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Student Resources

Lifestyle Magazines and Television Programmes

Website Activity 11.1: Magazine Reading habits

Working with a small group of your peers carry out a survey about people's magazine-reading habits. You could look at:

Do any patterns emerge? Is there any significant difference between the sexes in terms of magazine consumption?

Access some the magazine websites to see how they describe their readers, to what extent do these descriptions ‘fit’ with the readers you have interviewed? How would you account for any anomolies?

Ask a selection of your peers how they ‘consume’ magazines.

You may wish to ask them if they read magazines aimed at the opposite sex.

It might also be interesting to ask men and women if they buy magazines for their partners and, if so, which ones and why.

According to the Periodicals Publishers Association:

Design a small research exercise to test the validity of these claims.

Re-read the section on representation and then conduct an analysis of the ways in which either men or women are represented in magazines such as Nuts, FHM, or Cosmopolitan. It would be particularly interesting to consider how women are represented in men's magazines or vice-versa. This can be done by looking at the images of men and women in the magazines, starting with the front covers but also looking at the articles and editorials to see how the opposite sex is discussed as well as considering images contained in the adverts.

You might then wish to compare your conclusions with a colleague who has looked at a different genre of magazine to see if there is any difference in the ways in which men's and women's magazines represent the opposite sex.

Design a short, ten minute, presentation of your main findings.

Website activity 11.2: Worksheet for analysing magazines

Consider the following features.

The title of the magazine:

The publisher of the magazine:

The target audience for the magazine:

The cover of the magazine:

The ‘style’ of presentation of the magazine:

The ‘mode of address’ of the magazine:

The advertisements that appear in the magazine:

Representations in the magazine:

The competition for the magazine:

Finally:

Website activity 11.3: The ‘Grey market’:

Access the keynote report on the ‘grey market’.

Countdown is a Channel Four tea-time quiz, which is supposedly popular with the ‘grey market’ television audience. It is useful to look at the Countdown website to see how the programme is presented. Look particularly at the way in which Richard Whiteley, a past compeer, is remembered and the types of banner advertising on the website. Look also at the Des O'Connor website to see how he presents himself. Countdown has been one of C.4's most popular shows since the launch of the channel in 1982.

There is also an increasing number of magazines aimed at the affluent ageing consumer. Re-read the section on lifestyle magazines and consider how these types of magazines promote a particular lifestyle and what, if any, codes and conventions they have in common with each other.

Website activity 11.4: ‘Pitching’ a new magazine

You have been commissioned to design a pilot issue of a new magazine aimed at teenagers. The company you are working for is part of a larger group that already has several teenage titles and will need convincing that there is an opportunity to launch a new title, so your magazine must be distinctive but meet readers' needs and expectations. You may wish to work as a group and allocate different tasks to different people as in a real magazine production process.