Constructing the identity of an “ordinary” person in TV news broadcasts



Rok publikování 2022
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis The present study deals with the discourse of broadcast TV news and strategies used for constructing the identity of “ordinary people” in sound-bites with non-elite speakers. Sound-bites presenting the “voice of the people” are common in TV news broadcasts and can be looked at as manifestations of conversationalization of public discourse (Fairclough 1994, Esser 1999, Franke 2011), as they simulate intimacy with the target audiences, present them as empowered through giving voice to their representatives and, thus, attract their interest. Inclusion of non-elite speakers helps to put ‘a human face on the numbers’ (Ettema & Glasser, 1998, p. 198); besides that, using an ‘ordinary person” with whom the audience can identify is also “a way of mobilising moral outrage without compromising the objectivity of the reporter”. (Lewis & Wahl-Jorgensen, 2005, p. 96) However, as such speakers often get presented as unique personalities and details revealing their identity, status and entitlement to speak are provided, most of the voices are not arbitrarily replaceable with any other voice because they do not represent just the broad homogenous “public” but their affiliation to a specific group is constructed (cf. Myers’s (2004) membership categorization approach), the boundaries between elite speakers and “ordinary” speakers are not that clear-cut. The aim of this study is therefore to answer the following research questions: How is the “ordinariness”/lack of “ordinariness” of the speakers in TV news broadcasts constructed? What discourse strategies are linked to their presentation? Does the presentation of “ordinary” voices differ between public service and commercial channels? The material for analysis is sound-bites with non-elite speakers from British prime-time public-service and commercial news broadcasts, collected over the period of one month. The analysis takes into account mainly the linguistic tools of reference to the speakers’ identities used by both the reporter/voice-over for framing the sound-bites and the speakers themselves, as well as the visual mode. It is expected that, in accordance with the theory of audience design (Bell, 1984, 2001), the approach to the presentation of “ordinary” voices might differ across channels with differing target audiences, therefore public-service and commercial broadcasters’ discursive strategies are compared.
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