I have been given three resources containing a news report in each of them about a disaster concerning a ski lift and a US fighter plane. The first newspaper report is from The Mirror, 4 February 1998. The Mirror is a tabloid newspaper, which uses many techniques typical of its kind. One of its technique’s used is it gives the incident a personal and British taste by distinctively and prominently accounting on the response of two British holidaymakers who narrowly escaped from being involved in the incident.
Other techniques include bold type, pull quotes and ‘tabloidese’ – the pacy, dramatic language exemplified by the sub-headline ‘Brits tell of horror in snow’. The second newspaper report is from The Times, 4 February 1998. The Times is a broadsheet. It has an idiosyncratic broadsheet language similar to many of its kind. This involves a calm and matter-of-fact – to report the incident. From both Italy and the United States it contains a number of comments from eyewitness and government officials. The third newspaper report is from Newsweek, 16 February1998.
Newsweek is a broadsheet newspaper. It is an American publication. The language in the report downplays the impact of the incident and seems to suggest that some of the reaction was a form of anti-Americanism. We can easily see the factual information on each report. In The Mirror it has facts including ‘TWENTY skiers plunged 300ft to their deaths’- This is quite a straightforward one. Another fact, ‘a low flying American warplane’ which is not very detailed and specific, but then after the bold type which attracts the reader it says it in more detail later on, ‘An American Marine EA-6B’.
The newspaper also tells you the height from the ground, which is 300ft. There is also an interesting fact at the end of the article telling you the world’s worst cable car disaster which may appeal to many readers. The Times also stresses these facts except for the world’s worst cable car disaster fact. Other than that it has a few extra details such as classing the jet as a Prowler and emphasising that the incident happened at 3. 25pm. It also has information about what the plane is used for and what special attributes it has, ‘The Prowler is used to jam enemy signals electronically’.
Then there is the attributes and why they are useful, ‘It can also fire anti-radiation missiles to destroy ground radar installations. Another fact is reporting on how many hours the unit in which the plane came from was accident free (60,000 hours). It also tells you some history of the place, Cavalese which has a record of tragedy, ‘in 1976 a cable car disaster attributed to the failure of automatic safety systems left 42 dead’. When you first look at Newsweek you may guess that most of it is based on facts as this is a broadsheet which tend to base the story more on truth rather than focusing on elements used in Tabloids such as pictures.
As you would imagine there is several facts including the ones mentioned in the previous papers which show the altitude, the number of deaths and the name of the plane. Other facts show how far away the base was in which they landed (60 miles) and how much the minimum cruising altitude for U. S pilots in Italy (500 feet). There are many other facts such as what important figures like the Italian President said. The three papers can be seen as having very different stories although reporting on exactly the same incident. The layout is also very different including pictures and diagrams.
Newsweek has not got a diagram or a photo but this could be because it was written a lot later than the two other reports. The paper could have mentioned this story in more detail earlier on, shortly after the event took place (‘Blood on the Snow’ could be an update). Or it could be to do with the country in which it is published, maybe America is trying to hide the incident as much as it can like it does to a lot of incidents which may embarrass the government and may portray them as being ‘corrupt’. The titles and fonts are also very different.
The Mirror uses big bold capital letters as the main title, ’20 SKIERS KILLED AS JET SLICES CABLE CAR WIRE’ This shows the reader how serious it is by saying in the first words that 20 people have been killed. The Times have a similar title without the capital letters, ’20 die in cable cable car after jet cuts wire’. The odd one out is Newsweek as the title reads ‘Blood on the Snow’. This shows how Tabloids use a similar type of language and layout and Broadsheets are very different. However beneath the title – ‘Blood on the Snow’ There is two lines which tells you 20 people have been killed among other important information, ‘After a U.
S fighter clips a gandola’s cable, killing 20, Europe questions America’s character’. In order to show this stand out, it is presented as a sort of heading with a line above it and below it. The Mirror also has something similar, ‘Brits tell of horror in snow’ and then beneath, it highlights the opening paragraph in bold to show what has briefly happened. Half way down the column it has a quote, ‘It opened up like a cardboard box’ also with a line above it and below it. This is done to make people read the quote before they start reading the article to get a taste.
They usually pick the most interesting quote they can find to make you read the article. There is a wide range of language used in the three articles to describe the incident. The two Tabloids are very different in correlation to the Broadsheet. Take words to describe the plane as an example. I have discovered that The Times uses similar words to that of The Mirror. The Times in the article has used exciting words like sliced. The Mirror has used words like ‘warplane screamed’ and personified it which also makes it interesting and far more exciting than Newsweek which uses words like ‘fighter jet clipped’.
The same principle applies to words and phrases used to describe what followed. The Times have used the following phrase, ‘ripped apart like a cardboard box’ This is interesting to read because it describes what follows in a metaphoric way. The Mirror describes what follows in words full of consternation in a very interesting way by using a list of meaningful words such as, ‘dangling’, ‘perilously’, ‘horror’ and ‘plunged’. Newsweek on the other hand makes it less interesting by not even describing much of what followed.
One word which it used was ‘tumbling’, however to some people this can be advantageous as they want to get straight on to the point, to read about more useful pieces of information rather than detailed accounts of ‘useless’ information. The Times have included unnamed witnesses in their article who were on the slopes who watched as the cable car crashed to the ground. They said the plane had been flying ‘very, very low’ and appeared to be trying to gain height when it hit the cable. Another witness said ‘It seemed to have technical trouble’. He also said.
‘It was about a hundred metres from the ground, screaming through the sky like a thing in torment’. US officicials also commented by saying the pilot had felt a ‘bad jolt’ but had not realised his aircraft had collided with the ski lift. The Times Also interviewed a spokesman at Aviano who said all low level flights had been suspended. There were also many other comments made by people such as a police official and a rescue worker who has been named as Giorgio Rinandaldi. Apart from him most of the interviewed and witnesses have been left unnamed.
The Mirror gives the incident a personal and British flavour by prominently reporting the reactions of two British holidaymakers who narrowly avoided being involved in the incident. Their names have been mentioned in the article as Neil Harmer and his girlfriend Stacey O’Donnel. A lot of it is based on their experience. Newsweek first has unnamed claims of ‘hot-dogging’. It has also words from Prime Minister Romano Prodi who had judged the crash ‘an act of tragic recklessness. ‘ In this newspaper there is a lot of names mentioned and many opinions given.
The people featured in this tend to be much more important than the two other previous newspapers with people of a high status mainly being featured, such as the pope and the Italian President. The layout of each report is another factor, which distinguishes them. The Mirror and The Times again very similar with four columns of writing and 3 illustrations/diagrams/photos. The Mirror shows a photograph at the top with the wrekage and many people. This is the biggest box in the report. The Times is almost identical but with a different photo showing a more close-up shot of the wreckage.
Newsweek is totally at the different with no pictures or diagrams what so ever. The Mirror’s second picture is a round photo of the ‘death car’ which is next to the heading. The Times has a diagram for its second box with a map showing you exactly where the plane hit the car. This is the smallest box in the report. The Mirror’s third box is a diagram showing a detailed account of what happened. This makes the page stand out and look very interesting and colourful. It is also a good way in showing exactly what happened in an easy form of understanding.
The box also contains a small tiny box inside showing you a map and roughly where it took place. The Times has a photo of an EA-6B Prowler about to land this is good for people wondering how the plane looked like. The report that explains what happens and suggests the full horror of the incident most effectively in my opinion is The Mirror. I think this because it focuses mainly on two British people. Since this was published over here we can relate to the British tourists and easily put ourselves in their shoes. I think this is a good idea.
It also has the most detailed yet easiest to read diagram of what exactly happened, which helps you get a picture in your head. I also prefer the words used and the caption on the photograph, which is much more detailed than The Times. I think that the three report differences are largely due to the fact that they focus on different nationalities. The Mirror focuses on the British. The Times focuses on comments from eyewitnesses and government officials from both Italy and the United States, while Newsweek is focusing on the United States.