Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#Collar Bomb

On August 3rd, 2011, an eighteen year old girl named Madeleine Pulver was involved in a bomb scare in Sydney, Australia. A bomb was strapped around her neck from 2:30 PM, till 12:30 AM, however, police are still unsure whether the bomb was explosive or not.
. USA Today quotes The Telegraph, a Sydney newspaper, to describe what happened that day. Supposedly, a man wearing a ski mask broke into her home, attached a bomb around her neck and threatened her to be very limited in what she told the police or he would detonate the bomb. "We don't know what we are dealing with ... we are working very hard to find out exactly what it is, and equally important, what it isn't,” Mark Murdoch, Assistant Police Commissioner, tells the paper. He also reported that the girl is a 12th grader at a private school and is “extremely calm”. USA Today had a unique way of portraying the news. Each paragraph had updates in chronological order. [i]

The New York Times reported a very similar story, but had a slightly different focus. According to the Times, an eighteen year old girl, by the name of Madeleine Pulver was attached to a device, known as a collar bomb. Just like the USA Today reported, they spent 10 hours determining whether the device was likely to explode. The police said, houses in the vicinity of the teenager’s Burrawong Avenue home were evacuated that whole day as a precaution. However, the Times speak nothing about the man who broke in. They don’t mention that he was wearing a ski mask, nor do they mention that he threatened her. The New York Times actually showed tweets from Mark Scott, from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation news conference. They also linked a short video clip of the scene of the crime. [ii]

Another media outlet that covered this story was Sky News. Sky News admits right away that police say there were no explosives found on the device attached to her neck. Sky News then goes into how the bomb squad experts got advice on how to dismantle the device from federal police, and the British military. Similar to the USA Today report, Sky News writes about how the criminal threatened young Madeleine Pulver. If she told the police too much, he promised to detonate the bomb. They also mention that during all commotion, Madeleine was given food and water, and was being watched over by police officers. Sky News also brought in tweets and updated about the collar bomb scare. Unlike The Times and USA Today, Sky News posted self portraits of Madeleine Pulver. They also went into detail about the collar bomb and where they had been used before. Security Specialist, Justin Bowden, said, “One of the reasons they are used is that they are closer to the head and neck and you don't need a large amount of explosives.”[iii]

According to The Australian, Madeleine was forbidden from speaking to her parents during the whole ordeal. In this news report, they speak about how the father of the victim is the high-profile business executive, William Pulver. The police actually believe that a ransom note was attached to the girl. The Australian highly focuses on Mr. Pulver and his fascinating resume. “Mr Pulver's resume includes holding top positions here and overseas with market research companies including AC Nielsen, and he has been president of the Shore Foundation, the fundraiser organisation of the elite Sydney Church of England Grammar School, of which he is an old boy.” The Australian didn’t post any videos nor illustrate any eye-catching photos. [iv]

BBC News delivered the story by just stating facts after facts. They didn’t focus on a certain point; they just provided a play by play of what happened that day. For example, they simply stated that at 2:30 a man wearing a balaclava, broke into the Pulver home and wrapped an explosive device around her neck. BBC left out the flowery details that some people enjoy read. BBC News did however, shows a short video clip of the scene and provided a nice picture of Madeleine. [v]

You would think it is pointless for 5 different news outlets to cover the same story, no? I mean, it’s the same story, why type it up five times? Wrong. After doing this assignment, I realized everyone has a unique and different way of interpreting and reporting, or encoding and decoding. Some people find certain things significant, while others find it being no great shakes. Everyone has different focuses as well as different sources, therefore, the final products are never the same.






1 comment:

  1. It’s amazing to think what some people will do for money, including putting a bomb around a young girl’s neck. This is something I just cannot comprehend. I am impressed with Madeleine Pulver’s bravery, but more so with the people who risked their own lives to help remove the bomb from her neck. Credit must be given to the men and women of the police force who risk their lives every day to serve and protect. Fortunately, there were no explosives found in the “collar bomb” and no one was killed or injured. I hope that the man who did this will be caught soon and that no one else will be threatened or hurt in any way by this crazy man.