In 2017, there were many different stories that took the world by storm. Some of the main stories being the Grenfell Tower fire, the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the Manchester Arena bombing. There was a constant flow of stories throughout the year. There are so many different news outlets, which therefore means that there will constantly be different approaches to stories. The angle of the story depends on the news outlet that the story is coming from. A prime example would be the BBC, which is funded by the public, and so the BBC prides itself on trying to be as unbiased as possible, although this can be challenging at times, they do tend to slightly lean left. The Sun, however, is completely different. Although politics is not The Sun’s main priority, it tends to lean more so towards the right. These two outlets have completely different audiences. The BBC’s audience is middle class, whereas The Sun is a tabloid, and therefore it’s audience is more working class.
One of the most prominent theories today in the media is the Two Step Flow theory. The consumers are influenced by the opinion leaders, who are in turn influenced by the mass media. Which in this case is the news. The news has a huge influence on a huge audience. As ‘we are suggesting that the overriding interest of mass media research is in the study of the effectiveness of mass media attempts to influence’ (Katz, Lazarsfield, 1955).
Although females seem to be making progress in the media, is this strictly true? In journalism, there are more and more females being included in the broadcasting and print industry, but are they still being used to bring in an audience? I will be looking into how the Manchester Arena bombing was covered in the media, and how Ariana Grande was portrayed throughout the coverage. Ariana Grande is a star that does not conform to Judith Butler’s Gender is a Performance theory, and so she lends herself to being objectified in the media, more so than a pop star like Lady Gaga or Pink, who have more masculine persona’s. ‘If gender is constructed, then who is doing the constructing?’ (Butler, 1993, page 16)
The two news outlets that I will be covering are The Sun, which is a tabloid newspaper, which also posts it’s news stories online. The Sun is well known for being more of a working class paper, and so the content it puts out is easier to read. The Sun has gotten a bad reputation over the past few years, after the Phone Hacking Scandal, which lead to The Leveson Enquiry. The other outlet is the BBC. The BBC prides itself on being as unbiased, correct and factual as possible.
Both The Sun and The BBC did a huge amount of coverage on the Manchester Arena Bombing, but there seems to be a distinct difference in the ways that they covered the stories. The key difference being the use of images. The BBC tended to use a lot more images of Manchester. For example, they used one image of a building with boards on the side, with the words ‘I love MCR’. As well as this, they used photos of the crowd at the ‘One Love’ concert. They only used one photo of only Grande performing in their article ‘Manchester attack: Ariana Grande to be charity patron’ (BBC, 2017). The article itself focuses a lot more on the charity and fundraising aspect. They interviewed the chair of The We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, and the entire article was more focused on the charity, rather than the celebrity that was involved in the incident. The images that The Sun used only two photos. Both were photos of Ariana Grande at the One Love Manchester concert.
It appears that The Sun uses pictures of Ariana Grande to grab the attention of men in the media. They are using images of her to make younger and older men click on the story, in order to bring more traffic onto their site, as opposed to The BBC or any other different news outlets. Laura Mulvey’s The Male Gaze theory can be applied to this. This is the ideology that the media ‘offers a number of possible pleasures. One is scopophilia. There are circumstances in which looking itself is a source of pleasure, just as, in the reverse formation, there is pleasure in being looked at.’ (Mulvey, 1975) The idea of scopophilia is key in this theory. This is the idea that sexual pleasure can be derived from watching others when they are engaged in sexual activity or are naked. The Male Gaze theory comes from the idea that the media is created to be consumed through the eye of the heterosexual male, and this is why there are significant amount of semi-naked women in the media: to draw attention to their work.
As far as the headlines for these two articles, once again, they both take very different approaches to the story. The BBC focuses more so on the attach itself, and how she is due to become a charity patron. ‘Manchester attack: Ariana Grande to be charity patron’. The Sun has taken a completely different approach when reporting the story. The headline is very much focused on the fact that Ariana was ‘moved and honored’ (Randell, 2017) to be a honorary citizen. It also said that she had sent a ‘heartwarming message’ (Randell, 2017) to Manchester after she was made an honorary citizen. The two stories appear to have two different focuses. The BBC’s take on the story is more based on Manchester and its citizens, whereas The Sun is very much more focused on Ariana’s reaction to her becoming an honorary citizen. This is because they have a completely different audience to the BBC.
As well as the focuses of the stories, the stories are completely different. The Sun gives a full account of what happened during the concert, and how she recovered from that until she put the concert together, and how the council leader Sir Richard Leese asked for her to be given special recognition, in order to express his thanks. However, the BBC focused more on the charity aspect. They focused on the gift payments given to the victims, and the money that was raised.
In conclusion, although women in journalism have come a long way over the past few years, they still have a long way to go in terms of how they are represented in the media. They are still used to entice the audience into viewing TV shows, or articles, and this is proved through the Male Gaze Theory.
Mulvey, L. (1975) Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema online. Available from: https://www.amherst.edu/system/files/media/1021/Laura%20Mulvey,%20Visual%20Pleasure.pdf Accessed 7th January 2018
Katz, E. Lazarsfield, P. (1955) Personal Influence, The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications online. Available from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en==rElW8D0D8gYC=fnd=PR1=Personal+influence:+The+part+played+by+people+in+the+flow+of+mass+communications=OCA_5Uj2hK=HHSi26gaYjt3PYgk8xEmPdK1iAQ#v=onepage=Personal%20influence%3A%20The%20part%20played%20by%20people%20in%20the%20flow%20of%20mass%20communications=false Accessed 7th January 2018
Butler, J. (1993) Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex online. Available from:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=UczySqq19AIC=PR16=PR16=if+gender+is+constructed,+it+is+not+necessarily+constructed+by+an+%E2%80%98I%E2%80%99+or+a+%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99+who+stands+before+that+construction+in+any+spatial+or+temporal+sense+of+%E2%80%98before.%E2%80%99+Indeed,+it+is+unclear+that+there+can+be+an+%E2%80%98I%E2%80%99+or+a+%E2%80%9Cwe%E2%80%9D=bl=sdSQmBUX1D=G25JPnK2h8fj3YT-2NLHsFnLU6I=en=X=0ahUKEwjg5_KzpNPYAhXrJcAKHRW6BKwQ6AEILzAC#v=onepage=false Accessed 7th January 2018
Randell, L. (2017) ‘MOVED AND HONOURED’ Ariana Grande sends heartwarming message to Manchester after she’s made an ‘honourary citizen’ after terror attack online. Available from: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/4008717/ariana-grande-sends-heartwarming-message-to-manchester-after-shes-made-an-honorary-citizen-after-terror-attack/ Accessed 7th January 2018
BBC (2017) Manchester attack: Ariana Grande to be charity patron online. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-40341380 Accessed 7th January 2018
Personal Influence, The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications
Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema