Publication Details

Thomson, EA, White, PRR and Kitley, P, “Objectivity” and “hard news” reporting across cultures: comparing the news report in English, French, Japanese and Indonesian journalism, Journalism Studies, 9(2), 2008. Original journal available here.


This paper is concerned with comparisons of the language of hard news reporting across languages and cultures. Within English-language journalism, authorial “neutrality” and use of the “inverted pyramid” structure are frequently seen to be distinctive features of the modern hard news report and one of the grounds by which journalists assert the “objectivity” of their writing. This paper proposes a framework for investigating these notions linguistically and cross-linguistically, i.e. by reference to systematically observable features of the language and the text organizational structures used in the hard news reporting of different journalistic traditions. The paper reports that what might be termed authorial “neutrality” can be found operating in the hard news reporting of range of a different languages, but only when “neutrality” is understood to be a strategic constraining of a certain subset of attitudinal language. The paper reports that the “inverted pyramid” structure is also found cross-linguistically but further research is required to determine whether it is as dominant in the hard news reporting of other cultures as it appears to be in English language journalism.



Link to publisher version (DOI)