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For the purpose of this assignment, comparisons will be made between the Daily Mirror and the Independent. Issues printed on the 13th March 2003 are to be analysed. Both articles are part of a running story in relation to the impending war on Iraq. The articles look at how Tony Blair has been negotiating for a ‘moral majority’ in the United Nations (UN). The British press is made up of two types of newspapers, tabloids and broadsheets. A tabloid is a compact newspaper, half the size of a broadsheet, designed to appeal to a mass audience.
Tabloids, such as the Sun, the Daily Mirror and the Star, are associated with sensationalising trivial events rather than with comprehensive coverage of national and international events. Broadsheets are large newspapers, the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Independent, are some examples. Broadsheets are usually associated with serious journalism, reporting important events at home and abroad. They are targeted at upmarket, professional readers. During the crisis of September 11th, the editor of ‘The Mirror’, Piers Morgan, suggested that media hype should take some responsibility.
In April 2002 the Mirror re-launched as the Daily Mirror. The red masthead was dropped; a serious journalistic approach was on the agenda and John Pilger, a renowned campaigning journalist, returned to the Mirror. Serious and more credible stories began to run. Born in the 1980s, the Independent is the newest broadsheet. The paper has become famous for both its text content and the quality of the photographic imagery it publishes. All newspapers use Quark and Photo Shop today, but in the 1980s it would seem that the production technology of the Independent played a major part in its success.
What catches the eye first on the front page of the Daily Mirror is the large headline “HOGWASH” on the lower half of the page. It is spread across the width of the page taking up 20% of the pages area and is ‘reversed out’ against a black background. The typeface sans-serif has been used. Upper case lettering along with good use of the colour yellow is pleasing to the eye, making it possible to draw the reader into the article. The paper is displayed in most outlets showing the full front page.
In comparison, the Independent is presented folded, with the upper 50% of the newspaper on display. It is usual for broadsheets to put prominent information above the ‘crease line’. It differs from the Mirror with the headline only takes up 5% of the broadsheets front page. Within that percentage three bullet points are used giving the reader access to complex information making it easy to understand. The bullet points also give the impression of there being some evidence to support the story line. A picture of Tony and Cherie Blair takes up five of the eight-column grid used.
It would appear that a large picture of the Blairs, dressed in smart evening wear, going out to dinner, stimulates interest from the types of readers the Independent would normally attract. Whereas the Mirror relies on catchy headlines that take up a large proportion of space, along with bold contrasting colours and pictures, to capture an audience. This would suggest that the target audience of the Mirror might look at the front pages of newspapers and pick the one that stimulates, initially, by sight. The masthead of the Mirror takes up 20% of the page and is set to the left, leaving enough space for a puff on the right.
A bold sans-serif typeface is used for the title of the Mirror, giving it a modern technological feel. Reversing out the white title against a black background is the template used on every edition. The words ‘Newspaper of the year’, and the price, 32p, are positioned in a red breaker at the bottom of the letter M, proclaiming the paper to be reasonable in price and having received awards. The Independent appears to use a more subtle approach to its masthead, taking up 10% of the top of the page, but stretching the full width of the page.
Serif type is used, giving a traditional, authoritative feel to the paper. The logo of an eagle clutching a newspaper in its claws completes the imagery of ‘Independence’. A catchy phrase below the masthead, ‘the broader view’, suggests that are aligned left, the date is centred and the price, 55p, is right aligned. A differing price is also displayed for the Republic of Ireland, suggesting a wider readership than the United Kingdom. A colourful band called a ‘puff’ used 10% of the paper above the lead story.
Two of the three features advertised are in a supplement section of the newspaper called ‘the review’. The remaining puff advertises the education section that accompanies the Independent every Thursday. It would appear that the Paris fashion week and the screening of the last episodes of a sit-com dealing with ever changing relationships help to establish the brand identity of the Independent. The strong images used in the puff could encourage the middle class clientele to purchase goods or obtain employment, therefore generating revenue for the paper.
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