Comparative Essay: Bus Eireann Strikes have ended

Bus Éireann services return to normal after strike

-vs.-

Bus Eireann get back on the road

This comparative study looks at Irish commercial broadcasters, TV3, and public service broadcasters, RTÉ, and their news reports on April 13th, 2017. Both news report focus on the end of the Bus Eireann bus strikes after 21 days. This study will determine if news media can act as producers of meaning whilst remaining impartial.

Looking at the cultural context at the time of this report, we can see that the strikes had an impact on Irish society. Disruptions across the country are a direct result of the strikes, and this lead to over half of those polled by RTÉ’S Claire Byrne show stating that they do not support the strikes (TheJournal.ie, 2017). The Bus Eireann strike is the third public transport strike in a 12 months period, with Dublin Bus striking in September 2017 and Luas drivers striking in May/June 2017. The contempt for drivers striking is present in the cultural conversation; the discourse is that strikes are disruptive and pointless, and news media may perpetuate this.

News media acts as the fourth estate in society; essentially it acts as the watchdog for the people. As a public service broadcaster, RTÉ works for the citizens of Ireland. TV3 however, is a commercial broadcaster that produces content to attract audiences. By attracting these audiences, TV3 can sell their viewership numbers to advertisers and make a profit. Both broadcasters produce news content, and by extension, they create meaning for audiences who turn to media institutions for answers.

Looking at how each text has been constructed, we can look at the news values (Galtung and Ruge, 1966) of the story. The threshold for this story is certainly high as the story is reported nationally. Both reports state that the country has been affected by the strikes as Bus Eireann services run throughout the county. The story is unambiguous and therefore easily digestible by the receiver. On the surface, the story is “Bus strikes have ended” However, if the receiver wishes to know how the strike ended and if it will happen again, the story continues to report these facts. Both reports personalise this story through the use of interviews. The interviews conducted by RTE show people who are traveling to visit family for the Easter holidays, where as TV3’s report shows the human side of the workers who have striked and now return to work. There is a narrative as this is the newest development in a three week strike story. It is a positive story that the strikes have ended, however there is a negative aspect as the workers have felt that they did not achieve what they intended to achieve. Finally there is an element of fear as one interviewee mentions the possibility of further strikes. Looking at these elements, it is clear that this story meets the criteria of a valid news story. However, it is how this story is reported that is imperative for this study.

While news organisation are obligated to remain impartial or unbiased, they do seem to have their ideologies. TV3 is an organisation that does not recognise unions. However, this story centres around the union lead strike. This disregard for unions is evident in the reports use of editing. When Willie Noone a spokesperson from SIPTU, the Services Industrial Professional and the Technical Union, speaks about the labour court recommendations he is cut off when he begins to speak about the positive outcomes from the report. While the report allows air time for the upset the union members and bus drivers feel surrounding the labour court’s recommendations, it does not seem to recognise any positive results from the strikes. The subtle use of editing here to omit the benefits achieved as a result of the bus strike is important as it highlights the commercial broadcasters bias against unions. Following this cut, the in-studio reporter changes the narrative back to the inconvenience these strikes have caused the country, furthering this anti-union ideology.

In comparison, RTÉ’s agenda towards unions appears to be supportive. The message is focused on the effect the labour court recommendations will have on the “Workers”. Interviews with a member of the public and a business owner show that they are sympathetic towards the workers. When speaking about the strikes, airtime is given to the business owner who states “I hope it’s not wasted”. This is in contrast to TV3 whose report focused on the inconvenience the strikes have caused the country.

The TV3 report’s language when discussing the labour court recommendations produces meaning. The recommendations are described as a “Meaty page document” reporter Zara states. Later in the report, a clip of two workers flipping through pages of the presumed recommendations is narrated by the reporter stating “the recommendations makes for difficult reading”. The language used is negative and suggests the document is complicated. This furthers the agenda that TV3’s report is against the strike, highlighting that the recommendations are not only unwanted by the workers, but the document itself is too difficult for the workers to read. There may also be a suggestion of class division here. The connotations behind the visuals of the workers looking at the recommendations are that these men are uneducated. This further undermines their actions as the report presents the workers as less than those in power.

Looking past the news report, the ending of strike action is a genuine event. It would have taken place regardless of media’s presence. However, the reporting of the event and the on-camera interviews make this a media event. The reporting differs slightly between the two reports. RTÉ’s report begins in the studio; then a correspondent narrates the remainder of the report. In contrast, TV3 report contains three reporters. One in-studio reporter, Geraldine Lynagh, who speaks directly to a second reporter, Zara King, live on air. Zara King is reporting live from Broadstone in Dublin, the location of Bus Eireann’s headquarters. TV3 studios are also based in Dublin, while the third reporter is suggested to be in Cork. A package is shown where a reporter, Paul Byrne is the narrator. The use of multiple reporters in the TV3 report may lead to confusion and a disconnect in the narrative. While RTÉ remains consistent with having one voice leading the receiver through the story.

The interviewees conducted in both reports are important for the value they give to the production of meaning. In RTÉ’s report, commuters in Waterford City are interviewed for their opinions about the return of the buses after the strike. The interviewees appear to be regular people, speak only about the positives about having the buses back. While subsequent interviewees talk about the issues surrounding the labour court’s recommendations and the possibility of future disputes. One driver is identified as a NBRU, National Bus & Rail Union, member. The driver speaks of the dissatisfaction drivers feel towards these recommendations. A bus driver further discusses this in Cork, a business owner in Waterford and a customer in Cork. All those interviewed in the later half of the report speak negatively about the labour court’s recommendations.

Interestingly, both reports interview the same Cork Business owner, Richard Jacob. In the RTÉ’s report, Jacob calls for politicians in Dublin to consider the country “outside of Dail Eireann”. Jacob echoes this anger towards how the government handled the Bus Eireann strike in both reports. However, TV3 gave context as to why Jacob was interviewed. Jacob who had previously written an open letter to the government accusing them of allowing Cork to die a slow death (Breakingnews.ie, 2017). By interviewing Jacob, there is bias introduced into the broadcast that is not balanced by an equally opposing opinion. Neither broadcast offers a government perspective to counteract Jacobs comments allowing his ideology to become dominant.

Furthering on from Jacob’s comments, An anti-Dublin ideology is apparent in TV3’s report. In the narration, the TV3 reporter mentions “The divide between Dublin and the rest of the country” furthering this segregation of counties. This divide and conquer mentality is creates hostility towards the nation’s capital. By alluding to Dublin’s ignorance of the rest of the countries problems in recent weeks, it perpetuates this discourse and anti-Dublin ideology and by extension, an anti-government message. Aside from Jacob’s comments, RTÉ’s report has no mention of this divide between Dublin and the rest of the country. It may be that as a public service broadcaster for the nation, RTÉ may have a responsibility to report on all citizens equally and does not wish to show bias towards one county over another.

The interviews conducted by TV3 are focused on professionals in the industry rather than the general public. One driver in Cork seems to be on the fence by saying “we need to look at the document more seriously” when the reporter interrupts and asks “is half a loaf better than nothing?” to which the driver responds “no”. This further enforces the upset by workers that the strike did not achieve what they had desired. It appears that TV3 has a bias by placing blame on both the workers who were on strike and the management of Bus Eireann. “The dispute could have been prevented” this suggests a breakdown between management and the workers.

One aspect of the interviews is the accent of those interviewed. TV3’s reporters speak with a seemingly neutral accent. However, those interviewed do have an accent that may be difficult to understand. In particular, those interviewed in Cork have a thick accent native to that area. However, as this report is broadcast nationwide, it may create a barrier between the message and the receiver. RTE have a similar issue with accents from Waterford and Cork natives that may create a problem for the receiver when decoding the message.

RTE’s report does not contain interviews with any officials, and This could be suggestive of their agenda. RTE may want to keep the focus on the dissatisfaction of the workers and the joy of the customers now that services are back. However, TV3 have a number of experts or officials from organisations interviewed. TV3 offer an on-camera statement from Nicola Cooke, Media and PR for Bus Eireann. However, at no point in the report is it stated that Cooke is Bus Eireann’s media and PR manager. Furthermore, when Cooke’s interview is broadcast, we see no identification or title on screen. When lower thirds are utilised later in the report, it is also problematic. A member from SIPTU is interviewed with the graphic identifying him as Willie Noone, SIPTU. When the man speaks he makes reference to his “colleague, Willie Noone”. The broadcast identifies the wrong man and moments later Willie Noone joins the man. However, no correction is made. No further identifying graphics are used. It is possible that the inadvertent misidentification of these men is an attempt to undermine their status as members of SIPTU.

TV3 creates this discourse of fear by asking “Will there be more pickets?”. The broadcast initial establishes the widespread disruption and inconvenience caused by the strikes. While RTE’s report focuses on the relief that the strikes are over, TV3 creates this sense of panic that the people of Ireland may experience more disruption in the coming weeks. This furthers the ideology that strikes are bad and the public support may drop even further as a result.

The key difference between RTE and TV3 reporting of this story is their presentation of the workers, their agenda when describing the strike actions and subsequent results, and their use of interviews. The tactics utilised such as editing and omitting words, mislabeling interviewees, use of graphics all add to the production of meaning. As a result, it is the argument of this paper that news media cannot act as the producers of meaning without being partial while remaining impartial. As stated above, the various techniques and narratives conveyed in both reports appear to produce a preferred meaning. When decoded and analysed RTE’s report is ignorant of the inconvenience the strikes have caused the Irish public while showing that workers are unhappy with the government’s recommendations. In contrast, TV3 focus on the negative impact the strikes has had on the country, while suggesting that the strikes achieved very little and may occur again. While both reports present the facts of the story, they re present these facts to suit their narrative.

 

Videos

RTE.ie. 2017. Bus Éireann services return to normal after strike. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2017/0414/867716-bus-eireann/. [Accessed 08 May 2017].

TV3 News. 2017. Bus Eireann get back on the road. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.tv3.ie/news_sub_page.php?video_id=124239&locID=1.2.883. [Accessed 08 May 2017].

References:

BreakingNews. 2017. ‘You are allowing a city to die’ – Cork cafe owner calls on Government to sort bus strike in open letter | BreakingNews.ie . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.breakingnews.ie/discover/you-are-allowing-a-city-to-die-cork-cafe-owner-calls-on-government-to-sort-bus-strike-in-open-letter-785033.html. [Accessed 09 May 2017].

Galtung, J. and Ruge, M.H., 1965. The structure of foreign news: The presentation of the Congo, Cuba and Cyprus crises in four Norwegian newspapers. Journal of peace research, 2(1), pp.64-90.

TheJournal. 2017. Over half of people don’t support the Bus Éireann strike. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.thejournal.ie/bus-eireann-strike-20-3310311-Mar2017/. [Accessed 08 May 2017].

CA2 – Semiotic Print Advertisement Analysis

hunkydory001-2.jpg

(Figure 1.1 Hunky Dory Advertisement 2010)

For the purposes of a semiotic analysis of a print advertisement, I have chosen this Hunky Dory advertisement from 2010 (Fig 1.1). This image, as well as many others in the campaign, faced much criticism for its depiction of women in sport. A second campaign appeared a year later but with GAA sports instead of Rugby which sparked more outcry.

“the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) ruled that similar ads for Hunky Dorys, but with a rugby theme, had caused grave and widespread offense and should remain permanently withdrawn from all media, including the advertiser’s website.” (Independant, 2011)

This content has been rejected by the audience as state above, so to fully understand why this may be the case, I will take a semiotic approach to analysing the above print advertisement.

Pierce talks about the 3 types of Signifiers when discussing a sign:
Icon 
An icon is the direct depiction of the event. In this instance, the icon is the photo itself.

Index
The index is what is represented by this image. For example, Smoke is suggestive of a fire. The use of uniformed colors is indicative of sports attire. The presence of a rugby ball furthers this idea that the image represents a sporting event.

Symbol
The symbol is culturally learned before it can be understood. To someone unfamiliar with the sport of rugby this image would fail to communicate its message. However, to those who understand the sport and the sport of rugby imparticular can understand that a person with shorts, mud or dirt on their skin, in a crouching position holding an oval ball can understand that this is the action of participating in a game of rugby.

Paradigmatic relationships

Following on from the above, the paradigmatic relationship is clear in this image. The previously mentioned posture and clothing of the model in the advertisement are indicative of playing sport. Furthermore, the environment in which the model is situated gives lends more elements to this “sport” image. The grass, the blurred out crowd in the background. Perhaps the two most important elements are the goal posts and the top of the rugby ball. Without these two, this could be any sport. The text further confirms this is associated with rugby, blatantly stating “Proud sponsors of Irish rugby.” If any element was to be substituted, it might create confusion to the receiver. For example, if the model were to hold a tennis ball, the image wouldn’t create the same narrative. Or if the crowd was replaced with a beach scene, the idea of a sporting arena would be lost.

Syntagmatic related signs 

The language used in the advertisement is suggestive when connected with the image. “Are you staring at my crisps” suggests that the model is asking the questions. The use of “my” in this sense is possessive, as in she has crisps in which one could be staring at. However, the absence of crisps in her possession in the image suggests that the sentence has a different meaning. The criticism of this advertisement is its sexualisation of women. The sentence then takes on this ‘tongue in cheek’ meaning with the model questioning if one is looking at her breasts with the substitution of the word crisps.

Narratives and Myths within our culture

The narrative has been discussed above, but what is perhaps most interesting about the advertisement is the failure to create an effective narrative. Rugby is a part of Irish culture, so an advertisement depicting rugby in action should resonate with the receiver. Perhaps the failure is in the dress of the model. Members of the Irish rugby team have been featured in advertisements in the past As seen below an advertisement for Dove Men Care (Fig 1.2) and advertisement for Guinness (Fig 1.3)

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CianHealy_DoveMen_650_rdax_80-2.jpg

(Figure 1.2 Cian Healy – Dove Men Care )

 

 

(Figure 1.3 Guinness Ad)

Men in both of these advertisements are dressed in standard sporting gear. Whereas the model in the original image is a highly sexualised version of a female rugby player. The breakdown in the narrative is in its realism.  As a result, the advertisement fails as an effective representation of Irish Rugby, yet may have sucess in using provocative imagery to sell crisps.

References

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/hunky-dory-ad-sparks-fury-ahead-of-camogie-final-26768897.html

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/4d/82/764d8299273ba99e48bb80b0b6387cea

http://www.irishrugby.ie/images/news/CianHealy_DoveMen_650_rdax_80

 

Ownership & Means of Production

When seeking meaning, society may look up to institutions. Previously institutions such as church may have been the ‘go to’ for answers. In Ireland we can see the church has lost a large majority of its following in recent decades. This results in a need for a replacement institution. Society will constantly seek answers to how they should behave, act, feel, think. Without the church, many may turn to the media to gratify their need for answers.

As a result, we should consider the media and it’s role as the creator and distributor of the message.

The Marxist approach considers the mass media and it’s agenda. The hegemonic model suggests that society is shaped from the top down. The ideals and opinions of the dominant class are fed to society through mass media. Any alternative ideals are denied. It should be considered, who are those with power over the media? The wealthy and the powerful can shape the mass media’s message in the mold of their own ideology. Ultimately this message that is disseminated serves their interests.

The message becomes naturalised and almost common sense to the point where society may not recognise the need to question it. An extream perspective on this could be the Propaganda Model. The media’s dominant message communicated to the user without questioning has had a detrimental effect in history and continues to cause tension in countries such as North Korea.

So while we have mass media with its own agenda, the audience has a choice from content received. They can accept it, reject it or negotiate with it. The choice of alternative perspectives has led to many differing opinions in the media. However, it is important to note that no content produced is without an agenda, even if that agenda is to create content that opposes the mainstream media.

An example of this alternative perspective is the recent air strike ordered by US President Donal Trump on Syria. MSNBC discusses the air strike as a triumphant step for the President and a beautiful sight to see.

Whereas John Oliver, A satirical cable news reporter, criticized how the media discussed the air strike. He offers an alternative perspective of the story as to how many have lost their lives in the attack.

 

Narratives and Stories

In adverting, every picture tells a story. These stories are encoded in such a way that the receiver can decode it with ease, perhaps even subconsciously. Advertising is reliant on the receivers understanding of the narrative presented in the ad. For example, the following advertisement (Fig 1.1) is for Levi Jeans.

levis3_0.jpg

(Figure 1.1 Levi Jeans Advertisement)

The narrative that may be decoded from this ad is that a woman is in motion, possibly running, through a field. She is topless, and there is wind blowing her hair. The connotations of this image could be liberation or freedom. However, if we were to isolate the model without the caption or branding, it may be a more sinister image. Perhaps she is running away from someone. The indexical signs are the association between the open field and topless model, to give this idea of freedom. The language attached is important to make it clear that it the jeans are “all I need”. The story created is that a woman has all she needs, the jeans, and is freely moving through an open space. While this may not be common practice to the audience, it can be understood to be a freeing act and an adventurous act.

Semiotics 101

Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. In society, we interpret numerous signs and symbols in our everyday lives. However, a sign is not a sign until it is interpreted as a sign.

There are many signs and symbols that we give meaning to. For example, the gender sign is universally understood as Male and Female. Furthermore, these signs signify another meaning, toilets. A recent debate surrounding transgender bathrooms have created a third sign. This new sign is reliant on a cultural agreement that those who identify as transgender will be classified by this symbol.

Toilets_unisex.svg.pnga1613aaa7aedc60ab38e96d8312a1851.jpg

 

Conversationalisation and Language

Accent and Delivery

A message is encoded with particular meanings so it can be decoded by the receiver. However, while message does not change, its delivery can influence how it is received.

Fluency Effect refers to the idea that the easier the message is to understand, the more truthful it is perceived. A person from Dublin may consider a news broadcast to be truthful if it reported by a clear spoken, native Irish person rather than a person with a foreign accent.

Conversational analysis: Interviews

Formulation is a method of managing an interview. Usually performed by the interviewer, formulation involves the audience in the interview by summarising what the interviewee is saying. While this may be seen as ‘stupification’ it is a tool to ensure that the content of the interview is controlled and understood by the audience.

Violation is when the interviewee defies the interviewer and doesn’t answer the question asked. This violation can result in the interviewee changing the topic and discussing their own talking points.

An example of this:

Is the interviewer maintaining a stance of ‘formal neutrality’? Or can we see some form of bias?

We can see some form of bias in Paxmans interview. Paxmans questioning leads in such a way that Howard is now in a corner and must answer the question “Did you threaten to overrule him?”. It is clear that Paxman and his show had an agenda to get Howard to answer that question and incriminate himself.

How are the questions being answered by the interviewee?

It doesn’t appear as those Howard is reading from a script. He may have had set talking points but he does speak as if he hasn’t rehearsed. His communication feels natural as if he is speaking with a friend about arbitrary things.

Has the interviewee answered the specific question that has been asked?

No. Howard’s answers dance around the question, without actually answering it.

What approach is the interviewee using, if any, to avoid an answer to a specific question?

After Paxman asks “Did you threaten to overrule him?” numerous times, we can see Howard begins changing the narrative. Instead, Howard points out that the question is “what was I entitled to do”. This is clearly not the question Paxman continually asks, but Howard answers his own question and the interview moves on.

Is the interviewer allowing this to happen (violation) or are they pushing for an answer to a question? 

Paxman is pushing for an answer to his question. At one point, Paxman insists “I’m looking for a yes or no” in an attempt to get his answer.

Can we see the use of language within the interview being influenced by the perceived social context of the ‘target audience’

The language is, although it feels conversational, quite formal. Howard speaks as though his audiences are more than aware of political jargon and the names of figures involved in the recent events. This suggests that the target audience would be those educated in political issues with an interest in these stories.

What is Discourse?

Discourse is not a tangible thing, it is a process. While you may not be able to point at something in a text and say “that is discourse” you can point at evidence of a discourse. We see discourse in language and text itself.

The language used in society is evident of a discourse present. For example in Ireland, we use the word ‘wagon’. Our cultural agreement is that this word has two meanings, a literal wagon with wheels etc. This would perhaps be agreed upon in other cultures too. However, if you were to say “You’re a wagon” the discourse is that this word is offensive and insulting. The discourse in Irish society is that “Wagon” is a slang term directed at women.

Discourse can influence how people perceive reality. The power the media has in shaping this discourse is evident in its effects on society.  Media Discourse can be found when the receiver of the content, break down the text and analysis the subtext.

 

 

 

Outfoxed

When examining the role of media in society as well as media bias, we focused on the news. A 2005 documentary titled Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism takes a look at the man behind the media. Outfoxed tells the story of the rise of Rupert Murdoch as a media mogul. Once at the top, his power and influence is questions by the creators of the documentary. This blog will analysis both the content of the documentary and the documentary itself.

Focusing primarily on Murdoch’s Fox News, the documentary notes the use of this “Fair and Balanced” slogan often used by Fox News. However, critics in the documentary argue that this slogan is irrelevant. There is an “appearance of being balanced” when in fact, the report has an agenda.

The documentary gives numerous examples of how the news organisation conducts itself. A daily memo is distributed internally with this “message of the day”. This message will be the agenda for all those in the organisation. Who writes these memos and their intention or agenda is biased, and therefore the media outlet could consequently produce biased news products. If Murdoch himself controls the message of the day, then we should question the news stories we consume.

Often reporters take liberties to insert opinions yet portraying them as facts. “Some people say” is a broad statement that allows the reporter to voice their own opinions on an issue or story. Using this generalised term suggests the reporter is bringing the public’s discussions into the report.

The documentary itself is clearly taking a stance against Murdochs business practices, in particular how Fox News conducts itself as a news organisation. While alluding to media ownership, the documentary paints a negative picture of Fox News. While it may be presenting facts, it is encoded in such a way that the audience will see a negative side to the news organisation. This bias is somewhat hypocritical and doesn’t allow for a well-rounded perspective.

 

References

Outfoxed • Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism • FULL – YouTube

http://uk.businessinsider.com/trump-immigration-ban-fox-news-memo-2017-1?r=US&IR=T

 

Newsworthiness

In today’s media landscape, there seems to be a debate about what is newsworthy and what is just filler on our screens. For a story to be newsworthy, it should be of interest or importance to the public. Spencer-Thomas uses the concept of news values when establishing if a story is newsworthy. This news value is used by journalists to decide how much attention to give a story, whereas newsworthiness depends on both the type of media mediating the content and the type of person receiving the content.

When looking at a piece of text, it is important to consider Gaultung and Ruge (1996) list of news values.

  1. Extrodinaries: is this story out of the ordinary?
  2. Threshold: is this story large, in both content and potential audience size?
  3. Unambiguity: is this story palatable to the audience?
  4. Reference to an elite person: is this story involving a well know individual?
  5. Reference to an elite nation: is this story involving a country with considered importance to the audience?
  6. Personalisation: is this story made clear to the audience by giving a human face to each side of the story?
  7. Frequency: is this story immediate with subsequent follow ups?
  8. Narrative: is this story presenting a story itself?
  9. Negative:  is this story considered bad news?
  10. Fear Based: is this story offering fear as an incentive to watch?

When we look at news stories, we must take into account 5 key considerations as to why we are being presented with these stories. I will analysis the following text under these 5 points as well as note the stories news value.

Who created the message?

RTÉ news, the national broadcaster, reports the effects of storm Desmond as it tackles the West of Ireland. The message is both informative, as it tells the facts of the storms path, and cautious as it warns viewers of the dangers of traveling in the storm.

What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

The reporter, Teresa Mannion, presence in the ‘eye of the storm’ is creative in its ability to convey realism. Instead in studio report, or a series of graphics recorded pre-broadcast, RTÉ chose to show a Mannion live in the areas affected by the storm. The message takes on a sense of dramatics when we hear the Mannion’s tone of voice.

How might different people understand this message differently than me?

Some viewers may have decoded the message as informative and cautious, this is how I first understood the message. However, as a result of this report, a series of remixes and memes appeared online. This is to say, that some people saw past the report and found humor in Mannion’s delivery of the report.

What values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented in or omitted from this message?

The mention of how Mass services have been canceled shows that importance given to religion. However, the report failed to mention if schools would be operating. This priority given to church over school may be reflective of what RTÉ deemed newsworthy.

Why is this message being sent?

The storm would have happened with or without this report. However, the message may be of national interest as it gives a full account of the effect of the storm. This is informative as many in the country may be in areas that have not been impacted yet and may want to prepare. It could be seen as a warning to all viewers by highlighting the severity.

When looking at the news values of the story, we look once again at the list.

  1. Extrodinaries: This story of a storm would be a rare occasion so it could be considered out of the ordinary.
  2. Threshold: This is a large story as it affects the country.
  3. Unambiguity: An easy to digest story with real world examples and images.
  4. Reference to an elite person: No
  5. Reference to an elite nation: Yes
  6. Personalisation: Yes, the Teresa Mannion herself and her presence in the storm gives a human face to the story and its effects.
  7. Frequency: it is mentioned that the story is developing live so yes there could be follow-ups.
  8. Narrative: A story is constructed as a result of the events.
  9. Negative:  This can be considered a bad news story as we hear of flooding, power failure, and property damage.
  10. Fear Based: Yes as viewers are assured, more than once, to remain indoors and if they do have to leave the home to proceed with caution.

Circuit of Culture CA1

http://www.rte.ie/news/2016/0206/765872-hotel-shooting/

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.

Representation

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”.
Identity
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.
Production

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.

Consumption

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.

Regulations

No graphic images were used in the report suggesting that this could have been broadcast pre-watershed, perhaps the six one news.

Alternative realities

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.