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How Is The Real World 'constructed In Discourse', And How Does The Construction Of The "Real World" Differ According To Differing News Styles And Different Media?

1737 words - 7 pages

Discourse has been defined as a social practice within institutions, in terms of news discourse, there has been much contention over whether the framing, selecting and choice of idiosyncratic language within different news media reflects reality, or whether it constructs it. This assignment will look at critical and theoretical discussion over this. Newspapers will be used to show how reality is constructed, also looking at critical discourse analysis with a tabloid and a broadsheet paper. There will also be a brief discussion on how television news, radio and documentaries construct reality.News discourse constructs the "real world" in so far as they relate to us true-life incidents and ...view middle of the document...

News items are selected according to certain ideological values we possess, which allows us to make sense of codes, and even those real-life events which are unfamiliar to every-day life are codified into understandable explanations. As Stuart Hall argues, the 'language of news encodifies as 'common sense' a hierarchical series of normative rules by which social life is to be understood'. By representing the news in a particular way (for example using the idiom of the public, which will be explored later in terms of newspapers), the receiver of the news is not only told how to read the event, but also the kind of viewpoint we take . This implies that the news does not so much construct reality as create a 'version of reality in ways which depend on the social positions of interests and objectives of those who produce them' . Fairclough states that it is through presuppositions (what is not said but taken for granted) that reports are made to be believable . Allan surmises that journalists as 'story-tellers' have the capacity to shape our view of 'the world out there beyond our immediate experience' . Journalists rely less on official statements, preferring to paraphrase due to the professional culture in which they work which encourages judgements to be made for political and commercial reasons. Despite this though, the news media has undeniable power over the public. Although this power Schudson believes to be apparent due to the fact that the media are the 'visible tip of the iceberg of social influences on human behaviour' .News in newspapers is not fixed, as differing styles of newspapers base themselves on different types of news events; popular tabloids report crime, entertainment and personality based news, while broadsheets generally report more foreign and political news. This is because there is a certain set of criteria which newspapers follow to report events which they think have great 'news value' to their target audience. These include frequency, threshold, unambiguity, meaningfulness, consonance, continuity, composition, reference to elite nations or elite persons, reference to person used as signs of something non-figurative, and references to something negative . This then suggests that news does not exist as natural news items, but rather are selected and represented due to criteria and the construction of their mythic meanings to their readers .Critical discourse analysis is an approach which focuses on the text and which suggests that a newspaper's discourse actually 'constructs a codified definition' of the reality of events reported. Using critical discourse analysis, differing news styles will be looked at with The Sun and The Guardian from Friday February 25th 2005. Both newspapers printed a report on MRSA in hospitals. The Sun draws on official discourses illustrated by quotes and statistics from authority figures, which emphasises the legitimacy of the report. However this is paired with colloquial discourse, such as...

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