(Source: Photobucket 2009)

The world of blogging was one I had never ventured into. Initially there were some technical aspects that goaded my patience. Nevertheless, I eventually got the hang of the basic tools and functions of Blogger.

I also realized that that the theories of publication and design proved useful in determining the visual aspects of my blog. I was pleasantly surprised at how much it actually aided me in writing and analyzing issues related to publication and design. Theories such as Kress and van Leeuwen's 'the meaning of composition' 'given and new' and Walsh's multimodality theory helped me to understand these issues better.

On a final note, the act of blogging was an interesting experience and one that I will continue to do.
Courtney Love is being sued for libel over deragotory remarks which she made on Twitter. She made the remarks after an argument with her former fashion designer, Dawn Simorangkir, over the cost of designing the clothes (Marikar 2009). Some of the malicious remarks included "history of dealing cocaine" and because of this, her Twitter feed is now discontinued.

(Source: ABC News 2009)

As technology evolves faster, can the laws keep up with it?

Existing laws do not provide for new and unaddresed areas such as technology. For example, how should this libel case be handled in terms of social media? How can society balance responsibility with free speech? How then do we define privacy when information is so easily relayed from private thoughts to public knowledge?

There are several reasons why the law cannot keep up with expandinf technology. It is very difficult to forsee innovations in technology. For example, when Napster was created, law suits were filed over copyright issues and are still going on eventhough Napster was shut down (Menta 1999).

Another reason is that it's difficult to handle cases that deal with the Internet and the Web because it confronts a fundamental topic: A unique virtual space over an extension of our physical space.

The last challenge for the law is that the World Wide Web is not bound to any state or international borders. For example, what happens when a Twitter user in Malaysia sues another user in Australia for comments posted on the site? Which county's rules apply to the case: Malaysia, Australia or the United States where Twitter is based?

(Source: 2009)

In the end, the fact remains that the law may not be able to get ahead of technology. But they may keep up if they can overcome the obstacles.


Marikar, S 2009, 'Courtney Love's 'Malicious' Twitter Rants Revealed' ABC News, viewed 19 November 2009, <>.

Menta, R 2009, 'RIAA Sues Music Startup Napster for $20 Billion', MP3 Newswire, viewed 19 November 2009, <>.
The Malaysian mainstream media has often been viewed as deeply regimental and tightly controlled. This has been a main reason for the rapid rise of alternative media; specifically independent news portals. As the government has pledged not to cencor the Internet, many Malaysians are taking this oppurtunity to expose issues that normally would not be reported by the mainstream media. one such issue was the recent 'cow head' protest.

In this protest, Muslim demonstrators severed the head of a cow, a sacred animal to Hindus, and placed it outside the state secretariat building in protest against the decision by the Shah Alam City Council to relocate a temple (Mahmood & Ramlee 2009). The mainstream media reported minimally on the actual progress of the issue and made it seem as though it were a peaceful protest; when it was anything but peaceful.

MalaysiaKini, who posted the video on their website was asked to remove it by the MCMC (MCMC tells Malaysiakini: Take down videos 2009). They claimed that the videos contain offensive contents which could annoy any person, especially Indians. In the end MalaysiaKini took down the video from their website but did not remove it from YouTube where it is still accessible to people.

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution states that we have the right to freedom of speech, assembly and association. By reacting this way, the goverment has violated the peoples' freedom of speech. They have also gone against their promise to not censor the Internet.

Mahmood, M & Ramlee, J 2009, ‘All sides slam cow head incident’, New Straits Times, viewed 30 August 2009, <>.

Article 10 2008, Federal Constitution (as at 5 Mac 2008), Legal Research Board, International Law Book Services, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
On the 10th of February 2008, Tempo Magazine, Indonesia’s leading weekly magazine, published its issue depicting former President Suharto and his family mimicking Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper. The cover was initially created as a tribute to the President who had recently passed on.

In the Tempo's version of the Last Supper, President Suharto replaces Jesus Christ as the central figure In the Tempo version, President Suharto replaces Jesus Christ as the central figure and the apostles are represented by his family. The image drew criticisms and anger from Christians and religious groups in the country as they took offence.

(Source: Indonesia Matters 2008)

Shortly after, Tempo magazine ran an apology saying that “we did not intend to hurt Christians”. Toriq Hadad, editor of Tempo, was quoted as saying that they were only inspired by the composition of the painting. They had no intention of highlighting any religious or cultural elements when adapting the painting (ABC News 2008).

There are 3 key elements which were found when analyzing this issue: informational value, salience and framing (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006). The concept of given and new can also be applied to the picture. Issues of publishing ethics are also key points to this issue.

Informational value is based on where an element in a text is placed: center, left, right, top, bottom or margin (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006). In the Tempo version, Suharto was placed in the centre, taking the place of Jesus. This creates a high informational value as this gives the impression that he is the most important element in the picture.

Kress & van Leeuwen (2006) describe salience as the most tangible element in the text. Here we can clearly see that Suharto is the most eye-catching element in the picture as he is dressed in white whereas the other characters are in much darker tones. This adds to the salience of his image.

The framing element is used to distinguish or separate one element from another (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006). In the picture, Suharto appears to be framed by the window behind him. Also, the other characters in the picture are placed surrounding him; giving an impression of his importance.

Publishing ethics also play a part in determining the reactions to this picture. Once the editor was made aware of the controversy surrouding the picture, he immediately expressed his apologies (Weber 2005). This suggests that he has a high standard of ethics and this could lend a hand in the credibilty of his apology.


'Indonesian weekly apologises over Last Supper Suharto cover' 2008, ABC News, viewed on 12 November 2009, < >.

Kress,G & van Leeuwen,T 2006, Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Communication, 2nd Edition, Routeledge, New York

Weber,J 1995, ‘Ethics in scientific and technical communication’ Wisenet Journal, vol.38 pp. 2-4.
The traditional concept of a journalist is undergoing a radical change. The emergence of new technology such as Web 2.0, has allowed for a more participatory form of journalism. Citizen Journalism, as it is now called, has opened up the information world and everyone is having a say in it.

Take the 2002 Asian Tsunami for instance. When the tsunami hit Asia in 2004, tourists readily began capturing footages of tidal waves and the after effects on their mobile and cameras (Schaffer 2005).

(Source: 2005)

The inhospitable condition of the aftermath of the tsunami prevented mainstream media journalists from entering the disaster struck area. The breadth of citizen coverage made the publics’ material invaluable in documenting the disaster over a large geographical area (Outing 2005).

Apart from that, blogs of eyewitness’ accounts sprang up, providing first hand description of the situation to readers. At this time, there were only a few mainstream news organizations that grabbed the prospect citizen journalism presented.

(Source: TsunamiUpdates 2005)

Here we can see how new forms of media publishing is changing our perspectives of news coverage.


Outing, S 2005, Taking Tsunami Coverage into Their Own Hands, Poynter Online, viewed 11 June 2008, <>.

Schaffer, J 2005, ‘Citizens Media: Has It Reached a Tipping Point’, Nieman Reports, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 24 – 26.
Designing for print and online publications differ in a variety of ways. This is because both these mediums cater to different set of audiences and their expectencies and must therefore employ different strategies in their design principles. To further explain this issue, I will use both the print and online versions of The Economist as examples.

Print Version:

(Source: 2009)

Online Version:

(Source: 2009)

As we can see, single columns are not advisable for online sites. Instead framing devices should be used. Framing devices will connect certain elements together and separate others, allowing a clear understanding for the reader (Kress & van Leeuwen 1998).

Print texts are considered to be more personal as compared to those online. This is due to the fact that readers are able to include their own cultural understanding into print, whereas when online, the multimodal features available provide obvious meanings (Walsh, 2006).

Web users “do not read on web” instead they scan through the sites in search of a particular word of interest (Morkes & Nielsen 1997). It is essential to “prune the content to suit reader’s interest” (Schriver, 1997) when it comes to online texts, whereas print texts are usually long and narrative.

To avoid issues of credibility of online publications, hyperlinks should be added on the sites (Morkes & Nielsen 1997).


Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 1998, ‘Front pages: (the critical) analysis of newspaper layout’, in Approaches to Media Discourse, eds Bell, A & Garrett, P, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 186-219.

Morkes, J & Nielsen, J 1997, 'Concise, Scannable and Objective: How To Write For The Web',, viewed 18 November 2009, <>.

Schriver K 1997, 'Dynamics in document design: creating texts 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, pp. 24-37.
Nancy White (2006) defined blogging communities as online communities that exist to connect people to blogs and bloggers to other bloggers. These communities are formed by people of similar interests joining together to share their passions. Some examples of these communities are, Nuffnag and MyBlogLog.

Creating Blogging Communites:

According to Vinson (2006), blogging communities are created through comments left at blogs, hyperlinks connecting the blogs to other sites and shared language.Kirkpatrick (2006) says that it is a social networking system which allows people to connect to one another and gain further information on them and their blogs. An example of a well known blogging community is MyBlogLog.

(Source: 2009)

Here are some steps to get your started:

  1. Register at, add a photo and set up your profile.
  2. As you visit MyBlogLog-enabled sites, your photo shows up on the widget - a virtual calling card. Clicking on your photo leads to your profile and all the stuff you share.
  3. Add community to your blog. Check your stats, see what people read and where they went next.
  4. Play host to your most recent readers and the returning faithful. (MyBlogLog 2009)


Kirkpatrick, M 2006, MyBlogLog: Readers Network Around Their Favorite Blogs, TechCrunch viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

Vinson, J 2006, Blogging and communities, Blogspot, viewed 18 November 2009, <>.

White, N 2006, 'Blogs and Community – launching a new paradigm for online community?', The Knowledge Tree, viewed 18 November, <>.

There are many different types of blogs that discuss a variety of issues. As such, there are a variety of ways to the classify blogs. Simons (2008) suggests that there are 9 ways to classify blogs. Here are some examples of ways to classify blogs:
  1. By Subject Matter
  • Fashion

(Source: 2009)

  • History
(Source: This Twisted History 2009)
  • Environment

(Source: It's the Environment Stupid 2009)

  • Food

(Source: A Whiff of Lemongrass 2009)

2. By Devices and Media Types:

  • Photoblogs - Its focus is photography, and there are typically few words beyond a caption and comments (Gibson 2009).

Example: Shutter Maki

  • Vlogs - Exclusively videos with text used only for captions, or text entries may be included (PCMag 2009).

Example: Evan's Vlog
  • Sketchlogs - Blogs which potray the author's artwork or drawings.

Example: Kristen's Sketch Blog

I feel that the best method to classify blogs is according to its subject matter. By using this approach, people will be to find specific information pertaining to the genre that they are looking for. Wikipedia, for example, employs this approach.


Gibson, A 2009, '50 Wonderful, Inspiring Photoblogs', Smashing Magazine, viewed 17 November 2009, <>.

'PC Magazine Encyclopedia', Definition of New Media, viewed 18 November 2009, <,2542,t=vlog&i=54024,00.asp>.

Simons, M 2008, 'Towards a Taxanomy of Blogs', ABC Radio Nasional, viewed 18 November 2009, <>.
Blogs are web-based platforms for authors to express their thoughts and opinions on any subject matter that is of interest to them. Although blogs have existed since the mid-90s, it is only recently that the blogging phenomenon has exploded to the size it is today (Blood 2000). So much so that it is getting increasingly difficult to pinpoint the exact number and types of blogs that now exist. However, sites like Technorati make an attempt to do so.

The blogging trend is sweeping through the continents at a pace never seen before. According to the Blog Herald, in 2005, there were a total of 62.66 million blogs in existence. Of these:

US/ Canada/ UK/ Australia/ NZ - 36.2 million
Asia - 24.35 million
Europe – 2 million

Why we Blog?

(Source: 2008)

There are many reasons for blogging. In Europe, most blogs are based on topics such as the environment, music and wildlife rather than personal blogs (Best European Blogs 2007). On the other hand, in Asian countries, political, social and personal blogs are the current trend for blogging. In Malaysia particularly, political blogs make up almost 20% of all local blogs (Collette 2006).

Benefits of Blogging in Malaysia
Businesses and private companies use blogs to promote their products and services to a larger online audience. This in turn allows people easy accessibility to information that might be of use to them. One such example is Business Mentors.

(Source: businessmentors.blogspot 2006)

During elections, members of political parties use blogs in hopes of reaching mass audiences. Lim Kit Siang's blog is one such example:

(Source: 2009)

Blogs have now grown to cover almost all aspects of our lives and these are just some of the blogs available.


‘Best European Blogs’ 2007, viewed 16 November 2009, <> .

Blood, R 2000, ‘Weblogs: A History and Perspective’, Rebecca's Pocket, viewed 15 November 2009,

Collette, M 2006, Blogging Phenomenon Sweeps Asia, Microsoft, viewed 30 April 2008, <>.

World Wide Blog Count for May: Now Over 60 million Blogs, Blog Herald, viewed 16 November 2009, <>.

I must say that having spent almost 10 years surfing through the World Wide Web (internet) as well as 3 years having to read academic texts, I have come across various types of document designs that go across the scale from dull and dreary all the way to stunning and striking. More often than not, scholastic texts have bored me to tears while certain web pages can always hold my attention. After having done some research on this issue, here are some of the reasons why there are discrepancies between the two mediums.

The first principle to consider before beginning a document is to identify the intended audience for the text. According to Shriver (1997), document design is meant to “help people to achieve their specific goals for using texts at home, school, or work”. This means that the document should fit the given situation. This would go a long way in holding the readers attention and ultimately fulfilling the purpose of the document.

The layout of a document goes a long way in sustaining the readers’ attention. The heading of a document is the first and foremost important element when considering the layout of a document. As Reep (2006) points out, a heading directs the readers’ attention to the subject at hand and divides main points so that readers understand the flow of the document.

This is especially prominent in the above presentation slide. The heading of the slide captures the readers’ attention at first glance and sustains it so that they are then aware of the information to follow. This makes for a good document design.

Ryan Olshavsky (2003), suggests that a well-planned layout maintains “white space” in the margins and between page elements which lets the pages “breathe”. This helps readers in identifying the information that they seek. Take the following slide for example:

This slide “crams” all the information in one page making the page seem cluttered and disorganized. There are no margins, headers, or footers to give readers an inkling of what the content is discussing. This is an example of an unplanned layout.

So, now that I have pointed out a few pointers on what makes a document perfect or flawed, I hope you have a better understanding of the do’s and don’ts the next time you design a document.

Olshavsky, R 2003, Six Tips for Improving Your Design Documentation,

Reep, D C, 2006, “Techincal writing,” 6th edn, Pearson/Longman, New York.

Schriver,K.A. 1997, Chapter 6: Dynamics in document design: creating texts for readers, Wiley Computer Pub., New York
This blog will discuss media issues with particular emphasis on the issues of publication and design. This encompasses the elements needed to create a good document design as well as some mistakes that should be avoided.

This blog hopes to reach readers who want to learn in-depth about document design as well as encourage professional and academics to contribute their ideas and thoughts to this subject matter.

Through this blog, I hope that you will gain some valuable insight into the wide universe that is Publication and Design.