Media Talk: Spoken Discourse on TV and Radio

Media Talk: Spoken Discourse on TV and Radio

Media Talk: Spoken Discourse on TV and Radio

Media Talk: Spoken Discourse on TV and Radio

Synopsis

Over the past twenty years, a focus on broadcast talk has emerged as an innovative approach to studying the media. Adapting perspectives derived from Discourse and Conversation Analysis, this approach investigates distinctive forms of mediated speech on TV and radio. It provides original insights into the ways in which broadcasting stages 'discourse events' (interviews, debates, commentaries and verbal performances) which are designed to attract and involve overhearing audiences. Media Talk is the first book to provide a comprehensive review of this important work, in terms which are accessible to students and non-specialist readers. It is however, much more than a textbook, being augmented throughout by the author's own research into contemporary, sometimes controversial developments. An introduction to this area of media studies, and its distinctive methodologies, is followed by chapters on news talk, political talk, sports talk, radio DJ talk, talk shows, celebrity interviews and 'reality TV'. The book is illustrated with examples from British and American radio and television. Particular themes include:
• the so-called 'dumbing down' of news and current affairs in increasingly 'conversational' forms
• the design of forms of talk to appeal to particular target audiences
• the development of new forms of 'reality' programming featuring unscripted verbal performances by 'ordinary' people

Excerpt

This book examines the talk we hear on radio and TV. It looks at styles of programme presentation, commentary, dialogue, interview and debate. Its primary concern is with the way forms of talk, in different programme genres, are designed to appeal to overhearing audiences. As such, its main focus is on 'conversational' media talk which either addresses the audience directly, or attempts to engage the audience in 'quasi-interactive' relationships. Such talk often appears to be 'live' (even when the programme has been recorded) and relatively unscripted (though usually some sort of preplanning is apparent). This book is not concerned therefore with the overtly scripted dialogue of fictional programming such as forms of drama, including soap opera and situation comedy. Nor is it dealing with the very interesting and developing culture of new media, where 'chat' has become a hybrid form of spoken and written communication.

The first reason for paying close attention to these forms of talk on radio and TV is that they are fundamental to the way these media work. As far as radio is concerned, this is an obvious point, but it has also been recognised that talk is a key aspect of television, both in its engagement with audiences and in the audience response. However, because of its disciplinary and theoretical roots, the study of talk has been relatively neglected in the development of media studies. The main emphasis has been on visual culture, and radio has long suffered from being a relatively 'forgotten' medium. Where the verbal dimension has been discussed, the main focus has been on propositional content, often characterised, in one way or another, as 'ideological'. This book, however, investigates media talk as verbal interaction. It is concerned with the ways participants in radio and TV programmes interact with each other in such a way that viewers and listeners, after a fashion, interact with them. Sometimes defined as a 'double articulation' (Scannell 1991) there is a communicative dynamic at the heart of broadcasting which this book seeks to explore.

This book is located within a growing research interest in the study of broadcast talk. For about twenty years now a body of academic work has . . .

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