A linguistic-ethnographic investigation into the role of sub-editing at a broadsheet newspaper

Een linguïstisch-etnografisch onderzoek naar de rol van de eindredacteur bij een kwaliteitskrant
Start - End 
2011 - 2017 (completed)
Type 
Department(s) 
Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Department of Linguistics

Tabgroup

Abstract

In line with recent claims that media research should not only chart the professional cultures of “privileged” full-time reporters and hence marginalize other news workers (Wahl-Jorgenson 2009), the project investigates the process of sub-editing at a broadsheet newspaper in Flanders (and the Netherlands), using a linguistic ethnographic approach. Sub-editing is generally defined as the re-writing of news stories and features by checking them for factual errors or other legal dangers and making them fit the allocated space in a newspaper (Franklin et al 2005).The project, however, researchers how the sub-editors fit in the daily news production process and how their input actually influences the final news product. To illustrate this, the project aims to present a number of case studies of how sub-editing has an impact on the complex entextualizations at the heart of an individual news story, including its headline, lead and caption.By demonstrating how sub-editing goes beyond mere issues of document design, we aim to work towards a more complete definition of the sub-editor as a gatekeeper or - in the language of Gieber (1964) - as a genuine ‘newspaperman’, and hence toward a better understanding of newsmaking practice.

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