Economic-financial journalists as argumentative intermediaries
The paper offers a single-case analysis of newsmaking discourse, considering the source, the writing process and the news product from the vantage point of argumentation. The case study examines how a journalist of the business-finance desk of a generalist newspaper copes with the argumentative and persuasive nature of the corporate press releases on financial results on which he depends for his reporting. The paper contributes to the understanding of journalistic practices in the economy-finance desk showing that even within the constrained genre of hard news reporting and despite the epistemic and practical limitations of newsmaking practices the journalist does not renounce to a critical stance towards the argumentation in the source. This is done without fully and explicitly assuming the argumentative roles of antagonist and protagonist of alternative standpoints but rather by rhetorically framing the reader in these roles. Methodologically, the paper showcases a two-way cross-fertilization between argumentation theory and the ethnography of newsmaking. The newsmaking process joining the press release and the newspaper article is analyzed in vivo thanks to the ethnographic methodology of Progression Analysis (PA). Progression Analysis provides a new kind of evidence for argumentative reconstruction, while argumentative reconstruction provides an explicit framework for comparing source and product texts and for laying down the reasoning behind the journalist’s decision making as elicited by (PA).
Journal of Argumentation in Context
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