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To compare the way three news publications, The Times, The Mirror and Newsweek, an American weekly magazine, reported the same incident, “A Disaster in the Alps”

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Introduction

To compare the way three news publications, The Times, The Mirror and Newsweek, an American weekly magazine, reported the same incident, "A Disaster in the Alps" For this essay, I have been asked to compare three different news reports of the same incident - 'Disaster in the Alps'. On the 3rd of February 1998, a US fighter plane severed the cable of a ski lift in the Italian Alps. A cable car with 20 occupants inside fell to the ground and all were killed. The incident was widely reported in the British and American press, but the three publications I am looking at are; The Mirror, The Times and Newsweek. The Mirror is a tabloid paper. It uses pacy, dramatic language, bold type and pull quotes to report on the incident. The Times is a broadsheet paper. It is known as the establishment newspaper, has a reputation for investigative journalism and uses calm language to report the incident. Newsweek is an American weekly publication. It is in high competition with another American weekly, 'Time', for the highest sales. It downplays the incident as a form of 'anti-Americanism'. Each publication therefore describes the incident in a different way. The Mirror provides facts on the number of people killed and how far they fell. It includes opinions on the height that the plane was flying and interviews people from every angle of the incident - holidaymakers, police, fire and US officials. ...read more.

Middle

Words and phrases like 'sliced' and 'ripped apart' also help to do this. The Times reports on the incident in a more controlled manner, but it still shows the horror of the incident. The article provides all the facts without going over the top and does not try to put the blame squarely on the Americans. The article includes all the information that the reader needs for an accurate picture of the incident and the writing is structured so that the reader can fully understand the situation. As The Times is a broadsheet paper the language is also more complex and includes longer sentences. Newsweek's report is very different. The language does not show the horror of the incident, but tries to say that the outcry against low-flying planes is some kind of anti-Americanism. Even the sub-headline says that 'Europe questions America's character'. This all starts to confuse the reader and so does not give an accurate picture of the incident. The words used also try to disagree with the facts of the incident. Words like 'griped' and 'claimed' both suggest that there was nothing wrong and everyone was 'ganging up' against America. The people interviewed in The Mirror's article each give a different perspective on the incident. There are British holidaymakers, who narrowly missed being on the cable car. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Times does not have any American comment, other than the statement by the Pentagon. This means that although the Times' article is largely impartial, it does not give the American view of things. Newsweek's article is weak because it is totally dependent on confusing the reader. If it fails to do this, the reader can see through the article as just a show to try and turn the incident against Europe. It is also weak because it is clouding the truth and not facing up to the facts. The article diverges away from the incident and further and further away into things that have nothing to do with the incident. From looking at these three very different articles on the same incident, I have found that The Mirror is very good at making the reader feel personally involved, a common tactic used in Britsh tabloids, by giving the incident a British feel. From this comparison, I have found that The Times is very good at keeping the incident international and writing about it in a calm manner. I think that The Times sticks to the facts and portrays the incident as it is and does not over complicate it. I think that on the basis of this, Newsweek does not give the reader all of the information that they require for an exact picture of the incident. It changes the focus of the article and does not let the reader get into the incident in detail. It is, in reality, cheating the readers. ...read more.

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