Comparing news reports Essay

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Comparing News Reports Disaster in the Alps PLAN SECTION 1: Back round of incident  The source of each of the resources Major differences and similarities between each report(brief) SECTION 2: Factual information in each report Differences between the reports concerning the factual information SECTION 3:  Language used in each report  Differences (in tone, mood or bias) found as a result of the language used in each report SECTION 4.

The types of people interviewed (including their views) in each report  Why is there a difference in nationalities and eyewitness comments? SECTION 5: The layout of each report, including the use and effect of photos, headlines, diagrams, etc SECTION 6:  Which report is most effective (in explaining what happened and suggesting the full horror of the incident), and how is it achieved?

The differences in explanations for the cause of the tragedy, and its reactions, considering how far the nationalities and styles of the three reports account for those styles Three extravagantly contrasting news reports were written, all concerning the incident of a ski lifts cable being severed by a U. S fighter plane in the Italian Alps, on the 3 February 1998.

The reports were written by The Times (a broadsheet paper which is publicised daily), The Mirror (a tabloid paper which is publicised daily), and Newsweek (an American weekly news magazine). Each report was written for a distinct audience, presenting different information to their readers. The Times is very objective, unemotive and dispassionate, creating credibility, authority and gravitas. However, The Mirror is more subjective and emotive, with a strong national interest and personal touch, and the tend to sensationalise in addition to this.

Finally, there is Newsweek which is essentially of national interest and bias views. There is a substantial amount of factual information established in The Times report, such as the fact that TWENTY people fell three hundred feet to their deaths in the Dolomites¦ when an American military aircraft sliced through the steel wire supporting a cable car carrying skiers. This is all ascertained from the leading paragraph, which mainly consists of objective fact. Another fact provided is the time in which the incident took place: the disaster happened at 3. 25pm.

The facts present in The Mirror are prominently of the same content as The Times: TWENTY skiers fell 300ft to their deaths¦ when a low-flying American warplane sliced through the wire of their cable car. However, no time is included, and it appears that the remaining text doesnt contain factual information: In the second car one person, believed to be the operator¦ ¦ believed to be German. The factual information contained in the report written by Newsweek is mainly established in the sub-headline (which is repeated throughout the text): After a U. S.fighter jet clips a gondolas cable, killing 20¦

The remaining factual information, which is in both The Mirror and The Times, is written rather vaguely in Newsweek: ¦ about 300 feet. The factual information written in each report contributes evidence that The Times is more dependable than The Mirror and Newsweek, due to its higher content of facts. The language used in The Times (a more balanced report) is unemotive, containing restrained verbs: cuts. This proves that the broadsheet paper is more factual than the tabloid papers. What is more, the by line says:FROM Richard Owen in Rome.

This immediately ascertains the fact that the information is reliable, as he was there. The majority of the text contains a lack of adjectives and adverbs, with a far more dispassionate view: An Italian judicial inquiry into the accident had begun as well as a US military investigation. This is rather conflicted to The Mirror. However, there is a moderate quantity of dramatic adjectives (smashed), which verifies that there is some sympathy. Furthermore, an emotive simile is applied: screaming through the sky like a thing in torment.

Due to the frequent unemotive language a more calm and matter-of-fact tone is achieved, which seems to be neither against nor in favour of the Americans. The use of language in The Mirror (a tabloid paper) is far more hyperbolic, dramatic, graphic and emotive. For example, one of the captions read, DEVASTATION, which is an emotive word used in order to evoke sympathy. Dramatic verbs are frequently used (plunged and sliced), as well as an aggressive noun: warplane. These encourage hyperbole. In the second paragraph a simile is applied, creating the idea of fragility and vulnerability:

like a cardboard box. Furthermore, there is vivid imagery: The bodies were lying beneath sheets of metal. Most¦ torn apart and explicit detail is given: tangled wreckage and bloodstained snow. Due to the emotive language, a pacy, dramatic tone and mood is created that shows sympathy for the Italians and resentment against the Americans. The language used in Newsweek (the tabloid weekly publication) is very litotic, particularly the melodramatic headline: Blood on the Snow. This headline is focusing on the mess on the snow rather than the death of twenty people caused by their military.

In the sub-headline there is evidence of national paranoia (Europe questions Americas character) and litotes: clips. The language is also personal, informal (Rod¦ Tom) and vague: about 300 feet. An unreasonable complaint is made in the first line, which may show their guilt: Cavalese had griped about the fighter jets that regularly roar up their Alpine river valley. In addition to this the paper attempts diluting the blame by saying that the fighter jets were just hot-dogging', also claiming that the Italian authorities condone low-flying.

Italian military officials routinely defended low level flights¦ Finally, the last paragraph of the report supplies an extravagantly tenuous link: The pope had personally pleaded for the convicted murderer to be pardoned. This is designed to obfuscate. Due to the litotes present in the language a fairly casual tone and mood is achieved in the text, creating the feeling to the reader that the incident wasnt irregular. The majority of the people interviewed in The Times report are officials within the case: Fausto Colasanti, a police official in Cavalese and US officials were mentioned.

However, the eyewitnesses are unattributed: ¦ one witness said. Local residents¦ This is in direct contrast with The Mirror, subsequently proving that the report is very trustworthy as they are only justifying quotes made from officials who are far more knowledgeable. The Mirrors report is thin on witnesses and quotations, so instead introduces the tenuous national link of a British couple who were at the same resort and barely have connections, but are simply exploited in an attempt to personalise it. The couple, Neil Harmar and his girlfriend Stacey ODonnell have plenty to say.

Thank God we missed that car. We were on that line the day before and should have been on it this afternoon. We are shook up to say the least. However, this is gratuitous. Newsweeks report contains no eyewitness accounts at all, which shows that they are attempting to conceal the lethal mistake their country made, as all eyewitnesses would truthfully explain how tragic the incident was. There are quotations from American officials, but strangely none from Italian officials: Their commander, Brig. Gen. Tim Peppe¦ ¦ they understand their mission.

This is a way of defending themselves, as Italian officials would only provide the truth that the Americans strive to disguise. In each report the American witnesses are defending themselves: these guys are good, well trained¦ said Tim Peppe, the American commander. This is because they dont desire their country to appear so unprincipled and abominable. However, the Italians are obviously doing exactly the opposite, and blaming the Americans: an act of tragic recklessness' said Prime Minister Romano Prodi. The Times report has been presented effectively.

Firstly, there is a very large picture at the top of the page which draws the eye in, with a prominent, bold headline (that could be more advantageous however, by making the letters uppercase and large), the picture is immensely detailed which increases the readers interest, and there is a map of the location of the incident and a real photograph of the jet, both to put it into context. The Mirrors layout has been presented equally as well, with a headline consisting of large uppercase letters, which is immediately prominent also.

Furthermore, there is a detailed picture of the incident, with a caption that reads DEVASTATION (and emotive word used to evoke sympathy). Another caption (DEATH CAR: 300ft plunge) instantly tells the story without giving too much away. There is also a pull-quote to hook the readers attention. Lastly, there is an artists impression of what happened, which is superfluous, but encourages you to read on. I think that the layout of Newsweek is not very effective at all, due to their not being any pictures, captions or an interesting headline (that is instead melodramatic).

Subsequently, readers wouldnt be particularly attracted or encouraged to read on by stirring up emotions, putting things into context, or drawing the eye in. This may have been done purposefully so that not many people read the article, as the American military doesnt want to appear incompetent or dangerous, obtaining an irresponsible reputation. I think that The Mirror is most effective in explaining what happened and suggesting the full horror of the incident.

This is achieved by the remarkably eye catching layout (explained in section five above); the use of dramatic, emotive and aggressive language; and the vivid imagery, and explicit and graphic detail. All these tools successfully encourage the reader to read on and be emotionally affected by the incident. The explanations for the cause of the tragedy in each report are similar. The Times claims that the jet had been flying very, very low'; The Mirror claims that the jet flew illegally low'; and Newsweek claims that the fighter jet clips a gondolas cable.

However, the reactions from each nationality in each paper are varied. For example, in The Times the Americans give their deepest sympathy', whereas in The Mirror they claim that the pilot was apparently unaware that he had struck a cable or injured anyone', and in Newsweek say, the pilots flight plan¦ had been cleared by Italian authorities. This, along with reactions from the Italian authorities and members of the public, shows that The Times is truthful but clear; The Mirror is personal, subjective and emotive; and Newsweek had only the interest of the Americans reputation in mind. Becky Smith. 10I.

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