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Media Coursework Assignment Essay

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When, Where and What? (The 3 W’s) is the structure of any article. Some papers ‘beat around the bush’ and don’t tell you the facts until you read further. However there are also papers such as The Mirror, which in the first sentence reveals the ‘three W’s’ e.g. “Twenty people fell three hundred feet to their deaths (what) in the Dolomites (where) yesterday (when)”.

The Sources of an article can change a story, maybe making it biased, or twisting the truth. The Mirror has a reputation of glamorizing any story it gets, and maybe twisting the truth to make it seem more interesting, or emotional. The Times is renowned to be a trustworthy source for news, as it appears to give you an unbiased point of view in its articles. Newsweek was a very biased source, as it is American (the article is questioning whether it is America’s fault…)

At first glance you can see that the Mirror and the Times are both British, whereas Newsweek is from the America and is more political (asks people in charge, rather than locals, or witnesses). Both the British articles have illustrations to interest the reader further, but the Newsweek doesn’t. Perhaps this is because Newsweek does not want to draw attention to it?

Factual information is usually given in the first paragraph, or sentence. Newsweek is a classic example of having biased factual information “After a US fighter jet clips a gondola’s cable, killing 20”. Surely the most important aspect of the story is how many people died? But in this instance it the last thing said. The Times “20 People fell 300ft to their Deaths” is no thrills, unbiased factual statement. I personally think this is the best type of news, as you can make up your own mind about the incident rather than let a newspaper tell you it thinks. In The Mirror the facts are given at the start and interviews etc are given later, the main headline “20 skiers KILLED” killed implies there is blame for what happened rather the using “died”.

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There is a discrepancy between the Times and the others: ” The pilot did not realise the jet had collided with the cable” but then later on it says, ” The pilot managed to return to base and make an emergency landing”. Why would he take an emergency landing, if he thought everything was ok? The other two papers report that he “felt a bad jolt” but there is no mention of an emergency landing.

The Mirror uses very powerful and shocking language and descriptions to get people angry or sad for example “plunged to their deaths” and “bodies were torn apart” Also “the jet sliced through the cable” (Newsweek said ‘Clipped). Notice the difference, sliced is a more violent, intentional word than ‘clipped’ which sounds accidental, easy to do. The Times is less descriptive and tends to only show the facts rather than it’s own opinions or biased words like The Mirror. Use of descriptive or imaginative words may interest a reader more, and play with their emotions to involve them, however you have to be careful not to be biased when using such a technique.

Newsweek seems to have no interviews on the incident at all, however there are a few statements from AMERICAN politicians and Airforce personnel. Obviously the statements are going to try and justify their side of things. Not having Italian or European interviews makes the article looks less important (as there aren’t any distressed, or angry people) The Mirror only interviews locals and tourists at the incident. This is because they know that their language will be very emotional, and angry which, will be better news. The Times interviews Italian, tourists, and Americans. This type of interviewing is giving everyone an explanation and is most likely a truer representation of the facts.

The local witnesses will be angry as they had protested in the past about the low flying planes, Newsweek tries to ignore this by saying words like “griping” and “claimed” which suggest the locals are whining about nothing, or lying. The tourist witnesses will be very emotional and scared as they have experienced a near death experience. The American interviews will be like the Newsweek article and try to defend their side of things. I query that none of the dead were US citizens, and how this would have affected the reporting.

The layout for the Mirror is basic and for all ages. The text is quite big and all main statements or sentences are big and bold such as “It opened up like a cardboard box” The Times text is smaller and therefor denser, paragraphs are longer. There are no bold or large statements like in the Mirror. This style of layout shows it is for older intellectual people (this comment may be seen as stereotype) Newsweek has a very basic layout with large text. The Editor of this article obviously didn’t see it as ‘Front page news’.

This is probably because it is an American article, and there are some Anti-American feelings behind the story.

There are no pictures in Newsweek, as it clearly does not want to glamorise the subject or that their own ‘proud’ country fighter jet killed 20 innocent skiers. The Mirror’s use of illustrations is very ‘user-friendly’ a child could see this and understand it as well as an adult. Having a diagram of what happened complete with labels help back this up. They are also trying to make this a shocking report, as most of the photos are gory and detailed of the accident. The Times have 3 basic pictures including a small map, for readers to see exactly where it occurred, (intellectual).

I think the best paper to read about the incident is the Times. Because it does not try to put ideas into your head, or give any biased views, or statements. The Mirror and Newsweek are biased in their way of delivering the article such as the only interviews coming form people from the United States.

The Times achieves that ‘trustworthy source’ reputation from its layout, and audience. It is known as an upper class paper, and not just ‘out for some dirt’ like other papers (usually tabloids).

Different explanations of the incident range from Newsweek trying to lessen the guilt. It is an American report and therefore bound to either excuse or explain the fighter jets actions. The Mirror is ‘auto spoken’ (telling you what happened, not showing you) so it allows people to understand. The Times is less emotional, and allows people to think for themselves.

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