Friday, October 4, 2019
Wild Swan Dies of Bird Flu in UK Essay Example for Free
Wild Swan Dies of Bird Flu in UK Essay On Thursday 6 April 2006 the tabloid newspaper the Sun and the broadsheet newspaper the Daily Telegraph both featured front page articles on the first wild bird dying from bird flu in the UK. On the following, day, Friday 7 April, both papers once again featured follow up articles on their front pages. On Thursday 6 April the Sun has a small story of the suspected bird flu in the bottom left corner of the page, while a story of Eminems impending divorce dominates nearly all of the bottom half of the page. The rest of the front page is taken up with a large colourful advert for holidays abroad from i 15, and a large photograph of a young lady with a caption Girls Alewd. The Suns masthead is in sans serif white lettering on a block of bright red which implies modern clean lines. The profusion of eye catching colour in the holiday advertisement with the offer of a cheap holiday would attract the young working class family and the main feature story on a popular rap singers divorce would appeal to the younger generation who seem to have a fascination with any news relating to celebrities. The image the Sun seems to portray, with its attention grapping headlines, is to provide an upbeat lively entertainment paper. The sixty word article on the Suns front page has the following headline underlined and in bold print, UK swan is hit by bird flu, with a small picture of two swans captioned with, Fear. swan is Britains first wild bird flu case. Instead of using the words, swan catches bird flu, the Sun chooses to create more of an impact by using the word, hit, which is associated with violence, and the word, Fear, in the caption evokes an element of alarm, perhaps implying the readers should now be fearful for their own health. The article mentions anonymous experts rushing to the scene to carry out tests, and this portrays a feeling of urgency. The article then directs the readers to page four for the full story. (Appendix 1) On page four of the Sun the bird flu article takes up nearly a third of the page, sharing the rest of the page with an advert for purchasing property overseas, another celebrity taking their clothes off, and a row over a wage dispute at a Butlins camp. The relationship between the overseas property and trouble at a Butlins camp with the report of bird flu in Britain is perhaps insinuating readers should consider a trip overseas, away from the bird flu. (Appendix 2) The headline, BIRD FLU ZONE IS SEALED OFF, is blazoned across the top of the page with a small picture to the left showing two swans standing next to a dead bird with the caption, Deadly bird flu killed this swan in Germany last month. The Suns deliberate use of the word, Deadly, and, killed, in the one caption is aimed specifically to add to the overall tone of creating fear and apprehension. The picture is from the archives and has not been taken in the UK, yet the Sun is anticipating its readers will make the association of similar events happening in the UK. The opening paragraph, in a bold font, tells us that, Experts have put a 3km protection zone around the site were a dead swan was found, yet we are not told who the experts are and the Sun has made a conscious choice not to inform the reader exactly where in Britain the protection zone is leading to speculation and apprehension that it could be near where they live. The readers are told, if the H5N1 virus is confirmed a massive public protection operation will, swing into action, and that, this could include people having to leave their homes and a restriction on where they can travel. At this stage no tests have confirmed it is the virus yet the Sun are already creating scenarios that strike at the heart of what its readers value, their homes and their freedom to travel, and reinforcing the intended tone of alarm and trepidation. The location of the dead swan, in a small coastal village in Fife, Scotland, was hidden well into the article in an attempt by the Sun to keep the reader speculating and adding to the mood of alarm. The rest of the article quotes unnamed officials all reciting various warnings to the public and reinforcing the Suns initial warning headlines of fear and death. The Daily Telegraphs front page for Thursday 6 April has three main stories, one on how Brown will backdate wealth tax, another with a large colour picture of the writer JK Rowling and her condemnation of thin models and the third covers the alert of bird flu in Scotland. Immediately underneath the Daily Telegraphs masthead are two colourful adverts, one advertising a free golf guide to the Masters 2006 and the other on an interview with Boris Johnson. (Appendix 3) The style of the Daily Telegraphs masthead is in a conservative black ornate font with serifs, in complete contrast to the Suns bright eye catching simple font. The Daily Telegraphs style suggests tradition and is likely to attract the more conservative reader who is looking for news that is factual without the drama and sensationalism that the red top tabloids seem to adhere to. The Daily Telegraph has retained its original broadsheet size, unlike its rival the Times, who downsized to the more seemingly popular tabloid size. The front page of the Daily Telegraph is quite colourful which suggests a move to a more modern approach and, the inclusion of the picture of JK Rowling, might appeal to a wider range of people, although the articles on wealth tax and the advert on the Masters golf guide certainly will narrow the interest down to a more middle class readership. There is also far less advertising in the Daily Telegraph and this is probably due to the price of 65p against the Suns price of 35p. So, although there is far less advertising in the Daily Telegraph the Suns cheaper price might attract those on lower incomes. In contrast to the Sun, the Daily Telegraph has placed the bird flu article on the left of the middle section of the page and its headline, Alert as wild swan dies of avian flu in Scotland, immediately tells the reader where the outbreak has occurred, unlike the Suns report. The Daily Telegraph quotes specific experts by their names and their professional position and this creates an impression of credibility. Where the Governments chief veterinary officer is quoted as saying, I have every confidence , or a professor of virology saying, still a big step away from a domestic chicken or even a human being infected, both quotes intending to create a feeling of security and confidence in the authorities to handle the outbreak. It also mentions, The H5N1 strain has killed more than 100 people, mostly Asian, since 2003, but then it balances this statement with, However, it has not mutated to be able to transfer between humans. The entire article is well balanced without emotive language and with a tone which is focused to create a feeling of reassurance to the reader by setting out the contingency plans. (Appendix 3) On the following day, 7 April, the Suns main story, which dominates two thirds of the front page, is of the murder of a nurse and the top part advertises a free sweepstake kit for the Grand National. The story of bird flu features again on the front page with the headline, Bird flu search widens, but it is only a small article of fifty words and placed once again in the bottom corner on the left of the page. Even in such a small article, the words, search widens, and deadly are used to capture the readers attention and direct them to read the, Full story pages 4 5. A small photograph at the top of the article shows a dead swan with the caption, Bug alert.. dead swan. and is probably aimed at eliciting feelings of both sadness for the dead swan, fear of more deaths and, plays on the fact that the British are a nation of animal lovers. (Appendix 4) In contrast to the small and quite subdued front page article both page four and five are dedicated entirely to the bird flu story with, FORBIDDEN ZONE in a 5cm font splashed across the centre of both pages with the word, ZONE in red. Across the top of both pages the headline announces, BIRD FLU BRITAIN: THE DAY WE ALL DREADED and both these headlines are shouting warnings and danger with the words, DREADED and FORBIDDEN, clearly set to elicit alarm. A large picture on page four shows two men in protective white suits handling, what we presume to be a dead swan, wearing protective suits, supporting the headlines with the fear of contamination. (Appendix 5) The main article begins in bold print and points out police road blocks being thrown into place, but no mention of where this is taking place, implying by its absence that its nationally. Throughout the article certain words are highlighted in bold print to create more emphasis and draw the readers eye to the negative aspects An example of this is, a SECOND observation zone, NOT been contaminated abroad, both of which create an impression that the contamination zone is larger than first reported and that the swan didnt catch the bird flu from abroad. An interesting aspect is the contrast from the Suns previous days article when it was reported that, experts rushed to the scene, to the article on the 7 April where the Sun reports DEFRA officials were, blasted, after it took them, EIGHT DAYS, to perform tests on the carcass and how it took, 16 hours, to collect the dead bird after it had been reported to them. The tone of the whole article has been written to create an impression of incompetence by the various agencies dealing with the bird flu outbreak and undermines their ability to manage it. Two thirds of page five is given over to three pictures, one is a map of Scotland pointing to where the dead swan was found, a policeman, On guard, at the harbour and, a picture of the dead bird with the caption, Still there. . Pictures intended to reinforce the incompetence of DEFRA and the implication of danger by the police guard. Unlike the Suns small front page article, the Daily Telegraph on 7 April has nearly half of its front page given over to a striking picture of Scotland with the large bold white headlines, BRITAINS FIRST BIRD FLU ZONE, on a black background. Two other main stories on the lower section, one covering the murder of a nurse and the other covering a religious document by Judas, seem less important as they are overwhelmed by the dramatic bird flu picture and accompanying article. It may be that the Daily Telegraph decided to use the bird flu as its main headline, unlike the other daily newspapers, to capture those readers more interested in the bird flu than a story of another murder. (Appendix 6) The front page article describes the current situation in a very clear and factual tone and this is carried over onto the lower part of page two and various named experts reassuring the public that the risk to public health is still very low. At the top of page two is the identical picture used in the Sun with the caption, Vets remove the carcasses of dead swans from a field in County Antrim. The second picture is a time line recording the number of bird flu cases and deaths over the last few years with a map of Europe showing where outbreaks have occurred. The centre of page two concentrates on the speculation of how the swan in Scotland could have caught the bird flu and the headline, Threat to public health is very low indeed, generates reassurance to the readers and this again is a balanced factual account with reassuring quotes from various named experts and with practical advice to the public if they find a dead bird. (Appendix 7) Most of page three covers the impact the finding of the dead swan has had on the village and the headlines, Seaside village weathers the media storm, proposes that its the media attention and, not the finding of a swan killed by bird flu, that is disrupting the village life. The article seek to reassure once again that if the residents of this village dont fear catching bird flu then the rest of the country should not be anxious. To contribute to this, the top third of page three has a colour picture of a resident walking his dog on the beach, a perfect picture of normality. (Appendix 8) The Daily Telegraph has designated an enormous amount of space to the bird flu and this clearly shows it isnt underplaying the seriousness of the situation. What it has done is to document all the available facts in a clear unemotional approach which suggests that by giving the readers all existing knowledge they will be intelligent enough to form their own opinions. The Sun on the other hand, talks of roadblocks, the impact it could have on domestic birds and the incompetence of the various agencies involved, all contributing to the inference that bird flu is going to have a major impact on the man in the street.
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