Language and Media

Main Functions of Newspapers

  • to inform through hard news, features, reports and interviews
  • to express an opinion by means of leaders and commentaries
  • to entertain with reviews and stories

                                             (Lüger, Jucker)

The professional ethos - A myth!?

The journalist "collects facts, reports them objectively, and the newspaper presents them fairly and without bias, in language which is designed to be unambiguous, undistorting and agreeable to readers." (Fowler, p.1)

Is this quote from Fowler still applicable to today's influence of journalists and newspaper?

What Critical linguistics argue:

- Content of newspapers is not facts about the world, but ideas (in sense of beliefs, values, theories, propositions, ideology,…)

- All language / representational discourse is a structuring medium → not neutral, but a highly constructive mediator, since differences in expression carry ideological distinctions

- News: industry with vested commercial self-interest

“Thus news is a practice: a discourse which, far from neutrally reflecting social reality and empirical facts, intervenes in […] ‘the social construction of reality’”

Major concern of Linguistic Criticism

The Role of linguistic structure in the construction of ideas in the Press