Middle range - Sample Essay
You can not only show your point of view in text or headlines, you can also embody it in your pictures. I would say that the points of view of the two papers are embodied in the pictures they use. In paper 1 there is a picture of the riots going on with youths throwing stones at lines of policemen with riot shields. This reflects its image of being interested in the action and actual happenings in order to create sensation. Its political point of view is reinforced as the picture shows the police being attacked. Therefore it is showing the authorities being attacked and is taking pity on them.
On this evidence I would say that this paper does show its point of view in its selection of picture. Paper 2’s picture also embodies its point of view and its attitude towards the events. Its picture shows some Brixton residents walking about amongst the rubble of the buildings destroyed in the riots. This very much reflects this paper’s point of view of being concerned for the rioters in Brixton not the police. It also shows that it is concerned more with the after-effects and what can be done now than the actual action.
The front page of paper 1 is very eye-catching ,big, and bold: it has a large banner headline just below a caption about the picture. The picture is below the banner headline and below that there is a large subheading and some text. Below that there are some headlines about which pages everything associated with the riots is on. The front page of paper 2 is less big and bold: it has a smaller main headline below a smaller banner headline giving the paper’s reasons for the riots, this being their editorial viewpoint.
Below the headline to the right is the picture and to the left of that there is a subheading and some text. The papers have a similar front-page layout, but paper 2’s layout is slightly more informative in that the reasons for the riots are written at the top so you know why the events happened (according to the paper’s editors) before you read about the detail, whereas paper 1’s front page is all about drama and sensation. However it is not just headlines that are important: the language in the text is too. In paper 1, words and phrases such as ‘rampaging mob’ and ‘youths’ are used to describe the crowd.
I think that words like this are used because the paper supports the police and wants to denigrate, or put down, the crowd, which represents an opposing force to the police. ‘Rampaging mob’ sounds like a large, angry gang charging about aggressively and wildly which would make the police feel intimidated. A ‘youth’ is often thought of as a yobbish teenager. Describing the crowd in such a way is intended to make the reader feel more outraged and more likely to take pity on the police. Another way of working up the reader is to make use of tenses.
Paper 1 starts in the present tense and then moves into the past, which helps to make the report more exciting and involves you in the action. In my opinion this backs up the idea that this paper is more interested in the action than the aftermath of the action. In paper 2 the report remains in the past tense for the whole article, which makes it more factual and backs up the idea that this paper is more concerned with the significance of the events. Yet another way to use language to manipulate facts is to change the structure of the sentences.
In paper 1 the youths are nearly always the subject of the sentence: ‘The youths were pushed back by a line of just six policemen with riot shields’. This is the paper that sees the police as victims, or as the heroes. It puts the youths as the subject because then it is easy (when in the passive voice )to say that the youths are having something done to them by the police, who are the object. In paper 2 the police are usually the subject of the sentence, because this paper sympathises with the rioters so it wants to make out that the police are doing things to the youths, who are the victims.
Sentences like ‘A massive force of police herded groups of hundreds of black and white people’ demonstrate this. These sentences are mostly active . When paper 1 uses sentences like ‘The youths were driven back by a line of just six policemen using riot shields’, it puts it in the passive voice as it is trying to make the policemen sound heroic, whereas paper 2 puts it in the active so it makes it seem like the police were a menacing force pushing back the youths.
In paper 2, in the sentences that involve objects caught up in the riots, like houses and cars, the paper says things like ‘Homes were looted’. ‘Homes’ is the subject here as the paper is trying not to say who is doing the looting because it is the rioters and this is the paper that supports them. This helps to make the report more exciting. The passive voice is used here but the agent of the sentence is still unclear.
In this essay I conclude that through headlines, layout, language and images, a newspaper can put a story in a totally different light to that of other newspapers and reality. I suspect that paper 1 is a paper similar to the Sun being very ‘tabloidy’ and sensational whereas paper 2 is more like the Express or the Mail (more in the middle range) . Broadsheet newspapers are much less sensational and biased as they are aimed at a much more educated readership who may be able to detect whether the paper is biased or not.