‘The world of press is not the real world, but a world skewed and judged’

Nowadays everyone has access to press which represents a source that provides societies with a sufficient dose of current information. Living in the XXI century, undoubtedly press and electronic forms of media such as: Internet, radio and television play an important role in people’s lives. Each of them help humans to become up to date with worldwide news, various disasters, worldwide developments, health and science updates and the work of government. The majority of people receive the news as they are presented and relies on the facts given by the media. However, the question they may have is, whether the given facts of events are genuine and what evidence can support that. I agree with the words of Fowler, R. (1991) who states that: ‘The world of press is not the real world, but a world skewed and judged’. It suffices to say that, press may entail the manipulation of societies through its written word. The recipient is dependent on the news found in the articles, online services as well as the television shows. Although receiving the information is not only based on the views of the recipient but it may also be dependent on the ideals and rules followed by the presenter or journalist. This can be observed in both Guardian and Daily Mail articles published on the same day, which present the introduction of the ante-natal classes that should help to prevent the high rate of pregnancies in teenage girls in Britain. Both articles illustrate the same topic although the language and perspective of the writers differ significantly which can be observed while analysing their leads, headlines, sources, actors, news values and lexemes.


Allan Bell in his book ‘The language of News Media’ writes: ‘ The lead focuses the story in a particular direction’ ‘It summarizes the central action and establishes the point of the story’ (1991:152, 149). Therefore, the general view of the article is revealed to the audience. The lead sentence in the Daily Mail states: ‘ Schools should run ante-natal classes for pregnant pupils, Government advisers said yesterday’. The message reinforces the aim of the entire article focusing on the introduction of the ‘ante-natal classes’ designed especially ‘for pregnant pupils’. This information is provided by ‘Government advisers’ who seem to be the main subject having a dominant function giving the opinion in this matter. Moreover, the author makes a use of a modal verb ‘should’ which Bell describes as ‘stipulate obligations’ (1991:64). In other words the writer creates more positive view of the message and in the same time gives advice recommending the ‘ante-natal classes’. On the other hand, the Guardian’s lead sentence reads: ‘Ante-natal classes should be set up in schools to care for pregnant teenagers who are missing out on vital care, a major health watchdog said today’. Although the above lead has similarities to Daily Mail’s lead as using modality it suggests launching of ante-natal classes for pregnant teenagers, it also has some differences. The presupposition is hidden in the aim of the ante-natal classes which is described as: ‘to care for pregnant teenagers who are missing out on vital care’. Thus, it presupposes that there are pregnant teenagers who do not receive any care.


According to Bell headline is ‘an abstract of the abstract’ and is equal to a ‘stand-alone unit’ (1991-150:187). The Daily Mail headline states: ‘Ante-natal classes for teen mums at schools:

Health watchdog’s new initiative would ‘normalise’ gymslip pregnancies, say critics’. The headline is focused on the image of ‘teen mums’. The sentence presupposes that there have always been pregnant teenagers who attend school and that there has been an ‘initiative’ to introduce such classes although nowadays it might ‘normalise’ the pregnancy rate. Besides, the word ‘gymslip’ used for description of pregnant teenagers is very figurative and visual, therefore it reinforces the message discourse while using the word ‘teen mums’. On the other hand, the word ‘critics’ demonstrates the suggested idea is not being approved but taken with negativity. The Guardian’s headline which reads: ‘Pregnancy clinics ‘should be set up in schools’’ represents the topic from a different perspective. While Daily Mail criticizes and states that ‘the ante-natal classes’ would ‘normalise’ the pregnancy rate, the Guardian is being more positive claiming that the ‘pregnancy clinics should be set up in schools’. The use of modal verb ‘should’ is making recommendation and makes the sentence more positive. The subject in the Guardian’s headline are the ‘pregnancy clinics’ whereas the Daily Mail ‘s headline is engaged in ‘Health watchdog’s new initiative’ which is one of the presuppositions like it has been described.


Although both Daily Mail and Guardian have almost the same sources, they are portrayed differently. The main sources in Daily Mail are the government advisers: NICE - the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, Rhona Hughes - ‘chair of the guideline development group’ and Dr Gillian Leng - the deputy chef of NICE. There are also other authorities including Anastacia de Waal - the director of Cavitas, Norman Wells the director of Family Education Trust, the Reverend Paul Dawson and the critics. Most of these sources have a negative opinion on the ante-natal classes. On the other hand, the sources in Guardian’s article are referring to the

problem using all the above sources and the other ones like the ‘experts behind the guidance’ and Louise Silverton who is the ‘deputy general secretary’. The sources in Daily Mail are described using both active and passive voice: ‘Experts at NICE say... Rhona Hughes said...’ where active forms have predominance over passive voice which signifies the higher level of certainty of the sources. The Guardian’s article demonstrates the same sources using passive voice: ‘Critics said... Rhona Hughes said... ‘ The usage of passives indicates lower confidence of the sources. Moreover, both articles include the negative message stating the ‘ante-natal classes would normalise the teenage pregnancy’. As Linda Thomas writes: ‘metaphor is a way of comparing two different concepts’ (1999:45). Both texts provide sources with words of Norman Wells including a metaphor that has been repeated while explaining the reasons of the existence of schools: ‘Schools exist to assist and support... not to be the panacea for every social ill’. Therefore, the metaphor’s aim in calling the teenager’s pregnancy ‘every social ill’ is to reinforce the negative message of the ‘ante-natal classes’ by using persuasion.

Description of Pupils - Teenage girls

Both newspapers Guardian and Daily Mail illustrate the pupils in diverse ways. While Daily Mail is more negative using a metaphor calling the teenagers ‘gymslip mums’, Guardian is more positive and refers to pupils as ‘pregnant teenagers who are missing out on vital care’. There is an explicit negativity in the description of pupils in Daily Mail. For example, the writer presupposes that ‘pregnant girls are deterred from going to see their GP by the fear of... receptionist..’ On the contrary, Guardian defends stating: ‘ Young women... may be reluctant to recognise their pregnancy or inhibited by embarrassment and fear of parental reaction’. Although Daily Mail is mostly negative implying ‘young girls where teenage

pregnancy is rife’ could benefit from ante-natal classes and it would ‘help girls deal with labour and motherhood’. The encouragement is given by Rhona Hughes who mentions the effects of antenatal classes in the US where ‘girls are told about the labour, given advice on their diet and taught how to breast feed’. Guardian on the other hand, strictly defends the teenagers calling them ‘women from deprived backgrounds, including those suffering domestic abuse, drug or alcohol misuse... ’Furthermore, it states that ‘those women’ ‘may struggle to access the right information, such as what foods to avoid in pregnancy or the impact of alcohol or smoking’ creating more innocent image of them.

Description of the Ante-natal classes

Daily Mail and Guardian both describe ante-natal classes as care for pregnant pupils that should be introduced at schools. Daily Mail criticizes the idea in most of the paragraphs. Firstly, the author states ‘pupils would be able to skip lessons for the sessions’. Another disadvantage is that ‘schools are simply not equipped to provide these services’. Moreover, the writer using antithesis claims that young pregnant girls are too timid to see the GP, therefore they would ‘not start providing for them’. There is an overt criticism in the paragraph 21 and 22 where parallelism occurs: ‘The more schools are called on to... the more they will lose... There are also a few positive statements such as, in paragraph 6 where the writer uses modality advising : ‘where teenage pregnancy is rife should hold classes... to deal with labour and motherhood’. Besides, it has been underlined that in the US classes have been ‘held for years and they have been highly successful’. However, in final paragraph the criticism outweighs its bias stating: ‘it would normalise teenage pregnancy and make it more common than ever’ where used superlativity reinforces the message. All these statements present the story in a negative light. On the contrary, Guardian illustrates the subject from a differently addressing more

positive arguments. Firstly, using modality it suggests that ‘services should be tailored’ and it would be a benefit: ‘providing one-stop-shop antenatal care in areas with high teen pregnancy rates’. Moreover, it describes antenatal care as ‘a package of care aimed at women from deprived backgrounds’. The author mentions the classes in the US to encourage the reader by words: ‘it was ‘common’... and had shown some success’. There is also a defending paragraph stating that pregnant girls ‘by missing antenatal classes... fail to get the right check-ups’ so that it is crucial to introduce it. However, slight criticism appears in the last few paragraphs stating: ‘would require extra resources’ ‘at a level that is not clearly available in the current.. cutbacks in NHS’; also the author explains using parallelism that this would ‘require slightly more, rather than less one-to-one care’. The final paragraph suggests that the writer’s perspective is more positive than negative and he is not against the antenatal classes.

Language Usage

Daily Mail and Guardian articles differ significantly in a linguistic way. As it has already been described, Daily Mail looks at the story from a critical point of view using the linguistic features, such as the presuppositions in the headline, modality in the lead, a figurative word ‘gymslip’ as well as antithesis throughout the article. The main presupposition is that the pregnant pupils have always existed and that there has been an ‘initiative’ to introduce ‘ante-natal’ classes even though it could ‘normalise’ the pregnancy in teenagers in Britain. On the contrary, Guardian reinforces the idea of ‘ante-natal’ classes using more modality that occurs in the lead and the headline which have already been mentioned. Guardian’s article presupposes that there are pregnant pupils who do not receive any care. The writer uses passive voice which indicates lower confidence of the sources, whereas Daily Mail uses mostly active voice which makes the arguments more explicit and reinforces the

negative statements. Daily Mail uses phrases such as ‘gymslip’ while Guardian uses three part statements such as: ‘one-stop shop’ or ‘one-to-one care’. Both articles use the antithesis stating: ‘Schools exist to assist and support parents... not to be the panacea for every social ill’. Furthermore, Daily Mail uses superlativity stating: ‘Britain already has the highest rate in Western Europe’ and the particulars while providing the numeric figures on the pregnancy rate whereas Guardian is less explicit with the figures but uses the other linguistic features such as: parallelism in the eleventh paragraph: ‘The more that schools are called... the more they will lose their focus on imparting knowledge’. Altogether, Daily Mail uses more informal style of writing and divides the story into 24 short paragraphs, while Guardian’s language is more sophisticated and formal and the story consists of 19 longer paragraphs. News Values & Conclusion

‘The values of news drive the way in which news is presented’ states Allan Bell. (1991:155). This means that every newspaper presents news in a particular way depending on the contents of the story and the recipients. Not only does the newspaper take into consideration its audience, but also the volume of the story. That is why it is important to underline the significance of the news values which play a big role in every newspaper’s popularity. Although Daily Mail and Guardian are describing the same story, both include the same facts and almost the same sources however, they express them differently. While Daily Mail is negative about the introduction of ‘anti-natal classes’, the Guardian presents the same ideas in more positive perspective. So far, I have contrasted the two articles, their headlines, leads, sources, the actors, language and their news values. The question is whether both articles illustrated the reality presenting the same topic in two contrastive ways? As stated in the words of Fowler ‘The world of press is not the real world’. Thus, it may be

assumed that the newspapers write and publish articles without taking into account ‘the real world’. The only thing that matters to them is the volume and the number of readers as well as the profit. Therefore the only conclusion is that ‘real world’, must be found by the reader in his own interpretation depending on his ideals, knowledge and lifestyle.

Bibliography Bell, A. (1991). The language of News Media,Oxford: Blackwell. Fowler, R. (1991). Language in the News, London: Routledge. Thomas, L. (1999). Language, Society and Power, London and New York: Routledge

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