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Theoretical Approaches: Power and media industries – Curran and Seaton

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Theoretical Approaches: Power and media industries – Curran and Seaton

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  1. The ‘Daily Mirror’ masthead is positioned in the top left corner of the cover and is white with a red background. It is a daily tabloid newspaper which was founded in 1903 rivalling right-wing ‘The Sun’ newspaper with a left-wing emphasis. The iconic design of the masthead ensures brand recognition. The contrast between a red background and white, bold typography is a confident aestheticfor the paper. The colour red could also be associated with the Labour party. The Poppy iconography situates the context of this newspaper edition around Remembrance Day. It is early November, and such an emblem reveals the significance of British patriotism acknowledging soldiers who have battled in war, particularly with reference to WWI. The tagline ‘SHOCK ELECTION EDITION’ is an emphatic USPunderlining the severity and importance of this daily edition. It is clear that something about Tuesday 10th November 2016 is historically significant but clearly a time of mourning rather than celebration. The secondary lead ‘7 killed in speeding tram crash’ (including an image of an overturned tram) features in the top right corner of the cover, acting as a secondary lead to the headline. There is a recurring theme of disaster on the front cover. These narrative selections for the front cover eschew an overriding sense of chaos. The sub-heading ‘See Pages 14 & 15 alerts the reader to content inside to find out more. This appeals to the reader’s morbid curiosity, where rubbernecking an accident is a societal norm. The sub-heading “DERAILED’ is a pun which could be considered poor taste given the context. Thekicker ‘It’s President Trump…’ features an ellipsis for dramatic effect. This linguistic technique highlights the foreshadowing horror of a Trump presidency, which is reinforced by the anchoring image below the text. The background of the anchoring image features the silhouetted landscape of New York, with billowing clouds and emanating smoke. There is a subtle allusions to dystopian tales including ‘The Man in the High Castle’ (which re-imagines New York under Nazi occupation). The dark clouds have ominous foreshadowing connotations. There is a sense that a Trump presidency will act as an omen for a future socio-cultural regression. The artist of this provocative image is Gee Vaucher. This could be perceived as post-modern propaganda with a polemical agenda. The anchoring image of the Statue of Liberty with her hands over her face (Gee Vaucher concept art) acts as a form of subversive iconography. This artistic license used in order to reinterpret New York’s main monument is a politically motivated attack on Trump. The statue is in mourning, rather than celebrating the news. Whilst such an image would seem jarring on another newspaper, it perfectly suits the Daily Mirror’s political agendas Theoretical Approaches: Power and media industries – Curran and Seaton  Tension between ‘freedom of the press’ and an exploitation by the media for pernicious agendas.  The Trinity Group have maintained their position in the UK market despite falling sales of the Daily Mirror and other mainstream titles by diversifying into regional news. This diverse pattern of ownership has allowed them to create the conditions for more varied and adventurous media products. Cultural Industries – David Hesmondhalgh  The relationship between industry and audience explored.  Trinity Mirror group has become a horizontally integrated company with a wide range of titles in order to maximise audiences and minimise risks.  Rather than seeing digital media as a threat the company has embraced its digital expansion and now offers digital marketing as well as digital classifieds to generate additional income. The headline ‘What have they done?’ is a deeply emotive rhetorical question emphasising how incredulous the staff and the paper’s readers will feel about a Trump presidency. The sub-heading ‘How Trump triumphed…and what it means for you and the world” applies Barthes’ enigma code theory in order to encourage the reader to read and deconstruct the paper’s representations. There is an implicit promise, in this sub-heading, that the ‘Daily Mirror’ will give you the answers you need with a detailed rundown of Trump’s political persuasion and its effect on the US and international populace. The “SEE PAGES 2-13” sub-heading reveals the level of importance this article has, reinforcing how Trump as POTUS is a major event (albeit a negative one according to the connotations of the headlines and anchoring image). The Daily Mirror left-wing popular tabloid (owned by Trinity Mirror group) with a circulation of 716,000 a year. Falling sales (due to the advent of online media). This is a post-Leveson Inquiry newspaper issue where the paper is now monitored by IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation). The Daily Mirror’s target audience, according to NRS and ABC data are predominantly C2DE, over 35 and are working class Labour supporters. End of Audience – Clay Shirky  The conceptualisation of audience members as passive consumers is no longer tenable in the age of the internet with the rise of the prosumer who can create their own content such as submitting stories and being part of forums. Regulation – Sonia Livingstone and Peter Lunt  The tension between ideology and press regulation.  The Trinity Group is facing increasing pressure alongside the rest of the UK press industry to adhere to strict rules and guidelines on industry practice. This has arisen after the phone hacking scandal and subsequent Leveson enquiry into the industry.  There is an underlying issue of protecting citizens from harmful material while ensuring choice and press freedom. Theoretical Approaches: Cultivation Theory – Gerbner  Audience exposure to repeated patterns of representation (of Trump and his election campaign) by newspapers may shape and influence their views and opinions. Reception Theory - Stuart Hall  The Daily Mirror is able to promote a hegemonic dominant reading of its viewpoint on Trump’s victory through the use of encoding and decoding, which is fully accepted by the reader.

  2. The Donald Trump pull quote “YOU WILL BE SO PROUD OF YOUR PRESIDENT/YOU WILL BE SO PROUD” is signposted as ‘US president-elect, Nov 9 2016’. The repetition is emphasised with yellow typography for the second line. The use of a quote by Trump on the back page again suggests aneutral stance but could be interpreted as offering readers an insight into Trump’s character and need for acceptance. Both Trump and Pence represent the stereotypical, white, middle class, male politician and their strong Christian, conservative values were used throughout the election campaign to encourage the American public to vote Republican. The dateline anchored to the masthead includes the URL to the paper’s official site and the edition number (72,064) which shows that the newspaper is a seasoned, established publication. The Times has a circulation of 412,000 which is the most popular broadsheet with Telegraph with 360,000 as its nearest broadsheet competitor. The Times newspaper is a British national ‘quality’ broadsheetnewspaper first published in 1785. The lion and unicorn masthead for the paper history remains more than 230 years after the paper was founded. The paper has a centre-right ideological position marketed for 40+ABC1 demographic and is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s conglomerateNews Corporation. The Times has been published by Times Newspapers since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, wholly owned by News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s company. There is a lure for subscribers who gain a special offer in the priceline, where loyal customers can purchase the paper for 80p instead of £1.40. In addition, there is a subtle piece of iconography: the Remembrance Day poppy anchored to the priceline, which acts as subtext for the newspaper’s ideology: patriotic and with a military emphasis. The Donald Trump pull quote “YOU WILL BE SO PROUD OF YOUR PRESIDENT/YOU WILL BE SO PROUD” is signposted as ‘US president-elect, Nov 9 2016’. The repetition is emphasised with yellow typography for the second line. This edition was published on the 10th November 2016 following the unprecedented high profile American election campaign which was eventually won by Republican Donald Trump, a 70 year old billionaire famous for appearing on reality TV show The Apprentice. The inclusion of Mike Pence as Vice POTUS in the dominant image on the back in an extended front cover supplement suggests that he could become the default POTUS if any extreme situation were to befall Donald Trump. There is a sense that this composition suggests that he is ‘waiting in the wings’ to potentially seize power in future. The copy “THE NEW WORLD” includes the sub-heading “DONALD TRUMP SENDS SHOCKWAVES AROUND THE WORLD”. The Times is famous for having a range of journalists with varied political viewpoints and ideologies which allows the newspaper to offer a more neutral political stance on Trump’s victory. There is an intertextual reference to the dystopian novel Brave New World, which suggests that there may be a condescending subtext towards Trump’s victory. The dominant image has Donald Trump’s action code of a fist pump which has connotations of blue-collar workers and Socialist causes. Despite Donald Trump being a Capitalist Conservative, he has used political symbolism of both populistleft-wing and far-right causes in order to curry favour with voters. Codes of dress connote a business approach with both men dressed in black suits but wearing red and blue ties which again reflect American iconography and also power and professionalism. The American flag in the background has connotations of patriotism, although some may argue that Donald Trump has appropriated the American flag for nationalist far-right agendas against multiculturalism. Trump and Mike Pence, the Vice President, are positioned in a medium close up shot on either side of the frame with Trump in the foreground. Donald Trump achieved one of the most improbable political victories in modern US history, despite a series of controversies exposed during the election campaign, his extreme policies that drew criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, a record of racism and misogyny, and a lack of political experience.

  3. How does media language incorporate viewpoints and ideologies in these front pages of The Times and Daily Mirror? [15]

  4. Videos on Trump

  5. Trump’s current approval ratings Trump won the Electoral College Clinton won the Popular Vote

  6. Product Context • The Times newspaper is a British national ‘quality’ broadsheetnewspaper first published in 1785. • The Times has been published by Times Newspapers since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, wholly owned by News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s company. • This edition was published on the 10th November 2016 following the unprecedented high profile American election campaign which was eventually won by Republican Donald Trump, a 70 year old billionaire famous for appearing on reality TV show The Apprentice. • The Times is famous for having a range of journalists with varied political viewpoints and ideologies which allows the newspaper to offer a more neutral political stance on Trump’s victory.

  7. Denotation and connotation • Donald Trump achieved one of the most improbable political victories in modern US history, despite a series of controversies exposed during the election campaign, his extreme policies that drew criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, a record of racist and sexist behaviour, and a lack of political experience. • The contemporary audience can be assumed to be familiar with the codes and conventions of newspaper front pages and the mode of address that that these newspapers present to their readers. • The Times chose to use an image across both the front and back pages of Trump celebrating his victory against a backdrop of the American flag. • This use of American iconography establishes the cultural context of the story and connotes patriotism. • Trump and Mike Pence, the Vice President, are positioned in a medium close up shot on either side of the frame with Trump in the foreground. • Codes of dress connote a business approach with both men dressed in black suits but wearing red and blue ties which again reflect American iconography. • The body language of the two men demonstrates an emotive response with Pence applauding Trump and the president clenching his right fist in celebration. • The copy on the front cover is in white like the masthead and simply states ‘The New World: Donald Trump sends shockwaves around the Globe’. • This statement is powerful but maintains a neutral approach which encourages readers to establish their own viewpoint. • The use of a quote by Trump on the back page again suggests a neutral stance but could be interpreted as offering readers an insight into Trump’s character and need for acceptance. these newspapers present to their readers.

  8. Theoretical perspectives

  9. Representation • Both Trump and Pence represent the stereotypical, white, middle class, male politician and their strong Christian, conservative values were used throughout the election campaign to encourage the American public to vote Republican. • Consider how representations are constructed through a process of selection and combination. • Both Trump and Pence are dressed in tailored business suits which represent them as business like and conservative in their appearance. • They are both wearing American flag badges on their lapels which is symbolic of their patriotism and commitment to their cause. • The use of coloured ties (blue and red) is symbolic of the American flag and draws attention to the men. • Their body language and facial expression connote determination and a serious approach.

  10. Starting Points – Industry • The Times was first published in 1785 and is part of the Times newspaper group which is a subsidiary of News UK. News UK is a British-based, American-owned newspaper publisher, and a subsidiary of the American mass media conglomerateNews Corp. • News Corp is a newly formed company, which concentrates on newspapers and publishing. The company formed following a split from News Corporation, a powerful conglomerate with interests in film and broadcasting in addition to newspapers and publishing. • The company also produces The Sun newspaper and previously the News of the World, which ceased production following the phone hacking scandal of 2011. The company has demonstrated a predominantly right wing political allegiance with The Sun newspaper backing the conservative government in recent elections. • However, The Times has maintained a more neutral stance. The group was one of the first companies in the UK to introduce an online newspaper but also paywalls which required readers to pay for use of the site. This was introduced in response to the fall in print sales within the group. However, The Times is the only national quality newspaper to show year-on-year growth for print sales (407, 566 daily average). • The Times is part of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) - an independent body which is not backed by the Government and is fully funded by industry itself. This is a regulatory body that maintains press standards but is anti-Leveson in its approach.

  11. Chomsky’s Manufactured Consent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34LGPIXvU5M Key terms: conglomerate, subsidiary, hegemony, oligopoly, establishment, propaganda, manufacturing consent, Overton Window, conditioning, cultivation.

  12. Starting points - Audience How are audiences grouped and categorised? • The Times’ target audience, according to NRS and ABC data is predominantly ABC1, over 35 and has a liberal/right wing political stance. How audiences interpret the media product. • The Trump election win edition will target this group as it takes a fairly neutral approach which will allow readers to construct their own opinion and negotiate their own response to the election outcome. The subtle signifiers used in the front and back cover offer the reader opportunities to determine their individual reading of the text. How different audience interpretations reflect social, cultural and historical circumstances. • The use of the headline “A New World’ could be an intertextual reference to Aldous Huxley’s book ‘Brave New World’ which parodied the utopian books of Wells and other writers. In the book he presents a frightening vision of the future, which is dominated by corporate tyranny and behavioural conditioning. • This reflects many of the concerns that global audiences had about the election and the possibility of Trump succeeding in his election campaign.

  13. How does media language incorporate viewpoints and ideologies in these front pages of The Sun and The Daily Mail? [15]

  14. Indicative content