2.en 29 Gender issues in the news: Why women pay more at the wheel

In our last outing, we listened to Rosa Mª Calaf talking  about journalism and media literacy.   In order to be critical readers, knowing how to read is not enough. we must be aware of how information is presented to us in the media. We have  already discussed  gender issues using news stories  from El País, digital edition in English. Do you remember the article about a school head killed by Talibans?    A news story  has trapped our attention once more.It was published the 1st of December in El País. This time we’ll focus not only on its content,  but on analysing  the way information is presented in newspapers.

Headlinelead and byline are key words to understand how information is organised in any newspaper.

Headline: is text at the top of a newspaper article, indicating the nature of the article. The headline catches the attention of the reader and relates well to the topic. Modern headlines are typically written in an abbreviated style omitting many elements of a complete sentence but almost always including a non-copula verb.

 lead:  captures the attention of the reader and sums up the focus of the story. The lead also establishes the subject, sets the tone and guidesreader into the article.In a news story, the introductory paragraph tells the most important facts and answers the questions: whowhatwherewhenwhy, and how.

Byline:  gives the name and often the position of the writer.

Here you can see the headline, lead and byline of a news story that was published yesterday in El País digital edition .Now, see how headline, lead and byline  fit at the top of the article.

After reading the headline and the lead sentence  what  kind of information do you expect to find? Do you have any previous knowledge on the topic? Can you anticipate part of the information you will find?  Discuss.

  • The article is likely/ is not likely  to include
  • The article might include
  • The article will certainly /probably/include
  • The article should/ought to include
  1. Information on driving lessons prices
  2. Information on accident rates
  3. Information on insurance prices
  4. Statistics
  5. Laws
  6. Other 

Here follow some of the sources that are cited in the article. Why did the journalist choose to include them in the news story?

  • Consumers Union
  • Laura Seara , Secretary of State for equality issues
  • Carlos Bricio, president of  Zaragoza Driving Schools Associtions. Owner of some driving schools that  offered differentiated prices according to sex.
  • José Miguel Báez, president of the National Confederation of  Driving Schools  
  • The Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT)
  • the Royal Automobile Club of Catalonia (RACC)
Now, use this news story sworksheet to analyse the article. 
Homework: Print or copy the worksheet in your notebook. Answer the questions of the post and of the worksheet. Bring it to class next week. We shall use them to hold ad debate on the topic. Post your answers and comments to the blog for Monday 5h December.  Did you find the worksheet useful? 

1.en.13 learning to read headlines: “Taliban kill head of Afghan girl’s school”

This year  we have already worked on three newspaper articles. The first one a pice of news from a local newspaper about our school, the second one  on a piece of news taken from the digital edition of El País in English on immigration and emigration, Today,  I propose to you a headline from the on line Guardian. It dates back from last May, but if fits with the topic we are dealing with and will give you some background on the country you are investigating: Afghanistan.

My choice was also guided because on Tuesday , you will go to La Caixa where you probably will learn much more about  what to live in Afghanistan is like. Gervasio Sánchez was there last September.

Look at this piece of news covered by the Guardian. You can read the same story covered by El País. By clicking on the links, you can read the whole story. 

  • What’s characteristic of headlines?
  • Which part of the sentence is omitted , if any?
  • does the sentence follow grammar conventions?
  • Is the headline catchy?
  • Where does the piece of news come from? an agency? a correspondant?
  • who signs the piece of news?
  • Does the headline anticipate all the information you’ll find in the article?
  • Do the headline and caption answer most “WH” questions?
  • What about the photograph chosen?
  • who is the protagonist of the story?
  • Can you think of other photos other than the one chosen that would have changed our perception of the news story: The teacher killed, talibans holding guns, a classroom…?

What would have happened if you had looked up the word “head” in a dictionary and had read only the first meaning of the word?

How many different meanings do yo have to look at until you actually find one that fits ?

Look at  dictionary reference.com. We need to scroll down until we get to (5)

Now, compare the headlines in the Guadian with the headline from   El País coverage of the same piece of news. 

1.en.3 Unfortunately, we’ve made the Headlines! Renovation works at the Ramon Llull

This year we shall be working with newspapers . We’ll read paper and on line editions. Headlines are essential. Headlines in English are a bit difficult to understand. Sometimes headlines omit words: subjects, verbs…´

Today, this piece of news appeared in a local newspaper.

  • Which newspaper did this piece of news appear in ?
  • What’s the headline?
  • Which section of the paper did this piece of news appear?
  • What can you see in the photo?
  • What is the caption?
  • If you had to tell an English friend, what are the words you would need to look up in the dictionary to expalin what is going on?
  • what kind of information does the journalist include?
I got this from the digital edition. Do you read on line editions? What about your family? where do you get news from? TV, Newspapers, The Internet. 
Be ready to answer all these questions. Copy them in your notebook  and bring them to class on Monday