What Are they Actually Saying? Structuring News Reports for Objectivity/Subjectivity’.

Maj-Britt Höglund

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The notion that news reporting is "objective" is part of the professional ideology upheld within journalism. Journalists will talk of the "angle" of the story, but without admitting that choosing an angle also means taking a stance on the matter.
The text samples of this pilot study are one news story and one editorial from the Swedish language newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet, published in Helsinki - Helsingfors, Finland. They deal with the process of finding a new CEO for Yle, the national Finnish Broadcasting Company. It was a process that misfired and turned into a political "affair".
The news story and the editorial are subjected to critical discourse analysis, using the Appraisal theory, set within Systemic Functional Linguistics.
The resources used by the reporter and the editor in the sample can be described as those of attitudinal positioning; implicit and explicit evaluation of people and of processes involved in the "affair". Heteroglossic resources, mainly intravocalisation, are used to endow the story with attitudinal affect in a manner that places responsibility not with the writer, but with the persons interviewed. The structure of the news story is exploited in order to create apparent objectivity, which is in fact subjectivity.
The stance taken by the persons interviewed comes to colour the news story as such, and in fact constitutes the stance taken by the reporter or editor.
So what are the journalists actually saying? And with whose words?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFackspråk och översättningsteori : VAKKI-symposium XXV
EditorsKarita Mård-Miettinen, Nina Niemelä
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationVasa
PublisherForskargruppen för översättningsteori, fackspråk och flerspråkighet vid Vasa universitet
Publication date2005
ISBN (Print)952-476-102-5
Publication statusPublished - 2005
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event2005 VAKKI symposium - Vörå Norrvalla, Vörå, Finland
Duration: 12.02.200513.02.2005
Conference number: XXV


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