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Understanding News by John Hartley

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2  READING THE NEWS

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1   Jan Leeming, BBC news reader

What is news?

Tidings; the report or account of recent events or occurrences, brought to or coming to one as new information; new occurrences as a subject of report or talk.

(Oxford English Dictionary)

As the dictionary definition makes clear, news is not the newsworthy event itself, but rather the ‘report’ or ‘account’ of an event. It is a discourse made into a meaningful ‘story’ in the same way as speech is made up out of elements of language. Like speech, news is made largely of words, but (also like speech) there is more to it than that. Hence we need a broader term than language, with its ...

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