Media, Language, and Interaction

Module code: SY3083

Module co-ordinator: Professor Ian Hutchby

Language is central to the way the media operate. Whether in written, spoken or graphical form, the linguistic and interactional properties of communication underpin all contemporary media genres. In this module we will look into precisely how different forms of language enable successful communication between media and audiences.

Together we will examine not only what is special about the ways language is used in the media, but also its relationship with the forms of communication in which we engage in daily life. As a result, we develop both a theoretical and a practical, analytic understanding of the uses of ordinary language in modern forms of mass communication.

The three main approaches to the study of language in the media are critical linguistics, conversation analysis, and critical discourse analysis. We will study these approaches and relate each one to the broader field of media sociology through an examination of early studies of news research and the 'discovery of talk' in the context of broadcasting.

Topics covered

  • News journalism
  • Advertising
  • Public participation broadcasting
  • Reality television
  • Politics in the media
  • Spoof and satirical broadcasting


  • Two one-hour lectures per week
  • One-hour project workshop each week


  • An individual research project write-up of 4,000 words (100%)