Thesis: Language of News Reporting

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Language of News Reporting

In the modern era most journalism analysts concentrate on the impact that the text and language used in an article has on overall results attained. For example, Blommeart in his study conducted in 1999 explains:

"Texts generate their publics, publics generate their texts and the analysis of 'meanings' now has to take into account a historiography of the context of production, the mechanisms and instruments of reproduction and reception, ways of storage and remembering." (pg. 5-6)

This simply means that both the text of the journalism and the audience of journalism have an integrating and two-way impact on how each is influenced. This is why it is safe to say that the while the language of journalism can and does impact the way that the audience thinks and reacts to a reported situation, it is also the communicative patterns and abilities of the audience that determines the use and dynamics of text and language employed in journalistic reporting.

For instance, one of the most significant ways that the communicative patterns of the audience has influenced the news reporting style is the fact that now most r ews reposting conforms to the norms of spoken language instead of the norms or standards of written language. This is so because of the huge influence that the growth of TV and radio has had on the overall inclination of the communicative standards of the masses. People want to read familiar terms and easier or informal language that they wouldn't have to necessarily interpret but instead automatically decipher. This results in most reporters using the language that, perhaps 5 or 6 decades ago, was not encouraged in journalistic writing.

Mostly, when talking about journalism in the English language, the opening in most hard news or soft news stories has a tow-fold meaning that includes both the heading and the first sentence in the opening paragraph of the story a.k.a. lead. Usually a 'kicker' or a subheading is used directly below the headline (as exhibited in Appendix A and B) to further strengthen the opening of any news story and make it more encompassing and complete. It is common for the headline and the lead to be exactly similar in the context being represented as well as the language or sentence structure being used.

To understand the language of news reporting in an overview, it is important to highlight here two of the most popular methods that are used regularly in the opening in the journalistic language and media researches. Most of the hard news journalism and some of soft news as well is based around two ideologies: 1) unbiased and factual representation is done consistently and 2) the inverted pyramids structure is used consistently in all news story structures.

Both these aspects will be explained thoroughly below but briefly the first ideology focuses on the objectivity of the news story and presenting it without a bias will only add to the respectability and creditability of the journalist and the paper he/she is working for. The inverted pyramid is a theory whereby the most important facts and information and given at the beginning and as the story continues, the lesser important facts are presented. This has proven to be a very important facet of journalistic reporting especially in the fast moving world of today where the information needs to be filtered and transferred quickly in order for any journalistic body to be successful.

A good example of the importance of these two facets is given in the research conducted by Mindich un 1998 who explains that it is the "ethic of objectivity" that will ay down the foundation for all structures of modern journalism and the attributes of "detachment" and "facticity," also referred to as the unbiased approach of journalism, paired with the inverted pyramid style will end up being the most significant factors in allowing any and every journalistic report to not only e objective but also be accurate and successfully transferred (Mindich, 1998).

Body: practical analysis and explanation of language in news

It is important, when analyzing the language of news reporting, that the analyst focuses on not only the context of the news story but also the text used in terms of words used, vocabulary, sentence structure, as well as paragraphing. In the following pages, we ill highlight some of common analysis and explanations of language use in news reporting giving reference to the news stories attached in appendix A and B. that focus on the recent Iran election.

Stylistic Analysis of Language in News

Words and their usage

The usage of words beyond one's expanse of vocabulary is very important. As has been explained before, the communicative pattern of journalistic language is now nearer to the spoken language because of the influence that TV and radio has had on the reading audience. Hence it is important that a journalistic pays attention to the following aspects when constructing a news story:

George Orwell said 'never use a long word where a short one will do'. This is exactly where the journalistic literature is heading in modern era i.e. As opposed to maybe 5 decades ago when the journalistic language represented the extent to which an individual could dynamically represent his knowledge of a language, journalism has now become more of art of simplicity (Carter and Nash, 1990). For instance, take the sentence 'It is possible that some people are concerned that we have elected a weak president, one who has no stomach for dealing with conflict in any way other than to hope it changes' from the news story in Appendix B, this sentence structure is simple and doesn't use big words like 'weak' was used instead of 'incompetent' which perhaps might have been a better use but since it implies the same thing, using weak was appropriate due to the masses' familiarity with it; same is the case with using 'conflict' instead of 'unforeseen crises' and 'changes' instead of 'amends' or 'amendments'. Hence the lexis or vocabulary used in this particular news story was far more representative of the core vocabulary of the masses.

Morphology is also a very important aspect in news. Morphology simply denotes either the type words or verbs used within a sentence. Morphology also includes the intricacy of the sentence structure and verb usage (Bagnall, 1999). For example, take 'Rather than issue a warning to the Iranian forces responsible for murdering Iranian citizens, Obama tells them that they can count on us to stay out of their affairs, to stand by while they massacre their people' from the news story in Appendix B. The entire sentence is denoting an action from President Obama of staying out of Iran's affairs but the use of auxiliary and linking verbs in the sentence makes that particular action a much more intimidating and forceful sentence in the entire paragraph and structure.

Furthermore, a very important aspect of word usage in journalism is to know exactly the different meanings of a single word that can be interpreted due to different point-of-views. For instance the word 'conflict' from the above mentioned sentence can be interpreted as clash, unforeseen and troubling circumstance, crises, war, instability, differences or disagreements between two parties. In the sentence, it should denote unforeseen and troubling circumstance but again can be interpreted as any of the above. Hence, when structuring a sentence, it is important to structure it in such a way that the readers understand and interpret a word exactly as the writer had intended it to be interpreted (Crystal and Davy, 1969).

Another important aspect is the usage of jargons. Jargons are mainly those terms or words that are used in a particular environment within a particular group of people. Here, it signifies news room terminologies or specific abbreviations that cannot be readily interpreted by the masses (Carter and Nash, 1990) like the use of the phrase 'hot dog diplomacy' in the news story in Appendix B which may not be understood by all the readers. Also, the use or omission of superfluous words is also very important in order to add quality or volume to the story (Crystal and Davy, 1969). Here the lexis and vocabulary becomes very specific and central to a certain spectrum of readers (Bagnall, 1999).

The common trend in most journalistic writings now has been to soften or harden an incident through the use of words or the use of pragmatics (speech acts) in a news story (Carter and Nash, 1990). For example, 'But if the forces of tyranny in Poland, and those who incite them from without, do not relent, they should prepare themselves for serious consequences' taken from Appendix B is a seemingly harsh statement that could have been said in a much more simpler, indirect and polite manner but due to the gravity of the situation, the language use was hardened to match the circumstances (use of deixis) (Bagnall, 1999).

Headline

It is important to note here that while the main aim of the headline is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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