The management of writer-reader interaction in newspaper editorials
This study investigates the management of interaction between the writer and the readers in newspaper editorials. It aims at exploring how editorial writers include the readers as participants in the discourse while maintaining their authorial persona. It investigates how the readers are aligned and disaligned with the views of the writer. Using the Engagement system of the Appraisal framework (Martin 2000, and Martin and White 2005), the study explores how dialogically expansive and contractive resources are used in this respect in editorials from different newspapers.
The study employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The findings show that contractive resources are slightly more used than expansive resources. The slight difference suggests that the editorial writers try to maintain a balance between bringing in the readers in a communicative event and maintaining their authority as the writers. The findings also indicate that Engagement resources are used in the same way by different newspapers. There is also no clear difference between newspapers from Lesotho and South Africa. This is because Public Eye (Lesotho), Sunday Times and Mail Guardian (both from South Africa) use the same style. Lesotho Times (Lesotho) is the only paper using a different style. It follows a more conversational tone and its arguments are somewhat subjective.
Keywords: appraisal, engagement system, dialogic contraction, dialogic expansion