In Chapter 10 of The Discourse of News Values we suggest that the DNVA frameworks that we introduced for analysis of published news items could also be applied to media releases or news agency copy. Media releases, for instance, are written in a prefabricated journalistic style to allow reproduction by news workers (Jacobs 1999, cited in Catenaccio et al 2011: 1844) and, just like published news stories, they use linguistic features to create news value (Lazzeretti & Bondi 2012: 585). We briefly discuss one example here – a media release from the New South Wales police force.
Man dies during morning swim near Taree
An elderly man has died after being found in surf off Old Bar Beach near Taree this morning.
Emergency services were called about 7.40am today (Friday 11 July 2014), when surfboard riders found the man unconscious.
He was taken to the beach and CPR commenced; however, he died at the scene.
It’s believed the man lives locally and is aged in his 70s, but he is yet to be formally identified.
A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.
(NSW Police Force Media Release, Friday, 11 July 2014 10:07:45 AM, [link no longer active, but see http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/media_release_archives, for other media releases])
It does indeed seem possible to apply DNVA to the media release in example 1. Thus, we can find constructions of Personalisation (man, an elderly man), Timeliness (the event as recent: dies, has died, this morning, today etc; the investigations as ongoing: is yet to be; will be prepared), Proximity (for a Taree and a NSW audience: near Taree, lives locally, etc), and Negativity (dies, has died etc) with authorities (Emergency services) involved (establishing ‘weak’ Eliteness). Incidentally, the use of the present perfect has died in the first paragraph seems to be an instance of the ‘hot-news’ usage in Australian police media reports (Ritz 2010: 3409). Since media releases are often publicly available, it would be possible to compare them to the news items which result from them (e.g. Sissons 2012). In this way, DNVA could be used to gain further insights into processes of newsworthiness construction. This does not mean that the DNVA frameworks that we introduce in our book can be applied to all phases of the news process (although a discursive approach can), as discussed here.
Catenaccio, P., Cotter, C., De Smedt, M., Garzone, G., Jacobs, G., Macgilchrist, F., Lams, L., Perrin, D., Richardson, J.E., van Hout, T. and van Praet, E. (2011). ‘Towards a linguistics of news production’. Journal of Pragmatics 43(7): 1843-1852.
Jacobs, G. (1999). Preformulating the News. An Analysis of the Metapragmatics of Press Releases. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Lazzeretti, C. and Bondi, M. (2012). ‘“A hypnotic viewing experience”. Promotional features in the language of exhibition press announcements’. Pragmatics 22(4): 567-589.
Ritz, M-E. (2010). ‘The perfect crime? Illicit uses of the present perfect in Australian police media releases’. Journal of Pragmatics 42: 3400-3417.
Sissons, H. (2012). ‘Journalism and public relations: A tale of two discourses’. Discourse & Communication 6(3): 273-294.
Caple, H. and Bednarek, M. (2017) ‘DNVA of media releases or agency copy’. Discursive News Values Analysis (DNVA). http://www.newsvaluesanalysis.com/our-book/extensions/dnva-and-media-releases/