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What is a news programme? The question everyone should ask these days is whether news is really important or whether entertainment? There is no such thing as ‘the news’. ‘The news’ depends on more than one thing.
A dictionary definition of the news is ‘information about things that have happened’. In my opinion news isn’t ‘information about things that have happened’, news can not be literally described as this statement. News is biased and information differs on depending on the writer’s/ editor’s opinion. However it is important that we are informed by the news because it gives us more general knowledge, and also makes us more aware of our surroundings but we mustn’t be manipulated by the news that we receive.
The opening of a news programme has to be dramatic, especially The News at Ten because people might be thinking of going to sleep. ITV have certainly made it, dramatic because of the different techniques that have been used to catch the viewers’ attention. Their headlines are very similar to tabloid headlines such as ‘School attacked as children flee’. This is not a formal headline. It is more effective than formal English is because it sounds more desperate, shocking and also has impact. So the viewer will probably respond more emotionally to the headline, therefore keep watching.
Two stories have been chosen would probably affect the majority of the population. The Northern Ireland story is important because it affects both Catholics and Protestants; it is also a serious long running political issue. Afterwards they mention the rail ways story. This story is second because it affects most of the people but it doesn’t contain any violence/ sex/ scandal. This story is not used as a hook because it isn’t as engaging as the others .
The theme music is very loud. The headlines are punctuated with the chimes of Big Ben. The powerful music with the ‘shocking’ headlines may engage the reader. The graphics in the news very nicely blend into the headlines. They have made a clock using graphics, which looks similar to Big Ben. Every time McDonald introduces a new headline, the clock strikes and makes a very loud sound. This may make the viewer jump up and focus on the news. The clock also gives you a sense that it is completely updated and on time.
They first chose to show the Northern Ireland story, which is hard and slow news. It is hard new because it has a huge political affect. Northern Ireland is a country well known for it’s troubles, and so the viewer would not be surprised to see these scenes therefore it is slow news.
This story is basically about last night’s riots is Belfast, they also mention a catholic girls’ school being attacked, and children Protestants taken in school army armoured vehicles.
At the beginning there are images of boys being escorted in to the safety of armoured vehicles. The impression is given that the children are rushing into the army vehicles. These images are very shocking to the viewer as young school children being targeted.
The when the story is explained in further detail. When McDonald starts, there is a picture of an armoured vehicle being attacked with a petrol bomb in the riots. This image of Northern Ireland may shock the reader, but as the story progresses the reader will become more relaxed, it is important that they do because it isn’t good to leave your reader leaving uncomfortable. The story is shown with lots of violence. All the ‘thugs’ are mostly covered so they do not give away their identity. These ‘thugs’ may surprise the viewer because of their numbers and their desire to destroy the opposition.
In the story they show ‘terrified’ catholic schoolgirls crying in their school. There were ‘thugs’ who vandalised the car park and were trying to enter the school. Some of the windows were caged – so it looked like the girls were caged. This produces a Jaws feeling, it seemed like the girls could’ve been attacked so easily. The crying girls will make the viewer feel sorry for them. They were shocked that school children are targeted but they will not be shocked in Northern Ireland.
They also interview one of the teachers from the school. She just broke down saying ‘it has to stop’. I think this plays a big part in the story because she isn’t acting or anything she is just telling the truth in her opinion. The fact that the woman was crying and meaning what she said may make the viewer thinks about this story.
The other people they interviewed also talked about the troubles. It was important that they weren’t crying, because if they were crying, the viewer may think these interviews could’ve been planned. The interview a normal woman, this may be vital because it is important to show other views, otherwise the viewer may think that this whole story is biased.
After all this they show one of the reporters actually witnessing the violence. Not very far being there are several petrol bombs being thrown. This technique may be effective, because this makes it seem the reporter can be seriously injured. This also makes it easier for the reader to believe what he is saying because he is witnessing the event take place.
The next story was the railway story was the railway story, this story was Peter Hain commenting on the state of the railways. This is again hard but slow news. This affects most commuters in Britain, but most of us are aware of the state of the railways.
Trevor McDonald introduces the story, and they first show pictures of Peter Hain sitting in Yugoslavia? Then they say ‘his comments have caused fury back home’. The viewer may start to think of Mr Hain as a coward, because instead of standing his ground and fighting his claim, he has ran off like a coward.
They show Mr Byers trying to defend the railways by saying ‘that the comment is arguable’. Using graphics they show Mr Hain’s face in the background with his mouth open. Showing Mr Hain with his mouth open makes him look very stupid, also it seems like he doesn’t know what he is taking about. They tell what he said and also wrote it on the screen. This may make the reader feel that they are there at the time, this would make the reader more alert and therefore grabs and keeps the viewer’s attention.
When they travel through Europe they showed Brussels and Rome. In Brussels they showed some satisfied commuters with their service. One of the men says ‘Holland trains are always on time’. Compared the British trains which are quite…never on time.’ This quote adds weight to Mr Hain’ claim. When the man has a think about when the trains came on time, he fails to remember so he says ‘never’. In contrast he talks about the Dutch railways. This would probably make the viewer envy the Dutch railways and make them more furious to Mr Byers.
Around the end of the story ‘ the expert ‘ said ” Mr Byers is on the defensive here which could be against him”. ITV is now attacking Mr Byers and have pointed out one of his weaknesses. They said this around just to wrap up the story, rather than launch another attack.
The next story was of the trail of the teacher, accused of killing his wife. This story is soft and slow news. This story isn’t vital for the public to hear became it is more of a personal matter. Or in other words you can call it gossip. At the start of the story husband has his face turned away from the camera, looking really sad. Next they show him being taken to court in handcuffs.
These scenes of the defendant looking sad and looking away rather than facing the camera might make the that the defendant are guilty. When Mr McDonald mention two teachers being involved the audience would be shocked and would certainly watch on. Teachers are supposed to be civilised people, they are usually middle class, and most important teach out children. All this will add to the shock of the reader. They may also think is this what comes of a respectable life?
They do show a pantomime picture of the couple looking very happy, and the reporter says ‘this picture was taken only three months ago’. The photo also contrasts with the current images of Farnham, which may viewer clueless why Farnham could’ve done this. All this would add to the interest and make them watch it.
Afterwards they tell us that Farnham ‘broke down in tears’, and ‘felt his heart been ripped out’, when he killed his wife. Some of the viewers may feel sympathetic for Farnham and may think is not guilty. The other viewers may be impressed at his ability to manipulate the jury. In both cases they will keep watching.
They show house taped by police tape. The tape is really the most powerful thing in that image. This is really because where there is police tape you something has gone wrong. But showing the crime scene gives the viewer a sense that they are present there.