Various kinds of media transfer the same message in a different way focusing on specific features of the piece of news. Each type of media has its own functions that address to politics and sexuality, gender, class, race, etc. In such a way, as the audience specifications differ, the message itself is shaped differently. For this assignment, I have chosen to take a closer look at the event, which happened on March 11, 2011 in Tokyo, Northern Japan. According to the media, this day was signified by a strike of a powerful earthquake, which has later resulted into a tsunami, leaving behind many deaths and victims. This paper takes a close look at how the same message can be shown in a different light in different kinds of media. It also analyzes how different types of media focus on specific ideas and how the information varies from source to source.
On March 11, 2011, The New York Times has posted an article written by Martin Fackler “Powerful Quake and Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan” about the horrifying events in the area. The article is rather informative, which aims at supplying people with the numbers of magnitude of the quake, number of victims, the length, the heights of the tsunami, etc. In addition, the newspaper version of this piece of news recaptures the main information, which was delivered earlier in the news.
The CNN channel had been leading the live translation of the disaster through the course of this horrifying event. Gathering the information from many channels at the same time, the CNN had been showing the breaking news aiming at completing the descriptive function, being able to portray the picture of what was going on. Due to the lack of information, the news broadcast could only supply the approximate numbers and cover some assumptions about the causes and the damages of the quake and tsunami.
The radio news also incorporates a rather informative message through their broadcast. Due to a smaller audience of listeners, who actually listen to the radio, the program has to be more than just informative, it also has to interest its audience. The broadcasting people from blogtalkradio had decided to connect the earthquake to the science. In this radio podcast, Richard Nolle tries to seize the connection between the earthquake and tsunami with astrology.
Comparing the transferring of the message about the earthquake in Japan in all three types of media, we can note the differences in the way the news is being laid out. Appealing to different types of audience, the message is shaped differently as well as it focuses on the specific aspects of the audience. In addition, depending on the type of media, the language, linguistic structures, tone and other aspects of the message also change.
The newspaper The New York Times is aimed at a rather narrow audience. The first requirement is to be able to read in English and understand colloquial language. For instance, such idiomatic expressions as “struck in deadly tandem”, “sent walls of water washing over coastal cities”, or “power and cellphones remained down” might not be understood by the speakers of other languages or even those whose English is on a sufficient level.
Second, the message is addressed to the group of people who are interested in the international news as the first part of the article has an informative character addressing to the details about what exactly happened on March 11, 2011. The paper describes specific events of the earthquake, including the strength of the earthquake, the length and heights of the tsunami, the number of victims, specific stories of survivors, etc.
Third, this message has relevance to the people who are familiar with the Japanese region. In the article “Powerful Quake and Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan,” many instances describe culture features specific to Japanese: “According to a newspaper, the Mainichi Shimbun”, “rooftop of Chuo Hospital in the city of Iwanuma”, “near the mouth of the Abukuma River in Miyagi Prefecture”, “Toshiaki Takahashi, 49, an official at Sendai City Hall”, etc.
In the CNN live breaking news 8.9 Earthquake Tsunami hits Japan! Section, the message is predisposed to a broader audience of people from various backgrounds. First, due to the fact that this is a video message, it involves implying the visual and the auditory receptors for perceiving the message. Therefore, there is twice more information that the spectator receives while viewing the clip. In addition, contrasting to the news feature, the main information about this event is already written in the running head of the video, therefore living out the necessity to search for the main information through the text, as it is in the article.
Second, as it involves two types of media bound together, the video clip almost leaves out the necessity to listen to the broadcasting person as one can see the message clearly through one’s own eyes without having to read it in the paper. Spectators have to see the damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami through their very own eyes. Implications of various charts and maps also help the message to get to the viewer in a better way.
Nonetheless, even though the video message addresses to a larger audience, the third aspect decreases its positive aspects in comparison to the newspaper article. Due to the fact that this is the breaking news, the message does not provide the audience with the same amount of information as the news article. The video message does not provide the audience with the numbers or with the importance of damages. Its role has a rather descriptive character, portraying the evidence that can only be visualized.
The radio podcast Astrology for Japan earthquake and tsunami (astrologer RICHARD NOLLE) takes a completely different approach towards this catastrophe. This message is addressed to even a smaller audience than the newspaper article. In addition, it does not perform the informative role or the descriptive role about the events of March 11. Nonetheless, the podcast discusses both informative and descriptive aspects of the connection between the event and science, in this case astrology. Therefore, the podcast is audience specific to those who are interested or familiar with astrology and contemporary science.
First, the wording of the message has a rather high register, using very area specific and narrow glossary about astrology and numerology. The broadcasting person does not use colloquial language or idiomatic expressions to provide the audience with the information. On the contrary, the working is rather very dry and lacks creativity or literary descriptive expressions.
Second, the broadcasting person does not only retell the events of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, as in the two previous sources, but also propagates to dig into a discussion. The listener is involved into the podcast informative message through logical reasoning, and composition and comparison of the historical facts. The listeners are involved in looking for the connections between the events and looking for future evidence with the help of scientific areas, such as astrology and numerology.
To sum up, on the example of three different information sources, a specific piece of information was analyzed. As a result, it was proved that by aiming at a specific type of audience, the same informational feed is transferred to its audience differently. The TV news clip has the broadest audience scale as compared to a narrower audience for the newspaper and very limited specific area listeners of the radio podcasts. Each type of media is focusing on a separate piece of information and tries to transfer its message to the fullest.
Fackler, Martin. “Powerful Quake and Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan.” The New York Times. Asia Pacific., 11 Mar. 2011. Web. 7 Apr. 2013.
Williams, Ed. “Astrology for Japan earthquake and tsunami (astrologer RICHARD NOLLE).” BlogTalkRadio.com. 11 Mar. 2011. Radio podcast.
“8.9 Earthquake Tsunami hits Japan!” Breaking news. CNN live. Cable News Network. 11 Mar. 2011. Television.