Professionalism in political broadcast talk: The performance of a distancing journalistic self in formatted pre-election debates

Eva De Smedt, Tom Van Hout (Editor), Gabrina Pounds (Editor), Bram Vertommen (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article focuses on journalistic self-presentations within political television talk. While previous studies have explored quite extensively how journalists manage to achieve a "neutralistic" posture within news interviews and other forms of political broadcast talk, they have been cautious about incorporating reflections on the role of programme formats. This study raises questions about how televisual formats (can) play a role in the formulation of a professional, distancing journalistic self in political television programmes. The analysis draws on transcriptions of 19 pre-election debates broadcast on Flemish public service television (VRT) in 2009. Inspired by a conversation analytic framework and building on Steven E. Clayman's (1988, 1992, 2002, 2007) findings on the use of footing shifts in news interviews, the analysis shows that the presence of pre-produced, format-related components, such as public surveys, reportages and expert commentaries, enlarges the journalist-presenters' "pool" of strategic resources to reach, defend and legitimise a neutralistic stance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-122
Number of pages9
JournalDiscourse, Context & Media
Volume1
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Tom Van Hout, Gabrina Pounds, Bram Vertommen

Keywords

  • Interaction
  • Journalism
  • Neutralism
  • Political television talk
  • Programme formats
  • Self-presentation

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