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Checklist for analysing media texts

These are some key questions you can ask yourself when analysing media texts.
Nearly all of these questions can be applied (by changing the context) to any media

Layout and Design

How is the page laid out? How is it designed?
How does the front cover target its audience?
What attracts people to the front cover?
How effective is the layout in attracting its audience?
Why are particular graphics used and what do they signify?
What conventions are being used?
What are the signifiers (key words and pictures)? What do they signify?
How does the overall layout help attract readers?
What particular impression or message given out by the overall look of the front page?
In what way are messages conveyed by the visuals (denotation/connotation)?
Why are the colours used chosen? What meaning do they have?
What reactions will the colours evoke? How do they make people feel?

What can be said about the size and quality of the photographs?
How have the photographs been cropped?
Why have they been cropped in this way?
How do we know that cropping has taken place?
How do the photographs relate to the rest of the stories and the front page?
Why have these particular picture been selected?
What symbolic codes used in the pictures?
Why does the picture grab your attention?

Headlines, Titles and Copy

What typefaces and fonts have been used and why?
How does the size of the headline(s) compare with the rest of the front page?
How does the picture add to the meaning conveyed by the headline?
How does the headline influence the way the reader will approach the story?
Why is this headline effective?
What do the masthead and/or title signify? How do they achieve this signification?
What is the media text called? What associations do we have with its name?
To what extent does the copy meet the expectations set up by the headline(s)?
What information omitted from the copy?
What style has the copywriter chosen?
What does the style of language tell you about the audience?
How do the captions help anchor meaning(s)?
How does the caption complement the picture?
What does the picture as well as the caption suggest?
How does the copy/picture echo the sentiment of the caption?
What is the effectiveness of writing the caption in a different font?

What 'world' is being sold?
How effective is it in enticing you to buy or like the 'product’?
What strategies are used to ensure that the ‘product’ is noticed?
What is the target audience?

What is being advertised?
What is your first impression of the ad?
At whom is the advert aimed?
What appeal is being made in this ad?
What emotional appeals are made in these ads?
How and where was the product advertised?
When was this advert shown? When was the product available?
What meaning does the advertiser wish you to read into this picture and how is this
meaning promoted?
How does the mise-en-scene used in the advertisement affect your impression of the
What expectations and pleasures does the advert imply?
Whose interest does the advert serve?
How has the meaning of the advert changed over the years?
What judgements might be made about the truth, accuracy or effect of this advert?
How does the advert fulfil the expectations of its audience?
What pleasure does the target audience gain from the advert?

What is implied by the model’s manner: their pose and facial expression?
How does their appearance: hairstyle, outfit and make-up contributes to the message?
What does the image the model projects tell you about the product?’
What types of people are present and which are absent?
What types of people do these models represent?
How are people represented- age, race, gender etc?

What was the production process for the media text?
Who made the media text?
What other media texts have they made?
When and where was as the media text produced? How does this affect our
How was it financed and by whom?
What does the media text tell us about the people who made it and when and where
they made it?
What is the competition and how does it affect it?

What genre is it?
How are the shots constructed to put the sequence together?
What have other people said about the film?
How did this lend its credibility to the films or did it not?
What values does the film offer directly or indirectly?
What conclusions can be drawn from the issues raised in the film?