Sketchwriting, political “colour” and the sociolinguistics of stance
The language of press and television news reportage is familiar territory for critical discourse analysis and other approaches to politics in the mass media (e.g., Kelly-Holmes and O’Regan, 2004, Chouliaraki 2005), as is that of newspaper editorials (e.g. Le 2003). But, in sympathy with, e.g., van Leeuwen and Jaworski (2003), we believe that a full understanding of mediated political culture needs to extend beyond this territory to consider a wider range of linguistic, visual and multimodal media genres. This article reviews the character of political sketchwriting in Britain as a basis for an assessment of its contribution to the national political mediascape. To do this, we draw on recent work in discourse analysis (Engebretson 2007) and sociolinguistics (Jaffe 2009) on the concept of ‘stance’. First, we illustrate the history of sketchwriting as a newspaper genre, tracing it back to the earliest days of political reportage in Britain. We then explore, with reference to a corpus of materials assembled during the British General Election campaign of 2010, how the stance-work of this genre is prototypically managed. Following this, we demonstrate the extension of such work to a wider range of political column discourse, under the general heading of ‘colour writing’.
Keywords: media, discourse, newspapers, Britain, stance
Published online: 19 July 2011
Cited by 1 other publications
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