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

Open access

Abstract

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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Bekalu M. A. 2006. Presupposition in news discourse. Discourse and Society vol.17 no. 2 pp. 147–172.

  • Bednarek M. and Caple H. 2012. News discourse. London: Continuum.

  • Bell A. 1991. The language of news media. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Benkler Y. Faris R. and Roberts H. 2018. Network propaganda: Manipulation disinformation and radicalization in American politics. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Blom J. and Hansen K. 2015. Click bait: Forward-reference as lure in online news headlines. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 76 pp. 87-100.

  • Carlson M. 2018. Automating judgment? Algorithmic judgment news knowledge and journalistic professionalism. New Media & Society vol.20 no.5 pp.1755-1772.

  • Chovanec J. 2003. The mixing of modes as a means of resolving the tension between involvement and detachment in news headlines. Brno Studies in English vol. 29 no. 1 pp. 51-66.

  • Costera Meijer I. and Groot Kormelik T. 2015. Checking sharing clicking and linking. Digital Journalism vol. 3 no. 5 pp. 664-679.

  • Cotter C. 2015. Discourse and media. In: D. Tannen H. Hamilton and D. Schiffrin eds. The handbook of discourse analysis. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons pp. 795-821.

  • DeMers J. 2016. 59 percent of you will share this article without even reading it. Forbes [Accessed 18 August 2016]. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/08/08/59-percent-of-you-will-share-this-article-without-even-reading-it/#6b9ef1e72a64.

  • Dor D. 2003. On newspaper headlines as relevance optimizers. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 35 no. 5 pp. 695-721.

  • Ekström M. and Westlund O. 2019a. Epistemology and journalism. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication [Accessed 4 May 2019]. Available at: https://oxfordre.com/communication/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228613-e-806.

  • Ekström M. and Westlund O. 2019b. The dislocation of news journalism: A conceptual framework for the study of epistemologies of digital journalism. Media and Communication vol. 7 no. 1 pp. 259-270.

  • Fedeli S. and Matsa K.E. 2018. Use of mobile devices for news continues to grow outpacing desktops and laptops. Pew Research [Accessed on 2 June 2019] Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/07/17/use-of-mobile-devices-for-news-continues-to-grow-outpacing-desktops-and-laptops/

  • Firmstone J. 2019. Editorial journalism and newspapers’ editorial opinions. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication [Accessed 2 May 2019]. Available at: https://oxfordre.com/communication/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228613-e-803.

  • Fowler R. 1991. Language in the news: Discourse and ideology in the press. London: Routledge.

  • Gabielko M. et al. 2016. Social clicks: What and who gets read on twitter? ACM SIGMETRICS [Accessed 18 June 2017]. Available at: https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01281190/document.

  • Gregoriou C. 2014. The linguistic levels of foregrounding in stylistics. In: M. Burke ed. Routledge handbook of stylistics. London: Routlegde pp. 408-420.

  • Groot Kormelik T. and Costera Meijer I. 2017. What clicks actually mean: Exploring digital news user practices. Journalism vol. 19 no 5 pp. 668-683.

  • Hermida A. et al. 2012. Share like recommend. Journalism Studies vol.13 no. 5-6 pp. 815-824.

  • Hermida A. 2016. Social media and the news. In: T. Witschge et al. eds. The SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism. London: SAGE pp. 81-94.

  • Hermida A. 2018. Social media and journalism. In: J. Burgess A. Marwick and T. Poell eds. The SAGE Handbook of Social Media. London: SAGE pp. 497-511.

  • Ifantidou E. 2009. Newspaper headlines and relevance: Ad hoc concepts in ad hoc contexts. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 41 pp. 699-720.

  • Isani S. 2011. Of headlines & headlinese: Towards distinctive linguistic and pragmatic genericity. ASp vol.60 [Accessed 20 May 2016]. Available at: http://asp.revues.org/2523.

  • Iarovici E. and Amel A. 1989. The strategy of the headline. Semiotica vol.77 no.4 pp. 441-459.

  • Jeffries L. 2010. Critical stylistics: The power of English. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

  • Jeffries L. 2014. Critical stylistics. In: M. Burke ed. Routledge handbook of stylistics. London: Routlegde pp. 408-420.

  • Jeffries L. 2015. Textual meaning and its place in a theory of language. Topics in Linguistics vol.15 [Accessed 2 July 2016]. Available at: https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/topling.2015.15.issue-1/topling-2015-0006/topling-2015-0006.pdf

  • Jeffries L. 2016. Critical stylistics. In: V. Sotirova ed. The Bloomberg Companion to Stylistics London: Bloomsbury Academic pp. 157-176.

  • Johansson M. 2014. Reading digital news: Participation roles activities and positionings. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 72 pp. 31-45.

  • Jones J. and Salter L. 2012. Digital journalism. London: SAGE.

  • Kronrod A. and Engel O. 2001. Accessibility theory and referring expressions in newspaper headlines. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 33 pp. 683-699.

  • Kuiken J. et al. 2017. Effective headlines of newspaper articles in a digital environment. Digital Journalism vol. 5 no. 10 pp. 1300-1314.

  • Lindemann B. 1989. What knowledge does it take to read a newspaper? Journal of Literary Semantics vol. 18 no. 1 p. 50-65.

  • Miššíková G. 2003. Linguistic stylistics. Nitra: FF UKF.

  • Miššíková G. 2007. Pragmatic dimensions in stylistic analysis. Brno Studies in English vol. 33 no. 1 pp. 91-100.

  • Miššíková G. 2012. Politeness strategies in academic digital discourse. Discourse and Interaction vol. 5 no. 1 pp. 49-62.

  • Molek-Kozakowska K. 2014. Coercive metaphors in news headlines: A cognitive-pragmatic approach. Brno Studies in English vol. 40 no. 1 pp. 149-173.

  • Molek-Kozakowska K. 2015. Presupposition and nominalization in headlinese: A critical analysis of framing devices in journalistic discourse. In: M. Zabielska E. Wasikiewicz-Firlej and A. Szczepaniak-Kozak eds. Discourses in co(n)text: The many faces of specialized discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing pp. 134-161.

  • Molek-Kozakowska K. 2016. The advantages of applying the concept of rhetorical style in language-oriented journalism studies. Stylistyka vol. 25 (Gajda i stylistyka) pp. 277-290.

  • Shearer E. and Matsa K.E. 2018. News use across social media. Pew Research [Accessed 20 April 2019]. Available at: https://www.journalism.org/2018/09/10/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2018/

  • van Dijk T.A. 1988. News as discourse. New York: Routledge.

  • van Dijk T.A. 2003. The discourse-knowledge interface. In: G. Wiess and R. Wodak eds. Critical discourse analysis: Theory and interdisciplinarity. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan pp.85-109.

  • van Dijk T.A. 2011. Discourse knowledge power and politics: Towards critical epistemic discourse analysis. In C. Hart ed. Critical discourse studies in context and cognition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins pp. 27-64.

  • van Dijk T.A. 2015. Critical discourse analysis. In: D. Tannen H. Hamilton and D. Schiffrin eds. The handbook of discourse analysis. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons pp. 466-485.

  • Westlund O. 2013. Mobile news: A review and model of journalism in an age of mobile media. Digital Journalism vol. 1 no. 1 pp. 6–26.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.25

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.144
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.447

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 119 119 53
PDF Downloads 130 130 46