I have taken The Sun and The Time from Monday 12th February 2001, and I am going to analyse and compare the two papers by looking at their respective front page in detail and briefly looking at how the two papers treat the same story differently. I will be looking at the way each paper is presented, what their aim is and how they try to achieve this, as well as what angle the papers chose to report from. Firstly, I am going to look at the front page of The Times.
The Times is a “broadsheet” newspaper, which means that it will probably conform to certain criteria. These are the target audience, the way the paper is presented, what stories they cover and how they are covered and the language they use. The Times is aimed mainly at upper-middle/upper class readers and this is reflected in almost every aspect of the paper. The paper is usually sold folded in half due to its size, and therefore they usually include a large colour photograph in the top half, and use a coloured border to attract readers.
On this day there is a very large, and very bright red and orange photo of Ellen MacArthur, and a large blue and red block across the top. All of these stand out against the white background and therefore will help to attract readers. On the front page of The Times there is a story about the European currency, a story about MacArthur who sailed around the world single handed, a story about church school, another about the Human Genome and little stories about women in the army and Britain’s film studios.
There is also an advert about a lottery type game they are promoting, a topical cartoon, an advert and a mini guide to what’s inside the paper. Firstly I am going to look at the stories they are carrying and why they are printing these stories. It is a general stereotype that their target audience are interested in the currency and politics and this is why the story on the Chancellors views on the Euro is carried. These story is their main one and is quite important and for many will be interesting and appeal to them.
The article is covered in good depth on the front page alone and is continued further on the second page with 2 further individual journalists commentators views and Irelands view as well. The language used to describe the story is “high brow”, that is higher than the standard of English you get in The Sun. The language is also more useful in describing the story in the way the Times want to do it. The Times uses complex words and phrases and includes more complex area’s of the economy and much of the text on the front page would never be seen on the front page of The Sun.
The story about Ellen MacArthur is more of a human interest story, which is not the type of story The Times would usually carry, but this is quite and important and interesting one. I am going to use this story later, to see the difference between the way The Sun report this, compared to The Times. The other two stories are about education and scientific research, and are more what you would expect from The Times. They are areas, which often interest intellectuals and are concerned with politics, another area The Times deals with.
The Times also shows a reasonably large advert for an expensive pearl shop, this is what you would expect from The Times, a high quality paper advertising a high quality from a high quality shop. The Sun contains very little text and information, in comparison to The Times, who have included a lot of text and several stories in the space available, with about 80% of the page being given up to news. The Sun, however has decided to print half the page with adverts for a games promotion and a football magazine, another quarter taken up by the title and the top of one of the adverts.
The only actual piece of writing is at the bottom, and this cannot be considered in any way a piece of news. It is 1 column long, which is about 2 inches high, it contains 2 pictures and a large title and is about women in the army who want to pose topless in the paper. The text is full of puns such as “Second Front” (in reference to it being the second girl to pose topless), “Corps Blimey” and the opening sentence, “Our snaps of fighting fit Melanie Cotton, 27, are sure to send shell-shocked top brass diving for cover.
These are all examples of how The Sun carries articles that have no content or point in and are there purely to pull in readers who want to see some topless women. This is a good way of building up sales, but not for securing long-term success or respect. The large pictures on the front will also attract readers and may encourage some to look further into the paper, some to see if they actually have any news in there. The layout of the paper does not appear to have been that well thought out and the advert for a football magazine appears to have been dumped on the rest of the page and doesn’t fit in.
There is actually very little to analyse on this front page and this is an interesting fact. The Times can find stories about the economy, education, and science and even have space for a human-interest story, whereas The Sun does not seem to be able to find any stories it considers more important than women taking off their clothes. In fact, as this story is continued on the next two pages, and the only real news is a small piece in the top left corner of the 4th page.
Most important news is put on the right hand page as this is more read than the left, and opposite the news is another story about army women, who this time, one of them went AWOL In the first ten pages of The Sun, there are very few stories that are covered by the Times as well. One of the first is on page 11, and this is the one about Ellen MacArthur and this is the story, which I will use to further compare the two papers. The Sun’s title for this story is one of their trade mark puns, “One Ell of a Hero”, and shows below it two photos, one of MacArthur and one of her yacht.
The coverage is quite detailed and concerns mainly her and little on the rest of the race partakers. There is quite a lot of the story taken up by a quote form MacArthur herself. The language is fairly neutral, neither of very high standards nor not of a low standard. There is a map of her journey included and a comment included on another page. To the left of the story are smaller stories about less interesting pieces of news and on the right there is a tacky advert for Valentines Day voice messages. This sort of advert is what you would expect from The Sun.
The Times however puts this story on page 3 and actually has 4 different articles on her, all by different authors. The main article is a fairly long piece, longer than the treatment given by the Sun. It is written in a small and more professional font than The Sun and the language again appears to be of a higher level than The Sun’s article. The main article deals mainly with the facts and reaction and the other articles deal with her sponsor’s view of her success and her history and another piece which is about her sailing past and when the journalist first met her.
The interesting thing about the two articles is that although The Times’ article is much more detailed and of a better standard, which are all typical things, and the Sun focuses on the human interest angle, but not as much as The times which is very untypical of them. This is done to compliment the rest of their piece, but the story in principle is a human interest story and for it to be put on page 3, the first page inside the paper, reserved for the most important pieces of news is not expected of The Sun.
The reasoning behind this can be out down to 2 reasons. Firstly, this is a remarkable achievement and for a woman, so it will be a good idea to try and appeal to women and try to be politically correct by including articles on women. Secondly and equally as important, there was not much news from the previous 24 hours and they have to fill their paper with the other news that might have been lower down the priority scale if there ha been a major event in the last day.
The article takes up the entire page apart form a bright yellow advert in the bottom right corner for mortgage and financial advice. The focal point of the page though is the picture of MacArthur celebrating with her parents. This provides a base for the story and if someone quickly opens the paper and sees this picture they may be more tempted to but the paper. In conclusion we can see that The Times has carried more information on it front page, which is presented in an orderly and well set out fashion.
They have chosen the stories, which they think, will appeal most to their readers, and these are important issues such as education and politics. They have used a picture to attract readers and also a lottery, “get rich quick” game scheme for the same purpose. The Sun in comparison have not set out their page well, they do not actually have one actual piece of news on the front page. The first few pages contained no actual news, and most of the stories they covered did not appear in any detail in The Times.