Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Toward the end of Issues in Publication and Design course, I have learned many utensils that would affect my judgment in my working field right now. For example, I never knew that a darker background is much more preferable for online viewing whereas light or white background fits print materials better prior to this.

Along the rest of the things I have learned, from genre changes, compositions, etc. Reep (2206) mentioned in the reading that document designing main purpose is the attract audience and I concur to that. I have come to appreciate the movement of blogosphere and new media. As mentioned by Putnis and Petelin (1996), we live in a world where knowledge is valued and communication is important. Therefore, the unconventional aesthetic of new media, whereby news travels fast and can be accessed real-time wherever we are mark a stepping point in the communication deve. Despite all the ups and downs in the assignments, particularly that of presentations which never fail to stress me, I have enjoyed this course and the guidance by Ms Jenny Heng. Thank you for reading my blog thus far.



Putnis, P. & Petelin, R. 1996, 'Writing to communicate', Professional communication: principles and applications, Prentice Hall, Sydney

Reep, D.C. 2006, 'Document Design', Technical Writing, Pearson/Longman, New York

Ethical publishing and sensationalism

When this year wrap up, Michael Jackson's death could be the biggest news of the year, or rather, the most exploited news of the year. Snead (2009) and New York Post (2009) report that OK! magazine spent a huge lump of money, $500,000 to get hold of a photo of a dead Michael Jackson in a stretcher and publish it as their cover.

If that is how magazines are going to operate these days, we may very well be heading back to yellow journalism age again. The lack of sensitivity of publishing companies and reporter these days in valuing sensationalism factor to a story to gain higher profit could very well mark an age of dieing ethical values in publications. To take another example, there is the case of reporter barging into the hospital room of veteran Hong Kong celebrity, Lydia Sum when she was in an ailing health just to capture photos of the now deceased lady. Even if these are gossip magazines, it is no excuse to the distasteful way they are handling the publication.



New York Post, 2009, 'Michael Jackson Death Shot Not OK', 1 July, viewed 19 November 2009,

Snead, E. 2009, 'OK! cover of Michael Jackson's death photo stirs controversy', The Dish Rag, 2 July, viewed 19 November 2009,

New media and political campaign

Malaysian blogger, Bernice Low (2008) highlights the influence of new media on the change of political landscape in the country. It is proven that the mainstream media may be becoming ineffective in its role to determine voter's preference anymore with the emergence of new media. During the months that lead to 2008's General Election, mainstream media has been exhausting viewers with one-sided coverage siding the government. Before the emergence of new media, mainstream media filled with government propaganda is the only news portal that the citizen can rely on. However, with the Web 2.0 movement, people are getting more access to faster, in-depth news from news website portals such as Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today.

With more coverage on the opposition side and active lobbying through the Internet with the help of younger, technology competent members of the opposition party, this lead to the formation of public sphere on the Internet. Viewer gets to see 2 sides of political ideology and movement with the mixture of mainstream media and new media.

Sometimes, conflicting coverage between the new media and mainstream enables people to pick up the disparity on the mainstream media side. For example, the mainstream media made a full front page coverage on the success of the government campaign in the Penang state and state that there were 50,000 audiences at there. However, they never did a coverage on the opposition party, Democratic Action Party's campaign at the same place which actually garners an even bigger audience. According to Malaysiakini (2008), there were more than 60,ooo people at the venue and they even show videos and photos to backed up their fact whereas mainstream newspaper, The Star only show one photo with limited field of vision for the government's campaign.

It can be said that the limited coverage by mainstream media is also the downfall to for the government as they do not know the progress of the opposition party. Therefore, they were disillusioned into thinking that it would be another landslide win for them. Tarrant (2008) mention that people are uploading videos to popular file sharing site, YouTube of political figures in action including one whereby a politician of a ruling party declare that Malaysia is an Ismlamic nation and threaten critics to leave the country. With the citizens as the watchdog for the political scene now and the emergence of new media, politician that are not performing up to par should be worried for the next General Election.



Low, B. 2008, Malaysia's digital revolution--the death knell for The Star, and the rise of e-news portal?, CNET Asia, viewed 17 November 2009,

Malaysiakini, 2008, Malaysiakini, Malaysia, viewed 17 November 2009,

Tarrant, B. 2008, 'Malaysia opposition win shows power of cyberspace', Reuters, 9 March

Item 2-5(e): New forms of media publishing

Publishing has taken up a new form and it is not just mere simple form of blogging. In fact the dissemination has taken up many forms by now (Naughton, 2006). According to Walsh (2006), multimodal texts's meaning can be interpreted through a synchronization of modes. It can incorporate still or moving picture, speech or text and may be seen on paper or screen that can incorporate sounds and music. Moblogs and vlogs are such examples of multimodal texts that are another form of blogging as well. Many vlogs can be seen on video sharing site, Youtube.

These days, information dissemination are getting faster, more compact and cheaper. For instance, President Barack Obama shares his political updates on Youtube. Youtube is free and viewer can choose to watch whichever videos there anytime they wants to, unlike old media like television whereby the programme and time slots are already scheduled. In Malaysia, political bloggers like Anilnetto chose the alternative of Tweeter to update on the spot information while at the scene of political incidents. Therefore, new media publishing is breaking the grounds where old media could not; fast and sometimes real-time news updates that reaches mass audiences and involve them as well.


Naughton, J. 2006, Blogging and the emerging media ecosystem,

Walsh, M. 2006, The 'textual shift': examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol.29, no.1, pp. 24-37

Item 2-5(d): Designing for online vs. prints

One of the biggest problem with designing blog is the issue of credibility. Print is an old media; therefore, the composition of designing had long been establish. For a more trustworthy output, a blog should include the blogger's information and picture to show reader who's output they are reading from (Nielsen, 2005). Furthermore, Internet acronyms such as 'irl', 'lol', etc. should be avoided. Most importantly, citations and sources used must be listed out as to credit and provide factual evidence to blog posting. Bloggers mostly take this for granted; therefore, it is hard to sometimes trust news dissemination through blogs.

Whether it is in print or online, salience is a very important point to bear in mind. According to Kress and van Leeuwen (2006), the role of salience is to grab viewer's attention. Therefore, it is important to make a strategic hierarchy of viewing focal point such at an effective title that lead to article's content. If pictures used or title to a post do not relate to the content of the blog or printed article, it would confuse the viewer.



Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006, 'The Meaning of composition', Reading Images

Nielsen, J. 2005, Weblog Usabiliy: The Top Ten Design Mistakes,, viewed 19 November 2009,

Item 2-5(c): Blogging communities

Through blogging, a community can be formed through comments interactions between the bloggers-to-readers and readers-to-readers. There are 3 ways that blogging communities that can be formed; single blog/blogger centric community, central connecting topic community, and boundaried community (White,N. 2006).

Through the way of central connecting community, a network is formed via discussion of the same topic of interest. An example of such blogging would be that of Malaysian politician, Jeff Ooi. Jeff Ooi was first a popular political blogger before becoming a politician. A community in his blog is formed through the hyperlinking and blogrolls in other blogging political sites such as Internet news site, Malaysiakini and a host of other prominent local political blogger's sites. There is also the case of consistency in updating as readers in the blog would become more regular and active in commenting once they are used to and can identify to the blogger's viewpoints.



White, N. 2006, 'Blogs and community - launching a new paradigm for online community?', The Knowledge Tree, edition 11, viewed 18 November 2009,

Item 2-5(b):Blog classification

Like every other medium, blog needs to have a classification system to work out the overview content of blogs and to specifically refer to the types of blog; rather than just vaguely generalize everything is 'blog'. Simons (2008) did a simple taxonomy system to classify the contents. However, she did not specify whether the video form of blogging, vlog and micro-blogging is included in the taxonomy.

With the rapid, increasing change of blogging system, it is hard to pinpoint specific and the best way to classify the blog world. Simons form of taxonomy is far from perfect as she did not address issues such as blogs that are empty nor those the blogs that are mixtures of themes. For example, people that blogs about their lives that may also be teaching readers ways of DIYs such as cooking as well. In that case, it will be a mixture of diary blogging and popular mechanics blogging. For now, tagging system may be the next best thing before a classifying system is made.



Simons, M. 2008, 'Towards a taxonomy of blogs', Australian Policy Online, viewed 18 November 2009,

Item 2-5(a): The blogging phenomena & benfits to the community

It is fair to say that the blogging sphere has now expanded into micro-blogging with the current hyde over micro-blogging site, Twitter. From Technorati (2008), there were about 112.8 million blogs last year, with the growth of more than 180,000 blogs created per day and if micro-blogging site, Twitter is counted, the figure should be hugely enlarged by now. Technorati (2009) states that majority of the people surveyed use Twitter to promote their blogs.

Technorati also made a statistic of the contrast of the age group of majority bloggers in Europe compared to Asia. It is said that in Asia people below 35s are the majority whereas in Europe, people above 35s are the main consumers. According to Simons (2008), there is an increading need to list out the type of blogs out there as just the term 'blog' is too general in form. The diary type blog, as categorized in Simon's taxonomy, is the majority type of blogging that can be seen worldwide. However, Malaysia is starting to see a surge of political blogs as well. Even though political blogging in Malaysia is still young, it is seen as more detailed in comparison to hard copy news.



Simons, M. 2008, 'Towards a taxonomy of blogs', Australian Policy Online, viewed 18 November 2009,

Technorati, 2008, State of the Blogosphere, viewed 18 November 2009,

Technorati, 2009, Day 5:Twitter, Global impact and future blogging, viewed 18 November 2009,

The cover that sparks the fury of a nation

ABC news (AFP, 2008) brought forward a report on an issue of an Indonesian weekly, Tempo publishing a cover that depict its former leader, Suharto and his family in the posture and setting of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper after Suharto's death. The magazine's chief editor, Triq Hadad apologises after receiving complaints from Christians in the nation. Hadad explains that they were inspired by Da Vinci's masterpiece and never had the intention to depict Suharto as Jesus.

To understand the controversy of the cover, there are two things that people should understand; the context of The Last Supper and the legacy of Suharto. Suharto was a leader that is revered for his role in the development and the economic growth of Indonesia. At the same time, he is also scorned for his authoritative long ruling that is full of bloodshed and the corruption within the government that crippled the nation's economy during the 1997's recession. On the other hand, The Last Supper painting is based on event of Jesus' last meal with his disciples where he announce one of them will betray him (John 13:12, Bible). The betrayal did eventually materialize.
The original portrayal of The Last Supper incident by Leonardo Da Vinci
(Image source:

For a professional publishing company to commit such a huge misstep is unforgivable. Schriver (1997) concur to this by marking that cultural difference will affect the audience's message interpretation. Since that Tempo is a local weekly, they should be aware of the issue and insensitivity that would stem out of the cover. Furthermore, the headline of the cover, "Setelah Dia Pergi" when translated means, "After His Passing" strongly implies the Christianity context even more so.
Tempo's controversial cover after Suharto's death
(Image source:

Feijter (2007) states that media is increasingly used in relation of religious context and that sometimes opportunists would exploit the theme in order to sell off their product. Tempo is an example unethical publishing that is culturally insensitive. Another incident of similar controversial act is that of the magazine, The New Yorker depicting then-Senator Barack Obama and his wife in Muslim garb and as gun-totting militants (Mooney, 2008).



AFP, 2008, 'Indonesian weekly apologises over Last Supper Suharto cover', Abc News, 6 February, viewed 15 November 2009,

Mooney, A. 2008, 'New Yorker editor defends controversial Obama cover', CNN, 14 July, viewed 15 November 2009,

Feijter, I. 2007, The Art of dialogue: religion, communication and global media culture, LIT Verlag Berlin, Germany

Schriver, K. 1997, 'The interplay of words and pictures', Dynamics in document design: creating texts for readers, Wiley Computer Pub, New York

Internet, blogging and public sphere

What is the aesthetic to the current influx of blogging culture? In his book 'The Blogging Revolution', Anthony Loewenstein (2008) talks about the internet censorship in countries like Cuba, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt. According to Loewenstein, the use of internet and blogging is giving people a voice in freedom of speech in these oppressive countries. As mentioned by Habermas (1991), public sphere is an idea whereby everyone gets to be involved in an open, civil discussion. Internet is believed to hold the key for the realization of this theory as there is a free flow of information and blogging allows individuals to express their opinions. That is why China controls the access of Internet very strictly to such length that they collaborate with international search engines like Google and Yahoo.

A website with a notice of the nation's server shut down on the eve of Tiananmen Square protest's anniversary (Image source:

Blogging can be seen as a medium for freedom of speech and affecting the nation's development at the same time as well. McNair (2000) points out that political and social agendas are much more easily acessible and more detailed in its coverage through this medium of public sphere. In the Malaysian contex, this idea can be seen in the change of the citizen's voting style during the 2008's General Election; whereby the government parties was not given their usual landslide wins and lost a couple of state seats to the oppositions. Political blogs and local Internet news portals were attributed for creating the change. Mainstream media is heavily controlled by the government and tends to be loop-sided in its reports; therefore, people that are literate and has Internet connectivity are turning to Internet sources.

However, without any censorship control and law in the Internet, there is an issue about the credibility of Internet sources. With nobody to edit the content in the Web, there are bound to be cases of harmful, untrue information derailing a person's reputation and cases of identity theft. For example, a person can open an account and started blogging as another person's identity and write stuffs that would get the other person into trouble. As a responsible individual, one should taken into account of what he/she writes and be aware of the consequences.



Habermas, J. 1991, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trans. Burger, T. & Lawrence, F. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US

Loewenstein, A. 2008, The Blogging Revolution, Melbourne University Publishing, Australia

McNair, B. 2000, Journalism and democracy: an evaluation of the political public sphere, Routledge

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Document design

The question of what can be certified as a good document is something that needs to be looked at as a well constructed document enables the target audience to understand, accept and ponder on the message of it.

In my opinion, my group’s presentation slides manage to fully explain Karen Shriver’s reading. However, there are certain flaws that when we look back to, we had wished to improved on. For example, there is an inconsistency in term of slides usage on different chapters by each member. Some explanation could have been shortened whereas some could be lengthen on the slides.

As Putnis and Petelin (1996) mentioned, ‘we live in a knowledge economy that values information and constantly relies on communication, success in a profession depends on the ability to communicate well.’ Therefore, the overall consistency and execution of the presentation slides are important in bearing the right information to the audience. Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) highlight the importance of visual and textual communication. I think my group’s presentation slides manage to find a balance in this area.

Image 1: texual and visual intersect

Reep (2006) say that the purpose for design feature is to increase audience's interest, highlight key point to direct readers and 'to create a document that reflects the image you wish readers to have'. In order to do so, it is important to change the color of the text, size of the fonts, etc. in accordance to the importance of certain parts. As mentioned by Oakley, 'what catches your attention is the unusual composition and layout'. I think that the presentation slides in my group presentation were rather simple and usual but there is usage of photos to grab audience's attention.

Image 2: Simple layout with pictures used to grab attention

Similarly, Shriver (1997) mentioned about the way the sections in newspapers are assembled in accordance to how reader’s reading habits. The importance of headings appropriately positioned to grab reader’s attention is important. I think the presentation slides we did are neatly organize in that manner.

Image 3: Use of heading as key point



Kress & van Leeuwen, L. 2006, 'Chapter 1: The Semiotic Landscape-Language and visual communication', Reading Images

Oakley, T. 2005, 'Implied narratives of medical practice in learning-for-doing text: A simulation semantics approach to rhetoric analysis', Language and Literature, SAGE Publications

Putnis, P. & Petelin, R. 1996, 'Writing to communicate', Professional communication: principles and applications, Prentice Hall, Sydney

Reep, D.C. 2006, 'Document Design', Technical Writing, Pearson/Longman, New York

Shriver, K. 1997, 'The interplay of words and pictures', Dynamics in document design: creating texts for readers, Wiley Computer Publication, New York

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Welcome to my blog. This blog is part of my assignment requirements for the subject Issues in Publication and Design's coursework. I believe that the integration of text and visual is very important in information sharing nowadays. Therefore, a blog is the best modern tool to show how the integration affects message flow.