News reporting of public speeches in English on-line media: a constructional perspective




construction, news text, news story, news report, public speech, composition, semantics.


The paper argues that news texts split into stories dwelling on events and reports with their organization influenced by the content of documents or public speeches they render. The two levels of arranging news reports – compositional and semantic – are revealed by the comparison of the BBC’s and CBC’s reports on Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s address to the American Congress of 22 December 2022. The composition of news reports is three-layered: universal, typical of all news texts with the headline, the lead, the post-lead paragraph and the text body; implicit, with the conventional layout accompanied by descriptive, argumentative and background sections; explicit, with additional headings emphasizing the editorial view of the speaker’s ideas. Semantically, news reports are best structured in terms of morphosyntactic constructions, i.e., prefabricated pairings of form and meaning, which relate the content of news reports to the rendered address. It is found that with respect to the proximity to the original speech the constructions used in the news reports form five basic types: identical, equivalent with those in the speech
to underscore the affinity of the speaker’s and readers’ worldviews; synonymous, reflecting the original content through meanings close to the new target audience’s worldview; modifying, changing the dependent elements of the author’s original constructions to adjust their meaning to the target audience’s views; generalizing, fitting the speech content into the public worldview; specifying, clarifying the concepts absent from the readers’ worldview.