Readers, Writers, Texts

Journalistic Writing

You have seen how the selection of stories can be influenced by the institutions of production and newsworthiness criteria. Now it is time to examine how conventional uses of journalistic language affects the presentation of news stories. The most important concepts in this section are emotive languageeuphemism and vague language. Read the following pieces to clarify what these terms all mean and learn how to both recognise them and to consider their effects:

Class Activity: Language Analysis

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Paper 1 Text Type Focus: Tabloid Newspapers

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Learner Portfolio

Write a tabloid news article that reports (in a bias and sensational way) on an event from one of your literary texts. Include:

  • A headline (bonus points for alliterating or punning headlines);
  • An image that presents your subject in either a favourable or unfavourable light, depending on the angle of your story;
  • Embedded interviews and comments from various sources.

Body of Work: The Sun

Run your own investigation into a news organisation famous for sensational, dramatic and bias reportage: The Sun, a tabloid newspaper from the UK. You can visit the paper’s official website and investigate their journalism online. Find a recent event, and study the way it has been presented; research the way the paper reports on an individual (a politician or activist, for example); follow a hot topic (such as climate change); investigate how the paper presents a minority group (such as Syrian refugees, women who wear Burqas, or Muslims in the UK). Create a short presentation of your findings and report back to your class.

Towards Assessment: Individual Oral

“Supported by an extract from one non-literary text and one from a literary work, students will offer a prepared response of 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of questions by the teacher, to the following prompt:

Examine the ways in which the global issue of your choice is presented through the content and form of two of the texts that you have studied. (40 marks)

IB Language and Literature Guide

Stories and articles from this website would make perfect non-literary texts to use in this assessed activity. The author of the work would be ‘The Sun’ although you should specify the primary text you use which will be written probably be written by one journalist. Depending on the direction of your research, the text could appeal to a number of Global Issues, such as Science, Technology and the Environment or Culture, Identity and Community. It is likely you can successfully pair an article with any number of extracts from the literary texts you are studying, but here are some ideas which may be worth pursuing. As always, speak to your teacher before you start to write in too much detail:

  • Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (compare the way Salario and Salarino report the escape of Shylock’s daughter with the way The Sun reports on a perceived, alleged – or actual – criminals or victim of crime).
  • William Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (if you have been following stories about the environment, you could compare these to the way nature is depicted in Wordsworth’s poetry).
  • Shaw’s Pygmalion (look at the way modern London is made to appear by the newspaper, and compare it to the presentation of London in Act 1 of the play).
  • Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions (compare the methods the paper uses to create admiration for, say, a celebrity or reality TV star compared to the methods used in the novel to depict Babamakuru).

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