Visual media

The importance of visuals as partners in the news

Authored by: Helen Caple

The Routledge Handbook of Language and Media

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138014176
eBook ISBN: 9781315673134
Adobe ISBN:


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Visuals have never been the innocent bystanders of the news media that many have mistaken them for. They are and should be recognized as partners in news relay: partners that are able to not just act as visual verification of an event but to also enhance viewer engagement with a story, or even to be the story themselves. Critical here, particularly for researchers within the discipline of linguistics, is the study of whole texts and communicative events in their multimodal richness and not just as isolated sentences or as ‘monolithic verbal text’ (Facchinetti 2012: 183). As van Leeuwen (2011: 668) puts it:

[C]ommunication is multimodal; . . . spoken language cannot be adequately understood without taking non-verbal communication into account; and . . . many forms of contemporary written language cannot be adequately understood unless we look, not just at language, but also at images, layout, typography and colour.

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