Unit 2 Newspapers
Lesson 2: The British Press
More newspapers are sold in Britain than in any other European country. 66% of the British public
read one of the eleven daily newspaper that can be divided into two chief categories: broadsheets, such
as The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, and tabloids, such as The Daily Mail and The Sun. The tabloids
are the biggest sellers by far. They are part of what is commonly known as the popular press which is
aimed at lower social groupings.
Among the features of tabloid papers are their lively layout, their use of big headlines in bold, of colour,
of large, dramatic pictures accompanying short articles. They usually focus on human interest stories,
on gossip, on sport and often offer gimmicks and special offers such as games and free tickets.
Broadsheet newspapers are usually referred to as quality press. They aim at a higher social grouping.
They use colour very sparingly, their pages are usually densely packed with long news reports, their
focus is often on political issues and on international news. The broadsheet is usually serious and
careful to be seen to present as full a picture as possible of the news in a series of reports about recent
occurrences judged to be “newsworthy” and of interest to the paper’s readership. The tabloid does not
worry about presenting (or seeming to present) the news in an objective way, rather it appears directly
to the readers’ emotions and instincts.
For tabloids, emotion about an event takes precedence over the event itself. For broadsheets, the event
takes precedence over emotion. In this respect, tabloids may be seen as displaying a preference for
spoken melodrama (sensationalism and excessive emotion), whereas broadsheets are more rooted in
written epic (the narrative of events that are important to a nation). Sometimes this leads tabloids to
taking rather extreme positions which are often criticized.
The following front page headlines, each printed on the same day during the NATO war in Kosovo,
exemplify the different approaches of the two types of newspapers.
The Times (broadsheet)
NATO SPLIT OVER AIR CAMPAIGN
The Sun (tabloid)
The first headline encapsulates a political issue in a neutral way pointing to the fact that NATO is
divided over whether or not to launch an air attack; the second is an emotive comment, an exhortation
to attack, to “clobber” (hit) Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and hence Serbia. As can be seen in
this example, tabloids make little distinction between news and comment (views, remarks, observations,
critical stances representing the ideas of the writer or editor, evaluations) whereas broadsheets keep the
two more carefully separated.
The tabloid pages are considerably smaller than the broadsheets, but tabloid headlines, despite the
smaller page, use larger fonts. They are usually very short and direct, such as “ROUTED” (The Sun,
April 3, 2003), “HELL ON EARTH” (The Sun, March 31, 2003). They often read as a spontaneous
comment or reaction representing a moral or emotional stance and they often appear to have more in
common with spoken rather than formal written English. They make no secret of their desire to
manipulate public opinion. An example of this is to be seen in the headline written in The Sun of
August 29, 1996, against Prince Charles on the day in which he and Princess Diana got divorced: “BYE
BYE BIG EARS”. Such headlines are usually juxtaposed with a large, dominant picture.
Broadsheet headlines have a smaller typeface and stretch right across the front page. They tend to offer
a summary of the story carried beneath. The main image is not necessarily directly connected with the
principal headline. The longer headline allows for the use of a fully formed sentence often with two
clauses, as follows: “SADDAM’S PALACE DESTROYED BY CRUISE MISSILE AS US MOUNTS
NEW ATTACK”. There is a tendency to elide the full range of participants to a process. Often the
function words such as definite articles, pronouns and auxiliary verbs are left out. With all these
elements added in, this headline would read: “Saddam’s palace has been destroyed by a Cruise missile as
the US mounts a new attack”. 1
Tabloidese, devised to accommodate the largest type to the smallest page, is essentially a made-up
language, a kind of primitive Esperanto where nouns, verbs and adjectives are interchangeable. So long
as readers are well-versed in this Esperanto, it is a useful - indeed an essential - headline aid.
Tabloid vs. Broadsheet - or Popular vs. Quality?
Tabloid newspapers have often been accused of being sensational - a term of abuse when aimed at the
press. But the comments below, published in the early 1950s on the front page of the Daily Mirror by
the editor, Sylvester Bolam (Editor 1948-1953) suggest some of the more positive aspects of
“The Mirror is a sensational newspaper. We make no apology for that. We believe in the sensational presentation of news
and views, especially important news and views, as a necessary and valuable public service in these days of mass readership
and democratic responsibility.
We shall go on being sensational to the best of our ability...
Sensationalism does not mean distorting the truth. It means the vivid and dramatic presentation of events so as to give
them a forceful impact on the mind of the reader. It means big headlines, vigorous writing, simplification into familiar,
everyday language, and the wide use of illustration by cartoon and photograph...
As in larger, so in smaller and more personal affairs, the Mirror and its millions of readers prefer the vivid to the dull and
the vigorous to the timid.
No doubt we make mistakes, but we are at least alive.”
The term , followed by a singular verb, is a collective noun used to refer to newspapers or
journalists collectively, as a category.
The term is an uncountable noun which is always followed by a singular verb: The news was very
exciting last night. They announced that the war in Iraq was over. Many compound nouns can be formed with
the word news: newsagency, newsletter, news conference, newsagent’s, newsworthy...
Tick the term or statement that is incorrect according to the text
1. For news to be news, it must be...
b. of international interest
c. of interest to the reader
2. Tabloid newspapers frequently...
a. are colourful
b. offer full international news analysis
c. present the news in a dramatic way
3. Broadsheet newspapers...
a. have a higher readership than tabloids
b. use more complicated headlines
c. often have a list of contents on the front page
4. In general, broadsheets...
a. seem to be less biased than tabloids
b. are never biased
c. have bigger pages than tabloids
5. In general, tabloids...
a. give more importance to an emotional response to an event than to the event itself
b. don’t like Prince Charles
c. combine news with views in the reporting.
Exercise 2 :
Compare the two following front pages, the former from the tabloid Daily Mirror and the latter from
What do they have in common?
In what ways are they different?
How does the physical layout of the pages effect the way in which readers approach the newspaper?
: P H ’ G (J 2005)
BROADSHEET VS TABLOID RINCE ARRY S AFFE ANUARY
You can explore the differences between broadsheets and tabloids by comparing the two following
articles concerning the same event (Prince Harry wearing a Nazi costume at a fancy dress party): the
first one published in The Guardian; the second one in The Sun.
World, And Father, Condemn Harry's Gaffe
Sandra Laville and Richard Norton-Taylor
Prince Charles's household was forced into a thrown in
"colonial or native" fancy dress party
huge damage-limitation exercise recently after Gloucestershire by Richard Meade, an Olympic
Prince Harry was pictured in a Nazi uniform gold medal-winning three-day eventer.
Clarence House insisted the prince would not
complete with swastika armband at a make a public appearance to say sorry. "He has
party early this month. As the world prepared to apologised already in a statement and said it was
commemorate the 60th anniversary of the a poor choice of costume," a spokeswoman said.
liberation of Auschwitz, politicians and Jewish Prince Harry would not be attending the event at
leaders labelled his actions "offensive",
With Israel's foreign Auschwitz, she added. "It would be a distraction
"insensitive" and "shameful". detraction from the importance of the
minister and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre also and
rounding on the prince, Clarence House was But royal sources made it clear that Prince Harry
forced to let it be known that his father had given
dressing-down. There have been telling-off. "He has spoken to his
had received a
him a severe
calls for Harry to go further than the apology he father. It is fair to say his father recognises he has
released. made a serious mistake," The Guardian was told.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the US-based Simon There were reports that Prince Charles had
Wiesenthal Centre, said the prince, 20, should be ordered his son to pay a private visit to Auschwitz.
told to accompany the British delegation to Some MPs asked whether Prince Harry's lack of
Auschwitz next week. "This was a shameful act judgment made him suitable for officer training at
displaying insensitivity for the victims, not just for Sandhurst, where he is due in May. Labour
called for him to
those soldiers of his own country who gave their backbencher Doug Henderson
withdraw his application. "I don't think this young
lives to defeat Nazism, but to the victims of the man is suitable for Sandhurst," he said. Defence
Holocaust." The Israeli foreign minister, Silvan sources told The Guardian that the prince's
Shalom, said wearing the Nazi symbol was
disgraceful, while the head of foreign policy for the behaviour would not affect his place at Sandhurst.
EU, Javier Solana, simply said: "It's not an Had he been in officer training at the time,
appropriate thing to do." however, they said he would in all likelihood have
Prince Harry's costume was exposed by The Sun been thrown out.
newspaper, which published a picture of him The Guardian Weekly 2005-21-01
wearing the Afrika Corps uniform at a themed
Prince Harry is the youngest son of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. Prince
Charles is the oldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, and heir to the British crown. Harry’s older brother is
Prince William, next in line to the throne after Charles, which makes Harry, currently, third in line to be
king. Harry has regularly been in the newspapers as a result of drunken or inappropriate behaviour.
Clarence House = home and offices of Prince Charles
Auschwitz = a Nazi concentration camp where thousands of Jewish were murdered in the early 1940s
Sandhurst = Britain’s premier military officer training centre
EU / i ju / abbr. E U
MP / em pi / noun 1) the abbreviation for ‘Member of Parliament’: Conservative / Labour MPs the
MP for Oxford East a Euro-MP; 2) a member of the military police
Backbencher= noun A member of the House of Commons of Great Britain who is not a party leader.
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher cecilialll di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Diritto della comunicazione e dell'informazione e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Teramo - Unite o del prof Ruggiero Luca.
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