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Wednesday, November 18, 2009



I finish my blogging assignment with a reflection of what I have learned.

This assignment has opened my eyes to the power of new media. I have learned about the importance of blogs and the improvement blogging has made to publishing, designing and journalism. I discovered different types of new media such as vlogs, moblogging and photoblogs. I have learned that blogs and new media isn't only useful for publishing but can be used for business and marketing purposes as well as to connect with others on the Internet.

The other things I have learned:
  1. Basic key elements in composition like informational value, salience and framing (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006)
  2. Ethics and conduct when it comes to publishing. People must take responsibility for their work. (Webber, 2005)
  3. Designing for print and designing for online documents are completely different.Print is designed in 2-dimension, with much attention paid to layout, while web designs are ‘1-dimensional and N-dimensional’ which causes readers to scroll up-and-down as they read the document. (Nielson, 1997)
  4. Blogs may be more popular than traditional newspapers but newspapers is still needed because of it's prominence in credibility and accuracy in information reporting. (Lannon, 2006)
I have better understanding of the issues relating to publication and design. Hopefully, it will come in handy in the future.

Nicholas Cheng Zhu Hann

  1. Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 2006, "Reading Images: Grammar of Visual Design," Routledge, London 
  2. Lannon, J.M. 2006, "Technical Communication," 10th edn, Pearson Education, USA
  3. Nielson, J 1997, "The Difference Between Paper and Online Presentation," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  4. Weber, J.H. 1995, "Ethics in Scientific and Technical Communication" Wisenet Journal, Vol.38, No.1, pp. 2-4


The film industry has turned to new media to promote upcoming movies. Viral marketing is an advertising technique which utilizes pre-existing social networks or mediums through the Internet to increase awareness on a product or in film industry language, build buzz. (Mohr, 2007) Viral marketing of films can take numerous forms on the Internet. The most common form is leaked or extended video footage directly or indirectly promoting a film.

Viral marketing which began in 1996 is now a surefire method for turning Internet advertising into box office gold. (Caldwell, 2005) This is because through viral marketing, movie studios are able to build anticipation in millions of Internet users over a film with little to no costs at all. Here are a few examples of films that became box office smash hits through the use of viral marketing.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: YouTube

The viral marketing of Cloverfield; a monster movie by J.J Abrams, began a year before its release with the screening of its trailer during the premiere of Transformers in 2007. The trailer did not reveal the title of the movie, nor any promotional website for the film. It only revealed the release date of the movie, 1-18-08. When Googled, the date lead to a website of time-coded photos for visitors to piece together and interpret their meanings. If the website had been accessed for more than 6 minutes, the roar of the monster heard in the trailer will play.

When the photos are flipped over, they reveal more fake websites such as Tagruato Corp., Slusho! and giving a background story to the movie such as the origins of the monster and the introduction to the main characters of Cloverfield.

References to the viral marketing were also made in the film itself. For instance, a flashback sequence at the end of Cloverfield shows an object falling from the sky and crashing in the ocean. This was a reference to an article made on Tagruato Corp. reporting that their satellite was damaged and crashed in Conney Island. (Tagruato, 2008) J.J Abrams later revealed that the satellite crash was what woke the monster, thus leading to the events depicted in Cloverfield. (Bloody Disgusting, 2008)

Source: YouTube


Source: Wikipedia released a video, entitled Office Worker Goes Absolutely Insane, in January 2008 of camera footage of a man having a mental breakdown in his office. The video shows the man destroying office property and attacking some of his co-workers. The video became an Internet sensation garnering 5,958,865 views.

Source: Break

Timur Bekmambetov, the director of Wanted later revealed on his personal blog that the video was viral marketing for the film featuring the unedited office meltdown scene with James McAvoy. (Rappe, 2008)
Source: YouTube

Source: Wikipedia

On 25 September 2009, Paramount Pictures decided to release Paranormal Activity in 13 small towns. On his website, director Oren Peli invited internet users to "demand" where the film went next by voting on The online trailer of the movie also gave audiences to “demand” the movie to be played in their cities.

Source: YouTube
On October 3, 2009, it was reported that a total of 33 screenings in all 20 markets sold out and that the movie had made $500,000 domestically. On October 6, Paramount and announced that the movie would be released nationwide if the movie got 1,000,000 "demands". 4 days later, the counter hit over 1,000,000 requests. The movie began its nationwide release and has now earned $103,847,000 in one month.

  1. Bloody Disgusting 2008, "Origin of the 'Cloverfield' Monster Revealed... IN MOVIE!" online,retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  2. Caldwell, J.T 2005, "Welcome to the Viral Future of Cinema (Television)," Cinema Journal, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 90-97, retrieved 18 November 2009, from, I 2007, "Buzz marketing for movies," Business horizons, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 395-403, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  3. Rappe, E 2008, "Timur Bekmambetov Punks the World With Viral Video," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  4. Tagruato 2008, "Hatsui Satellite Works for the Futura," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from


Now that we have established the fact that bloggers and new media have begun to take over the media world, the question remains if journalists, traditional media and the very practice of journalism will face extinction with the rise of the blogosphere. Brian McNair certainly didn’t think so. McNair states that journalists, journalism and traditional media will not experience any form of death, because they are needed on so many social, political and cultural levels worldwide. (McNair, 2009)

As a matter of fact, I feel that traditional media has evolved and improved under the pressures of the new media.

Bloggers may be able to boast about their high readerships on the Internet but their reporting credibility and accuracy is still eclipsed to that of a traditional journalist.  According to findings by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, barely 12 % of Internet users find blogs a trustworthy news source. (Walden, 2007)

Now, the main advantage bloggers have over journalists and traditional media is the ability to report on an event and have it reach millions of readers around the world just minutes after the actual has happened. Whereas for a traditional practice of journalism, the quickest possible time for a report to be published is the day after the event took place. (Outing, 2004)
Source: Waycy Blog

In order to compete with bloggers and their ability to constantly update on news, journalists have to realize that the use of blogs is not reserved solely for the bloggers. News organizations such as MSNBC, The Providence Journal, The Dallas Morning News, and The Christian Science Monitor are now brimming with blogs run by their editors information gatekeepers by speeding up their news publishing cycle, while still maintaining the objectivity and accuracy of traditional journalism. (Lasica, 2003) Traditional media outlets have also begun to hire bloggers to bring a more personal style of writing to and reporters. Traditional media have embraced blogs as a way of improving their roles of the typical news reports. For example, the NY Times hired Brian Stelter, a young blogger on the moment he graduated from college. (Glaser, 2008)

Instantaneously, bloggers are beginning to adopt journalistic standards and ethics in order to compete with their online counterparts. Independent blogs are now doing more editing, more source checking, breaking more news and hiring more journalists as staff in their publications. For instance, Gawker, a Manhattan based blog, is practicing more traditional based journalism by having a staff of four editors and six reporters instead of the usual ‘one reporter, one blog’ concept. Other than that, GigaOm, a blog based in Silicon Valley now edits 80% of its reports before being publishing them in order to obtain a higher level of accuracy and credibility than a usual blog. (Glaser, 2008)

As for now, it appears that bloggers aren’t going anywhere. And neither is traditional media and journalists. Readers will always turn to traditional media as trusted sources of information, that will never change.

  1. Glaser, M 2008, ‘Distinction Between Bloggers, Journalists Blurring More Than Ever,’ online, retrieved 3 October 2009, from
  2. Lasica, J. D. 2003, ‘Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other,’ Nieman Reports, Vol. 57, No. 3, pp. 70-74, retrieved 5 October 2009, from
  3. McNair, B 2009, ‘Journalism in the 21st century: evolution, not extinction,’ Journalism, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 347-349, retrieved 7 October 2009, from
  4. Outing, S 2004, ‘What Bloggers Can Learn From Journalists,’ online, retrieved 6 October 2009, from
  5. Walden, R 2007, ‘The Blogger as Journalist: Codes of Ethics in the World of Blogging,’ online, retrieved 7 October 2009, from


I did a presentation recently on the print controversy which happened in January last year following the passing of Suharto, Indonesia’s second President. The controversy was that Tempo; a weekly Indonesian magazine published a photo of Suharto and his family in the style of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper on the cover of their 4-10 February 2008 issue.

Unsurprisingly, the Tempo issue drew numerous criticisms from Christians in Indonesia and worldwide. Most took offense at the cover claiming that it compared Suharto, a leader of violent regiments and political war to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Source: Loyal KNG

Shortly after, Tempo ran an apology saying “we did not intend to hurt Christians”. Toriq Hadad, the editor of Tempo also openly apologized, explaining that the cover was chosen because of the inspiring composition of da Vinci’s original painting. Tempo magazine claimed they had no intention of highlighting any religious or cultural elements in their adaptation of the The Last Supper. (ABC News, 2008)

My presentation analyzed the magazine cover while referring to the three main issues in Kress & van Leeuwen’s key elements of composition which is informational value, salience and framing. I also discussed the publishing ethics behind the Suharto cover.

Informational value refers to the importance of an element on a document. It varies based on where the element is placed in the document. (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006) Placing Suharto in the middle of the cover beckons that the informational value of Suharto is high and that he is the most important person on the cover. The fact that he is in the original position of Jesus Christ on the cover also relates to that.

Salience refers to the most interesting element on a document. (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006) As you can see, Suharto is dressed in white and has more lighting, making him contrast with the background and his family members who are in darker tones. The ‘ray’ of light surrounding Suharto gives him some sort of godlike effect which makes him more salient in the cover.

Framing connects or disconnects certain composites in a document. Framing an element will make readers pay more attention to that element. (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006) Suharto is framed around by his family members who are all looking at him with ‘awe’ on their faces. This draws attention to Suharto making him appear important.

The Tempo cover opens various discussions of the issues and ethics in publishing. Jean Webber states publishing ethics demand that people be responsible for their own actions. (Webber, 2005) It was the right move for Tempo magazine and Toriq Hadad to apologize and take responsibility for offending audiences with their cover. However I believe that Hadad, failed as an editor to identify the possible negative backlash the Suharto cover would have had before running the issue.


  1. ABC News 2008, "Indonesian weekly apologises over Last Supper Suharto cover," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  2. Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 2006, "Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Communication," 2nd edn, Routeledge, New York
  3. Weber, J.H. 1995, "Ethics in Scientific and Technical Communication" Wisenet Journal, Vol.38, No.1, pp. 2-4


 Source: ResNet

I am a file sharer. I download thousands of songs and movies of the Internet everyday. Do I know that it is illegal and I’m doing the equivalent of stealing from the producers of the music and movies? Yes. Do I feel guilty? A big N-O!

The name file-sharing derives from the structure of the Internet, in which computers store information and other computers retrieve it through interconnected networks. (Michel, 2004) File sharing programmes like Limewire, BitTorent and Pirate Bay allow people on the Internet to be able to distribute and receive digital files such as multimedia files (audios and videos)

Source:                              Source:
Source:                     Source:

File sharing has made a huge impact in the entertainment industry’s profit. Music sales dropped globally from approximately $38 billion in 1999 to $32 billion in 2003. (Zentner, 2005) Lily Allen, a prominent British musician has openly condemned file sharing (Allen, 2009) along with other entertainment industry artists and lawmakers. Though file sharing is considered illegal for infringing copyright laws, it is still reported that 70 million people are still participating in online file sharing. (Delgado, 2004) Even Malaysians agree with the file sharing phenomenon, having one of the highest rates of piracy in the world. (Patrick, 2008)

So if Internet file sharing is considered illegal with heavy laws and punishments on regular file sharers, why are there still so many people practicing file sharing online? 
 Source: SmartCode

There are a few reasons. One being that the legal price for purchasing entertainment content is extremely high. Even Datuk S Subramaniam, the former Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, has told Malaysians to stop wasting their money on expensive CDs and DVDs. (myce, 2003) File sharing allows people who do not have the luxury of money to enjoy these high priced music and movies for free.

A second reason is file sharing allows us to view content we cannot obtain legally in Malaysia. And I’m not talking about pornography here. Malaysia has one of the toughest censorship laws in the world. (BBC, 2009) Popular movies such as Schindler’s List, The Passion of Christ, Rent and Borat, along with countless foreign music and even children’s books have been banned. (imdb, 2009)

Finally, file sharing is predominant because most consumers feel that the entertainment content they view are not worth spending their money on. “How many times have you bought a pop music record to find there are maybe two, maybe three songs you really like?" asks Mark Coleman of Rolling Stones Magazine. “People don't want to pay $18 for one song." (Northall, 2003) The high prices and low quality of albums drove consumers to seek alternatives like downloading so they could hear their favorite songs.

File sharing may still be illegal in the eyes of the law but no person thinks that it is anymore. “Eventually the reality of the Internet will force the laws to change, too. One way or another, the entertainment industry will eventually surrender.” (Arrington, 2009)

  1. Allen, L 2009, "My Thoughts on File Sharing," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  2. Arrington, M 2009, "Stealing Music: Is It Wrong Or Isn’t It?," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  3. BBC 2009, "Malaysia: Media," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  4. Delgado, R 2004, "Law professors examine ethical controversies of peer-to-peer file sharing," The Stanford Report, California
  5. 2009, "Titles with certificate: Malaysia:(Banned)," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from;Malaysia:(Banned)
  6. Michel, N.J 2004, "Internet File Sharing: The Evidence So Far and What It Means for the Future," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  7. myce 2003, "CDs too expensive? Goverment tells public to quit buying CDs, DVDs," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  8. Northall, C 2003, "The Benefits of File Sharing," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  9. Patrick, S 2008, "Malaysia still on piracy watch list," The Star, online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  10. Zentner, A 2005, "File Sharing and International Sales of Copyrighted Music: An Empirical Analysis with a Panel of Countries," Topics in Economic Analysis & Policy, Vol. 5 , No. 1, retrieved 18 November 2009, from


As technology advances, new forms of media publishing will emerge. New media like online newspapers, YouTube and Twitter have brought online communication and information sharing to a new level.


YouTube has become one of the most powerful new forms of media publishing. YouTube has made it possible for anyone with an Internet connection to post a video to a worldwide audience of billions within minutes. One of the best contributions YouTube has made is that it allows freedom of expression with no restrictions. In 2008, YouTube was awarded George Foster Peabody Award, one of the highest accolades in the broadcasting field and was cited for being "a 'Speakers' Corner' that both embodies and promotes democracy.” (Holston, 2008)


Twitter is the newest form of moblogging that allows it’s users to send information updates called ‘tweets’ via the Internet to be received by millions of readers within seconds.  In May 2009, NASA astronaut Mike Massimino used Twitter to send updates during the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission. (Malik, 2009) This illustrates Twitter’s significant impact in the field of information sharing by breaking news updates even faster than traditional media outlets.

Source: tvantara

The rise of alternative media in the form of online newspapers has made its presence felt especially here in Malaysia with sites like Malaysiakini, Aliran, The Nut Graph and The Malaysian Insider. Online newspapers have provided Malaysian media consumers an alternative view to the government regulated content in mainstream newspapers. As of today, online newspapers like Malaysiakini have an estimated readership of over over 10,000 viewers. (, 2009) Alexa ranks Malaysiakini No. 18 in Malaysia’s Top 100 Websites, overtaking Berita Harian Online and Utusan Online. (Alexa, 2009)

  1. Alexa 2009, "Top Sites in Malaysia," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from;0/MY
  2. 2009, "Malaysiakini," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  3. Holston, N.W 2008, "Complete List of 2008 Peabody Award Winners," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
  4. Malik, T 2009, "NASA astronaut trains and tweets for journey," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


When integrating information into both print and online designs, it cannot simply be a copy and paste for designs that work for one genre may not work for a different one even if the information presented is still the same.

Jakob Nielson explains that print is designed in 2-dimension, with much attention paid to layout, while web designs are ‘1-dimensional and N-dimensional’ which causes readers to scroll up-and-down as they read the document. (Nielson, 1997)

This is because people read documents on print and documents online differently. For print design, people read from left to right (Kress & van Leeuwen 2006), while most people scan through for information on online designs instead of reading the traditional way. Jakob Nielson explains that this is because people tend to read 25% slower when reading on through a computer screen. (Nielson, 1997)

Picture 1

Picture 2
Source: ArtsBeat

Take the two pictures above for example. Picture 1 is the front page of The New York Times and Picture 2 is the online version of the same article in Picture 1.

As you can see in Picture 1, the photo of Michael Jackson is highly salient and covers most of the front page. It immediately captures the attention of the readers at first glance. The picture grabs their attention and leads them on to look at the other information on the page while using spatial juxtaposition to make page elements enhance and explain each other. And because reading on print is les tiring than on online designs, more information can be fitted unto the page.

Picture 2 on the other hand has a smaller sized picture of Michael Jackson because huge and glaring images in online design will strain the reader’s eyes. However, online designs are complete with hyperlinks to further information to which the readers can choose for themselves instead of being lead on like in print designs.

  1. Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 2006, "Reading Images: Grammar of Visual Design," Routledge, London
  2. Nielson, J 1997, "Be Succinct! (Writing for the Web)," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from,
  3. Nielson, J 1997, "The Difference Between Paper and Online Presentation," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from
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