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Violence and Peace in the Print Media: News Discourse and Social Construction of Reality in Colombia
Unformatted Document Text:  Calle 7 , still leave important gaps that this study seeks to bridge. First, this study analyzes the news discourse about the conflict during a particular period of time corresponding to the peace dialogue undertaken by the government and the FARC. While some forms of dialogue had taken place before, this was the first time the government and a guerrilla group came to the table to negotiate a pacific solution to the conflict. Second, the use of the Theory of Social Construction of Reality provides an opportunity to explore new dimensions of the news discourse such as tipifications and sedimentations, which may have greater presence in the social symbolic reality. Lastly, the end of the peace dialogue demands an analysis that can provide directions with respect to the role of news media coverage, especially under the assumption that, eventually, the actors of this conflict will come back to the negotiating table. This type of analysis will be very helpful in future analysis of the role of the media in the armed conflict. The theoretical framework of this research sought a sort of ambitious blend of two conceptual lines. First, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s Theory of Social Construction of Reality 8 , whom consider the social world as the result of conscious processes and analyze, among other categories, common activities that people carry in society and its interaction with role that social institutions play in people’s everyday life. Second, studies of news discourse by Teun van dijk provides an entry point to two levels of discourse: macrostrcuture and microstructure of the news discourse. Van Dijks indicates that the macrostructure “not only allows for comprehension of very complex information, but also for organization of information in people’s memory” 9 . The macrostrcuture provides a global meaning of the discourse, while the microstructure provides more specific components of the discourse. The macrostructure or summary includes headlines and leading paragrapgh, while the microstructure or body of the news incluyes context, verbal reactions, expectations, conclusions and consequences. On the other hand, the objetcive social construction of reality incluyes aspects related to tipifications (actions and language that stay in people’s minds), roles, sedimentations and traditions (frameworks that emerge from the discourse), based on the discourse generated by the media 10 . Method The unit of analysis is the news story related to the armed conflict. News related to other violent issues are excluded, as well as op-ed pieces. Six hundred news pieces from newspapers El Tiempo (largest paper with national coverage) and El Heraldo (newspaper with most coverage in Coloambiá’s Atlantic Coast), corresponding to the first semesters of 1999 and 2000 were analyzed. A coding form included categories related to the macro-structure or summary of news (headings, opening paragraph), and the microstructure (context, verbal reactions, expectations, conclusions and consequences) following Van Dijk’s discourse analysis. The categories related to the objective social construction of reality, which included tipifications, roles, and sedimentation 7 CALLE, Natalia & FERRO, Juan Pablo, Fuerza Pública, medios de comunicación y sociedad en el conflicto armado colombiano: Una mirada desde la investigación, 1998-2001, Bogotá: proyecto Antonio Narino. 8 BERGER, Peter y LUCKMANN, Thomas. La Construcción Social de la Realidad. Buenos Aires: Amorrortu, 15 ed., 1998., p. 13; 8 LUCKMANN, Thomas. Teoría de la Acción Social. Barcelona: Paidós, 1996. 1ª. Ed., p.160 9 VAN DIJK, Teun. La noticia como discurso. Barcelona: Paidós, 1996., p. 77. 10 periodista, medio, periodismo como institución

Authors: Obregon, Rafael. and Cura, Marta.
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background image
Calle
7
, still leave important gaps that this study seeks to bridge. First, this study analyzes
the news discourse about the conflict during a particular period of time corresponding to
the peace dialogue undertaken by the government and the FARC. While some forms of
dialogue had taken place before, this was the first time the government and a guerrilla
group came to the table to negotiate a pacific solution to the conflict. Second, the use of
the Theory of Social Construction of Reality provides an opportunity to explore new
dimensions of the news discourse such as tipifications and sedimentations, which may
have greater presence in the social symbolic reality. Lastly, the end of the peace dialogue
demands an analysis that can provide directions with respect to the role of news media
coverage, especially under the assumption that, eventually, the actors of this conflict will
come back to the negotiating table. This type of analysis will be very helpful in future
analysis of the role of the media in the armed conflict.
The theoretical framework of this research sought a sort of ambitious blend of two conceptual
lines. First, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s Theory of Social Construction of Reality
8
,
whom consider the social world as the result of conscious processes and analyze, among other
categories, common activities that people carry in society and its interaction with role that social
institutions play in people’s everyday life. Second, studies of news discourse by Teun van dijk
provides an entry point to two levels of discourse: macrostrcuture and microstructure of the news
discourse. Van Dijks indicates that the macrostructure “not only allows for comprehension of
very complex information, but also for organization of information in people’s memory”
9
. The
macrostrcuture provides a global meaning of the discourse, while the microstructure provides
more specific components of the discourse. The macrostructure or summary includes headlines
and leading paragrapgh, while the microstructure or body of the news incluyes context, verbal
reactions, expectations, conclusions and consequences. On the other hand, the objetcive social
construction of reality incluyes aspects related to tipifications (actions and language that stay in
people’s minds), roles, sedimentations and traditions (frameworks that emerge from the
discourse), based on the discourse generated by the media
10
.
Method
The unit of analysis is the news story related to the armed conflict. News related to other violent
issues are excluded, as well as op-ed pieces. Six hundred news pieces from newspapers El
Tiempo (largest paper with national coverage) and El Heraldo (newspaper with most coverage in
Coloambiá’s Atlantic Coast), corresponding to the first semesters of 1999 and 2000 were
analyzed. A coding form included categories related to the macro-structure or summary of news
(headings, opening paragraph), and the microstructure (context, verbal reactions, expectations,
conclusions and consequences) following Van Dijk’s discourse analysis. The categories related to
the objective social construction of reality, which included tipifications, roles, and sedimentation
7
CALLE, Natalia & FERRO, Juan Pablo, Fuerza Pública, medios de comunicación y sociedad en el
conflicto armado colombiano: Una mirada desde la investigación, 1998-2001, Bogotá: proyecto Antonio
Narino.
8
BERGER, Peter y LUCKMANN, Thomas. La Construcción Social de la Realidad. Buenos Aires:
Amorrortu, 15 ed., 1998., p. 13;
8
LUCKMANN, Thomas. Teoría de la Acción Social. Barcelona: Paidós,
1996. 1ª. Ed., p.160
9
VAN DIJK, Teun. La noticia como discurso. Barcelona: Paidós, 1996., p. 77.
10
periodista, medio, periodismo como institución


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