Taking the image of people jumping from the Twin Towers as your starting point, compare and contrast the media coverage of the events of September 11th as reported in a broadsheet newspaper, a tabloid and the television. The job of a newspaper is to deliver accurate, up to date information to the population. Two newspapers, ‘The Times’ and ‘The Mirror’ both have different ways of expressing the same news, following the terrorist attacks in America on September 11th. Where ‘The Mirror’ looks to shock with a bombardment of detailed quotes, ‘The Times’ formally and powerfully tells us what happened and the implications of the event.
The aspects of the story are discussed in both of the newspapers, with each coming to an extensive conclusion of the situation. Both have presented their articles in appealing ways making it very noticeable to the wide audiences aimed at. The television programme uses both camera and language techniques to show its perspective, as well as some amazing footage of the events taking place. The newspapers ‘The Times’ and ‘The Mirror’ have created forceful, eye-catching headlines. ‘The Times’ has chosen the headline ‘Bloody echoes of Pearl Harbour.
‘ It makes a comparison to Pearl Harbour using the words ‘bloody’ and ‘echoes’ at the start saying how violent and dramatic the occurrence was. The headline is unable to be missed as it spans across the top of the page in large, bold font. Directly above the headline the caption ‘Terror in America’ is printed, which suggests that the event in question has caused a huge panic amongst the citizens of America suggesting its huge scale importance. In the top left hand corner bullet points are cleverly used to give people an insight into the article.
In ‘The Mirror’ the headline is a direct quote illustrating clearly that something serious has happened. ‘We are all f***ing dying in here! ‘ It is a colossal headline used to create a sense of shock and remorse particularly with the word ‘dying’. The headline is in the shape of a ‘T’ either for tower or terrorism or even terror demonstrating the sheer size and power of the event. However this is not the main effect of the shape. The fact that the writers have put each word on its own line makes them more emotive than if they were to run across the top of the page.
On the word ‘dying’ a short space has been left either side adding to the effect. The text runs down the sides of the headline forming the image of two towers. However the text in “the Times’ also adopts the shape of two towers. Both of the newspapers have a neat and effective layout with similar pictures showing victims falling from the towers. This is a disturbing image that is easily alarming. Directly underneath the picture in ‘The Mirror’ is alliteration ‘Together in Tragedy’ combining emotive language with patriotism.
It also says ‘A silent city of death and dust’ once again using alliteration and an emotive tone. There is a balanced layout between text and picture in both newspapers, with the larger pictures the more influential force in the general appearance of the article. In ‘The Times’ the text is far smaller than the text in ‘The Mirror’ and stands against a larger more daunting picture. This shows the scale of the event far more precisely. The content of the two articles is very different although describe, using a balance of pre and post modification, the horrific events of the day before.
‘The Mirror’ begins by giving a brief look at what happened, and then transforms into a grand series of tremendously expressed quotes similar to the headline (‘We are all f***ing dying in here’). A detailed mixture of random, chaotic, wild and emotive quotes forms the bulk of this article. The names, the ages, and some other information are given to portray the normality of the victims. ‘The Times’ offers a more complex and factual, rather than sensational, article looking at the events fairly and not judgementally, on all occasions saying where, why, when and how.
It contains great detail as well as some quotes from figures of importance during the event such as Tony Blair (‘we can only imagine the terror and the carnage there and the many innocent people who lost their lives’). Language is a key point as there are so many different ways it can be manipulated to leave a desired impression, for example ‘destroyed’ and ‘annihilated’. ‘The Mirror’ has chosen to shock and alarm their readers with words like ‘panic-stricken’ and ‘war zone’, which distinctly demonstrate the frightening situation.
Other words are used to portray the chaos such as ‘crazy’ and ‘insane’. Sound is used to describe the shear scale of the attack. ‘Sonic boom’ really tells us about the surprise and speed of the event. All in all emotive language and imagery are heavily used throughout. ‘The Times’ presents a far more deep, complex and informative article, not written in a monosyllabic form as ‘The Mirror’s’ article is. ‘The Times’s’ uses hard hitting words like ‘disintegrated’ and ‘devastating’ to add violence into the language of their article. ‘Fear’ and ‘chaos’ also sum up the feelings of terror in New York.
Both articles show little signs of metaphorical language but this is probably because they are descriptive articles. In the television news programme, the short clip under analysis shows footage of New York and has a voice over. The voice is deep and takes a calm tone dragging the audience away the panic. The first thing mentioned is the great role that the ’emergency services’ had. This automatically raises alarm whilst also being informative. Shortly after the words ‘cleared’ and ‘evacuated’ are used to tell what a large amount of destruction has taken place.
Emotive language is then used to create emotion, tension, shock, terror and horror. For example people ‘waved in desperation’ who ‘couldn’t wait to be rescued… jumped from one hundred storeys high’. Throughout the voice over the noise of fire engines, crashing rubble, and screaming can be heard vividly, scaring the viewers as they are confused by the sights and sounds presented in the documentary. BBC correspondent Stephen Evan, a primary witness, gives a gentle yet dramatised account of what happened shortly after the planes hit.
Suddenly in the background you see the tower collapse. The cameraman and everyone around start yelling and screaming ‘Help! Help! ‘, demonstrating the panic and fear factor of the New York people. The voice over finishes with a compound sentence summarising nationalistically the day’s events. The report uses many different camera shots and angles, each effective in their own way. There is a shot during an interview with Stephen Evan calming the situation, when the camera loses it control as the cameraman runs away illustrating the chaos.
There are long shots and close ups (CU) on people jumping from the building taking us into the heart of what’s going on creating a large amount of fear and dismay. Panoramic or wide shots are used on one occasion to summarise the destruction of the attack giving the watcher a larger view into what happened. High wide-angle shots introduce the geography of the situation, and low angle shots used bring stature and mightiness into the scene making the factors very impressive.
Finally medium close ups (MCU) and tilted frame shots add to the tension of the situation. Weather and colour are used to their full extent. One panoramic shot in particular shows an amazingly colourful sunset, with the shadows and dust caused by the collapse of the buildings flooding the now tranquil city. Each shot is between four and ten seconds long. Quickly flashing from one shot to another introduces a sense of chaos. As most of the footage is live there has been little opportunity for any editing. However, this adds to the effect of panic.
Each piece of media work analysed in this essay has the purpose of shocking you whilst at the same time conveying to you all the available information. ‘The Mirror’s’ article successfully achieves the shock and horror of the events, but is less interested in reporting the facts. For example it tends to be a series of quotes. ‘The Times’ tends to focus more on factual detail than on achieving shock and suspense and therefore is packed full of interesting information, although it becomes monotonous towards the end.
The television news programme, sketchy as it is, is direct and to the point. As television is the main source of news information it needed to be. It is informative as well as containing stunning pictures obtained from America’s ABC Network. However it is visual and so can make a better impact. It can show outrageous concepts and perceptions more simply than a written article. For example, from the title of this essay, the programme can show us people falling where the articles can only describe and show us still photographs without sounds.