do not mention the war

The Royal Visit and 404: Press Review 9 March 2012

In Academia, England, History on March 19, 2012 at 20:45

The last comparative press review of some of England‘s daily newspapers in September 2011 saw questions raised about England’s colours and contained some remarks by Jeremy Clarkson that were off the mark. Friday’s saw all papers examined focussing on three major topics: The Royal Visit at DeMontfort University Leicester and the city, the war on terrorism which saw six British soldiers killed and Manchester’s football clubs, United and City almost getting knocked out of the European competition.

The Royal Visit to Leicester and DeMontfort University

It has been announced in January via email by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Sheard that the Queen Elizabeth II. would start its Jubilee Tour in no other place than Leicester and that out of the two universities, DeMontfort University would be graced with a Royal Visit. There is no doubt Leicester is one of the cities that stand as an example for the Britain of the 21st century: diverse, multicultural and yet distinctly British and open minded at the same time. Some paper once suggested that Leicester would be the first city in the UK with an Asian majority. The waves of migration in the first decade of the new millennium saw the city become the first city with no dominant ethnic group by 2020.

The Daily Mail headlined that the crowd ‘loved Kate’ but they really wanted to see the Queen, the lady ‘in cerise’. The report was accompanied by a number of large photographs which depicted some of the action on the day in Leicester. The Daily Mirror put its focus on Kate Middleton or the Duchess of Cambridge as she is now known as and quoted her ‘I miss him desperately’; him of course meaning Prince William who is on duty on the Falklands. Lastly, the Guardian points out that the Queen did not take the Royal Train instead took the 10.15 from St. Pancras to Leicester. The report stated that Leicester City Council has supplied over 10000 union flags to ‘showcase Leicester’s patriotism’ while Sikh Dhol drummers and a Zimbabwean women’s choir put the multicultural character into the limelight. The Princess was to chose a pair of shoes made to measure from six design students at DMU.

All papers stated that there were demonstrations by a group supporting the formation of a republic instead of a kingdom in Britain. While the Guardian printed quotes of the group, the other papers mentioned them briefly but portrayed them as strange characters who deserve their being at the fringes of society.


Britain is a member of NATO and UNO and as such has sent troops to Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 in 2001 and was part of the invasion forces that ignited the civil-war-like state in Iraq in 2003. In the eleven years since invading Afghanistan 404 British troops have died in the conflicts in the region. The coverage is all about the dead soldiers, their pictures shown in the Mirror and the Mail as well as the Guardian. The latter tried to keep its focus on the impersonal level while the Mail and the Mirror inevitably went for the personal tragedy that is always involved in such a sad case. The coverage overall however, was respectful and not overly populist although in tone.

Sports: No Mancs Land

The sports pages were all about the Manchester clubs, United and City as they failed to convince in the first leg of the second knock-out stage of the Europa League. United were beaten at home 3-2 by Athletic Bilbao, a side coached by Marcelo Bielsa while City went 1-0 down away at Sporting Lisbon. ‘No Mancs Land’ said the Mirror summarizing the prospect of United and City while the Mail went for ‘Slack United pay the price.’ What price this was, was not mentioned. Bilbao are a good side, something which Paris St. Germain would approve of.

Plastic Athletes

The Mail added two stories that confirmed the nickname of the paper, the ‘Daily Heil.’ On page two Community Secretary Eric Pickles is quoted as saying that migrants should learn English otherwise they will ‘become a jobless sub-class.’ Additionally, these people Pickles has in mind, will inevitably live in a ghetto as they are not able to integrate in society. Pickles might be right in theory but he worded his thoughts and how the paper hyped the story was quite off the mark.

It did get worse when the Olympics are mentioned in the sports pages where the Daily Mail printed a story about Tiffany Porter, a US-born athlete, now competing for Britain. The reason was that Porter has held a US passport until the end of 2010 and now she is the hot favourite for carrying the Union Jack into the Olympic Stadium come August this year. The paper branded her a ‘plastic athlete’ as she is only a British citizen by passport but not by heart.

A shadow of its former self: The Guardian

What has happened to the Guardian?! Once a paper which took a day to read through with its various sections, it is now a shadow of its former self! All the extra sections have been scrapped and instead have been crammed into the G2 section, thus the media section on Monday is completely gone, while Education and Technology find themselves in the main section or in G2. Sports has been reduced to a mere pages in the main section and a separate section for Monday sport and Saturdays. The paper has become thinner but not cheaper, quite the opposite, which is sad to register. It certainly has to do with the increase of web-based journalism and the writing was on the wall since last year when the Guardian established its ‘Guardian Sport Network’ where independent bloggers and writers are invited to contribute to the paper in order to reach a bigger audience while having no costs for advertizing with the paper filling its space with hardly any costs to cover. The debate this network has sparked is summarized splendidly by twohundredpercent. That is not to say that the journalism has become worse, no. That is still of a high standard but it highlights how difficult the fields of online and print journalism have become in the last decade. The debate also highlights that the ultimate platform for online journalism has not been found yet.


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