Commentary on Craig left Robsmacked
Due to my strong interest in music and knowledge of teenage music magazines, I decided to write my article about the recent Brit Awards, with the intention of informing an audience of 12 – 15 year old girls.
I decided that my first draft was too long and so readers would lose interest. I shortened it and included pictures to make it more appealing to the reader.
The short, striking headline “Craig left Robsmacked” is fun and flatters the audience as it uses inside knowledge. It appeals to the reader, who is likely to know that Craig David didn’t win anything while Robbie Williams won three awards. If the reader was not aware of this, however, it is explained in the sub-heading “Sing when you’re winning” and Craig David’s single “Walking Away”. I included these as readers would be able to relate to it as they are likely to be fans.
There is a close, friendly relationship between reader and writer, largely due to the informal, colloquial and often non-standard lexis used: “C’mon”, “coz”, “talky bit”, “laydeez” and “telly”. I included these and similar terms to give the article the tone of a teenage girls’ magazine. As certain stars are mentioned frequently, I varied the names to avoid repetition: “King Robbie”, “The Robster” and “Mr Robbie Williams”. First names were also used to establish a familiar relationship between reader and celebrity. I deliberately included myself as a fan, opting for “our”, “we” and “us” rather than “you” and “your”. In doing this the writer doesn’t patronise the reader, which is an important feature of this style of writing.
The colloquialisms continue throughout the article as does the humour: “shaking in their boots (I’m sure)”, “more rock ‘n’ rolly”, “mum-to-be of Brian’s sprog”, “boogyin’ away”, “kick-ass girl power choon”, “waving aroung a, er, chainsaw!?” “yep”. Although there are no specialist terms used, the audience are expected to have a background of pop music. Without this the playing on words such as in the sub-headline and references to “Kerry Katona … with her fellow kittens” (member of “Atomic Kitten”) would go unnoticed.
The audience are unlikely to be fans of the older group U2; however as they were winners I saw it as important to mention them. I decided that the best way to do this was to refer to them in a slightly offensive way: “golden oldies” and “this year’s granddads” in order to appeal to the audience.
Other features of Smash Hits articles reflected in my own include rhetorical questions (“Did we expect anything else?”) which highlight the chatty tone. Pre-modification is quite a big feature in my writing, adding more description economically: “smooth-voiced crooner”, “soulful”, and, more interestingly, “the football stomping, sing-alongy, Pure and Simple”. I also used alliteration in “glam girlies”, “lovely lads” and “slushy-slo down”. This all adds to the informal, fun colloquial tone.
Smash Hits writers tend to use catchy headlines and slightly longer sub-headlines, explaining the subject of the article. The text then varies in sentence length, from 11 to 35 words, as does the paragraph length from 20 to 70 words. This variety, in my opinion, adds to the informal register as there is no strict pattern followed. The articles also include song lyrics, titles and singer, a technique reflected in my own work. I used the Smash Hits writers’ style in that the length of my sentences and paragraphs vary from 9 to 35 and 18 to 80 words respectively. My sentence structures also vary as they do in Smash Hits, with the most common being the basic subject – verb – object: “Robbie opened the show”, “The boys impressed the audience” appropriate for the young audience reading the piece for entertainment.
I feel that my article informs readers but in an entertaining manner. This is important as the target audience (12 – 15 year old girls) are unlikely to want to read something that fails to entertain. This article has a voice of a young music fan which is why the audience relate to it so well. The writer is like a friend: “getting us girls all excited”, “we’ve all been glued to the telly”, “which to you and me means”
The article is 760 words in length but is split into various sections: winners, text with pictures, the main piece, highlights. I have attempted to capture the style of the magazine through the simple, colloquial lexis, the catchy headlines, the humour and the appealing layout.
Word count: 746 words