Thursday 28/09/17

Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times

The Sunsun 28.09

Topic of article: Sport/Crime

Headline: Hit for six

Author(s): Alex West (West of England correspondent); Andy Jehring

Analysis: This article reports on cricketer Ben Stokes’ arrest, following a “brawl” with two men in Bristol, which The Sun has captured on film. The front page shows two images side by side, one an apparent action shot of the “right hook”, the other seemingly showing the aftermath, with one of the two men lying on the ground. Stokes is described repeatedly as a “star”, perhaps to add interest to the story. Stokes’ injuries seem to be slightly exaggerated for dramatic effect, with The Sun reporting a broken finger while elsewhere this is reported as a minor fracture. The front page provides little detail on the incident, and only the reporter’s voice is present.

 

The Guardianguardian 28.09

Topic of article:  Domestic politics

Headline: ‘The Tories are hanging on by their fingertips’ – Corbyn

Author(s): Anushka Asthana (Political Editor); Rowena Mason (Political Correspondent); Jessica Elgot (News Reporter)

Analysis: The authors report on Corbyn’s speech at the Labour annual conference. The article features an image of Corbyn confidently pointing to the camera, seeming (literally) to be pointing the finger at May’s government and their failures. The article focuses on the positives of Corbyn’s address, such as the detailed housing proposals, and generally frames the speech in positives terms. Grenfell Tower is mentioned several times, with Corbyn linking the Grenfell Tower incident with “Britain’s failed economic and housing system”. The enthusiasm of the crowd is noted, although the authors are clearly trying not to overstate this – describing the audience as “sometimes rapturous”. Some criticism, predominantly from business groups in response to proposed tax increases, is noted, but no sources are included. Corbyn’s voice features heavily in the article, but May’s voice, described as “spirited” is also included, providing some balance.

The Daily Maildm 28.09

Topic of article: Domestic affairs

Headline:  Now Ryanair cancels Xmas

Author(s):  James Salmon (Travel correspondent)

Analysis: This article reports on Ryanair’s decision to cancel 18,000 flights this winter, adding to 2,000 flights already cancelled this autumn. To put the issue in more emotional terms, the winter flights have been reframed as Christmas flights. A quote from a Which? representative is included, which claims that Ryanair has “effectively cancelled Christmas for some of its passengers”. The affected flights were those between London and Scotland, as well as an undisclosed (in this article) number of connecting flights to other European cities. One might think that for these domestic flights, there may well be alternative modes of transport available for many passengers. While the cancelled flights are a clear inconvenience, and may even mean that some are unable to go through with their Christmas plans, it doesn’t seem to necessarily constitute the “chaos” that The Daily Mail claims. Representatives from Ryanair are included only to confirm that they have “messed up” its holiday rosters, which is the cause of the cancelled flights.

 

The Timestimes 28.09

Topic of article: Domestic affairs

Headline: Legal storm hits Ryanair over chaos of axed flights

Author(s): Graeme Paton (Travel correspondent)

Analysis: The Times also reported on Ryanair’s flight cancellations, although focused primarily on the possible legal and financial ramifications rather than the impact on customers. It reports that Ryanair may face prosecution over the cancellations, “which could ultimately lead to a multimillion-pound fine”. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are behind the “legal threats”, and the role of this organisation and their views are given in fairly good detail here. The Which? representative who featured in the Daily Mail’s article crops up again here, although is quoted less extensively. The idea that Ryanair’s actions have “cancelled Christmas” is used, but more moderately. It is noted that, for some, flights with other providers may be available, although these may be more expensive, meaning passengers will lose money or may not be able to afford their trip. Ryanair is briefly quoted in a similar fashion to The Daily Mail, although The Times also include a damning quote from Ryanair’s CEO, O’Leary, who promised last week that there would not be any further cancellations. Missing from both articles are the voices of passengers and pilots (or other airline staff) who might be able to give further insight to the story.

 

Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers

Reviewed by: Evelyn Jager

 

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Thursday 14th September 2017

Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times

The Sunsun 14.09

Topic of article: domestic affairs

Headline: Intruder held at George school

Author(s): Mike Sullivan (Crime Editor)

Analysis: This article reports on a potential “security scare” for Prince George, as a woman attempted to get into his school unauthorised twice in a 24 hour period. The incident is treated very seriously by the paper, who describe it as a “major royal security scare”. The gravity of the story is reflected in the size of the font, which towers over the image of Prince George in his school uniform. The headline – which is concise to the point of grammatical incorrectness – gives the story a sense of drama and urgency. In contrast to assessment of the incident as a major security scare, it is later revealed that Prince George was not at the school at the time of the incident, and as such was not in any real danger. The online version of the article (found at https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4458384/prince-george-thomass-battersea-school-woman-arrested-breaking-in/) makes an alarming connection between the incident and nationality, as one eyewitness is noted to say she thought the woman “could be from overseas” because she had witnessed passports being checked, thus subtly supporting anti-immigration views by making a link between non-UK nationals and criminal behaviour. Eyewitnesses and royal representatives are quoted, giving some credibility to the article, but overall the story is reported in a very sensationalist way, as if Prince George had actually been harmed in some way by this event.

 

The Guardianguardian 14.09

Topic of article: Domestic Affairs

Headline: Graham Taylor accused of role in sex abuse cover-up

Author(s): Daniel Taylor (Chief Football Writer)

Analysis: This article reports on an inquiry into historic sexual abuse allegations within English football, focusing on the possible involvement of former England manager Graham Taylor. The article centres on allegations that Taylor, who died earlier this year and is described by the author as “revered and hugely popular”, did not report known cases of paedophilia, and simply told a victim who reported a case of abuse to him to “move on”. The author suggests that Taylor could have prevented further cases of abuse if he had not discouraged victims from reporting the abuse, or if he had reported it himself. His alleged involvement has been framed as a “cover up” of the abuse. The article goes on to focus more widely on the actions of Aston Villa, where Taylor was employed at the time of the abuse, suggesting a more pervasive trend of covering up sexual abuse. The article reports on the findings of the inquiry, and also includes the voice of one sexual abuse victim, Tony Brien. The voice of Dave Richardson, the assistant manager of Aston Villa at the time of the sexual abuse, is noted as lacking from the story, which is explained as his refusal to comment. In place of a comment, the author draws on a letter which was written by Richardson and previous statements given by him. A potential discrepancy between Richardson’s statements and other evidence is used to support the claims of a cover up, adding further drama to the story.

 

The Daily Maildaily mail 14.09

Topic of article: International Affairs

Headline: A hurricane force farce

Author(s): Claire Ellicott (Political Correspondent)

Analysis: The article is reporting on international aid rules set by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which are restricting the access of several British territories that have been affected by Hurricane Irma to foreign aid, on the grounds of their financial status. The article is critical of the OECD rules, as the use of the word “farce” in the title suggests. The author claims that the OECD rules have been blamed for “hampering the relief effort” in the affected islands, which include Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, although does not state who has voiced this opinion or note other opinions. The islands are described as having been “flattened” by the hurricane, suggesting the level of damage that they have sustained, and thus the ridiculousness of restricting aid to these territories. The author notes several other nations that are eligible for international aid under the OECD rules, which include India and China, which have been described as having “booming economies”, and North Korea. Without commenting on whether the territories should be eligible for aid, the suggestion that India and China would not need international aid based on economic growth seems to ignore their current economic situation somewhat. The inclusion of North Korea in the author’s list seems to serve to rile the audience, by suggesting that the OECD will allow financial support to nations that conflict with Western values, whilst prohibiting financial support for Western territories. It is noted that the islands will still receive £57m from the UK government, but as a result of the OECD rules this has to come from beyond the foreign aid budget, which the author argues has restricted the amount of money they are able to receive. This claim is based on that of an unnamed minister, who is the only source to feature on the front page.

 

The Timestimes 14.09

Topic of article: Economics

Headline: Amazon in £1.5bn tax fraud row

Author(s): Oliver Wright (Policy Editor)

Analysis: The article reports that Amazon was accused yesterday of “failing to cooperate fully” in addressing tax evasion, which some foreign companies who sell through the website may be committing. The article centres on evidence that was presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday by HMRC, whose figures suggest that online retailers, such as Amazon, may be evading tax on up to a third of sales. The impact of the evasion is put in terms of financial impact on the taxpayer – “HMRC estimates that online VAT fraud costs the taxpayer between £1 billion and £1.5 billion a year”. The use of this large figure, which it ought to be noted is not representative of the scale of tax evasion occurring through Amazon, but through all online sellers, exaggerates the scandal of the story, but also connects it to the wider issue of online VAT fraud, while the framing of the effect in terms of taxpayers serves to encourage an emotional response from the audience. HMRC and MPs’ voices are represented in the article, but Amazon representatives do not feature on the front page.

 

Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers 

Reviewed by: Evelyn Jager

 

Thursday 7th September 2017

Papers Reviewed: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times

The Sunsun 07.09

Topic of article: Entertainment/popular culture

Headline: Wazza off the razza

Author(s): Simon Boyle (Showbiz editor); Richard Moriarty

Analysis: This article centres on the well-known football player Wayne Rooney, who is described as “troubled” following recent drink-driving charges and marital issues. The article is an exclusive report on the “ultimatum” that Wayne has given his wife, Coleen – that he will give up drinking if she goes on fewer holidays. An image of Wayne drinking a beer is juxtaposed with a large image of Coleen, wearing a bikini, which is intended to demonstrate the differences between their current lifestyles. The issues are phrased dramatically, with Wayne’s commitment to stop drinking framed as “a bid to save their marriage”. While a source is cited who corroborates the story to some degree, confirming that both Wayne and Coleen have issues with aspects of the other’s lifestyle, the extent of the problems are not supported, and the identity of the source is unknown. The description of the article as an “exclusive” gives it a level of intrigue, which can be seen as a tool to promote sales.

 

The Guardianguardian 07.09

Topic of article:  Politics

Headline: New leak of Brexit papers reveals fissures between Britain and EU

Author(s): Jennifer Rankin (European Correspondent)

Analysis: Further details of Brexit position papers are given, following leaks to the press, focusing on potential points of contention including the Irish border. Five position papers are expected to be published over the coming days, including one on the border between Ireland and the UK. According to the leaked documents, the responsibility for managing this border will be the sole responsibility of the UK. Key points of the leaked documents are detailed, all of which (the article suggests) indicate that the EU is taking an approach which focuses purely on the UK’s exit from the EU, an approach which is described as “spurning” lead negotiator David Davis’s idealised approach of flexibility and creativity. The phrasing of the first sentence gives the impression that the EU is somewhat at fault, and perhaps even taking an aggressive stance in the Brexit negotiations, for instance through describing their position papers as “combative”. The article takes a pessimistic view of Brexit, focusing on the complexity of the issues raised and the potential negative outcomes. The emphasis on the “technical minefields not covered during the referendum campaign” seems to be used to undermine the legitimacy of the referendum, by suggesting that (leave) voters may have been unaware of what their choice entailed. The Irish border issue is claimed to be the “biggest conundrum” of Brexit, and the article mentions the impact that Brexit may have on Ireland. For instance, Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, is quoted as describing the impact of Brexit on Ireland as “extraordinarily negative”. Further, it is suggested that the proposed solutions to these issues are inadequate, being “denounced” as “completely confused” and “economically illiterate”, although the article does not identify the source of these quotations.

 

The Daily Maildaily_mail 07.09

Topic of article: Health

Headline: Doctors: we won’t take on any more patients

Author(s): Sophie Borland (Health Correspondent)

Analysis: Following a BMA survey, this article reports that more than 50% of GPs want to close their lists to new patients. As a result of the survey, the BMA is to decide whether to tell GP surgeries to temporarily close their lists, in a “show of protest” against government demands for increased services, such as additional evening and weekend work, without increased funding. The article describes this as a “drastic measure”, noting the significance for those who are moving home or do not yet have a GP. Whilst closing GP lists to new patients would potentially have a significant impact, both on individuals and on other medical services (which presumably would see a greater demand if patients are unable to see a GP), the headline seems a little premature, as support for not taking on additional patients is only supported by a fairly minimal majority of those surveyed, and the BMA have not yet decided whether GPs should go ahead with refusing additional patients. Further, if this does happen, it should only be on a temporary basis as a form of protest rather than a long-term decision. No BMA representatives, government representatives or medical professionals are cited within the front page, all of whom could have provided insight on this issue.

 

The Timestimes 07.09

Topic of article: Domestic affairs

Headline: Crackdown on university pay

Author(s): Rosemary Bennett (Social Affairs Correspondent), Nicola Woolcock (Education Correspondent)

Analysis: This article reports that universities are to be fined if they pay their vice-chancellors more than £150,000 p/a (“Theresa May’s salary”) without justification, which will be enforced by a new watchdog. The decision is to be announced at an upcoming Universities UK conference by Jo Johnson, the universities minister. The article suggests a “growing outcry” over the high wages of vice-chancellors, particularly amongst former and current ministers, coupled with public scrutiny over university spending following the continuing increases to student fees has led to this decision, although an alternative narrative is raised through quotations from a vice-chancellor, who suggests the decision is politically motivated. The article is fairly balanced, featuring quotes from Johnson’s speech, relevant statistics relating to current wages of vice-chancellors, and the voices of vice-chancellors who are defending their salaries, for instance by comparing their wages against those of footballers, as well as international institutions. The vice- chancellor of Oxford University was cited as accusing politicians of making an inappropriate link between vice-chancellor salaries and increasing fees, perhaps as a means of appearing to address the issue. She suggested instead that significant increases in running costs were the cause of increased fees. Her salary of £150,000 was noted, in comparison to the salary of the position-holder 15 years earlier, which was £100,000. The current running costs of Oxford University were given at £1.4bn which she claimed was “far higher” than it had been 15 years previously, although the real numbers and the percentage increases were missing from the report.

 

Front page images from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers and http://en.kiosko.net/uk/

Reviewed by: Evelyn Jager