Two media pieces - Sample Essay
Write a response to these pieces in which you consider the aims and the purposes of each piece; the methods used by the writers to persuade the readers of their point of view: any similarities in approach and which you find the most convincing. This piece of media coursework asks me to study closely a newspaper article published by ‘The Sunday Mirror’ and a factsheet produced by the National Canine Defence League. I think the purpose of the article from the “The Sunday Mirror” and the “Factsheet” is to inform people who are not involved with puppy farming, what goes on behind the doors of the farms.
They have been written to persuade the reader to feel anger towards the farmers, who run puppy farms and to make the reader feel sympathy towards the puppies and their mothers. Pippa Sibley’s article, gives us information about how badly the puppies and bitches are treated throughout their lives in the farms and considers the type of breeders who are involved in this business. It also tells the reader how the mothers are dealt with when they become infertile.
The Factsheet also informs people about what kind of puppy they might be buying in pet shops: puppies that have had a cruel life and may now be a danger to their new owners because they may have diseases or strange behaviours because of intense breeding. The article also tells us how we can try and put this crime to an end. It asks us to get together with the ‘FIDO’ campaign and help to put a stop to the farming. The factsheet is slightly different; it wants the reader to try and put a stop to puppy farming by writing letters to our MP’s.
It tells us that if a dozen letters are sent it can be enough to get questions asked in the House of Commons so encouraging the reader to help. It also gives us the address of where to send our complaint to which makes the task even easier. I think the article is aimed at a wide target audience that includes men, women and children of all ages. I would think the readership of the ‘The Sunday Mirror’ is wide. The picture of the dog in a cage would catch the eye of people when flicking through the papers.
On the other hand the fact sheet will probably be read by people who already own a dog or people looking to buy one. The writer, Pippa Sibley has deliberately used some presentational devices to help persuade us to help with this cause. In the article, the boxer bitch locked in the cage takes up half of the page. She arouses our emotions with the picture of the dog. The type of dog pictured has a huge impact on the reader. This is because boxer dogs naturally have a sad, droopy face and this draws the reader in. The pose of the dog is very effective in persuading the reader to give it sympathy.
This is because its two front paws that are on the cage give the impression that it is trying to get out and break free. Another way that the picture draws the reader in is the image created by the cage. The boxer is locked up in a small cramped metal cage, which shows that it has no freedom to run around in. It makes the reader feel sorry for it because of its lack of space. If you look carefully, the cage wall behind and to the right of the dog is made up of breezeblocks, which gives the impression that the cage is cold and dull.
It creates a horrible atmosphere and the dog is lonely, because there are no other dogs in the picture. To accompany this striking picture is a huge headline: ‘A Breeding Disgrace! ‘ This headline is based on a popular phrase in modern day language. People usually say ‘A Bleeding Disgrace’ when they think something is unacceptable. The writer has been clever, playing on words and has replaced the word ‘Bleeding’ with the word that is involved with puppy farming, ‘Breeding’. This has been used to say to people that the breeding of puppies in this way is unacceptable behaviour.
She uses strong words to show her powerful emotions about puppy farming and backs this up with the use of an exclamation mark to emphasise that something, which is a disgrace, is unacceptable and should be stopped. The subheading, ‘The cruel racket you can stop’, is also effective. The word ‘racket’ is sometimes used to indicate that something is illegal, making us, think twice. The sub-heading cleverly uses the use of the personal pronoun ‘you’ and immediately involves the reader by saying, ‘You can stop’ leading us to think in a positive way that we can help to stop this business.
The presentational devices used on the factsheet are similar in some ways but very effective. The first thing you see are the words, ‘FREE-range FIDO’, in the left hand corner, which is the name of the campaign against puppy farming. This is a campaign that has been set up to try and help puppies and bitches to be freed. The sub heading, ‘How much is that puppy? ‘ is very interesting. This is because it might remind people of the song, ‘How much is that doggy in the window? ‘ which makes the reader think that the text will be a light-hearted look at breeding and selling puppies.
Once he/she starts reading it, they realise that it is not light-hearted at all and that it is more like the heading of the article. It is quite hard hitting as we read about cruel farmers and the suffering of dogs and puppies. The effect on the reader is very strong and makes us realise how bad this business is. Towards the bottom of the fact sheet, there is a sub-heading that reads, ‘What you can do’. This is very positive and it gives the impression that you can actually help these poor puppies and their mothers by bringing this business to an end.
The text below it gives you all the things you have to do to try and help ‘FIDO’. We are asked to write to our local MP and if we do this we will change things. The reason why the factsheet does not have a huge imposing photo filling up half the page is because it is focusing more on writing and telling the reader about the cruel puppy farming. It relies on information rather than a heart-searching picture. The use of short paragraphs in the factsheet keeps the reader interested and do not make it boring for him to read.
The text is easily digestible and the layout makes it look as if there is not too much text to read. The tone of the piece is serious and using the factsheet makes us think we are reading facts. The logo at the bottom right hand side of the factsheet is a small picture of a dog that has a happy face. This is also showing that the sheet is positive towards trying to stop puppy farming. This logo is also used in the article published by Pippa Sibley. The logo is the recognised symbol of the charitable organisation and it is used to reassure the reader that this body is behind the campaign.
The effect of large bold lettering is used to catch the reader’s eye easily, which could bring them into the article or the factsheet. The heading has been cleverly placed in the top left hand corner of the page, which is where most pages are looked at first. The words ‘FREE- range FIDO’ mean that the dogs should be allowed to be free to roam rather than being cooped up in small, dark, cold cages away from their mothers. The writer has used the word ‘Factsheet’ to express that it is giving us facts about the cruel puppy farming that is being done behind our backs.
At the bottom of the factsheet there is a phrase that says,’ A dog is for life’. This is like the phrase;’ A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’. This is telling the reader that some dog owners do not look after their dog and don’t care about it enough, and that if you get one do not just leave it around, care for it. This leaves the reader with something to think about. In the article, Pippa Sibley uses a lot of emotive language. She says that the farmers are ‘cruel’ and treat the puppies and the bitches very badly.
She describes them as ‘unscrupulous breeders’, which tells the reader that they are awful and evil. The picture she builds of them is that they are not concerned with the welfare of the animals but rather financial gain. She goes on to explain how the puppies are locked in metal cages on their own and that the bitches are either killed or thrown out when they become infertile. She writes in this forceful way, to make the reader feel more hatred towards the farmers because she herself does not like the fact that puppies and bitches are being treated in this way.
She wants us to share her anger. The writer uses lots of words that are all linked together in a way. She uses words like,’ abandoned… death… horror… life of misery and deprivation, bred to exhaustion and traumatised’. These words are all saying, that the dogs lives are really awful and that and they live in misery and deprivation in small metal cages without any space or any other dogs around them. She deliberately uses assertive language to persuade the reader to share her point of view e. g. ‘Bitches are suffering’.
By using the word ‘are’, she is presenting the idea that this is the truth when really it is just her opinion. This kind of technique is used throughout the article. In the factsheet, there is still emotive language despite us thinking that we are reading ‘facts’ and a neutral, balanced piece published by the National Canine Defence League. For example the writer describes the conditions of the puppy farms as being ‘dark’, ‘cramped’ and ‘cold’. This information could be a fact or the writer could be biased in trying to make the reader believe it.
This could be the case for most of the text. There are some similarities between the two pieces of writing. One of the similarities is that they are both trying to get you to help in any way to try and get this type of farming stopped and give these, and other unfortunate puppies and bitches, a better life. Another similarity is that, they both include text about the ‘NCDL’, ‘National Canine Defence League’ trying to stop the farming but it needs the readers help to succeed even further.
Both use emotive language and disguise opinion as facts. Both use recognised presentational devices but the factsheet does not use a photograph. I think that the Factsheet appears the most convincing. This is because the information given is more accurate and reasoned. It is an official piece published by the ‘NCDL’. The article seemed to be sensationalised but in dealing with the puppy farming issue in this way I was left wondering how truthful the piece really was.