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Media Discourse

Media Discourse: Representation and Interaction

Mary Talbot
Series: Media Topics
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Media Discourse
    Book Description:

    This lively and accessible study of media and discourse combines theoretical reflection with empirical engagement, and brings together insights from a range of disciplines. Within media and cultural studies, the study of media texts is dominated by an exclusive focus on representation. This book adds long overdue attention to social interaction.The book is divided into two sections. The first outlines key theoretical issues and concepts, including informalisation, genre hybridisation, positioning, dialogism and discourse. The second is a sustained interrogation of social interaction in and around media. Re-examining issues of representation and interaction, it critically assesses work on the para-social and broadcast sociability, then explores distinct sites of interaction: production communities, audience communities and ‘interactivity’ with audiences. Key features* The book is rich with fascinating examples involving British and US media, including radio, television, magazines and newspapers and their Internet spin-offs.* It brings together insights from conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, cultural studies and media anthropology.* It is key reading for advanced undergraduates and postgraduates doing media studies, communication and cultural studies and journalism studies.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3007-3
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  4. Transcription conventions
    (pp. IX-X)
  5. Part One: Key issues in analysing media discourse

    • 1 Introduction: media and discourse
      (pp. 3-17)

      Media discourse is a multidisciplinary field. In addition to extensive interest in media and cultural studies, it is the subject of scrutiny in linguistics – particularly conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, ethnography of communication, linguistic anthropology, pragmatics and sociolinguistics – and also in cultural geography, psychology, sociology and tourism studies. This diversity and spread is both a strength and a weakness. There have been developments in parallel in a range of disciplines. One concern of this book is to explore some overlapping concerns, common origins and influences. The disciplinary diversity of media discourse as a field is reflected in its...

    • 2 Reconfigurations
      (pp. 18-42)

      There is a range of concerns common to both media and cultural studies and critical discourse analysis, relating to shifts and reconfigurations that can be said to characterise the modern world. These concerns are the subject of this chapter.

      I begin with issues relating to time, place and their compression in the modern media. I then go on to outline two tensions or dichotomies that will be familiar to anyone working in the field of media discourse. These are public and private, information and entertainment. Fairclough relates them to two tendencies, which he identifies (in characteristically abstract nominalisations) as the...

    • 3 Texts and positioning
      (pp. 43-62)

      In this chapter I focus on the meaning potential of texts and conceptualisations of the reader/listener/viewer who engages with it. There have been theoretical shifts in perceptions of a text and its reception. In an article on news analysis, Meinhof points to early text-based studies that work with ‘closed text models’, according to which meaning is assumed to originate in the text and interpreters of it are mere ‘reading subjects constructed by the text’ (1994: 213). If considered at all, the addressee is treated as ‘a fiction embodied in the writer’s rhetorical choices’ (Hyland 2005: 12). Meinhof’s subject is news...

    • 4 Dialogism and voice
      (pp. 63-80)

      This chapter explores media discourse using the concept of dialogism, or intertextuality. This means conceiving of a media text as a tissue of voices and traces of other texts; when we engage with it we go into dialogue with them. In studying media texts, we need to be aware that they are dialogic, or embedded in a mesh of intertextuality:

      When we look at the communications that emanate from mass media, we see that, like most other forms of speaking, they are preceded and succeeded by numerous other dialogues and pieces of language that both implicate them and render them...

  6. Part Two: Representation and interaction

    • 5 Simulated interaction
      (pp. 83-98)

      In Chapter 2, I discussed some shifts and reconfigurations that characterise the modern, media-saturated world. I dealt with issues around the ‘stretching’ of time and space as a consequence of technological developments in communication. Two other interrelated issues were the permeability of public and private social spheres and an increasing tendency towards informalisation in public discourses. I was exploring the way the nature of social interaction in modernity has been transformed. Developing these themes, this chapter looks more closely at attempts to close the gap between producers and audiences and the pervasiveness of ‘chat’ as a broadcast genre.

      A useful...

    • 6 Interpersonal meaning in broadcast texts: representing social identities and relationships
      (pp. 99-128)

      Interaction as a performance for a viewing or listening audience has had no shortage of attention. Broadcast talk as a field of critical inquiry is reaching maturity, with several recent books in print. The body of work on broadcast talk is now quite substantial. Most of it is on verbal interaction between participants in specific genres of programming, such as news interviews and sports commentary. In the 1980s, early work in the field attended to news, especially interviews with an interest in the design of talk for overhearing audiences; other prominent work in the field examined the dynamics of phone-in...

    • 7 Production communities and audience communities
      (pp. 129-153)

      In the early hours of 1 January 1993, the morning after New Year celebrations in Hong Kong, the radio news reported a major incident, a crowd crush leading to twenty-one deaths. The reporters have been working without sleep:

      Something is going badly wrong in this broadcast; the floor delegation in lines 9–13 breaks down. Reporter Francis Moriarty is responding to a private call, which has a different sequence, based on different expectations, rights and obligations. Inappropriately for a news broadcast, he is waiting for the caller to raise a topic, hence his long pause in 12. Charters, Moriarty and...

    • 8 Interactivity
      (pp. 154-174)

      As we enter an era of interactive media technology, the interface between media texts and audience is transforming, including new ways of accessing content and new possibilities for social engagement in a virtual environment, be it radio, television, the (still) largely written mode of the Internet, or a combination of all three. The late Roger Silverstone reflected that

      our [twentieth] century has seen the telephone, film, radio, television become both objects of mass consumption and essential tools for the conduct of everyday life. We are now confronted with the spectre of a further intensification of media culture, through the global...

  7. Glossary
    (pp. 175-181)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 182-192)
  9. Index
    (pp. 193-198)