Thursday, March 30, 2006

Curry Fanatic, A Life of Spice

by Ismaeel Nakhuda

Well folks, this is the 68 page magazine I single-handedly produced as part of my MA in Magazine Journalism 2004/2005.

Most of the copy and photographs and all of the design were done by yours truly. Prior to physically putting the magazine together a complete media pack including a full analysis of the market, interviews with real-life curry fanatics and results from various focus groups was developed.

If there’s a magazine publisher out there looking for a hot little number then get in touch. Curry Fanatic could be a winner.

I’m reproducing some of the articles that featured in the magazine over the next few weeks but for the time being sufficing with a few shots of the magazine and excerpts from the media pack.

"Magazine Type

Curry Fanatic is a specialist magazine aimed at a specialist reader, who not only has a regular interest in Indian food limited to the grotty local Indian take-away after a night out at the pub but is passionately aware of the subtleties of Indian cooking. The Curry Fanatic reader enjoys the intricacies of Indian food and is ready to explore the vast richness Indian cuisine has to offer.

1. Editorial Philosophy
(Much of this has been deduced from the focus group, see Appendix)

Curry Fanatic is unique in being the only print magazine to cater for the curry diner. It aims to see itself setting the trend when it comes to Indian food. It also hopes to be widely consulted by Indian food fanatics, restaurants, take-aways and catering companies as the curry bible of the British Isles.

With magazines such a FHM and Esquire setting the trend in British male fashion, Curry Fanatic aims to be the trend-setter when it comes to Indian food and Indian restaurants in the UK.

Readers will be informed about what is happening in the world of curry. Information will also be provided about where to eat, what to eat and how to eat. Curry Fanatic will be showing readers how to cook and then eat Indian food successfully. Editorial content will include reviews of restaurants and take-aways, history of Indian cuisine, health information and curry competitions in the UK.

The content will be geared to be entertaining, amusing and satirical, allowing readers to be intrigued, informed and most of all feel relaxed. Curry Fanatic aims not to be patronising but informative with an air of tradition.

In terms of design Curry Fanatic intends to be picture based and will use pictures abundantly. Editorial copy will be sparingly used throughout the magazine.

The photographs used will be of different sizes, some large and other small. Pictures taken will be of food and restaurants with people featuring every so often but not so much. White space may be used just to add a sense of sophistication to the magazine. Body type will be serif whereas headlines and stand-firsts will be a mix of serif and sans-serif."

(Excerpts from the media pack)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dissertation - Racism in British Tabloids (Selected Chapters)

by Ismaeel Nakhuda 2nd June 2004

Dissertation title:
In recent times the British tabloid press has claimed to report news which is unbiased. Investigate such a claim and discuss whether a racist attitude has been adopted in the coverage of recent international events.

Date of Submission: 2nd June 2004
Degree: Journalism & Linguistics (BA Combined Honours)

This dissertation is submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements of the Journalism and Linguistics BA Honours degree in the Department of Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire

Recently, the British Isles has been the destination for many political and economic migrants; consequently the issues of asylum and terrorism have become topics widely covered in relation to migration by all sections of the media

This paper presents the results of an interdisciplinary study on tabloid press coverage of ethnic affairs in the UK. Apart from providing the reader with a thorough content analysis of the material, the study introduces a detailed discourse analytical approach to the study of the ways in which ethnic minorities are portrayed in the press.

The study focuses on two UK tabloids, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail, each representing the left and the right. The author has intended that by prioritising these two papers an overall general attitude of British tabloids may be determined.

In conclusion the author notes that negative themes such as terrorism, crime, abduction, drugs, violence etc are abundantly reported and magnified in relation to subordinate groups. According to the paper this is something that is most typical in prejudiced racist literature.

The study further concludes that the tabloids are also more likely to define people by race. The study asserts that there is a high probability that one third of all actors featuring in news articles would be defined by race; the majority of which would be from ethnic minorities.

Overall it is found that the right-wing press predominantly portrays race issues negatively, where as the left-wing press is rather more balanced in its’ attitude towards ethnic minorities.

Chapter One (Introduction)

On the 2nd of February 1900, a British liner carrying refugees from Russia moored at Southampton. The Daily Mail, bastion of true-blue-British values, reported, ‘there were all kinds of Jews, all manner of Jews. They had breakfasted on board, but they rushed as though starving at the food. They helped themselves at will, they spilled coffee on the ground in wanton waste’. The Daily Mail continued, ‘they fought, they jostled to the foremost places at the gangways. When the Relief Committee passed by they hid their gold and fawned and whined in broken English asked for money for their train fare.’

On Holocaust Memorial Day in 1938, regarding Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution to Britain, The Daily Mail said: “The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage, the number of aliens entering the country through the back door is­ a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed.’

In recent times, the British Isles has again been the destination for many political and economic migrants wishing to take up home. In relation to this, the issue of asylum and terrorism has become a topic widely covered by all sectors of the media.

This paper aims to indulge in seeking to clarify whether British tabloid newspapers have covered recent issues in an unbiased, impartial manner or whether on the other hand a racist, biased attitude, similarly to the one that was adopted at the time of the arrival of Jewish migrants over a hundred years ago, has been adopted.

The year 2003 has most certainly been an eventful year. To begin with, in April the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent second Gulf War began. Prior to this issues regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, terrorism and refugees featured greatly in the British press.

In January a chemical substance thought to be ricin was found in the possession of ‘Algerian asylum seekers’ in London. A discussion began regarding the presence of ‘Algerian terrorists’ in the British Isles posing as asylum seekers. As the debate on refugees began to take swing, an Algerian refugee stabbed Manchester policeman Stephen Oake to death on January the 15th.

Six days later on the 21st of January, police raided the Finsbury Park Mosque; consequently the raid drew Abu Hamza, dubbed ‘Captain Hook’ by some of the tabloids, into the media limelight.

This paper aims to choose a collection of tabloid articles from the period between 1st January and 30th of February 2003 and see whether a racist attitude has been adopted in the coverage of recent events. If such an assumption can be found to be true then the paper will further analyse the manner by which such discrimination manifests itself.

After having set the background for this study, chapter two aims to present a brief review of the literature studied and used in the writing of this analysis. Moving further on, chapter three will contain an outline of the methodology adopted in researching the issue, thereafter the actual analysis will be undertaken in chapters four and five. Chapter four will be concerned with an analysis of the articles through the quantitative mode whereas chapter five will focus on analysing the articles in a qualitative manner. Finally the conclusion will be presented in chapter six.

Chapter Five (Conclusion)

This study has extensively analysed British tabloids in ascertaining whether a racist attitude has been adopted in the coverage of recent events. Combining a mixture of discourse and content analysis the final results have been interesting.

All of the UK tabloids, except The Mirror, are right wing. By selecting The Mail and The Mirror results from this study have been reflective of the overall attitude of British tabloids in general.

Previous studies concluded that in the 60’s the primary concern of the press was with keeping ethnic minorities out. Issues pertaining to immigration and the views of right-wing hardliners such as Enoch Powell were given excessive coverage (Hartmann, Husband & Clark 1974, p. 174). Subsequent studies analysing coverage in the 1970’s found there had been “a shift of concern” and that ethnic minorities were seen in the press as “the outsider within.” (see Troyna 1981, p41).

In this paper, having analysed news articles we find that at the beginning of the 21st century tabloids from the right have, as in the 1960’s, aimed at keeping refugees out and portrays them as a problem. As before much coverage is given to immigration and the views of hard-line politicians are given substantial coverage with white liberals and ethnic minorities belittled and criticised.

On the contrary, the left shuns hardliners and portrays the positive aspects of immigration. The question whether such attitudes are on account of traditional political attitudes and sympathies is an issue, which has a great probability. But fundamentally we can say that The Mail and the tabloids in general, supports and endorses draconian measures against ‘dominated’ groups where as the left does not do so.

In his study Van Dijk found that the coverage of race related issues in European societies has “become lees blatantly racist, but that stereotypes and the definition of minorities as a ‘problem’ or even as a threat is still prevalent”. (see Van Dijk:1991 p.245)

Van Dijk’s findings can also be considered to be true in relation to the results of this study. Using headlines, layouts and metaphors, the tabloids portray minority ethnic communities and asylum seekers as being different and also a threat to British society.

Coverage of race issues in the right is most definitely representative of, as Bell says, the Dominant view. Information regarding dominated groups is scarcely covered positively but rather in a hegemonic manner. We see ‘the others’ stereotyped and marginalized with positive images excluded from gaining substantial coverage in the papers.

Negative themes such as terrorism, crime, abduction, drugs, violence etc are abundantly reported and magnified in relation to subordinate groups, something, which is most typical in prejudiced racist literature.

The tabloids are also more likely to define people by race, with a high probability of one third of actors featuring in news articles defined by race; with the majority of such actors being from ethnic minorities.

Although the quantitative analysis found that people from the Middle East are more likely to have their race mentioned, and that this is probably due to the fact that the news articles selected for this paper have been terrorist orientated, fundamentally we do find that there is an attitude in the tabloids of associating terrorism with Middle Eastern people.

Alarmingly those covertly or overtly defined by faith tend to be Muslim. This is the attitude across the left and the right and could be assumed to be the attitude amongst tabloids in general. As mentioned before if an analysis of articles were to be done from a period such as the Irish marching season then we would be sure to find a greater reference to Christian religious denominations. Nevertheless the results developed from the above table supports claims by the anti-Islamaphobia lobby that post 9/11, newspapers (especially the tabloids) have adopted an Islamaphobic approach in demonising the Muslim faith.

Ethnic minorities are also minimally heard or presented as sources of information. This is worrying and implies that there is an assumption in the press that ethnic minorities are not credible sources of information or on the other hand there is a lack of mistrust of the press amongst ethnic communities.

From the above it can be seen that in general there has been a bias attitude in the coverage of recent events in the tabloids. Having said that it would be incorrect to assume that the tabloid media is the only profession guilty of racism. Journalists should be criticised for their irresponsibility, but the media is not the only profession where in which racism is found.