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.

Final Examination: 
Voto Finale

Learning objectives and expected didactic results

The course aims at defining and analysing different journalistic writing patterns. The analysis will be set in a diachronic perspective, paying attention to the different contexts of pertinence. A diachronic perspective is the key to catching 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 and more precisely different text types (news story, reportage, political comment, elzeviro, etc.). On the basis of such analysis, the course will develop a critical path analysis aiming at investigating current categories in journalistic writing along with their own peculiarity.
Major purpose of this course is to provide evaluation and analysis tools fitting a theoretical and historical consideration of the praxis of journalistic writing. Such a critical path will result in the ability to autonomously produce pertinent, effective and consistent texts. Here are some of the expected didactic 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 as 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, pertinence.

Final assessment
The final exam consists of an oral talk, aimed at testing the acquirement of the course contents, their re-elaboration, and personal in-depth analysis. Textbooks, alongside with the other books recommended in the course program and didactical slides (available on the e-learning website) allow to the verification of the general knowledge of the topic and, subsequently, of the expositive 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 pertinence 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.

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

The course slides (PowerPoint format) will be available on the e-learning website once the series of lectures achieved.

Students are expected to study the following books:
- U. CARDINALE, Manuale di scrittura giornalistica, Torino, UTET, 2011;
- Cronache dell’Unità d’Italia. Articoli e corrispondenze (1859-1861), ed. by A. AVETO, Milano, Mondadori, 2011;
- G. ORWELL, Gli anni dell’ “Observer”. 1942-49, Milano, Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2003.
- G. ORWELL, Omaggio alla Catalogna, Milano, Mondadori, 2002.
- ten chapters (dedicated to single regions) of: G. PIOVENE, Viaggio in Italia, Milano, Mondadori, 2011.
- U. ECO, Il costume di casa. Evidenze e misteri dell’ideologia italiana, Milano, Bompiani, 2012.