Features of a genre: Record 5 minutes, or find a section online, of a chat-based program (Today, Sunrise, Hamish and Andy etc). Tolson argued that chat-based programming is oriented toward the personal, it features wit and humour, and the risk of transgression underlies talk (1991). Are these features evident in your recording, and if so, how? What does this tell you about what you would need to know or do if you wanted to be a host in this context? Record your responses in writing on your blog.
Chat-based programming is a genre of speech associated with television shows (Tolson 1991). It involves a host or a series of hosts, an audience and guests (Ames 2016).
Although chat-based programming is buoyant and seemingly trivial, this genre of speech is significant as it helps to build a sense of community amongst its target audience (Ames 2016).
The three main qualities of chat-based programming, as defined by Tolson, are that they feature wit and humour, speak toward the personal (instead of institutional) and that the chat opens up the possibility of transgression in any context (Tolson, 1991).
Throughout the recording of The Today Show Australia, where the panel of hosts interview AETHAER, a company based in the United Kingdom that bottle British air and export it all over the world, the feature evident is wit and humour. It is apparent that the panel of hosts consider AETHAR a joke as they do not take the interview seriously, constantly talking over each other and the interviewee.
When introducing the CEO of AETHAER, the hosts laugh and mock the price of how much the company sell the bottles of air. One presenter uses an anecdote, comparing the children’s book The Emperor’s New Clothes to the company. On the surface the genre of speech may seem like institutional talk, it could be said that the level of sarcasm and humour the hosts use transgress into personal talk on their behalf.
To be a host in this context you would need to engage with the interview with wit and humour and awareness. For example, the hosts mock and make fun of the business whilst some defend the business with remarks like ‘That’s smart’, ‘Oh no, I don’t think so’. Throughout the interview, the hosts exchange the roles of defending the business owner and mocking him, creating a fine line between upsetting the interviewee and keeping them comfortable so they can continue the interview and mockery.
2. Piece to Camera practice: Using a smartphone, or a video camera, ask someone to record you doing a piece to camera where all you are doing is describing the scene behind you. For example, “We are here at [place]. There are people [describe what people are doing]. On my left is [describe what’s on your left], and on my right is [describe what’s on your right]. This exercise will help you gain confidence in talking ‘naturally’ to the camera. Put some effort into it so it’s to a standard you would be happy publishing via a medium such as YouTube. Record your reflections on this activity on your blog.
I found this task frustrating, as I ran out of time to get it to the standard that I’m happy with publishing it online. Putting technical issues aside, I wrote the script and presented it, drawing inspiration from Piece to Camera’s I had seen on television. The sun and wind were intense and you can see me stumbling as my eyes kept watering. I found this task pointless also because I have no desire to be on camera, nor to be a news anchor.
Review the Clayman reading on reporting speech in news interviews (From talk to text: newspaper accounts of reporter source interactions) and summarise the key points of the article. Consider how this might relate to the way in which your speech (Ass 2) might be reported. Record your response in writing on your blog.
This article canvasses a convention used in news interviews and furthermore discusses broadcast talk (Clayman 2007, p.1). Key points of the Clayman article ‘Address Terms in the Service of Other Actions: The Case of News Interview Talk’ are as followed:
- The practice of the interviewee addressing the journalist or interviewer by name in their response, according to Clayman is ‘overtly personalized’ and congruent with the interview’s characteristic framework. (Clayman 2007, p.2)
- According to Clayman, there are two separate class environments in which why an interviewee will address the interviewer, by name within their response.
- Namely; speaking from the heart: Clayman suggests that address terms through ‘speaking from the heart’ occur when the interviewee feels forced to reiterate their position, and portray their response as sincere and genuine.
- The oppositional class of environment, happens via disagreements. This way of addressing the interviewee resists the agenda of the previous question (Clayman 2007, p.3).
Ames, K, 2012, ‘Host/host conversations: analysing moral and social order in talk on commercial radio’, Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, vol 142, p112-122, 11p
Ames K, 2016, Module 7: Genres of Speech – Media, course notes, COMM12030, CQUniversity e-courses,http://moodle.cqu.edu.au
Clayman, S 2007, ‘Address Terms in the Service of Other Actions: The Case of News Interview Talk’, Conference Papers — American Sociological Association, p. 1.
Tolson, A. 1991, ‘Televised Chat and the Synthetic Personality’, in P. Scannell (ed.), Broadcast Talk, Sage, London, pp. 178-200.