Keeping the upper-hand: pragmatic techniques in the media interview

Martin Tilney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A critical approach to media discourse analysis sheds light on the way that individuals and institutions maintain certain ideologies in spite of the apparent neutrality of journalistic discourse. In media interviews, the interviewer can use pragmatic techniques to elicit agreement and maintain the question-answer format. This paper explores how metapragmatic acts (MPAs) and extended question sequences (EQSs) affect the interviewee’s responses in two television interviews concerning political issues in China. The aim of this paper is not to comment on the ideologies implicit in the discourse, but rather to exemplify the ways in which the aforementioned pragmatic techniques play a role in the media interview. Throughout this analysis, attention is paid to the interviewer’s questions and how the given responses are affected. I conclude that EQSs are more effective than MPAs, and that both are used by the interviewer to repair tacit political opinions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)180-199
    Number of pages20
    JournalCritical approaches to discourse analysis across disciplines
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Critical discourse analysis
    • Conversation analysis
    • Journalistic neutrality
    • Metapragmatic acts
    • Extended question sequences
    • Media interview
    • China


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