Comparing News Reports – ‘Disaster in the Alps’

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Becky Smith. 10I

                                                                            ASSIGNMENT FOUR:

                                                                          Comparing News Reports –

                                                                              ‘Disaster in the Alps’



  • Back round of incident
  • The source of each of the resources
  • Major differences and similarities between each report(brief)


  • Factual information in each report
  • Differences between the reports concerning the factual information


  • Language used in each report
  • Differences (in tone, mood or bias) found as a result of the language used in each report


  • The types of people interviewed (including their views) in each report
  • Why is there a difference in nationalities and eyewitness comments?


  • The layout of each report, including the use and effect of photos, headlines, diagrams, etc


  • 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.”

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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 doesn’t contain factual information:

  “In the second car one person, believed to be the operator…”

  “ ...

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