I will be analysing a football story about Southampton’s victory (2-0) against Wolves. The tabloid I am using is the Daily Mail, and the broadsheet I am using is the Financial Mail. I will be comparing the way that the people involved in the teams are portrayed in both the newspapers. This article informs us on a bit of football history. David Jones used to be the boss of Southampton up till 2000, when he was accused of child abuse, which he was later exonerated for.
Jones had signed Chris Marsden (player who scored the opening goal) on from Birmingham and stuck by him despite the publics’ opinion on whether he was good enough to play at premiership level. Jones also came to the clubs new stadium to assure there were no ill feelings between them, and that they were friends. Both newspapers also explain how Southampton manages to make their way into the semi-finals of the FA cup for the first time since 1986. Southampton (Saints) scored two goals against Wolverhampton (Wolves). They then explain exactly what happened in the game using “football terms”, both papers ending with a hidden thought.
First, I will be analysing the tabloid. I have not used a typical national tabloid, i. e. – “THE SUN” or “THE MIRROR”. I have used a middle-of-the-road tabloid, “THE DAILY MAIL”. Nevertheless, I expected to find a typical tabloids presentational devices used in it, e. g. – a large bold headline with play on words or some sarcasm in it, and large, or plenty of coloured pictures. Actually looking at the article, my first impression would be that it looks almost like a typical tabloid newspaper, there is a large bold headline with what looks like sarcasm used, and a large picture in the middle with another smaller picture beside it.
The main picture is a shot of three footballers looking overwhelmed with joy; the typical look after a team has scored a goal. This makes us feel happy for the players, persuading us that they deserved that triumph and happiness without even knowing about the story. The caption reads, “Marvel Marsden: the Southampton midfielder (centre) celebrates scoring the opener”. Using the word ‘marvel’ automatically indicates that the paper sides with the team players. The small picture beside it is a picture of Dave Jones, Southampton’s former boss, now Wolves’ boss.
As he is wearing a black coat, the picture looks sinister also because of its overall tone and complexion. His face expression might as well have “I want revenge” written on it, and it looks like he made no effort to look happy about the goal. This is expected as he is the boss of the loosing team, Wolverhampton, but this newspaper does not portray him as a nice and friendly man through the headline and pictures. The caption also writes, “Loser: Wolves boss Dave Jones”.
Loser, in my opinion, is a strong way of describing an unfortunate loss of victory, but as it’s under a darkly toned picture, we get the impression he deserves to be a ‘loser’. What did surprise me was that the pictures were not coloured, they were black and white photographs. This immediately gave me the impression that it was not one of the most significant sport stories in the paper, because I noticed the stories behind and in front of this one both contained coloured photographs. There is a main heading at the top of the page, it is very big and bold, like one would expect from a tabloid. The heading is “Thanks a lot, pal”.
This to me immediately indicated some sort of revenge by the way ‘pal’ is used after a pause represented by a comma. There is also a sub headline to the left of the page reading, “Wolves boss Jones shown exit door by Marsden”. This gives me a stronger feeling of revenge or hatred. This sub heading is also underlined, which I don’t think there is an important reason for but it is to ensure the readers do not miss it. Generally, it has the presentational features of a tabloid, (big, bold headlines play with words, large pictures, obvious bias used) apart from the lack of colour used. The layout is similar to a typical tabloid too.
It takes up two thirds of a page, and has five short columns, the two side ones which are a little longer than the middle three. I will now analyse the broadsheet paper. I have used the national broadsheet, “FINANCIAL TIMES”. I expected this story to be discreetly intervened into the sports section, no picture, and if there is a picture then it will probably be small and black and white. I do not expect much of play on words in the headline or sub heading if there is one. I think it will be quite a short article, as broadsheets do not tend to be mainly about sports, especially the financial times, usually about finances.
When I first saw the article, it did look like a typical broadsheet article when an unimportant issue is concerned. There was a simple font for the headline, which was not that big or bold. It reads, “Southampton slip through into semis”. No play on words or sarcasm. There was a small picture in the middle of the article, the same one as the one in the tabloid, but it was smaller. What surprised me in this paper is that the picture, even though it was small, it was in colour. This was a total contradiction to my theory of tabloids having colours pictures, and broadsheets having black and white depending on the seriousness of the news item.
However, there is only one page on sport in the broadsheet, where as in the tabloid, there are nine. I noticed that the picture in the broadsheet is a lot less blurry as the one in the tabloid. This small, neat version in the broadsheet gave me the impression that this set of news about Southampton’s victory is portrayed in a way which makes you think the readers are going to look at the fact that this conquest has resulted in the next round of football of the FA cup. The question that came into my head was, what is going to happen to the team now?
Where as in the tabloid I tried to imagine how the players felt as they scored a goal, actually seizing into the story. My opinion is that the tabloid is better for minor sport news like this Southampton story as people generally read sport news for leisure, and the way its written gets the reader into the mood of the sport, and not just reading plain facts. The caption reads, “Chris Marsden (centre) celebrates scoring the opening goal”. There is no play on word complementing Marsden like there was in the tabloid, just a straightforward caption letting us know that he is celebrating his goal.
The heading may not have sarcasm in it, which is why I think the alliteration is needed in it. If a twist on words is not there to attract the readers to the article, then alliteration might. “Southampton slip through into semis”. It also cleverly uses the words, “slip through”. This can have two meanings, one can be totally ludicrous and the other can metaphorically have a meaning. In this case, obviously the team cannot literally slip through into the semi finals, but metaphorically, it means they just about made it to the next round.
They do not congratulate Saints, but let us recognize either their lack of faith towards the team, or lack of interest in sport altogether. This headline also gives me the impression that although the broadsheet does not show obvious bias, it sends out subtle hints that they had difficulty getting through to the semi finals, they are where as in the tabloid, it is emphasises on how many difficulties Wolves had, which made it easier for Southampton to pick up their victory. “… with Paul Ince suspended and the lightning George Ndah injured, this was going to be a difficult challenge.
It became increasingly so when Ince’s replacement, Keith Andrews, fell awkwardly and was carried off with a suspected broken leg after an hour. It was a scrappy, untidy contest on a difficult sanded pitch… “. This tabloid shows positive bias towards Southampton; the picture of David Jones can back that statement up. As bias as it may be, the tabloid does show their generosity by informing readers “Jones had signed Marsden from Birmingham and stuck by him despite directors and fans repeatedly questioning his ability to perform at premiership level.
” There is no evidence of sentiment in the broadsheet towards either of the teams or team players. This is what was expected, as it is common knowledge that you cannot expect sentiment from a broadsheet paper, but you can expect obvious favouritism in a tabloid. The tabloids structure of the article is different to the broadsheets. The tabloid first talks about the history of David Jones and Chris Marsden. Admittedly, they do speak highly of Dave Jones until they mention the incident concerning child abuse.
They speak so highly they use the phrase, “Dave Jones rescued Chris Marsden’s career by giving him a Premiership lifeline at Southampton… ” Notice the word ‘rescued’. It is almost as though the notion we are supposed to obtain is that he is a hero. They then state that it was Marsden who scored the opening goal and tell us without a quote that Jones came to assure everyone that there were no hard feelings between them. “Jones had come to visit the club’s new stadium insisting that there was no ill-feelings and that he was among friends.
” This makes us notice his maturity and friendliness. They then give a quote on how Jones feels about Southampton’s victory against Jones’s team. The tabloid generally uses persuasive language to let us make a decision (hopefully for) their article. There were no quotes at all in the broadsheet, showing us the lack of care or concern in opinions in a sports story. The tabloid then emphasises the difficulties the Wolves would have as they have many problems with a few team players.
They state the Southampton players do have a reason for feeling optimistic about a journey to Cardiff in May. They then give a brief summery of the game; the minute, in which the goal was scored, which players were involved in the goal etc. The article then ends on a quote from Gordon Strachan, (Saints player). “I could give you all kind of garbage like we have to play them sometime and it’s a great challenge, but if you’re honest you’d want to avoid them. ” I think as the tabloid has quite a few quotes from people involved in the football, it feels more personal.
I, myself as a reader felt I could relate more to the tabloid because it seemed to get more personal with the players and had more of a colloquial way of presenting their news. This could just well be because of the fact that tabloids are in fact meant to be for the younger, less educated reader, and the broadsheet is for the people with a higher level of intelligence or people more interested in finances/political news. People that are used to reading the broadsheet would probably say that the broadsheet does contain enough information about the game, and that opinions are not really needed.
I think the structure of the tabloid was very appropriate for both the storyline and the paper. As it’s a tabloid, it was expected that there should have been a bit of (sometimes unnecessary) background information, then the story in a bit of detail. This should’ve included plenty of opinions and quotes. As for the fact that it’s a sports story, there was expected to be a large and small picture depending on which side it’s bias towards. The only surprise was that the large picture was in black and white, other than that, the tabloid presented this story in a typical tabloid manner.
The broadsheets structure was much more straightforward and factual rather than opinionated. There are only a few sentences for the background, which basically summarises the first two or three columns in the tabloid. The rest of the four columns are detailed versions of the actually game. The broadsheet uses longer and more complex vocabulary than the tabloid. This does shorten the article as when you’re using longer words, they are usually summarising a sentence full of simple words.
The tabloid does use quite simple straightforward language; this is more noticeable especially when it is compared with a broadsheet newspaper. The paragraphs are structured according to the change of event. As the broadsheet concentrated more on the actually game, there was a new paragraph every time there was a dramatic change in the game, where as in the tabloid, there was relatively an equal amount on information on the background of Jones, Marsden and the teams. In the tabloid there was a new paragraph practically after every sentence.
This symbolises how the tabloid takes leisure/sports news as a more important news item unlike the broadsheet. The tabloid gave this article much more room in the paper than the broadsheet. In both the papers there are five thin columns. They both have written an overall even amount, however they do not have the same ratio of the subjects they talk about. The rough layout of the papers looked like this: (below) Tabloid Broadsheet So my overall opinion on which paper I prefer is the tabloid.
This is because of its clever use of language on the headline and sub heading which is to attract the readers; admittedly it did work on me. They also do tend to have more pictures with brighter colours, which keeps the reader interested and gives you an idea of what the story is about before you read it. They use simple vocabulary yet it has more of an effect on you as a reader as it includes sentiment in the writing. Although, the tabloids are all good with giving you all sorts of news but you have to be careful that it’s not all exaggerated, sometimes to the extent of which you can safely call it “gossip”.