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The News of the Angel of North in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and the ‘GatesheadPost’

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The angel of the north is a sculpture which stands at the entrance to Gateshead, and articles have been written about the modern representation of an angel. Anthony Gormly won the competition to erect this statue suitable for the north east area of Gateshead.

There are two entirely different structures used to report on this unusual piece of Art. In the daily telegraph, a national broadsheet, presented in the ‘Arts’ section, there is an extremely eye-catching illustration of the actual sculpture. There are also two headlines, the first answers the question in fairly small writing ‘whatever it’s meaning, Anthony Gormly’s angel is a triumph.’ It furthermore gives the name of the journalist, Martin Gayford. Under this, in bold black font, there are two rhetorical questions – ‘Is it a bird? IS it a plane?’ There is a photograph of the angel in perspective, arms outstretched. She stands upright, a beacon looking over the A1. In the picture the scaffolding is still present. Occupying a mere on third of the page is the text. The text contains of five narowish columns at the side of which is a block mentioning the sculptor the size and the fact that it is the most successful piece of Art.

The Gateshead Post is a tabloid appealing to local readers. On front page it has the headline ‘the angel is here all you need to know’ in a dark font and suggesting the reporting will cover 3 pages two of which are to be compared with the Daily telegraph article.

The first article above the headline has a smallish photograph of two smiling people complementary the ‘Angel’. Below this, is a headline claiming ‘angel right on time’ white on black font. The text is in two columns with a side photograph of the unfinished angel minus her arms. People below are staring at her as she is raised by a crane.

The second has a headline that is written to appeal to local people. In black font it says ‘you give it the thumbs up’, various photographs depict people in the area who will tell of their appreciation in the text. In each the angel is shown in the background. The paragraphs are short in order to make it easier for the residents in Gateshead easier to read.

The daily telegraph begins with an analysis of the statistics, which went into make the finished sculpture. ‘It is the heaviest, and tallest and, various other impressive statistics’. The telegraph also compares it with other modern art ‘it looks like one of those mysterious, bandaged figures in De Chirico’s paintings’. Gormly emphasizes, it is ‘firmly planted’ which gives us an explanation on what the landscape was before.

The writer emphasizes the elegance of the end product. He compares it with ‘the Mandelson dome’, another modern structure and claims that there is, and claims there is no real meaning why it has been built as it has, so it ‘succeeds’. People can think about it what ever they wish.

It does really look like an angel or a figure from ‘mythology’ (Icarus), Gayford is of the opinion that it is very suitable to be representative of the area that was famous for its industrial past. However he does not think that was the reason behind the sculptures choice of subject.

The writer ends by wondering if it is going to be such a success that other places will want to have such an example of art, but he thinks it is a ‘one off’.

The Gateshead post begins its article by writing it to the people and appealing to there sense of wonder at the way in which overnight, the amazing 200 ton statue was finally bolted in position in ‘just eight hours’. After a slow ‘motorway crawl’ from its factory, just ’35miles’ away ‘two hours’ ahead of schedule. The writer claims that despite controversy ‘it was greeted by a crowd of hundreds and thousands of motorists’. He too uses statistics, ‘a hefty 100 tonnes was winched in to place in record time taking just 20 minutes.’ The journalist then quotes the opinions of Mike Wood the ‘contract manager’ of the steel firm that for ‘four years’ had been involved with the angel. He felt it was ‘fantastic to finally see it in place’.

And said ‘things couldn’t have gone better’ ‘and how kind the whether was to us’. The press and thousands of people had been to see the work. He thought it was the start of many ‘impressive projects’.

Another journalist Adam Murray wrote the text for the second report he took as his theme ‘residents around the site woke to find their skyline changed for the rest of their lives’. And to prove that people were impressed; ‘by the share Scale of the structure’ he spoke to several citizens. Jim Birney and his wife were very impressed by the angle, which both felt what a tremendous piece of engineering work it is. Mrs Birney said ‘it was good news for Gateshead.’ Many people felt the raising of the structure was a ‘historic day’, and well worth the cost of it.

Richard Corner and wife Audrey had bought their grandchildren to see the Angel and ‘felt proud’ that the statue had been built in Gateshead. Although one onlooker could not decide whether or not he liked it, yet he was still impressed by the steel construction, he also added, ‘I couldn’t rely (sic) describe it as beautiful but it is certainly impressive. It has to be a good advert for the whole of the North East’, Murray ends by saying ‘it appears that hose most against the sculpture showed their displeasure by staying away from the site’. ‘Many had experienced conversions and had come to worship the Angel of the north.’

It is obvious that each paper has written to appeal to certain sections of the public. The Daily Telegraph is appealing to readers who are interested Art especially modern Art. However the Gateshead post is appealing to readership composed of local people, even quoting from citizens of Gateshead.

Next we must turn to the diction of the two texts. Martin Gayford in the Daily Telegraph uses intellectual, complex, sophisticated language. He uses words such as ‘paradoxical’, ‘mythological’ and ‘post war abstracts’. These are words are ones that a well-educated person is likely to understand. Some of his writing is statistical to emphasize the scope of the sculpture. He has written using vivid adjectives to describe the area where the Angel is constructed. ‘Swirling traffic’, ‘rolling green’ ‘wide sky’, these adjectives describe the atmosphere of the area. He refers to ‘mythology,’ using ‘Icarus’. He even compares it to ‘touch of Frankenstein’s artificial man’. This is an article whose profession is of an art critic.

The diction used in the first article of the Gateshead Post (angel on time) is at first statistical. It is a mixture of informative language and simple words. ‘Tipping the scales at more than 200 tonnes’. The journalist uses adjectives, but unlike Gayford he uses it to describe the angel rather than the area ‘mammoth sculpture’.

When the writer quotes what the contract manger says he uses the phrase ‘nice to finally crack open the beers’, this again shows us, that the writer is appealing to low class readership and local citizens of the north east.

Adam Murray’s article begins ‘after all the hullabaloo’ this writing is not very intellectual nor complex and is mainly conversational; the people he has interviewed speak about the ‘pros and cons of the project’. Murray uses humour (said by an onlooker) to enhance his article and people shall enjoy reading it more.’ it starts to lean in this wind’, ‘I could market the leaning angel of Gateshead.’

The overall impression of the two papers is that the writers know there readership, and use diction that will appeal.

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