Constructing legal narratives: law, language and the media
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This paper proposes using the theory of narratology to connect legal discourses and processes with the way the media translate the law into news. Focussing on the Australian context, it looks at the choice of language used by media in covering courts, how stories are told and retold within these primarily textual environments, as well as the selection processes used by journalists in covering these rounds. The paper extends the argument for a narratology of courts, to a narratology of court reporting, suggesting fundamental criteria of story, discourse and the interpretative context be examined. It foreshadows the need for a methodology which addresses not just a content or discourse analysis of the media's coverage of the law but a more embedded, triangulated approach which follows court proceedings through their various stages, beginning with the 'acting out' in the legal system, to written versions of transcripts, to media selection and, finally, to the production of courts as news. It suggests that a possible outcome to this methodology may be a deeper understanding between the courts and the media.
Communication, Creativity and Global Citizenship: refereed proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2009
Copyright remains with the authors 2009. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australian License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/au/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.