BBC coverage - Sample Essay

The first programme, which I saw, was the channel four news at seven; the bulletin started off with the headlines and behind the presenter there stood a photograph of the incident. He made an entry statement, then the theme tune of the programme began. Then a statement, then the same beats again. After the headlines are over then the main tune starts along with flying boxes of the headlines including the crash of both buildings and eye witnesses. Without any more words from the presenter, it goes straight on to amateur footage of the dust coming down on him, he was almost praying for his life!

I think they chose this footage because it showed how scared he was and all he got was the cloud of smoke! ‘An attack on the US is on all of us’ is said. This keeps the viewer interested and eager to stay tuned. The following section of the broadcast is another example of amateur footage looking up at the plane flying straight into the tower, leaving in the voice of a nearby pedestrian. I think they chose this footage because it has a strange camera angle and that, again, shows the fear of the public. This helps the viewer interact and identify with the feelings of the people who were there!

The next part of the newscast is many angles of the attack. This is to help the viewer relate to the incident and helps us get to grips with the event. By having many camera angles helps one visualize the catastrophe. Also it just shows that whatever angle you see it from it does not get any better! It is also rather making a statement about the attack; it is not a Hollywood film, but an attack, with real people who died and cried because of it. That should help you realise the scale of it all! The next statement you hear is;

‘It’s like a volcano had erupted in downtown New York’ and then a following statement from the same man; ‘I hope I live. ‘ This is just another method of how channel four have presented their news. Using similes suggests that it is unreal and helps us realise the scale. All of this footage is in first person tense and this helps us again to comprehend the size of the holocaust. I think that they have only focused on the twin towers because they were full of innocent people and even though the Pentagon came down this is more dramatic because of its military link.

After ten minutes viewing, it starts to focus on the families and an interview with a family helps other families around the world relate. It also focuses on the effect it has had on the children, this is extremely depressing and the aim of the interview was just that. Then straight on to a survivor which suddenly boosts the confidence of the public slightly. Fifty-seventh floor survivor reports for a long time about what it was like inside the building. This report helps the viewer to find out, a little, about what it was really like for some of the people trapped in the volcano.

After about seventeen minutes, Washington is finally mentioned. Also the word war is mentioned along with the reaction of parliament. After twenty-one minutes there is a topic change and the Pentagon is mentioned, also how the planes were hijacked; basically, a summary of the events which happened the previous day. I think they put a lot of information at the end so that if anyone wanted to purely find out the facts, then they would have to wait until the end, therefore watching the rest of the broadcast. The next programme I watched was the BBC coverage of the event.

This was shown at ten o’clock at night. The broadcast starts off with the headlines, Britain being mentioned straight away whereas the Channel Four news did not mention that once! Then says about the White House, which was not mentioned until late on the Channel Four broadcast, and then Tony Blair talks about making arrests and also makes reference to death. This is a completely different start as Britain are involved a lot more in this newscast than the last. British people may prefer to watch this one as they may feel more involved with the news.

The main coverage starts with some eye witness reporting with the smoke and then for the second time in two minutes, Britain is mentioned. Shortly after the footage there is a police interview which there was not on the previous one. This could be very useful for other policemen and anyone else who is interested in the emergency services side of it all. Then, some slow motion footage of the second impact, repeating it self to help us realise the scale and for us to grasp the reality of it all. The Pentagon is then mentioned far earlier than the Channel Four coverage, along with a speech from president Bush.

Happiness has found its way into the broadcast! Children are shown, and singing is shown. A religious occasion has been raised. No mention of religion was made in the last newscast. Then something which shocked me a great deal; ‘British casualties into the hundreds’ there have been thousands of Americans killed and before any mention of that Stephen Evans, the reporter, says about the British casualties being in the hundreds! After that, the filming goes to London and a silence in memory of the deaths counted for in New York that day.

This is just showing to Britain that we are not holding back and that we are doing our bit. A change of topic and a highjack timetable, on computer, provides a visual location for the people who may not know Americans geography too well. This makes it very clear to the viewer what actually happened and in what stages, it certainly made me understand a lot more about where they flew from and when. The final division of the broadcast is similar to the channel four broadcast where war is mentioned a lot and Jasser Arafat talks a lot about countries on Americas side.

Also, which was not shown on the channel four episode, the military options were shown, which may invite a larger audience to watch the newscast. As you have already discovered, there is a huge difference between the two broadcasts of the same day only three hours apart. In both of the showings there were dramatic camera shots, emotive reporting from the eye witnesses to help us relate to the adversity. I think that the pair of programmes did not show too much bias, although the first programme, Channel Four, only seemed to explore the American side of it, whereas what the BBC showed, explained it far more from a British point of view.

I have learnt a great deal about media coverage, and how visual and narrative coverage has been portrayed for the observer. Methods such as helping us to understand, and getting our attention or simply getting us to buy the text have all been illustrated in my essay. I also know now there are many different formats the media can be found in, such things as the internet, television, radio and even sms text messaging.