This analysis aims to explore the usage and choice of language, the formation and presentation of media, and the target audiences of two newspapers, regarding their approach to the war in Iraq. Comparisons are to be drawn, in this case between two articles from The Guardian and The Daily Mail, not so much in the views taken but in how the news is delivered, and how these conform to our expectations of these types of newspapers. Possibly it is worthy to briefly suggest some expectations of these newspapers, so that we can determine whether the reporting style differs from these thoughts.
The Guardian is a broadsheet and is therefore expected to focus on political matters in great depth, possibly with more than one report on a current situation, so as to provide a broad range of opinions. We do not commonly associate celebrities or ‘gossip’ in general with broadsheets, such as The Guardian, whereas we expect a more general mix of news and social comments, generally with a singular focus to articles, so as to provide a directive argument, from tabloids, such as The Daily Mail.
We would imagine The Daily Mail to make comments that are quite conservative and place focus on ‘our’ (the British peoples’) property and what ‘our’ property is doing or capable of. It will be of some interest to see whether these two articles comply with our expectations, so as to further the depth of the conclusion. One of the most striking differences between these two articles is their layout. Obviously, The Guardian being a broadsheet is far larger, with much more text per page than The Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail makes effective use of the ‘T-formation’, placing its cartoon in the centre of the ‘T’s head, with its summary to the right, allowing the reader’s eye to be taken across the page, almost avoiding the article completely. The cartoon possesses a striking black border, capturing the reader’s attention straight away. The title for The Daily Mail is blazoned across the double page to seize the reader, focusing the story immediately.
It manages to create a sense of immediacy by placing a graphic of a clipboard and ‘fresh’ news on top of it to the right of the captivating cartoon, as if the editors were unable to type it up, which is of course quite ironic. The Guardian has a similarly powerful set-up, a striking image of anonymous troops going to war into a dying sunset, making the story more accessible by giving the piece a false personality. This is an emotive image and dominates the page. This can portray many different messages and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. There are two headings, the main title being dominating for obvious reasons.
However, above it lies a summary heading, presenting the reader with the foremost points of the article. This is probably well suited to The Guardian as we can see that there are plenty of more articles from the ‘links’ in the coloured box, and thus allows readers to make their own choice, suggesting that The Guardian ‘dictates’ the news less, and gives more independence to its readers. The cartoon with The Guardian is a little more subtle in its commentary and placing, being situated at the bottom of the page. The other major form of layout to be considered is the placing within the newspaper.
The Daily Mail places this article after the front-page, over a double page spread. This creates a very strong impression on the reader, giving a sense of finality about the war and creating quite ultimate focus on the war. The front-page was a compelling photo to give a direct route to the article on the impending war. This complies with our expectations: a focus for the readers and a directive layout. Whereas with The Guardian, the article has come from the front-page, along with an assortment of other articles, giving the reader a choice and not dictating what is important.
This likewise follows our initial thoughts about The Guardian being a more open read. We can also see within this article that there are plenty of other ‘parts to the story’ from the references in the coloured box. The fact alone that this box is coloured is important as it invites the reader to further their knowledge about the war. The box is neatly positioned next to the cartoon, both within the ‘T’. Possibly, the cartoon is next to the box to encourage the reader to follow the links by scaring them about the war’s ‘one-sidedness’.
As far as textual layout is concerned, The Daily Mail is once again far more striking. As aforementioned, the title is placed across the double spread creating a striking image. To further this striking image, the first two words of the article are capitalised to make an impression, and the first two paragraphs are in larger font. The font is a little more cramped than that in The Guardian. The Daily Mail makes use of bullet-points to create a ‘punchy’ and ‘fresh’ style. However, the main difference between these two articles lies within their language.
This essay will now cover the language differences between the two articles, and how the language is used to create impressions, and influence the reader. The idea of news is to satisfy at least five points: ‘Who? ‘ ‘What? ‘ ‘When? ‘ ‘Where? ‘ ‘Why? ‘, commonly known as ‘The Five W’s’. If these are satisfied truthfully, then the reader should have a detailed account of the current situation. The Guardian does this immediately within the first paragraph. It details the people, that is to say the troops satisfying ‘Who? ‘, their location (Where? ), their actions (What? ), the time (When?), and the cause (Why? ).
This shows us that The Guardian has in-depth knowledge and suggests that the audience is one that wants to be satisfied intellectually. The Daily Mail does this likewise, although there is a possible discrepancy as to where the ‘massive military force’ was. However, there are already important differences between the two. Firstly, the focus or side of the paragraph. The Daily Mail uses opinionated language such as ‘massive’ in alliteration to create the impression of ‘our’ superior power, whereas The Guardian is completely factual with no alliteration.
However, maybe there is a reason for this. The emphasis in The Daily Mail is very much placed on the might of ‘our’ forces and so this powerful use of language is very effective. The Guardian’s stance is very much the opposite though, placing emphasis on the comparative weakness of the Iraqi troops, and thus, the usage of powerful language would be inappropriate. The only possible hint of ‘our’ power in The Guardian is given by the usage of the word ‘clearing’, possibly suggesting our ability to clear a route, but this is a very weak suggestion.