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Media Literacy and Language of Media Language and Mass Communication.

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1 Media Literacy and Language of Media Language and Mass Communication

2 Journalism and Linguistic Devices Emotive language—loaded language; reflects the emotional tone of the writer and instigates an emotional response from the reader Emotive language Censorship—intentional removal of information deemed harmful, sensitive, or controversial Euphemisms—words or phrases that are substituted for more direct words or phrases in attempt to make things easer to accept or less embarrassing Euphemisms Collateral damage > death of civilians Neutralize > kill Enhanced interrogation > torture Vague language—words, especially quantifiers, that mean different things to different readers: “a lot,” Vague language

3 Newsworthiness Bias from perspective and actual reporting Sensationalism sells—writing that is exaggerated, emotive, controversial Sensationalism If it bleeds it leads Advertising is profit model, dependent upon ratings Relevance—ability for news to answer ‘why should I care?’ Relevance is a component of newsworthiness Not all plane crashes are ‘important’ for your news Extraordinariness: Man bites dog

4 Introductory Terms Public opinion—the collection of opinions and beliefs held by the adult population of a nation; the ‘pulse of a nation’ Media (medium)—the channels of mass communication that manage public opinion Media literacy—the skill of understanding how language in the media is used as a tool to shape public opinion Mad Men / Moguls…......……….ordinary people / online

5 Example, O’Donnell / Coons DebateO’Donnell / Coons Debate Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances Christine O’Donnell Stumbles on First Amendment, San Francisco Chronicle In debate, O’Donnell Gets a Lesson on First Amendment, The Seattle Times ABC News Exclusive: Christine O’Donnell Stands Her Ground on First Amendment Statement, Blames Media for Distortions, ABC News O’Donnell Questions Separation of Church, State in Senate Debate, Fox News Christine O’Donnell blanks on First Amendment, CNN

6 Bias The skewed presentation of a story from a particular ideological position In theory, journalists should be objective and unbiased, but: Pressure to break story first Pressure to write stories that sell Tempting to tell public what is thought they want to hear vs. facts / need

7 Vantage Points: See the Differences! Analyze and address Wording of headline Use of positive and negative connotations Images used Sources: genuine? Named? First-hand? Relevant? Man on street? Real reporting? Punditry? Linguistic devices of bias and sensationalism Perspective, depth? (placement of article on site): "front page,” buried in links, bottom / side bar?

8 In-Class Practice For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage Feminism / gender studies: describing and interpreting women’s experience through literature Challenges patriarchal cultural values Uncover essential differences between men and women Challenges male representations Rediscover ignored writers Opens discussions to form and perspective interpretations Release humankind from oppression of any conscious / unconscious assimilation or subordination It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. Meanwhile, children happen. She described her children as largely unplanned, a byproduct of uncommitted relationships. I want to do things with her, but I end up falling asleep.

9 Textual Analysis > Annotation It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. Unnamed ‘it’ to begin > illegitimacy > strong negative connotations Not belonging, marginalized, unaccepted New normal suggests fad, fashion, something to change Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. Start with poor / minorities > negative connotation of exclusion, marginalization, disadvantage ‘without’ suggests motherhood lacking something without marriage Meanwhile, children happen. Combining ‘children’ with ‘happen’ = glib fatality / 'shit happens', Meh / acceptance /complacency to event (childbirth) usually viewed as exceptional and life-changing.

10 Textual Analysis > Annotation She described her children as largely unplanned, a byproduct of uncommitted relationships. Whose words? Mother’s? Journalist’s? Byproduct = waste, or discarded material, not an expected reference to a mother-child relationship. I want to do things with her, but I end up falling asleep. suggest a working parent who cares about her child. in context, invites judgment about ability of single mothers to take care of their children. The idea that working mothers in couples might be tired too is not suggested. Opinion Article: Slate’s ResponseSlate’s Response

11 Vantage Points Sochi 2014, Women’s Halfpipe Finals (Snowboarding) womens-halfpipe/2014/02/12/81d07e5c-942c-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html womens-halfpipe/2014/02/12/81d07e5c-942c-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html first-medal/story-fnl6xsc first-medal/story-fnl6xsc lifts-kaitlyn-farrington-halfpipe-gold lifts-kaitlyn-farrington-halfpipe-gold competition/?intcmp=latestnews competition/?intcmp=latestnews Egypt protest-morsi-power-grab/?test=latestnews protest-morsi-power-grab/?test=latestnews wit_n_ html?utm_hp_ref=egypt-protests wit_n_ html?utm_hp_ref=egypt-protests

12 Homework Watch Colbert Report, Andrew Keen, August 16, 2007 Colbert Report, Andrew Keen We Think, Charles Leadbeater We Think, Read “The Internet? Bah!” Clifford Stoll, Newsweek, February 26, 1995The Internet? Bah!” Define, exemplify, and link to bias (one PPT slide) Crowdsourcing Long tail marketing Notifications / RSS feed pay-per-click Personalization Social networking Super crunching Viral marketing


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