Interplay of overt and hidden messages in Dutch television news

Research proposal Karen Van Stapele.

By textually dissecting a body of Dutch television news programs, this research project seeks to lay bare various levels in which news messages are being conveyed simultaneously and successively; thus contextualizing one another and therefore being mutually influential in terms of meaning making. If relative explicitness or implicitness of such messages’ signs differ on the level of their signifiers and signifieds, this may deeply impact the information a receiver will take away from a news utterance. The implications of this phenomenon may be even more profound if the role of news information in audiences’ opinion forming and eventual behaviors is taken into consideration.
Although media may be evaluated as both indicative of and influential upon societal, cultural, political and ideological practices, they are assumed not to be a mere reflection or agent of discourse, but an inextricable part of society. News occupies a special position in the discursive role of media, as it clearly claims to be indexive of real events. Thus, it dually interacts between its place within societal discourse and its comment upon ethical, moral, ideological and political topics; which intermittently evolve around conflict resolution, identity marking, interest promotion and environmental issues. Therefore, it is expected that upon completion of this research project, it will be possible to offer assertions on these issues as well and place them within intercultural and historical contexts.
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