English in Mass Media
The reporting of news, whether in the spoken or written media, reflects one of the most difficult and constraining situations to be found in the area of language use. The chief constraint is the perpetual battle against the pressures of time and space. These pressures are absolutes. To fit a column, 20 words need to be cut. To fit a radio window, 16 seconds of a script may need to go. There is no argument. If the writer of the original material does not meet the demand, someone else higher up the editorial chain of command will do it instead. The average news report, whether printed or broadcast, is the product of many hands , journalists, editors (chief / check / copy / page sub-editors), typesetters, proofreaders, compositors, printers. There are several distinctive linguistic features of the reporting. Most relate fairly to those who, when, where, what, how and why, which journalists bear in mind when compiling a story. The headline is critical, summarizing and drawing attention to the story. Its telegraphic style is probably the best-known feature of news reporting. The first (lead paragraph both summarizes and begins to tell the story. This paragraph is the source of the headline. The original source of the story is given, either in by-line (Reuters), or built into the text (A senior White House official said). The participants are categorized, their name usually being preceded by a general term (champ, prisoner, official) and adjectives (handsome French singer J. Bruno). Other features include explicit time and place location (In Paris yesterday), facts and figures (56 people were killed in a bomb blast), and direct or indirect quotations (PM bungles, says expert).