Eyeing A1

A look at newspaper front pages from around the country

Archive for the ‘Message’ Category

Video Remix Essay #2: Why I did what I did

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From the very beginning of the video “Remix on Homosexual Relationships from 1950s to Now” I wanted to talk about homosexual relationship. I lead with a pair of hands because I want there to be a surprise first that there are two men touching hands as opposed to a heterosexual relationship. From that point, almost every image focused on same-sex couple of 1940-50s educational videos and contemporary Super Bowl ads.

The images that didn’t focus on same-sex couples reinforced homosexual stereotypes. Specially, the clip of the African-American saying “Ooooweeee,” after a gym teacher says, “Here’s the penis.” Homosexual African-American men have a stereotype of being flamboyant and that clip reinforces that idea as it was shown in a banned Super Bowl commercial ad from this year.

Jim Nantz’s clip of “How ‘bout not,” is used throughout the video as the true voice as what is being said in today’s society. Every free audio clip is used from marriage educational videos about freedom to choose who want to marry and love. However, in 2010, people are still fighting for their right to marry whom they want. Jim Nantz is the white male who is telling them this isn’t actually the case.

There were some difficulties in trying to find the right type of videos for women. Homosexual women are usually portrayed as masculine. Pretty women who have lesbian tendencies are usually just experimenting. There weren’t many videos that showed women together. In fact, the only contemporary clip I could find of two women was dressed in golf clothing in masculine looking outfits. Women don’t seem to be portrayed as just friends as they were in 1950s educational films. As much as we have changed in 60 years, it seems women had better relationships with each in the 1950s educational films than they do now.

At the every end, the quick clips with the different same-sex couples are just to show them as people. Fading cuts in-between each shot give them their own place even for a moment. Each couple deserves their own time just has heterosexual couples get the bulk of the attention.

But, of course, the white male gets in the last word.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Looking at race on the front page

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After last week’s discussion in class, I wanted to find a newspaper front page that directly dealt with race.

I found the sub-headline aptly titled for the piece “Conflicting portrait.”

To give more meaning to that headline, The Star Ledger incorporates two photos of the black man. The first is a small headshot, but he looks angry and the photo itself actually looks darker. When looking at the newspaper it’s actually the first photo you see because many people tend to read top to bottom and left to right.

It’s interesting to note on the paper’s website, only the mug shot appears, which the reporter writes: “If a picture says a thousand words, the mug shot police released said “guilty” a thousand times.”

The man pictured in the newspaper is Lee Evans. He was arrested in March on five counts of murder in the disappearance of five teenagers 32 years ago. The article paints a portrait of Evans where is seen as a good person by his friends and family, but neighborhood folks have a much different view of him.

The lede of the story is nearly as important as the photos and the headline.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Two pictures, one man. One continuing mystery.

Lee Evans was one of two cousins charged in March with five counts of murder in the disappearance of five city teenagers 32 years ago. Police said he was a menacing 6-foot-4, 225-pound street thug known as “Big Man” who kept a dark secret for three decades through intimidation of accomplices and witnesses. If a picture says a thousand words, the mug shot police released said “guilty” a thousand times.

By this point, he already sounds guilty. In fact, the reporter is using the image to make an argument.  Not facts or stories, but an image of the man to make a quick case. By writing these things at the very beginning of an article, the reporter is telling the viewer how to see the photo. There is not much left to intepretation.

Our brains already begin to move in one direction once we learn the headshot is actually a mugshot. That, of course, has a negative connotation associated with it.

This is a tough story because you’re dealing with a case of where is being charged with murder. Obviously, something happened where five teens are missing, but instead of writing about the boys who went missing 32 years ago, this newspaper paints a portrait of a man where they are initially negative.

Only toward the bottom of the article does it state there is no physical evidence against him and that there is only person witness.

The article ends with this:

This is not to say Evans is innocent. In Hampton’s story, only eight people would know for certain what happened on Aug. 20, 1978, and six of them are dead. That leaves Hampton and Evans.

If the police have more on him, they’re not saying. And that leaves two pictures, one man, one continuing mystery.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm

What does this woman do for a living?

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This was the front page of Philadelphia Daily New on January 29, 2010. When you look at this, there are probably a number of different things doing through your mind all of which probably lead to sex.

It’s obviously a ploy to get people to look at the paper. And it likely worked.You have a woman who is partially clothed and glistening.

The message being received, however, has nothing to do what is actually going on. This woman has nothing to do with anything that is being portrayed on this cover.

This is Allison Baver, a olympic speed skater from Reading, Penn., which is what the Philadelphia Daily News care about her.

Around the same time this article came out, Lindsay Vonn appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and drew the criticism of many who thought the front cover was too sexualized.

I guess they didn’t see this cover because this had more implications than anything Vonn did. Baver looks as though she belongs on the cover of Sports Illustrated rather than the Philadelphia Daily News.

Not even the alphabetic text can help this photo. This is a photo that completely takes over every voice. No matter what is written, there is only one thing people are thinking about. That is a huge problem in women who play sports. They are sensationalized for their sexiness and appearances rather than their ability.

Ten years down the line, anyone who looks at this cover isn’t going to think about a woman who competed in the Olympics. They are just going to see boobs – as people are just seeing now anyway.

By the way, here’s the entire cover:

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Essay on the photo essay

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There are portions of Atlantic City that aren’t seen by visitors or even those that live there. Apart from the casinos, it’s a not a town anyone would go visit. There’s corruption in the government and crime on the streets. There are also people who live under the Boardwalk and call it home. I focused most of my photo set on this.

Almost every photo has alphabetic text that I incorporated with it. These weren’t captions but supplements to the photos to help make the message clearer.

If we look at the pure image of many of the photos, there is too much left to interpretation by the receiver. So what if there is a guy smoking a cigarette on a street corner or a closed supermarket? To get the reader to look deeper and see the message I want them to see, I added alphabetic text (in certain colors and fonts), different tones and captions.

Take the pictures of the two homeless men. There are two sentences in each photo. One describes who this man was before he found his way onto the streets. The other is how outsiders view him.

The ‘homeless’ stamp is in big, Hollywood-type font and bright colors because it is the initial reaction people have when they see them. The other sentence is smaller because it usually takes people looking harder and deeper to get to the truth.

It was important to highlight what I wanted people to look in each photo. The alphabetic text is arguably more important than the photo itself. I wanted people to see how they immediately label situations and how the subjects often time view the situation.

In Visual Culture: A Reader, Roland Barthes says, “We are still a civilization of writing, writing and speech continuing to be full terms of the informational structure (p. 38).” The captions accompany the alphabetic text in the photos to explain to the reader what the signifieds are in the image and to avoid everything else in the photo.

The very first image in the set has alphabetic text that evokes a different meaning of the pure image. The connotation signifies a warm, cozy place to live, somewhere a person feels comfortable and where they are always welcome. However, the picture – which purposely is hued in sepia tones to convey sadness – is of a place under the Atlantic City Boardwalk. To most of us, this is not a home. The text is to show the dichotomy between the thought of the saying and what is actually pictured.

The last photo perhaps was the most striking and had the least work done to it. I didn’t write the alphabetic text. They are handwritten names of dead homeless people. However, it was important to make it this last photo. I showed how some of the homeless lived leading up to this photo, but there is an end to all of them, and often to early. The homeless community is tighter than many realize and the people we walk past daily have names and have people who care about them. I put the photo last because I wanted their life to be shared first before we find out how it all ends.

The pictory was also mocked up.

This was the original photo taken of the Atlantic City beach.

raw Pictory photo

It was a cold, cloudy day and doesn’t evoke a feeling of happiness, summer and wanting to splash in the blue water. I changed the hues of the picture to make the photo more vibrant and have the colors really stand out. Bright colors evoke a feeling of happiness and joy, but one has to wonder why the beach is empty on what looks like a summer day.

A place that was once happy and probably full of kids running and laughing is empty, but there are people nearby. The homeless living under the Boardwalk with probably the best view of the ocean.

Here’s a link to the entire set and Pictory.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

My Pictory – revisted

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Once upon a time Atlantic City was a resort town. Families vacationed on the beach while letting the waves splash their feet. This was long before the casinos were built. The empty beach evokes memories of those long-gone days as the beach looks peaceful, but just a few steps away there are homeless living under the Boardwalk. The Atlantic City beach isn't a vacation for them, but the only home they have.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm

They’re always smiling

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Scouring some front pages on Newseum.org, I initially opened the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (yep, in Alaska) because there was a big picture on the front page. I just wanted to see what was so important to the paper that they felt deserved so much attention.

The photo is centered on the page and every story is around the photo, which means the reader has to look at the photo. It dominates the entire page.

The photo didn’t interest  me much, but I am sure the people of Fairbanks, Alaska could relate to a cross-country skier.

Bryan Richardson, 20, killed in Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo is from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

I was actually struck by the article running across the top of the page. It’s about a 20-year-old boy who was shot and killed.

I’ve noticed that anytime newspapers report on someone’s death, the picture is always have them happy. I know the picture that is featured in the article and on the newspaper’s website wasn’t taken by a staff photographer. It’s obviously one given to the paper by the family.

But this often holds true for celebrities or even those that newspapers may have many pictures of.

Pictures show those who have died as usually smiling and happy in life.

Even was the case when actor Corey Haim recently passed away even though he has a history of drug abuse. I don’t have any front pages showing his mug with his infectious smile, but there are some examples on the Internet.

People magazine has a nice photo of him, even though he looks rather tired.

Why are they always smiling? What message is coming across when editors choose to show a smiling face of someone who has died rather than one that accurately portrayed who they were in life.

I’m not saying Richardson wasn’t a happy person. But, I’m sure there was more to him than a guy laying on a couch posing for a camera shot.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 19, 2010 at 11:08 am

What is this picture trying to say?

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Thursday’s front page of the Los Angeles Daily News had a story on the well-being of women and how it’s on the decline. According to a report from the Los Angeles County Dept., of Health, an estimated 40 percent of women are at risk for health disease while the data rises to 53 percent for black women.

Here’s the front-page of the newspaper:

March 4, 2010 Los Angeles Daily News front page

There is so much going on with the main story. It doesn’t just lend to conventional reading, left to right, because of the statistics box and vignettes from the four different women. It’s a good concept, but the main art doesn’t seem to fit the message.

The message is clearly stated in the main headline “Unhealthy Situation.”

Certainly, there is problem if women are at such a high risk of heart disease and aren’t taking care of themselves. But a picture of a woman, who looks to be in decent shape, while walking her child in a carriage doesn’t tell sort of story. As the main, which is framed and centered on the page, should have a more compelling photo. The photo does not have a caption either to give readers a better understanding of the photo.

When it comes to newspapers front pages, usually they tend to stick with safe layouts. Solid photos with some of the best stories of the day, which are usually all news stories.

With no headline, no story – what does the main photo say to you?

I see a mother, who doesn’t have a lot of time to exercise, getting out of the house to do what she can to stay in shape. She’s not model-skinny, but she isn’t out-of-shape either. Without seeing her face and the expression she is making, it’s hard to discern her ‘well-being,’ which is part of the message of the sender.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

March 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm