The Language of News Media

Overview

Written by a linguist who is himself a journalist, this is a uniquely informed account of the language of the news media.

In Western countries we hear more language from the media than we do directly from others in conversation, and within the media, news is the primary language genre. The aim of this book is to explore this influential language, to ask what the patterns of media discourse tell us about wider linguistic issues and what they ...

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Overview

Written by a linguist who is himself a journalist, this is a uniquely informed account of the language of the news media.

In Western countries we hear more language from the media than we do directly from others in conversation, and within the media, news is the primary language genre. The aim of this book is to explore this influential language, to ask what the patterns of media discourse tell us about wider linguistic issues and what they also reveal about news and the media.

Allan Bell emphasizes the importance of the processes which produce media language, as stories are moulded and modified by various hands. He stresses it is indeed stories that journalists and editors produce, not articles. These stories have viewpoint, values and structure that can be analysed. He is concerned, too, with the role of the audience in influencing media language styles, and in understanding, forgetting or misconceiving the news presented to it.

Based in the frameworks of sociolinguistics and discourse analysis, this book draws together a growing research literature and informs it with the author's own immediate observations and experience as both journalist and researcher.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631164340
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1991
  • Series: Language in Society
  • Pages: 256

Meet the Author

Allan Bell has been both making and studying media language for many years. He has worked as a journalist and editor in a daily news service, weekly newspaper and monthly magazines. He has researched media language in several countries, especially New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand combining his research there with work as a freelance journalist and media consultant.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables vii
Editor's Preface xi
Introduction and Acknowledgements xiii
1 Media and Language 1
1 Why study media language? 3
2 Media language research and the disciplines 5
3 Themes of the book 8
2 Researching Media Language 9
1 Universe and sample 10
2 What's news: defining genres 12
3 News outlets 17
4 News outputs 22
5 Pitfalls, shortcuts and the long way round 25
6 The media react to research 30
3 The Production of News Language 33
1 Many hands make tight work 34
2 Producer roles in news language 36
3 The news assembly line 44
4 Embedding in the news text 50
4 Authoring and Editing the News Text 56
1 Constructing the news text 56
2 How news is edited 66
3 Why edit? 75
5 The Audience for Media Language 84
1 Disjunction and isolation 85
2 Multiple roles in the audience 90
3 Audience embedding 95
4 Communicators as audience 98
6 Stylin' the News: Audience Design 104
1 Style in language 104
2 Style and audience status in the British press 107
3 Audience design in New Zealand radio 110
4 Editing copy for style 122
7 Talking Strange: Referee Design in Media Language 126
1 Taking the initiative 126
2 The referees 127
3 Television advertisements as referee design 135
8 Telling Stories 147
1 News stories and personal narratives 148
2 News values 155
3 News as stories 161
4 The structure of news stories 169
9 Make-up of the News Story 175
1 The lead 175
2 Headlines 185
3 News sources and actors 190
4 Time and place in the news 198
5 Facts and figures 202
6 Talking heads 204
10 Telling It Like It Isn't 212
1 Approaches to media miscommunication 212
2 Misreporting: the climate change case 216
3 Misediting international news 224
11 (Mis)understanding the News 230
1 Recall and comprehension 231
2 The public misunderstand climate change 238
Notes 248
References 254
Index 269
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