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Media Text Analysis

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1153
  • Category: Media

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This essay is about to analyse certain media text by using particular semiotic codes. The semiology study in particular is based on theory developed by Saussure and Pierce and means study of the signs in the text. According to Saussure the ‘language is a system of signs that express ideas’ (Saussure 1915/1966 cited in Berger, 2012:7). When media analysis is made it is about to show the relationship between the signs in certain text. Pierce states that everything we do can be seen as sign. According to him the signs can be iconic, symbolical and dimensions (Berger, 2012:4). Symbols and icons are used to represent companies ‘corporate identity’ (Berger, 2012:11). This paper in particular will be focused on the way that media text use connotation and denotation techniques. While the meaning of the connotation is the cultural meaning of certain text, it combines historical, symbolic and emotional matters to itself, the denotation represent the literal meaning of the words.In semiotics study denotations and connotations are used to show the relationship between signified and signifier. The media text that will be analysed is magazine front cover.

Defining the genre of the magazine could be seen as connotative technique, because as Lind McLoughin states the genre of magazine is due to what it content (McLoughin, 2000:xi). Different people can see different content, generally the magazine which cover will be analysed is Harper`s Bazaar. Its content is beauty, fashion, celebrities’ life and lifestyle, femininity and etc. That mean that the definition of the genre can be any of these, or many others according to the connotative techniques and the culture that the readers share, in this case it is women fashion magazine. Speaking of magazines should not forget that the cover of the product is the most important part of the whole product, because of its role as powerful advertisement for the product. The text and the image are used as powerful selling techniques and they need to be unique, because of the fact that there is a great competition for consumers’ on the women fashion magazines market. According to Jonathan Bingell (1997:78) every magazine is ‘collection of signs’, the front cover itself aim to produce connote meanings to the reader in many different ways. The readers are very important, because by analysing the product they bring to it their own cultural meaning and the connotation and the denotation in the picture and text have different interpretation according to every reader`s cultural values (Berger, 2012).

Title and the publication of the magazine have very important role in shaping customers’ expectations. The title as Goddard states is ‘little capsules of meaning’ (1998:80). By analysing the meaning of the title and the production, we can find out the class of the magazine. The cover which will be used in this paper is the May 2012 UK Harper`s Bazaar edition (Appendix A) with title ‘Jubilee Chic’. The ‘Jubilee’ connote the so special for the British nation upcoming Queen`s 60th Diamond Jubilee, which was due in the beginning of June.With its monthly publication and made from glossy papers the magazine connote ‘glamour and sophistication’ (McLoughlin,2000:2).The star of the cover is also very important for the consumer. In this edition of May 2012 the star is Victoria Beckham. According to the magazine there is a reason for her appearance and it is connected with her last cover made for the same magazine, which years ago celebrated her transformation from pop star to fashion icon. This time Harper`s Bazaar celebrated Victoria`s conquering of the fashion world and this event overlap with the Queen`s Diamond Jubilee.

This appearance on the cover just before the huge event connotes the celebration of the magazine by representing fitting cover Queen in face of Victoria Beckham, accompanied by proper title- ‘Queen Victoria on conquering the fashion world’.She is British, famous, fashion icon and by promoting her great success the magazine promotes the ‘British’ ‘in the eve’ of the Jubilee. It is easy to notice how most of the denotative signs are also in use as connotative. Example of this can find above with the title and the picture of the cover, also with the headings. The colours used in the cover are denotative signs, but they connote style by lack of brightness, just the opposite magazine use soft purple colours that represent the royal theme of the edition, because the purple is recognised as very royal colour. The pink colour used in the title represents the ‘love’- that every single British citizen expects the Jubilee event with. The pink is the colour of the universal love. The bed of spring flowers represent the period when the magazine is due- May, which is still spring season. Other denotative signs as bar code, magazine`s date, edition and price are used to connote the magazine class and also to ensure the consumers that they buy up to date product.

All the techniques for magazine cover are observed, and can be noticed in the way that the model is situated. This connotes that Victoria pose in purpose just for this cover and this event, she looks directly into the lens, and her head is in the middle of the name of the magazine and doesn’t hide it. In this way the magazine can be easily recognised.The other headings and the name of David Walliams which are on the cover aim to attract buyers’ attention. By this time David Walliams was famous being judge in Britain`s got talent and the spring must-wear trend represent fashion ideas of what is fashionable this season.

The other two headings represent the readers’ steps for preparation for the summer season by offering 12 steps to dream body and suggestions for Riviera escape which is direct connotation for the next season. The women fashion magazines from the recent years developed the idea of the women to a brand new level. By these developments the women magazines stereotyped the female population. The readers’ personal knowledge of culture and society conclude their interpretation of the codes that build the magazines. Readers apart from women would have different interpretation of these codes, because of their different interests. The aim of this paper was to analyse a media text, in this case the text was front cover. By analysing the front cover of Harper`s Bazaar and relating this analysis to the semiotics approaches we were allowed to recognise some social ideologies, but this shouldn’t mean that this analysis represent the social ideologies of all the female population that read it.


1. Berger, A., (2012) ‘Media Analysis Techniques’, Fourth Edition, London: Sage Publications, Inc. 2. Bignell, J., (1997) ‘Media Semiotics an Introduction’, Manchester: Manchester University Press 3. Goddard, A., (1998) ‘The Language of Advertising: written text’ London, New York: Routledge 4. McLoughlin, L., (2000) ‘Language of Magazines’ London, New York: Routledge 5. Harper`s Bazaar (May 2012) Front Cover (online) Available from: http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk/magazine/in-the-magazine-may-2012

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