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Comparing the same story in two newspapers.

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Introduction

2003 - Media Assignment: Comparing the same story in two newspapers 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. ...read more.

Middle

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. In contrast, the Mirror's 'puff', advertising the Gold Cup, a major race at the Cheltenham festival, features to the right of the masthead. A small picture is incorporated inside, showing a jockey and horse racing forward. The puff is reversed out from a green background. 'Trompe l'oeil', is used, giving a tear-off effect to the corner of the newspaper. Almost like a quick note, the reader might make on a scrap of paper. The puff leads the reader to the beginning of the sports section, which takes up just under a third of the newspaper. This may suggest that the readers may be interested in having a bet on a race, therefore continuing its long established relationship with the working classes. It would seem that the puffs used in the broadsheet would infer the readership of that paper are well educated and enjoy varied social activities, whereas the tabloids readership enjoy sport and gambling. The Mirror features two news stories on the front page. The lead story, or 'splash', used 50% of the front page and is about politics, Tony Blair's attempts to get the UN's approval to invade Iraq. The body takes up a small space at the bottom of the page and includes the byline. The story is blocked on a white background so that is highly visible and easily read. There are 113 words in the body of the text and it is split into four paragraphs. Serif type, size 12, is used, as it is easier style to read in small print than other type styles. ...read more.

Conclusion

The strapline is over dramatised with emotional overtones. The journalist, it would seem, wants to influence what the reader thinks about. This may support the 'agenda setting theory'of papers having considerable influence in setting the political agenda, although there is not enough evidence to categorically prove or disprove this theory. It must be remembered, however, that the newspapers still have a responsibility to their readership as Piers Morgan has found out in the weeks since this story was published. The sales of the Mirror dropped below two million for the first time in 70 years, for the month of March. Morgan stated that the paper would not change its line, and went on to say that the return to its full price of 32p would have contributed to the circulation dropping. This may suggest that the difficulty faced by editors who want to make popular papers more serious must set the agenda to be what their readership wants to read about and may have to accept losing old readers now, to win new ones in the end. One might conclude that the only sure method of building a firm, committed readership is through strategy rather than tactics, by taking a long-term view. In that sense, the tabloids are no different from the broadsheets. They must create an editorial stance, which will engage their audience year after year. To make that task even more difficult is the challenge, which faces all editors: how can they make their paper feel the same every day and yet appear to be different? Papers must be predictable enough so that readers become accustomed to what they will find, yet unpredictable enough to surprise them, too. To sum up, no one imagines that every person who reads a paper agrees with all, or even anything, it says. It's a multi-media world: people also watch television and listen to radio and in a declining market the Mirror and Independent must adopt new strategies to catch the attention of their readership. ...read more.

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