The digitalisation and commercialisation of the news mean journalistic practices are changing. Traditionally, readers are not addressed in written news stories. This study documents practices of direct reader address in online news headlines on health topics from three Nordic countries. The study focuses on the linguistic means of constructing the reader and journalist-reader relationship through forms of direct address. For this purpose, we take pragmatic-interactional and discourse-analytical approaches. Building on a discursive view on news values, the paper analyses three practices of addressing readers in headlines, outlines how news values are discursively constructed through these practices, and examines how journalists construct their target audience discursively by imposing problems and projecting desires for action and change onto readers, indicating assumptions about the readers’ knowledge. We argue that, by using such practices, journalists construct journalistic authority.
Address strategies, discourse analysis, headlines, health news, media frame, news values, Nordic newspapers
- Discourse analysis; news values; journalistic authority; interactional pragmatics; address forms; news discourse; headlines; online news