Focus on Communication

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A. Rules of a written article.

A1. Read and comment this text about the reporter and his role in the journalistic process.

The meetings of the newspaper or magazine board resemble the business meetings. Round a table, the persons in the high part of the hierarchy analyse offers, negotiate and make plans. The page must be filled up. The heads of departments suggest topics and articles. They decide what should appear on specialised pages and on general interest pages. Priorities are to be established. This is a process taking place every day

As a rule, reporters are specialised on certain topics. They are responsible, alone or in small groups, of the relationships with the police, the hospitals, the courts of law, the political parties, the parliament, the government, the counties, the sportsmen, etc. Their work is often repetitive, it has nothing in common with the adventures seen in the films about reporters. It is about the same and the same press conferences, the same old faces and sources, nothing new. Though, the gift of the journalist consists in discovering interesting things in daily routine.

The qualities of a reporter:

• the sense of the news (the “flair”);

• the sense of urgency;

• the capacity to meet the deadlines for delivery of materials;

• the capacity to fit into a given space;

• the good sense in the selection of the most significant details of an event and even in selecting what is or is not worth including in a newspaper material;

• the obsession of precision and accuracy;

• the tolerance (all the persons coming in touch with reporters should be treated in the same way, without irritation and prejudices);

• the capacity to change registers (a good reporter succeeds not to disagree with the interlocutors);

• the ability to listen;

• the curiosity;

• the perseverance;

• the ability to write about facts, not suppositions (a common temptation for journalists is to rapidly launch suppositions, without verifying the information).

A2. Read and comment upon this passage about the journalistic text:

Is there a manner of writing which is specific to the journalists in presenting the events? Are there ways of conceiving the articles for the newspapers? Has the journalistic text a specific, allowing us to talk about a journalistic discourse?

It is obvious for anyone who reads a short story, a letter or a report that they are not to be found in a newspaper as autonomous journalistic materials. Both the report and the letter could be support elements for an article, but the journalistic text could only be the reportage, the investigation, the interview. This observation makes us reach the conclusion that there are certain particularities of the journalistic text. We expect to find in a newspaper exciting and coherent texts, signed by professionals, informing us about the newsworthy events. We also expect to read texts which are conceived in a certain manner, so the presence of short stories, letters or reports in a newspaper would amaze us.

The final form of the journalistic text is the result of the activity of collecting, selecting, making hierarchies and condensing the information. The newspaper article does not offer rough information, as it is filtered in order to respond to the expectations of the audience. The filtering of the information is not accomplished by chance, it is a scientific process, taking into account the nature of the information, the channel of transmission and the type of text the author has the intention to write (news, reportage, investigation, interview, comment). Albert Kientz offers a general model of dealing with the information in the written press, using as analysis criteria for filtering the information: (1) the originality of the message; (2) the intelligibility of the message; (3) the degree of involvement of the audience; (4) the psychological depth of the information. What is originality in the journalistic practice? The informative press considers as being newsworthy only the unexpected, unusual pieces of information, which transmit changes of a tradition and modify the common perception of reality. The second criterion for dealing with the information refers to the degree of intelligibility of the message. The journalist will avoid abstract terms, long sentences, complicated syntactical structures, inversions. For retaining the information they use key words and redundancies. The evaluation of the information according to the degree of involvement of the audience is accomplished taking into account the types of reactions certain news might provoke (immediate or delayed reactions). This factor will make the journalist choose the genre and the length of the article. The fourth criterion in dealing with the information refers to the impact it has over the public mentality. The deeper the information gets into the human minds, the greater the possibility to be retained. That is why the sensational press addressing to wide categories of public use themes as violence, sex, family life, which have great impact. Information about economic, social, political issues affect superficial levels of human minds, being intended for the educated public.

A3. Read, translate and comment upon the following article from The Times and try to conceive an article about the daily activities of the President of Romania:

Alan Hamilton watches the Queen venture into a strange world of trainers and plastic washing-up bowls

Those determined to portray the monarch as a people’s Queen could hardly have designed a more populist day out for her yesterday: she spent the morning in Ellesmere Port, shopping for kitchenware and a pair of trainers, sustaining herself with a visit to a drive-in McDonald’s.

Being the Queen, she bought neither canvas shoes nor plastic washing-up bowl, and no Big Mac passed the royal lips. But as an exercise in carefully stage-managed window-shopping, it opened the eyes of both Sovereign and subjects.

Her visit to the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Village fitted the new pattern that has emerged to counter criticisms of remoteness that surfaced after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Typically on an away day, the Queen now meets far more ordinary people in everyday situations and far fewer flunkeys.

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