Watchdog of Society: ‘The Guardian’

The Guardian, since being formed in 1821, has gone on to become one of today’s most recognised national titles. In the past, it has been regarded as a publication aimed towards a middle-class market, however today it is well-known and respected for its objective reporting style.



Format: Berliner

Political views: Centre left, liberal.

Left of Centre politics or centre-left  politics also referred to as moderate-left politics, is an adherence to views leaning to the left-wing but closer to the centre on the left-right political spectrum than other left-wing variants.

The Guardian was formed in Manchester in the early 19th Century and was formerly headed under the title The Manchester Guardian. It began as a weekly publication though morphed into a daily after the British Government lifted its Stamp Tax on newspapers in 1855.

The newspaper’s readership in the past decade has been split between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the newspaper has dedicated support to both parties during elections passed in Britain during this time.



Discourse Analysis of a Guardian Article

Title: ‘Tories play the Trident card’ Author: Nicholas Watt

The guardian media analysis.jpg



On the same page, as this article, were many other stories that appeared to be anti-Conservative. The layout of the page is simple, and uses column to break down the information and make it easier to read. The colour scheme of the page is plain and neutral, which could be suggested is done to represent the plain and simple approach taken in The Guardian’s reporting style. They are representing only the story and are not trying to dress it up in many colours or images.



The word ‘may’ is repeated often in the article when discussing opinions and thoughts, this shows the journalist is being careful not to assume information and to keep the article open and objective. The word ‘will’ is used only when reporting factual events that will be taking place. The Guardian uses a lot of technical jargon when referring to political subjects, it shows the author is well-informed on the topic he is writing about, and shows an assumption they expect the audience will also be aware of what it is referring to.

Superlatives like ‘strongest’ are used to provoke strong reactions in the audience, and show tone of the article is also expressive, as well as informative. Not many adjectives are used meaning the article lacks description and is written in a very matter-of-fact and sincere tone. The article is formally written, containing long sentences and a more complex vocabulary. However, it does also use slang words and terminology to soften the tone of the article, and so it is more relatable to the reader.



The article is written in 3rd person which allows the article to retain a detached and objective tone, allowing the journalist to explore the different opinions and perception regarding the subject he is discussing. Colloquial names and acronyms are used to refer to the different parties e.g. ‘Tories’ and ‘SNP’ again showing the author believes the readers interested in this article are those already familiar with politics, and so he assumes they will be able to understand what he is talking about.

This may alienate some readers, as the article is only accessible to those in the know about politics, not others who may not be as well informed. The article is made for people interested in politics and is not written for a more general reader. The author also uses acronyms and nicknames to take up less space on the page. This is something a journalist always needs to be aware of as they will only be allocated a certain amount of space for their article by the editor.



The article refers to Margaret Thatcher and Fallon’s biography. This is done first to re-enforce the idea of intellect and that the author is reporting on something he knows a lot about. It also uses them as pieces of evidence or support for the facts and opinions being expressed in the story. By referring to other forms of popular culture it is a good way to engage and capture the interest of the reader. It is a good way to represent the interests of the party in a way the reader can relate to; making the political personal.



The Guardian way this article is written, differs from many of the other national titles popular in Britain, that often fall into the category of a Tabloid. As the Guardian is a Berliner, is has a higher quality of writing goals to meet. It is what is referred to as a quality press publication. It contains less description, longer sentences and more complex vocabulary than typically found in tabloids. The article is written in a detached and referential tone and uses statistics and technical jargon to highlight the writers’ (and consequently the newspaper’s) expertise.

As the article contains fewer adjectives, this pacifies the article and dehumanises the story, allowing the author to report objectively and it means that no political preference is observed in the writing.


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