- Born October 9th 1939
- Became a chief War correspondent and reported from all over the world, covering numerous wars, most notably Vietnam.
- Lead a four year investigation on behalf of children damaged at birth by the drug Thalidomide, and left out of the settlement with the drugs company, resulted in a special settlement.
- Produced a multitude of films such as “The War You Don’t See”, where he speaks of embedded journalists and their role in war, “Utopia”, where he discusses the Aboriginal Australians and how they are overlooked and are suffering at the hands of modern day Australians, and “Palestine is still the issue”.
- “It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it.” He believes in looking beyond what you are given and digging deeper to find the true meaning behind a story
For my 2000 word comparison essay, i compared John Pilger and Martin Bell. I chose these two as i feel they have contributed a lot to journalism and i look up to the both of them due to their beliefs of picking a side, as opposed to traditional journalism which aims to be as unbiased as possible.
I started this essay worrying about the word count that i thought was far too much. In the end, i went slightly above 2000 words. Before this, i was worried that i would not have enough content on Martin Bell, as he is not as widely known as Pilger is. Gathering research on him was quit difficult.
In terms of comparing the two, i decided to focus on their reporting styles. This has worked to my advantage, as there was a lot of semiotics that i was able to draw from their reporting styles, discussing the denotations and connotations of different features such as their camera shots, use of language, tone of voice and colour.
Writing this essay, i spent a good amount of time using the library to as a foundation for research. Thanks to this I was able to go a lot more in depth into analysing their work. I used various examples of their work when describing their impact and describing their reporting styles. However this essay still lacks some depth to it. I do not go as in depth on the use of language, and i have barely touched on the political impact Bell had, only stating that he became an MP.
If i were to do this essay again, i would go a lot more in depth into describing their socio political impact, as well as describing the angles they chose to shoot at, and backing up more assertions i made with examples of their work.
Ultimately, i did want to go more in depth, however due to the word count, i was unable to.
For a great number of years many have argued over a definite answer to the question: “is print dead?”
One cannot deny the fact that it is dying. Within the past ten years, according to research from Press Gazette, an estimated 300 local newspapers have been closed. In terms of advertising revenue, print is also making significant losses. Last year, the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Sun had a decrease of around 5% in ad revenue.
Nowadays as well, people are relying less on newspapers as a source of news, and are relying more on technology.
Here is an infographic showing the decline in newspaper circulations, detailing the percentage change in the average and weekly circulations.
In addition, a survey conducted by Pew Research Centre in 2016 found that 24% of adults in the USA found cable TV news to be most helpful, while 3% found local paper in print to be helpful, and 2% found the national paper in print helpful. It also found that 36% of U.S adults learned something about the election from a print newspaper. This was lower than the percentage that learned from radio (44%), digital sources (64%) or 78% from TV (Barthel, 2016).
Evidently, print is dying. However, to say that it is dead now would be incorrect. Here is an infographic based off of research conducted by Pew Research Centre, which found that 51% of those who read a newspaper read it only in print, while 5% read it on desktop only. This research shows that print is not yet dead and is widely used.
In conclusion, although print is at a severe disadvantage with ad revenue falling and more people relying on online sources and technology as a source of information, print is not yet dead. That being said, however, with constant developments in technology, and with teenagers preferring online mediums to print, all the evidence points to journalism being purely online in the future.
Barthel, Michael. “Newspapers: Fact Sheet”. Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 May 2017.
Adeyemi, Samuel. “Is Print Media Dead”. ModernGhana.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 May 2017.
Virtual reality is a powerful tool that allows users to immerse themselves into different worlds. Journalists use virtual reality as a means of storytelling: it allows them to give viewers a sense of what it is like to be in a certain scenario. However, publishers need to be very careful as virtual reality can also be very harmful to viewers, especially when immersing them in violent situations.
In a published article, VR creator Catherine Allen said: “You could, for example, give a prologue that gives them some context and tells them what they’re going into, instead of randomly dropping them into a situation.”
Publishers should inform the audience on what a the story is about so that they don’t get traumatised, most especially if the content is graphic. For example, Nonny de la Peña’s project Syria revolves around innocent Syrian children involved in war. If a publisher created similar content without informing the viewers, some of the viewers might be terrified of war and thus may get scarred from viewing this content.
Although warning people about the content may spare some from trauma, the person in the virtual world is unable to control what they see, thus may not be completely prepared. In the case of project Syria, with bombs detonating, the player may face their attention towards the noise of the bomb and end up witnessing horrendous images such as dead bodies. It can therefore be argued that publishers are unable to fully prepare viewers for witnessing tragic and graphic images.
The media have portrayed virtual reality in a negative manner. “For example, virtual reality porn is getting a huge amount of coverage in UK press right now” Catherine said. She further stated the Daily Mail reported this 17 times. Information such as this has led to society believing VR is horrible.
Publishers could aim to change the audience by shedding light on the more positive effects of VR. For examples, Skip Rizzo of the University of Southern California treats war veterans with PTSD using VR. His methods have been used to treat over 2000 veterans in different hospitals around the country (Belman, 2015). If publishers report more positive stories and uses of VR such as the previous one, people may change their perspective on VR.
In addition, publishers can prevent public concern by testing their ideas on subjects. This can be done by handing out surveys and questionnaires to participants and seeing their response to the VR, what they liked and disliked about it, and what they want changed. By doing so, publishers can create the most immersive stories suitable for viewers. However, the publisher would need an enormous amount of participants for this to be valid, since a few participants cannot generalise to all the audiences: as one person’s perspective can differ from another
This essay will compare and contrast the work of two journalists: Martin Bell and John Pilger. It will point out the differences between their reporting styles: how Martin Bell has a sense of hope in his reports as compared to Pilger who shows a lot more gruesome imagery particularly in his films. It aims to demonstrate how they both portray their emotions through their reporting and defy the stereotypical reporting style that all journalists should be neutral.
Martin Bell is a former war broadcast journalist born on 31 August 1938. He is the son of Adrian Bell: the creator of the first ever crossword to appear in The Times (Kamm, 2009). After getting a First Class Honours Degree studying English at King’s College Cambridge, he went on to join the BBC in Norwich in 1992 (Padman, 2017) .
Bell then reported 11 wars from 80 countries such as Vietnam, Angola, Nigeria, Middle East and Northern Ireland.
John Pilger is an Australian journalist born in Sydney on 9 October 1939.
The main difference between these two promient journalists is their reporting styles.
In this video, Martin Bell speaks on the tragedies in Sarajevo in 1992. His reporting style is unique as his images are not too graphic yet still invoke emotion in the viewer.
For example, he shows an image of a charred hand for a few seconds rather than showing the entire body. This is because he does not want to traumatise viewers at home by making them see extremely graphic images, as he says: “What happened here can frankly not be shown in any detail.” Despite this, however, he still wants them to be emotional in order to comprehend the war as best they can.
He shows a lot of debris and collapsed buildings. The denotation is that the buildings have collapsed and a war has taken place , while the connotation of all the rubble is a torn and broken city. Bell’s reporting style differs significantly from Pilger’s.
In the movie “The War You Don’t See”(Communications, 2011), unlike Bell who shows only a slight amount of graphic images, Pilger does the exact opposite. Straight from the beginning, Pilger shows very graphic images of men, women and children. He pays careful attention to their facial expressions and body language to convey pain and defeat.
For example, a man in the film can be seen holding his head and crying with a blood stain on his arm. The denotation is that he is crying, while the connotation is that he was unintentionally involved in a war. This can be assumed from the blood stain on his arm, as well as the fact that he is not in any military attire so it can be assumed that he is an innocent civilian.
In his report of Sarajevo, Bell uses various camera angles and shots. A lot of his shots are zoomed out and focus primarily on the surrounding areas. By focusing on the surroundings and getting wider shots, Bell is able to show the destruction on the surrounding areas better.
This contrasts Pilger, who’s shots focus on people more than the surroundings. He focuses on their facial expressions and body language to get as much emotion out of the viewer and to shock them as much as possible.
When he reports, Bell speaks in a low, slow voice. In doing so, he is able to pronounce every word properly. His slow speech and low voice also help comfort and reassure the viewers who are witnessing the disturbing images. If he were speaking fast the connotation would be that he is nervous. Instead he speaks calmly and slowly, and the connotation of that is that he is confident.
Pilger is also similar in this sense as he speaks slowly yet confidently. One similarity between them both in their reporting is their use of language and their speech. When reporting, they both speak without a monotone. Pilger does not pay as much attention to the pronunciation of each individual letter and word.
In addition, Bell’s language is very formal, as in the video, he uses words such as “casualties” and “atrocities”. The connotations are that he is speaking to an older, authentic audience, as younger generations would not necessarily use the word atrocities.
Bell, in his report, makes it about his surroundings and not of himself. He only speaks to the camera until the end of the video. Before that he shows the viewers the surroundings and the aftermath of the war so that they can see it for themselves instead of seeing him speak in front of the camera the entire time.
Bell also shows the viewers a scene of two soldiers searching through the carnage for any survivors or casualties. The connotation is that amidst all the despair from the war, there is hope to still find anyone alive.
This contrasts Pilger’s style as he barely shows any sign of hope in his film “The War You Don’t See”. At the start of the film, a man is seen being dragged by two soldiers . Where Bell showed hope with the soldiers, Pilger shows the two military men being aggressive with the man.
Pilger portrays a sense of despair and negativity in this image in various ways. Firstly, the soldier behind the man is viciously pulling his shirt, this is obvious because his vest is sticking out, as well as the fact that the connotation of the soldiers facial expression is he wants to hurt the man. The connotations of this violence is marxism theory, where the man is being oppressed by the capitalists, who are the soldiers in this case.
Secondly, the pictures are in black and white. This brings a sense of emptiness and grief, as these colours are usually associated with a feeling of emptiness and sadness.
A striking difference between Bell and Pilger is the embedded journalism. Embedded journalism is the process whereby journalists are deployed in military units and go with troops to war zones to conduct news coverage of what they see (Löffelholz, 2016).
Bell was under the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars and covered the first Gulf war against Iraq for the BBC in 1991 (Deans, 2003). He also reported the war where he was on the front line in Bosnia in 1992, where, as he was compiling a report, got hit in the groin by a shrapnel and sustained serious injuries (Wittstock, M. 1992).
Pilger on the other hand was a foreign correspondent, covering many wars such as the war in Vietnam.
Although they are both not embedded journalists, they both share the same ideals when it comes to being slightly unbiased while reporting.
Martin Bell coined the term journalism of attachment during the war in Bosnia. He said that journalists should not be neutral when it comes to choosing between good and evil, as he said: “It is a real problem we should address: my answer is what I call the journalism of attachment, journalism which cares as well as knows”, and then further stating “I will happily call myself a founder member of the something-must-be-done campaign (ANDREW CULF, M.C. 1996).”
His theory opposes the National Union of Journalists code of conduct rule three, which states that a journalist “Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair”.
Pilger, in the sense of being sympathetic, is quite similar to Bell. An article published online examined Pilger’s reporting style in-depth (Mendes, P 2008). It found that when reporting, Pilger sides and sympathises with the Palestines:
“Pilger has consistently sought to humanise the Palestinian struggle by reporting the views of ordinary people including particularly the residents of refugee camps. Pilger evocatively described the poverty, humiliation, and poor health experienced by the camp residents”
It also noted how he portrays Israel as being being evil:
“Pilger rarely acknowledges that Israel has real enemies, and that any nation state has a right to defend its borders and civilian population against attacks by neighbouring armies or terror groups. Rather, he seems intent on portraying Israel as a brutal, aggressive state engaged in endless unprovoked attacks against the Palestinians and neighbouring states.”
There is evidence to suggest that he sympathises with Palestines in his movie “Palestine is still the issue” (Communications, 2002). The beginning of the film shows a damaged Palestine with debris and broken buildings.
Pilger says: “This was reported as an incursion to stop terrorism. In fact, it was also an attack on civilian life, on schools, offices, clinics, theatres radio stations.
This systematic vandalism is typical of one of the longest military occupations in modern times.”
In the video above, Martin Bell reported from Zvornick about 2000 Muslims that were “stranded and struggling to get out”. Bell shows subtle emotion and empathy in this report in a few ways. Firstly, he interviews crying refugees expressing their fears and concerns.
He points out their weaknesses whilst symbolising the dominance the Serbs have on the refugees. He interviews one woman that says: “What is happening is that we are unarmed and they are firing at us.”
He portrays deep sympathy while he films the Muslims attempting to leave, as he says: “It’s possible that around 20,000 people are on the move, most of them by foot. These have been walking for two days, they had gone 18 miles, had at least another 20 to go along this trail of tears.”
He then emphasises the fact that they are not being helped by anyone: “They were heading for the safety of a Muslim area without any help no food no medicine no transport but all that they were talking about was the actions of the Serbs in their town in Zvornick.”
He then explains how it is a “great and tragic displacement of people”, and how there is no sign of any help for them.
Outside of being correspondents and journalists, these two have also made their own individual impacts both politically and socially.
In 1997 Martin Bell retired from the BBC and made an entrance into politics. Standing as an independent candidate, he ran against Neil Hamilton who was Member of Parliament at that time in the general elections for the seat at Tatton. Bell defeated Hamilton with more than 11,000 votes (Martin Bell – From war zones to Westminister, 2017).
Although he was not an MP as well, Pilger made an impact politically. In his film breaking the silence, which details the what is true and false about the war on terror, Pilger exposes George W Bush (Communications, 2003).
“The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people.”
Pilger points out that “Of all the great humanitarian disasters, few countries have been helped less than Afghanistan. Only 3% of all international aid has been for reconstruction.”
In the film Utopia by Pilger, he explores the discrimination in past and modern day Australia between the white and aboriginal people (Communications, 2013).
He aims to shed light on how the aboriginals are suffering due to a lack of medical care. For example, in an interview with Warren Snowdon, Minister for indigenous Health, Pilger says:” On the night i was (at his community), a man called Mr Davey, aged just 47, died of a heart attack in his Humpy about 20 metres from the clinic. They couldn’t save him, with all the equipment they had and all the expertise they had.”
He interviews modern day Australians about their views on aboriginal people and if they have the right to fight for the country that was once theirs: many Australians respond very negatively towards Pilger’s questions and some deny the aboriginals ever owned Australia to begin with.
He also interviews a few Aboriginals. “This is what Aboriginal people are subjected to in Australia. We’re refugees in our own country.”
In 2001, Bell was made a Unicef UK ambassador. As ambassador, he travels around the world covering dangerous stories and sheds light on children suffering from conflict and natural disasters. In 2009, he travelled to Somalia to report on the children and women affected by conflict as well as to highlight the efforts of Unicef providing the people with important services such as nutrition and health (Morooka, 2009).
In conclusion, this essay proves that although both of these journalists have different approaches to their reporting, they hold the same beliefs in that they believe in challenging authority and standing up for what is right at all times.
Kamm, Oliver. “The Times Crossword: The Man Who Began It All”. Thetimes.co.uk. N.p., 2009. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.
Padman, Tony. “Where Are They Now? War Correspondent Martin Bell”. Express.co.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.
Deans, J. (2003, January 23). Bell to lead Channel 5 into war. Retrieved April 29, 2017, from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2003/jan/23/tvnews.channelfive
ANDREW CULF, M.C. 1996, BBC man attacks neutral war reports, Manchester (UK).
Wittstock, M. 1992, BBC war veteran Martin Bell wounded by mortar fire in Sarajevo; Yugoslavia, London (UK).
Löffelholz, M., 2016. Encyclopædia Britannica. [Online]
Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/embedded-journalism
[Accessed 29 April 2017].
Löffelholz, M., June 06, 2016. embedded journalism, s.l.: Encyclopædia Britannica, inc..
Mendes, P 2008, ‘John Pilger on Israel/Palestine: A Critical Analysis of his Views and Sources’, Australian Journal Of Jewish Studies, pp. 97-112, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 29 April 2017.
Communications, BrandFour. “Palestine Is Still The Issue”. Johnpilger.com. N.p., 2002. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
Communications, BrandFour. “Breaking The Silence: Truth And Lies In The War On Terror”. Johnpilger.com. N.p., 2003. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
Communications, BrandFour. “The War You Don’t See”. Johnpilger.com. N.p., 2003. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.
Communications, BrandFour. “Utopia”. Johnpilger.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.
Morooka, I. (2009, May 22). ReliefWeb. Retrieved from ReliefWeb: http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/unicef-uk-ambassador-martin-bell-reports-situation-somalia
Martin Bell – From war zones to Westminister . (2017, April 05). Retrieved from The Yorkshire Post: Martin Bell – from war zones to Westminster Read more at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/analysis/martin-bell-from-war-zones-to-westminster-1-8477837
Martin Bell is a former war broadcast journalist born on 31 August 1938. He joined the BBC in Norwich when he was 24 years old after getting a First Class Honours Degree studying English at King’s College, Cambridge.
During the course of 30 years, he covered numerous war conflicts in 80 countries.
He is well known particularly for his reporting style. This video is taken from when he reported in Bosnia, 1993.
The reasons this reporting style is so good is because:
- His tone of voice is very firm but calm and reassuring
- He has very good eye contact
- He showed graphic images to get people emotional and sympathetic
- Doesn’t make himself the centre of the story
Due to his reporting journalism style, Martin won the Royal Television Society’s Reporter of the Year award in 1977, and again in 1993.
While in Sarajevo in 1992, speaking in front of a camera, he was hit by a mortar shrapnel and suffered serious injuries.
In 1997, he announced that he was leaving the BBC and was going to stand as an independent candidate in the Tatton constituency in Cheshire. Bell was elected MP with a majority of 11,077 votes and became the first successful independent parliamentary candidate since 1951.
After his political life, Bell was appointed UNICEF Uk ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies in 2001, to focus on the plight of children affected by conflict and natural disaster
He made a short comeback to TV news in 2003 when he gave an analysis of the Iraq invasion for ITN’s channel Five News.
Martin Bell gave a list of his top war journalists!
“BBC ON THIS DAY | Correspondents | Martin Bell”. News.bbc.co.uk. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017.
- Born in Mako Hungary on April 10, 1847 – he was the son of a wealthy grain merchant
- At 17 he tried to become a soldier but failed
- He tried to enlist in the Austruan Army, French Foreign Legion and the British Army in India but failed because of weak eyesightand bad health
- He went to St Louis and He studied English & the Law
- He became owner of St Louis post-dispatch at 25 years old
- Pulitzer sent out investigative articles and editorials
- He created a sports in the newspapers
- He first brought in women’s fashion in newspapers
With propaganda at an all time high, John Pilger, one of my role models in journalism, as he says, believes that it is important for journalists to fact check and delve deeper into a story to find the real truth, as he says: “It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it.”
The research that he conducts to find the hidden truths in a story is why he is my journalism hero. For example, dueing a speech, President Obama stated he was against war in Iraq, saying: “Most of you know I opposed this war from the start. I thought it was a tragic mistake.” In a documentary called the war you don’t see, following the claims made by the president, Pilger states: “Obama has not withdrawn america from Iraq.. and (Obama) approved a miliatry budget of $708 billion dollars – the biggest war spending of all time.”
Another reason i admire him is because he places the viewers first and aims to get them seeing what he as a journalist on the scene sees. In a documentary called the war you don’t see, Pilger discusses propaganda and the role of the media in war. In an interview with David Mannion, editor in chief of ITV news, Pilger says: “They (the viewers) may not know what we as journalists know or ought to know..” I see Pilger as a role model because he strongly believes in giving the audience the real story, which is, i believe, the fundamental role of a journalist.
250-300 word reflection on who your journalistic hero is & why.
Is it their reporting style? What makes them unique in your opinion?