‘News media investigate, analyze, and report to stakeholder publics on issues and event s that occur around the globe in a twenty-four-hour, 365-day news cycle’ (Richard,2007:98). Because of the way news media works, we know what is happening in the world and we can have ‘connection’ to other places. With new media arising, the information transmission process become even faster. Though new media is getting more prevalent, still, a considerable amount of people rely on one of the traditional news media – newspaper.
Facing the competition, the way news reported may change as newspapers ‘need to maintain large circulation figures to stay profitable’ (Bignell 1997:83). This directly affects how news is presented. To make news appeal to readers, information may under ‘design’ as mentioned by Thorne (2008), the function of newspapers in the 21st century is not only ‘referential’, ‘ entertainment has become equally important in the battle to win readers’(P.262).
In this paper, a piece of news was taken from WiseNews for analysis. It was an event occupied a large coverage in newspaper and caught lots of public attention – The Manila Hostage Incident. I would like to see how journalist presents the story to their readers through looking at its structure and the use of language.
In reporting the news, journalist adopts the story-telling approach. ‘Journalists are professional story-teller of our age’ (Bell,1991:147). When reporting an incident. Journalists tend not to simply report the fact in each paragraph without linking the information together. Instead, they tend to make the piece of text into a story.
Te headline is considered as ‘an abstract of the abstract’ (Bell, 1991:149). It is closely related to the paragraph followed it as it ‘abstract the lead itself’. Lead itself summarizes the event and the headline makes it more precise. It is usually ‘short’ and ‘effective’ (Reah, 2002:15). Through looking at the headline, readers can more or less guess what the text is about.
‘8 HK tourists, hostage-taker killed on hijacked Manila tourist bus’
There headline of the news has only 10 running words, however, the main idea of the news story is still clear. It tells the people involved, the place the event taken place and the nature of the event. It shows its function to ‘encapsulate’ the news (ibid:14).
Orientation and evaluation
From the very beginning of the story, journalists’ ‘mental analysis of what goes in a story’ has involved (Bell, 1991: 169).
In the opening paragraph of the news, journalist tells readers about four aspects - who (Hong Kong tourists and ex-policeman), when (yesterday), where (Manila), and what (hostage). These four aspects are the basic facts that ‘concentrate at the beginning of a story’ (Bell:1991). It is an obligatory part of news story and named as ‘Orientation’. From this lead paragraph, readers are able to grasp the context of the news – There was a...