"God Help Us?": Analyzing Broadcast Talk

Professor Andrew Tolson from De Montfort University, Leicester will present a seminar on approaches to analysing broadcast talk. The seminar will present a mix of established principles with a new case study.

The established principles are key concepts and methodologies developed over the past twenty years (mainly by Paddy Scannell and his colleagues in the Ross Priory group) to develop the analysis of broadcast talk. Here the key insight is that such talk involves conversations designed for “overhearing audiences” as forms of entertaining verbal interaction and what Scannell calls “sociability”. Additional issues are performances of gendered talk and authenticity or “ordinariness” (a particular paradox where celebrities are concerned). The seminar presentation offers an analysis of the gendered talk produced in the Sky Sports program Gillette Soccer Saturday, where, with a well-known sports presenter (Jeff Stelling) in the chair, four ex professional footballers comment on incidents in soccer games. Generally (for contractual reasons) these are incidents that they can see but the viewer cannot, creating an interesting interplay between commentary and visibility. However, the example discussed here (which can be seen on YouTube as “the scandalous Milijas decision”) does involve extensive (highly animated) debate about a visible incident, and this paper will argue that such relations between the verbal and visible aspects of broadcast TV require more extensive analysis.

Seminar Presenter
Professor Andrew Tolson is the Professor of Media and Communication in the School of Media and Communication at De Montfort University. He has a background in English Language and Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham. In the 1980s, Professor Tolson’s interdisciplinary interests in discourse analysis and media and communication, combined in the study of broadcast talk (spoken discourse on TV and radio). In 1992 Tolson was a founder member of the Ross Priory seminar on broadcast talk, and has continued to work in this field for over twenty years. Professor Tolson’s current projects are mainly focused on political communication, in particular on the way politics has been performed, analysed, debated and ‘talked about’ on British television since the 1980s.

Registration is essential and allocation of places will be confirmed by email. Registrants are asked to indicate their Research Centre or Academic Element. Please also advise any dietary requirements for catering. RSVP by Friday 25 April 2014 to gsbrc@griffith.edu.au or phone (07 3735 1186).

Date: Friday 2 May 2014
Time: 10:30am to 12:00 noon (Morning tea on arrival)
Venue: Health Science Bldg (N48), Lecture Theatre, Room 0.14, Nathan Campus