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Compare The Ways In Which Fergal Keane And Marie Colvin Balance The Communication Of The Facts Of The Situation With A Personal Insight From The Writer Essay, Research Paper

Both of the articles that are being studied are very different to any usual piece of reportage in the way that what the BBC or the Times was expecting from these two journalists was very different from what they received. Marie Colvin and Fergal Keane were reporting on very serious topics in interesting times yet both of their pieces were so different from the stereotype newscaster articles. This is because they were a lot more personal and contained a lot of information that was not necessary but made the article a lot more pleasant to read and brought the events described in it a lot closer to the reader.

Marie Colvin was in Baghdad writing about the crisis in Iraq in January 1991. She wrote a lot of controversial things in the article Baghdad under Fire due to the fact that the general atmosphere was such that any criticism of British or American forces was not seen to be acceptable and there was some censorship of the news by the ministry of defence.

Fergal Keane s article was written much later in and it was broadcast on Radio 4 as part of the foreign correspondent programme. During the time that Fergal Keane was in Hong Kong he was covering the take over of Hong Kong to China. The BBC were expecting the usual cover of weekly events in the area that Fergal Keane was covering yet what they received was a very personal insight into Fergal Keane s views and opinions on the take over conveyed in the form of a letter to his five day old son.

Both articles are similar because they mix facts with personal opinion and the subjective and objective converge. The sense of place is evoked right from the start in both articles giving an immediate setting of the scene.

It is 6 o clock in the morning on the island of Hong Kong. You are asleep, cradled in my left arm

Baghdad under Fire takes a slightly more subtle approach giving a description of a man, a place and then bringing it all down with a simple radical statement that confronts the situation reminding you that this is in fact a news article.

Hussein stood alone in the carpet souk on the eastern bank of the Tigris. The market square of the souk usually bustled at this time of early evening. But it was January 15, the Untied Nations deadline for Iraq s withdrawal from Kuwait.

After the introduction of her article Marie Colvin evokes the sense of place in a very vivid personal way. As she walks in to Hussein s shop all the small insignificant details are described as if they really mattered in comparison with the grave state of the city at the time.

Amid the clutter of piled-up carpets, silver necklaces, antique frames, heavy Kurdish belts and beside the ubiquitous picture of Saddam Hussein, a likeness of President John F. Kennedy beaten into a copper plate we discussed whether he should stay in Baghdad or take his family to a place safe from American bombs, as other merchants had.

The description of the shop is not important yet it is so personal, involving the reader because it is so obviously written for that purpose.

All the way throughout the passage the desolation of the city is stressed and Marie is conveying it to the reader that because of the reader everybody is nervous and scared.

Everybody was jumpy, We lost our way leaving the airport and when we drove up to the checkpoint there was an audible click as the soldier flipped the safety catch off his AK-47 and walked up to the car with the barrel pointed through the window.

Fergal Keane is much more poetic in his descriptions and he is not as precise as Marie Colvin is. This is because he does not commentate on every detail although what he is describing is not relevant to the take over but it helps the reader experience what he is seeing.

Outside the window now, below us on the harbour, the ferries are ploughing back and forth to Kowloon, millions are already up and moving about, and the sun is slanting through the tower blocks and out onto the flat silver waters of the South China Sea

The beginning of Fergal Keane s article is really the only part that contains a main bulk of description. The rest of the passage is retrospective when Fergal Keane is talking about his parents yet there is one moment that will strike the reader every time.

The churchyard of the parish of Narabuywei, where in a ransacked classroom I found a mother and her three young children beaten to death. The children had died holding onto their mother: that instinct that we all learn from birth and, in one way or another, cling to, until we die.

This short paragraph does not contain any details about the churchyard, like the colour or its size but because what is described is so terrific the simple surroundings are easily visualised by the reader.

After the place has been established and the reader is familiarised with were the events are taking place the second most important thing is what are the facts of the situation? As a generalisation one would think that in terms of content then there is a lot more irrelevant (personal, unnecessary) material than there is factual. Marie Colvin s article can be compared to a diary of a narrative, this is because her article has a longer time period than Letter to Daniel . The article follows Marie s progress through the deserted city of Baghdad and conveys the emotions of the protagonists through conversation or direct speech. The article mainly contains a narrative that is punctuated with short paragraphs of detailed factual account.

Anti-aircraft guns sounded again at 9.00am and 10.00am. Soldiers in uniform lined the roads at bus stations trying to flag down cabs or cars to head south to register with their units At 10.30am I was standing in front of the ministry of information, now deserted despite the ministers brave words a few hours earlier, as a thud sounded and a mushroom of smoke went up from the defence ministry about half a mile away. Neither a plane had been visible nor an engine heard. Anti-aircraft fire went up but it was too late.

Although Letter to Daniel is about the take over of Hong Kong which was a very important event, the article contains very little or no factual details about it. But this does not matter because the article is so personal that the whole event of the take over is shrouded with the beauty of the writing.

In each article there are a few main protagonists that reinforce the story and make it believable because the characters back it up. In letter to Daniel the main character could be Daniel because the whole letter is written for him. But the article is about Britain and China and there struggle to make the take over as smooth as possible. In Marie Colvin s article the protagonists are Hussein and other representatives and other BBC reporters. Hussein, is the character which makes Marie Colvin s piece very private. This is because Marie Colvin writes so much about him, the way he lives, his views and she enters in on his private life. Despite all this Hussein still accepts her as a friend and tells her that she can stay whenever she wants. He develops a very personal relationship with her and the way that Marie writes about him makes him seem like a very warm character.

Both Marie Colvin and Fergal Keane had different aims when writing their articles yet because of their writing styles and techniques they have achieved similar objectives. They do contrast in many ways (in letter to Daniel the city is bustling and in Baghdad Under Fire the city is deserted) but the fact and opinion are well balanced in all respects. Through the use of colloquial language and a mix of the subjective, objective and the private aspects of the protagonists both writers have produced very good articles that involve the reader in a way that all modern media texts should.

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