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How do the newspaper and television channels present the news? Essay

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Comment on use of language; fact and opinion; visual images; bias and viewing audience.

Newspapers and television channels both present the news by giving different accounts of the same basic stories. Newspapers give different accounts depending on if they are tabloid and Broadsheet, whereas television gives different accounts depending on which channel the viewers decide to watch.

To study television and newspapers, there are four channels to look at BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4, and there are three newspapers: The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and The Sun. There are also the websites and radio programmes to use.

On use of language, the way the newspapers present the news all vary depending on what type of newspaper and what the story is. Tabloid newspapers are looking to gain interest of the reader, so their language might contain gossip and can be very criticising. Broadsheet however has more facts; it is aimed for mature readers, and contains more facts and tries to give a straight report. Using two tabloids and one Broadsheet, the comparison is apparent straight away. The daily mail (Friday 3rd of January 2003) on the second page of the Daily Mail, there is a story all about Madonna and what she is wearing. The language in this report is quite informal with the words, “cool”, and “chic”. The article does use standard English most of the time, however. The start of the article doesn’t use the pyramid form of writing used in other articles. The whole article doesn’t tell the reader much apart from the fact that Madonna wears a lot of tracksuits.

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In the Sun (Friday 3rd January 2003) the fourth and fifth pages are taken up by a holiday they are starting with a lot of promotion to their newspaper. This shows the newspaper is more interested in it’s own affairs instead of the news. The next page has a double page on the twin killings from New Year’s day. The caption is “1 Twin lives…l One twin dies.” This is a very bold caption and brings the interest so the reader will want to find out about the twins and how they died. The first paragraph uses a pyramid style by telling the reader when, where, what, why, who, and how. The story is a very formal story. Other articles in the paper are more gossipy, and many of the stories are the same ones as in the Daily mail.

The Daily Telegraph is very different. On the front page there is the gun shoot-out and the article has a more informative style. The first paragraph also uses pyramid writing, but there is more information. Some of the stories are the same as the Daily Mail and The Sun, but others are not in either of the tabloids. (E.g. full coverage on national news, and also there are more pullouts.) There are more articles from around the world in the Daily Telegraph, and all the articles are in Standard English. There aren’t as many picture in The Daily Telegraph either. The titles and subtitles all try to use rhyming, metaphors, repetition and alliteration to catch the reader’s eye.

In the news, the reports are always done in Standard English. At the start of every report there is always a signature tune that shows the programme has started, and is repeated at the end of the program. In the reports, some of the people who speak might speak in their dialect. Channel 4 November 25th 6:00pm, there is a report on the fight fighters strike. When the fire fighters come on to talk about it, they all speak in their own dialect, which generally is from London or Liverpool. This can make it quite hard to understand, it also adds stereotype. Some reporters like to put in some of their own words into Standard English to make sure that everyone knows its them, (e.g. Simon Cowl saying, “You guys.”) Also the slight accent of reports can help to identify when they are on the news.

Language in the news can sway which way the reader thinks about a story. The reporter can use bias in their language to get the reader’s sympathy. In Channel 4 news (November 25th 6:00PM) there was a report on the fire fighters strike. The reporter’s body language showed she was with the fire fighters, standing out in cold, with hat, gloves, scarf, moving away from the brazier while talking about fire fighters striking on minimal pay so near to Christmas. This language suggests that Tony Blair is callous for making the fire fighters strike to get their point across.

Fact and opinion can be used more in different types of newspapers. Tabloids share more opinion while Broadsheet contains more fact (although that isn’t always the case.) The Daily Telegraph has two different clear pages of opinion, one is an editorial comment and the other is comment from the readers. This presents the news in a different way to giving facts all the time. The editorial comment can be from a main news story and shows the views of the editor. In the Daily Telegraph (January 3rd 2003) there are two pages, both are full of opinion and are about reports that are main stories. The editorial comment is found in a supplement called ‘comment.’

When commenting most of the letters and notes in these pages are opinions. There is another area of comment and this is Letters to the editor. On further inspection of comments I found a page on www.dailytelegraph.com, which gave the views of a lot of people. The main articles all have facts in the first two or three paragraphs, and after that there could be some opinion from the reporter. Traditionally, the Daily Telegraph’s 3rd page was more like a tabloid story. The stories here would have a lot of opinion and would be about people in the media. This has died down and now although the stories can still be about people in the media, they have a more formal approach.

The Tabloids however both don’t show any sign of an editorial comment or a comment page. There is though, a lot more opinion on stories from show business and royalty. Stories such as Madonna, vicar’s and floods contain pictures and a lot of opinion after the pyramid first paragraph. The tabloids present the news by giving a lot of opinion on celebrity stories, as this is what people want to read.

Channel 4 (November 25th 6:00pm) contains facts and opinions. In each report containing politics there is normally a video of a politician with a voice over from a reporter. This can sometime be a stream of short facts on what the politician is saying. The politician can often still be heard-this gives a sense of authenticity. Reporters often end on a statement. An example of this is BBC1 (6:00pm, Monday 25th November.) “They are not giving up.” This is about the fire fighters strike and shows a bold fact to close with. Facts and figures can be used to support stories and to show that the reporters know what they are talking about. These can often be used quickly in a stream so the listener feels bombarded and will accept the facts straight away. There is a reporter called Mark Mardell who uses a lot of opinion in his speech. “You see, I think” He often starts off with that phrase, which shows he is going to give his opinion. Mark Mardell also uses hand beats to stress what he is saying as if he is agreeing with himself: this is all opinion.

There are a lot of visual images in newspapers, which come in the format of cartoons, pictures, and photos. Of all eight newspapers researched, it was a tabloid- the Daily Mail- contained the most photos, (not including adverts) with a total of 126 altogether. The Daily Telegraph was found to have the least pictures with an average of 46 photo’s every paper. Images can replace words, in fact in the Daily Mail; there was a whole article in cartoon. (January 3rd 2003,) There was a double page article on Les and Amanda, labelled ‘Dear Les’ This shows a very long story of Les and Amanda in 18 short captions, so anyone busy, or not wanting to read too much can go and read the page and story in a minute.

Photos can often bring reality of a situation. Seeing a sight from a bombing and the victim’s make the deaths become real instead of a name on a page. Cartoons can often reflect on certain stories and show a funny side of them. Photos can show the person who is writing the article, which helps identify a certain writer at a glance. Visual images can show half the information of a story and make the reader continue and want to read the article to find out the rest of the information.

In the news visual content is used. The news reporter often includes Power Points and other video footage to stress facts. In BBC1 (6:00pm Monday 25th November) there are pictures of Tony Blair for political messages. The fire fighters are shown almost always standing next to braziers to stress the fact that they are striking in the cold to get fairer pay for stopping fires. The camera will portray firefighters as good people, standing with their wives or their children to show how innocent people are affected. The reporters walk towards the camera away from the brazier to relate the fire strike to them. The camera often homes in on a TV outside, with their channel news on, through the brazier. When politics is discussed, a reporter standing outside 10 Downing Street is often used to show it’s political. Reporters often make hand movements to agree with themselves so to stress points and to get others to agree.

Newspapers can be bias in certain points. If an article is going to be better if the newspaper slags off a certain person, then they will. The papers can give only one side of the story. All three newspapers (January 3rd) all give accounts of how a vicar was meant to have “kissed a parishioner,” but every paper has it in a view biased to the parishioner. This will make a better story then someone protesting his innocence. Bias can always be seen though in some shape or form. Unless there were two separate accounts in the one article about what happened from the different point of view, then the article is always going to sway to one side. Bias can sometimes be used as a way to form opinion, although the two are quite different as bias can be found in fact, but opinion can’t.

Reporters can give a biased opinion, as I have lightly covered. As I said earlier, body movements can often show how someone feels about a subject. Being out in the cold suggests that they are supporting the fireman, as does certain ways the reporter can move their arms, they can suggests that the other side is being unjust by raising hands up in a gesture of “unfairness.” The voice-over’s of certain political statement (e.g. the Channel 4 25th November 2002) can be biased without the reader knowing. It is easy to subliminally show bias and the viewing might not even notice because it is a voice-over and must be correct. Many reporters can show bias by the level of their voice, which can drop when the reporter doesn’t agree. Reporters can get round bias by asking rhetorical question instead of saying their view; this however might make the reader answer in a biased way, and back one side of an argument. All opinion is bias. An example to answer is this essay, would it be called biased or opinionated?

The viewing audience of newspapers comes with the two types of newspapers: Tabloid and Broadsheet. Tabloids generally contain show business, royalty, and gossip this gives a lower reading age of seven, whereas Broadsheet is a more formal, ‘harder reading’ approach which is more mature. The stories in tabloids often are easy to read with big images and smaller pages. This is so any person can pick up a cheap paper and read it quickly and easily. Pyramid writing keeps the reader interested and can keep the reader going and reading the article to the end. Smaller pages of the tabloid gives impression of easy to read, standing up. Broadsheet gives a sitting down approach with big pages.

News reporters keep the viewing audience intact when they are speaking. Channel 4 news is more formal so there are slightly older respected newsreaders, which stand up (apart from Trevor Macdonald), and the reporters don’t smile as much as other channels. BBC 1 6:00pm news shows an upbeat news, the channel knows that the viewers are going to be quite young and so the reports don’t go into excess detail and really show everything. The BBC1 10:00pm shows a lot more detail and also contain ‘gorier’ pictures of events happening because the viewing audience is a lot older. There is also a newsround for kids that contain a lot of show business and has suitable stories for the age range.

Apart from Newspapers and television, news is also reported on radio and by the website. Every national newspaper has a website; this gives the opportunity for up to date news. Radio gives a chance for travel reports and gives a summary of reports with any further development to them.

In conclusion Television and Newspapers both present the news in different ways. Broadsheet’s are formal with facts and an input by the readers, whereas Tabloid seem to contain more show business, although both newspapers have the same main stories-although they are not always prioritised- the stories are normally all there in some form. Television, the 6:00/7:00pm news often goes into not as much detail as the 10:00pm newsreels. Newspapers and television both, try to present the news to get maximal readers/viewers, even if they have to stretch the truth or leave out some facts and replace them with opinion.

Information used:

BBC1 News 6:00Pm 25th November 2002

Channel 4 news 6:00Pm 25th November 2002

The Sun 3rd January 2003

The Daily Mail 3rd January 2003

The Daily Telegraph 3rd January 2003


18th January 2003

Rachel Sweeney 10a1 1021 (A5)

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