Critical reading of online news commentary headlines: Stylistic and pragmatic aspects

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In doing a critical reading of news commentary headlines drawn from a corpus, this study uses critical stylistics as an initial tool for delineating the headlines’ textual, ideational and interpersonal features and also for categorizing them according to the main type of triggering located in their respective textual-conceptual functions. Presuppositions are found to be a key device in constructing the headlines’ ideational “text-worlds”, which can strategically activate readers’ “belief systems knowledge” and rapidly validate or shape their attitudes regarding social reality, even when a headline is being scanned and read autonomously on a mobile device platform. To better understand the contextual and representational role of these news commentary headlines in contemporary journalistic knowledge production and reception, this research examines their stylistic and syntactic design, identifying accompanying characteristics such as embedded ideological perspectives and propositional interpretive frameworks, while noting the headlines’ specialized positioning as cohesive interpolating texts in the digital news ecosystem.

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