News Package Analysis

 

This Al Jazeera English (AJE) news package is about the ten family members that were killed and buried on November 19, 2012. (Update: An 11th body was found later on the same day this news package was posted)

The news package opens with a medium shot of a crowd of Palestinians holding a dead body above their heads, accompanied with natpop of the angry voices of those in the crowd. The AJE reporter, Jacky Rowland, then starts with a voiceover to explain the situation and draw in the audience: “Four little children who should be playing together are instead wrapped in shrouds.” The audience is immediately drawn in because they have questions and they want answers. Who are these children? Why are they wrapped in shrouds? What happened? It is important to note that her tone is somber throughout the whole piece, which was necessary to match the nature of the story.

Rowland then begins to answer these questions while switching to wider shots of crowds carrying more dead bodies. After saying that a 10-member family was killed, she immediately shows the effect this has had on the Palestinian community by showing some tighter shots of grieving Palestinians.

Next, she provides some sequence shots of the rescue team struggling to save the family. She opens with an establishing shot of the rescue team around the destroyed house of the deceased family. The shot is creatively framed through a broken glass window. The remaining shards of glass in the window (at the top of the shot) are visible and the audience can also see a person’s hand (at the bottom right of the shot) resting on the edge of the window, which allows the audience to see the scene from the perspective of this person. This shot is also helpful because it allows the audience to see that the Israeli missile blew out a neighboring house’s window, which shows the extent of the damage. The shot also matches the audio very well: “Israel bombed the al-Dallu family on Sunday; reinforced concrete were shattered like glass.”

There is then a switch from wide to a series of medium shots to focus closer on a member of the rescue team in an orange jacket, working with others to save the family. A particularly effective shot was one from below, which followed an action taken by the rescue team start. The camera followed a person hand over a body to the next person, and basically just followed where the body was being taken.

Next, Rowland uses a cutaway shot to redirect the audience’s attention to the family’s neighbor, Hala Al Ashi, who walks up to the shattered window discussed prior. This gives the audience explanation as to who the hand belonged to. We then get a direct quote from Al Ashi accompanied by a shot of Al Ashi, which follows the rule of thirds. She is looking slightly to the left so she is placed slightly to the right of the shot, giving her some extra space at the left to show that her eyes are looking in that direction.

She ends the quote by saying, “We will not forget this image.” Immediately after she says this, we get a cutaway shot of a man kneeling over a dead little boy before he buries him. This is accompanied by a voiceover from Rowland, acknowledging that it is not common for an adult to bury a child, but right now, it is the reality for these people burying the child. The shot switches from medium to tight, focusing on the child’s face and then moving to the grief-struck face of the man burying him. We then get some medium shots of others present at the burial, and finally a shot of them placing the boy in his grave, bringing the story to its conclusion.

Rowland then does a closing stand-up to summarize and end the story. It also qualifies as a scene-setting stand-up because she is there at the graveyard, which allows the audience to see that she was really there and makes the story seem more reliable. She then provides a cutaway shot to bulldozers removing the wreckage from the family’s house. This could also be seen as an information stand-up because she discusses how Israel targeted this house because it was said that a Hamas member was staying at the house, but there is no video to match this, so she just uses cutaway shots of other Palestinian civilians, reporting lastly that Palestinians think it was a massacre and not a mistake. Finally, she ends with a standard sign off stating her name, news organization and her location.