Text analysis and journalistic writing

Degree course: 
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (64 hours)

The Bachelor’s Degree courses (with notable reference to the linguistic, historical and scientific communication areas) will provide the essential conceptual expertise for these lectures. Other kind of knowledges or specific skills are not required.

Final Examination: 

The final exam consists in an oral test aimed at testing the acquirement of the course contents, their re-elaboration, and personal in-depth analysis. Textbooks, along with the other books recommended in the course programme and presentation slides (available on the e-learning platform) will be the source of the questions which will verify first the general knowledge of the topic and, subsequently, the oral and critical-analysis skills, as well as of personal acquirement and in-depth analysis of the course contents.
The final mark is calculated primarily on the basis of the correctness and consistence of the answers given during the oral exam, of the communicative skills and the ability to adequately justify statements, analysis and evaluations. Evaluation of the quality of the written texts, whose composition is required during the course, will also play a part in the calculation of the final mark.

Voto Finale

The course aims to define and analyse different journalistic writing patterns. The analysis will be framed in a diachronic perspective and in relation to the multiple contexts of pertinence. A diachronic perspective is the key to grasp the most distinctive features in the evolution of vehicular forms (from the gazette to the political and informational journal, from the periodical magazine to the daily newspaper). It will also help to focus on the subordination of any journalistic text to various contingent issues (public/context, propaganda, advertising, patronising influence, etc.) and to consequently outline the different types of this kind of writing, altogether with their innovation and conditioning levels. The contexts of pertinence of this kind of writing define more precisely different text types (news story, reportage, political comment, elzeviro, etc.). On the basis of such analysis, the course will develop a critical analysis aiming to investigate current categories in journalistic writing along with their own peculiarities.
The final purpose of this course is to provide evaluative and analytical tools for a theoretical and historical consideration of the praxis of journalistic writing. Such a critical analysis will result in the ability to autonomously produce pertinent, effective and consistent texts. Here are some of the expected teaching goals:
- acquiring awareness of the unevenness and historical-related conditioning of journalistic writing;
- acknowledging the bond between expressive means and formal and non-formal conditioning of journalistic writing related to vehicular typology (journal, magazine, radio, television, web, etc.);
- recognizing and distinguishing the main features of different writing patterns;
- developing critical analysis skills with reference to journalistic-writing-related text typologies;
- applying all of the above skills to the drafting of journalistic texts, aiming at different communicative targets and depending on different commitments (space, audience, in-depth analysis level, etc.) and accomplishing pragmatic self-evaluation exercises with regard to: formal exactness, consistency, effectiveness and pertinence.

The main topics delivered during lessons are:
- Basics of journalistic communication history: from the gazette to the newspaper (five hours).
- Political and report journalism in Eighteenth-century England. Different types of report and ethos journalism between Eighteenth and Nineteenth century (five hours).
- The Twentieth century and new communication media: daily newspaper, radio, television. The Twenty-first century and the Web. (five hours).
- The page conditioning: journalistic article text typologies, page editing, title, subtitles and other elements of textual hierarchy (four hours).
- The notion of “news”: conditioning and variability settings (three hours).
- Communicative principles analysis with regard to consistency and effectiveness (five hours).
- Text categories and typologies (five hours).
- In-depth analysis: the news story, the news analysis, the political comment (five hours).
- The reportage, in a historical perspective: Italy as seen from foreigners, since the Grand Tour age up to the euro-years (five hours).
- The medium conditioning: radio-television journalism and the Web (three hours).
- Social and technological evolution as an innovating factor in writing (four hours).
- Reading and analysing historically paradigmatic journalist texts (five hours).
- Production of short texts in the form of reportage and news story, followed by self-evaluation and self-comments (ten hours).

The course slides (PowerPoint format) will be available on the e-learning platform after each lesson.
Students are expected to study the following books:
•U. CARDINALE, Manuale di scrittura giornalistica, Torino, Utet, 2011.
oppure del manuale:
•A. PULIAFITTO, Dal giornalismo al Digital Content Management, Roma, Centro di Documentazione Giornalistica, 2017.
- M. LOPORCARO, Cattive notizie. La retorica senza lumi dei mass media italiani, Feltrinelli, 2005 (o edd. successive)
- R. BALDASSARI, Giornalismo, informazione e comunicazione, Marsilio, 2014.
- G. ORWELL, Nel ventre della balena, Bompiani, 2013.
- G. ORWELL, Omaggio alla Catalogna, Oscar Mondadori, 2012.
- E. HEMINGWAY, Per chi suona la campana (Oscar Mondadori);
G. ORWELL, Omaggio alla Catalogna (idem).
- A. BRILLI, Il viaggiatore immaginario. L'Italia degli itinerari perduti (Il Mulino, 1997 e rist. successive).
- G. PIOVENE, Viaggio in Italia (Oscar Mondadori).
- C. DE SETA, L’Italia nello specchio del Grand Tour, Rizzoli, 2014 - P. P. PASOLINI, Scritti corsari, Garzanti, 2014 (o edd. precedenti).
- H. ZIMMERN, Corriere di Londra. 1884-1910, a cura di C. Del Vivo, Milano, Fondazione Corriere della Sera, 2014.

For more details, see the Programma d’esame available on the e-learning platform of the course.


The learning goals of the course will be achieved through frontal lessons (total 64 hours). Specific texts will be delivered and discussed. The texts independently composed by students will be elaborated beyond the lessons. It may help the writers to use proper documents and records. Their paper will be discussed and evaluated during the lessons.

The lecturer can meet with students at the end of eanch class, upon email request (gianmarco.gaspari@uninsubria.it).