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The basic role of a magazine is to provide information that is relevant in a given field. Among the fields, there can be politics, nature, tourism and so on, or a combination of these subjects. However, written materials go beyond their initial mandate where we find that besides providing the basic information, they may become a forum for advertisement or a media that sparkles debate on topical issues.
Due to various reasons, there has been an influx in the use of magazines as tools for advertisements. In this paper we will analyze the bulk of information contained in the Trumpet magazine in a bid to try to understand why it has assumed a particular definite trend in its writing and content.
Like any other media of our time, magazines have become popular platforms for setting out social, economic and political agenda that dominate people’s minds. For this reason, they have become preferable reading materials by many people.
At the same time, there are those who use the magazine as their medium for reaching prospective clients for their commodities while, on the other hand, providing clients with a simplified and sometimes detailed platform for purchasing their products (Berelson, 1971). Either way, it must be said that magazine content can serve several purposes to different people, just as it affects the cultural set up of its environment.
To help us understand what dictates the trends that can be found in magazine content, we will look into a set of magazines which content cuts through social issues, cultural, political, and economic tendencies. The Trumpet Magazine and The Trader and Urban Law are good case studies to analyzes their ability to attract attention of a broad audience due to the fact that they contain a wide range of content.
While analyzing this media, we may formulate some questions that will guide us to remain within the context of our study, as well as assist in further understanding of this media. Some of these questions will be:
I. What are the major topics covered by these magazines?
II. Who are the target audience for these magazines: the youth, the middle aged business people etc.?
III. What is the audience base of these magazines?
IV. How does the message in this media influence and interact with daily cultural, political, social and political issues?
V. To what extent does the content in these magazines influence and /or affect the content carried in other media?
VI. What is the relevance and applicability of the content found on these magazines to the target audience?
The population that will be used in this study will be mainly drawn from the group of people aged between 18 and 45 years. This is because this age brackets consist of people who are perceived to be interested in various aspects of the content carried in this study. In this age bracket, there will be college students, aged between 18 and 25 who are interested in fashion trends, entertainment industry, and career opportunities.
People aged between 26 and 35 will most likely be focused on career growth, family matters and business, while those aged between 36 and 45 are likely to concentrate on business matters, property and politics.
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Our primary variable across all the magazines is the content. Basically, the magazines carry characteristically different contents. The Trumpet, for instance, concentrates on fashion, tours, travelling and entertainment. Its name is said to be inspired by the elephant’s blowing of the trumpet and perhaps this explains to what extent the magazine could be broad in its topics.
The magazine is made graphically attractive and a common feature of every issue is photos of selected beautifully tended tourist hotels and a description of their services.
There is also an outline of selected internationally recognized tourist attraction sites; fashion models, both men and women, posing in trendy wear and mostly in outdoor setting, are also a common feature of such kind of magazines.
Consequently, supermarkets, fashion stores, colleges and tour companies find it a valuable advertising forum. The magazine’s photographs and message are fundamentally directed to fun and entertainment lovers or holiday makers.
The Trader, as the name suggests, is more inclined towards all business aspects, from property dealing to stocks and shares. A profile of a well to do business venture is always a part of it, as well as various interviews with equally successful corporate leaders.
There are always well laid photos of houses mainly for sale, and high end furniture dealers ensure a good combination of well selected furniture. This is primarily a business platform, thus graphs and charts are also normally an essential part of it.
It tends to spell out some serious tone. People settling in their careers or seeking for business opportunities would be enticed by such a magazine with no doubt.
The Urban Law takes a legal aspect, mostly one that was famous or infamous for one reason or the other is usually highlighted. Contributors include lawyers and media analysts. The magazine also looks at the political situation and profiles of sitting or past political figures. Classy vehicle dealers like the Mercedes Benz are common advertisers.
You will also spot an advert of an expensive wine and supermarkets to use this medium. Although it makes a good read for readers across the board, this magazine is greatly appealing to people who are quite settled in their careers and are looking for a pass time and politically insightful media.
Although the issues carried in these magazines are as varied as the topics they cover, they all carry adverts of one nature. The Trumpet was found to consistently carry messages that are focused on the younger generation. You will find, for instance, photographs of young well built men wearing trendy jeans and T-shirts.
In real life, this fashion is a common trend with young men of about that age, If there is an advert on a car, it will most likely be a sporty vehicle that features have been improved for appeal, what is commonly known as pimping. It will have fancy doors or will be a sleek convertible and so on.
The magazine so often carries adverts of soft drinks and the Coca-Cola Company places adverts of the popular Fanta soda which is most common consumed by the youth.
In each magazine, there are topics that are of national interests regardless of any other feature that was characteristic of the magazine. For examples, when there is an issue like a general election, all the magazines would address it in a style that appeals to their readers.
Each magazine curves out its own style of presenting to its readers what was viewed as topics of interest and these topics would in return attract advertisers (Klaus, 2008). It was also noted that the stories featured as main stories appeared to have adverts considerably smaller in size.
All these magazines tend to have adverts strategically placed in sizes where some occupied as little as an eighth of a page. There are also adverts on half and full pages. Some adverts also appear in every issue of the magazine, while others only make a one-time appearance.
The adverts appearing on the front pages of these magazines tend to be larger than on most other pages. This could be driven by the perceived conspicuous nature if they are displayed on the front page.
Cultural and Social Attributes
There are various characteristics exhibited in the messages carried out in both, the adverts and other contents of the magazines (Berelson, 1971). Generally, the adverts are packaged to reflect a particular trend in the society at a given time and by an outlined class of people. In the magazines which message was directed to the youth, there could be spotted such trends as young men with plaited hair or wearing studs on the ear.
This could be interpreted as an acceptable or debatable in the larger eyes of the society. It could also mean that there has been a shift from being a conservative society that looks at such issues from a critical angle to accepting them as adoptable behaviors (Ole, 1969). All these issues become agenda set by the magazine for the public to debate.
The discussion of some cases by the much politically inclined Urban Law magazine opened another part of social debate that had been long sounded too delicate to touch. The magazine debated such issues as high profile murder cases and even political assassinations.
Cultural preservation and pride was exhibited through advocacy of local touristic sites hotels and artifacts where there were displays of locally made sculptures and other forms of artifacts.
Berelson, B. (1971). Content analysis in communication research. New York: Hafner.
Klaus, K. (2008). The content analysis reader. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Ole, R. (1969). Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.