Emotive, evaluative, epistemic : a linguistic analysis of affectivity in news journalism

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Koivunen , A , Kanner , A , Janicki , M M , Harju , A , Hokkanen , J & Mäkelä , E 2021 , ' Emotive, evaluative, epistemic : a linguistic analysis of affectivity in news journalism ' , Journalism , vol. 22 , no. 5 , 1464884920985724 , pp. 1190-1206 . https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884920985724

Title: Emotive, evaluative, epistemic : a linguistic analysis of affectivity in news journalism
Author: Koivunen, Anu; Kanner, Antti; Janicki, Maciej Michal; Harju, Auli; Hokkanen, Julius; Mäkelä, Eetu
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Digital Humanities
University of Helsinki, Department of Digital Humanities
University of Helsinki, Department of Digital Humanities
Date: 2021-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 17
Belongs to series: Journalism
ISSN: 1464-8849
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/333994
Abstract: In this article, we introduce a linguistic approach to studying affectivity as a fundamental feature of news journalism. By reconceptualising affectivity beyond emotive storytelling, intentional stance-taking or evaluative expression, we propose a methodology that highlights how conventions related to mediating, modulating and managing affectivity permeate journalistic genres. Drawing from conversation analysis, Bakhtinian theory of language as dialogical and notion of affective meaning-making, we investigate how selected linguistic forms and structures – namely evidential and epistemic modals and lexical items signalling affective intensity (such as emotive and evaluative words and metaphorical expressions) – participate in affective meaning-making in news journalism. A scalable computational methodology is introduced to study multiple linguistic structures in conjunction. In investigating a case study – the news reporting and commentary on a highly charged, year-long political conflict between the right-wing conservative government and the trade unions in Finland (2015–2016) – the approach allows a focus on the ways in which affectivity operates in journalistic texts in response to both generic expectations of the audience and journalistic conventions. Our findings include identification of the intertwining of strategic rituals of objectivity and emotionality, recognition of metaphoricity as a key source of affectivity and detection of different news article types having their own conventions for managing affectivity. We also observe a connection between emotive and evaluative words and the grammatical constructions used to express degrees of certainty, which suggests these modal constructions play an important part in how affectivity informs journalistic texts.
Subject: 518 Media and communications
Affect
Computational Analysis
Emotion
Journalism
Linguistics
News
Research Methods
Quantitative
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