the page <– most important to catch attention
- tell the news <– most important for quick readers
- show what the thing/situation/scene looks like <– most important for in-depth readers wanting an image for clarification/visual reference
The recent event of the Boston Bombings was interesting because there were many chances to get photos as there were already lots of photographers there, and many photos were certainly got, ones which are now ‘iconic’, and many which are extremely graphic. Images of masses of blood, missing limbs, limbs hanging off, open flesh wounds – perhaps doesn’t seem that bad after watching a few episodes of Game of Thrones (that said I can’t even watch movie/tv gore) – but why were these images allowed to go up?
Thankfully most have warnings of graphic content so I have been able to avoid it, but thanks to high-definition cameras it just looks really gross, would images like these have been allowed to circulate in the past? was there a difference between what was printed and what went online? How would it feel to go from being sent out on a boring marathon race to covering a terrorist attack? CNN go into it a bit interviewing one photographer John Tlumacki, and another personal recount of his here, in which he tells of a police officer saying to him: “Do me a favor. Do not exploit the situation.”
That is another good question – at what point did photojournalism turn into the paparazzi? or did they always mutually exist? And then of course there is the age old question: when do photographers go too far? Incidents like the paparazzo who was run over and killed while snapping Justin Bieber’s ferrari (ironically he wasn’t even in it), or Princess Diana’s death (although there were other reasons as well). But there are many indications that this won’t happen anytime soon.
Now I thought I’d finish with some BAD examples of photo/headline layouts:
There are plenty more where that came from
But here are some of the more memorable ones. In Australian media I tend to find the tabloids (Sun Herald, Herald Sun, Telegraph etc) use lots of big dramatic headings and images, and they tend to write in a sensationalist tone. I also find the shorter the heading, the more dramatic it is.
These are mostly American, talk about bad news but they are eye catching.
Now to end the post for today, seeing as we’re talking about eye-catching, I thought I would add a video of a SUPER CUTE KITTEN, being easy on the eyes. This clip, being true to the blog name, involved a kitten and a teacup. Smothered. With cuteness.