by Giovanni De Sio Cesari



   In this short essay I compared two articles, one from “THE TIME”, the British longest-running newspaper, and the other one from the  “MIRROR”, a tabloid of very large circulation.

Their topic is a terrible event: the death of three brothers in the fire of their house.

The background is the long “war” between catholic and protestant people (more than 4000 deaths in 30 years of struggles): Protestants, usually, celebrate the victory of the battle of the Bayne with big parades. This year the Protestants have been banned from the parade in the nationalistic street Garvaghy road in Co Armag because of the growing tension between the two fringes.

In Dumcree, a mixed area with a protestant majority, there have been some threats against the Catholics. Many of them in the days before the terrible  event, had received a bullet with these three words on it:” get out now”.

 In the night between the 11th and the 12th of July a petrol bomb was sent spinning in the house of the catholic Christine Quinn. She escaped but her kids died in the fire. The mother of the children is Catholic, but their fathers are Protestant; the children grew up as protestants, and just some hours before the tragedy, They had helped to prepare bonfires for the protestant celebration of the battle of the Bayne. The mother and her partner  managed to escape, but   because of the heat and the smoke, they couldn’t reach the children.

This terrible event provoked a strong indignation from both sides.




  At a first sight the main difference   between the two newspapers appears to be  the different size of the two newspapers: THE TMES is nearly the double of the MIRROR.

THE TIMES is made of a smaller number of pages (24) ,  while the pages of the MIRROR are nearly the double (47).

The prices of the two newspapers are the same (30 p); usually the price of the “quality papers” (broadsheets) is higher   than the one of the “popular papers” (tabloids).

Looking inside the articles, we can find out that in THE TIMES the writer is qualified as “ chief correspondent”, and so we can think there is an editorial office, while in the MIRROR the writer is just a name without qualification;  there isn’t an editorial office, but just a journalist sent there for the event.


Talking about headlines: both of them are not easy to understand; you should already know the events, the background and the frame to understand them.

The headline of THE TIMES:  “ Child victims of blazing hatred among red, white and blue”. To realise what the headline is talking about, you are supposed to know the meaning of the three colours, and what is “the blazing hatred”. As usual the verb is omitted.

The headline of the MIRROR is even harder to understand: ”We are burning our kids on the altar of hatred”. It doesn’t show the event, in fact it is a statement of a leader, as the same article explains later on. You can understand the headline only if you already know the event.


In the MIRROR there are six pictures, in THE TIMES there is only one: the educated reader of THE TIMES doesn’t need pictures, while the less educated reader of the MIRROR is attracted by the pictures, sometimes the whole article is just an excuse to publish the pictures.

To draw more attention from its readers, the MIRROR has five paragraphs with different typographic characters:  in this way the readers can read only the parts of the article which contain the important points, while the readers of THE TIMES, who have a good reading capacity, will read the whole article.


The layout of THE TIMES seems more accurate than the one of the MIRROR.  In the MIRROR the paragraphs haven’t a real order: in THE TIMES there is a real order according to a logic: the comments of the most important leaders are separated from the article, in  another  frame with the headline “BLACK MORNING”: in this way the reader can read the facts first then the comments of the common people and of the relatives, and so he can have a clear idea of the political position. 

 In the MIRROR, in a very confused way, all the comments are mixed together (common people, political speakers  etc…)


In the MIRROR there is a piece of news that in THE TIMES is not reported: a football boss ( KEN BATES) offers a reward to find the killers. The news has scarce importance; perhaps an emotive outlet. While THE TIMES doesn’t mention the news at all, the “MIRROR” gives a great importance to it ( big headline apart from the article, picture of Ken Bates), in the article Mr Bates seems to become catholic (“now I’m lapsed catholic converted”): we can well understand  that the “war” between Catholics and Protestants is not a matter of real religion but just ethnic hatred, but everything is good to capture the attention of the emotive reader.



In both articles direct speech is used. This is strange because indirect speech is used usually in the “quality papers”  . I think this is because both articles use other sources such as a press agency,  and so they have the same words: for instance the mother’s words are the same in both articles; the meaning of this is that neither of the two journalists spoke  to the mother directly.



The conclusion is that the articles have not as many differences than they usually have: I think this is because the event is so terrible, so painful that the people fell only the pain and so the political points are left out.

Anyway the differences between the two news papers are clear: THE TIMES  has  educated people as its target, who like reading,  and are able to understand the main question. The MIRROR has as its target less educated people, unable to understand the main question, but much more interested in the simple and daily aspects of life 


(be continued)