The WWF sheet uses similar presentational devices to those used in the daily Mail article but it also uses some different ones. It uses headings, a logo, sub headings, summaries, bold print and columns. The logo appears at the top of the page so that the person who reads it can tell who wrote it before reading it all the way through. Sub headings are used to split the writing up and so that the reader can see what each section is about and whether or not to read it. Summaries are used to sum up what is being discussed in the piece of writing. The WWF fact sheet does not contain pictures unlike the Daily Mail so this may make the WWF sheet seem less interesting to look at.
The WWF fact sheet used in the first article is used to make you think that there has been a terrible environmental disaster. Examples of this language are written in the summary. Words and phrases such as ‘relentless storms’ are used. Facts are also used to give the reader evidence to show that there was a real disaster and that was not just someone’s opinion and idea of a disaster. Dramatic language is used so that it gives the reader an impression of the urgency of this disaster. It says of how little could be done at first because of bad weather conditions, which makes the apprehension and urgency of the matter grow.
The article describes the different ways wildlife was affected by the disaster. It says of how ‘a significant amount’ of light crude oil evaporated making the air particularly difficult and unpleasant to breathe. The sea spray also coated habitats, pastures, livestock and crops. There are so many bad effects of the oil listed in the article because of the fact that 84,500 tonnes of the oil spilled onto the marine environment massively affecting the animals living there. It wasn’t just animals who were affected by this disaster though, the local people also complained of irritations and side effects of the oil. The residents reported throat and eye irritations, headaches and nausea. This adds to the urgency of the situation. Concerns were so serious that evacuating the area was even considered as an option. This tells us just how bad the disaster was.
The effects on wildlife that were more ‘obvious’ are also discussed in the fourth paragraph. It says of how ‘large numbers’ of dead and heavily oiled birds were recovered in the first two weeks after the spillage. It goes on to say how most importantly food stocks (fish) will be affected ‘…which the birds are dependent.’
The language used in the second article (The Daily Mail) is used to make it seem that the incident has had little effect on wildlife. The language used in this article includes powerful emotive language such as ‘rebirth of beauty’, ‘it was a triumph’ and ‘[Nature] appears to be winning handsomely.’ Words and phrases like these are used to divert attention away from the fact that there has been a terrible disaster where 84,500 tonnes of oil has been spilled onto the marine environment. The article describes how nature is ‘getting back to normal’, how young are being born healthy and it makes it sound very positive and hopeful. The writer is trying to portray how nature has battled against ‘mans mistake’ and overcome the odds. It even goes on to suggest that nature is perhaps even better after the disaster. The writer comments ‘ we wondered what all the fuss had been about.’
The writer of this article asks the reader questions in paragraph three. This method of writing is used to make the reader feel involved emotionally and it also helps to add drama to the article. One question the writer asks the reader is ‘what of the predictions of doom and disaster merchants whose voices where raised by so many?’
When the initial facts are noted in the article the writer still attempts to cover them up. The writer talks of ‘Blackened beaches’, ‘Washed up dead birds’, and ‘Sheep and humans half blinded by the oil filled breezes.’ The writer tries to cover up this bad news by sandwiching it between long sections of good news so that it doesn’t stand out too much.
In the WWF fact sheet it tries to change things. The writer of the article tries to convince the reader that carrying oil by ship is dangerous. They say ‘This need never have happened.’ Emotive language is also used to appeal to the reader’s emotions about these dangers. Words such as ‘critical issues’ and ‘urgently’ are used to give the reader an impression of the seriousness of the issue. In the paragraph named ‘History revisited’, the final plea for help paragraph and the ‘Questions must be asked’ paragraph, the writer suggests controls on oil shipping need to be taken. The WWF list controls and factors that need to be checked, these include ‘maritime navigation,’ ‘ship design,’ ‘sea worthiness’ and other factors.
Both articles use statistics and quotations to support their point of view. The first article has a quotation from 1968. This quote is by scientists at the end of a report on the Torrey Canyon oil disaster of the Scilly Islands. It states, ‘We are progressively making a slum of nature and may eventually find that we are enjoying the benefit of science and industry under conditions which no civilised society should tolerate.’ By this it means that the damage we are inflicting on nature is getting progressively more serious. This quote is referred to to make the reader realise that it could happen again and that it needs to be prevented from happening in the future. This backs up what the WWF were saying and because a professional scientist says it it makes the reader believe it more. The article uses statistics to right at the very beginning so as soon as the reader reads it they know that is serious.
The second article uses statistics and the opinion of a local naturalist to back up the article. The statistics are given so that the article sounds more convincing and so that clear evidence is given. The opinion of the naturist is given in this article so that the reader thinks that the naturalist knows what he is talking about and it sounds more convincing coming from him. Also it backs up the points The Daily Mail is trying to make.
The WWF sheet ends with a paragraph in bold writing. In this section they clearly appeal to the emotions of the reader by using emotive language. Words and phrases used in this closing paragraph that appeal to the readers’ emotions include ‘sympathising’, ‘disaster’, ‘plight’, ‘urgently’ and ‘critical issues’. Words like these help to make the reader aware of the urgency of the issue. The reason this paragraph is so dramatic in the language it uses is because the WWF are trying to encourage the reader to help and ‘prevent another marine disaster.’ They want the reader to do this by writing to the Minister of Transport ‘sympathising with the plight of the Shetlanders…’
The two texts look at the event from opposite viewpoints. Of the two I thought that the language used in the first article was more shocking and made the event sound devastating and more like a disaster compared to the way in which the event was described in the second article. One of the main reasons it sounded more realistic and shocking was because statistics were used to show the readers just how bad the disaster really was. Another reason I think that the first article was particularly effective because it uses words such as ‘emergency’, ‘critical’, ‘salvage’ and ‘disaster’. Words like these are effective because they are examples of emotive language. They appeal to the readers' emotions and make them think that the situation is urgent and that the animals are in great danger. This encourages the readers to help, which is the aim of the WWF (as they say in the last paragraph in
bold). The overall effectiveness of this article is very good, though when I read the last paragraph it made me think differently because the WWF sound like they are using the disaster for advertising purposes.
The second article was trying to convince the reader that the disaster was not so bad. This article did not succeed in convincing me of this though. The writer of this article tried to obviously turn it around and instead of making the disaster itself the subject of the article, they tried to make the beauty and power of ‘mother nature’ the main subject of the article. Like the WWF fact sheet, this article also uses emotive language to persuade the reader, however the emotive language is used for the opposite reason. Instead of using it to show just how bad the disaster was, the writer uses it to say how the disaster wasn’t that bad. Examples of the emotive language used are words such as, ‘triumph’, ‘signs of hope’ and ‘rebirth of beauty’. These words didn’t convince me though because the writer has an obviously biased view and to me it sounds as if this article is attempting to cover up the incident and make it sound as if it wasn’t the fault of the oil tanker and the company behind it.
I thought that the most effective and convincing article was the WWF fact sheet. The language in the text convinced me because the article was written very clearly with statistics and quotes to back up their points. Compared to the other article I thought this was better because instead of trying to cover up what happened the WWF article just gave the bare facts. The powerful emotive language also helped to convince me with words such as ‘rapidly,’ ‘critical’ and ‘disaster’.