The events on September 11th have dominated the media. Compare the different ways these events have been presented by television news, British national newspapers and Time magazine. The worst terrorist attack in U. S. history, two hijacked commercial jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City around 9 a. m. Tuesday, September 11th. This caused both 110-story towers to topple. The world trade center contained thousands of innocent people who had just arrived for work. This event has dominated the media and I have examined three examples of this.
Initially I analysed The Independent of September 13th and will include detailed comments on the use of language, pictures, colour, layout and the viewpoint of the newspaper. Secondly I looked at the Time magazine and will later compare this with the Independent. When describing the Time magazine I will go through the use of photos, layout, headlines, choice of language, viewpoint of the writer and the content of the article. In the next section of my essay, I will compare the BBC news and the Channel 4 news of September 12th.
Then finally I will give my own opinions about what I have learnt about media coverage and how this event has been reported. The independent was published for September 13th, two days after the terrorist attack on America. The first thing that struck me was that at the top of every page it said ‘TERROR IN AMERICA’ this is printed on a black background to symbolize death and mourn. The word ‘terror’ is a good choice as it is a kind of pun, as the word is linked with terrorism and fear. To the left of the title it has a small picture of the smoke from the calamity.
On page four there is a tremendous photograph which leads the eye on to the subtitle ‘Hopes of finding survivors among the rubble and metal fade’ this article would not be very popular to be read, and that is why your eye is almost pushed into reading it. The subtitle is linked with the photograph of the catastrophe. The photo is of two firemen on an extension tower spraying water at the rubble.. The spray of the water outlines the silhouette of the firemen trying desperately to ‘find survivors among the rubble. ‘ A light background helps emphasize the firemen working.
The whole of this page is in black and white; this is because the whole page has a much sadder feel than, for example, the previous page which was in colour. The first five paragraphs are of the rescue which people do want to read about, this encourages them to read on. Metaphors are being used to help us understand a little bit more of the attack. For example ‘the crack spread like zippers though the wall. ‘ Metaphors could also suggest the event being unreal. As the newspaper is a broad sheet and not designed for the average person, there are quite a number of complicated words like; catastrophe, choreographed, and solace.
The following section contains long sentences describing large quantities of construction gear, crews of construction workers and volunteers. In the next section, there is a quote from George Pakaki, governor of New York, saying that they are not giving up hope. And a volunteer, George Higgins, saying that everyone needs to do their share. These are two different quotes from two completely different people. Pakaki is saying that ‘they’ are not giving up hope. That is that the governors and the people higher up in status are doing their bit, and the other quote from Higgins saying that ‘everyone’, as in the public, should be doing theirs.
By having quotes from different people means that the newspaper is writing to a larger audience including the public and the authority. It is also giving a more varied opinion instead of just the opinion of the writer. The emotive text causes us to be depressed due to the uses of quotes from the public, I think that the writer has achieved his aim. He wants us to understand that the workers are not giving up hope on finding the survivors. It also tells anyone that knows someone who is missing that there is still a chance. If you give them a little bit of hope then they will like it and buy the newspaper again.
The successive segment is about the Pentagon and its witnesses. It also mentions the killed workers and then makes reference to the insecure pieces of the Pentagon which are still standing. The final part of the article is on a sad note and mentions about the deaths of the citizens and how they may be shipped across the Hudson River. The inevitable addition to the article is at the end because, if it was in the middle, then people may not read on. It may also be that if someone is depressed then they may want to read another happier article.
The layout of the page is quite dull with the photo covering about the top third of the page. The article is on the right side of the bottom part with another article on the left hand side. They have kept the layout simple, I think, because no one can really be bothered with fancy layout when they want to read about something so significant. Time magazine is printed and published in the USA but is distributed world wide. It is also published in Amsterdam so Europe have easier access to the magazine. The head office of Time magazine is in New York and there is one issue published per week.
Its target audience is an international one. The Time magazine is completely different to the Independent. Three quarters of the page is taken up by a photograph of three teenagers, all glaring at what we assume to be television footage of the adversity. It looks as though they do not want to look at it but on the other hand, they cannot tear themselves away from the television. This is similar all around the world when anyone has seen the footage. The reader can relate to the photograph. All of the teenagers have their hand covering their mouths in disbelief.
I think that they chose three teenagers because they are the youth of America, and the odd number means that the girl in the center symbolizes the fact that they are in Iowa; ‘the heart of America. ‘ The female in the center of the page is very attractive which gets the readers attention, she looks very innocent just like the people who died were. Using Iowa as the picture has another meaning that it effects the whole planet not just New York, it’s an international tragedy. Time magazine is produced in America and sent all around the world, this is linked to the atrocity as the bad news was spread all across the world from America.
The beginning of the article starts off as the headline so if you read the headline then you are lead to the rest of the passage. To the right of the passage there is a black strip which may symbolize death. The photographer’s name is sideways, this may be a trick to get the reader to read his name. The headline ‘if you want to humble an empire’ is in lower case and bold. It is spread across two pages with darker background on the second page. I think it is in lower case because it is in a sentence and if it was in capitals then it would be difficult to read the rest of the article.
The second part to the article is in bold and lower case again, but a lot smaller. This gradually gets you to read the article. Once you have read the title and subtitle of the article, then you have already read some of the article. The sentence is not finished in the subtitle so if you want to finish off the sentence, then you are already in the main body of the feature. About a third of the way through the article, you reach the writers name. It is out of the way so that you are already in the passage before you are interrupted. I think it also gets your attention and everyone will probably the name Nancy Gibbs.
This is underlined and in bold so that there is more chance of noticing it. It is on neutral background with a large gap around the size ten print of the article. Underneath the piece there are three lines saying SHOCK IN THE HEARTLAND then explains the photograph. What struck me about this additional passage is that it reads ‘attacks on Washington and New York City’ firstly it does not say Washington City and the other is that they put Washington before New York! The New York disaster was far worse than the Pentagon in Washington, so why did they put it first?
Is it because it is the capital or is it that it was military or was it the fact that the attack on the Pentagon effects the world more than the New York adversity? Also there is no full stop! Does this suggest that there will be more attacks? The initial part of the article is using a similar theme; use of similes; ‘the cracks spread in zippers through the walls,’ this suggests that America is revealing something, and that they want no one to see it! ‘People in the sky’ is associated with heaven and that the people in the Trade Center were a little way to heaven.
Also the word crumple suggests fragility like paper and how easy it was for someone to do this. ‘Bloodiest day’ is language of war and ‘anti Vietnam’ implies that this attack is completely different to the war with Vietnam. There is also reference to American’s weapons which makes the reader think that there may be a war. Also the word ‘planted’ may suggest a bomb, all words associated with war and violence! It also mentions all of the heroism including a description about a man who put on a life jacket to help save lives! It also mentions all of the things which Americans love to do and how they were humiliated!
The aim of the writer was that we should feel sorry for the Americans. By writing about additional things which the terrorists caused helps people to be on the Americans side. The viewpoint which I thought the writer was trying to portray was that she is extremely annoyed and values all of the heroism a great deal; ‘ on a normal day we value heroism because it’s uncommon. On Sept11th, we valued heroism because it was common. ‘ The aims of the article is to show the American spirit and to boost morale, by reminding Americans what their true qualities are. Also her aim was to describe the effects of the atrocities on the whole planet.
The first difference between the Time magazine and the Independent is the layout of the page; in the independent, the photograph is on the top third of the page. In the Time magazine it covers two thirds of the layout. I think the Independent chose to only have a third of the page covered because initially it’s cheaper and the other reason is that newspapers are meant to be read and that is what the reader is interested in doing. In a magazine people often ‘look at the pictures’ and scan the pages. Also, the Time magazine is in colour so the photograph can be explored by the eye to a much greater extent.
The other thing I noticed about the differences of layout is that the Time magazine has decided to have a double page spread whereas the newspaper article is only across one. The only reason I can think of for this is that the Time magazine wanted the photograph to be noticed. The final point I have to make for this layout is that the Time magazine is for a wider audience and the article may not have been read if it was as long as the one in the broad sheet. Also the Independent, because of its size, has a few other divisions of the page.
The similarities of these two pieces are that they both have a large photograph and text. The viewpoint of the two writers is quite similar and also their choice of language. For example, metaphors and suggested words like Empire; which suggests size and power, or planted; which could suggest a bomb, both taken from Time. Fade, taken from the Independent, which may suggest the more time they search the less likely they are to find victims. Now I am going to analyse, and compare, the BBC broadcast of September 12th, which was at ten o’clock at night. and the Channel Four news at seven in the evening that same day.