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Current Affairs in the EU-Russia Discourse: Critical Readings and News Texts Analysis

Class at Faculty of Arts |


Introduction to News Discourse and Its Framework

Approaches to news media discourse process

Actors in News Discourse

Discourse structure for news texts

Critical discourse analysis

News Event Analysis 1. Constructing a News Story

News distribution: How much is enough?

News fragmentation: Getting the news flowing

The perils of oversimplification

The inverted pyramid news story structure

News Event Analysis 2. What do Headlines and Leads Tell Us?

News production: What is a news event?

Gerbner’s communication model and its application

Approaches to Headlines: From traditional media to SEO practices

News Event Analysis 3. Critical Stylistics and Ideological Effects

Principles of intentionality and a text producer’s intents

Applying Lesley Jeffries’ critical set of stylistic tools

The author dilemma: Whose intentions Do We Decode?

News Agenda Analysis 1. News Editorial Practices and Ideology

Media organisations’ standards and practices

News values and story selection

Representing or constructing a reality?

News Agenda Analysis 2. News Framing and Approach to Analysis

Pan and Kosicki’s Framing Analysis: What to Follow

What is foregrounded, backgrounded, and left out?

News Event Analysis 4. Propaganda and Its Devices

What is new in modern propaganda techniques?

Fake news, post-truth, gaslighting - making up alternative realities

Approaches to reality, representation, and appearance

News Event Analysis 5. Opposing, Contrasting and “Us vs. Them”

Power relations in news discourse

Opposing social and cultural constructs in narration

The West vs. the Rest Paradox

News Agenda Analysis 3. Society and Public Opinion

Labelling, castes and roles of societies

SPO model: Actors and Goals

Which audience do journalists serve?

News Event Analysis 6. Factuality and Opinionism in News

What is a fact? What nature does it hold?

Role of facts in news production

Opinions and commentary in the news


News Language: A tool or a weapon?

Editorial standards and language evolution

News language in a digital age

How to stay true to your audience

Media Literacy and Media Education

Are we media literate enough?

Media literacy index

Media literacy practices

Media education as part of the curriculum


The primary focus of this course is to familiarise students with a choice of analytical tools and frameworks available for news text analysis from various standpoints (social and political sciences, linguistics, stylistics, media studies, etc.). The overall criticality of developing practical analytical skills for interacting with media messages cannot be overstated, considering current international affairs (Russia’s war with Ukraine and its resultant consequences, climate crisis, global inflation — all this included). Moreover, political and news discourses are substantially interwoven; they both construct social realities, shape public policies, and represent the goings-on in the world in diverse ways. To top it all, the technological advances of the last few decades have also played a critical role in how traditional and new media function. Coupled with opportunities presented by social media, news discourse can be taken metaphorically as a battlefield of contrasting social realities constructed by the media. From there, there’s the need for critical approaches to analysing and decoding news ideological effects.

Throughout the course, in agreement with students, there will be chosen currently running or recently taken place news events within EU-Russia relations that will be studied and analysed in class, given the framework relevant to the seminar. Individually and in groups, students are expected to closely examine a selection of news at various levels, whether it be structural, stylistic/linguistic, cultural, symbolical, political, etc. The end goal of such exercises is to identify ideological effects encoded into news text on multiple planes plus to uncover the complexities of news production that experiences paradigm shifts with the rise of the Internet.