Conciseness, an outsider’s perspective and a smooth intonation contour: A comparison of appositions in press releases and news stories based upon them

Frank Jansen

Abstract

It is the desk editor’s task to revise the press releases presented to the newspaper in order to get news stories that are fit to print. What does that mean: Revise? This question is answered by a corpus study of appositions in press releases and the news stories that are based on them. The analysis is carried out in two directions. In the ‘forward’ analysis, the question is how appositions in source texts are dealt with by desk editors. In the ‘backward’ analysis, the origins are traced in the news stories. It is shown that appositions are revised quite often. From the revision data we may infer a number of motives for editorial interventions. Newspaper editors are more inclined than writers of press releases to favor concise sentences with a smooth, uninterrupted intonation contour and with a neutral outsider’s perspective.

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