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News Talk

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

Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521525657)

News Talk
Cambridge University Press
9780521819619 - News Talk - Investigating the Language of Journalism - By Colleen Cotter
Frontmatter/Prelims

News Talk

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 configured by news staff into the stories we read and hear. Tracing news stories from start to finish, she shows how the practice traditions of journalists and editors – and the constraints of news writing protocols – shape (and may distort) stories prepared with the most determined effort to be fair and accurate. Using insights from linguistics and journalism on both sides of the Atlantic, News Talk is a remarkable picture of a hidden world and its working practices. It will interest those involved in linguistics, journalism, language study, media and communication studies, and anyone who wants to understand how news media shape our language and our view of the world.

Colleen Cotter is a senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film. She is a former daily news reporter and editor in the USA. Her previous publications include USA Phrasebook: Understanding Americans and Their Culture, 2nd edition (2001), as well as numerous articles on language and the media.


News Talk

Investigating the Language of Journalism

Colleen Cotter


CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York

www.cambridge.org
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521819619

© Colleen Cotter 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-81961-9 Hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-52565-7 Paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


For my family. . .

~ Near, far

You know who you are ~


“This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre.”

– Henry David Thoreau


Contents

List of figures and tables
x
Acknowledgements
xi
Introduction
1
Part I        The process and practice of everyday journalism
13
1.            An interactional and ethnographic approach to news media language
15
1.1           Contradictory perceptions about news media behaviors
17
1.2           The ethnographic advantage
19
1.3           Exploring news and news language from the perspective of the practitioner
23
1.4           Influences on media language and discourse
24
1.5           Characteristics and tendencies of media language
26
1.6           Conclusion: process and practice – underexplored dimensions
29
2.            Craft and community: Reading the ways of journalists
30
2.1           Articulating primary values
31
2.2           The craft ethos
36
2.3           The community factor
43
2.4           Conclusion: locating and understanding news priorities
47
3.            The ways reporters learn to report and editors learn to edit
49
3.1           “Ways of speaking”
50
3.2           Socialization into news culture
52
3.3           Loci of learning
61
3.4           Conclusion: the apprentice model and journalistic practice
63
Part II       Conceptualizing the news
65
4.            News values and their significance in text and practice
67
4.1           Determining “newsworthiness”
68
4.2           News values govern journalistic practice
72
4.3           News judgment and “instinct”
77
4.4           Similarity and variation
82
4.5           Conclusion: the role of news values
85
5.            The “story meeting”: Deciding what’s fit to print
88
5.1           What happens at a story meeting: The Oakland Tribune
90
5.2           Role of news values in story meetings
94
5.3           Other news-community values
97
5.4           Boundaries and norms of professional behavior
100
5.5           Conclusion: news priorities in relation to practice
106
6.            The interaction-based nature of journalism
110
6.1           Interaction through practice
111
6.2           The supremacy of the local
119
6.3           Loci of interaction
125
6.4           The pseudo-relationship between news media and community
128
6.5           Conclusion: identifying interaction in the journalistic context
131
Part III      Constructing the story: texts and contexts
133
7.            Story design and the dictates of the “lead”
135
7.1           Principles of newswriting
136
7.2           Story design
139
7.3           The lead
151
7.4           Conclusion: the importance of craft
169
8.            “Boilerplate”: Simplifying stories, anchoring text, altering meaning
171
8.1           News discourse rules and boilerplate
172
8.2           Features of boilerplate
176
8.3           Implications of boilerplate
180
8.4           Conclusion: responsibility and “neutral” text production
185
9.            Style and standardization in news language
187
9.1           Background: language standardization
188
9.2           Language standardization in the news context
190
9.3           Journalists and language: complaints, values, and injunctions
194
9.4           Changes and innovations in news style
201
9.5           Conclusion: language awareness and journalistic identity
211
Part IV       Decoding the discourse
215
10.           The impact of the news process on media language
217
10.1          Delivering the news
217
10.2          Coherence of the text
219
10.3          Linguists as “experts” in news stories
220
Conclusion and key points
230
Epilogue
235
Appendices    
237
Appendix 1:   Story samples
239
Appendix 2:   Outline guide for the analysis of news media language
247
Appendix 3:   SPJ Code of Ethics
251
Glossary of news and linguistic terms
252
References
259
Index
272



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