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Teachers: Literacy: Text

Last Updated: Wednesday February 08 2006 11:37 GMT

Audience - Smash Hits case study

Smash Hits magazine has announced it's about to shut down after being a much-loved mag for kids for 28 years.

Smash Hits final magazine
The people behind the magazine say they feel there is no longer such great demand for their mag as today's kids have more hi-tech ways to follow music.

Students examine the Smash Hits audience and the gadgets they use before designing a new way of receiving music news.

Learning aims

By the end of the lesson, students should understand

  • What is an audience?
  • How to appeal to a particular audience

Smash Hit's first magazine

News-based comprehension

Read out this story to the class.

The story and the following questions are available as a printable worksheet.

Ask students:

1. How long has Smash Hits been running?

28 years.

2. What reason can you suggest for the magazine being published fortnightly after just three issues?

Prompt: Popularity.

3. Why has Smash Hits magazine closed?

The people behind the magazine say they feel there is no longer such great demand for their mag as today's kids have more hi-tech ways to follow music.

4. How many Smash Hits magazines are sold each week?

120,063 copies a fortnight., so around 60,000 a week.

Main activity

Design a new Smash Hits product

Explain to the class:

When you are reading a magazine article, a website or any piece of writing, it is important to think about who the text is aimed at, or the audience.

There are many different types of audience for which a text might be written. A text could be aimed at:

  • a certain age group
  • men or women
  • those with a common interest or hobby
  • people from a particular geographical area
  • people who buy or use a particular product
Ask students:

  • Who is the Smash Hits magazine written for? or What is the Smash Hits audience?
  • What gadgets do these people use? Prompt: MP3 player, games console, TV, desktop computer, laptop computer, mobile phones, handheld computer. Mark Frith, who used to be editor of Smash Hits, said: "Today's teens want faster, deeper information about music and can now satisfy their hunger by accessing information about music on a whole range of new platforms including TV, the internet, mobiles and so on."

    Scenario: The current editor of Smash Hits has employed you to come up with a new way of telling the audience about pop music. It must be more popular than the magazine, i.e. reach more than 60,000 people a week.

    In small groups, make a presentation of your idea. Prompt: You could use some of the gadgets you listed.

    Your presentation should include:

    • A description of the product
    • A description of the audience you are targeting
    • The number of people who will use your service each week
    • A method of testing the popularity of your product
    • A marketing plan. How are you going to tell your audience about the new product?
    Your presentation could be in the form of:
    • A slide show
    • A drawing or photograph with notes
    • A report
    • A drama sketch
    • Another form of your choosing

    Extension activity

    Vote: Will you miss Smash Hits?

    Students vote online to say whether or not they will miss the magazine.

    After the class has voted, look at the percentage of people who voted Yes, I am going to miss it and the percentage of people who voted No I'm not going to miss it.

    Ask the class:

    • What do you think of the percentage difference?
    • What does it tell you about the people who read Smash Hits?
    • What does it tell you about people who use the Newsround website?


    Nominate a panel of students to role play the part of the Smash Hits editor and his top advisers.

    Groups present their ideas to the panel and receive feedback.

    Ask each group: Name one thing you could do improve the your product's popularity with the audience?

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