Project Brief 4

Written Reflection

For our Project Brief 4,  Aisha Stevens, Trong Van Nguyen and I produced a website called the Izzy Varis Project, which analyses various media texts to highlight the changing role of the media in reporting the news. We used a combination of social media content including Facebook, Twitter, online articles, radio interviews, television news reports and hard copy newspapers. We arrived at this concept after deliberating over possible concepts. We debated what a media text was and decided that a media text was the representation in a physical form of an idea or ideas. Aisha and I have different backgrounds and interests, Aisha is interested in journalism and writing factual stories, whereas, I am more interested in fictional stories and visual mediums such as cinema. The first idea that we had focused on exploring individual’s engagement with certain media texts. Originally, we were thinking of starting a website, similar to Time Machine or The Otherside, as mentioned in a previous post on the 27 April 2015. We considered exploring a selection of people’s preferred media texts. After consultation with Jasmine Roth, we decided that this may not be focused enough and would be hard to implement.

After talking with the class about our idea for media texts, Jordan mentioned the speculation that came from the media about the MH320 Malaysian Airlines flight that went missing. We heard theories from hijacking to alien abduction represented in the media. From this original suggestion, we considered using a particular news event as a study of how different news media texts reported on the same event. As a result of further discussion, we arrived at the idea of focusing on a particular fictional news event. We were also inspired by stories involving the use of social media in the news, and the various problems associated with using sources such as Facebook and Twitter in news stories. One story in particular happened in 2014, as a blogger and alternative health advocate, Belle Gibson used social media to promote her book, claiming that health foods had cured her brain cancer. The media reported on the story, and the health claims were eventually revealed to be false, and the media was vilified for running the story without proper verification. We decided to focus on a fictional story about a missing girl, Izzy Varis, who was reported missing by her mother, only to be discovered a week later on a planned camping trip with her father. At first we decided to position the story so that the mother, Virginia Varis was the victim, which was reported in the media, and when the truth is revealed the media is vilified and must apologise for not verifying the story.

We wanted to ensure that we created texture in our project so we decided to create different media texts including tweets from Twitter, posts from Facebook, television news reports, radio interviews and news reports, online text and print text. The most challenging aspect of the production of the project was deciding what elements to create based on the academic research we undertook. The research covered several aspects of the news, including the ways in which social media have been used in a news setting. The strengths of the project involve the diversity and production value of the media texts. We have used our various skills to our advantage, Aisha is a budding journalist and was keen to create some of the copy for the news articles, Trong has been taking audio classes and was keen to produce the radio interviews and radio news spots and I have a design background and worked with images to produce some of the visual elements and the videos. We worked together in the production phase of the project and then coordinated our efforts to produce the finished project.

I have learnt a lot about working in a team and have enjoyed working with Aisha and Trong. Trong and Aisha are very quick learners and are willing to listen to each other and present creative ideas. I believe that I have increased my design skills and I have learned to design vector logos, and produce news titles over footage. I also conducted tutorials in Lynda in enhance my Photoshop and InDesign skills. I used Premiere to edit the footage and used After Effects to edit the green screen footage and add a background. I also used Audition to edit the audio, this was particularly useful for the exclusive interview portrayed in the first news report as the audio was distorted to sound like a phone interview with Virginia Varis. I also researched open source templates that I could use to complete the project, as we decided it would be problematic posting the story on social media as it could cause the exact scandal that we are hoping to highlight. I have also learned a lot about media consumption not only in Australia but overseas and how one event can be interpreted in different ways depending on the focus of the media text.

Visit the Izzy Varis Project now: <>

Lisa Cox age 9 Date of birth September 18, 1996 By Flippertv CC BY 2.5 AU