With the development of modern information industry, people in the world relates to each other more and more closely. People in U.S.A get to know China while Chinese people have access to news reporting from VOA. At present, English has become an international language while English is a complex of many different ‘varities’ of language in use in all kinds of situations in many parts of world (Crystal&Davy,1969:3). One of the most evident differences of language of this is the difference between spoken language and written language. As for news, broadcasting news reporting is written to be heard and thus it carries the feature of spoken language while newspaper news reporting is written for reading and thus has the characteristics of written language. They are different in many ways and this paper intends to compare and analyze the significant stylistic differences in the aspects with to vocabulary, grammar and semantics.
Features of news
A famous citation is follows that when a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog, that is news, which is coined by the newspaper editor John B. Bogart. Thus news is simply defined as “what people want and need to know”（Newsom & Wollert, 1985:11）. Its function is providing people with information. Factually, journalists themselves have been establishing a set of news values to determine the worthiness of news including timelines, prominence and importance of events, etc (Mencher,1991:58-60).
Therefore it can be summarized that good news should convey most or some of the following features.
Firstly, news should be timely since the new and fresh information can give rise to the audience’s interest and attention. Furthermore, news is unusual since disasters (eg.Wen Chuan Earthquake),wars(eg. Iraq War), epidemics(eg.H1N1 Flu) are the focuses of news.
Secondly, news is supposed to influence or lead people’s life to some extent. News is written about some prominent individuals like present, governor or business leaders and other peculiar ones. Their words and activities are reported to the public and thus that influence their life and thoughts.
Although a piece of good news has a great deal of features such as interesting, informative, entertaining, news, in a word, should either inform, or to entertain or to persuade the audience or readers.
Features of broadcasting & newspaper
In a general sense, media can be divided into two groups-print media and broadcasting media. Newspaper belongs to the former while radio and TV are parts of the latter.
It is universally recognized that newspaper and broadcasting news belong to journalism and both of them are the main methods for people to acquire information. However, they carry substantial differences.
Firstly, newspaper is printed and belongs to written form. Newspaper holders can read it for times if they are interested in it or cannot understand at the first time. Thus the newspaper journalists write precisely and meticulously with the help of pictures and graphics to acquire readers while radio news is fleeting and goes in one ear and out the other one. Therefore, broadcasting news must be easily understandable and most broadcasting news employs conventional style and colloquial forms. Moreover, the broadcasting news often follows a clearer organization pattern then that of newspaper for the same story and thus the audience of broadcasting news can get the points much easily than newspaper readers.
Secondly, broadcasting news is shorter than newspaper story. Since people’s attention span is limited, broadcasting news should not be too long to avoid tiresome and boredom. Thus, the length for broadcasting is limited to several minutes. Moreover, broadcasting news usually offers a quick summary of what is happening at present. Broadcasting news is more immediate and timely than newspaper since news on radio or TV is updated moment by moment while newspaper news day by day.
The layout of this thesis
This thesis is composed of four chapters. The first chapter is an introduction, which is mainly dealing with introduction to features of news and general differences between newspaper news from broadcasting news. The second chapter offers the theoretical background of this thesis from two perspectives, media writing and stylistics. Chapter three is the center of the whole thesis. It will analyze and compare from three levels, lexical level, grammatical level and semantic level by employing some typical examples. Conclusions will be drawn in the last chapter.
Theories of media writing
With media’s rapid development, numerous media theories come up recently. Among them, Djik in 1985 published the book named Discourse and Communication: New Approaches to the Analysis of Mass Media Discourse and Communication, which related the study of mass media with discourse analysis firstly. Newsom and Wollert (1985) wrote a book Media writing: News for the mass media which was suitable for all media-broadcasting, printing, and advertising, etc. This book was comprehensive in which different media styles were introduced, therefore, it can serve as a reference book of media. The differences between broadcasting and newspaper were also written including technique, equipment, writing, and editing, etc.
During the later period, some scholars tended to research broadcasting and newspaper respectively. Short and Dickerson (1980) focused on the form and the content of the newspaper news in the book The Newspaper: An Alternative Textbook while Garvey and Rivers (1982) mainly concentrated on teaching the basic skills and rules of broadcasting writing in Broadcasting Writing. Fedler, Bender, Davenport, and Kostyu (1997) emphasized the practice of journalism. They published the book Reporting for the Media, mainly providing the instructions and exercises to students who wanted to become better writers. The book News Writing and Reporting for Today’s Media written by Rule and Anderson (2000) was more basic than Newsom and Wollert’s Media writing: News for the mass media. The objective of the two books mentioned above was providing information and techniques about news writing and reporting in every aspect, such as gathering information, writing, and editing the news, etc.
Mencher committed a lot to news writing since his book News Reporting and Writing (1981，1991，2003) had been published nine times until 2003. The purpose of this book was providing the background knowledge vital to accurate reporting and writing, teaching the media working skills, and suggesting the significance of journalism practice.
At a look at the previous studies, the conclusion can be made that both theories and practice of journalism are developing fast with the development of the abundance of mass media.
Style and stylistic
Although style is broad and hard to be given a precise definition, many linguists have been managing to find some of its points and main aspects of meaning. Crystal and Davy in 1969 distinguished following aspects of meaning in their works called Investigating English Style, including personal language habit, literary habit and group linguistic features.
Some other linguists have some concrete definitions. Wales in 1989 defined that style was the manner of expression in writing and speaking. Leech and Short held that style as the linguistic characteristics of a particular text (Leech & Short, 1981:12).The style is divided into “High, Middle, and Low” by Miles, Bertonasco and Karns. The aim of “high style” and thus is “loftiness and grandeur”. Therefore, unfamiliar words are usually used make the texts difficult to understand for general readers. On the contrary, “low style” intends to use plain and ordinary words for casual conversation. As its name suggests, “middle style” uses words peculiar to neither extreme. In other words, the words used in middle style are intelligent but not pretentious. Therefore, “middle style” is efficiently used in most of writing. In fact, such classification is the basis of register difference according to medium.
Style is defined and explained differently by different linguists who focus on different aspects. Based on the above style theories, style in this thesis will be explained with the following three propositions:
(1) Style changes in correlation with medium-broadcasting or newspaper.
(2) Style is a kind of appropriateness. That is, journalists should write appropriately with a different register or variety.
(3) Style should be analyzed based on particular texts which are written by particular journalists.
Stylistics is the study of style, which is also a fuzzy term to be defined. Widdowson provides a definition of stylistics which views “literary discourse from a linguistic orientation” (Widdowson ,1975:3). Wales, whose points of view are similar to Widdowson’s, calls stylistics as “literary stylistics or linguistic stylistics” (Wales, 1989:438). Saussure, one of the founders of modern linguistics, makes a distinction between langue and parole which contributes significantly to stylistics. He calls parole ‘speaking’ and the general system of langue ‘language’ (Sampson, 1980:45). In other words, “Langue refers to the abstract linguistic system shared by all members of a speech community and parole refers to the actualized language, or realization of langue.”(Hu Zhuanglin, Liu Runqing,& Li Yanfu, 1988:27)
To be more specific, langue is the generalized rule of the language while parole is the application of the rules. Therefore, stylistic choices are manifested in the parole while describing the nature of the choices has some relationship with language. Therefore, the key aspects of stylistics can be summed up as follows:
(1) Stylistics is an inter-discipline branch of learning.
(2) Stylistics is linked with linguistics.
(3) Stylistics involves both literary and non-literary study of their style.
(4) Stylistics choices should be appropriately made with the context.
The main differences between broadcast news and paper news
Differences in lexical level
Vocabulary is a fundamental and important part of any language. There are thousands of words in the English language. Then, what kinds of words are preferred in broadcasting news and what are preferred in that of the choice of words in newspaper?
Since the broadcasting news is communicated by the cable, the audiences only can acquire information by way of listening. The words in broadcasting news are comparatively more simple and easier to understand.
remunerate vs. pay
imbibe vs. drink
peruse vs. read
eschew vs. avoid
accord vs. agree
arrest vs. hold
important vs. key
delegation vs. mission
As for these words, the first group often appears in newspaper while the second group usually heard in broadcasting news. It is quite evident that the first group is very formal and literary while the second group is informal and spoken. They prefer different styles of words for the same purposes, one for easy understanding when being listened to while the other for accurate expressions when being read.
Obama administration is revealing a new set of proposed budget cuts, totaling about $17 billion.(VOA, May8th,2009)
WASHINGTON -- US President Barack Obama sent Congress a detailed budget. Obama unveiled his cuts would amount to $17 billion, in a budget totaling well over $3 trillion for the fiscal year that begins in October.(China Daily, May8th,2009)
The two media employed different words and expressions to convey the same information. VOA employed “revealing” and “total about” while China Daily used “unveiled” and “amount to”. It is quite obvious that they are quite suitable to their respectively styles for the same targets.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose 91 cents to settle at ﹩51.13 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after briefly falling below the ﹩50 mark for the first time in about two months to ﹩49.75.(Newsweek, April 14,2005)
The World Health Organization says the number of confirmed cases of swine flu Influenza A (H1N1) has climbed past 2,000.(VOA, May 8,2009)
Both listeners and readers can grasp the main information of broadcasting or newspaper reporting within the least amount of time since one of the distinctive features of news reporting is concise and conspicuous. The way of dealing with numbers in broadcasting and newspaper reports is one scheme to achieve such purpose as possessing the qualities of correctness and clearness. In Newsweek, it is quite precise and clear to enlist these numbers to arise the readers’ attention and interests while the second piece of news intends to give a general idea of the event since there is no accurate number by far.