The Times newspaper- American Election



This set text is a front and back cover for The Times newspaper. This edition was published on 10th November 2016 following the unprecedented high profile American election campaign that was eventually won by Donald Trump.

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 In one image, Donald Trump has made a fist with his hand. This suggests that he is trying to prove that he is strong and powerful as a leader.

Trump says about himself ‘You will be so proud of your president, you will be so proud’. This shows that he thinks he is more than capable of doing a good job, also he is saying that he will do what he said he will.

The American flag in the background shows that Trump is proud of his country and that he is representing America as president.

‘The new world’ suggests that things are going to change, and ‘Trump sends shockwaves’ shows that people weren’t expecting for it to be him as president. ‘Around the globe’ suggests that the outcome of the election will affect the whole world.

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Theories 1

Barthes’ theory of semiotics can be applied. The use of American iconography and the American flag will have immediate cultural significance for the reader, who will be able to create meaning in the associations they have with these signs.

Strauss’ structuralism theory can also be applied. The use of the headline ‘The New World’ positioned over Trump’s jacket invites readers to question what the impacts of Trump’s presidency may be, which is reiterated through the subheading ‘Donald Trump sends shockwaves around the globe’. His body language suggests determination.

Hall’s theory of representation can be applied. The representation of Trump and his Vice President are constructed, using media language to create meaning for the audience. The use of these ‘signs’ by the newspaper suggest that Trump and his team belong to a specific cultural group of predominantly white, middle class men. This use of representation transmits ideas to the reader about inequalities of power and the subordination of certain social groups.

Gerbner’s cultivation theory can also be applied. Exposure to repeated patterns of representation (of Trump and his election campaign) by newspapers can shape and influence audience’s views and opinions.

Hall’s reception theory can be applied. The Times is able to promote a negotiated reading (for the reader) of its viewpoint on Trump’s victory through the use of encoding and decoding, which is interpreted by the reader.

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Theories 2

Shirky’s ‘end of audience’ theory can also be applied. The conceptualisation of audience members as passive consumers is no longer tenable in the age of the internet with the rise of the prosumer who can create their own content such as submitting stories and being part of forums.

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