Identifying and analysing worthiness, unity, numbers and commitment in the UK press coverage of protests 

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is often criticised for not incorporating identifiable and accountable methods in its qualitative analyses (e.g. Rheindorf 2019), leading critics to comment that qualitative CDA methods lack transparency, replicability, and can lead to a high risk of researcher bias (Widdowson 2004: 109). This paper seeks to account for some of these limitations in the context of the press representation of protests. In doing so, it formulates the novel linguistic application of Tilly’s (2004) sociological ‘WUNC’ framework, which argues protests are successful when they display worthiness, unity, numbers and commitment (WUNC): 

• Worthiness: protesters are credible 

• Unity: protesters agree amongst themselves 

• Numbers: there are numerous protesters 

• Commitment: protesters will not give up 

By drawing on prominent methods and theories established in CDA, the paper formulates transparent linguistic categorisations of WUNC — realised through referential strategies (worthiness), possessive pronouns and determiners (unity), aggregation (numbers) and modality and evaluation (commitment) — that contribute to an explicit qualitative framework that can be used to analyse the press representation of protests. 

To demonstrate how this novel application of WUNC can be used in CDA, the paper uses the UK press reporting of the ‘People’s Vote’ anti-Brexit protests that took place between 2018 and 2019 as a case study. In doing so, it investigates how linguistic manifestations of WUNC can be manipulated by the press to convey support or opposition to the anti-Brexit protests, as a means to either legitimate (anti-Brexit press) or delegitimate (pro-Brexit press) the marches. 

Charlotte-Rose Kennedy is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded doctoral student in Linguistics and lecturer in Discourse Analysis at Nottingham Trent University. Grounded in critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, her research combines multidisciplinary methods in the critical analysis of media representations of protest. 

LINK: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZDE5NTAyNGMtY2RlMy00MmMxLWFiMWMtNTQ0ODdjMDc3YThk%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%224f78c0e3-d250-4ddf-bb1c-15d3145697cc%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%2250634ccb-14ab-4873-a68b-3834b06b2e4c%22%7d

MDC Research seminar by Dr Emma Graves – Thursday 26th May 2022 14:00 UK

Media Coverage of Extended Reality Technologies: The Blurred Boundary Between News and Promotional Discourse

The news media have significant power to impact public opinion of emerging technologies because they are often the general public’s first and main source of information about such innovations (Scheufele and Lewenstein, 2005; Sun et al., 2020). As the perceptions of new technologies are key to their success or failure (Buenaflor and Kim, 2013), the news media can have an impact not only on how these products are viewed but also on their adoption and diffusion (Rogers, 2003). When extended reality technologies (XR; encompassing virtual, augmented and mixed reality devices) for general consumer use were introduced in 2012-2016, anecdotal evidence suggested that the news media were strongly positive about them. Moreover, several studies uncovered a blurring of boundaries between promotional material and news discourse (e.g. Chyi and Lee, 2018; Erjavec, 2004; Harro-Loit and Saks, 2006). To examine whether this was the case in XR news coverage, my PhD study applied a multimodal, mixed methods framing analysis to the news and marketing of XR devices. This seminar discusses the study’s findings, providing insight into how XR is represented, the overlap between XR news and marketing and the power of technology companies to shape this news discourse.

Bio

Dr Emma Kaylee Gravesis a Lecturer in Media and Communications at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU). She completed her PhD in Media and Cultural Studies in 2021, which analysed the news and marketing of extended reality technologies. In addition, Emma has an MA by Research in Media, Art and Design and a First Class BA in Digital Media and Media and Communications. Her research interests include media representations, marketization of news media, videogames (particularly genderisation, player collaboration and the use of gaming paratexts) and online communication strategies. Emma is a former Chair of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network and is currently involved in the Hi3 Network and the Communities and Cultures Research Hub at CCCU.

Click this link to join: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MWQ3Njg0YTktYWUzYi00NjVjLWIzMWMtNjhhODAwNmQ4NTZk%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%224f78c0e3-d250-4ddf-bb1c-15d3145697cc%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%2250634ccb-14ab-4873-a68b-3834b06b2e4c%22%7d

Newsletter – October 2021

On 23-24 September 2021 Cardiff University will host the Future of Journalism Conference: Overcoming Obstacles in Journalism.

Dr Giuliana Tiripelli and Dr Gurvinder Aujla-Sidhu presented the results of their work on decolonising the curriculum of journalism through peace journalism practice at DMU, for the Future of Journalism conference (23 September). This paper illustrated the approach developed in the modules of the new journalism programme led by Gurvinder.

Professor Stuart Price gave a paper entitled ‘Insurrection! The Capitol Riot, 6 January 2021: journalistic hyperbole, the ‘post-truth’ myth, and the democracy/state conflation’, at the Future of Journalism Conference, 22 September 2021.

Abstract extract: this illustrated paper interrogates the discursive framework within which the Capitol incursion of 6 January 2021 was presented. It argues that the predominant narrativisation of the event by ‘mainstream’ liberal US/UK media – as an ‘insurrection’, an assault on ‘the seat of democracy’, and even as a form of ‘domestic terrorism’ – reinforced the notion that the democratic order and its supposed adherence to Truth, was somehow fragile and in need of reconstruction. The liberal goal was therefore the discursive/material recovery of democratic norms, after their supposed degradation under the regimen of Trump.  

Professor Jason Lee’s paper, ‘Facebook, Paedophile Hunters, and Surveillance – Mediated Transnational Abuse’, has been published in The Journal of New Media and Culture,Vol. 12 Issue 1, Special Issue: Facebook Studies, Summer 2021.

Abstract: Facebook and paedophile hunter groups in the UK, US, and India are examined. QAnon is studied and how Facebook has aided their strength. The notion of the hunt is explored in the UK and India where hoaxes are common. Financial incentives and dataveillance are analyzed. Theological paradigms are extrapolated in terms of cultural theory and capital with the recognition surveillance leads to pre-determination and the eradication of the human.

Dr Ben Harbisher’s chapter ‘Nudge: Behavioural Science, Normative Discourse, and the Art of Consent’ appears in Governing Human Lives and Health in Pandemic Times (Routledge, 2022).

International Women’s Day event

Media Discourse Centre: International Women’s Day event, Monday 8th March, 14:00–16:00

Transnational Feminist Activism – plus discussion with Q&A.

Contributions from: Media Discourse Centre and the Meccsa Social Movements Network

Programme: 

  • Dr Ruth Sanz Sabido (CCCU Canterbury): From Private to Public  and Political: Breastfeeding, Sorority and Feminism

Ruth will describe her online ethnography of a women’s support group. 

  • Professor Stuart Price (De Montfort University): the Huelga General Feminista, Spain, 2017-20.

Stuart will give an account of a two-year study of the Spanish Feminist General Strike. 

  • M. Giovanna Miralles Terán de Wilkin (CCCU): What’s in it for us?

A critical reflection on Maya women studies.

Giovanna will reveal how Maya women are organising within post-civil war Guatemala. 

  •  Dr Rinella Cere – ‘8 Marzo’ and the ‘Subaltern that cannot Speak’

Rinella will discuss the Italian ‘8 Marzo’ movement, of which she was part,  and contextualises her experience with reference to the theories of Gayatri Spivak. 

Hosted by the Documentary Media Centre  

Facilitator: John Coster 

Platform: Zoom (part recorded + live stream)

Zoom Details
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89078682067?pwd=QXZZVm1OQWFyWEQvYjRmaWtGdHhzUT09
Meeting ID: 890 7868 2067 Passcode: 958014

Talk: An analysis of misrepresentation in best-selling British magazines.

Monday 17th February, 4pm, DMU Clephan 3.01

This research-based talk presents the shocking reality of misrepresentation in best-selling British magazines.

Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/re-presenting-cover-girls-exploring-female-diversity-in-glossy-magazines-tickets-91386999977

There is a powerful relationship between gender and social inequality. Unequivocally, magazines play an important role in perpetuating stereotypes that fail to represent society. This misrepresentation impacts on females’ self-perception and helps to maintain socioeconomic disparities.

In Brazil, for example, the majority of the population is non-white, but magazines frequently display more white and blond females, reinforcing a colonised Eurocentric idealisation of beauty. The same ethnic disparity happens in the UK: there are more flamingos on the cover pages than black women. In addition, the glossy publications reinforce exclusively Eurocentric aesthetics and misogynistic behaviour, portraying conservative roles connected to motherhood and heteronormative marriages.

When the cover girls represent any sort of diversity, they are automatically forced to act as ambassadors of a cause: overweight women must talk about health; non-white models must defy racism. The misrepresentation affects minorities in the same way it discriminates diverse body formats (size, shape, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, etc) and, in general, only skinny white cisgender-able females are representatives of success and/or beauty.

Universities, magazines, and everyone in the media industry has the responsibility to join this debate and work to change the scenario. This event is a promotion of the Media Discourse Centre at De Montfort University Leicester in partnership with the University of Derby, sponsored by the Association of Journalism Education and the British Academy – Newton Fund.

Biographies:

Dr Ivana Ebel is a senior lecturer in Journalism at the University of Derby working with undergraduate, masters, and PhD students. She has broad international experience and holds a PhD in Communication and Media Sciences (Leipzig University – Germany); a Masters in Digital Media (Bremen University – Germany); a Bachelor in Communication Sciences – Journalism (Univali, Itajaí – Brazil), and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHe – University of Derby – UK). Ivana Ebel started lecturing in Brazil back in 2005. Since then, she has worked and lived in different countries, mixing academic activities with industry engagements. Her research is concentrated on media convergence, digital storytelling, visual rhetoric, mobile media consumption and fake news. She is multilingual and has more than two decades of industry experience in print media, web content, broadcasting, public relations, both in private and governmental positions, especially working as an international journalist.

Dr Gabrielle Bittelbrun is a media researcher and journalist, currently working for the Federation of Industries of Santa Catarina State, in southern Brazil. She is an experienced lecturer with a PhD in Literature (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil), and spent a semester researching in partnership with the University of Minho, in Portugal. She also has a Masters in Journalism (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil); and a Bachelor in Communication Sciences – Journalism (University of the State of São Paulo – Unesp, Bauru, Brazil). She has been working in academic research since 2007, funded by well-known Brazilian agencies such as Fapesp and Capes. In addition, her research – partially represented in this presentation – received a mobility grant from the British Academy through the Newton Fund. Her work is focused on feminism, gender, race, and women’s magazines. Gabrielle Bittelbrun is the author of the recently published book Colours and contours: gender and race in Brazilian women’s magazines. She is a member of the research group Literatual at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, working mostly with topics related to feminist and post-colonial contemporary narratives.

Tiania Stevens ‘The Ethics of Investigative Journalism

The Media Discourse Centre www.dmu.ac.uk/mdc presents journalist and war reporter Tiania Stevens 

Tiania Stevens ‘The Ethics of Investigative Journalism: 

four case studies’

Monday January 13th, Clephan 3.01, 4pm

Link for tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/4pm-clephan-301-ethics-of-investigative-journalism-tickets-88551829907

MDC Twitter: https://twitter.com/DiscourseCentre

About this Event

The Ethics of Investigative Journalism: four case studies

Tiania Stevens gives an account of her career as a journalist, which included time spent as an embedded reporter during the Iraq war. 

Tiania is in the last stages of a Ph.D. in the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland. Her thesis (‘Approaching Lives in the Aftermath: Journalism and the empathetic representations of Bosnian Muslim male testimonies of life after the concentration camps’) engages with questions and problems concerning humanitarian journalism in the media representation of camp survivors of the war in Bosnia in the 1990s.

Training in journalism at the Queensland University of Technology, Tiania worked as a a journalist in Australia, throughout Africa, Europe, and the United Kingdom. She is an experienced defence reporter, traveling with Coalition forces (US and UK) during the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, during which she worked from several countries in the Middle East, filing stories for a number of national UK publications, including the London Times. Outside theatres of war, she has extensive professional journalist experience of the Balkans, particularly Bosnia, a country she has visited for both journalistic and academic purposes almost every year since 1999. Tiania has also conducted a wide range of undercover investigative journalism stories for national publications.

Tiania completed a Master’s degree in War Studies at King’s College, University of London, before taking up her doctoral studies. For the last five years, she has taught journalism at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), covering topics including international, ethics, journalistic inquiry, investigations, computational, news writing and online journalism.