Thursday, November 19, 2009


Being a student studying Issues in Publications and Design, I've learnt so many things. Apart from applying theories of good document designs, I've also learnt many types of designs and suitabilities such as websites, brochures and magazines. Throughout this blogging experience, I realize that many issues are related to semiotic interpretation as suggested by Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) that will cause many reactions from all sorts of society. As a blogger, I now understand the terms of copyrights, sensitive issues and also a good design of a blog. I have learnt so much in this journey, hopefully there will be more to come.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Michael Jackson still has no privacy?

OK! Magazine caused an uproar after publishing Michael Jackson's photo being carried on the stretcher which was pronounced dead. They paid $500, 000 for that photo according to Snead (2009).


Indeed Michael Jackson is a legend but how ethical it is to post a photo of a person on his deathbed on the front cover of a magazine?


As sorry and guilty as I am to publish this photo, doesn't cause a sense of anger to see this photo being publish as the front cover of a magazine? This caused such a big uproar that celebrities like Sean Combs and Jay-Z are boycotting this magazine (, 2009)

"Michael Jackson's dying pictures: a hot trend search today. Does America have a sick sense of fascination with death or curiosity?" Starr, 2009.

Speaking in terms of cultural context, it is generally understood that it is disrespectful to post a picture of someone who has passed away. It shows no sign of respect and it feels like it is taking away the dead's sense of dignity. But why did the magazine did it anyway?

Sensationalism is the word.
"Sensationalism: (Noun) The use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement." (Stacey, 2009.)

Taking sensationalism to this extent in my opinion is too much. Even pictures of the dead (people not as well known as Michael Jackson) that has been released on newspaper became a topic of discussion on CNN stating that, "this ethical journalism, is a bit over the border line." (

In order to define a stronger line on journalism ethics, this is a good example case to be taken on press charge. Not only it defy human rights, cultural ethics and journalism ethics but it also shows how greedy the human race are nowadays to wealth and fame towards such an extent.

"Michael Jackson Death Shots NOT OK", 2009, viewed on 19 November 2009, on

Snead, E. 2009, 'OK! cover of Michael Jackson's death photo stirs controversy', viewed on 19 November 2009, on

Stacey, 2009, Sensationalism,, viewed on 19 November 2009, on

Starr, C. 2009, Photos of Michael Jackson dying published online,, viewed on 19 November 2009, on

"When Does the Media Cross the Line of Newsworthiness to Exploitation?", 2003, viewed on 19 November 2009, on

Obama goes High-tech

"US Democratic candidate Barack Obama is set to turn the iPhone into a political recruiting tool with an application aimed at getting the vote out." BBC News, 2008.

To be able to get good votes, you need to know what are the citizens had in their minds. Of course the emergence of iPhones frenzy is the current 'it' thing and that is exactly what Obama is aiming for. A really smart move, in my opinion. This free application "Call Friends" is for the citizens to join and later on votes for Obama. Registered members will also get feeds on the current updates of Obama's campaign and happenings. (BBC News, 2008)



Rather than going around the country giving political and self-promoting speeches, its seems like Obama has used a more conventional way. Making use of the new media, in this case, iPhone has a lot of advantages. Apart from saving energy to travel to far places, it also saves time as a call is always a click a way. Internet plays such an important role now that it even helps to determine who is the country's president!

The question is, how many audiences can he reach so far with an iPhone application?
In order to get a selected bunch of target audiences, we need to understand the steps get to them. Audience, Context and Purpose is needed to be determined to deliver a message.

  • Audience: who are the audience?
    It refers to the people who will look at your text (, 2009)
    In this case, it is the citizen of United States.

  • Purpose: what are you trying to accomplish?
    It refers to the purpose of what you are writing on (, 2009)
    Obama is promoting himself via the iPhone to get votes for his election.
  • Context: what are the elements in your text?
    Since this is a political promotion, Obama will use politic terms as well as publishing his works on helping out the nation.
Based on this choice of promotion, interactivity comes in hand as an iPhone is a phone after all. Getting in touch and connected through the net via iPhone not only helps to promote himself but also for him to get closer to the nation in terms of social preferences.

Shiels, M. 2008, Obama uses iPhone to win support, BBC News Technology, viewed on 18 November 2009, on

"Purpose, audience, ideology and positioning", Skwirk Interactive Schooling, viewed on 18 November 2009, on

Suharto's Last Supper?

One of Indonesia's famous magazine, Tempo offended Christians as they published a cover of Suharto (former president of Indonesia) in mimic of Da Vinci's Last Supper.

Source: AFP Google


In the first image, it is shown that Suharto is having a dinner with his six children and it is claimed to be somewhat similar to Da Vinci's famous artwork, The Last Supper. Some Christians, particularly Catholics felt that the cover is implying that Suharto is in a position like Jesus Christ and this upsets them. (, 2008)

Of course this is obvious that it is a wrong interpretation by many judging on the image given since everyone have their own point of view. At the same time, it is a clash between cultural values as the image touches on Christianity value.

However on page two of the magazine, it is written in the main heading stated, "Tempo Magazine Apologises" with the subheading, "We have no intention on hurting Christians". (AFP, 2008)

Based on this incident, this can be related to Kress and Van Leeuwen readings on The Semiotic Landscape where it is suggested that an image can be interpreted in many ways and in this case gives people semiotic analysis. As you can see, Christians interpreted it as Suharto being implied as Jesus Christ whereas the magazine is trying to imply the situation of after the former prime minister is gone.

Apart from that, informational value, salience and framing plays a role in this as well. (Kres and Van Leeuwen, 2006) Informational value meaning of the elements placed in this images has many similarities to the original artwork of Da Vinci in terms of colours, costume and background settings. Salience refers to the representational of the image where it attract the viewer's attention the most. Suharto is place at the center dressed in white which pretty much shows how obvious that the attention is on him. As for framing, since he is in the middle, spaces created in between him by his children makes it more obvious that the main focus is on him.

With such a misfortune to create an impact, the chief editor of Tempo, Hadad apologises on behalf of his company and will publish another apology on the next edition on the weekly. (AFP, 2008)


"Indonesian weekly apologises over Last Supper Suharto cover", 2008, viewed on 18 November 2009, on

Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 2006, "Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Communication," 2nd edn, Routeledge, New York

Patung, 2008, The Last Supper,, viewed on 18 November 2009, on

New Media

International version of Kindle out for Christmas based on the article from Harvey, 2009.

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos with the Kindle e-book reader. Source: Reuters

What is Kindle? It is a new product from Amazon that is a book reader device. You can read your books via a 6'' display screen on the device and you can download book through the wireless connection that connects directly to Amazon's Kindle stores. (Thomas, 2007)

Now that this device is out, does this mark the end of printed books?
Let's take a look at the ecosystem.
  • The new media (E-books, webisodes, vlogs)
  • The old media (printed newspapers, magazines, book)
The new media have existed for quite awhile now and yet we still see the old media being steady on market. This shows that the ecosystem is still in balance and that the emergence of new media have yet to jeopardize the old media.

Will e-book eventually take over printed books?
Firstly, there are a certain generation gap that bridges the younger generation and the older generation on technology. The older generation of course, would prefer reading printed books rather than reading on screen and vice-verse for the younger generation.
It is undeniable that e-book sales is on the rise as the younger generation now spends more time in front of the computer screen would prefer reading e-books however, not all books are available as an e-book. This makes an equal portion of both sides to survive.

Since e-books are on the rise, how well does the audience accept it?
With the current technology advancement, I'm am pretty sure many people prefer doing their work on the computer rather than on a typewriter which means access on the Internet will help them get access to e-book way faster than you walk over to the toilet. Audiences of course would prefer things to be more convenience. The rising cost of traditional text books also encourages people to download books online since it is cheaper.

However, there is are a certain group of people who prefers printed books for these particular reasons; easier to be carried around, can be highlighted literally, easier to read and easier to browse through contents with index. (Mercieca, 2004)
Also, reading process on screen would become 25% to 40 % slower than from the printed books. (Mercieca, 2004)

In conclusion, better technology does not equal better communication (Schriver, 1997), E-book is just a TOOL, not a substitute for human interaction (J. Lannon, 1997) and in order for both the old and the new media to survive, there should be a balance in sales between e-books and printed books since there are audiences who prefers on either one of the genres.


Harvey, M. 2009, International version of Kindle out for Christmas, The Times, viewed

November 8 2009, on


Lannon, J. 1997, The writing process: a concise rhetoric, New York, viewed 9

November 2009, on,+1997&dq=J.+


Mercieca, P. 2004, E-book acceptance: what will make users read on screen?, viewed on 10

November 2009, on

Schriver, KA 1997, ‘Chap 6: The interplay of words and pictures’ in Dynamics in document

design: creating texts for readers, pp. 361-441, Wiley Computer Publishing, New York.

Thomas, A. 2007, What is a kindle? viewed on 18 November 2009, on

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blogging Issues

a. Blogs as current phenomenon and benefits of blogging to the community

Blogging is now a common everyday thing and it has grown a lot since it was first introduced. Technorati tracked over 70 million weblogs and about 120, 000 weblogs being created worldwide everyday in year 2007 (, 2007) and in 2008, 133 millio
n blog records indexed by them since year 2002. (, 2008)
The trends of blogging in different country varies. In a survey, it is stated that Asian bloggers tend to be more motivational and confessional whereas European bloggers tend to be more confrontational. ( 2008) suggested that politics is unpopular but music is more popular in Asia, while personal, lifestyle, and religious topics are less popular in Europe. There are many benefits of blogs to the community in various aspects.
In my point of view, blogs are a part of a social networking online where people get to share their thoughts, interested and etc, helps to promote business as well as advertising because people now sell things online by showcasing their products on their weblog and lastly, self-promoting politics welfare on blogs are also one of the most common and easy way for Politicians to get connected to the nation.

Sifry, D. 2007, The State of the Live Web- April 2007, Sifry's Alert, viewed on 18 November 2009,

White, D. 2008, Day 2: The what and why of blogging, Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Winn, P. 2008, State of the Blogosphere: Introduction, Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008, viewed on 18 November 2009,

b. Classification of blogs & opinion about the most appropriate classification approach
Types of classification:

Subject Matter:
  • politics
  • fashion
  • food
  • music
  • travel
  • history
  • law
  • business
  • technology
  • sports
Media types:
  • vlog (a video form of blog. very common on You Tube)
  • linklog (a blog that consist links to other blogs such as iamcal)
  • sketchlog (a blog that consist more on images and sketches such as rob-sheridan)
  • tumblelog (a blog that consist very short but consise post such as projectionist)
  • photolog (a blog that showcases photos rather than posting text such as flickr)
State of publisher: business and corporate blogs.

Device: moblog (a short form for mobile blogging. Example of moblog)

Based on Media Report - A taxanomy of blogs 2008, Simons mentioned a few kinds of blogs as well.
  • Pamphleteering blogs or also known as politic blogs
  • Digest blogs.
  • Advocacy blog.
  • Popular Mechanics blog or known as How-To blog.
  • Exhibition bloge.
  • Gatewatcher blog.
  • The Diary blog.
  • The Advertisement blog.
  • News blog.
Based on the two sources, both the categories classified are different in a sense that the first source classify blog by its functionality whereas the second source classify by its content. In my opinion, it is hard to classify blogs in a standardized motion as new type of blogs evolved from time to time and people tend to get confused with some many functionality all in on. Videos can be embedded into blogs, music and photos can be added as well so what kind of blog would you call that? However, it is good to classify these blogs as it helps us clarify its function and content.

Funnell, A. 2008, A taxanomy of blog, The Media Report, viewed on 18 November 2009,

David, T. 2008, The 8 different types of blogging in 2008, MakeYouGoHmm .com, viewed on 18 November 2009, >


c. Explain briefly types of blogging communities & methods to build blogging communities. Then, discuss the structure of one blogging community in brief, eg. Global Voices.

A blogging community is a group of people connected to each other via blogs and all of them share the same interest.

"Discussion builds community." Mueller, 2009.

There are a few ways to create a blogging community. For instance;
1. Get Personal! Take time to reply to the comments people left on your blog to establish network and from there, you already have a network with someone. (Mueller, 2009)
2. Try join an online community group or ask readers to subscribe to your blog. Keeping in touch within your community helps and also try to be active in activities organized in the group. (Rowse, 2009)

Speaking of blogging communities, there are tons and tons of it where you can find from. One of the examples would be Global Voices Online.


Global Voices is a blogging community where more than 200 bloggers post about media reports and opinions and it is translated into different languages in different countries. ( In this community, bloggers from different countries come together on this site to discuss about issues concerned about such as freedom of expression, citizen journalism and other types of self expression.

Global Voice Online 2009: About Us, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Mueller, E 2009, How to create a community on for your blog for Wordpress users, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Rowse, D 2009, 8 Tips for Building Community on Your Blog, viewed on 18 November 2009, >

d. Designing for print versus designing for online



The following images are examples of a newspaper print and a blog layout.
For the first image, it is the front cover of The Star Newspaper and as you can see, there are images and captions as well as subheadings. They help to guide readers by directing their attention to the highlighted headings or pictures of that particular topic. (Reep, 2006)

As for the blog layout, it is more of a casual form where images and text are alligned to one side. The only advantage of the blog is that, it is a multimodal media where videos from You Tube can be embedded to the site unlike printed papers. It also have links that will bring us to another website. Multimodal text are text that has more than one element (Walsh, 2006)

According to Dr. Roswell (2006), students navigate through printed and multimodal text such as websites differently as the purpose and the context itself is different. To summarize it, each of the examples given above have its own design served for its own purpose.

Reep, DC 2006, 'Document Design', in Technical Writing, 6th edn, Pearson, New York, pp.133-172.

Roswell, J. 2006, Documenting Multimodal Literacies, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Walsh, M 2006, "Textual Shift: Examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts," Australian Journal of Language and Literacies, vol. 29, no. 1, p. 24-37.


e. New forms of media publishing

Right now there are many different form of media publishing to choose from. We have Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, forums and more to name. Many people use these channels for leisure however some used it for professional purpose. Communication and journalism are now taking place in these media forms as it is an 'in' trend.

Take twitter for example, journalist are using Twitter as a medium to post their journals however the word limitation does not stop them from posting. They decided to come up with a question to start a discussion online. (Betancourt, 2009)


As you can see, there is a whole long list of journalist enlisted on twitter and it seems like journalism has taken its step to a whole new level rather than writing articles in an old fashion way.

Even The Star Newspaper, a local Malaysian newspaper has a Tweeter account!

Betancourt, L. 2009, The Journalist Guide to Twitter, viewed on 18 November 2009,

The Staronline.TV,, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Good Document Design

Question: What is a good document?

As what I have learnt so far in this course, a good document comprise of a good design with good content which is suitable for certain occasions.

Document design refers to the physical appearance of a document. (Reep, 2006)

Physical appearance is important therefore the slides as presented by my group has certain elements that will attract audience attention such as images, coloured background and different font sizes. Rothman (2005) stated in his article that a good technical writing should explain further details and follow according to chronology. This can be implied to one of the slides as shown below as it is stated what are the sub topics going to be discussed however, it is not in detailed. Too much words on the slide is not suitable as it is more of a guideline to a discussion.

According to Reep (2006), the principles for a good document design would be balance, proportion, sequence and consistency. As shown on the slide below, there are lines or sentences all in line to bullet points which makes it look well arranged and balanced. However, it can be improved with the amount of words used in every line.

Putnis, P & Petelin, R (1996) cited Williams (1993) in their article that visuals are one way to describe and to provide a full understanding to an explanation. However, Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) suggest that image itself is is a semiotic analysis which means each individual has different point of view therefore in the slide, we have included words/caption with the image in order to prevent misinterpretation.

To add up, Shriver (1997) states that images with text creates a strong message to be conveyed which helps strengthen the text itself with the presence of images. Overall, the slides presented has a balance of text and images however there are some slides which only have images without caption or text. That should be fixed with at least a caption to explain the image shown. These few flaws should be fixed in order to create a better document for audiences to understand better.


Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T 2006,
Reading images. Chapter 1: The semiotic landscape: language and visual communication.

Putnis, P & Petelin, R 1996, ‘Writing to communicate’, in Professional communication: principles and applications, Prentice Hall, Sydney, pp. 223-263

Reep, DC 2006, 'Document Design', in Technical Writing, 6th edn, Pearson, New York, pp.133-172.

Rothman, S 2005, What makes good scientific technical writing?, viewed 2 September 2009,

Shriver, K.A 1997, 'The interplay of words and pictures', Dynamics in document design: creating texts for readers, p. 361-441, Wiley Computer Pub, New York.