In February 2016, a shooting took place at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. The following is an analysis of the news report that took place 24hours after the fact. While there is a substantial amount of content in this 4 minutes 14-second piece of text, I will be analysing it in relation to the circuit of culture.
The report is introduced by a reporter at RTE. It begins in the studio and then a package is mediated to the audience detailing the events of the previous 24 hours narrated by reporter Paul Reynolds. The report then cuts back to the studio where the reporter once again takes us to the scene at the regency hotel, however, this time Paul Reynolds reports live. Throughout the report, this is no music. A somber tone is created through the tone of voice of both reporters and those interviewed. A number of visual texts appear on the screen such as photographs and videos. The videos contain no sound as the narration continues. The only audio is that of the voices of the reporters, the assistant commissioners and the Archbishop of Dublin.
The presence of the Archbishop of Dublin in the report is an interesting point of this examination. In the introduction of the piece, the reporter states that the Archbishop has “called on people to stand up to the despicable inhumanities of the recent killings”. Later in the report, the Archbishop is seen and heard in a pre-recorded interview where he says “Just imagine the effects yesterday’s events has on children”. Weight is seemingly given to the Archbishop’s opinions on not only this attack but his opinion of all “recent killings”.
The use of the plural “inhumanities” and “Killings” suggests more than one person has been killed. However, the report is only telling the audience about one killing. It is possible that the Archbishop is referring to the culture at the time of this report where a number of shootings had occurred involving gang members. The language used in his statement creates this tone of fear in response to the shooting.
An example of the presence of discourse is the use of the words “well known to the Gardai”. The connotation associated with these words is reliant on your cultural background. Someone in Ireland may understand the message as it was intended, however someone from the UK who understands that the Gardai are the police force in Ireland may not understand the message. Using “well known to the Gardai” when introducing the victim in the text is giving the audience the idea that this man may have been a criminal before the facts later confirm this. It is important to state that the report omits who the identity of the other two victims. While it does mention that they were hospitalised with one victim already checked out, it does not tell us if these individuals were also “well known to the Gardai”.
This is an RTE News report. RTE being the national broadcaster of Ireland, funded and owned by the public, it is a public service broadcaster. We have two RTE Reporters, one female sitting in the studio and one male who is the consistent voice of the story throughout.
Inserts of clips are used to show the response from others. We have a possible press conference where three different assistant commissioners speak.
Jack Nolan – Dublin Region
John O’Mahony – Crime and Security
Derek Byrne – Garda National support services
Hearing from individuals of their status suggests that the information they are giving is trusted and worthy of audiences attention.
The use of video inserts in the package is important in the process of communication. In one video, We see men emerge from a car holding folders. This event is innocuous on its own, however, the narration by the reporter Paul Reynolds tells us that “over 100 officers are on the case”. This changes the meaning of the event. The producers of the content may have linked these two pieces of media to create a coherent narrative. When the audience decodes this information it can be understood that these men emerging from the car are some of the officers put on the case.
While this is an example of footage gathered in the aftermath of the shooting, we also see archived footage used to give context to the story. Footage of a reported crime scene in Spain from the previous year. This use of archived footage gives backstory to the current narrative that the report is establishing.
Images of the gunmen are reported with relation to recent terrorist attacks in Europe. These images further emphasise the reality of the event as threatening and almost surreal at the same time. The images of the gunmen back up the story told by the reporter that gunmen entered the building in masks and helmets. Now that the gunmen can be seen, it creates a more vivid picture of the event itself for those who did not witness it first hand. However, out of context, these images look like they could be a behind the scenes look at an action movie. It is the combination of audio and visual that gives structure to the story.
This video is being analysised over a year after it was first broadcast. The story itself has not changed. The content of the report has not changed. However the urgency and somewhat fearful tone could be lost in translation. If consumed live, the notion that “the number of Gardai on patrol in the city has increased” could suggest that further attacks are imminent and the Gardai are preparing for these possible attacks. A year later, when I am consuming this report, I know what happened afterward. It is in the past and therefore I do not interpret the content in the same way as someone who watched it live on Feb 7th, 2016.
No graphic images were used in the report suggesting that this could have been broadcast pre-watershed, perhaps the six one news.
33-year-old man killed in attack
If this had been a murder without gangland associations, it is possible the focus could have been on the victim rather than the attackers. Friends or neighbors of the victim, in this case, David Byrne, may have been interviewed. We could have seen tributes left at the scene such as flowers. Perhaps some more about his personality rather than his associations with crime.
Lack of Garda protection lead to violent shooting
It could have been reported as a failure of the Gardai to prevent this attack in the first place. Throughout the report, it is said that Gardai have increased their numbers in response to this attack. In contrast, it is not reported if Gardai were present at the event itself. At one point, Assistant commissioner – Derek Byrne notes that there were increased amounts of Gardai in the city for sporting events. It is possible he is referring to Dublin vs Mayo in Croke Park, however, the Regency hotel was to host a boxing match the night after the attack. The attack took place during a pre-match event. So is the Assistant Commissioner suggesting that only some sports events are policed or that the pre-events are not policed as heavily?
In conclusion, a broader analysis could be done to fully understand the encoding process involved in the production of this new broadcast. For now, I feel that analysing the report using the circuit of culture structure has allowed me to understand the piece from a media analysis point of view.