Telling it like it is or just telling a good story?
Editing techniques in news coverage of the British parliamentary expenses scandal
Peter Bull | Department of Psychology, University of York, UK
Ralph Negrine | Department of Journalism, University of Sheffield, UK
Katie Hawn | Department of Communication, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA
According to recent research, there has been a marked shift in television new journalism from a fact-based to a more interpretive style, through editing techniques such as de-contextualization and re-contextualization. The aim of this study was to investigate whether such techniques might be identified in British news bulletins, broadcast during the parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009. Audio-visual clips utilized by more than one television channel were identified, in order to analyze the interpretation of identical audio-visual content across different news bulletins. In addition, clips taken from House of Commons debates were checked against Hansard (the written record of all parliamentary proceedings). Specific editing techniques identified were: contextualization before and after an utterance; interpolation; and the creation of imaginary dialogues. News bulletins were conceptualized as a form of narrative, with politicians as actors, political journalists as narrators, and clips from different political events edited into the overall framework of an interpretive storyline.
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