Author Archives



“Events don’t get into the news by simply happening. They must fit in with what is already known… They must fulfill a certain number of criteria… must jostle for inclusion in the limited number of slots available.”  Hartley, 1982 Have you ever wondered why only bad news gets […]

Journalism and Bias

“The basic definition of news as factual information that its viewers need in order to participate in society is only half the story.”  Fiske, 1987 Many people might think that the news provides a window into the world, allowing you to understand what is going on everywhere, all […]

Logical Fallacies

The basis of arguing or debating effectively is using objective evidence to justify opinions, rather than relying on assertions that are based on logical fallacies. Understanding what a logical fallacy is can be an epoch-making event for many students, and identifying them in everyday conversations, the sales pitches of advertising […]

Rhetorical Devices in Speeches

All speeches contain three basic ingredients: ethos, pathos and logos. These are the terms used by the ancient Greeks to describe the different ways a speech appealed to an audience. Ethos refers to the trustworthiness of the speaker: it is what gives the speaker the right to stand before an audience. Ethos can […]

Persuasion or Propaganda?

The line between persuasion and propaganda is thin and easily crossed. Propaganda is the conscious effort of a language producer to shape public opinion towards a certain ideological position. You will probably be familiar with propaganda from the first and second world wars which persuaded people to fight fascism. However, propaganda […]

Youth Culture

Popular youth culture is often considered ‘cutting-edge’ or involves a form of expression that works in opposition to a mainstream culture as promoted by adults, corporations and schools. Therefore advertising that appeals to youth culture considers what young people believe to be cool and interesting so they can […]

Either/Or: Gender in Advertising

In the advertising world, images of men and women are used to promote products of all kinds. Each of us is enculturated. This is a lifelong process in which our identities are formed. Through enculturation we learn many things. Not least, perhaps, we learn gendered identities of what it […]

Can A Picture Tell A Thousand Words?

“This poster consists of three separate but connecting parts within its composition. A jig-saw coffin, made up of pieces of wood fitted together, sits at the top of the poster. The pun ‘After we pick up the pieces, it’s your family’s turn’ is written below this in large white bold font on a […]

The Language of Advertising

“Students, and many teachers, are notorious believers in their immunity to advertising. These naive inhabitants of consumerland believe that advertising is childish, dumb, a bunch of lies, and influences only the vast hordes of the less sophisticated. Their own purchases are made purely on the basis of value […]

Is the English Language Sexist?

English has no masculine or feminine forms for words (unlike, say, French, in which the gender of words is marked by ‘le/la’ and masculine/feminine endings). But does this mean that the English language is inherently non-sexist? Begin with How Language Governs Our Perceptions of Gender, then read a […]