LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT

Username
Password
Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

Or use your Academic/Social account:

Congratulations!

You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.

Important!

Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

Name:
Username:
Password:
Verify Password:
E-mail:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Mitchell, Philip; Stewart, James (2017)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
This article scrutinises the usage of the words “we”, “us” and “our” by BBC radio journalists when reporting and discussing news and current affairs. By analysing reports and discussions on the “flagship” Radio 4 Today, a daily news programme whose centrality to political and public debate is widely recognised, the article raises substantive questions about clarity, accuracy and impartiality in senior broadcast journalists’ choice of language. In exploring the assumptions which may underlie the invocation, via such language choices, of an implied community, and against the backdrop of the BBC's commitment to impartiality in its Editorial Guidelines, the article identifies numerous recent examples where the choice of words and identifiers can be seen as undermining the BBC's impartiality and which show several of its senior journalists adopting the first-person plural “we” when reporting on matters of public policy. The findings therefore indicate a general need to codify norms which are seen to integrate the need for accuracy as well as impartiality, and for these norms to take into account issues which might at first glance seem to be inconsequential, micro-level features of the journalists’ language. The evidence suggests that more fine-grained guidelines on permissible circumstances for BBC journalists’ usage of “we” and “our” need revising and disseminating in the light of these findings.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Alber, Jennifer, Daniel O'Connell and Sabine Kowal. 2002. 'Personal Perspective in TV News Interviews.' Pragmatics 12 (2): 257-271.
    • Anderson, Benedict. 2006. Imagined Communities. 2nd ed. London: Verso.
    • BBC. 2015. Editorial Guidelines. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelinesimpartiality-consensus-campaigns-scrutiny/
    • Bell, Allan. 1991. The Language of News Media. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
    • Berry, Mike. 2012. 'The Today Programme and the Banking Crisis.' Journalism 14 (2): 253-270.
    • Bucholz, Mary. 2000. 'The Politics of Transcription.' Journal of Pragmatics 32 (10): 1439-1465.
    • Bull, Peter and Anita Fetzer. 2006. 'Who Are We And Who Are You? The Strategic Use of Forms of Address in Political Interviews.' Text and Talk 26 (1): 3-37.
    • Clayman, Stephen E. 1992. 'Footing in the Achievement of Neutrality: the Case of News-Interview Discourse.' In Talk at Work, edited by Paul Drew and John Heritage, 163-198. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Clayman, Stephen E. 2002. 'Tribune of the People: Maintaining the Legitimacy of Aggressive Journalism.' Media, Culture and Society 24 (2): 197-216.
    • Clayman, Stephen E. and Heritage, John. 2002. The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Connolly-Ahern, Colleen, Lee A. Ahern and Denise Sevick Bortree. 2009. 'The Effectiveness of Stratified Constructed Week Sampling for Content Analysis of Electronic News Source Archives: AP Newswire, Business Wire, and PR Newswire.' Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 86 (4): 862-883.
    • Cramer, Jennifer. 2010. ''Do We Really Want To Be Like Them?': Indexing Europeanness through Pronominal Use.' Discourse and Society 21 (6): 619-637.
    • Davidson, Christina. 2009. 'Transcription: Imperatives for Qualitative Research.' International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8 (2): 35-52.
    • De Fina, Anna. 1995. 'Pronominal Choice, Identity and Solidarity in Political Discourse.' Text 20 (4): 1-46.
    • Donovan, Paul. 1997. All Our Todays, Forty Years of the 'Today' Programme. London: Jonathan Cape.
    • Ekström, Mats, Göran Eriksson, Bengt Johansson, and Patrik Wikström. 2012. 'Biased Interrogations? A MultiMethodological Approach on Bias in Election Campaign Interviews.' Journalism Studies 14 (3): 423-439.
    • Eldridge, John. ed. 1995. Glasgow Media Group Reader Volume 1: News Content, Language and Visuals. London: Routledge.
    • Fetzer, Anita and Peter Bull. 2008. ''Well, I Answer it by Simply Inviting You to Look at the Evidence.' The Strategic Use of Pronouns in Political Interviews.' Journal of Language and Politics 7 (2): 271-289.
    • Flood, Chris, Stephen Hutchings, Galina Miazhevich and Henri Nickels. 2011. 'Between Impartiality and Ideology: the BBC's Paradoxical Remit and the Case of Islam-Related Television News.' Journalism Studies 12 (2): 221-38.
    • Gaber, Ivor, Emily Seymour and Lisa Thomas. 2009. 'Is the BBC biased? The Corporation and the Coverage of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war.' Journalism 10 (2): 239-259.
    • Goffman, Erving. 1981. Forms of Talk. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Harris, Robert. 1983. Gotcha! The Media, The Government and the Falklands Crisis. London: Faber and Faber.
    • Helmbrecht, Johannes. 2002. 'Grammar and Function of We.' In Anna Duszak ed. Us and Others. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 265-289.
    • Hendy, David. 2007. Life on Air: A History of Radio 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Hester, Joe Bob and Elizabeth Dougall. 2007. 'The Efficiency of Constructed Week Sampling for Content Analysis of Online News.' Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 84 (4): 811-824.
    • Higgins, Michael and Angela Smith. 2013. The Language of Journalism: A Multi-Genre Perspective. London: Bloomsbury.
    • Hutchby, Ian. 2006. Media Talk: Conversation Analysis and the Study of Broadcasting. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
    • Hutchby, Ian. 2011. 'Non-Neutrality and Argument in the Hybrid Political Interview.' Discourse Studies 13 (3): 349-365.
    • Íñigo-Mora, Isabel. 2004. 'On the Use of the Personal Pronoun We in Communities.' Journal of Language and Politics 3: 27-52.
    • Kumar, Krishan. 1975. 'Holding the Middle Ground: the BBC, the Public and the Professional Broadcaster.' Sociology 9 (1): 67-88.
    • Luckhurst, Tim. 2001. This is 'Today': A Biography of the 'Today' Programme. London: Aurum Press.
    • Lundell, Åsa Kroon. 2010. 'Dialogues between Journalists on the News: the Intraprofessional 'Interview' as a Communicative Genre.' Media, Culture and Society 32 (3): 429-450.
    • Manoff, Robert Karl and Michael Schudson. 1986. 'Reading the News.' In Reading the News, edited by Robert Karl Manoff and Michael Schudson, 3-8. New York: Pantheon,.
    • Marr, Andrew. 2005. 'Unleashing Humphrys or Paxo is a Democratic Service.' British Journalism Review 16 (1): 13-23.
    • Marsh, Kevin. 2012. 'Issues of Impartiality in News and Current Affairs'. Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies 1 (1): 69-78
    • McNair, Brian. 2003. News and Journalism in the UK. 4th ed. London: Routledge.
    • Moberg, Ulla and Göran Eriksson. 2013. 'Managing Ideological Differences in Joint Political Press Conferences: a Study of the Strategic Use of the Personal Pronoun 'we'.' Journal of Language and Politics 12 (3): 315- 334.
    • Montgomery, Martin. 2007a. 'Broadcast News, the Live 'Two-Way' and the Case of Andrew Gilligan.' Media, Culture and Society 28 (2): 233-259.
    • Montgomery, Martin. 2007b. The Discourse of Broadcast News: A Linguistic Approach. Abingdon: Routledge.
    • Morrison, David E. and Howard Tumber. 1988. Journalists at War: Dynamics of News Reporting During the Falklands Conflict. London: Macmillan.
    • Ochs, Elinor. 1999. 'Transcription as Theory.' In The Discourse Reader, edited by Adam Jaworski and Nikolas Coupland, 167-182, London: Routledge.
    • Ofcom 2011. Broadcast Guidance. Available at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/831190/broadcastingcode2011.pdf
    • Petersoo, Pille. 2007. 'What Does “We” Mean? National Deixis in the Media.' Journal of Language and Politics 6 (3): 419-436.
    • Philo, Greg and Mike Berry. 2004. Bad News from Israel. London: Pluto.
    • Proctor, Katarzyna and Lily I-Wen Su. 2011. 'The First Person Plural in Political Discourse: American Politicians in Interviews and in Debate.' Journal of Pragmatics 43 (13): 3251-3266.
    • Rendle-Short, Joanna. 2007. 'Neutralism and Adversarial Challenges in the Political News Interview.' Discourse & Communication 1 (4): 387-406.
    • Riffe, Daniel, Charles F. Aust and Stephen R. Lacy. 1993. 'The Effectiveness of Random, Consecutive Day and Constructed Week Sampling in Newspaper Content Analysis.' Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 70 (1): 133-139.
    • Rowley, Tom. 2015. 'Margaret Thatcher Papers: BBC 'Assisted the Enemy during the Falklands War.'' Daily Telegraph 18 June, p. 1.
    • Table 1 Radio news speaker roles (adapted from Bell 1991: 39)
    • Definition (from Goffman 1981: 226)
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article