The aim of my final product was to produce a magazine special in the form of a WordPress blog on West Ham United’s move from Upton Park to its new 61,000 seater, London Stadium. The message was about the different perspectives of fans on the new Stadium, how some like it and some don’t.
A footall club has an enormous impact on its local community culturally, economically and environmentally. The vastly changing nature of this part of East London as a result of the London 2012 Olympics and its lasting legacy, has greatly influenced the future of West Ham football club.
The target audiences for my magazine special are football fans, people who have an interest in football and the changing nature of football, as well as, people who are fascinated by change within communities and watching history as it is created. The media specialism for the magazine was to create a blog, including photographs of the Stadium. I used the internet to research the stories behind the blog, as well as carrying out face to face interviews. This project has helped me to progress my understanding of the sort of studies that I want to undertake for the future, such as, journalism and sports journalism at university. I chose this project because I am passionate about football. My own team is Everton FC, which is not in London and so not a part of this project, but Everton like many other football teams, has plans on moving stadium in the next few years and with the move will come an enormous change in the relationship between the supporters and the club and their local communities.
West Ham United has been transplanted from the chaotic and diverse mix of Green Street to the modern and vast Queen Elizabeth Park. The London Stadium is clearly visible from the wide luxury shop and tree lined streets of Westfield. West Ham United finished in seventh place of the twenty teams which make up the Premier League last year, playing from their former home Upton Park, yet this season the team has performed badly in comparison, finishing at eleventh. The fans are not happy, and inevitably they have linked the loss in form to the move to the new Stadium.
Research and planning
The kinds of research that I conducted in my project were primary and secondary, as well as quantitative and qualitative audience research.
I interviewed West Ham fans at a match I attended in April 2017 and included their comments in my blog. I also used a questionnaire to obtain feedback from friends, family and acquaintances to assess their opinions of how my work was progressing and how I could make improvements based on their comments. What I found out, especially from younger people was to use less text and more pictures. Please see a link to the questionnaires below:
I chose a blog to create my product as this is the format I wanted to follow, as it is a well known format in football fanzines. I also chose the WordPress product because it is easy to access and also relatively intuitive and straightforward to use.
I read 4:4:2 a football magazine and researched their website at https://www.fourfourtwo.com/.
I downloaded the West Ham Fanzine from the official website https://www.whufc.com/, some examples are below – and reviewed this when considering how to present my fanzine.
Click this link to view Blowing Bubbles March 2017
Click this link to view Blowing Bubbles April 2017
The characteristics that I used for my product were to set it out as an article, which could be published in the West Ham United fanzine ‘Blowing Bubbles’. I used the West Ham magazine as a template for my article. I planned how I was going to write my whole project and how I was going to an actual West Ham game at the London stadium and the way in which I could incorporate this into my work so that it was very personal, as well as factual. My original idea was to create a magazine focusing on all the London based teams, however I could not fit this into the time I had available, so instead I decided to narrow it down to West Ham and their move to their new stadium. The example of West Ham is a similar journey to many teams in the Premier League, who were formed in working class communities around a hundred years ago and have now been integrated into more middle class or gentrified areas and major regeneration programmes.
I also researched Youtube videos and two are available below:
I was able to plan my work well, but looking back, I would have liked to have spent more time on it.
The audience for my media product
The audiences for my project are football fans in general and West Ham United fans specifically. My magazine is aimed at all ages and demographics, male and female, all ages and all ethnic backgrounds. I think my finished product is an engaging and entertaining example of sports journalism.
I carried out a questionnaire amongst friends, family and acqaintances, who gave me good feedback and overall congratulated me on my product.
Attracting and addressing my audiences
My techniques were to give two sides of the argument to give the audience a wide balanced approach. I used content from both West Ham United and from fans in general, as well as newspaper articles. I selected content to appeal to all people who are interested in West Ham’s relocation to the London Stadium and tried to give both sides of the argument. I avoided pre judging so that readers are able to keep an open mind. The design of my article was simlar to a football magazine such as 4:4:2, and Blowing Bubbles. I included images of a woman and a man from an ethnic minority, as well as a white person to show that West Ham can appeal to all sections of our society. I used an exciting font and mixed upper case and lower case text to make it more interesting. I used a lot of pink as I think this is a colour that a lot of people like.
I also interviewed a seasoned football fan to find out his views about the London Stadium, which you can listen to below. I added images to the audio track in Movie Maker and uploaded it to my Youtube channel
What I have learnt about media technologies
The graphic design software I used was InDesign. I found it fairly easy because I have had a lot of experience of it before. Also, I found Photoshop relatively straightforward and I did not encounter any specific problems. I learnt more about how to lay out articles, so I honed skills in these specific areas. For the future, I would like to gain more advanced knowledge of InDesign and Photoshop. I would also like to buy the software so that I can use it at home. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this during the project and so there was a lot more I could have done in terms of exploring the software if I had been able to access this.
How closely my final product resembled my initial ideas and expectations
My final project is different from my initial idea, as it is a more specific piece of work than I had originally planned. At first, I wanted to create a magazine on all football grounds in London, however I settled on a more specific piece around West Ham United and their move to their new stadium. The initial idea was about the changing face of football, and how teams see moving stadia as part of moving forward into the top level of football. The final product is good and looks like a very attractive magazine and newspaper article, as it is laid out and designed well. I don’t really consider anything to be unsuccessful expect that my original idea had to be scaled down due to time constraints. If I had more time, I could have created a longer article and carry out my original idea about football grounds in London. People who I have shown my product to, think it’s a great piece of work, although they have suggested using slightly less text. For the future, I would either cut down the text or use a ‘Read more…’ function, so that a reader can click on a piece of text if they want more details.
Here are all the websites and news articles, which I took information from when writing up my magazine article “Hammers Forever”.
- Everton new stadium – Blues can learn lessons from West Ham Experience Liverpool ECHO 9 Phil Kirkbride 18 April 2017. Accessed 25 April 2017
- West Ham Olympic Stadium Deal: Analysis of the Hammers Contract Frank Keogh BBC SPORT 14 April 2016. Accessed 13 April 2017 http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36047809
- Why was London chosen to host the 2012 Olympiad? (…and was it a good choice?) London 2012 Accessed 16 April 2017
- West Ham’s first season at London Stadium: a ‘terrible’ experiences or a step forward? Jacob Steinbery The Guardian 4 May 2017. Accessed 11 May 2017
- Life at the London Stadium in West Ham’s fans owns words Will Magee Vice Sports 16 February 2017. Accessed 11 May 2017
- Blowing Bubbles March 2017
- Blowing Bubbles April 2017
- Is the stadium to blame? West Ham TV Accessed 11 May 2017.
- Our meeting with Karren Brady On West Ham Improving the Fans Experience!!! West Ham TV Accessed 11 May 2017
- FourFourTwo June 2017 https://www.fourfourtwo.com/.
- West Ham Fanzine and official website https://www.whufc.com/,