Credibility of Newspapers

Credibility of Newspapers

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Credibility of Newspapers

Newspapers have been seen to be a reliable source since 1704, this was an American newspaper called the Boston newsletter. Britain's population is around 60million, of these about 10 million read newspapers daily , and many million more read electronic newspapers. The amount of online newspapers created has doubled since 1999, and the amount of people viewing them has rose by a phenomenal 350%. I am going to analyse the statement that ‘'you cannot believe a word you read in newspapers'' and aim to produce a balanced argument.

Firstly it could be argued that tabloid newspapers or "red-tops" contain very little fact-based news; one view is that all they contain is half-naked women, celebrity gossip and sport. They are often seen and read as unreliable and disingenuous; they are can also be seen as nothing to take to seriously. Some people may say readers do not buy tabloid newspapers for factual information but for a quick read and also for something visually pleasing, however others completely disagree with this believing they do contain important and factual information, just in a more simple form. Tabloids tend to manipulate language to encourage bias and to also change the opinion of their target audience, "NHS cancer drug row" , when in fact it was a mother with cancer getting a life saving drug with no row involved. Adding to this The Sun also tells the audience surplus information, ‘'a son with lung cancer'' even though the story was about a mother winning a case for cancer drugs, this is there to evoke sympathy among the newspapers audience. It can be argued that Tabloid newspapers such as The Sun do not and would not even consider lying because of the PCC, which has been tightened up heavily since the sad death of Princess Diana and the distressing pictures of her. Adding to this, the pictures of Diana were truthful however they were inappropriate and never needed to be shown; it is one view that it was partly due to paparazzi and the tabloids press that the accident happened. It can also be considered that tabloid newspapers are aimed at a specific audience, having a common sensicle approach towards the way each story is expressed. A common view is that tabloid newspapers tend to be the boldest and brave of newspapers with forthright opinions, this is because they are daring and bias using persuasive language, for example "Chelsea are going to win premiership" .

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Tabloid newspapers can be seen to be inconsiderate in the way they tend to have celebrity news on the uneven numbered pages, one view is that it draws our attention away from the more important stories such as scientific breakthroughs or political information. Taking all this into account The Sun and The Mirror's appearance in the top ten most trustworthy newspapers gives lie to the assumption that red-top tabloids are considered wholly untrustworthy.

Secondly mid-market newspapers such as the Daily Express tend to be less confident in expression, and also slightly conservative. The Daily Express is very factual and detailed, using name ‘'herceptin'' rather than ‘'wonderdrug'' which is used in The Sun, this makes the audience see The Daily Express as impressive and professional with the use of scientific detail. Although the Daily Express is serious and sustained it still contains celebrity stories but in more depth such as George Best in hospital again , this may possibly mean they are trying to draw in a larger audience. The dominating image on the front page of the Daily Express is of a seductive woman, Mick Jagger's current girlfriend. She could be there to draw in readers and want them to read this story as the dominating news of the paper; one view could be that this is a much less important image than the minute picture of the cancer mum winning a drug battle. Furthermore this image could be there to draw in a larger audience, showing an almost tabloid side to the newspaper.

Thirdly broadsheets are the most trusted newspapers and have also been voted the most trusted newspapers , it can also be said that they are thoughtful and take care and consideration with each article. Unlike the tabloid and the middle-market newspapers, the Daily Telegraph hid the fact that a cancer stricken mum had a child with lung cancer, as it was simply not necessary it was that reason it was not put in the article . Language used in broadsheet newspapers tends to be free of subjectivity and bias as using lots of reliable quotations to support each story put forward. One picture of Ms Clark in The Daily Telegraph shows an unhappy woman, before the trials for the cancer drug Herceptin possibly, this could be there to evoke sympathy for her. The connotation of the picture is that she is upset, the denotation is that she needs the drugs because she has two sons who need her love and she couldn't bear to part from them. The picture is very large and a front cover picture, this emphasises the importance of this event, giving "hope for many'' across Britain. The picture is set up on what looks like to be her front door, showing she was happy to have her photograph taken instead of a chase like what occasionally happens in tabloid newspapers. We can believe the article accompanying the photograph as the article has been wrote by "Celia Hall, Medical Editor" . The Daily Mail seems to have a small section on the front page similar to that of tabloid articles called the "digest" information, one view could be that this is less important information comparing to business, politics and marketing.

In addition to this BBC news has become increasingly more trustworthy as years have gone by, in fact according to a recent survey BBC news was polled 5 times its nearest rivals as the most trusted . Furthermore the BBC has been compared to the government; in fact many people believe the BBC would do a better job than the government. Mr Kennedy stated "this government will come and go, like any other government, but the BBC is here to stay". BBC news uses thousands of sources to make sure their news is accurate and as factual as possible; this helps their audience to believe them and in turn see them as the most trustworthy of all news sources. One report on bird flu contains a large amount of scientific language such as H5N1 as well as simple language such as "virus"; one view of this is that all articles produced by the BBC are aimed at everyone. One view of the BBC is that we can believe them due to the fact that they are a non-profit company, therefore there would be no point in bias and lies as everyone has access. BBC news can be accessed from the internet, radio and television, information is produced from first-hand experience on each article therefore it is instant and extremely reliable.

Furthermore The Guardian is a heavily respected and voted the most trustworthy newspaper; having analysed the electronic version of the newspaper and an article on the spread of bird flu. The article is lengthy and based mainly around facts and figures with no pictures, possibly meaning that a picture will not help to some up the story. One Dr. Haluk is keeping nine poultry farmers under close observation saying it is ‘'precautionary'' adding ‘'no case of bird flu in a human has been reported'', this tells us not to worry however there is still the chance they do have the dreaded bird flu. However this is just Turkey, in fact it is thought around 60 people have died of it in South-East Asia since the spread in late 2003. Adding to this 1in2 people getting the disease will die, this is an alarming statistic which makes us more aware of the illness. The connotation of this is that people are dying, however the denotation of this is that people are not just dying because of bird flu but because Britain are blocking the EU from making a sum of £680m available for drugs and vaccines. The Guardian is very direct; in turn this makes the readers want to do something about funds, through charitable events, protests and by other means.

Moreover Blogging is one of the latest forms of news, it is believed to be heavily biased and untruthful, however this is increasingly becoming not the case. In fact one question has been asked many times, ‘'is blogging the new journalism''? Blogs are seen to be trustworthy as they are written by real people and based on actual experiences; furthermore it is thought that blogs could soon rival other media sources of trustworthy information about products and services. Adding to this, as blogs were the work of individuals they are seen to be reliable as they are not subject to the same marketing pressures as corporate or commercial websites. However another view is that they are currently not a trustworthy source as they are very similar to e-mails, forums, and newsgroups, furthermore they are not official, and therefore we cannot wholly trust individuals we don't even know.

In conclusion it can be said that newspapers will always produce news that has really happened as all newspapers have the PPC guidelines to abide by. However much research shows that some are more objective than others, it is often said that tabloid newspapers are bias and manipulate stories sometimes so much so that the story becomes something completely different. The comment ‘'you can't believe a word you read in newspapers'' is too broad a statement, ‘'some newspapers are more manipulative and bias than others'' would be more suitable.
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