Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs.

sensationalism

Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa MIVCI

Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

Table of contents
Introduction............................................................................................................... 3 Introduction to the British press................................................................................ 3 2.1 Broadsheets vs. tabloids.................................................................................... 3 2.2 The language of broadsheets vs. the language of tabloids................................ 4 3. Analysis of news stories ........................................................................................... 5 3.1 Cigarettes to be sold under shop counters (24th March 2008) .......................... 6 3.1.1 Analysis of headlines ................................................................................ 6 3.1.2 Analysis of news reports........................................................................... 6 3.2 Corinne Bailey Rae's husband found dead from suspected drugs overdose (24th March 2008) ........................................................................................................ 9 3.2.1 Analysis of headlines ................................................................................ 9 3.2.2 Analysis of news reports......................................................................... 10 3.3 Prince Harry aborts Afghan mission after web leak (29th February 2008)... 13 3.3.1 Analysis of headlines .............................................................................. 13 3.3.2 Analysis of news reports......................................................................... 13 4. War propaganda in 21st century Britain: prince Harry, a national hero or a war phoney? ........................................................................................................................... 17 4.1 Lexical analysis............................................................................................... 17 5. Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 18 6. List of references…………………………………………………………………19 1. 2.

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism
Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro
1. I TRODUCTIO This paper intends to analyse the linguistic repercussions that the coverage of a news story may have when reported in both British quality press (the so-called broadsheets) and British popular press (the so-called tabloids) This purpose will be accomplished by examining in detail the remarkable linguistic contrasts that may be found in the way three different news stories are approached by several British broadsheets and several British tabloids. Given that the access to print newspapers was somehow hindered by the obvious lack of British press close at hand, I felt compelled to make use of the online versions of the following British newspapers: The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror. The news stories to be commented on in this paper were taken from three different issues: 29th February, 3rd March and 24th March 2008. As regards the structure of this essay, let me say that first of all I will provide a brief introduction to the British press. Then, I will proceed to discuss in depth the linguistic features peculiar to the way the three news reports are dealt with in British quality press and British popular press. It should be pointed out that for each news story, I will start by analysing the headlines, and then I will comment on the news reports. Finally, the last section of this essay will be devoted to a small-scale lexical study of war propaganda in 21st century Britain, as present in the coverage of Prince Harry’s deployment in Afghanistan. 2. I TRODUCTIO TO THE BRITISH PRESS 2.1 BROADSHEETS VS. TABLOIDS To start with, it should be noted that Britain’s first newspapers appeared over 300 years ago. Now, as then, newspapers receive no government subsidy, unlike in some other European countries today. Hence, the survival of newspapers is very much dependent on advertising, which constitutes a vital source of income. Surprisingly enough, this small island boasts approximately 130 daily and Sunday papers, 1,400 weekly papers and over 6,500 periodical publications. More newspapers, proportionately, are sold in Britain than in almost any other country. According to David McDowall (1999: 159), “national newspapers have a circulation of about 13 million on weekdays and 17 million on Sundays, but the readership is twice this figure”. The national newspapers, both on weekdays and on Sundays, fall into two broad categories: the ‘popular’ (also called in a derogatory way: ‘gutter’) and ‘quality’ press. All the popular papers, with the exception of the Sunday Express, are ‘tabloid’ in format. The tabloids are essentially mass entertainment, as evidenced by the fact that they are smaller than the other papers, have larger illustrations, bold captions and a sensational prose style (as we shall see later on). This leads to an emphasis on gossip, emotion and scandal, and a significant reduction in the news content. By contrast, quality newspapers, known as ‘broadsheets’ on account of their larger format, emphasise news coverage, political and economic analysis and social and cultural issues. Some instances of both national quality and popular press are as follows: ational dailies: Populars: Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mail. Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro 3
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

Qualities: The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times. ational Sundays: Populars: ews of the World, Sunday Express, Sunday Mirror, Mail on Sunday, People. Qualities: The Sunday Telegraph, The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Independent on Sundays. 2.2 THE LA GUAGE OF BROADSHEETS VS. THE LA GUAGE OF TABLOIDS Drawing on the distinction that Systemic-Functional grammar (Eggins 2004: 93) makes between spoken and written language, and between informal and formal language, it may be claimed that broadsheets have many features in common with formal and written language, whereas tabloids present a highly spoken and informal style. In order to illustrate such assertion, firstly I will focus on the linguistic implications of mode (spoken language: tabloids vs. written language: broadsheets), and then I will turn to the linguistic consequences of tenor (informal language: tabloids vs. formal language: broadsheets) The examples illustrating each of the linguistic features considered have been drawn from the news reports analysed in the following section. As far as mode is concerned, in the first place it may be argued that spoken language tends to show a dynamic structure, while written language is more synoptic and more carefully designed. This explains the reason why news reports in broadsheets more often than not follow a highly structured organisation of the information (in terms of the answers to the main wh-questions: who, what, where, when, why, how), whereas news stories in tabloids are structured mainly around the most emotive and shocking elements of the news story. Secondly, mode also exerts a significant influence on the kind of lexis used when speaking and writing. Spoken language tends to be dominated by ‘everyday’ lexis (often Anglo-Saxon in origin) By contrast, written language makes more use of prestige lexis (often Latin in origin) than spoken language does. Concerning the dichotomy between tabloids and broadsheets, it appears that ‘everyday’ lexis is far more common in tabloids than in broadsheets, which in turn implies the prestigious quality of broadsheets, as opposed to the everyday and informal quality characteristic of tabloids. This point may be illustrated thanks to the following two examples: (1) In a bid to cut the number of smokers (The Sun) (2) In an attempt to reduce the number of smokers (The Times) Next, in addition to lexis, syntax also plays a major role in the linguistic differences between spoken (tabloids) and written language (broadsheets). The evidence shows that spoken language tends to be syntactically simple, while written language is usually syntactically complex. This, in turn, has a direct bearing on the ‘lexical density’ of the text, in the sense that on the one hand, spoken language is lexically sparse, and on the other, written language is lexically dense. Both features will become clearer in the following two examples: (3) According to the Department of Health, the strategy will save hundreds of lives (The Sun) (4) The Minister for Public Health, last night signalled she was ready to take on retailers to implement changes she claimed would certainly save hundreds of lives (The Times)
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

In relation to tenor, let me say that the most outstanding differences between formal and informal language have to do with lexis. One such difference stems from the emotiveness present in some words. This means that informal language (tabloids) tends to be highly attitudinal and emotional, while formal language (broadsheets) is more neutral and objective. The following two headlines will serve to illustrate this point: (5) Soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae distraught after husband found dead. (The Daily Mirror) (6) Singer’s husband dies of suspected drug overdose (The Guardian) As a general rule, there is often a one-to-one relationship between emotiveness and coloquiallism, which means that attitudinal lexis tends to be colloquial (abbreviated forms, slang) as well, and neutral lexis is usually formal (full forms, no slang) as well. In order to illustrate this point, I will provide another tabloid headline for the news story presented in examples (5) and (6): (7) Tributes to singer’s hubby (The Sun) Another relevant lexical difference between formal and informal language lies in the naming of human participants. Informal language (tabloids) tends to employ first names, nicknames and diminutives, whereas formal language (broadsheets) often makes use of titles and full names: (8) o plot to kill Di, says MI6 spy (The Sun) (9) MI6 held no files on Diana (The Guardian) A final feature of British tabloids, as opposed to British broadsheets, was suggested by Fowler (2001: 91), and is connected with the high degree of personalization found in tabloids. By personalization, he argued that tabloids tend to be packed with items about individuals, but they are lacking in reports of general or extended processes. This certainly goes hand in hand with the emphasis that tabloids place on gossip, emotion and scandal. 3. A ALYSIS OF EWS STORIES Having provided a brief introduction to the socio-cultural and linguistic peculiarities of the British press, now I will move on to a detailed linguistic analysis of three news stories to find out the extent to which British broadsheets may be considered more neutral and objective, as well as the extent to which British tabloids may be regarded as more sensationalist and emotive. The three news stories subject to analysis have been chosen not only due to their interest, but also due to the outstanding linguistic and discourse differences one may easily notice when comparing the coverage of these news stories in British broadsheets with their coverage in British tabloids. The first news item to be commented on in this section appeared on 24th March 2008, and has to do with a government measure banning the display of cigarettes in public places. The second news story, also appearing on 24th March 2008, deals with Corinne Bailey Rae’s husband’s death because of a suspected drug overdose. The third news report, appearing on 29th February 2008, is an account of Prince Harry’s swift removal from Afghanistan after the news leaked that he had been fighting there. As stated above, the commentary will be structured around an initial analysis of tabloid and broadsheet headlines, after which I will confine my attention to an examination of the linguistic and discourse aspects characterizing at least one news report from the two types of press (quality vs. Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro 5
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

popular) Last but not least, it is worth pointing out that my analyses will take into account mainly syntax (word order and syntactic structures) and lexis. 3.1 CIGARETTES TO BE SOLD U DER SHOP COU TERS (24TH MARCH 2008) 3.1.1 Analysis of headlines Cigarettes to be sold under shop counters (The Times) • • • • • • • • • • • • • Use of the passive voice to stress or emphasize the importance of cigarettes (the affected element) in this news report. To be sold: some sense of compulsion/commitment/obligation. No mention of the ban. Simple sentence. Complex noun phrase (Ciggies in display premodifies ban plan) Use of an abbreviation (informal and colloquial vocabulary: ciggies) More straightforward and attention-getting than the previous one. The affected element comes first. The agent of the action (Government) comes first (active sentence) Could: Tentative logical possibility (making the action described more tentative in terms of possibility or likelihood) . Neutral and objective headline. Simple sentence. Very similar to the headline appearing in The Sun, except for the use of a past participle (considered) instead of a noun (plan)

Ciggies in display ban plan (The Sun)

Government could ban display of cigarettes (The Independent)

Cigarette display ban considered (The Daily Mirror)

3.1.2 Analysis of news reports 3.1.2.1 The Times • Frequent use of modality to express: Neutral logical possibility (epistemic modality) (10) Ministers are obliged to detail how much the measures are likely to cost businesses Neutral logical necessity/prediction (epistemic modality) (11) The latest assault on smokers will also see the disappearance of vending machines from pubs and restaurants in an attempt to further limit children’s access to tobacco Volition (deontic modality) (12) I’m willing to do that Compulsion/obligation (deontic modality)
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

(13) Cigarettes are to be forced beneath shop counters with supermarkets and cornershops banned from displaying tobacco products. (14) “It is vital we get across the message to children that smoking is bad” (15) Ministers are obliged to detail how much the measures are likely to cost businesses • For each news report, I will comment on the first sentence, that is, the sentence heading the full text. (16) Cigarettes are to be forced beneath shop counters with supermarkets and cornershops banned from displaying tobacco products, The Times has learnt -The affected product (cigarettes) comes first. Then, we find the affected places where the product is sold: supermarkets and cornershops. -The Times has learnt: To my mind, this might help to make the news report more truthful and authoritative. • Frequent use of the (agentless) passive voice to express impersonality and perhaps detachment (which, in a sense, is related to the objectivity typical of broadsheets): (17) Action on the display of tobacco products at the point of sale was first raised in a draft copy of the Cancer Reform Strategy last December • Unlike The Sun, The Times includes reactions from the two parties involved: -The Minister for Public Health and ministers in general: those who are for the measure. -Retailers: those who are against the measure. • Unlike The Sun, The Times contains some background information to the news story: -The implementation of similar measures in other countries : (18) When the ban on displaying tobacco products is implemented England will join just a handful of others to have taken the step -Measures already taken by the British governement: (19) The successful introduction of the smoking ban last July was followed by the increase of the minimum age of sale from 16 to 18 which came into force last October. • Lexical differences: -Formal vs. informal, colloquial or more straightforward vocabulary: (20) Cigarettes (The Times) vs. Ciggies (The Sun) (21) To further limit children’s access to tobacco (The Times) vs. To stop kids from smoking (The Sun)
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

(22) In an attempt...reducing (The Times) vs. In a bid to cut the number of smokers (The Sun) -Use of an active sentence in the tabloid (with a verbal process: said) and a passive sentence in the broadsheet. Besides, there is a clear lexical difference (informal vs. formal expression) (23) The Department of Health said it is launching a consultation later this spring to look at ways to stop kids from smoking (The Sun). Vs. Both measures are to be included in a consultation to be launched later this spring (The Times) -The latest assault on smokers (The Times): It presents the ban as if it was something negative, something intended to annoy smokers. 3.1.2.2 The Sun. • As compared to the previous article, very little use of modality. In a way, this indicates that the Times is much more committed to and concerned with the news story (on account of the kind of modality used: compulsion, willingness, commitment...) than The Sun. This is reflected in the Times’ pretty extensive coverage of the news story, as opposed to The Sun, which from my point of view, covers this news story only ‘in passing’ (without getting into too much detail). This significant difference might be connected with what was previously said about the broadsheets’ emphasis on news coverage, political and economic analysis and social and cultural issues. First sentence: (24) SHOPKEEPERS could be banned from displaying cigarettes under plans being considered by the Government -Unlike The Times, The Sun places the affected human participant (shopkeepers) at the beginning of the sentence. -Could: Tentative logical possibility (cf. The Times: are to) • Syntactic simplicity: -At clause level: (25) Measures that make it easier to sell nicotine replacement gums and patches are also on the table (simple active sentence containing a relational process: are) Vs. (26) (The Times) The consultation is also expected to include measures that make it easier to sell nicotine replacement gums and patches (complex passive sentence including a mental process: expected) -At phrase level: (27) According to the latest figures from the Office for ational Statistics
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

Vs. (28) (The Times) The most recently available statistics (heavy premodification of the head noun) • The Sun is less specific than The Times. When referring to the participants involved in the news story, The Sun employs collective nouns, while The Times uses proper nouns (naming the specific participants) (29) According to the Department of Health, the strategy – coupled with the wider smokefree legislation – will save hundreds of lives. Vs. (30) (The Times) Dawn Primarolo, the Minister for Public Health, last night signalled she was ready to take on retailers to implement changes that she claimed would save hundreds of lives (Reported speech, syntactic complexity) • • • Scarce use of the passive voice (see example 23) Unlike The Times, The Sun includes reactions from just one of the parties involved: The Minister for Public Health. Possible manipulation of data to make a statement look more threatening and shocking (hyperbole): (31) Someone who starts smoking aged 15 is three times more likely to die of cancer due to smoking than someone who starts in their late twenties, the department said Vs. (32) (The Times) “Children who smoke are putting their lives at risk and are more likely to die of cancer than people who start smoking later.” 3.2 CORI E BAILEY RAE'S HUSBA D FOU D DEAD FROM SUSPECTED DRUGS OVERDOSE (24TH MARCH 2008) 3.2.1 Analysis of headlines Corinne Bailey Rae's husband found dead from suspected drugs overdose (The Times) • This headline is highly informative and objective, in the sense that we get two important pieces of information: 1. Corinne’s husband has been found dead and 2. The suspected cause of his death. This headline is not at all emotional; it gets straight to the point. Passive sentence (affected participant coming first)

• • •

Tributes to singer's hubby (The Sun) Tributes coming first. This reveals that the article will be based more on the reactions from people who knew him, than on the objective and detached information about his death. • Highly sensationalist and emotive headline. Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro 9
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

• • • • •

The headline is made up of just a complex noun phrase (grammatical simplicity) Hubby : slang term for husband. This headline uses an active sentence (cf. headline in The Times) Use of a present simple form (dies) to make the news report look closer to the time of the event. This headline is no doubt less informative and detailed than the headline in The Times, at least as far as the affected participant is concerned: Singer’s husband instead of Corinne Bailey Rae’s husband (The Times). Obviously enough, this also applies to the previous headline. Corinne Bailey coming first (subject) to stress her feelings (distraught). After that, we are told the reason why she is so distraught. Highly sensationalist and deeply moving style.

Singer's husband dies of suspected drug overdose (The Guardian)

Soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae distraught after husband found dead (The Daily Mirror) • •

3.2.2 Analysis of news reports 3.2.2.1 The Times • • • The Times offers highly informative, objective and respectful coverage of this news item. Modality is scarcely used in this news report, probably in an attempt to give a straight and unemotional account of the news story. First sentence: (33) The husband of the Grammy-winning soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae has been found dead from a suspected drugs overdose. -The first sentence is very similar to the headline. -Passive structure: affected element comming first. -Highly informative and objective (who?, what?, why?) -Has been found dead: resultative perfect (very common in news reports) • This news story lends itself to a commentary on the way the information has been structured, and also on the information that has been considered and the details that has been left out. We will notice clear structural differences between the news report in The Times and its counterpart in The Sun. 1. Brief summary of the story (first paragraph): WHO?: Jason Rae, a 31-year-old saxophonist with the Haggis Horns, WHERE?: was discovered at a flat in the Hyde Park area of Leeds WHEN?: On Saturday BY WHOM?: by police called to the scene. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?: West Yorkshire Police (sayer) said that a 32year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of supplying controlled drugs Passive voice (objectivity, detachment, impersonality)
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

2. Details about the postmortem examination. 3. Reactions from Corinne Bailey (cf. the report in The Sun): (34) Ms Bailey Rae was not available for comment. Her record label said in a statement: “EMI Records would like to offer its sincere condolences to Corinne Bailey Rae and the Rae family at this tragic time. We ask that the media respects Corinne’s privacy and that of her entire family 4. Background information to Bailey’s music career and very brief biographical account (2 lines) 3.2.2.2 The Sun • • Unlike The Times, this sensationalist newspaper offers extensive and emotionallly-loaded coverage of this news story. First sentence: (35) TRIBUTES were today paid to sax player Jason Rae, the husband of singer Corinne Bailey Rae -It focuses on the affective side of the news report. -The deceased comes here at the end of the sentence. Thus, the emphasis here is on the word tributes (passive subject). -Singer Corinne Bailey Rae (The Sun) vs. Grammy-winning soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae (The Times: heavier premodification) -Sax player (The Sun) vs. saxophonist (The Times) If we compare this sentence with the initial sentence in The Daily Mirror (another tabloid), we will find that the affective and emotional component of the news story is also highlighted. (36) Soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae was devastated last night after her husband died from a suspected drugs overdose. • Structure: 1. Brief summary of the story: (37) Detectives (agent: active subject) found the body of the Scottish-born musician, 31, who played with funk band the Haggis Horns, at a flat in the Hyde Park area of Leeds on Saturday Vs. (38) (The Times) Jason Rae a 31-year-old saxophonist with the Haggis Horns (affected: passive subject), was discovered at a flat in the Hyde Park area of Leeds on Saturday by police called to the scene. The Times uses a passive sentence, while The Sun makes use of an active sentence. Probably, using an active sentence helps to keep us in suspense
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a bit longer, for the very first participant we come across is not the person who has died (from a communicative viewpoint, the most important element here), but the detectives (the agent) who have found him. Consequently, it appears that the active voice to some extent helps to heighten the emotional load of the news report. WHO?: Detectives WHAT?: the body of the Scottish-born musician WHERE?: at a flat in the Hyde Park area of Leeds WHEN?: on Saturday WHAT DID HE DIE OF? It is believed he died of a drugs overdose. The Times provides that information in the first paragraph, and even in the headline, while The Sun does so a bit later. It is curious that the cause of his death is revealed in a separate sentence, and by using an extraposition structure. From my point of view, this could serve a ‘sensationalist’ purpose. 2. Reactions from fans, acquaintances and friends: -Tributes on his personal website: (39) Fans of the sax player left tributes his band’s Facebook website. -Tributes on her personal website: (40) Meanwhile fans of Bailey Rae were leaving tributes on her website. 3. Reactions from Corinne Bailey (cf. the report in The Times: :Miss Bailey Rae was not available for comment) (41) Yesterday Bailey Rae was said to be heartbroken over the death of her husband. 4. Previous interviews with Corinne Bailey, intended to make her present moment look even more terrible (sensationalism, emotionally-loaded style, highly attitudinal lexis): (42) The singer, who shuns a wild rock and roll lifestyle, last year told how she desperately missed Jason when touring. Interestingly, The Sun makes an extensive use of ‘direct speech’ when the news story is about an individual (in this case, a celebrity) and when it serves a ‘sensationalist’ and ‘emotive’ purpose. (Cf. The Sun’s news report on the smoking ban) (43) “I knew Jason was the right one for a mixture of reasons. I really liked him, and I think that’s a good place to start from” 5. Posmortem examination:
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(44) Yesterday a police spokesman said: "A post mortem examination was inconclusive”. Police are awaiting results of toxicology tests. (Incongruent use of direct speech. Honestly, I cannot see the point of using direct speech here) Vs. (45) (The Times) A postmortem examination was performed on Saturday night, but the results were inconclusive and the police are waiting for the results of toxicology tests, a police spokesman said (Compared to the information in The Sun, syntax here is much more complex) • Lexis: -husband (The Times) vs. hubby (The Sun) -Detectives found the body of the Scottish-born musician (By using the word body, The Sun is stressing that he was dead, thus making the news story more macabre and grisly) vs. The husband of the British soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae was found dead at his home at the weekend after a suspected drug overdose (The Guardian) -Attitudinal/emotive vocabulary in The Sun and The Daily Mirror: the best horn section in the world (The Sun), great (The Sun), really (The Sun), heartbroken (The Sun), desperately (The Sun), intriguing (The Sun), distraught (Daily Mirror), devastated (Daily Mirror), Corinne is in pieces (Daily Mirror). 3.3 PRI CE HARRY ABORTS AFGHA FEBRUARY 2008) 3.3.1 Analysis of headlines Prince Harry aborts Afghan mission after web leak (The Times) • • Prince Harry is presented as an active agent, who apparently, decides himself to abort his mission in Afghanistan. Active sentence. MISSIO AFTER WEB LEAK (29TH

Harry to come home (The Sun) • • Some sense of obligation implied in to come. Some sense of familiarity and friendliness (Harry, home)

Prince Harry to be withdrawn from Afghanistan (The Daily Mirror) • The Daily Mirror does not present Prince Harry as an active agent, but as an affected (patient) participant. This effect is achieved by means of a passive sentence.

3.3.2 Analysis of news reports 3.3.2.1 The Times • First sentence: 13

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

(46) Emergency plans to extract Prince Harry from Afghanistan are being drawn up today after the news leaked that he had been on a secret combat tour in Helmand province since before Christmas. -First element in the sentence: Emergency plans (affected: passive subject) -Extract: It is odd that the journalist has used this verb to refer to a human participant, for this verb is used mostly to refer to objects and things. -Are being drawn up: present continuous (action in the middle of the process) -Secret combat tour: The word tour denotes something positive, pleasant and enjoyable, but not a war (‘a journey made for pleasure during which several different towns, countries etc. are visited’/ ‘an official series of visits made to different places by an important person’) This word, in a sense, sheds some light on Harry’s utopian and positive idea of war, which will become more apparent in the news report found in The Sun and The Daily Mirror. • Harry’s functions in Afghanistan: (47) He has been working in Helmand province as a Forward Air Controller – responsible for providing cover for frontline troops – and has been personally involved in clashes with Taleban guerrillas. Harry is portrayed as an active agent: has been working, responsible for, personally. • How does The Times refer to the news blackout imposed by the MoD (Ministry of Defence)? (48) His four-month deployment had been kept secret because of a Ministry of Defence agreement with news organisations, including The Times, but the details can now be made public after the news leaked out overseas and on the internet. Passive structure (the affected element coming first) Syntactic complexity. Can: permission (deontic modality) (49) the news embargo was lifted -To my mind, it is paradoxical that in (48) The Times refers to the blackout as an agreement (‘an arrangement, promise, contract willingly made with somebody’), while in (49), the journalist regards it as a news embargo (‘an official order that bans the trade with another country’) • Since all the details about Harry’s deployment can now be made public, The Times provides a list of all the events in which Harry has been involved: (50) — On ew Year’s Eve, working as a battlefield air controller known only to pilots as “Widow Six Seven”, he called fighter bomber strikes on Taleban positions. (Once again, Harry is depicted as an active and brave agent)
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• •

Ways of naming/referring to Prince Harry: Prince Harry, the third in line to the throne, the Prince, Harry On the whole, this could be said to be an objective account of the news story. The Times restricts itself to a real and down-to-earth presentation of the facts; it is not until the last line that we find an ‘emotional’ component/nuance: (51) "His conduct on operations in Afghanistan has been exemplary," General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, said. "He has been fully involved in operations and has run the same risks as everyone else in his battle group."

3.3.2.2 The Sun • First sentence: (52) ARMY Chiefs have decided to pull Prince Harry out of Afghanistan, The Sun can reveal. -Active sentence aimed at making the news story more immediate and emotional. -Harry is presented as the affected participant. -No mention of the element that triggered Harry’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. -Syntactic simplicity. • The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the 23-year-old officer's war had come to an end in a statement late this morning. -Active sentence: The Times reports this by using a passive sentence. -The 23-year-old officer’s war: Personalizing the war somehow downplays the harshness and severity associated with any armed conflict. It looks as if the paper presented Harry’s deployment in Afghanistan as an adventure that unfortunately has come to an end. • As opposed to the coverage of this news story in The Times, here Harry’s active (agentive) role in the Afghan war is clearly overplayed. Hence, we may well say that Harry is presented as a kind of courageous war hero. (53) The young lieutenant killed up to 30 of the enemy on his frontline tour by directing at least THREE air strikes. (Capital letters: sensationalist style); he traded fire...manning a heavy machine gun; (54) Showing enormous courage, the prince came under enemy rocket, mortar and machine gun fire almost every day on the ato security mission. (55) And he got up close to the enemy — bringing down bombs on Taliban attackers in his role as a Forward Air Controller. • How does The Sun refer to the news blackout imposed by the MoD (Ministry of Defence)? (56) His extraordinary tour of duty was known about by all British media — including The Sun — but kept secret under an
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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

unprecedented voluntary arrangement. Yet notorious US news website the Drudge Report yesterday revealed damaging details, sending top brass into a spin. -(The Sun) Highly attitudinal and emotional lexis vs. (The Times) neutral lexis: (The Sun) extraordinary tour of duty Vs. (The Times) his four-month deployment. (The Sun) unprecedented voluntary arrangement Vs. (The Times) a Ministry of Defence agreement. (The Sun) notorious US news website (notorious: ‘well-known for being bad’) Vs. (The Times) a major American website. The Sun is overtly taking sides with Prince Harry’s heroic deployment in Afghanistan. This becomes clear in the use of an emotionally-loaded, attitudinal lexis showing the tabloid’s annoyance or displeasure at Harry’s removal from that country. • Lexis -Ways of naming/referring to prince Harry: Prince Harry, the 23-year-old officer, Harry, Tob brass, the young lieutenant, the Prince. -Ways of referring to Harry’s deployment: extraordinary tour of duty. -Ways of referring to/naming the enemies: Taliban fighters, Taliban fanatics, fanatical fighter, Taliban sympathisers, Taliban attackers. -Ways of referring to Afghanistan: war-torn country. 3.3.2.3 The Daily Mirror • First sentence. (57) Prince Harry is to be pulled out of Afghanistan amid fears for his safety. -Prince Harry is presented as the affected (patient) participant (passive subject) -Simple, straightforward way of beginning the news report (cf. The first line in The Times) -Like The Times, The Daily Mirror (though in less detail) somehow informs the reader about the reason for Harry’s withdrawal from Afghanistan: amid fears for his safety. • As one might expect, The Daily Mirror also emphasizes Harry’s active (agentive) role in Afghanistan: (58) The 23-year-old Household Cavalry officer, who has been fighting the Taliban in Helmand Province for the past 10 weeks • How does the Daily Mirror refer to the news blackout imposed by the MoD (Ministry of Defence)? (59) The move, which will be a bitter blow to the Prince, follows the breakdown of a news blackout deal agreed across the UK media after foreign websites leaked details of his deployment.
Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

-Compared with the way the Sun approaches the news blackout, this tabloid seems to be much less sensationalist and emotional, and in turn, more objective and straightforward. The only affective/emotive element to be found in this sentence is a bitter blow. -The Daily Mirror is the only paper explicitly calling the ‘agreement’ a news blackout. • Significant information missing in the other papers: (60) It is feared that the revelation that the third in line to the throne has been fighting in Helmand would increase the tempo of attacks on British forces by the Taliban. • Lexis: -Ways of naming/referring to prince Harry: Prince Harry, the 23-year-old Household Cavalry officer, the Prince, Harry and his comrades, the third in line to the throne. -Ways of referring to/naming the enemies: The Taliban 4. WAR PROPAGA DA I 21ST CE TURY BRITAI : PRI CE HARRY, A ATIO AL HERO OR A WAR PHO EY? As Richardson (2007: 180) argues, during wars, journalism undergoes the powerful influence exterted by war propaganda. As is obvious, no propaganda is politically unbiased, which means that any news report written during a war period will always be driven by the view imposed by the official authorities. Such situation is clearly illustrated in the news story we are dealing with: Prince Harry’s deployment in Afghanistan. In order to assess the biased role that war propaganda plays in this news item, I have carried out a lexical analysis of three news reports dealing with Prince Harry’s daily life on Afghan soil, and appearing on 29th February 2008. The newspapers on which I have based my analysis are two tabloids: The Sun and The Daily Mirror. The reason why I have not taken any broadsheet into consideration has to do with the fact that the broadsheets I analysed (The Times and The Guardian), to some extent, provided an unbiased and objective overview of Prince Harry’s Afghan mission, which was obviously missing in The Sun and The Daily Mirror. Hence, from a propagandalike perspective, the two tabloids are far more revealing than the two broadsheets. As may be noticed in the examples provided below, Prince Harry is consistently portrayed as a ‘war-hero’, as a ‘role-model’ all British youngsters should try to ‘imitate’. 4.1 LEXICAL A ALYSIS Prince Harry is Widow 6-7(The Sun) Prince Harry in Afghanistan: 2nd Lt Wales calls in plane and mortar fire to hit (Taliban fanatics (The Daily Mirror) Prince Harry in Afghanistan: I don't miss boozy nights back home (The Daily Mirror) -Ways of naming/referring to prince Harry: Hero prince, emergency air controller, Harry, the prince and his comrades, Household Cavalry Officer Harry, Second Lieutenant Wales, the young royal, the 23-year-old.
Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

-Ways of referring to/naming the enemies: enemy fanatics, rebels, The Taliban gang, Terry Taliban and his mates, enemy fighters, The Taliban, the hardened fighters, Taliban troops. At first glance, it is not at all hard to notice the ‘demonization’ of both the enemies and their homeland (see the example below), as opposed to the heroic exaltation of Prince Harry. -Ways of referring to Afghanistan: no-man’s land. -What war means to Harry: But Harry has no complaints about the hardships and says it is about as "close to being normal" as he is likely to get; " o, I don't miss booze, if that's the next question. It's nice just to be here with all the guys and just mucking in as one of the lads."; “It’s nice to get out here, live it rough”; "It's good fun to be with just a normal bunch of guys, listening to their problems, listening to what they think. As stated above, Prince Harry’s conception of ‘war’ is no more than a funny and challenging adventure. -Some of Harry’s actions (mainly material processes, aimed at presenting Harry as a brave warrior who is always ready to take up arms against the enemy): rescued underfire comrades; calling in bomber jets, air strikes; crush a Taliban attack; kill about 30 enemy fanatics; blasting the rebels away; sent bursts of fire; Harry,23, was serving in the perilous forward position; he gave the Top Guns permission to blow the rebels to pieces; Harry ordered two jets to drop guided bombs; to prevent accidentslike friendly fire; has been battling the Taliban; scrutinises Taliban positions; oversee his first bomb strike; The strike...spearheaded by the Prince; Harry watched the figures live on his kill TV; he must control a key buble of air space; some of the nightmares the young royal has endured out in Helmand province; has been commanding Spartan tanks; 5. CO CLUSIO To sum up, this essay has provided some insights into critical discourse analysis, as applied to quality press and popular press. The evidence has confirmed our initial expectations about the neutrality and objectivity commonly associated with broadsheets, as well as the sensationalism and deeply emotional style peculiar to tabloids. We have seen how the linguistic consequences of both tenor and mode (mainly lexis, but also syntax) highly contribute to the more or less biased nature implicit in any news report. This suggests that however objective any newspaper prides itself on being, there are always certain linguistic nuances that will reveal some kind of implicit opinion or viewpoint.

Con formato: Fuente: Cursiva, Color de fuente: Azul, Fuente de escritura compleja: Cursiva, Inglés Reino Unido Con formato: Fuente: Cursiva, Color de fuente: Azul, Fuente de escritura compleja: Cursiva, Inglés Reino Unido

List of references
Books EGGINS, S. 20042 [19961]. An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics. New York: Continuum. FOWLER, R. 2001. Language in the ews: Discourse and Ideology in the Press. Routledge: London, New York.

Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism MCDOWALL, D. 19992 [19931]. Britain in Close-up: An In-depth Study of Contemporary Britain. Harlow: Longman. REAH, D. 1998. The Language of ewspapers. London: Routledge. RICHARDSON, J.E. 2007. Analysing ewspapers: an Approach from Critical Discourse Analysis. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Online newspaper articles used in this essay Cigarette Display Ban Ciggies in display ban plan. 2008[/03/24]. The Sun Online. (Anonymous report) Available from: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article954016.ece [accessed 24 March 2008] ELLIOTT, F. 2008[/03/24]: Cigarettes to Be Sold under Shop Counters. The Times Online. Available from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3607714.ece [accessed 24 March 2008] FENTIMAN, P. 2008[/03/24]: Government could Ban Display of Cigarettes. The Independent Online. Available from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-could-ban-display-ofcigarettes-800018.html [accessed 24 March 2008] HILL, J. 2008[/03/24]: Cigarette Display Ban Considered. The Daily Mirror Online. Available from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/latest/2008/03/24/cigarette-display-ban-considered89520-20361575/ [accessed 24 March 2008] Corine Bailey Rae’s husband found dead CUMMINS, F. 2008[/03/24]: Soul Singer Corine Bailey Rae Distraught after Husband Found Dead. The Daily Mirror Online. Available from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/showbiz/frontpageshowbiz/2008/03/24/soul-singer-corinnebailey-rae-distraught-after-husband-found-dead-89520-20361166/ [accessed 24 March 2008] KNAPTON, S. 2008[/03/24]: Singer's Husband Dies of Suspected Drug Overdose. The Guardian Online. Available from: http://music.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,2267766,00.html [accessed 24 March 2008]
Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

NUGENT, H. 2008[/03/24]: Corinne Bailey Rae’s Husband Found Dead from Suspected Drug Overdose. The Times Online. Available from: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article360782 2.ece [accessed 24 March 2008] Tributes to Singer’s Hubby. 2008[/03/24]. The Sun Online. (Anonymous report) Available from: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/article953516.ece [accessed 24 March 2008] Prince Harry to be pulled out from Afghanistan EVANS, M. 2008[/02/29] Prince Harry Aborts Afghan Mission after Web Leak. The Times Online. Available from: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3454535.ece?token=null&offset=0 [accessed 24 March 2008] NEWTON, T. 2008[/02/29] Harry to Come Home. The Sun Online. Available from: HTTP://WWW.THESUN.CO.UK/SOL/HOMEPAGE/NEWS/ROYALS/ARTICLE 862532.ECE [ACCESSED 24 MARCH 2008] Prince Harry to Be Withdrawn from Afghanistan. 2008[/02/29]. The Daily Mirror Online.. (Anonymous report) Available from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/02/29/prince-harry-to-be-withdrawnfrom-afghanistan-89520-20335665/ [accessed 24 March 2008] War propaganda in 21st century Britain NEWTON, T. 2008[/02/29] Prince Harry is Widow 6-7. The Sun Online. Available from: HTTP://WWW.THESUN.CO.UK/SOL/HOMEPAGE/NEWS/ARTICLE860972.EC E [ACCESSED 24 MARCH 2008] HUGHES, C. 2008[/02/29] Prince Harry in Afghanistan: 2nd Lt Wales Calls in Plane and Mortar Fire to Hit Taliban Fanatics. The Daily Mirror Online. Available from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/02/29/prince-harry-in-afghanistan-2ndlt-wales-calls-in-plane-and-mortar-fire-to-hit-taliban-fanatics-89520-20335309/
Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

[ACCESSED 24 MARCH 2008] HUGHES, C. 2008[/02/29]. Prince Harry in Afghanistan: I don't miss boozy nights back home. The Daily Mirror Online. Available from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/02/29/prince-harry-in-afghanistan-idon-t-miss-boozy-nights-back-home-89520-20335367/ [accessed 24 March 2008]

Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa

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Broadsheets vs. Tabloids: neutrality vs. sensationalism

Miguel Ángel Benítez Castro El Inglés de la Publicidad y la Prensa

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