In an attempt to define the tone of voice we want to achieve in our comical news reports I thought it would be useful to analyse the wording of a real news article. We wanted to juxtapose a serious tone with ridiculous content, in order to do this we need to pin down how to create this serious tone. I chose an article from the Guardian online because of the earlier research I did which brought up some of their promotional material. They are very careful to create a balanced and objective tone not only in their graphics but in their writing as well. To me this is what sign posts a serious news article.
The Ukrainian parliament has voted to send the fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych to The Hague to be tried over the violence that led to at least 82 deaths in Kiev last week.
Yanukovych is on the run and believed to be in Crimea. The interim government is trying to hunt him down and capture him.
The parliament voted that the former interior minister Vitali Zakharchenko and the prosecutor general, Viktor Pshonka, should also be sent to theinternational criminal court. The pair have also fled Kiev, along with a number of other key Yanukovych aides.
On Tuesday afternoon, unconfirmed reports emerged that Andriy Kluyev, Yanukovych's chief of staff, had been wounded during a gun battle. He was reported to have been shot in the leg after his car came under fire when he was travelling back to Kiev after visiting Yanukovych in Crimea. However, none of the details could be confirmed.
Yanukovych's extravagant residence outside Kiev has been opened to the public, and Ukrainian investigative journalists have begun releasing online incriminating documents found at the mansion, in a project called "Yanukovych leaks". They say they have found evidence of corruption and plans to clear Independence Square of protesters using force.
Pictures from Pshonka's gaudy mansion were also posted online, and showed a portrait of the prosecutor general dressed as a Roman emperor as well as hundreds of lavish gold ornaments.
Senior figures in Washington claimed that Yanukovych spent the hours before he fled the capital in consultation over the phone with Joe Biden, the US vice-president. According to the anonymous US officials, Biden found the beleaguered Ukrainian leader to be initially defiant, accusing protesters in control of the Kiev streets of terrorism.
As you can see the body of text has quite a broken appearance. Each and every change of subject is marked by a new paragraph, this helps to make the text look less dense and much more approachable. It also means that it is possible to dip in and out allowing a type of skim reading to get the facts fast and effectively. This is something I will mention to the others in the group because it could work for our own articles.
Throughout the article little statements are used to bring the whole story back to the ground like 'reportedly' and 'none of the details could be confirmed', making the reader completely aware that this is the information as the author found it but, as with any news, is not 100% certain. The structure of the sentences also creates a sense of straight foreword information with very few adjectives, ingrained quotes and short snappy sentences. However, there are points where the authors point of view is hidden with this barrage of 'objectivity' as with most of the Guardian's articles. This snappy sentence structure could work really well for the delivery of our augmented articles because they don't give the reader a chance to question too deeply before they are onto the next piece of information. This could increase the sense of the strange and wonderful being accepted as normal creating the comic tone we want to achieve. The florid and purple prose similar to that of Edvard Bulwer-lytton must be avoided at all costs and I will do my best to rain this in for the written content.
The phrase purple prose has brought to mind another phrase often applied to writing; 'yellow Journalism'. this is when the headlines of newspapers shout and exaggerate in crass abundance to get people to read the heavily unsubstantiated information. This could be a starting point for another option for the name of our enterprise. Yellow J possibly or something like Jellow, snappy and short with a certain amount of hidden meaning that will spark the interest of our audience.