The reporter voice and objectivity in cross-linguistic reporting of controversial news in Zimbabwean newspapers : an appraisal approach

Sabao, Collen (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The dissertation is a comparative analysis of the structural (generic/cognitive) and ideological properties of Zimbabwean news reports in English, Shona and Ndebele, focusing specifically on the examination of the proliferation of authorial attitudinal subjectivities in ‘controversial’ ‘hard news’ reports and the ‘objectivity’ ideal. The study, thus, compares the textuality of Zimbabwean printed news reports from the English newspapers (The Herald, Zimbabwe Independent and Newsday), the Shona newspaper (Kwayedza) and the Ndebele newspaper (Umthunywa) during the period from January 2010 to August 2012. The period represents an interesting epoch in the country’s political landscape. It is a period characterized by a power-sharing government, a political situation that has highly polarized the media and as such, media stances in relation to either of the two major parties to the unity government, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T). Couched in the theoretical explications of Appraisal Theory, specifically the ‘reporter voice’ configuration, the study sought to investigate the proliferation of journalistic ideological subjectivities in ‘hard news’ reports – a genre of news reporting that is largely characterised by claims of ‘objectivity’ and/or ‘neutrality’ and dispassionate journalistic reporting positions. The study, also assuming the orbital structure model developed by Iedema, Feez and White (1994) and White (1997, 1998) in the analysis of ‘hard news’ report in English broadsheet reporting, furthermore sought to investigate whether the textuality and cognitive/rhetorical structure of ‘hard news’ reports in news reports from the three Zimbabwean language journalistic cultures are organised around the same structure. The corpus of news reports analysed in this study were examined for the proliferation of instances of observable authorial ideological positionings by focusing how the choices made in terms of lexical, lexicogrammatical and syntagmatic resources signal evaluative keys that betray authorial ideological subjectivities. The texts were, thus, subjected to close textual analyses in terms of generic structure and journalistic voices. The study shows that Zimbabwean news reports in English, Shona and Ndebele generally share the same structure as expressed by the orbital model, in which authorial subjective evaluations are curtailed through a variety of strategic impersonalisations – largely ‘attribution’. However, despite these similarities, significant differences were observed with regards to the textuality of news reports as well as the uses made of attributed materials.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die verhandeling behels ʼn vergelykende analise van die strukturele (generiese/kognitiewe) en ideologiese eienskappe van Zimbabwiese nuusberigte in Engels, Shona en Ndebele, wat veral op die ondersoek van die proliferasie van subjektiwiteite in die houdings van outeurs by ‘kontroversiële’ ‘hardenuusberigte’ en die ideaal van ‘objektiwiteit’ fokus. Die studie het dus die tekstualiteit van Zimbabwiese gedrukte nuusberigte uit die Engels koerante The Herald, Zimbabwe Independent en Newsday, die Shona-koerant Kwayedza en die Ndebele-koerant Umthunywa uit die tydperk Januarie 2010 tot Augustus 2012 vergelyk. Dié tydperk verteenwoordig ʼn interessante tydvak in die land se politieke landskap. Dit is ʼn tydperk gekenmerk deur ʼn magsdelende regering, ʼn politieke situasie wat die media tot ʼn groot mate gepolariseer het en as sodanig mediastandpunte in verband met enige van die twee belangrikste partye in die eenheidsregering, die Zimbabwe Africa National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) en die Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T). Uitgedruk in die teoretiese uiteensettings van teorie van waardebepaling, in die besonder die ‘stem van die verslaggewer’-konfigurasie, het die studie gepoog om die uitbreiding van joernalistieke ideologiese subjektiwiteite in ‘hardenuusberigte’ – ʼn beriggewingsgenre wat grootliks deur aansprake van ‘objektiwiteit’ en/of ‘neutraliteit’ en posisies van emosielose joernalistieke beriggewing gekenmerk word – te ondersoek. Die studie, wat ook die orbitale struktuur-model ontwikkel deur Iedema, Feez en White (1994) en White (1997, 1998) by die analise van ‘hardenuusberigte’ in Engelstalige breëbladberiggewing gebruik het, het verder daarna gestreef om ondersoek in te stel daarna of die tekstualiteit en kognitiewe/retoriese struktuur van ‘hardenuusberigte’ in drie joernalistieke kulture in Zimbabwe om dieselfde struktuur heen georganiseer is. Die korpus nuusberigte wat in hierdie studie ontleed is, is nagegaan vir die proliferasie van gevalle van waarneembare ideologiese posisionerings van die skrywers deur te fokus op hoe die keuses wat gemaak is ten opsigte van leksikale, leksiko-grammatikale en sintagmatiese hulpbronne bewys lewer van waardebepalende sleutels wat ideologiese subjektiwiteite van die outeurs verklap. Die tekste was dus onderworpe aan noukeurige tekstuele analises ten opsigte van generiese struktuur en joernalistieke stemme. Die studie het aangetoon dat Zimbabwiese nuusberigte in Engels, Shona en Ndebele in die reël dieselfde struktuur deel as wat deur die orbitale model uitgedruk word, waarin subjektiewe evaluerings deur die outeur beperk word deur ʼn verskeidenheid strategiese onpersoonlikhede – hoofsaaklik ‘toeskrywing’. Ondanks hierdie ooreenkomste is beduidende verskille waargeneem met betrekking tot die tekstualiteit van nuusberigte asook die gebruik wat van toegeskryfde materiaal gemaak word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79939
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