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The types of sign systems within which a particular news story is encoded in Internet news

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Introduction

A logical place to start may be to ask "what is news?" Bignell (1997:81) suggests that "news is not just facts, but representations produced in language and other signs like photographs." The newspaper is just one medium of news communication; other media include television, radio, magazines, and the Internet. This essay will discuss on a particular news story as covered in New Zealand daily newspaper's web site, namely The Dominion. The story that is being covered is that of a TV personality whose car was towed and he tried to wreck his car. The medium of the Internet news is particularly interesting as signifiers are presented simultaneously thus offering a concrete display of signs which the reader can browse at his/her own pace and can also be downloaded, unlike television or radio news which possibly can be watched or listened to at particular time. Internet is a universe of opportunities for semiotic to occur. Notice that we are no longer speaking about a specific medium like radio, television, newsprints. ...read more.

Middle

The article implies reputation with the victim Gary McCormick who is referred to throughout as 'McCormick', whose name is very well known by New Zealanders. This strategy of distancing the reader from the story is blatantly employed by The Dominion, clearly suggesting that the preferred reading of the texts should involve no sympathy with the offender. Another noticeable of the news item is the typographic device used to break up the text. The story uses bold text to start the article, serving to extend the role of the headline in attracting the attention of the reader to the topic of the news story. The use of bold which is employed throughout the text serve to direct the reader in making meaning of the text and make blatantly obvious the points which the medium deem to be of particular significance to the understanding of the news item. The narrative of the news story uses the same type and size of font throughout the item. ...read more.

Conclusion

These contrasted pairs are made more clear by the way in which the meanings of the photograph is anchored in a small amount of text beneath the photograph. The Dominion offers its own contrasted pair in the text beneath the picture, namely 'acting on behalf' and 'bully-boy tactics'. As Bignell (1997:99) suggests, the caption underneath the picture enables the reader to 'load down the images with particular cultural meanings and the photograph functions as the proof that the text's message is true'. In the text, 'tow rage' being represented in capital, it emphasis the cultural sign which most reader will be able to relate to, and connotes sympathy, support and injustice. This discussion of the news story which shows how semiotic analysis can determine the meanings of such news item, as a result of the linguistic and visual signs used within the texts. However, semiotic analysis cannot determine how an individual reader might interpret the representations of the news items in a real social context. Semiotic analysis does offer an insight into the factors at work in the production of a news item and distinguishes the various codes which are employed by the medium when representing a particular news item. ...read more.

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