Keeping the upper-hand

pragmatic techniques in the media interview

Martin Tilney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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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