Gold Cup

In contrast, the Mirror’s ‘puff’, advertising the Gold Cup, a major race at the Cheltenham festival, features to the right of the masthead. A small picture is incorporated inside, showing a jockey and horse racing forward. The puff is reversed out from a green background. ‘Trompe l’oeil’, is used, giving a tear-off effect to the corner of the newspaper. Almost like a quick note, the reader might make on a scrap of paper. The puff leads the reader to the beginning of the sports section, which takes up just under a third of the newspaper.

This may suggest that the readers may be interested in having a bet on a race, therefore continuing its long established relationship with the working classes. It would seem that the puffs used in the broadsheet would infer the readership of that paper are well educated and enjoy varied social activities, whereas the tabloids readership enjoy sport and gambling. The Mirror features two news stories on the front page. The lead story, or ‘splash’, used 50% of the front page and is about politics, Tony Blair’s attempts to get the UN’s approval to invade Iraq.

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The body takes up a small space at the bottom of the page and includes the byline. The story is blocked on a white background so that is highly visible and easily read. There are 113 words in the body of the text and it is split into four paragraphs. Serif type, size 12, is used, as it is easier style to read in small print than other type styles. The splash is easy to understand, the sentences have uncomplicated language. Three news stories are shown on the Independents front cover. The lead story ‘Defiant Blair still on course for war’ uses 40% of the front cover.

The body of the story takes the full eight-column grid, used 13 paragraphs and has 800 words. It is written in the same font style as the Mirror, with a smaller font size that is not uncomfortable to the eye and is easily read. The byline is at the beginning of the story. The story has long sentences; the first paragraph is one sentence and has 40 words. ‘Bloodied but unbowed, a defiant Tony Blair vowed yesterday to “hold firm” to his strategy in Iraq and made clear that British troops would fight alongside the United States even if he failed to win a new United Nations mandate’, the Independent quotes.

To stimulate the reader to look further into the story, the journalist uses emotive language. The way the words are put together and the use of several adjectives maximises the impact at the beginning of the sentence. The reader could view this sentence as the old British culture of ‘a stiff upper lip’, carrying on, no matter what, to get to a goal. However, the Mirror’s opening paragraph takes another view. ‘Tony Blair cleared the way for an illegal, unethical war on Iraq without UN approval yesterday – and cheered up his old pal George Bush’, is the first sentence of the article.

‘Illegal’ and ‘unethical’, the words used are emotive, which, as in the Independent are intended to arouse the reader’s feelings. George Bush is described as Tony Blair’s ‘old pal’. This personalised the article from the start. The words used in the rest of the article are in the main short and punchy, as the whole article is not very long. Frequent uses of emotive words are seen throughout the piece; ‘condemnation’, ‘farcically’, ‘moral majority’ and ‘guilt’. One might conclude from the analysis so far that the tabloid and broadsheet use the same styles; emotive language.

the paper looks at stories and topics in many different ways. An issue number and the web address are aligned left, the date is centred and the price, 55p, is right aligned. A differing price is also displayed for the Republic of Ireland, suggesting a wider readership than the United Kingdom. A colourful band called a ‘puff’ used 10% of the paper above the lead story. Two of the three features advertised are in a supplement section of the newspaper called ‘the review’. The remaining puff advertises the education section that accompanies the Independent every Thursday.

It would appear that the Paris fashion week and the screening of the last episodes of a sit-com dealing with ever changing relationships help to establish the brand identity of the Independent. The strong images used in the puff could encourage the middle class clientele to purchase goods or obtain employment, therefore generating revenue for the paper. In contrast, the Mirror’s ‘puff’, advertising the Gold Cup, a major race at the Cheltenham festival, features to the right of the masthead. A small picture is incorporated inside, showing a jockey and horse racing forward. The puff is reversed out from a green background.

‘Trompe l’oeil’, is used, giving a tear-off effect to the corner of the newspaper. Almost like a quick note, the reader might make on a scrap of paper. The puff leads the reader to the beginning of the sports section, which takes up just under a third of the newspaper. This may suggest that the readers may be interested in having a bet on a race, therefore continuing its long established relationship with the working classes. It would seem that the puffs used in the broadsheet would infer the readership of that paper are well educated and enjoy varied social activities, whereas the tabloids readership enjoy sport and gambling.

The Mirror features two news stories on the front page. The lead story, or ‘splash’, used 50% of the front page and is about politics, Tony Blair’s attempts to get the UN’s approval to invade Iraq. The body takes up a small space at the bottom of the page and includes the byline. The story is blocked on a white background so that is highly visible and easily read. There are 113 words in the body of the text and it is split into four paragraphs. Serif type, size 12, is used, as it is easier style to read in small print than other type styles.

The splash is easy to understand, the sentences have uncomplicated language. Three news stories are shown on the Independents front cover. The lead story ‘Defiant Blair still on course for war’ uses 40% of the front cover. The body of the story takes the full eight-column grid, used 13 paragraphs and has 800 words. It is written in the same font style as the Mirror, with a smaller font size that is not uncomfortable to the eye and is easily read. The byline is at the beginning of the story. The story has long sentences; the first paragraph is one sentence and has 40 words.

‘Bloodied but unbowed, a defiant Tony Blair vowed yesterday to “hold firm” to his strategy in Iraq and made clear that British troops would fight alongside the United States even if he failed to win a new United Nations mandate’, the Independent quotes. To stimulate the reader to look further into the story, the journalist uses emotive language. The way the words are put together and the use of several adjectives maximises the impact at the beginning of the sentence. The reader could view this sentence as the old British culture of ‘a stiff upper lip’, carrying on, no matter what, to get to a goal.

However, the Mirror’s opening paragraph takes another view. ‘Tony Blair cleared the way for an illegal, unethical war on Iraq without UN approval yesterday – and cheered up his old pal George Bush’, is the first sentence of the article. ‘Illegal’ and ‘unethical’, the words used are emotive, which, as in the Independent are intended to arouse the reader’s feelings. George Bush is described as Tony Blair’s ‘old pal’. This personalised the article from the start. The words used in the rest of the article are in the main short and punchy, as the whole article is not very long.

Frequent uses of emotive words are seen throughout the piece; ‘condemnation’, ‘farcically’, ‘moral majority’ and ‘guilt’. One might conclude from the analysis so far that the tabloid and broadsheet use the same styles; emotive language. An underlined sub heading or strapline, in serif type, with the mocking statement, “This is a sick joke Tony… and only one person is laughing”, precedes the body of the text. Using colloquial language in the strapline makes it easier for the reader to relate to the text. It would seem to back up the intention of the Mirror arousing strong feelings against Bush and Blair.

To the left of the strapline a picture of George Bush smiling while taking a telephone call exemplifying the laughing image described in the sub heading. It would suggest the caption below the picture describes George Bush’s mood, “happy”, who he is calling and why, supporting the Mirrors strapline. The headline of the lead story is ‘HOGWASH’. This is used as a play on word alongside the headline ‘WHITEWASH’. Whitewash indicates a glossing over, or deceptive behaviour. In lay-man’s terms it could represent the painting of a room or outhouse covering up damp or rot on the walls.

Hogwash has many descriptions including nonsense, rubbish or codswallop. Catchy headlines like these can summarise the important information the paper wants the readers to look at. Immediate information gets across a message in case the reader does not want to read on. They can also persuade the reader to continue reading. The Mirror has one other story, the secondary-lead, using 30% of the upper half of the page. This is an important story, exclusive to the Mirror. Paul Burrell’s opinions of the Peat Report on royal gifts.

Gossip is prominent in the tabloid press and it would appear that the Mirror is no exception. The readers need for diversion is satisfied with a gossip story and the lure of ‘Full story: pages 10 and 11’ encourage the readers that their need to survey the story will be satisfied once they have opened the paper and read more details. Mug shots showing the heads of the main characters in the stories are places strategically on the front page. Each image is larger than the first until the picture of George Bush is seen as the largest image. Traditionally in tabloid newspapers pictures take up a large amount of space.

The layouts of the stories are connected by the headlines, ‘hogwash’ and ‘whitewash’, giving the front page a well thought out, artistic design that does not confuse or over inform the reader. The remaining stories on the ‘down page’ of the Independent cover the death of the Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Djindic and Simon Carr’s opinion of the sincerity of Mr Blair, when addressing the House. Simon Carr suggests that Mr Blair pitch and drop in voice meant he had to be telling the truth as long as he restricted himself to the hard work he has done to make safe the co-operation of the UN.

Carr then goes on to present his own opinion of what he has heard and seen and some of the consequences that may occur if advice has been ignored. The article ends with an e-mail address. This would imply that he would like readers to contact him with their opinions. The reported death of the Serbian Prime Minister is direct, giving all the information about a previous attempt, this attempt, and the arrest of the perpetrators and Tony Blair’s reaction. A lure directs the reader to pages 19 and 20. Page 19 may be a miss-print, or the sub-editor moved the story, as it is on page 13.

The story identifies all the facts with in-depth reports from three journalists. The obituary on page 20 gives the reader a detailed description of his life and rise to power as the Prime Minister of Serbia. One might conclude that the initial paragraphs of both lead stories give an emotive view of Tony Blair and the ‘moral majority’, however, the Independent analyses the story further, giving more background information from a wider range of resources. An un-named important ambassador was reported to have made a ‘sardonic’ response to the benchmark for Hussein to yield publicly on Iraqi television.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary supported Tony Blair, stating, “What I guarantee is that we are working as hard as we possibly can to secure a second resolution,” he said. “We are having to do so in circumstances in which one of the permanent members has said that whatever the circumstances, they will veto a resolution, so that is not easy. ” Donald Rumsfeld’s remarks were also commented upon. Blair stated the importance of holding to the course set out whether or not the US (United States) goes it alone. Using a variety of sources to show ‘expert’ points of view supports the Independents editorial line of ‘the broader view’.

The language used is positive and it would seem to suggest that the journalist has done this to allow the reader to look into the story further. The effect of the language used may persuade the reader to go to the lure and read further comments and opinions on the editorial pages. Pages 2 to 4 reports and analyse the story further. Advertisements for Laura Ashley, Philips, Nationwide and Dixons are tactically placed, evidently to ensure the readership purchase goods that will keep the revenue flowing for the Independent. On the other hand, the Mirror has taken a firm stance against war.

A lure is situated at the bottom of the article, leading the reader to six more pages of profoundly emotive stories. The language used throughout the front-page article is both, negative and emotive, using an animated tone to arouse the readers’ interest. The strapline is over dramatised with emotional overtones. The journalist, it would seem, wants to influence what the reader thinks about. This may support the ‘agenda setting theory’of papers having considerable influence in setting the political agenda, although there is not enough evidence to categorically prove or disprove this theory.

It must be remembered, however, that the newspapers still have a responsibility to their readership as Piers Morgan has found out in the weeks since this story was published. The sales of the Mirror dropped below two million for the first time in 70 years, for the month of March. Morgan stated that the paper would not change its line, and went on to say that the return to its full price of 32p would have contributed to the circulation dropping.

This may suggest that the difficulty faced by editors who want to make popular papers more serious must set the agenda to be what their readership wants to read about and may have to accept losing old readers now, to win new ones in the end. One might conclude that the only sure method of building a firm, committed readership is through strategy rather than tactics, by taking a long-term view. In that sense, the tabloids are no different from the broadsheets. They must create an editorial stance, which will engage their audience year after year.

To make that task even more difficult is the challenge, which faces all editors: how can they make their paper feel the same every day and yet appear to be different? Papers must be predictable enough so that readers become accustomed to what they will find, yet unpredictable enough to surprise them, too. To sum up, no one imagines that every person who reads a paper agrees with all, or even anything, it says. It’s a multi-media world: people also watch television and listen to radio and in a declining market the Mirror and Independent must adopt new strategies to catch the attention of their readership.