A Corpus-Linguistic Analysis of News Coverage in Kenya's Daily Nation and Great Britain's Times
Moon, Ruth Clarisse
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This study uses institutional theory and corpus linguistics to understand the differences between press systems. Institutional theory suggests that institutions, including the press, develop some shared characteristics across organizations within the same eld, but also develop unique tendencies that reflect the social and political system within which each organization exists. Thus, one should see differences in output between organizations operating in systems faced with different institutional influences. This research uses word frequency comparison, an analytical technique from the corpus linguistics toolkit, to address the following question: What are the similarities and differences in word use between two newspapers representative of press systems whose institutional characteristics have developed within different political and social environments? The answer to this question advances empirical scholarly understanding of non-Western press systems as institutions. Using Britain's Times and Kenya's Daily Nation as comparative case studies, this analysis finds that many professional stylistic habits and norms of journalists are portable across significant geographic and cultural distances, as a majority of heavily used words are shared across the two newspapers. Where there are differences, the Daily Nation tends to rely more on language indicative of nation-building and an Africa-based identity, while language in the Times indicates an orientation that views citizens as important change agents in political processes and Great Britain as a player in global events. This study shows that in spite of the globalization of journalism culture, local political and social institutions are still important to understanding how journalism works.
- Communications