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Why Do You Ask?The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse$
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Alice Freed and Susan Ehrlich

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306897.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 May 2021

Questions in Broadcast Journalism

Questions in Broadcast Journalism

12 Questions in Broadcast Journalism
Why Do You Ask?

Steven Clayman

Oxford University Press

This chapter, written by Steven Clayman, provides an overview of questioning in broadcast news interviews and news conferences, synthesizing the author's main findings from previous research. Clayman identifies two journalistic norms that influence the design of questions in these contexts—neutralism and adversarialism—and demonstrates the tensions that exist between these two norms. While journalists attempt to appear neutral in their questioning of politicians, they, at the same time, are meant to adopt a critical stance vis‐à‐vis public figures in accordance “with the ideal of the press as an independent watchdog.” Clayman argues that the balance struck between these two conflicting norms varies according to the proclivities of the individual interviewer, the type of news programs on which interviewers appear, and the ethos of different historical periods. Clayman ends his chapter with observations about the changing nature of journalistic questioning over the last half century in the United States.

Keywords:   broadcast journalism, broadcast news interviews, news conferences, question design, journalistic questioning, journalistic norms, overhearing audience, neutralism, adversarialism, politicians

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