Contested science in the media: linguistic traces of news writers’ framing activity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionWritten Communication 2015, 32(1):39-65 10.1177/0741088314557623
Science reporting in the media often involves contested issues, such as, e.g., biotechnology, climate change, and more recently, geoengineering. The reporter’s framing of the issue is likely to influence readers’ perception of it. The notion of framing is related to how individuals and groups perceive and communicate about the world. Framing is typically studied by means of content analysis, focusing primarily on the ‘stories’ told about the issue. The current paper, on the other hand, springs from an interest in writer behavior. I wish to investigate how news writers strategically exploit their rhetorical competence when reporting on contested issues, and I argue that text linguistics represents a fruitful approach to studying this process. It is suggested that genre features may serve as a basis for identifying key framing locations in the text, and that the notion of evaluation plays an important part in writers’ framing activity. I discuss these aspects through a case study involving six news reports on a geoengineering experiment.
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in "Written communication", 2015, volume 32, issue 1, pages 39-65, published by SAGE Publications. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. A definitive version: http://wcx.sagepub.com/content/32/1/39.abstract or doi: 10.1177/0741088314557623 . Copyright © 2015 SAGE Publications.