Spot the Difference: One Journalist, Two Newspapers

Joshua Mitnick is a freelance reporter covering Israel and the Palestinian territories for a variety of media outlets. In the past week he has been filing stories for both The Times of London and the Wall Street Journal. Yet, while the stories have been similar, there are marked differences in the language and terminology used. Here, in this case study, we can see just how much influence the editorial line of a media outlet can have over reporters in the field.

The Times of London: “a Palestinian boy was murdered following the abduction and deaths of three Israeli teenagers.”

Wall Street Journal: “a Palestinian teenager who died earlier this week under suspicious circumstances”

The Times refers to a Palestinian “boy“, compared to the WSJ’s description of a “teenager.” This has the effect of portraying the victim in more sympathetic terms as a child.

The Times also employs a more direct way of describing the crime. In this case the boy was “murdered” while in the WSJ, he “died… under suspicious circumstances.”

The Times: “[he] was kidnapped by alleged Jewish settlers in eastern Jerusalem, and bundled into a car. His body was found an hour later in a forest, charred and beaten.”

WSJ: “The teen’s body was found Wednesday in a wooded area in the west of Jerusalem after he was last seen near his home in East Jerusalem.”