In September 2003, schoolteacher Paul Ellis was jailed for manslaughter after the death of a ten-year-old boy on a school trip. The types of newspaper, which the articles I will be analysing are in, will be the “Daily Express” and the “Sunday Times”. One is a tabloid and one is broadsheet but both contain the same story printed in them. In the “Daily Express” the Journalist’s viewpoint and line of argument emerges as the teacher being careless and irresponsible. The writer then suggests that the boy followed his teacher’s lead. The following point he makes is of the boy’s horrific death.
We then see that the teacher wanted to avoid the trip being wasted because of weather. Next letting us see as a result that the teacher made an unwise judgement and ignored the level of danger. Later we are told of the Paul Ellis’s helplessness in saving Max whilst being forced to give up because of extreme conditions and exhaustion. Next we are told in great detail how Mrs Palmer tried to save her son but was too weak. The writer then tells us how terrified Max was. Nearing the end of the points we are told of another student saving the mother when her strength faded.
Then we read of Paul Ellis’s devastated reaction when hearing news of death. Then we see the blame shifted this time so we see the school being partly to blame. And then last the way we see that Paul Ellis accepts responsibility. In the “Daily Express” there is an equal balance of fact and opinion this is shown in key points such as: Alistair Webster QC, prosecuting said: “The water temperature later that afternoon was 8C, the temperature of the English Channel in February,” Here facts, figures and frame of reference help to prove and make the decision seem particularly unwise.
Where as there are also opinions used to highlight the writer’s point of view while at the same time influencing the reader’s point of view. “But Mr Justice Morland said: ‘Having watched a video film of the beck at the time of the rescue, it struck me as unbelievably foolhardy and negligent that anyone would venture in when it was in full spate. ‘” Here we see expert opinion used to express the point made. The writer uses emotive vocabulary in his first sentence to highlight the teacher being careless and irresponsible.
“A BOY of ten screamed “don’t let me die, mummy” as he drowned after copying the reckless antics of a teacher on a school trip. ” As we can see he criticises the teacher whilst highlighting the boy’s fear in the word “screamed”. Then we see the writer use “cold, swollen river” to create a sense of danger whilst using alliterative words like “drowned, dived and decided” to add impact, creating an effect to show us how dangerous the situation was. The writer then explains: “Ellis was keen to avoid a “complete washout” and wanted the party to take part in pool plunging leaping into the river from a height of 10ft.
” Here we are shown an informal quote used by the teacher Paul Ellis then the writer again using alliteration to reflect excitement in the words party, part, pool and plunging. Creating an exciting effect for the reader too. The use of first names in this article have been used when mentioning Trish, Mark and Max while when Paul is mentioned the writer uses Paul’s surname calling him “Ellis” instead of Paul like the others this is used to distance the reader from Paul Ellis and to bring empathy and present the family as victims.
Quotations are also used repeatedly to highlight words, phrases and sentence that hold significant meaning. Such as: “don’t let me die, mummy”, “unbelievably foolhardy and negligent” and “complete washout”. These are placed in quotation marks to help them stand out and create attention to them. These are also significant as these are the mega points and issues throughout the article. The writer then tells us about some expert opinion with facts, figures and frame of reference making decision seem particular unwise. “The water temperature later that day was 8c, the temperature of the English channel in February.
” Said Alistair Webster QC, prosecuting. Lastly all through the writers viewpoint and line of argument there has not been one positive image of Ellis until were at the end one can be found. “In mitigation, Patrick Cosgrove said Ellis showed courage in his attempts to rescue Max. ” Most people would agree that from what we have seen the attitude to jailing is that given emphasis by position at the end of the article, Paul Ellis was foolish but not evil. “We are not dealing with a career criminal here but a schoolteacher who had made a severe error. ”
The headline for this article is very powerful, it immediately turns the reader against the teacher by using Max’s dying words as the headline “Please” increases sense of fear and desperation again increasing criticism against Paul Ellis and “mummy” suggests that Max is a very young child. The quote from Max also creates empathy. “Please don’t let Me die, mummy” The writer then explains and repeats the heading in the opening paragraph this helps to deepen the impact of the headline. “Teacher jailed as court hears tragic plea of 10-year-old who drowned on school trip”
Here we can see emotive vocabulary used in the strap line, which immediately creates pity. There are three pictures placed in the article, a small picture of Paul Ellis showing only his head and shoulders. In this picture he looks awkward and uncomfortable. He is dressed in casual clothes rather than a suit; this reduces respect and trust for Paul Ellis. The next is the main picture set in the centre with Mrs Palmer and Max, this increases the reader’s empathy and as they are situated in front of home showing the reader of their home life which has now been taken away.
Last there is a picture of Red Tarn Beck where max drowned, this is added with the word “treacherous” adding to the feeling of danger and Ellis’s foolishness. There is also a down page story to reinforce the key idea that trips need to be “properly planned”. This has been written in a different typography to make it stand out from the main part of the article but not separated by a box making the reader more aware of its significance to the main article, without it being separated.
In “The Sunday Times” the journalist’s viewpoint and line of arguments start by telling us we all do stupid things, which could easily go wrong. Leading us to believe that Ellis made a “foolish” mistake. Moving on the writer then say’s Ellis was guilty but punishment is inappropriate and the school should decide which staff are responsible for certain activities, children need to know how to deal with risks. Ellis is being punished by his own conscience is more than enough punishment. Hence the family maybe suffering but punishment will not relieve this.
Leading to say that jail sentences are an “easy option” but do nothing to improve society. Lastly that prison should be used be used to remove the violent members of society and Ellis is not a violent member. We can see that the article is clearly divided into sections, Personal experience, the story of Max Palmer’s death, justification of jail sentences and the dismissal of them in relation to Paul Ellis, criticism of society’s need to jail-encompasses other types of “crime” and lastly Returning to Max Palmer’s death. There is a balance of fact and opinion in The Sunday Times.
As we can see from the viewpoints this article is relatively fair and builds up the readers trust with a strong personal opinion. The facts and figures are used to increase credibility of the argument “i?? 5m” and “1991” the journalist uses strong personal voice throughout. “Lack of intent is no defence. Nor should it be. ” As we can see this is a direct personal viewpoint, the journalist John Humphry’s judgement on the situation. “And then what? What if my daughter, the smallest and weakest of us, had been swept away? ”
Here we see the use of multiple rhetorical questions used to increase the reader’s empathy. Conversational tone is also used for example shown in this quotation, “They would be better off if they were in rehab centres-and so would society! ” We see that the dashes help to represent the conversational tone. There is also use of emotive vocabulary for example: “primitive society”, “an eye for an eye; a life for a life” and “We are more civilised. ” Again emotive vocabulary is used, but the journalist is trying to shame the readers who share this viewpoint.
The headline for this article shows pity immediately for teacher. It has been written in a large font to highlight the scale and importance of the article, that is usual for a broadsheet as most of their stories and articles featured in them are important issues and keeping the reader informed of what is happening in the news at the time. The word “tragedy” also indicates the writer’s viewpoint that in his opinion it was an accident, not a deliberate act, again emphasised when he uses the words “foolish” and “futile”.
We can see the writer used alliteration to highlight these words as keywords. But as we can see this article rather than being on the tragic death of an innocent child we see the teacher being the focal point and this is shown rather more in the headline, as well as pointing out the pointlessness of punishment again, adding pity. “Tragedy of a foolish teacher and our futile desire to jail” So as we can see this article is based on centralising the argument that runs through it.
There are two pictures placed in the article, one a small picture of John Humphrys a well-known journalist this helps the reader immediately build trust and empathise with him. The next is a picture of Max Palmer and his mother superimposed against the scene where the “tragedy” took place. With a caption saying: ” Death on a school trip: Max Palmer with his mother ” There we see no suggestion made of blame. There are a few similarities and differences between the two articles. Firstly is the “The Sunday Times” is a news review rather than an article reporting events were as in “The Daily Express” it is reporting on the event.
This is also show, when the opinions of the writer are more clearly voiced in “The Sunday Times” compared to in “The Daily Express” where the opinions are more hidden. Yet they both have the same picture of Max Palmer with his mother but on different backgrounds. In my personal opinion I would say that the “The Daily Express” is more informative, where as “The Sunday Times” is more successful in convincing the reader to share the line of argument as it is shown more clearly in the writing. Both articles are cleverly put together to give the reader a good insight into the line of argument it wishes to put across.