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Home arrow Communication arrow Semiotics and Verbal Texts: How the News Media Construct a Crisis
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Feature Articles

This media genre appears only twice in the entire data set, and this is in the form of travel features, both, coincidentally, dealing with New Orleans and both written in 2012. Both use the theme of the city’s renaissance in the wake of a series of disasters (one shared with the rest of the USA, that is, the financial crisis, and two that were much more localised, that is, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill). One of the items goes even further back in time and scope:

The nearly 300-year-old city has had to rebound from centuries of disasters including fires, plagues, hurricanes and most recently, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (The New Zealand Herald, 27.4.2012)

One writer uses a personal narrative approach, comparing New Orleans with her home town of Sarasota, and the other uses an impersonal observer approach. In both cases, the tone is largely descriptive, with the point of closure at the end, as is typical of the genre.

Editorial or Opinion Pieces

The texts in this category in the sample are of two main types—editorial/ journalistic comment and blog comment. Over the three-year span, the proportion of editorial or opinion pieces increases strongly to 2011 and remains at a similar level in 2012, indicating a shift in focus from reporting to commenting on and evaluating the events. Comment tends to be presented as more impersonal in quality papers, as more personal and emotional in the popular press and often as highly charged in Internet blogs, as two example titles from 2012 exemplify: “Should we kill the politicians before they kill us?” (Phil’s Stock World, 27.4.2012) and “‘Crucify them’: the Obama way” (Right Wing News, 27.4.2012). How commentary is variously constructed as more or less “personal” is a topic for attention in the detailed analysis chapters.

 
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