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Stance and objectivity in hard news reporting

Rantsudu, Boitshwarelo 2018. Stance and objectivity in hard news reporting. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This study examines the appearance of evaluative language and strategic adherence to the principle of objectivity in hard news reporting. While these concepts have traditionally been treated as distinct from each other, they are related. The study highlights a key relational tension between taking an evaluative stance and adhering to the requirement for objectivity. This relational tension is pointed out by Richardson (2007:87), who argues that news reporting is a value-laden process, and that journalists make language choices to express those values while remaining ‘journalistically objective’. This demonstrates a two-sided tension that journalists strategically handle in news reporting. In this thesis, I examine this important aspect of the characteristics of hard news reporting, that is, how evaluative language and objectivity concurrently appear in the news. This is dealt with by considering 16 hard news articles from the Daily News and Mmegi. The news articles cover the 2011 nationwide public sector workers’ strike in Botswana. In this study a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches is used to compare how the two newspapers use evaluative language, and how they mitigate such evaluative language in order to remain objective. Four research questions are addressed in this study: 1. How frequent and varied is the use of evaluative language in the Daily News and Mmegi? 2. Given the legal requirement for press objectivity in Botswana, what strategies are used by the Daily News and Mmegi to mitigate such evaluative language? 3. Are there significant differences in the strategies employed by the two newspapers to use and mitigate evaluative language? 4. Can any differences in the strategies of evaluation and mitigation be related to the newspapers’ political positioning or the nature of the event covered? Evidence from analysing comparable news articles indicates that, when studied within the context of hard news reporting, evaluation and objectivity are not mutually exclusive concepts, but that the variety of linguistic resources employed in news articles affords journalists success in expressing evaluative content while maintaining the objectivity ideal.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Submission
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Funders: University of Botswana
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 February 2019
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2020 03:05

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