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Tag Archives: Reporting

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  • 4 Jun 2010
    Colleen Cotter

    News Talk: How To Be A Language Savvy News Consumer

    Fair, balanced, unbiased, impartial. Journalism, in theory and by definition, hinges on an ideal of neutrality, an expectation of the direct presentation of facts and findings. Yet the process of news-making is a constant ebb and flow of editorialization. From the selection to the construction of a story, editors and journalists invariably serve as a filter – controlling everything we read, see, and hear. Today, Colleen Cotter, a former news reporter and editor and the author of the forthcoming News Talk: Investigating the Language of Journalism, dissects the inner workings of the media to define the processes and practices that go into crafting our understanding of the day’s events. -------- How to be a language savvy news consumer By Colleen Cotter All professions have them: routines of interacting and communicating that become normalized. That become part of the everyday routine of doing business. A pilot’s FAA-mandated cockpit routine revolves around safety talk. A Disneyland employee uses the specified vocabulary of the Magic Kingdom to enhance the visitor experience. A police officer’s question-asking style leads to “just the facts, ma’am” while the therapist’s are more personal. So it goes with news language. News language isn’t about “correctness” as such, although that’s part of the picture. It can also tell you a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in a newsroom, how reporters and editors think about things, and what the news conventions are. To become a language-savvy news consumer, you have to think both small (words and patterns) and big (culture and concept). Here are some suggestions:

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