Personal perspective in TV news interviews

Jennifer Alber, Daniel C. O’Connell and Sabine Kowal

Abstract

Two interviews by Christiane Amanpour televized September 8, 2000 on CNN, one with Ehud Barak and one with Yasser Arafat were analyzed for indicators of personal perspective. Generally, use of the same indicators as in Suleiman, O’Connell, & Kowal (2002) was confirmed: Number of syllables spoken; use of first-person singular and plural pronominals and second-person pronominals; hesitations; smooth and interruptive turn transitions; and questions posed by interviewees. The interview with Arafat was extraordinarily agonistic, as manifested in his excessive use of first-person singular and second-person pronominals, hesitations, questions, and interruptions. For her part, Amanpour incited the shift to agonism with her provocative questioning. She then moved toward a more personal perspective by speaking proportionally more and by using more first-person singular pronominals and hesitations, all the while still maintaining her professional style of smooth turn transition. The dialogical character of personal perspective is discussed.

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