There are other programs that deal with serious current affairs issues as part of their content, so be on the lookout for these: Sunrise, Insiders, etc
What do these programs have as their content?
- National and international politics, including background stories, interview, debates and analysis from political commentators and other political figures.
- Social and ethical issues eg Euthanasia, Global warming, warfare, poverty. Again, these can be local or international in focus.
- Investigative reports on corruption and malpractice of social significance.
This content differs markedly from the tabloid programs, but demands more ‘effort’ on the part of the audience in order to grasp the arguments and understand the language used.
Although there is some overlap with tabloid programs, the techniques used by ‘serious’ programs are quite different.
Some points of difference:
More serious programs will try (not always the case though) to tease out all sides of an argument/issue. Perhaps an interview will be done with a number of people, or background stories will investigate all elements. There is less of a hero/villain mentality, unless there is a strong investigate report into corruption or malpractice.
Why is the language different?
- Content is more demanding.
Complex issues demand a more complex language in order to do them justice and explore them properly.
- Demographic is more educated.
As you watch these programs note the specific words and phrases used by the presenters, reporters and participants. Contrast this with specific language used in tabloid programs. Different demographic equals different language.
The structure suggested is simply that, a possible way of tackling the task.
Intro: Outline definitions of tabloid and serious current affairs programs. Set out that you are going to analyse differences/similarities in purpose, content, and techniques between the two.
Par One: Purpose. What are the differring purposes of the two types of programs? Why do they differ?
Par Two: Content. Examine what topics the two types of programs explore. Why are these choices made? (links closely with Par1).
Hint: Watch as many ‘serious’ shows as possible. Tape them if you can and spend time analysing the techniques and language.
Essay Structure (PT 2)
Par Three/Four: Techniques.
This forms a large part of the essay and is a discussion of how the techniques used are related to the content and purpose of each type of program. USE PLENTY OF SPECIFIC EXAMPLES, ESPECIALLY THE LANGUAGE USED BY EACH.
Summarise your ideas and point to the future.
What have you learnt from this study? What trends have you recognised in each type of program? In five years time what will a person writing this essay have to say?
Hint: Organise yourself to get the work in early for drafting and editing. Keep to the word limit of 800 words.