Comparison of broadsheets’ report on postal strike on Oct. 15 — Part I
Postal workers will stage two strikes next week. Four of the five broadsheet newspapers published the news on their website frontpages, except for the Financial Times.
The Independent and The Times didn’t give a time stamp of publishment, but judging from the time of the first reader’s comment, The Independent was the first to bring the storty to public, followed in time order by Telegraph, The Times and Guardian. However, it needs to be pointed out that The Independent wasn’t the first story-teller by itself because the piece on its website was written by Alan Jones from Press Association. In other words, no editing work has been done by The Independent.
All of the other three newspapers, The Times, Guardian, and Telegraph, have edited the story. Since The Independent didn’t its own homework, it was excluded from the following comparison.
Title and introduction line
- Postal strikes to take place next week – Guardian
- National postal strikes set for next week – Telegraph
- Postal strikes confirmed for two days next week – The Times
Guardian and Telegraph both gave an introduction line below the story title, but The Times didn’t. However, The Times published a photo of post box while Guardian didn’t. Interestingly to know, Telegraph embeded a video clip before its body text. (The video might have been put there much later after the story publishment.)
As for the introduction line, Telegraph seemed borrow from Press Association.
Postal workers are to stage two nationwide strikes next week in a bitter row over pay, jobs and working conditions, which will cripple mail deliveries, it was announced today. — Press Association version on The Independent
Postal workers are to stage two nationwide strikes next week in a bitter row over pay, jobs and working conditions, which will cripple mail deliveries, it has been announced. — Telegraph
The only difference has been marked in italic and underlined. Guardian worked out its own introduction line, containing 23 words compared to 29 words of Telegraph’s.
Two days of national postal strikes will take place next week after Royal Mail failed to reach a last minute deal with unions — Guardian
According to Anna Mckane, author of New Writing, when it comes to an intro, “good news intros should be around 25 words long, but the first half must be arresting and attention-grabbing,” and “In general a good intro will have at the most three ideas.”
Compared to Telegraph’s intro, Guardian’s had fewer words and no clause, and it also contained fewer ideas. (two days of strike and no agreement in Guardian’s Vs. two days of strike, row details and possible crippled mail deliveries in Telegraph’s)
The first part of the two versions made no big difference, but in the second part of the intro, Telegraph gave more details. What’s more, the possible paralysed delivery system envisoned was more arresting.
The Times, though having no highlighted intro below title, brought the most attractive part right at the very beginning of its first paragraph.
The postal service will paralysed once again next week by two nationwide postal strikes, it was announced today. — The Times
The Times’ first paragraph, judged by criteria for a good intro, was not satisfactory. It gave Who, Where, When, and What but not Why; it used passive voice instead of positve voice; and committing a grammar mistake became its deadliest point.