Thursday, November 19, 2009


Throughout the process of this serious weblog, I have learnt to apply the following:

- Blog ethically and wisely

- Be cautious of my publishings (photos and text)

- Know and study my target audience

- Cite credible sources for information.

It has been an incredible blogging experience and I sincerely hope my blog postings will benefit document designers and media publishers.

Media and Publishing Issue: The Dawn of Mobile Video Blogging

In November, 2005, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced that it is establishing a new Emmy category for original programming created specifically for non-traditional viewing devices (Carey & Greenberg , 2006) such as mobile video blogging. This new form of media is more inclined and received towards the younger generation due to their fluency and familiarity with the World Wide Web as well as their short attention span. With the invention of Nokia N95 video editing feature, mobile video editing is made much easier. Combining YouTube, high speed broadband and a moblog savvy mobile phone, this new blogging phenomenon, has swept across the nation in epic proportions

Mobile Video Blogging in Malaysia
The first mobile video blogging competition in Malaysia was held online in 2008. The competition titled My Life My Way was aimed at discovering young talented directors via the act of mobile video blogging.

The winner of the mobile video competition's video:

In my opinion, this mobile video blogging phenomena will grow immensely in time t come as it is a brilliant outlet for youths and budding video journalists to express themselves.


Carey, J & Greenberg, L 2006, ‘And the Emmy goes to… a mobisode?’, Television Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 2-4, viewed 25 October 2009, <>

Simmons, D 2009, ‘Rise of the mobile video blog’, BBC Click Online, viewed 18 November 2009,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Media Issue: The SMS Effect of 2008 General Elections

Caption: Results of the 12th Malaysian General Elections 2008 (

The 12th Malaysian General Elections held on March 8, 2008 marked the significant capability of Malaysians taking charge of democratic rights and implementing new media technologies (blogs and SMS) in spreading influence over the elections’ astounding outcome. The ruling government, Barisan Nasional resulted in a loss of 5 states to the Opposition party; this is the first time since the 1969 election that the coalition did not win a two-thirds supermajority in the Malaysian Parliament (Wikipedia 2009)

There was major push in the last two to three days before the polling date saw Malaysians forwarding SMSes to each other encouraging an Opposition vote, with a plea for the SMS to be forwarded to 10 people (Low 2008); the trend of forwarding SMSes have now been incorporated into disseminating political propaganda, and thus resulting in the government’s massive loss. Media analysts and local politicians were shocked as they did not anticipate the impact of one line text messages.

In my opinion, media publishing will continue to evolve in the future; becoming shorter in content size, faster in sharing and a greater influence.

Low, B 2008, Malaysia's digital revolution--the death knell for The Star, and the rise of the e-news portal?, CNET Asia, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Wikipedia 2009, Malaysian general election, 2008, viewed 18 November 2009, <,_2008>

Media and Publishing Issues: Power of the Photograph

In today’s world of digital cameras and hand held video cameras, taking photographs have evolved from mere keepsakes in the past to a creative form of expression that is being actively practiced by professional as well as amateur photographers around the world. Shepard (1967) states that with pictures the message is of better recollection; as memory for pictures tends to be better than memory for words alone; and with the rapid share feature of photo blogging facilities available to users today photo galleries have become the trend of documenting events and memories.

Following the rehabilitation of the catastrophic war that shelled Croatian port city of Dubrovnik back in the early 1990s; a photography gallery in the city’s centre known as The War Photo Limited Gallery ( 2008), showcases graphic and heart wrenching photographs of the war. Dedicated exclusively to the horrors of the war, this exhibition preserves the memories of the painful struggles endured by the people during that difficult time. Images displayed in the gallery are unlikely to be found in mainstream newspapers due to its graphic and vivid nature; as newspaper editors often select photos that do not depict such traits in order to cater to their target audience (Heizman 2007)

Caption: The pain of a child during war (

Caption: An armed soldier during war (

Case Study in Malaysian Context: Cow-Head Protest Fiasco
Earlier this year, Malaysians saw a vicious racial controversy caused by an unethical protest on the construction of a Hindu temple; which resulted in the parading of a severed cow’s head. The issue was downplayed by the mainstream media (local newspapers) due to its explicit nature and the risk of igniting racial tension among the multi cultural society, but was actively covered on independent online news portals such as Malaysian Insider.
Caption: Protestors stepping on severed cow's head (
Caption: Protestor parading severed cow head and protest sign (

These visuals portray the profound message that has been intelligently captured by the photographer and enhances its value as an issue that has caused colossal impact on the Malaysian community and left a mark in the country’s history. However, the question remains if such negative occurrences should be in continuous coverage; as do people really want to remember nightmares.

In my opinion, document designers must be careful and sensitive when selecting visuals, as it should not cause adverse effects on the community, due to Malaysia’s multi-racial and cultural society. As the famous saying goes “a picture paints a thousand words”; ensure that it imparts the right story to the right audience.

Heizman, S 2007, Media Report, ABC Radio National , Australia, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Kamal, S 2009, ‘Protestors threaten bloodshed over Hindu temple’, Malaysian Insider, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Shepard, RN 1967, ‘Recognition memory for words, sentences, and pictures’, J Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, no. 6, pp.156–163.

Travel Tip: War in Pictures 2008, cosmotourist, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Media and Publishing Issues: Kindle VS Books

Caption: Kindle takes over books. (

By Christmas this year, Amazon will release an international version of its popular Kindle e-book reader to be functional in 100 countries and will use high-speed mobile telephone networks to download books, magazines, newspapers or personal documents. The latest version of Kindle is an asset for to increase book sales as well as battle the increasing number of competitors. This ‘15cm screen device that displays shades of grey, can store 1500 books and has the ability to download books wirelessly’ is the noted future of books and print media publishing. (Harvey 2009)

5 Reasons to Use Kindle (Biggs 2009)

- Excellent for travellers; no more carrying excessive weight of paperback books.

- Insert any documents into it; easily email DOC, TXT, and PDF files to your own Kindle email address for conversion to the Kindle (at a small cost of 10 cents)

- Works in inclement conditions; whether by the pool or at the beach, you do not have to fear your books getting wet or damaged.

- In-Line dictionary; quicker access to definitions

- Bookmarking and highlighting; it effectively enables users to select text and add notes or bookmarks.

Issue: Threat on Print Media Production.

Caption (above): Original printed version of book (news.cnet)
Caption (above): Kindle application for IPhone version of the book above (

The debate here is whether the rise of Amazon’s Kindle will affect traditional print based books. In this technologically advanced era, users may find Kindle to be more compelling than the usual ink on paper; this may pose danger to print media production and the income of book publishers. While the Kindle does help save the trees, it eliminates the aesthetic value of printed books; sometimes the feel and smell of a printed page arouses readers to pick up a book; as Reichenstein (2007, p.27) describes, the ‘physical presence’ and the ‘magic of printed text’ of a book is one thing Kindle cannot offer.

In my opinion, despite the rapid development of Kindle and e-books, conventional print based books will continue to be part of the world today. This is because the tangible production of print media enables it to be kept as historic ‘keepsakes’ for future reference (Kitch 2009); the physical worth, in terms of content and publication design of print media productions are of great significance in time to come. Hence, this feature secures the existence of traditional printed books as we head towards a paper-less environment future.

Biggs, J 2009, ‘10 reasons to buy a Kindle 2… and 10 reasons not to’, Crunch, viewed 18 November 2009, from <>

Harvey, M 2009, ‘International version of Kindle out for Christmas’, The Australian, viewed 18 November 2009, from <>

Kitch, C 2009, ‘The afterlife of print’, Journalism, vol. 10, no.3, pp.340-342

Stein, S 2009, ‘Old, real book vs. Kindle alternative: Which wins?’, CNET News, viewed 18 November 2009, from <>

Reichenstein, O 2007, The Future of News: How to survive the new media shift, Information Architects, Japan

New Forms of Media Publishing: Micro Blogging

Caption: Twitter Logo (

“The mass media of tomorrow that we had waited for so long yesterday has at last arrived today” (Teoh, 2008)

The days of waking up to news on the radio and newspaper headline are now eventually being replaced by super rapid, one liner news alerts via Twitter; the era of micro blogging has arrived in Malaysia.

During the day of the Perak government collapse in May 2009, news of arrests surfaced, however online news portals and blogs were not able to deliver the news at its usual speed due to heavy online traffic. Administrators and users were frustrated as they were not receiving updates on the significant event occurring in Perak. This was when Twitter surfaced as the hero of quick media publishing. News updates were published in less than 140 words on Twitter, and its users became the most quickest updated individuals on the May 7 fiasco (The Malaysian

Twittering or micro blogging has swept across the nation changing the way we consume information; so much so, politicians and reporters are also riding the Twitter wave. This minute media publisher has brought tremendous effects on the media publishing industry. Gibson (2009) reports that many Malaysians between ages 15 to 40 are currently digitally-astute ‘netizens” and are not only message carriers but creators as well through social media; this asserts the fact that professionalism of media publishing may fall under threat as tech-savvy Malaysians now crave for short and precise information at rapid speed and are fully capable of publishing their own content, without much censorship.

Caption: Follow Me On Twitter (

Such changes that occur in news production practices are linked to the alterations in journalists’ professional identity and poses difficulty on proficient media production. (Mitchelstein & Boczkowski 2009, p.563); this affirms the fact that roles of journalists are in danger, as such online platforms that enable everyone to share information depletes the reliance on updates by news reporters.

Gibson, D 2009, ‘Communication for the connected generation’, The Star Online, 19 September, retrieved from

Teoh, B 2008, ‘Trends & future on the Malaysian Mass Media’, Dewan Tunku Canselor, University of Malaya, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Twitter finally arrives in Malaysia 2009, themalaysianinsider, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Mitchelstein, E & Boczkowski, P 2009, ‘Between tradition and change: A review of recent research on online news production’, Journalism, vol.10, no.5, pp.562-586

Blogs: Designing for Online VS Print

Print based texts (newspapers) and multimodal texts (online weblogs) are both aimed at forming interaction between the reader and the text. As Schriver (1997) suggests that the typography of a document can influence a readers perception of the content and help them engage with the subject matter, therefore, in order to further engage readers with the document, designers must be aware of the contrasting styles when designing for online and print.

Online – Malaysia Today Blog

(Caption: Written in a quick and easy format for readers to grasp information fast and consists of a F shaped reading pattern)

Actionable Writing Style
The Web is known for its fast-paced nature; users who search for information online are usually very specific with their search and filtering of content. Thus, content for Web ‘must be brief and get to the point quickly’ (Nielsen 2008) in order to cater to the online readers’ needs. For instance, group content into bullet form and bold keywords to capture the attention readers.

F Shaped Reading Pattern
When reading content on the Web, users tend to read quicker, scanning for keywords that are of relevance to them; instead of reading the complete text. According to Nielsen (2008), ‘eye tracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe’

Caption: F Shaped reading (

Print - The Star Newspaper
Caption: Written in long and well-construct sentences, consists of many reading paths and significant details are arrange on the top of the page.

Narrative Writing Style
Unlike on the Web, content published in newspapers depict an author-driven style of writing. As readers will take time to read the complete document, a linear narrative with well-crafted sentences in a story telling manner is the right way to arrange a print based document (Nielsen 2008)

Multiple Reading Paths
Due to its nature of a non-linear text, newspapers and magazines have many reading paths. Therefore, the content should be strategically sub-headed in order to maintain the readers attention on the document; as Bernhardt (1986) affirms ‘in the visible text, the goal is to call the reader's attention visually to semantically grouped information, focusing the reader's attention on discrete sections’ Furthermore, all important quotes and images as well as the logo and headline are arranged on the top of the page; as described by Penman (1998) the reader’s eye is also more likely to gravitate to the top of the page and not the bottom.


Bernhardt, SA 1986, ‘Seeing the text’, College composition and communication, vol. 37, no. 1, pp.66-78

Nielsen, J 2008, F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Nielsen, J 2008, Differences Between Print Design and Web Design, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Nielsen, J 2008, Writing Style for Print vs. Web, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Penman, R 1998, ‘Document structures and readers’ habits’, Communication News, vol.11, no.2, pp. 1 & 10-11.

Schriver, K. A.1997, Chapter 6: ‘The interplay of words and images’, Dynamics in document design : creating texts for readers, Wiley Computer Pub., New York, pp. 361-441

Blogs: Blogging Communities and Building Them

Blogging communities or blogosphere refers to a ‘collective community of several blogs’ (Webbusinesswiz 2009). These societies as described by White (2006) signify the technological act of joining; whereby people all around the world who share the same interest, find each other and communicate via blog sites. Over a short span of time, these blog communities have expanded greatly; so much so that it forms close knit relationships with among people who have never even met each other.

Caption: Blogging Community (

How to Build a Blog Community?

Unlike traditional media formats such as newspapers and magazine, blogs enable reader to actively post comments. For instance, Somer (2009) discusses the attitude of a blogging community site known as Joe User, which focuses on individuals’ personal issues; ‘when one person has something important happen to them in their life, up to 100 or more comments will arrive under their blog entry with advice and information as well as emotional support from their blogging friends.’

Like page markers for a book, tags are online links that help readers to search and detect for blog postings of a certain topic.

Listing in Online Directories:
Blog Malaysia .com is an online blog directory for Malaysian bloggers. A good way to build a blog community is by listing a blog under such directories as it features and advertises the blog to others, providing specific details such as percentage of blog popularity and description of blog genre.

Some Types of Blogging Communities:

Gaming: A blog about the very popular Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne custom map, Defense of the Ancients (Dota).

Health: A blog providing tips on surviving alcoholism and depression.

Travel: blog on the best places to eat around Malaysia.

Case Study of a Blogging Community in Malaysia:
One of the most popular blogging communities in Malaysia is the blog of former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, known as Che Det
With currently 24,972,819 viewers to date, this blogging community revolves around the citizens of Malaysia who actively participate by sharing their thoughts on the political environment as well as the governmental issues affecting them, with the former minister via comments and votes on blog polls.

Blog Malaysia 2008, blogmalaysia, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Blogging Communities for the Blogging Enthusiast, 2009, webbusinesswiz, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Somer, J 2009, Blogging Communities Turn Faceless Strangers into Close Friends,, Australia, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

White, N 2006, Blogs and community: launching a new paradigm for online community?, Creative Commons, San Francisco, USA, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Blogs: Classification Systems and Styles

Caption: Blog Taxonomy (

In the current world of colossal technological advancements and developments, anything and everything we can think of no longer requires taxing hours of searching as it is all within a click of the mouse. However, we are faced with the issue of having too much of resources and access; hence, information overload. This is when blogs come to the rescue. Due to its nature of niche audience, blogs narrow down their topics to cater to very specific publics; this enables viewers to filter the content easily and inspect sites that are related their subject matter only. (Democratic 2006)

Blog taxonomy refers to the classification of blogs; besides assisting readers, the categorization of blogs helps bloggers increase ‘site traffic and repeat visitors significantly’ Examples of blog taxonomy: filter-style and free-style

The focus of such blogs are ‘linking to sites and/or articles that the author finds worthwhile for his or her readers’ (Wang 1999) Such sites act as guides for users to access other sources and websites. Simons (2008) classifies these blogs under the term ‘The Digest Blog’ Example: Veena’s Food Blog with Recipes:

These blogs narrow its focus towards the ‘internal world of the blog author’ (Ozawa 2001) From angst fueled teenage diaries to random daily rambling; such blogs give an insight to readers about the author’s daily life and personality. Simons (2008) describes these blogs as ‘The Diary Blog’ whereby its genre is ‘intended for the friends and family of bloggers; as they contain news, photos and information of a largely personal kind.’ Example: Zara-Fied:

Other examples of blog classifications, according to Simons (2008):

  • The Pamphleteering Blog
  • The Digest Blog
  • The Advocacy Blog
  • The Popular Mechanics Blog
  • The Exhibition Blog
  • The Gatewater Blog
  • The Diary Blog
  • The Advertisement Blog
  • The News Blog

Examples of other blog categories:

By media type:
Vlogs (video based blogs)
Photolog (photograph based blogs)
Tumblelogs (mixed media based)

By device:
Moblog (blogging via mobile phones)

By status of publishers:
Corporate Blogs: Official Google Blog
Business Blogs: Malaysia Finance

By subject matter:

In my opinion, the best way of classifying blogs are through its subject matter and its popularity. As blogs of all genre are written by various individuals of different demographics (gender, location, education background), specified blog topics and high popularity statistics can help determine if the weblog is worth reading.


Blog taxonomy in a nutshell. The importance of tags and categories 2006, Democratic Underground, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Simons, M 2008, Towards a taxonomy of blogs, Australian Policy Online, Swinburne University of Technology, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Wang, A 1999, Online Digests Help Readers Cope With Information Avalanche. The New York Times On the Web, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Ozawa, KR 2001, Journal vs. weblog,, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Blogs: Current Phenomenon and Benefits to Society

Caption: Bloggers: Yesterday, Today and Tommorow (

The days of waiting anxiously for the 8p.m news are over; today with just a click of the mouse, no matter when and where (provided there is Internet access) we have full access to and overwhelming amount information at the rapid speed. As the Centre for Social Media (2009) discusses, users are no longer mere passive audiences who wait for information to be served, instead they are hungry for news and actively participate in seeking and sharing content. Hence, we put aside our newspapers and welcome the blogging phenomena.

Statistics: search engine indexed nearly nine million blogs around the world to date. (Thurman, 2008)

Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture (2009) indicate some 17,000 Malaysians operate blogs

Blogging Benefits

A significant example would be the ‘Blogger turn Member of Parliament’ Jeff Ooi ( who pioneered e-community in 1999 ( and social-political blogging in Malaysia in 2003 and was democratically elected as the Member of Parliament for Jelutong, Penang in the recent 2008 General Elections. (Asian Correspondent, 2009)

Food Blogs are especially popular in Malaysia; as we serve up a diverse and multi cultural platter of delicacies that is not found anywhere else in the world. Promoting even dilapidated hawker stalls in corners of the cities, bloggers shed light on the best places for good food and ambience; their reviews are blatantly honest and gives readers a better insight on the restaurant as compared to the usually analysis from food critics.

The latest trend in raising quick money for youths are online fashion boutiques generated through blogs. Such sites post photos of outfits and detailed descriptions that allow users to decide and mail order their purchases. Shopping for clothes can now be done without spending hours walking through shopping malls. For example, this is a fashion blog generated by a fellow college student of mine:

Promoting events are now much cheaper and easier through blogs. Event managers can now advertise and update people about their events as well as reach out to the community for vendors and spectators; without paying exorbitant advertising rates. For instance: SOC Media Carnival by Taylors College Students blog

Caption: SOC Media

Emarketer US Blogger Statistics 2008-2013 2009,, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Siaraf K 2009, Shaping a modern society, The Star Online, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Centre for Social Media, 2009, Public Media 2.0: Dynamic Engaged Publics, (Audferheide, P, Director), Centre of Social Media, Washington, DC

Thurman, N 2008, ‘Forums for citizen journalists? Adoption of user generated content initiatives by online news media’, New Media & Society, vol.10, no.1, pp.139-157
Asian Correspondent 2009, asiancorrespondent, viewed 18 November 2009, <>

Document Design: Principles and Techniques

The design of a document is of great importance as with one look at document, reader’s will judge and form an impression to decide to continue reading of worth a second look; as Schriver (1997) suggests, the typography of a document can influence a readers perception of the content and help them engage with the subject matter. Therefore, document designers ‘need to be aware of the meaning-making processes’ Kress & van Leeuwen (2006) in order to create an effective, comprehensible and reader-friendly document. For this reason, document designers should study their target audience carefully in order to cater to their demands.

Penman (1998) asserts “documents need to be structured to accommodate these two quiet different reading habits” referring to “flippers” those fan the pages in search of something that will capture their eye and the more structured readers who read from the top to bottom of the page. Document designers can group the important information in the text in bullet form as well as bold key points, to help the reader sift through the document’s content.

Besides that, document designers should also apply a sense of diversity of elements when producing a document; they should use text and images to maximise readers’ understanding. As according to Kress & van Leeuwen (2006, p. 19) society today has become more visual literate. Walsh (2006) states that images are used in the feature to improve reader’s aesthetic and imaginative; this is also affirmed by Shriver (1997) who states that ‘Pictures arouse the reader’s interest and curiosity and are often well remembered even long after people see them.’ thus, it is essential to include images that capture readers’ attention.

Concurrently, document designers should also be wary when incorporating images. Schirato & Yell (2000) states that, meaning is made as members of a particular culture, society, social grouping or community as agreed to. The demographic profile of the target audience is significant when a document is being generated. For example, in Malaysia, document designers should be careful when using controversial images that can ignite racial tension among the multicultural society.

My group presentation was based on the reading “The Textual Shift: Examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts” by Maureen Walsh. We incorporated proper document design elements into our presentation such as colours and appropriate font sizes.

In order to enhance viewer’s understanding as well as to capture their attention, we used images in our slides.

We also arranged the vital details of our presentation in bold text and grouped them in bullet form.


Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. 2006. Reading images. Chapter 1: The semiotic landscape: language and visual communication.

Penman, R 1998, ‘Document structures and readers’ habits’, Communication News, vol.11, no.2, pp. 1 & 10-11.

Schirato, T. & Yell, S. 2000, Communication as Social Practice, Allen & Unwin, Australia

Schriver, K.A. 1997, Chapter 6 in Dynamics in document design: creating text for readers, Wiley Computer Pub, New York

Walsh, M. 2006,” ‘Textual shift’: Examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts,” Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol.29, no.1, p.24-37.

Purpose of Serious Weblog

The objective of this weblog is to underline the various issues of publication and design. Through the application of the right publication and design methods, a good document will be created; communicating efficiently and effectively with the appropriate target audience.

The target audience of this serious weblog are document designers and students as well as those who are passionate in the field of publication and design.