The Print Media's Use of Language to Cover Post-Election Violence: A Comparative Study of Two Kenyan Diary
Mwembi, Joseph Magena
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This report presents a contrastive text-linguistic study of rhetorical differences between texts written by the 'journalese' of different cultural practices, but using as means of expression the same language: English. This was by describing the linguistic features of headlines used by the Daily Nation and The Standard to cover PEV as well as the linguistic feature similarities and differences in the news texts. The study also shows the discourse function of the linguistic features used by the two dailies to cover PEY. A descriptive research design is adopted for this study. Six news reports were purposively sampled for analysis. Only those articles of more than 350 words, authored by either the Nation or Standard team respectively and covering the same topical issue (post 2007- Election Violence) were considered. The study adopts an eclectic theoretical framework in which the genre theory, systemic functional grammar model, appraisal theory and Biber's (1988) model informed data analysis. Data was then discussed and the results presented through frequency tables. Generalizations and conclusions were made based on the findings of the study. This was an attempt aimed at contributing to research in Genre Analysis. It has emerged that expressions that imply and visualize violence characterized the writing of headlines making readers to visualize a grim picture of the PEV experience. Again, both dailies preferred the use of the past tense to indicate something of just how basic narration of past actions and events like PEV are in the news beats. Also, private verbs were never employed by the Daily Nation probably to distance the writers from expressing private thoughts, attitudes and emotions to their audience. On the other hand, The Standard employed private verbs probably to express private thoughts, attitudes and emotions to their audience. Finally, the choice between the active or passive voice emphasizes, minimizes or entirely omits the role of the participant in a sentence depending on how blame or credit is to be distributed among them. The study recommends that. genre-based teaching approach be adopted to instruct journalists by developing materials tailored on such an approach. This will go a long way in grounding the learner in the news writing community. This seems to agree with Kay and Dudley- Evans' (1998:310) assertion that a genre-based approach will enable the learner to enter a particular discourse community, and discover how writers organize texts.