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Comparative Textual Analysis of Two Articles

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    The key to being able to differentiate one newspaper from another is often, if not always, the way the latter presents its news, both aesthetically and stylistically. These aspects have gradually divided newspapers into two distinct categories: broadsheets and tabloids. The former being a more neutral and respected type and the latter a newspaper for more or less entertainment purposes only. This can be well observed in two specific articles that both report on political campaigns.

    The first one, an extract from The New Vision, a pro-government Ugandan publication, recounts presidential candidate Paddy Bitama’s arrival to the official nomination as an election candidate. The article vaguely follows Bitama („of Amarula Family“ – an interesting detail mostly seen in non-European newspapers) as he heads off from Chez Johnson, gets a suit, forgets campaign posters, spontaneously grabs a bite to eat from a man having lunch by the roadside, and finally climbs into a bodaboda whilst assuring the driver of the latter he would give him fuel after he was elected president.

    After further analysis of the article, one thing stands out. Namely, the journalist seems to focus on the events that took place in a rather superficial and informal manner, adding a slightly biased tone to his/her article. For, firstly, the short paragraphs use a lot of emotive language such as, „Bitama grabbed an Irish potato“, „the man was forced to take off his shirt“ and „no one bothered“.

    Secondly, a few euphemisms can be spotted: „people’s president“ along with some vague language that is mostly common in tabloid articles („about 100 posters“, „met a man“). The full assemblage of the latter is presumably used to create a certain feeling of ridicule of Paddy Bitama’s „dust of light moments“. A specific aspect that increases this feeling is the fact that Bitama is a comedian, as mentioned in the first lines of the article, hence the additional feeling of bias against him as a less serious presidential candidate.

    Additionally, it soon becomes rather apparent that even though this article does not distinctly draw a negative image of Paddy Bitama, it isn’t praising or glorifying him at all, even though that often is the case with presidential candidates. The article also uses a lot of local expressions such as „bodaboda“, a word which has been given the meaning of a ’bicycle taxi’. The second article however, recounts the story of Nixon’s involvement in a bugging scandal that eventually led to his resignation as U. S. president.

    Another basic aspect that differentiates this newspaper article from the Ugandan one is, first of all, that it is not as recent (seeing as the latter was published in 2010 and the former in 1972) and seems to be a bit more serious and longer in length. Nonetheless, this article, entitled „GOP security aide among 5 arrested in bugging affair“ still has some emotive and vague language: „We deplore action of this kind in or our of politics“ and „the mystery deepens“, along with a few euphemisms such as „the bugging incident“.

    From this one will be able to conclude that even this article is not completely un-biased. In fact, it is, additionally, rather informal. This is especially obvious when the journalists decide to use GOP, a nickname for the Republican Party and an abbreviation of „Grand Old Party“, instead of its official name. Finally, the short paragraphs that make the article a whole are crowded with various quotes, and even mention the rather irrelevant age of a certain CIA employee James W. McCord.

    Even though these aspects are, as with the Ugandan article, very common in tabloids, this article has a different tone and is thus possibly meant for a slightly more serious audience. All in all, both articles are rather similar and have many stylistic features in common, even though they are written several decades apart, and in two completely different parts of the world. It can be assumed that both of the articles have been adapted to fit the requirements affected by the latter, in order to better suit their respective readers.

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