News on the Web in Arabic and English: A discourse analysis of CNN’s websites
Author: - Date: 2010 Institution: University of Vienna Subject:Linguistics Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Abstract: This research consists of an analysis of the news presented by the CNN (Cable News Network) on its websites in Arabic and English. It is based on the hypothesis that the CNN as a news producer modifies the news content and presentation according to the audience it addresses. It is also assumed that, as the Web has actually become an important source of news, distinctive features of form and content are used, making web-news different from other traditional types of news and requiring different analytical tools. The research is interdisciplinary in nature. It is based mainly in the field of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), with insights from other disciplines, such as multimodal discourse analysis, functional linguistics and translation studies. The analysed data consisted of stories collected from both sites in Arabic and English during a one-month period, as well as a users' questionnaire distributed and collected online. For the purpose of triangulation, the analysis included multimodal, quantitative and qualitative analyses of the collected websites stories and the questionnaire data. The research concludes that the Web has become a major news source for many people; the written material is more dominant compared to other multimodal elements; the websites in question address each public using a completely different discourse, i.e. using texts with different linguistic, cultural and ideological implications; and that negative views are widespread concerning CNN's reporting, reliability and balance. It also emerges that news translation is rather a process of re-writing, providing totally new products depending on different ideological positions.
Translation studies tools are not adequately designed for analysing this type of text production and discourse analysis scholars have concentrated more on monolingual texts than on cross-linguistic discourse. It is therefore considered desirable and advisable to conduct further research that looks into these questions and to develop a contrastive critical discourse analysis approach for investigating them.