Humour as a strategy for news delivery: the case of Meduza

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2021.9.1.Vasileva

Keywords:

medialinguistics analysis, tools of humour, humour in news, paratext, polycode

Abstract

In this article, humour is viewed as a strategic resource for informing in media discourse. It is analyzed through the case of “Evening Meduza”, a Russian-language nightly newsletter, received via email or Telegram messenger. A media linguistics analysis of polycode hypermedia text is used to identify communicative linguistic means, contributing to a comic reinterpretation of news on the paratextual, intratextual and visual-illustrative level. News messages in the newsletter are created in the format of compressed “packagings” (a term borrowed from Chafe) with embedded links, following which an addressee goes to the page with source text or concomitant informational resources. Humour is analyzed in packagings as well as in whole text and paratext blocks. Humorous means are revealed in three vectors of analysis: empathy in packaging texts, paratextual focus interaction, and news visualization. The change of narrative perspectives in text packages allows the authors to shift the focus of contrast within a newspiece and create humorous content while showing empathy to readers with different presuppositional expectations. The author’s signature always includes a prepositive ironic addition (attribution) that highlights one of the issue’s news elements and forces the audience to reread the newsletter in order to understand the semantic relation. Subheadings create a comic contrast, focusing on individual parts of the reference content while preparing the reader to perceive the news of the day interconnectedly. A mandatory humorous component in the block “And – picture” was found to show the news event in a visual semiotic code using a demotivator style that expresses a pun.

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Author Biographies

Viktoria Vladimirovna Vasileva, Saint Petersburg University

Associate Professor, Department of Media Lingustics

Viktoria Vasileva has taught Russian Language and Literature since graduating from Perm State University (Philology, 1980). In 1990, V. Vasilyeva received a PhD in Philology for her dissertation, ‘Dynamics of the Rhythmic Organization of Prosaic Language’. In 1993, she was awarded the rank of Associate Professor, and subsequently taught at the Universities of Graz and Innsbruck in Austria. Since 2002, Professor Vasileva has been teaching stylistics, literary editing, speech technique, and genres of broadcast journalism to journalism students, as well as supervising student television productions. Author of over 70 scholarly articles, Dr. Vasileva has organized and participated in numerous academic conferences, both Russian and international.

Liubov Yurevna Ivanova, Saint Petersburg University

Assistant Professor, Department of Media Linguistics, St Petersburg State University

In 2007, Liubov Ivanova graduated with honors from the School of Letters (Philological Faculty) of Perm State University, with a degree in Journalism. In addition, in 2007, she completed a course of supplementary education ‘Translator in the sphere of professional communication – journalism’ at Perm University (specialization in English). From 2008 to 2011, she studied at the School of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University. Since 2017, she has been a senior lecturer at the Department of Media Linguistics of St. Petersburg State University. In 2018, she defended her candidate (PhD) dissertation titled ‘Speech representation of intertextual dialogicity in the media discourse of international relations’. She has 18 academic publications.

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Published

2021-04-03

How to Cite

Vasileva, V. V., & Ivanova, L. Y. (2021). Humour as a strategy for news delivery: the case of Meduza. The European Journal of Humour Research, 9(1), 105–128. https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2021.9.1.Vasileva