A newspaper article uses fairly simple language as it is trying to reach a wide audience. It will use short, concrete and direct words wherever possible. News reports generally contain short sentences and have a neutral, impersonal and objective style. Here is an example of a straight forward newspaper article that aims to simply report the facts. We have taken the first nine paragraphs from the article.
Canadian Press Nov 23, 2007 07:57 PM
PUNTA ARENAS, Chile — A group of tourists, including 12 Canadians, spent up to six hours in lifeboats in the frigid waters off Antarctica after their cruise ship hit ice and started sinking in the middle of the night.
All 154 passengers and crew aboard the Explorer, owned by a Toronto-based company, were rescued safely by the Norwegian cruise liner Nordnorge, which responded to a distress call. They were to spend the night at a military base in Chile before being flown home, officials said today.
Despite being in lifeboats for hours in rough waters, none of the passengers suffered hypothermia, said Arnvid Hansen, captain of the Nordnorge.
“The passengers are absolutely fine,” Susan Hayes of G.A.P. Adventures, owner of the Explorer, said in an interview. “They’re all accounted for. No injuries whatsoever.”
A Chilean ornithologist identified as Paola Palavecino was quoted in an Argentine media report as saying she and others aboard went into the lifeboats before dawn and endured subfreezing temperatures for a few hours until they were picked up about 6 a.m. EST.
“The ship took on water quickly,” she was quoted by the Argentine news agency Diarios y Noticias as saying in a call from the Nordnorge.
The 75-metre-long Explorer was carrying 91 passengers, nine expedition staff members and a crew of 54. It was completing an ecological tour of Antarctica when the accident took place around midnight Eastern time today about 850 kilometres southeast of Ushuaia, the southernmost Argentine city.
“The ship ran into some ice. It was submerged ice and the result was a hole about the size of a fist in the side of the hull so it began taking on water ... but quite slowly,” Hayes said.
Hours after the pre-dawn incident, the Chilean navy confirmed that the cruise ship had sunk.
- Note how the article has relatively short paragraphs
- The article also has relatively short sentences
- The vocabulary is quite simple
The language is very neutral
- Quotes from witnesses/survivors are used to bring us closer to the event
- The passive voice is used, e.g. “were rescued” as this is neutral and objective
- The article has no subjective comments like a feature article might have
- The first paragraph immediately establishes:What – sinking ship; passengers in lifeboats
Who – group of tourists
Where – frigid water off coast of Antarctica
When – middle of the night (as this article is in a daily paper the day this happened is clear)
Why – the cruise ship hit ice
- The article establishes the facts and then elaborates on them further into the article
- The article uses both indirect and direct quotes
- The article from a Canadian newspaper about a Canadian boat makes a point of immediately establishing how many Canadians were on board. A Norwegian paper might put even more emphasis on the role of the Norwegian cruise ship that comes to the rescue. The perspective will change according to the intended readers and who is reporting the news.