The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air / Edition 1

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The news interview has become a major vehicle for presenting broadcast news and political commentary, and a primary interface between the institutions of journalism and government. This text examines the place of the news interview in Anglo-American society, and considers its historical development in the United States and Britain. The main body of the book discusses the fundamental norms and conventions that shape conduct in the modern interview; it explores the particular recurrent practices through which journalists balance competing professional norms that encourage both objective and adversarial treatment of public figures. It also explores how, in the face of aggressive questioning, politicians and other public figures struggle to stay "on message" and pursue their own agendas. Through analyses of well-known interviews, the book illuminates the simultaneously symbiotic and conflictual nature of the relationship between journalists and public figures, and reveals the tensions lying beneath the surface of the nightly news. This book will be essential reading for students and researchers in sociolinguistics, media, and communication studies.
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Editorial Reviews

What is new about the journalistic tool of interviewing is its growing use as a news product in its own right, according to Clayman and Heritage (sociology, U. of California, Los Angeles). After overviewing the genre's genesis and institutional contexts in the US and Britain, they apply conversational analysis to excerpted examples to reveal often conflicting messages. Appends transcript symbols used. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"Scholars who study, analyze, and compare such ephemera need a way to record interviews statistically. The authors present a method for in-depth analysis of news interviews and a framework students and journalists can use to do so. Recommended." Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521011914
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/26/2002
  • Series: Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics Series, #16
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Clayman is Associate Professor of Sociology and is affiliated with the Communication Studies Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. His articles have appeared in the following journals: American Sociological Review; American Journal of Sociology; Journal of Communication; Media, Culture, and Society; and Research on Language and Social Interaction.

John Heritage is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His publications include Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology (1984), Structures of Social Action, co-edited with Max Atkinson (Cambridge, 1984, 0521318629), and Talk at Work, co-edited with Paul Drew (Cambridge, 1992, 0521374898).

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 The news interview in context: institutional background and historical development 26
3 Openings and closings 57
4 Basic ground rules: taking turns and "doing" news interview talk 95
5 Defensible questioning: neutralism, credibility, legitimacy 150
6 Adversarial questioning: setting agendas and exerting pressure 188
7 Answers and evasions 238
8 The panel interview: discussion and debate among interviewees 299
9 Conclusion 337
App.: transcript symbols 347
References 354
Subject index 366
Index of names 369
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