Is Journalistic Objectivity Really Possible in British Society?

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Introduction to Journalism

End of Module Assessment

Module leader Prof. Frank MacMahon

Student: Fabio Scarpello
Student number: 10182824

Report title:
Is Journalistic objectivity really possible in British society.

| | |Notes: Words 2,275 | |Pages nine | |(“ … “)= Reference to article in bibliography |

Introduction
Objectivity is the standard to which every journalist should aspire. In this report I analyse the coverage of the European Union (EU) summit in Nice held between the 7th and the 11th December 2000. My aim is to underline whether “objectivity” has been achieved. I will focus on The Guardian and The Telegraph, (both replaced by their Sunday newspapers on the 10th) and, to a lesser extent, on The Sun. My scrutiny will start the 8th and continue for five days.

The report will look at:
- Coverage
- Prominence
- Use of pictures
- Editorial

To gain an independent view of the issues discussed, I relied on the BBC, (“EU Guidelines”), and kept its indication as my benchmark. Accordingly they are:
- Charter of Rights
(54 rights for every EU citizen)
- Drop of National Vetoes, replaced by Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) for most decisions (Blair pledged to maintain six called “red lines” on tax, social security, immigration, treaty amendments, EU budget and border control) - Re-weighting of the Council of Minister vote.

Due to its importance and controversy, I included the Rapid Reaction Force (RRF)

Friday 8th

Broadsheets give ample coverage to the Summit, with equal prominence.

Front-page articles are similar. Headlines are coherent in condemning Chirac while the contents concentrate on the different aspirations for the RRF between France (who advocate operational independence from NATO) and Great Britain (who wants closer co-ordination with NATO). Comments from Government and opposition appear in both.

The similitude ends with reports of the pre-summit disturbances.

Different is the approach to the Charter.
The Telegraph’s tone is critical, comments however are balanced with Byrne (Irish EU commissioner) who highlights weakness in its draft, and Fontaine (EU Parliament president) who wants it incorporated in European law. The Guardian sees it as a triumph for Britain and voices its optimism with Vaz (European minister) who plays down Tories worries of a European Constitution.

The importance of maintaining national vetoes is the main point of the Telegraph’s last article, while The Guardian ends with the gains of widening the EU eastwards.

Editorials reflect the broadsheets different political stance. The Guardian advocates the UK’s advantages in dropping its veto on immigration, while The Telegraph reports on the intention of the Anti-EU party to attack labour at next general election.

The Sun coverage is also comprehensive.
The tone is more direct (“Blair war on Chirac”), but still covers the RRF (comments from Blair and two conservative ministers), riots and Charter with comment from Jaspin (French PM) who advocates its legal status. The political line is clear in the commentary and in the editorial. Kavanagh (political commentator) sarcastically highlights the division within the EU leaders. The editorial tone gets almost menacing: it begins with “Tony on Trial” and it ends with “He dares not return home if he gives up any of them” (“red lines”)

Saturday 9th

Coverage and prominence are again similar with both broadsheets...
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