The BBC suggestthat the tendency to represent youth so negatively may be because positiverepresentations are not as entertaining – and tabloidnewspapers are perhaps more committed to entertaining their readers than givingthem hard news. Rayner explains that When weconsider tabloid newspapers, this highlighting of conflict if often calledsensationalism.1That means that tabloid newspapers in particular represent stories in a waythat is intended to provoke public interest or excitement at the expense ofaccuracy. The headlines used on this Express cover during the London Riots in 2011 such as ‘FlamingMorons’ or ‘thugs and thieves terrorise Britain’s streets’, represent youngpeople in a very negative, stereotypical way and puts them in a bad light. Phraseschosen by the media to describe young people are often pejorative. Young peoplehave been described as violent yobs who only seem to care about their streetstatus. They are presented as violent,brutal and dangerous, not only through the use of language but also in the maincover image. The main imageshows us a teenage male wearing a black face mask, gloves, trainers and a messy,loose tracksuit, also he has his hoodie on.
Face masks and hoodies are worn toconceal one’s identity. It gives us the negative connotation, as only criminalshave to hide or cover their faces to escape justice. The gloves have a verysimilar connotation as usually lawbreakers need to wear them to stay anonymous.Not only is he a faceless threat, the tracksuit and trainers encode thestereotype that he is from a poor social background. Young people arerepresented here as benefit scroungers, and incapable of complying with the socialnorms of everyday life. The burning car in the mise-en-scène encodes theconnotation that young people cause damage, chaos with their rebellious andanti-social behaviour, which can endanger innocent people. Stereotypesreflect ideas that groups of people holdabout others who are different from them.2It is perhaps relevant that the target audience for the Express is elderly but not impoverished and mainly based in thenorth.
Still very right wing in its outlook, anything to do with migrants,pensions or the weather is perennially popular.3