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News Talk


  • 24 tables
  • Page extent: 294 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.47 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521525657)

Written by a former news reporter and editor, News Talk gives us an insider's view of the media, showing how journalists select and construct their news stories. Colleen Cotter goes behind the scenes, revealing how language is chosen and shaped by news staff into the stories we read and hear. Tracing news stories from start to finish, she shows how the actions of journalists and editors - and the limitations of news writing formulas - may distort a story that was prepared with the most determined effort to be fair and accurate. Using insights from both linguistics and journalism, News Talk is a remarkable picture of a hidden world and its working practices on both sides of the Atlantic. It will interest those involved in language study, media and communication studies and those who want to understand how media shape our language and our view of the world.

• Includes the main points at the beginning of each chapter, providing the reader with the ability to quickly obtain the crucial elements of the argument • Focuses on news media, including processes, production and practice, allowing for a greater depth of understanding of the background of what we read, see and hear as news • Organised along the story 'life cycle' from conceptualisation to realisation, providing the reader with a clear picture of story development and process


Introduction; Part I. The Process and Practice of Everyday Journalism: 1. An interactional and ethnographic approach to news media language; 2. Craft and community: reading the ways of journalists; 3. The ways reporters learn to report and editors learn to edit; Part II. Conceptualizing the News: 4. News values and their significance in text and practice; 5. The 'story meeting': deciding what's fit to print; 6. The interaction-based nature of journalism; Part III. Constructing the Story: Texts and Contexts: 7. Story design and the dictates of the 'lead'; 8. 'Boilerplate': simplifying stories, anchoring text, altering meaning; 9. Style and standardization in news language; Part IV. Decoding the Discourse: 10. The impact of the news process on media discourse; Conclusion and key points; Appendix 1. Story samples; Appendix 2. Outline guide for the analysis of news media language; Appendix 3. SPJ ethics code; Glossary of news and linguistic terms; References.


'Colleen Cotter draws on her skills as a linguist and experience as a journalist to produce a fascinating, insightful look at the influences and limitations on language in the news media. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the subtle and often unwitting biases that creep into coverage.' John Diaz, San Francisco Chronicle

'What is fascinating about this book is its comparison between the different ways hacks and non-journalists conceptualise newsworthiness. … News Talk is ambitious in its scope and includes a welcome call for dialogue between journalists and linguists. It looks at the industry in the US and Britain, but never succumbs to Winston Churchill's maxim that we are divided by a common language. A great touch is the dual glossary - one for linguistic terms, the other for journalism jargon. … This is a refreshing and thought-provoking insight into the industry. If you love the language of journalism, you should read this.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

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