Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times
The Daily Mirror
Topic of article: National News
Headline: School trip girl, 11, dies at theme park
Author(s): Martin Fricker (Senior Reporter)
Analysis: Inform readers about the tragic accident that occurred at Drayton Manor theme park on Tuesday. The Mirror, a tabloid newspaper, leads with the story of the theme park accident, in the knowledge that tragic accidents like this will always sell better than any politics or world events headlines. The article and sub-heading goes on to paint a vivid picture of the incident, describing ‘horrified friends’ as they ‘looked on’, saying she ‘plunged to her death’. These phrases are very emotive and help to elevate the readers already developed sense of sadness, as well as, along with an action picture of the ride, allowing them to almost re-imagine the scene as it happened – feeding the morbid fascination hidden inside all of us. The Mirror includes a quote from the theme park, allowing them to have an apologetic voice with the terrible accident.
Topic of article: Politics
Headline: Corbyn: business tax rise will pay for £6bn boost to schools
Author(s): Heather Stewart (Joint Political Editor), Jessica Elgot (Westminster Political Reporter)
Analysis: Report on Corbyn and Labour’s newest election pledge to overturn corporation tax and raise cash to fund numerous new policies. The Guardian leads its front-page with a Labour election slogan, again giving a voice in the media to Labour policies, something that is often lacking. Just a quick browse through today’s front pages will show no mention of Labour policies, replaced by smiling pictures of May and her husband and stories of Labour ‘splits’. The Guardian endeavours, often alone to report the positive movements of the Labour party. The article uses an effective bullet-point system to summarise the main pledges, enabling the reader to quickly glance and take-in the information. There is a lot of talk about Labour ‘differentiating from the Tories’, with this statement once seen as a common complaint levelled at the party but perhaps being consciously shown here to not be an issue. Reporting on the accusations aimed at the current Conservative government regarding their education policies creates a juxtaposition between the positive and hopeful Labour policies vs the maligned and damaging Tory policies, leading readers towards a decision on which party is best. There are no quotes or sources from either party which would have given a better balanced view on the story.
The Daily Mail
Topic of article: National News
Headline: Girl, 11, dies in theme park horror
Author(s): Andy Dolan (Midlands News Reporter)
Analysis: Inform readers about the tragic accident that occurred at Drayton Manor theme park on Tuesday. The Mail chooses a simple and non-political headline today, instead focusing on the theme park accident, because they know that people cannot resist a good accident story. There is something fascinating about the ability for a tragic story to draw attention so much more effectively than anything else, and this is story must surely have been chosen on this understanding. The mention of the girl’s age is done to accentuate the fact that this was a young child and the accident that much more tragic. The article goes on to semi-accuse the theme park of negligence, based on visitor reports, which seems a slightly stunning change of direction. If indeed there had been knowledge of malfunctioning rides for two days before the accident then surely this is a criminal case, yet the Mail simply throws it in there as if this comment means nothing. There is also a careful connection formed between this accident and those at Alton Towers two years ago, increasing both the sadness of the incident and perhaps the injustice felt by readers who remember the culpability of the theme park in that instance. A quote from the theme park or police would have given additional information to the reader.
Topic of article: Health/Public Services
Headline: Stop splitting up elderly couples
Author(s): Greg Hurst (Social Affairs Editor), Rosemary Bennett (Social Affairs Correspondent)
Analysis: Report on comments made by the president of the family division of the High Court regarding the division of elderly couples when they move to social housing. The headline plays to the public’s emotional connection and inherent respect for elderly citizens, as the stark accusation it makes will no doubt make readers consider their own parents being split when older and generate an angry or protective response. The practice of splitting older couples is no doubt a terrible thing to do but this article lacks any sense of deeper analysis into the issue. Content to quote repeated social service directors and judges about the inhumanity of the situation, it feels as if the writers have decided that the superficial sense of anger and injustice associated with their headline must be reinforced and sustained through the reading of the article. But does patting yourself on the back about your own sense of injustice really do much good? There is no analysis of the reasons that care-homes are struggling to accommodate elderly couples, or the general decline of social support that has made every care-home workers’ job that much harder. A vilification of care-homes without an understanding of deeper issues does no one any good, least of all those elderly couples that you claim to have such a serious concern about.
Reviewed by: Sam Hewitt