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the New York Times selects its reader; Times Fashion Magazine

bizkitgirlzc 29 / 2  
Apr 13, 2007   #1
Could you please help me with my essay? I'm suppose to talk about what the magazine is trying to say and how the language used in the articles helps convey the underlying message...

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The media is very powerful. It is powerful because it is credible. And it is credible because people make it credible. In this case, credibility is power. We read newspapers, we watch TV, and we read the news online. We are constantly being informed by sources which are sometimes reliable and sometimes...not. It's up to us to decide what we think is best for ourselves; whether the New York Post is a more efficient than the Wall Street Journal or whether Stars is a better read than the Times magazine. A lot of factors are involved when a lector chooses a newspaper or magazine to follow. In some cases, it is the media that selects its audience. In the Times Style Magazine, from its diction to its advertisements, the type of audience the magazine is directed to demonstrates how highly selective it is.

I've often heard people stereotype newspapers and other forms of media into categorizes. For example, I've been told that if you're a liberal you would be more inclined to read The New York Times and if you are a conservative, you should go with The Wall Street Journal or how Fox News is Republican and incredibly biased while BBC is British and therefore a much more reliable source of news. But this only proves how people really want to hear what they want to hear. If I were a hardcore liberal the last channel I'd put on is channel five. This just demonstrates the way we, in part, select our source of information while, in part, the media selects us. Now, while many magazines, newspapers, and news channels are targeted at certain people with certain interests, there are other subtle hints of selectiveness in them as well. Sometimes, this underlying selectiveness can, in fact, be discriminatory but which we fail to see. If it is not too bold to say, I see the New York Times as one of these subtly discriminatory forms of media.

About a year ago, I was asked to get the Sunday New York Times which is noticeably bigger than the weekday version and slightly more costly too. Of course I had occasionally read the Times whenever I'd come across it but I wasn't a loyal reader to it and I never really gave it a second thought. It wasn't until I came across the Times Style Magazine inside the newspaper that I began to realize certain differences I hadn't noticed before. For starters, the Times Style Magazine was not like your average Cosmopolitan-like magazine ï it was, in a way, more...sophisticated. First of all, instead of Britany Spears on the cover it was Rachel Weisz, who is an actress that is perhaps not as famous as Paris Hilton or Jennifer Lopez but she definitely was an actress that had a well-known film history with definitely a better acting reputation than Paris Hilton. Not to mention she is British. So by just looking at the cover I could tell that this was no Cosmo Girl magazine that offered "100 Ways to Keep Your Boyfriend" but instead expected its readers to have a certain level of culture, vocabulary, and financial status.

One of the articles that caught my attention was called "The Full Maharani" which talked about the jewelry presented in an Indian movie that was an Oscar nominee. There was nothing too special about the level of vocabulary of the article, making it fairly simple to read. Nevertheless, I realized that the article was not directed to teenage girls who often read magazines that encouraged them to become anorexic or to spend their parents' salary at American Eagle Outfitters. This article had a few requirements for its readers. It was obvious that the person reading it had to be some what well-rounded, someone who watched films aside from mainstream Hollywood. They had to have interest in fashion on not only the aesthetic level but in the understanding of fashion industry, which pretty much spoke out for the majority of the other articles. This was certainly the type of magazine girls my age would not find appealing.

Other articles in the magazine were similar, this one short article "About Typeface" spoke about fonts while comparing almost everything to a designer line or certain style ï "Typefaces are becoming as fashionable in their own way as Chloï's white embroidered tunics." This article had a bandwagon appeal. It talked about typography as if it were the latest chic thing out there, indirectly telling you that you should be informed on fonts too. The vocabulary level in this article was not too elevated either even if word like "modernism" and "ubiquitous" might confuse a teenage girl accustomed to reading Seventeen. This article, like the majority of the magazine was appealing mainly to Logos. That discovery was fairly interesting considering that most other magazines that talk about fashion and love life often appeal to pathos and ethos. This magazine, however, was appealing to Logos with some ethos here and there. The audience this magazine was directed to was not to someone my age level and it wasn't directed to the common working class either it seemed.

I think the evidence that really shows the sort of discrimination that the Times presented was in the advertisements. The ads alone sent out the message just who was supposed to be reading that newspaper which had that magazine. When was the last time I saw a Bottega Veneta, a Bvlagari or a Donna Karan advertisement in Seventeen? This magazine was advertising designer clothing that someone with my economic status could not afford. The message to me was that in order for me to be reading that magazine and the New York Times I had to be either from the middle or upper class. Did that mean that only that group was capable enough to read the Times? In school we were encouraged to read the Times because it was reliable and educational and we had to read it no matter what financial situation we found ourselves in. Yet we were also seeing the advertisements and it was easy to realize that those weren't meant for many of us. I certainly didn't own anything from Prada or Rochas, so did that mean that I wasn't suppose to read it? This was indirectly a discrimination of class.

From the language to the topics to the advertisements this whole magazine said a really big statement. People who were well-rounded read the Times and people who read the Times were middle or upper class. Did that mean that someone from the working-class couldn't be well-rounded? As a student who could not afford the luxuries offered in the Times I felt perfectly capable of reading its newspapers and magazines without being from the middle or upper class. This entire magazine was one big hasty generalization that stereotyped people with certain incomes. It is obvious that readers don't select the New York Times; the New York Times selects its readers.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Apr 13, 2007   #2

I think your essay presents an interesting analysis! While I found your observations astute, it did seem to me that you focused more on content than on language. If the assignment is to write about how the language used in the articles helps convey the underlying message, you might want to include a bit more of the specific language found in the articles.

Aside from that, I just have a few editing suggestions:

New York Post is a more efficient than the Wall Street Journal - a more effiicient what?

stereotype newspapers and other forms of media into categorizes. - I think you mean categories.

you should go with The Wall Street Journal; or, how Fox News is Republican

the understanding of fashion industry, which pretty much spoke out for the majority of the other articles. - I'm not sure exactly what this means.

Good work!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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