Media Coursework assignment: Comparing news reports – ‘Disaster in the Alps’

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Joseph Ralphs

Media Coursework assignment: Comparing news reports –

‘Disaster in the Alps’

On the 3rd February 1998 20 people fell 300 feet to their deaths after an American Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler jet cut through the wire that supported their cable car which was taking the skiers up mount Cermis in Cavalese, northern Italy.

        Cavalese, a popular skiing resort is situated near Trento and about 60 miles from the U.S base at Aviano. It was from this base that the aircraft was on a combat training mission for Bosnia when the accident occurred.  

I have collected Information from three articles all on this incident. They are: the 4th February 1998’s editions of The Times; a broadsheet newspaper, The Mirror; a tabloid paper and the 16th February’s edition of Newsweek, an American news publication.

While all three articles are reporting on the same event, agreeing on facts such as place, date and numbers of dead etc. they all report in very different ways.

The Times, a broadsheet newspaper reports in a way that is very typical to that type of publication. It uses calm, matter of fact language which convey to the reader that this is an article with all the information. Unlike the Mirror, whose quotes come more from British eye-witnesses The Times focuses on comments from Italian and U.S. government officials as well.

  The Mirror’s style of reporting is very Tabloidese, archetypical of the publication, it’s pacy, dramatic language helps to involve the reader and keep the article moving. Tabloids also do this through the use of restricted vocabulary, highly compressed words and a heavy use of puns and wordplay. As some of these aren’t suitable for such a delicate and sensitive situation, however, very sensationalised language is used instead “screamed down the valley and ripped through the wire” is an example of this.

Newsweek, the American publication, is dramatically un-like either of the other two articles. The language is totally opposite to The Mirror’s report and also quite different to The Times’. Newsweek down plays the incident, suggesting some reactions were a form of anti-Americanism and that it’s wrong to blame it on America. The fact that this report comes from an American publication, a country that is involved in the events makes its contents of trying to cover up and reduce the impact of the event un-surprising.

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All three articles contain factual information regarding the incident.

Both The Mirror and The Times have a lot more quotes and put them down as they are. Newsweek, however, either leaves out the more incriminating ones, or, through the use of language disguises them.

All the articles agree on facts such as “Twenty people dead” and “Fell 300 feet” There are, however, facts that each article has and the others don’t.

The Mirror’s report contains information such as “The huge metal hook, weighing several tonnes, which held the carriage to the cable, smashed down through the roof.” There is no ...

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