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Newspapers were the first form of media text.

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Introduction

Year 10 Media Essay Newspapers were the first form of media text used to communicate to a wide audience with the main aim of informing readers, and in today's media saturated society information has never been more vital. However, someone, somewhere selects what information is considered 'news worthy' enough to be included in their newspaper. The resulting selection of images and the angle of the report powerfully control the reader's perception of an event. From this arises 'versions of reality', where facts and opinions on the same incident are presented to readers in different ways. Using the five media key concepts, this essay aims to compare and contrast how and why The Daily Mirror and The Guardian report differently on the accusations directed at Henri Paul, the driver of the car that killed Princess Diana, and the influences it has on the reader's observation of the people involved and the event itself. The first of the media key concepts that influences the content of a newspaper is the form. Newspapers fall in to two separate categories: broadsheet or tabloid. With each form comes a set of values and conventions that a reader can expect to find. Through the presentation of an article, the form of a newspaper can be revealed at first glance. With the Mirror, your eyes are immediately drawn to the big, bold headline and the picture of a crumpled car splashed across the top of the page, which instantly distinguishes itself as a tabloid. The values of tabloids are to entertain as well as inform. Therefore, a reader would expect an article to focus on the sensational side of an incident, using pictures not only to illustrate the story but as stories in their own right. The Mirror's use of informal colloquial language (e.g. 'bike nut' and 'speed freak') and emotive words (e.g. 'horror' and 'wrecked') as well as short, simple sentences and a small range of vocabulary are typical traits of a tabloid. ...read more.

Middle

On the contrary, the Guardian portrays the 'cool-headed professional' as respectable and important, adding to the mystery of what made Henri Paul crash the car. Leading on from the introduction of the articles are the paragraphs of the main story. The more newsworthy a piece of information is, the earlier on the detail is mentioned. To examine the main bulk of the article, I will use the key media language concept to help unravel hidden meanings in the text and evaluate how the reader's view of Henri Paul is manipulated. The Mirror focuses mainly on the amount of alcohol consumed by the driver on the night, 'the best part of two bottles of wine' and 'a large glass of his favourite tipple' feature frequently in the article, as well descriptions of Henri Paul as being a 'formidable boozer' and 'drunk as a pig'. From this arises an emphasis on the crash. The newspaper states that Paul was 'three times over the limit' while driving a 'high-powered Mercedes'. This exaggerates the tabloid's view of the driver being reckless. Also the newspaper states the speed of the crash - '121 mph' - to add more sensationalism and drama. Many quotes are from bars that Henri Paul visited during his life and on the night. The death of Princess Diana is also prominently included. What is not given to reader is the employer's account of events. Why did the hotel let such an obviously drunk man pick up the two passengers? Also, none of Henri Paul's relatives, the people who knew him best, give their character of the driver. The broadsheet reports on the mystery surrounding the crash, including more factual evidence and taking a less sensational approach For instance, the phrases 'Nor was there any clue to explain' and 'where he drank the alcohol remains a mystery' support this view. This can be supported by the inclusion of the 'the French alcohol limit'. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the same time, the Guardian has as daily circulation of only 376,885 - the third highest of the broadsheet newspapers. This is due to the Guardian's more factual and mature approach to stories, which include the issues of politics, government and economy. The Guardian aims to take a more reserved approach to an incident, with a balance of fact and opinion. The fifth key concept, media audiences, play an important part in the approach a newspaper takes to a story, as these are their market circulation. Due to this, a news article will have a 'typical' reader in mind. However, not all readers are guaranteed to share the same point of view. This is where a newspaper tries to influence the opinions of readers through their approach. The tabloid uses an overall effect of attention grabbing through shock statements in the headline and article and emotive language, which plays on the audience's love for Princess Diana. On an initial reading of the Mirror's article, you would maybe led to think that Henri Paul was a liability to himself and others, and would want to know how and why this man was asked to drive a car with Princess Diana as a passenger. An overall perception of Paul would be that he was a binge drinker who had nothing to live for. However, if you had only read the Guardian, you may be left wondering, what made a respectable, quiet man drive three times over the alcohol limit? Moreover, you would have no idea that Princess Diana had been killed or injured. This chronic underplay is expected, due to the tabloid's sceptical opinions of the Royal Family. Another factor of the underplay may be due to the article subject, which is exclusively reporting the life and background of Henri Paul. Therefore, no mention of other issues, such as Diana, would be included to in keep with the Guardian's balanced approach toward articles. The broadsheet audience would consist mainly of high earners and business executives, who take a lot of interest in political and economical affairs. They would expect a factual and accurate report. ...read more.

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